DreamWorks Animation Reports First Quarter 2011 Financial Results

DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2011. For the quarter, the Company reported total revenue of $108.0 million and net income of $8.8 million, or $0.10 per share on a fully diluted basis.

“DreamWorks Animation’s first quarter of 2011 was driven primarily by our 2010 films, including Megamind, which had a solid performance following its February 25th release into the home entertainment market,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation. “We now look forward to kick-starting the summer movie-going season with Kung Fu Panda 2 on May 26th, as family entertainment – and CG animation in particular – has performed at the top of the box office charts so far this year.”

Megamind, which was released on November 5, 2010, contributed $18.1 million of revenue in the quarter, driven primarily by its domestic home video release. The film reached an estimated 2.9 million home entertainment units sold worldwide through the end of the quarter, net of actual and estimated future returns.

Shrek Forever After, which was released on May 21, 2010, contributed $19.9 million of revenue in the quarter, driven primarily by home entertainment. The film reached an estimated 8.2 million home entertainment units sold worldwide through the end of the quarter, net of actual and estimated future returns.

How to Train Your Dragon, which was released on March 26, 2010, contributed $8.7 million of revenue in the quarter, driven primarily by home entertainment. The film reached an estimated 8.3 million home entertainment units sold worldwide through the end of the quarter, net of actual and estimated future returns.

Kung Fu Panda contributed $12.1 million of revenue to the quarter, primarily from international free television, and Madagascar 2 contributed revenue of $19.1 million, primarily from domestic and international free television.

Library and other items, including non-film businesses, contributed approximately $30.1 million of revenue to the quarter.

Costs of revenue for the quarter equaled $72.0 million. Selling, general and administrative expenses totaled $30.1 million, including approximately $6.7 million of stock-based compensation expense.

The Company’s determination during the current quarter of its ability to claim certain tax deductions related to prior years resulted in a benefit of $4.6 million recorded in our first quarter income statement as a decrease in income tax benefit payable to former stockholder. Combining this benefit with the Company’s income tax provision of $3.7 million resulted in a first quarter net tax benefit of approximately $0.9 million. The Company currently expects that its 2011 combined effective tax rate (its actual tax rate coupled with the effect of our tax sharing agreement with a former stockholder) will be approximately 30%.

The Company also provided an update to its share repurchase program. Year to date, the Company has repurchased approximately 0.9 million shares for $25 million. The Company has $125 million remaining under its current authorization.

The Company’s second quarter and full year results are expected to be driven by Kung Fu Panda 2, which is scheduled to be released on May 26, 2011. Television revenue for Madagascar 2, How to Train Your Dragon and Shrek Forever After is also expected to contribute to the Company’s second quarter results.

Items related to the earnings press release for the first quarter of 2011 will be discussed in more detail on the Company’s earnings conference call later today.

Conference Call Information

DreamWorks Animation will host a conference call and webcast to discuss the results on Tuesday, April 26, 2011, at 4:30 p.m. (ET). Investors can access the call by dialing (800) 230-1074 in the U.S. and (612) 288-0340 internationally and identifying “DreamWorks Animation Earnings” to the operator. The call will also be available via live webcast at www.dreamworksanimation.com.

A replay of the conference call will be available shortly after the call ends on Tuesday, April 26, 2011. To access the replay, dial (800) 475-6701 in the U.S. and (320) 365-3844 internationally and enter 198739 as the conference ID number. Both the earnings release and archived webcast will be available on the Company’s website at www.dreamworksanimation.com.

FUNimation Acquires Rights to Anime Series “Fairy Tail”


FUNimation Entertainment today announced that it has acquired home entertainment, broadcast, digital, mobile and merchandise rights for the first 48 episodes of the magical anime series Fairy Tail from KODANSHA LTD.

Based on the manga of the same name by Hiro Mashima originally serialized in the Weekly Shonen Magazine published by KODANSHA LTD., the ongoing series is produced by A-1 Pictures and Satelight and directed by Shinji Ishihara.

The series follows the adventures of Lucy Heartfilia, a young girl who wants desperately to be a full-fledged mage. She runs away from home and towards the land of Fiore to join the most prestigious of all mage guilds in the world: the Fairy Tail Guild. Along the way, she meets Natsu Dragneel, a quirky teenage boy and practicitioner of the ancient Dragon Slayer magic. With his best friend, Happy the cat, beside him, Natsu is looking for his foster parent, a dragon named Igneel. They become a team and take on odd jobs for fame and profit. Epic adventures await!

FUNimation has begun production on the U.S. release and its English dub featuring actor Todd Haberkorn as Natsu. Tyler Walker is ADR Director.

The anime studio will release the complete series on DVD and Blu-ray later this year.

For more information about the series, please visit www.funimation.com/fairytail

Cartoon Brew TV’s Student Festival is Coming!

