If Ronald McDonald wasn’t disturbing enough, McDonald’s has unveiled a creepy-looking animated mascot in the United States called Happy. The Happy Meal box-shaped creature has rubber-hose arms, a huge set of realistic chompers, bulging eyballs, and the McDonald’s arches as eyebrows.
Author: Amid Amidi
To commemorate the National Film Board of Canada’s 75th anniversary, Canada Post released a set of five stamps this month that celebrate the government-run studio’s films.
“A Dangerous Journey” (part funded by Comic Relief) warns young African women of the dangers of being coerced and tricked into prostitution by traffickers who use scare tactics perpetrated by native doctors and false promises.
Although Greg Centineo, the producer of “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,” had hoped for a big second weekend, the film plummeted 48% this weekend and ended up with a sophomore frame of $1.9 million. The movie has struggled to find a fan following, except for the film’s Facebook page which is filled with a curiously large number of middle-aged and elderly people who absolutely adore the film.
Yesterday on Cartoon Brew’s Instagram, we offered a small taste of John Canemaker’s new book “The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis & the Secrets of Walt Disney’s Movie Magic,” which will be released on May 27.
This evening John Lasseter received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater California Institute of the Arts. He also delivered the commencement address to the graduating class. Five years ago, Lasseter received his first honorary doctorate from Pepperdine University, the school that he dropped out of to attend CalArts. So, does this mean we have to call him Dr.² Lasseter now?
Last weekend, “The Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return” recorded the worst opening ever for an animated film in more than 2,500 theaters. The film’s exec producer, Greg Centineo, a former Florida coffee shop owner who raised over $100 million from investors to produce this film and its followups, thinks he knows what went wrong.
About a bear and his journey on the subway of life.
What’s the best way to encourage young people to vote? The Danish parliament (or Folketinget) decided that the answer was an ultra-violent, sex-filled Adult Swim-style cartoon. To encourage young Danes to vote in the upcoming European elections, the Folketinget commissioned a 90-second piece of animation starring a leather-clad dolphin-riding muscleman named Voteman who gets blowjobs from an army of women when he’s not busy decapitating Danish people who don’t vote. The reported budget for the piece was $30,000.
Tonight, Cartoon Network quietly released two new pilots that were produced in 2013: “AJ’s Infinite Summer” created by Toby Jones and “Long Live the Royals” by Sean Szeles. Both Jones and Szeles work on “Regular Show”—Jones as a writer/storyboard artist and Szeles as a supervising director/writer/storyboard artist.
There is just one annual animation award in the United States that is older than the Oscars and that’s the ASIFA-East Animation Festival. This year’s ceremony will mark the 45th year in a row that the festival has been presented. It takes place this Sunday, May 18th, at the New School’s newly built Tishman Auditorium (63 5th Avenue in Manhattan).
“The Begun of Tigtone” is a parody of every fantasy convention there is, from movies to games. And the star character of this story is Tigtone, a man whose personality is intentionally modeled after a two-dimnesional, anti-hero cliche. Along his journey, he is challenged by pointless puzzles, preposterously clad goddesses, and generic quest goals. Not even the dialog is safe from skewering, as the fantasy convention of convoluted language is parodied right down to the very title of the story.
Last night Jeff Koons sold a sculpture of Popeye for over $28 million. Today, evidence has emerged that Koons may not have designed the sculpture. In the comments of our previous post about the Popeye sculpture, Brew reader Alex Kirwan pointed out that Koons’s sculpture bears a substantial similarity to a Dark Horse-produced Popeye PVC figur released in 2002.
Tonight in New York City, Sotheby’s will auction a stainless steel, 2000-pound, six-and-a-half-foot-tall Popeye sculpture by Jeff Koons that is estimated to sell for between $25-35 million. Koons, who is already among the top three richest living American artists not to mention an avowed lover of “Croods,” made three of these Popeye sculptures, which probably represents the number of people who he thinks are dumb enough to pay between $25-35 million for a Popeye sculpture.
Our post on Andy Serkis’s inflammatory rhetoric about the limited role of animators on his motion capture performances generated a robust, often heated, discussion in the comments. By far, the most informative comment was provided by 3-time Oscar winner Randall William Cook, who was the animation supervisor and designer at WETA on the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy that was released between 2001 and 2003.
It was 9:54 when I decided to leave…
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.