“Holy Cow!”

Animator Joseph Bennett’s (Odin’s Afterbirth) latest project for J. Walter Thompson is not for the squeamish. Its designed to promote a BBQ truck at the SXSW Film Festival this week, and will be projected (along with a companion film) on local buildings during the fest. All of the animators involved have been featured previously on the Brew: Jake Armstrong (The Terrible thing of Alpha-9), Chadwick Whitehead (Revenge of the Giant Toothpaste Tube) and Lizzi Akana (Your Love Is My Drug).

Thank you to our March Site Sponsors

It’s the time of month where we take a moment to thank the companies that are currently advertising on Cartoon Brew. Our major site sponsors for March 2011 are:

Animation Mentor

Amazon Studios

Max the Mutt Animation School

The Cinefamily

If your business is looking to reach the largest and most knowledgeable on-line community of animation pros, students and fans, please contact our friendly ad rep, Reachout Media.

DreamWorks Animation Announces Feature Film Release Slate Through 2014

DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced its feature film release slate through 2014.  The Company’s current plan features six original films and is anchored by three sequels based on its hit Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar and How to Train Your Dragon franchises.

DreamWorks Animation’s theatrical release schedule is currently planned as follows: Kung Fu Panda 2 for May 26, 2011 and Puss In Boots for November 4, 2011; Madagascar 3 for June 8, 2012 and Rise of the Guardians for November 21, 2012; The Croods for March 1, 2013, Turbo for June 7, 2013 and Me and My Shadow for November 8, 2013; Mr. Peabody & Sherman for March 21, 2014 and How to Train Your Dragon 2 for June 20, 2014.

“At DreamWorks Animation, our creative ambition has never been greater and the release schedule we’re unveiling today is designed to give our movies the time and resources they need to realize their full potential so each one can become a true event for our audiences,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation.

“Thanks to the extraordinary talent base at DreamWorks Animation today, our feature film slate is full of both original story ideas and exciting new franchise chapters that will form a solid foundation for the studio’s creative output through 2014,” added Bill Damaschke, the Company’s Chief Creative Officer.

Below is additional detail on the feature films that comprise DreamWorks Animation’s theatrical release schedule:

Kung Fu Panda 2 will be released on May 26, 2011.  It is being directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda), produced by Melissa Cobb (Kung Fu Panda) and written by Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger (Kung Fu Panda). It stars Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong and Michelle Yeoh. In the sequel, Po is living his dream as The Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung fu masters, The Furious Five.  But Po’s life of awesomeness is threatened by the emergence of a formidable villain, who plans to use a secret, unstoppable weapon to conquer China and destroy kung fu.  Po must look to his past and uncover the secrets of his mysterious origins… only then will he be able to unlock the strength he needs to succeed.

Puss In Boots will be released on November 4, 2011. It is directed by Chris Miller (Shrek the Third) and produced by Joe Aguilar (Merry Madagascar) and Latifa Ouaou (Monsters vs. Aliens).  It is being written by Tom Wheeler (The Cape). Andrew Adamson (Shrek, The Chronicles of Narnia) and Guillermo del Toro (Pans Labyrinth) are serving as executive producers on the film, which stars Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris.  Way before he ever met Shrek, the legendary Puss In Boots goes on a heroic journey, teaming up with mastermind Humpty Dumpty and the street-savvy Kitty Softpaws to steal the famed Goose that lays the Golden Eggs.  It’s the adventure of nine lifetimes!

Madagascar 3 will be released on June 8, 2012. It is directed by Eric Darnell (Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa) and produced by Mireille Soria (Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa) and Mark Swift (Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa).  It is being written by Noah Baumbach (Fantastic Mr. Fox) and once again stars Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric The Entertainer and Andy Richter. Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple and of course, King Julien, Maurice and the Penguins are all along for the comedic adventure.  Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent – Madagascar style.