Quick reminder: We’re getting ready to accept submissions for the second annual Cartoon Brew TV Student Animation Festival. If you’re finishing up a student film this year, we hope you’ll consider submitting it to our festival. All student films that have been completed after May 1, 2010 and haven’t been posted on-line yet are eligible. Full details coming soon!

A Response to Harry Partridge’s Silly Go! Animate Rant

“It’s not a gay lobster but still funny” – a response by “reddplague” to Harry Partridge’s anti-Go! Animate cartoon rant.

For the record, in spite of mixed feelings about automated animation software like Go! Animate, I am absolutely in favor of tools like this. As contemporary society extends itself beyond writing and still images, animation will continue its ascendancy as a vital communication form of the 21st century.

Nowadays, when a major event happens, more often than not I don’t read about it or see a photo, but rather I watch a video of the event on YouTube. We live in a video culture, and in tandem with these developments, younger generations are learning to express their opinions through the animation process. As the sophistication of easy-to-use animation tools increase, so will the ability of users to express themselves in unique ways.

To those who fear that these tools will replace the traditional role of animator, think about it this way. Today, a majority of the population knows how to write, but that hasn’t eliminated professional writers nor the specialized study of literature and writing. There is nothing wrong with a society in which writing is second nature to everybody, and it can be argued that a populace that knows how to write will be more receptive to quality writing by professional writers. That’s a good reason to look forward to a time in the future when everyone has a basic understanding of animation.

Bugs and Daffy at the White House

Allright, I admit it. I’m a sucker for any modern day use of Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes characters. Here’s Bugs and Daffy at the White House yesterday. No birth certificates required…

Here’s the Press Release that accompanies this photo.

HARE TO THE CHIEF IN 2012?

The Looney Tunes Show stars and animation icons Bugs Bunny (left) and Daffy Duck (right) joined President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in welcoming more than 30,000 guests to the 2011 White House Easter Egg Roll today, Monday, April 25, at The White House.

While in Washington, Bugs and Daffy adamantly denied persistent rumors that they are forming an exploratory committee to enter the 2012 presidential race. Pundits have noted that together they would form a balanced ticket: Bugs is an Independent, while Daffy is Highly Dependent.

The pair insist that they remain focused on next week’s launch of The Looney Tunes Show, an all-new animated comedy series from Warner Bros. Animation premiering May 3 and airing Tuesdays at 8/7c on Cartoon Network.

Animation at MOCA’s “Art in the Streets” Show

Art in the Streets

“Art in the Streets,” the first major museum survey of street art and graffiti, opened last week at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and I highly recommend it. It ranks among the most fun art exhibits I’ve ever attended, and features lots of eye candy in the form of large-scale installations that at times can feel more like an amusement park than a museum. As a first-of-its-kind exhibition, it’s also guaranteed to spark plenty of vigorous debate about what was chosen for inclusion and what wasn’t, not to mention all the controversy it’s already generated from the Blu mural debacle to irrational police fury.

Wild Style

Though minimal, animated works do have a presence in the show. A sequence of animation drawings from the opening of the influential early-1980s documentary Wild Style is displayed in one area. The sequence (watch it HERE) was designed by Charlie Ahearn, who directed the film, and graffiti writer Zephyr. In the “Battle Station”, a fantastic recreation of the Tribeca loft of the late Rammellzee, a mograph music video called “Alpha’s Bet” is screened on a television. The video, posted below, was directed by Celia Bullwinkel in 2002. (Disclosure: I am a personal friend of Celia and attended the show with her.)

Graffiti/street art has a complicated relationship with animation, which is a thread that the curators of the exhibit never explore. While the show features a handful of artists, like the aforementioned Rammellzee, who have the ability to express personal ideas beyond the confines of referential pop culture, many of the artists from Kenny Scharf to Banksy to the anonymous graffiti writers who painted on the sides of subway cars have relied on animated characters as their lingua franca for communicating with the general public. These cartoon characters, to my surprise, are rarely used to make any statement or to subvert the original intentions of the characters, a la Wally Wood’s infamous Disney “orgy” drawing. For graffiti and street artists, the act of recreating popular cartoon iconography is considered an accomplishment in and of itself.

If one looks only at the art displayed in the show, the conclusion could be drawn that things are beginning to change. More recent artists, like the Brazilian twins Os Gêmeos, have dispensed with drawing pre-existing animated characters and are creating libraries of new cartoon characters drawn in their personal styles. Like any vital art form, street art is evolving, and the evolution points in a positive direction that emphasizes personal creativity.

Below are a few of the cartoon references I saw in the show.

