If you didn’t hear about last weekend’s opening of “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,” don’t worry because no one else in America did either. Opening in 2,575 theaters, the film eked out $3.7 million, which is the worst opening ever for an animated feature in saturated release (over 2,500 theaters). The previous animation record holder in this dubious category was the 2011 Weinstein Company release “Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil,” which grossed $4.1M from 2,505 theaters.
Today is the 100th birthday anniversary of one of the most important women who ever worked in animation: Joy Batchelor. With her husband, she ran the studio Halas & Batchelor, which was the largest English animation outfit for a good part of the 20th century and made that country’s first feature-length animated film, “Animal Farm.”
Laika does amazing work as an animation studio, no doubt about it, but the studio’s history is somewhat less admirable. The company was built on top of Will Vinton’s eponymous Portland studio in a shrewd corporate takeover by multi-billionaire Nike co-founder Phil Knight. After Knight took control of the company in 2002, he placed a failed rapper named Chilly Tee with slight experience in animation, who also happened to be his son Travis Knight, in charge of the entire company.
“Jellyfish Eyes” marks the feature film directing debut of Japanese superstar artist Takashi Murakami. Described as a post-Fukushima sci-fi fantasy, the $7 million live-action/CGI hybrid film incorporates Murakami’s goofily-styled creatures throughout, as well as an appearance by his fine art character Miss Ko2.
Cartoon Brew-ED is our new educational initiative that is edited by veteran animator and teacher Colin Giles. This new forum offers helpful animation tips, links to learning resources, and original educational content.
In his never-ending quest to be recognized as a serious thespian, character actor Andy Serkis continues to minimize the role of the animators who make his performances possible. With each interview he gives, Serkis seems to do more and more of the work, and the animators less and less. About the only thing Serkis doesn’t do at this point is build his own motion capture rigs and provide his own craft services.
Will Ferrell and “Anchorman” director/writer Adam McKay are developing a CGI-animated “Flintstones” pic. Chris Henchy will write the script.
Following the success of the “LEGO Movie”—$457 million to date—Warner Bros. is getting back into feature animation in a big way.
For the fifth year in a row, we are pleased to announce our annual Cartoon Brew Student Film Festival. The mission for the festival is simple: to honor student-produced animated shorts and share them with the widest possible community of industry decision-makers, fellow students, and animation enthusiasts from around the world.
Based on a true story, “Cruising” follows a young man through an extrovert’s dream and an introvert’s nightmare—the chaotic and cacophonous world of forced-fun aboard an insular cruise ship. His initial inability to accept his environment drives him to suicidal fantasy, where he learns to cope with his stressors, discomfort and anxieties.