Rise of the Guardians, based on the forthcoming books by William Joyce, will be released on November 21, 2012. It is directed by Peter Ramsey (Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space) and co-directed by Joyce.  The film is being produced by Christina Steinberg (Bee Movie, National Treasure) and Nancy Bernstein, long-time head of Production at DreamWorks Animation. Rise of the Guardians is being written by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole) and executive produced by Guillermo del Toro and Michael Siegel.  It stars Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Jude Law. More than a collection of the well-known childhood legends, Rise of the Guardians is an epic adventure that tells the story of a group of heroes – each with extraordinary abilities.  When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children all over the world.

The Croods will be released on March 1, 2013. It is being written and directed by two-time Academy Award® nominee Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon, Lilo & Stitch) and Kirk DeMicco (Space Chimps) and produced by Kristine Belson (How to Train Your Dragon) and Jane Hartwell (Shrek). It stars Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke and Cloris Leachman.  The Croods is a comedy adventure that takes us back to a previously undiscovered era in the history of our planet known as the Croodaceous, when nature was still a work-in-progress… full of never-before- seen creatures and landscapes.  Audiences will relate to the hilarious family antics as an imaginative and resourceful newcomer helps the Croods navigate their way through the fantastic world beyond their cave.

Turbo will be released on June 7, 2013. It is being directed by David Soren (Merry Madagascar), who first brought the project to the studio, and produced by Lisa Stewart (Monsters vs. Aliens).  It is being written by Darren Lemke (Shrek Forever After) together with Soren.  Turbo tells the story of an ordinary garden snail with an impossible dream: to become the fastest snail in the world.  When a freak accident gives him extraordinary speed, Turbo sets out to try to make this dream come true.

In Me and My Shadow, which will be released on November 8, 2013, the studio will pioneer a groundbreaking combination of both CG and traditional animation techniques seamlessly together throughout the film.  The film is directed by Mark Dindal (Chicken Little, The Emperors New Groove) and produced by Melissa Cobb (Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda 2) and Teresa Cheng (Shr ek Forever After, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron). It is being written by Tom Astle and Matt Ember (Get Smart).  Me and My Shadow tells the story of Shadow Stan, an extremely frustrated shadow who yearns for a dynamic life but happens to be stuck with Stanley Grubb, the world’s most boring human.  Finally pushed to the brink, Shadow Stan breaks the singular rule of the Shadow World – “They lead, we follow” – and takes control of Stanley!

Mr. Peabody & Sherman will be released on March 21, 2014. It is directed by Rob Minkoff (Stuart Little, The Lion King) and produced by Jason Clark (Monster House, Stuart Little) and Denise Nolan Cascino (Megamind).  It is being written by Craig Wright (United States of Tara, Six Feet Under).  Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey, Bullwinkle Studio’s Tiffany Ward and Classic Media’s Eric Ellenbogen are serving as executive producers on the film, which stars two-time Academy Award® nominee Robert Downey Jr.  Based on Jay Ward’s classic cartoon, Mr. Peabody is the world’s smartest person who happens to be a dog.  He and his “pet” boy Sherman discover that someone has stolen their time traveling WABAC machine and is changing moments in history to disastrous and comical results.  It’s up to this most unexpected of father-son teams to somehow put a stop to this villain before his actions destroy the space-time continuum in Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

How to Train Your Dragon 2, the sequel to the Academy Award®-nominated original film from 2010, will be released on June 20, 2014. It is being directed and written by Dean DeBlois (How to Train Your Dragon) and produced by Bonnie Arnold (How to Train Your Dragon). Also based on the book series by Cressida Cowell, the sequel is being executive produced by Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon) together with DeBlois. How to Train Your Dragon 2 again stars Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, TJ Miller and Kristen Wiig.

“Green Lantern: Emerald Knights” to premiere at WonderCon as part of Green Lantern day of events

Fans attending on Friday, April 1st, the first day of WonderCon, will be treated to a special Green Lantern talent signing and panel featuring the stars of the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures feature film: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard.  The signing begins at 4 p.m., followed by the panel discussion at 5.

The highly anticipated Green Lantern movie, in theatres on June 17, 2011, will be the first live-action feature film to star the popular DC Comics character.  The film relates the origin story of alter ego Hal Jordan (Reynolds), a test pilot and the first human chosen to wear the ring that provides him his superpowers.