Will you take the Mickey or Woody train?
Art in the Streets

Kenny Scharf began doing Hanna-Barbera tributes in 1981, long before anybody else considered celebrating Hanna-Barbera’s cruddiness.
Art in the Streets

Only in the world of graffiti could Hanna-Barbera and DePatie-Freleng characters co-exist.
Art in the Streets

Ward Kimball would have totally appreciated this.
Art in the Streets

Donald and Franken Berry
Art in the Streets

Banksy-caliber wit
Art in the Streets

Airbrushed Felix
Art in the Streets

B”art”
Art in the Streets

CTN Presents Exclusive Mini-Event Series “The Animation Master Class and Filmmakers Conversation” in Burbank, California

Presented by those same great folks who bring you the premiere animation talent event of the year, the CTN animation eXpo®, in association with Woodbury University, CTN is proud to launch their Mini Event series for 2011 with the exclusive US  appearance of Animator, Director, Visual Development Creator and Filmmaker Reno Armanet. Moderating the event will be award winning Art Director and Concept Artist from Walt Disney and most recently Hasbro, Christopher Vacher. Two great french talents in one great day.

Born in Marseille, France, Reno Armanet, is an award winning independent director, animator, music composer and visual development artist and the founder of the independent animation studio tigoboANIMATION. Located in Angoulême, France where Reno and his team of artists from around the world, share a common independent spirit and passion for animation, the studio has a long line of successful independent animation projects including features, short films and TV series along with documentaries. Reno himself is currently directing several short films that include OA and Symhio and has been asked to collaborate alongside Master 2D animator Pablo Navarro on the feature animated film Labyrinth.

In this US Exclusive Appearance Reno will present the highlights of what is normally a week long workshop held at the Annecy Film Festival, in this full one-day intensive experimental and full Animation Master Class and Filmmakers Conversation. He will discuss, demonstrate, answer questions, critique films, look at portfolios and show examples of other films that reveal the passion, creativity and inspiration behind developing successful independent animated films. Bring your portfolios, your films and join the “Filmmakers Conversation” with Reno Armanet.

Reno has lectured at multiple conferences and animation schools in France, notably the famous Gobelins and EMCA schools but this is his first time in the US teaching this session. This workshop is designed for 2D or 3D animators, independent filmmakers, designers, directors, writers, production designers, and cinematographers and those aspiring to be independent creators.

The French Interpreter/Moderator, Christophe Vacher, is a French artist who has provided background art, visual development and art direction for Walt Disney Feature Animation and the animation industry since 1989. He has worked in a variety of animation studios before joining Disney’s Paris-based animation unit for three years, where he painted backgrounds for such animated films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Runaway Brain and served as head of background for the 1995 feature, A Goofy Movie.

Relocating to California in 1996, he continued his association with Disney, where his credits have included painting backgrounds and concept artwork for Dinosaur, Hercules, Tarzan, the Stravinsky Firebird finale for Fantasia 2000 and Treasure Planet. He also has contributed concept Artwork and paintings for Dreamworks’ Shark Tale.

He shares his time between personal artwork for galleries, covers for books, cds and video games, and movie studios work. In 2004, he entered into the arena of Art Direction, first on a CG animated short movie for Studio Arts in Los Angeles, then for the animated segment of Disney’s live action movie Enchanted, and eventually the CG feature film 9, produced by Tim Burton and directed by Shane Acker. He most recently has been contributing his talent to Transformers by Hasbro.

Two 3-day CTN animation eXpo passes will be raffled at break time.

When you register online you are automatically enrolled. Winners must be in the room to redeem their pass.

Invest in your talent NOW. Seating is very limited so sign up early.

Register Now at: http://www.regonline.com/animationmasterclass

Cartoon Brew fans receive an additional 10% off with this code BREWX11

Dreamworks Animation Announces Cadre of Promotional Partners For “Kung Fu Panda 2″

DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced its kung fu kicking slate of marketing, licensing and promotional partners in support of the studio’s upcoming feature film release, Kung Fu Panda 2, which comes to theaters on May 26, 2011. In its first-ever movie themed tofu promotion, House Foods America is bringing Kung Fu Panda 2- branded tofu products to supermarkets nationwide and has kicked off its campaign with a microsite to promote the benefits of tofu.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is now being promoted across many platforms with one-of-a-kind campaigns powered by television, print, outdoor, online, on-shelf, social media, in-theater promotions as well as unique events and offers,” said Susan Spencer, DreamWorks Animation’s Head of Promotions and Marketing Services. “At DreamWorks Animation we strive to make marketing connections that fit organically with each movie and we are thrilled to have once again received such momentous support from our partners; including the first-ever movie promotion with House Foods to promote the benefits of tofu, a healthy food item featured throughout the story of Kung Fu Panda 2.

Promotional partners featured in DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 campaign are:

AIRHEADS

Leading confectioner Airheads offers two all-new Kung Fu Panda 2-themed flavors of their signature chewy candy inspired by the movie: “Kickin’ Berry” and “Orange Blast,” which are available in 4 million specially-themed packs. Airheads is also supporting the film with a dedicated television commercial, in-store signage and online elements, including themed games.

AT&T

AT&T features Kung Fu Panda 2-themed posters, window clings and in-store signage, and incorporates Po in its 6,000 retail stores.

BEST BUY

Best Buy is featuring exclusive “behind the scenes” videos of Kung Fu Panda 2 on its Best Buy ON Network throughout over 1000 stores and online. Best Buy is also featuring Po through online and in-store advertising.

GENERAL MILLS

General Mills is bringing the Kung Fu Panda 2 action-packed adventures to breakfast tables everywhere. Throughout the spring, spin fighter toys featuring the movie’s characters can be found inside specially-marked boxes of participating cereals: Cocoa Puffs®, Trix® , Golden Grahams®, Reese’s Puffs®, Cheerios®, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios®, Cookie Crisp®, Lucky Charms®, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honey Nut Cheerios. General Mills is also offering special Kung Fu Panda 2-themed Fruit Roll-Ups.

HINT WATER

Hint Water is showcasing Po on the packaging of their most popular flavor of water and is providing water for field marketing and publicity events surrounding the theatrical launch of the movie. Hint Water is also promoting Kung Fu Panda 2 through its website, social media and in-store signage.

HOUSE FOODS AMERICA

House Foods America, America’s leading tofu producer, is launching a new family friendly promotional campaign in conjunction with Kung Fu Panda 2. House Foods is featuring Po and the Furious Five on over 8 million packages and 16 different products. Its microsite features a sweepstakes to win a trip for four to China, “tofupedia,” tofu advice from a registered dietician, cooking tips, and a link to Castle Builders digital cookbook for the iPad, which includes themed recipes for the entire family. House Foods is also supporting Kung Fu Panda 2 via in-store, print, online, outdoor billboards and bus wraps in select cities.

MCDONALD’S®

In conjunction with the release of Kung Fu Panda 2, McDonald’s is launching a global Happy Meal® program in nearly all of its 117 markets worldwide that invites kids to “Master the Po Panda Challenge” with high action toys, custom-created animated television commercials and restaurant and digital activities. At participating McDonald’s. While supplies last. Ask about special toys for children under 3 at participating U.S. McDonald’s. ©2011.

SUN-MAID

Sun-Maid is supporting Kung Fu Panda 2 via 3.5 million packages of 24 oz. canisters and 6-pack raisin skus, print, online, social media and on-pack QR barcodes that link to a mobile site featuring additional Kung Fu Panda 2-themed content.

TECHNOLOGY

HP is featuring Kung Fu Panda 2-branded products in photo kiosks at retailers across the country. HP created Kung Fu Panda 2 printables, which are available on HP, DreamWorks Animation and partner websites and has added Kung Fu Panda 2 characters and themes to HP Photo Creations, a free software download for personalized photo collages, calendars and albums, which are available online. A Kung Fu Panda 2 3D trailer is also pre-loaded onto the HP ENVY 17 3D. In addition, Intel Corporation is integrating Po into its retail programs in certain territories.

Key merchandise licensees featured in the Company’s Kung Fu Panda 2 campaign are:

APPAREL

Jem Sportswear is spearheading the launch of a collection of girls, boys, men’s and women’s apparel inspired by Kung Fu Panda 2. Jem is featuring a collection of fashion tees with novelty treatments and washes and specialty printing techniques.

HALLMARK

Hallmark will have an exciting line of Kung Fu Panda 2-themed party goods, greeting cards at various retailers and a special holiday ornament at their Hallmark Gold Crown stores.

MATTEL

Master toy licensee Mattel® has created a full line of new kung fu kickin’ toys in anticipation of Kung Fu Panda 2, which allows kids to reenact key moments and battle scenes from the movie as well as become their own kung fu master! The toy line includes large-scale, talking action figures, mini collectible figures, an action packed cannon launcher with lights and sounds, a pull-back Po vehicle racer with launching fireworks, a variety of plush, software for their proprietary early learning platforms: iXLâ„¢ and Smart Cycle®, and a jumbo kung fu wrestler Po plush that allows kids to train and fight like a kung fu master! Additional role play toys are available exclusively at various retail accounts nationwide. Products are being supported by a national TV campaign.

PUBLISHING

The Kung Fu Panda 2 publishing program covers a broad spectrum of unique and exciting titles for various age levels and interests, including traditional storybooks from Penguin Books, color and activity books from Dalmatian Press, comic books from Ape Entertainment and a number of innovative digital book applications, including a storybook from iStoryTime, an interactive cookbook from Castle Builders and a first of it’s kind ‘Art Of’ App from Palace Press.

THQ

THQ has released the Kung Fu Panda 2 video game on Kinectâ„¢ for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, uDraw Wii GameTabletâ„¢ and Nintendo DSâ„¢ in conjunction with the theatrical debut of the movie. Players can find all-new ways to enter the world of Kung Fu Panda 2 in the video game, including the unique ability to use Kinect technology to “become” Po on screen, as they seek to restore the balance of power and save kung fu forever.