Following the opening day panel, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps will have a deep and diverse presence throughout the weekend due to the combined efforts of DC Entertainment (DCE) and the various divisions of Warner Bros. Entertainment, including Warner Home Video (WHV), Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) and Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP).

WHV will present the World Premiere of the Blu-ray and DVD feature Green Lantern: Emerald Knights on Friday evening in the Esplanade Ballroom, immediately followed by a panel discussion featuring filmmakers and voice cast members.  Panelists will also take part in an autograph session on Saturday.  The all new DC Universe Animated Original Movie weaves six interlocking stories of the Green Lantern Corps’ rich mythology around preparations for an attack by an ancient enemy.

Also on Friday, DC Comics will host a panel about the Green Lantern comic books and the 2011 War of the Green Lanterns crossover event.  The DC booth will host Green Lantern-themed signings and giveaways throughout the weekend.

WBIE and DCE will showcase Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters, an action-adventure videogame that will be available in conjunction with the theatrical release of Green Lantern. Throughout the Con, visitors to the DC Comics booth will be able to get hands-on time with the game that delivers an immersive experience for Green Lantern fans of all ages.

WBCP’s worldwide licensing program for the highly anticipated Green Lantern film has already taken the industry by storm.  Product manufacturers around the world have come together to capture and unleash the power of Green Lantern, who lit the way at this year’s Toy Fair, with master toy licensee Mattel bringing to life a comprehensive toy line inspired by the upcoming film.  Visitors at WonderCon will get a sneak peek of the toy line, along with the opportunity to be “chosen” to win some of the popular products, long before they hit retail shelves.

All this and more begins with the Green Lantern signing at 4 p.m. and panel at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 1, 2011.  WonderCon opens the doors to the main floor at noon.  The event runs all weekend, through Sunday, April 3rd, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  Go to http://www.comic-con.org/wc/ for tickets to the “Green Lantern” opening day panel and for information about all of the Warner Bros.- and DC Entertainment-related events.

Call For Entries: Ottawa International Animation Festival

The Ottawa International Animation Festival officially opens its call for submissions to the 2011 competition!  Entry forms are due May 20th!

From September 21st to 25th, the nation’s capital will once again become the center of the animation universe.  The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) is the largest event of its kind in North America, a major film event attracting attendees from around the world. Film buffs, art lovers and cartoon fans won’t want to miss this year’s great line up of screenings taking place at ByTowne Cinema, National Gallery of Canada, Empire Theatres Rideau Centre and Arts Court Theatre.

2011 Film Submissions
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Deadline for entry forms: Friday, May 20th, 2011
  • Deadline for preview DVDs: Friday, June 3rd, 2011
  • There is no entry or registration fee.
  • Only animated films that were completed after June 15th, 2010, are eligible.
  • You must submit your entry form online through your OIAF login account.
  • Your preview film must be submitted on a playable DVD (NTSC or PAL). New Media Competition submissions can be submitted as a Weblink or a Flash (SWF) file on CD-ROM or DVD.
  • If your film has dialogue that is not English and is not subtitled, you must include an English dialogue script.
  • Director’s photograph (300 dpi), biography and 3 stills from the film (300 dpi) are required.
  • We cannot accept customs charges. Do not label a value over $10 CAN on your package.
  • DVDs submitted for selection will not be returned.
  • *NEW IN 2011 If your film is selected, we must receive a 35mm film print or a high-quality Digital Video File (suggested resolution 1280 x 720).
  • *NEW IN 2011  The festival no longer accepts Betacam SP or any other tape format as screening copies.
  • *NEW IN 2011 All films selected for the festival must be received by Friday, August 5th, 2011.
  • Selected 35mm films must also submit a backup screening copy as a Digital Video File only (same technical requirements as above).
  • By submitting your online entry form, you are agreeing to the OIAF 2011 Rules and Regulations.