VTECH

VTech® is launching new Kung Fu Panda 2 software cartridges that feature Po and the Furious Five for both the V.Reader® Interactive E-Book System and the MobiGo™ Touch Learning System. The cartridges have a suggested retail of $19.99 and will be available at all major retailers and on vtechkids.com.

Call For Entries: Animahenasyon 2011: 5th Philippine Animation Festival


The Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. (ACPI) is calling all budding and professional animators from across the country to participate and submit their animated works to Animahenasyon 2011: 5th Philippine Animation Festival, as it formally opens and accepts entries to this year’s festival. Entry forms may be downloaded from the ACPI web site at <http://www.animahenasyon.com>. The deadline for submission of entries is on September 15.

Animahenasyon 2011 is held in conjunction with Toei Animation Philippines, Inc.’s 25th anniversary, and co-presented by Eastwood City where the festival will be held from November 22 to 25.

In an effort to build an audience, awareness and development of original contents, ACPI puts together its flagship project through an annual animation festival called Animahenasyon that showcases original animated works of both aspiring and professional animators in the country through a competition.

The festival is composed of the professional and the student/amateur divisions that will have different running time categories: 1 to 5 minutes; 6 to 20 minutes, 21 to 60 minutes, and the full-animated feature (more than 60 minutes). There are also categories for music video, title sequence, public information, demo reel, and TV series. There will also be animated works in exhibition (full-length, special citation, and past Animahenasyon winners).

Animahenasyon serves as a venue for Filipino animators to present their world-class ideas, and opens doors of opportunities for them to meet with and be inspired by the finest names in the industry. It also aims to create greater awareness of the Philippine animation industry and its contributions to the global entertainment business, while tapping locally produced content for promotion in animation markets here and abroad.

ACPI’s vision is to make Philippines as the prime provider of animation and content creation services to the global marketplace. On the other hand, ACPI’s mission is to be the center of excellence for animation and content creation services through building more efficient and effective collaborative business practices that will elevate the country’s economy and culture.

As an organized body, ACPI aims to promote the Filipino talent both locally and internationally. With the cooperation of its members as well as the Philippine government, it is envisioned that the member studios and schools will be considered competitive both creatively and technologically.

ACPI is a non-stock and non-profit organization whose member companies specialize mainly in, but not limited to, 2D, Flash or 3D animation. It aims to promote the animation industry globally with the intention of creating an identity for the Philippines to be considered amongst the preferred countries that service the animation industry.

For more information about Animahenasyon 2011, please call 483-9501, 8172727 local 108 or email the secretariat at [email protected], or visit www.animahenasyon.com.

Illustrators Elwood Smith and Elizabeth Buttler Animator Brian Hoard To Present Animation Workshop at Norman Rockwell Museum

Illustrators Elwood H. Smith and Elizabeth Buttler, and animator Brian Hoard will present Moving Pictures! The Art of Animation, an animation workshop, at Norman Rockwell Museum on Saturday, April 30, from 1 to 4 p.m. Join Smith and Hoard for a look at their process of bringing such animated shorts as Mondo Luigi and The Amazing Elwood, currently on view in the Museum’s Elwood’s World exhibition, to life. Following the presentation, illustrator/animator Elizabeth Buttler will take visitors through the process of creating moving pictures with traditional animation techniques–from the creation of flip books to the use of a zoetrope. The afternoon program is free with regular Museum admission.

Animation Council of the Philippines Announces The Outstanding Emerging Artist in Animation Award


The Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. (ACPI) is rolling out a pioneering award that seeks to recognize young animators who have made significant contributions to the development of the Philippine animation industry.

The Outstanding Emerging Artist in Animation Award is a recognition given to young Filipino individuals not exceeding 40 years of age, who have at least five years of established stature in the art of animation and who, through the content and form of their work, have contributed in building a Filipino identity and sense of nationhood.

The nominee must have also pioneered a mode of creative expression or style that gives recognition to the Filipino handiwork and propelled the Philippine animation industry to greater heights.

“Young animation professionals constitute a large part of the industry,” says ACPI executive director Michael Kho Lim. “Their output and creative style may very well be the animation standard in the future. This awardee could also be the future lifetime achievement awardee in animation which ACPI has been presenting since the first Animahenasyon Philippine Animation Festival in 2007.

The awardee will be honored during the awards night of Animahenasyon 2011, the 5th Philippine Animation Festival, which will be held at Eastwood City Open Park on November 25.

Animahenasyon’s The Outstanding Emerging Artist in Animation Awards  is organized, administered and conferred by the ACPI. It complements the Animahenasyon’s Lifetime Achievement Award which recognizes notable Filipino animators and exceptional individuals that have made invaluable contributions to the growth and development of the Philippine animation industry.