SUBMISSION INFORMATION

3D Modeling Software on iPad

Verto 3D

Need to do some pre-viz work at the coffeeshop or airport but don’t have your laptop with you? Verto Studio 3D is new modeling software for the iPad created by Micheal L. Farrell. It may not be the first such iPad software on the market, but according to Marc Lougee who wrote this positive review of Verto Studio 3D, it’s the best to date. Lougee cites its relative ease of use (only 15 buttons) and fairly sophisticated feature set as selling points. The other selling point is it’s $7.99.

AMG Films Signs Five-Year First Look Deal with Warner Bros.

AMG Films, a wholly owned division of AMG Holdings, announced today it has inked a five-year, first-look deal with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group for television, DVD and digital rights in the U.S. and in select foreign territories.

The first of the films, all of which will be released by Warner Home Video (WHV), will be the animated 3-D feature The Lion of Judah, hitting screens in 1,000 domestic theaters this spring through a distribution agreement with Rocky Mountain Pictures. The film features the voice talent of stars Scott Eastwood (Invictus, Gran Torino, Pride, Flags of Our Fathers), Michael Madsen (Donnie Brasco, Kill Bill, Vols. 1 & 2, Reservoir Dogs) and Ernest Borgnine (Red, The Wild Bunch, The Dirty Dozen, Marty, From Here to Eternity, TV’s McHale’s Navy).

The Lion of Judah — which tells the Easter story through lovable stable animals’ eyes — was produced by Animated Family Films, the animation arm of AMG Holdings, and has already garnered a groundswell of support and anticipation through churches and faith-based organizations.

Stated Tom Lucas, WHV’s VP Marketing, Theatrical Catalog, “We are delighted this deal has come together and we welcome AMG’s high-quality slate of titles to the Warner Bros. library — starting with the charming and family-friendly The Lion of Judah.”

Commented Tim Warren, President of AMG Films, “This is a significant milestone in our young company’s history. We are excited to be partnering with Warner Home Entertainment Group for the release of The Lion of Judah and on our entire slate of animated and live-action films.”

Other films in development/production at AMG include:

• An African Tale, a $30 million-budget, animated, family feature telling the story of a life-changing adventure, during which the offspring of the jungle and plains animals overcome decades of mistrust and enmity, setting in motion a chain of events that will change their entire land forever.

• Bethlehem or Bust, the $12 million-budget prequel to The Lion of Judah — starring Borgnine, Omar Miller (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, 8 Mile), Alphonso McAuley (Pride, Glory Road) and world-renowned gospel singer Sandi Patti (The Lion of Judah) — to be released in 2-D and 3-D.

• Perfect Wave, a live-action film with a $10 million budget, is based on the true story of surfer Ian McCormack who travels to Bali in a quest to catch “the perfect wave,” but dies when stung by a jellyfish. Experiencing both heaven and hell, he does indeed encounter the ideal ride before returning to life.

• Heart of a Man, the highly anticipated $65 million-budget period feature from AMG’s live-action production arm, Prelude Pictures. The film is based on the real-life story of John Newton — famed 18th century, Caucasian seaman who was “gifted” to a West African princess as a slave — and the prequel to Amazing Grace.

• Our Father, a “dramedy” written by John Candy and Gene Quintano (in which Candy was slated to star prior to his death).  The $15 million-budget film will feature numerous celebrity cameos by friends of Candy.

“One Minute Puberty” by Alexander Gellner

Berlin-based artist Alexander Gellner created One Minute Puberty recently as part of his graduation project from HTW Berlin. The school didn’t have an animation department, but Gellner tells me they allowed him to make this film provided he didn’t ask his professors how to animate. The results, created over the span of seven weeks, speak for themselves. I loved every moment of Gellner’s energetic piece, which is actually One Minute and Forty One Seconds Puberty, though understandably that title isn’t as catchy. There’s nothing inherently original about showing the phases of puberty, but Gellner’s approach distinguishes the film. The metamorphic state of the character and rapid-fire scenes visually reflect the raging hormones that characterize this stage of our development and the inherent confusion of trying to sort out all the changes in a person’s body and mind. Track and sound design by Niklas A Kröger.

“Cloud” by Celine and Yann

“Clouds” is the third episode of the Giants series by Celine & Yann, a London-based directing duo comprised of Celine Desrumaux and Yann Benedi. (View earlier episodes HERE and HERE.) It’s cartoon abstraction made accessible to the masses: the little people are abstract triangles, but the cloud (who wears rainboots as a delightfully ironic touch) and settings are representational. In our current age of visual excess, it’s refreshing to see any use of symbolic graphics to tell a story. The blippy and boopy sound design by David Kamp also adds to the final product. When I see the Giants cartoons, I am reminded of the spirit (if not the full on experimentation) of earlier Modern cartoons like Vlado Kristl’s Don Kihot (see below), and Celine and Yann’s playful graphic approach is something worth appreciating.

Canemaker to discuss Mary Blair at the Disney Museum

Don’t even think of visiting San Francisco without a stop at the Walt Disney Family Museum. And if you are in the Bay area on April 16th you are in for a treat as John Canemaker makes one of his visits to the museum to discuss one of the Disney studio’s greatest artists, Mary Blair. The talk begins at 3pm, with slides, clips and Canemaker’s insights and knowledge. Go! More more information and advance tickets, visit the museum website now.

Animated Space in the Cosmopolitan’s West Lobby

Cosmopolitan Hotel

One of the most exciting evolutions within the animation art form in recent years has been its development beyond the traditional screen. Environmental animation and site-specific installations have the potential to occur throughout our natural surroundings and be woven directly into our day-to-day lives. In other words, animation no longer need be restricted to a passive viewing experience or limited to a rectangular screen.

The most restrictive factors at this moment in time are the significant financial outlay and tech-savvy required to set up these kind of spaces, especially permanent ones. Additionally, each space must be designed individually to respond to a specific location. One such new space is the lobby inside of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. The Rockwell Group installed over 400 displays in the lobby, and the effect looks impressive. Since each set of 3 monitors is an “addressable 1920 x 1080 output” and there are 64 addressable faces, there is a lot of flexibility for artists to create distinctive works, and I hope the hotel commissions animators and filmmakers to experiment with its great setup.

More details from the Rockwell Group:

A kinetic space, centered around 8 giant central columns wrapped with mirrors and LCD screens. Rockwell Group’s LAB installed 384 displays on the columns and 26 behind the registration desk to create a platform for a variety of customized immersive digital experiences in the space.

Watch it in action:

Call For Entries: Punto y Raya (Dot and Line) Festival

Punto y Raya Festival explores the ultimate synthesis of the form·movement duality in different spheres of human endeavour. Due to the simplicity of its criteria, it seeks to reveal the limitations and achievements of our representation systems using abstraction’s prime matter.

This entry call is addressed to audiovisual pieces built up entirely from dots and lines. No representation whatsoever, just dots and lines as ends in themselves!

:: GENERAL RULES

: The films must be made entirely with dots and lines avoiding representation.

: You can use any kind of illustration, optic and animation techniques. From the pen to the stylus, from the analogical·dot to the digital·pixel.

: The soundtrack cannot feature any words. If you’re using a song, this must be completely instrumental or feature non·narrative voices [that is, no lyrics!].

: Running time shall not exceed 9 minutes.

: Each author can enter as many pieces as he/she wants, but we’ll select three at most.

: We strongly advise you to enter your film/s in HD (high-definition), because we’ll screen all the selected pieces in high-def.

: It doesn’t matter its original format or production date, any short·film that complies with the requirements above mentioned may be selected.

If you have any doubts, please check out our FAQ page before contacting us… it’ll be much appreciated ;)

:: ELIGIBILITY

All people in the world are eligible to participate in this festival, whatever their age and formation. The application is free and the entry form/s must be submitted online before Monday, July 4th 2011 (inclusive).

The process comprises three stages:

1. Author/User registration (online form duly filled and submitted).

2. Film Entry Form (duly filled and submitted online).

3. Send a copy of the film to our mailing address or submit it online, providing all the necessary details for its download in the Film Entry Form.