Nomination forms and related materials may be delivered personally to the ACPI secretariat or sent in by mail or courier but must be received on or before 12 pm of July 29, 2011.

“Bow Tie Duty for Squareheads” by Stephan Flint Muller

Bow Tie Duty for Squareheads

Berlin-based Stephan Flint Müller has made plenty of films in his young career, but my favorite remains his 2004 short Bow Tie Duty for Squareheads (or Fliegenpflicht für Quadratköpfe if you prefer the German). The film’s no-budget punk production style is teeming with creativity and humor, and with that comes the timeless lesson that effective visual ideas don’t require money, technology or huge crews, just imagination.

“Rio” Rocks US Box Office

Rio

In its second weekend, Carlos Saldanha’s Rio dropped a slim 32% to retain the top spot at the US box office. Its estimated $26.8 million weekend pushed the US gross to $81.3M. More impressive, its worldwide total stands at $283.9M, pushing it ahead of Rango‘s $235.1M worldwide take as the top grossing movie of 2011. The other animated film in the US top ten was llumination’s Hop which benefited from a 16% Easter Weekend boost to place fourth. Its estimated weekend take of $12.5M pushed its domestic total to $100.5M.

For those keeping track, this is the fourth straight week that an animated movie has topped the US box office. Through the first four months of 2011, four of the top seven films at the worldwide box office have been animated. Even more noteworthy, only one of those films was released by Disney or DreamWorks. In a year when fewer people in the US are attending the movies than any year since 1995, animation is coming into its own and dominating Hollywood as never before. With any luck, these successes will encourage greater experimentation and diversity within the medium.

“Apache” by Ned Wenlock

Apache

Circular continuity is one of animation’s oldest concepts — think phenakistoscopes and zoetropes — so it takes a certain amount of creativity to build on the idea. Ned Wenlock, from Wellington, New Zealand, offers a fresh approach in his music video “Apache” for Danger Beach. The digital “paper-roll” concept isn’t used to fulfill any particular demand of the story, and as such, it comes across as a bit of a gimmick, but the appeal and novelty of Wenlock’s approach is worthy of recognition. I fully anticipate seeing his technique ripped off by multiple ad agencies within the next few months. Rodney Selby did character animation on the piece. Wenlock speaks about some of his ideas for the video on his blog.

“Stussy x Marvel: The Ultimate Teamup”

Hip-hop clothing retailer Stussy is coming out with a line of Marvel T-shirts and is collaborating with several notable animation talents in the process. Animator Morgan Kelly directed this viral (below), with animation by Ken Perkins, Sean Szeles, Scott Wright, Jeremy Bernstein and Matt Williames; backgrounds by JJ Villard and effects by Nalena Kumar and Eric Deuel.

The first series of Stussy x Marvel shirts will be released on April 27th and uses vintage art of Marvel characters. The second set of tees, the Special Edition Artist Series, will be released on May 6th and features artwork by such artists Bill Plympton, Gary Panter, John K., Will Sweeney, David Shrigley, James Jarvis, Todd James, Mister Cartoon and Noah Butkus.

MONDAY in LA: CARTOON DUMP!

It’s Easter time and Cartoon Dump has been resurrected for another disturbing high mass of sketches, songs, puppets, stand-up comedy and actual Saturday Morning Cartoons from the 50s, 60s and 70s so bad that not even Jesus could forgive the animators of knowing not what they do.

Join us Monday night at 8pm with Frank Conniff (from MST3K), Erica Doering (as Compost Brite), Emo Philips (as our resident Cartoon Musicology Professor), along with me (Jerry Beck), J. Elvis Weinstein, Mighty Mr. Titan and special stand-up comedy guest Jimmy Dore – at the Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. • Free Parking! • Advanced Tickets here • Phone: (323) 666-9797 • Map & Directions. Tell us you’re coming on Facebook!

UPDATE! By popular demand, here is the first six minutes from last months live show!

Terry, Lantz and Quimby: The Producers Write Back!

Question for my fellow historians: When was the last time you saw a letter from Paul Terry or Fred Quimby? Today is your lucky day! Animation collector Martin Almeyra has been sharing with me some material from his collection of cartoon correspondence, and I thought these pieces were particularly delightful. First (click thumbnails below to enlarge) is a letter from Walter Lantz (Universal), who apparently didn’t approve the hideous cover to Gerald and Danny Peary’s 1980 book, The American Animated Cartoon (at left, click cover to enlarge). Next is note from Fred Quimby on his MGM stationary – note the cute images of Tom & Jerry at the bottom – to MGM musical director Johnny Green. Finally, a Paul Terry letter to radio broadcaster Mary Margaret McBride displaying more wit than any ten (make that twenty) Terrytoons combined! Is he coming on to her?