:: SELECTION

: Submitting your work does not guarantee exhibition at Punto y Raya Festival. The programing of the event will be determined by the festival organizers and all applicants will be notified of the final selection by e·mail.

: The selected works will be screened in HD.

: Stills of the selected works and the texts submitted with the inscription form will be published in our 2011 catalogue. Accordingly, entrants are respectfully requested to prepare graphics and texts meticulously, and to submit the stills in high resolution.

: The organization will also devise trailers for TV and internet broadcasting, featuring excerpts from some of the selected films. These trailers are strictly to promote the event.

: The submitted DVD/Blu-Ray’s won’t be returned.

:: ENTRY RIGHTS

The organizers of Punto y Raya Festival desire to make the results of the competition accessible to as large an audience as possible. To achieve this we are consolidating an international exhibition platform, featuring -so far- 40 venues over 10 countries [see tour]

Una selección de “Lo mejor de la tercera edición” o bien, todos los films seleccionados para la competición oficial podrán ser proyectados en los sitios de la plataforma internacional Punto y Raya. La participación en la competición implica el cese no exclusivo de los derechos de exhibición del material seleccionado para su proyección en dichos espacios, sin limitación geográfica.

Any of the selected films (awarded or not) may be screened at the venues comprising our international platform. Therefore, by participating in this call, the author conveys the non-exclusive rights to screen his/her material at those venues, free of geographic restriction.

Punto y Raya Festival ‘s organizers wish to stress that all reruns are to reach a broader audience and have no commercial intent. The screenings may be accompanied by other activities, such as workshops, PyRformances and conferences to continue developing the dot·line community emerged after our first edition in 2007.

A Catalog + DVD set with the finalist and awarded films in Punto y Raya Festival 2011 will be released after the event. This material will be available for purchase on our website, to compensate for the production costs.
Three sets will be shipped to every selected author, free of charge.

:: AWARDS

: Prizes will be awarded to the best three films. Our international jury may also give special commendations to other films selected for the competition at their own discretion. Their verdict is final.

: There will also be an Audience Award.

: This year’s prizes and awards will be posted on our website as soon as we reach an agreement with the sponsors and collaborators.

“Rango” Opens at #1

Rango

Less people in the United States attended the movies last month than
any February since 1995
. The only bright spot in Hollywood right now is animated films, which continue to perform well. Rango, the first animated feature from ILM, opened at number 1 this weekend with a FINAL $38.1 million. Gnomeo and Juliet dropped to fifth place in its fourth weekend, earning $7.2 million for a healthy total of $84 million.

Some highlights of Rango‘s opening from Box Office Guru:

The audience was fairly broad with females making up 54% and those over 25 also at 54%. [Paramount] reported that admissions were higher than those for the debut of its last March toon How To Train Your Dragon which enjoyed 3D surcharges helping it bow to $43.7M…Adiences were not as happy with the product as its CinemaScore grade was a discouraging C+.

Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist captured $80,212 from 76 theaters boosting its total to $1.87 million. The film has failed to catch on with audiences like Chomet’s earlier film, The Triplets of Belleville which grossed $7 million in 2003.

Also of note, a collection of Oscar-nominated shorts released by Shorts International grossed $61,101 from 44 theaters raising its total to $1.2 million. I believe the total amount reflects two programs currently in theaters–animation and live-action. I don’t know of any collection of Oscar nominated shorts that has ever grossed this much money theatrically, and it exceeds Shorts Intl’s 2009 Oscar shorts edition ($644,635) and 2010 edition ($1,018,169).

Meanwhile, the worldwide total for Tangled now stands at $546 million and is still rising. It is Disney Feature Animation’s second highest grossing animated feature ever behind only The Lion King, and it has surpassed the worldwide grosses of other recent animated pics like Despicable Me, Wall-E, Cars, and How to Train Your Dragon.