CBeebies Shorts by Matthias Hoegg

CBeebies by Matthias Hoegg

Matthias Hoegg, whose graduation short Thursday appeared on the Brew recently, just completed two delightful mini-shorts — “Ollie” and “George” — for CBeebies, the BBC’s channel for preschoolers.

A few details on the production from Matthias:

We had 3-4 weeks for each of them and were working with a small team (in fact just myself for most of it) in the London based studio Beakus. The production process was all-digital using After Effects, Flash, Photoshop and a tiny bit of Maya.

Cbeebies provided us with the edited voice recordings of the kids and gave me pretty much free reign over how I interpreted their narrative. They were really a perfect client and got on board with my direction from an early stage. Working for preschool kids meant an emphasis on characterisation and bold, colourful designs, which were definitely part-inspired by Mary Blair. I wanted to create the impression of discovering the world with child’s eyes and frame everything from a low angle, so you’re in with the flowers and rabbits.


Full credits after the jump:
Continue reading

Hyundai Advertises Car with Wall-Projected Animation

Hyundai created this ‘live’ performance piece to promote their 2012 Accent. They suspended a real car sideways against a building wall, and a real human walks into the car, but everything else is projected animation. The piece debuted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last February, and is scheduled to be shown at the New York International Auto Show beginning this weekend.

Some have described it as projection mapping, and indeed, it does appear to be showing on three separate surfaces, but there’s not a whole lot of mapping since the projection is onto flat surfaces. Regardless of how it’s described, it’s a novel site-specific installation, and it would be interesting to see more companies explore advertising in this direction.

This video gives some clues about how the show was installed:

(Thank, Mike Rauch)

Epcot Celebrates PIXAR’s 25h Anniversary With Variety of Events

Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida wraps up the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival May 13 — 15 with a celebration of Pixar’s 25th anniversary. It’s a great opportunity for guests to immerse themselves in the world of Pixar films and their characters.

Special Pixar Meet and Greets

And the Pixar fun will continue throughout World Showcase, where characters from Toy Story, Ratatouille and A Bug’s Life wait to greet guests in three areas of Epcot:

Future World

  • Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story at Mission: SPACE
  • Mater from Cars and Cars 2 at Test Track
  • Living Coral Stiltwalkers at The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Crush at Turtle Talk with Crush

World Showcase

  • Woody, Jessie and Bullseye from Toy Story at the American Adventure
  • Flick, Atta, Gypsy Moth and stilt walking Slim from A Bug’s Life at the Art of Living Garden
  • Remy and Emile from Ratatouille at France

World Showplace

  • Mr. & Mrs. Incredible and FroZone from The Incredibles
  • Lotso from Toy Story 3
  • Mike, Sully, Boo and Smitty from Monster’s Inc.
  • Carl, Russell and Dug from Up

Pixar Celebration Headquarters

World Showplace (located between the Canada and United Kingdom pavilion), will serve as the celebration headquarters. Inside, families can enjoy meet and greets with characters from The Incredibles, Toy Story 3, Monsters, Inc. and Up, and browse a photo gallery that calls out some of Pixar’s best Easter Eggs from past films. There also will be an art gallery that displays the creative work that went in to Pixar films.

Speaker Series

A special speaker series featuring talks by Oscar®-nominated Pixar producer Jonas Rivera, Oscar®-winning composer composer Michael Giacchino and Cars Franchise Guardian Jay Ward will also take place at World Showplace.

Daily Speaker Series Schedule

  • Noon: Jay Ward
  • 2:00 PM: Jonas Rivera
  • 4:00 PM: Michael Giacchino
  • 6:00 PM: Special Presentation by Jay Ward, Jonas Rivera and Michael Giacchino

ADC Licensing Preps Launch of New Cartoon Web Channel, ”Toon Goggles”


ADC Licensing, a venture capital firm, specializing in the financing of original animation content, has announced plans to launch the twenty-four hour kids’ online network, Toon Goggles. This unique online channel which is scheduled to launch towards the beginning of June will introduce millions of kids to professionally produced original cartoons, animated trailers, clips and pilots. Toon Goggles strictly pre-screens all animated content to be parent friendly and age appropriate.

In the day and age of the digital world taking precedence over traditional media, Toon Goggles allows animators and rights holders to showcase their exciting new cartoons in front of their most important demographic – KIDS. Children will love the fact that Toon Goggles allows them to stream unlimited hours of parent-friendly cartoons, create their own network and share their favorite shows with friends by email. In addition, Toon Goggles has taken the future of the Internet into account and has developed this portal in an HTML5 framework, which allows viewers to stream content on all existing mobile platforms such as the iPhone, iPad, Android, Personal Computers, and Internet ready televisions; making the channel, “TOTALLY, MOBILEY, GLOBALLY.”

The analytic data generated by Toon Goggles has never been offered before to network executives or content rights holders. Due to strict COPPA compliance, children’s information is unidentified. With Toon Goggles the web channel can provide information regarding how many kids watch a particular show per day, how long they watched, initial feedback, what country they’re from and more – data vital to animation studios and right holders to gain attention from major networks.

“Toon Goggles was created after we presented a cartoon that placed in the top twenty most viewed cartoons by network executives for two years in a row at MIP Junior,” says ADC Licensing CEO, Ira Warren. “After realizing how difficult it was to get network attention, we decided to create a web channel that puts cartoons in front of kids first.”

“My job was to come up with a site that is innovative, parent-friendly and vibrant,” states Stephen Hodge, EVP of New Media at ADC Licensing. “Our technical team succeeded and there’s nothing like it on the Internet today.”

Toon Goggles is not only interested in newly created content, but is ready to accept cartoon shows that are several years old. Successful cartoons in one country can be targeted specifically to territories where it does not conflict with their current broadcast agreements. With a second life, animators and rights holders have the ability to renew financial interest in unfinished projects thanks to ADC Licensing.

Currently, Toon Goggles offers cartoons produced in English and Spanish with plans to expand with cartoons in other languages.

Web Series “Space Race” Expands With Two New Episodes

On the heels of the 50th anniversary of the first man traveling into space, Space Race announced today its release of two additional action packed, entertaining and educational webisodes: Sun and Mercury & Venus. Directed by Emmy award-winning director Mark Risley, the family-friendly fact-based shows hosted by “Gary Galaxy” (played by Meyer deLeeuw) combine high-quality animation reminiscent of Disney/PIXAR’s Cars with humor and education to teach children about science, adventure and what’s important about each of the Space Race characters. April 29th, the same day space shuttle Endeavor is scheduled to launch, Space Race will release its final two webisodes: Asteroid Belt and Jupiter.

“Space and spaceship-themed characters are under-represented in an entertainment world filled with planes, trains and automobiles,” says Richard Schweiger, CEO and executive producer of Space Race. “Many families have written thanking us not only for producing a kid-friendly series focusing on space education, travel and racing, but for the interactive website that reinforces the webisodes’ messages through fun and entertaining learning tools.” Schweiger says the release of the episodes will unlock new levels within the Space Race Trivia Game. “Developed by our partners Snakblox.com, the trivia and 3D Space Race game are among the most popular activities on the site.”

For more information about Space Race, please visit www.spaceracekids.com or email [email protected]. Follow Space Race on Facebook and Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/spaceracekids and @SpaceRaceKids.

Voice Actor Stevie Vallance Offers “Tooned In!” Voice Actor Workshops in Vancouver, Toronto & Canada


This two-day course offers adult Voice-over Actors everything they need to know to break into the Animation Voice-over Industry. The workshop covers audition etiquette; mic-technique; how to make your own Demo; how to market yourself; HOW TO CREATE ORIGINAL CARTOON CHARACTERS; and how to make your Agents ‘love you’. You’ll receive an exclusive Contact List and a rough CD of your work in class. The course takes place in a state-of-the-art recording studio and is limited to 10 participants for maximum microphone time. It’s $490 for the two days and returning grads are welcome back for a ‘toon-up’! WARNING: This class is creative, exhilarating and highly addictive!

“All levels welcome in this 2-Day, 10-hour workshop, where you will learn everything you need to break into the Animation Voice-over Industry. While it does not guarantee employment, you will be totally knowledgeable of your next steps in this niche market, where you can only ‘make it’ if you are brilliant. In this workshop you will learn that it’s EASY to be ‘brilliant’. You will learn how to make your own Demo that is compatible to Los Angeles standards. This workshop will not leave you hanging! It will point you towards your next steps and leave you with Stevie’s personal  contact list that she uses when casting animation projects, as a ‘Voice Director’. You will learn how to approach a union voice-over agent/job and you will also learn how to ‘feed yourself’ with non-union work until then. If you are a ‘Pro’ already, this workshop will improve your relationship with your existing agent because you will make their job easier. As you learn how to experience this ‘big medium’ without ‘OVERacting’, you will gain the confidence you need in order to stop ‘holding back’, in your auditions. Essentially, you will learn all that you need to learn to break into the business.I will give you the tools and it will be up to you to use them.”

Date: Sundays, May 15 & 22, 2011
Time: 10am to 3pm
Age: 15 years +
Location: Wanted Studios, Toronto
Cost: $490 plus 5% tax

Date: Saturday & Sunday, July 9 & 10, 2011
Time: 10am to 3pm
Age: 15 years +
Location: Bear Studios, Vancouver
Cost: $490 plus 5% tax

Date: Sundays, October 16 & 23, 2011
Time: 10am to 3pm
Age: 15 years +
Location: Edge Studios, Manhattan
Cost: $490 plus 5% tax