“Wrinkles”

Not every animated film is aimed at families and children. Coming next fall from Spain, Perro Verde Films and Cromosoma are coproducing a serious adult animated feature about the friendship between two senior citizens living in a nursing home. Arrugas (Wrinkles) is based on an award winning comic book by Paco Roca. I’m not expecting UP, but its heartening to know that somewhere in the world such subject matter can be produced, hand drawn, in feature length.

5 Second Day at Titmouse

On President’s Day (February 21), Titmouse asked its animators to spend the entire workday animating their own ideas. The only rule was that it had to be at least five seconds long. Both Titmouse studios (Los Angeles and New York) participated, and the results of this year’s 5 Second Day can be seen on the studio’s blog. I’ve posted a couple of my personal favorites in this post: above by Mike Roush and below by Phylicia Fuentes.

Former Rainmaker Employee Comments on Weinstein Lawsuit

A Brew reader who preferred to remain anonymous e-mailed his thoughts about this week’s lawsuit filed against The Weinstein Company and Rainmaker Entertainment. This reader, who worked at Rainmaker Entertainment on the aborted feature, feels that the director Tony Leech, who is currently suing The Weinstein Company and Rainmaker, is partly responsible for the mess. I don’t think anybody truly knows who deserves the lion’s share of the blame, but as I hinted at earlier, it does appear that every party involved exhibited incompetence to some degree:

I was working on the Escape from Planet Earth production a few years back, while Tony Leech was on-board. Reading your latest article on the TWC [The Weinstein Company] lawsuit I had to write and provide some inside perspective.

While at Rainmaker, I read through at least 2 major rewrites and countless adjustments to the script and let me be crystal clear, Tony Leech produced some of the worst writing I had the displeasure of reading in my career.

You can’t really blame TWC, pushing for rewrites as I’m sure they were as frustrated with the underwhelming results. His inexperience as noted by TWC is a very accurate description. As a “director”, not seeing the big picture or having a vision, micro managing, and the occasional public meltdown made everyone feel like they had to walk on eggshells around Tony. You can imagine how counterproductive the situation was to improving the movie.

I recall talking to the head of the story development, a talented storyboard artist, who was frustrated for not being able to contribute a single meaningful idea to the script due to Tony’s inability to collaborate on any level. He left the project soon after.

In hindsight, perhaps the biggest TWC mistake was not negotiating Tony off the project earlier. Some major spending could have been avoided.

The stories go on and on and every day was a comedy of errors. I personally had enough after 6 months and left, I felt sorry for my friends, pouring their hearts into a production that was going nowhere. Hopefully this helps shed some light on the subject. Thanks for a great website, I visit CB often and every time it’s a treat:)

“Rango” talkback

Most mainstream movie reviewers seemed to like it – but not all. Roger Ebert loved it, but Leonard Maltin was a bit disappointed.

I saw Rango and I recommend it, despite its flaws. SPOILERS AHEAD: The first 20 minutes – up to the early scenes in the desert town of “Dirt” – and the last 15 minutes (when Rango leaves town, crosses the road and meets the “Spirit of the West”, through to the end) are fun, innovative and an almost perfect mix of art and entertainment. That’s 35 out of 100 minutes worthy of current inflated admission prices. The remaining middle section is a mash-up of western movie cliches and spaghetti westerns – with a dash of Apocalypse Now and a pinch Chinatown – that goes on a bit too long. The characters are ugly, but that’s okay – they are supposed to be grizzled desert creatures. The “emotion capture” reference footage technique won me over, though I thought Verbinski relied on way too many close ups…

…but that’s me. How about you? Comments are open below to our readers opinions – but only if you’ve seen the movie. What did you think about Rango?


P.S. Having seen the movie, I can attest that the behind-the-scenes book, The Ballad of Rango; The Art & Making of an Outlaw Film, written by longtime entertainment reporter David S. Cohen, is a perfect companion to the film. As with most of these tie-in’s, it is loaded with incredible artwork that preceeded the CG images on screen and Cohen’s text goes deep into Verbinski and ILM’s creative process. Regardless of your opinion of the film, the book is an important document of an unusual production. If you loved the film, the book is a must-have.