Warner Releases “Young Justice Season 1″ on DVD July 19th

The newest Warner Bros. Animation—produced hit series on Cartoon Network finally arrives on DVD as Warner Home Video (WHV) unleashes its secret weapon with Young Justice Season 1 Volume 1. These DC Universe teenage super heroes have quickly proven to be a hit as the favorite show among boys 9-14. With non-stop action, Young Justice Season 1 Volume 1 comes to DVD for the first time on July 19, 2011.

In Young Justice, being a teenager means proving yourself over and over – to peers, parents, teachers, mentors and, ultimately, to yourself. But what if you’re not just a normal teenager? What if you’re a teenage super hero? How much harder will it be to prove yourself in a world of super powers, super villains and super secrets? Are you ready to come of age in such a world? Are you ready for life or death rites of passage? Are you ready to join the ranks of the great heroes and prove you’re worthy of the Justice League? That’s exactly what the members of Young Justice – Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis – will find out: whether they have what it takes to be a proven hero.

These teenage heroes collectively become the Justice League’s secret weapon against the forces of evil. The young protégés must put their super hero education to the test and band together to covertly fight the evildoers that exist on Earth-16. Utilizing The Cave as their home base, the teen heroes will take on under-the-radar missions that would be impossible for the league’s famous and identifiable elders to handle secretly.

While the team works to take on more super hero responsibilities, they are in constant training by the Justice League to eventually take their place alongside the great heroes. Red Tornado is their supervisor; Black Canary is in charge of their training; and Batman determines and directs their assignments. Of course, in true teenage fashion, the members of the team push the limits of their missions, often turning a simple assignment from Batman into something significantly larger.

“DC fans have been vocal about their love for Young Justice, so I am particularly pleased to announce our first DVD release,” said Sam Register, Executive Vice President Creative Affairs, Warner Bros. Animation.

“We are thrilled to bring the newest and youngest members of the DC Universe to homes with the release of Young Justice Season 1 Volume 1,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, WHV Executive Director of Family and Animation Marketing. “As a brand new series, Young Justice is already a favorite and will continue to excite fans with its group of crime-fighting teenage super heroes.”

Young Justice Season 1 Volume 1 is executive produced by Sam Register and produced by Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman. The voice cast includes Jesse McCartney as Robin, Khary Payton as Aqualad, Jason Spisak as Kid Flash, Nolan North as Superboy, Danica McKellar as Miss Martian, Stephanie Lemelin as Artemis and Bruce Greenwood as Batman.

Young Justice Season 1 Volume 1
1. Independence Day, Part 1
2. Independence Day, Part 2
3. Welcome to Happy Harbor
4. Drop Zone

Comedian Harland Williams Partners with Rainmaker Ent. for Animated Feature Film

Rainmaker Entertainment (Toronto:RNK.TO), the multifaceted animation studio and one of Canada’ largest producers of CG animation, is partnering with the offbeat and highly unique Harland Williams on the development and production of an original animated feature film based on the adventures of the company’s mascots, Ting & Juma. The announcement was made today by Catherine Winder, President and Executive Producer, Rainmaker Entertainment.

“There’s no way of knowing what the always unpredictable Harland Williams will say or do next, but his wit and creativity make him an incredible asset to this original project. Harland naturally brings such an innovative comedic and quirky sensibility to the process which is perfectly fitting with the direction we are taking our slate of films at Rainmaker,” said Winder.

“Having a creative outlet in animation is always inspiring,” added Williams. “With Rainmaker Entertainment and its’ highly talented team of artists, producers and directors, I’m like a kid in a candy store and can’t wait to get to work. I’m ready to take the characters of Ting and Juma to a new level and for the first time give them a real voice.”

With a wealth of comedy experience, ranging from feature films Dumb and Dumber, Half-Baked, and There’s Something About Mary to stand-up comedy performances for HBO, Comedy Central, CTV and CBC as well as regular appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Late Night with Conan O’Brian, Harland is known as the host of The Harland Highway, an internet podcast that features his jokes, commentary, interviews, observations and hilarious reoccurring characters. He’s also featured in Disney’s upcoming live action feature Spooky Buddies.

In addition to his on-screen roles, Harland has provided voices for several animated productions including the role of Monster in Nickelodeon’s Robot & Monster and as Pantsy in Disney’s Kick Buttowski. Harland is also an accomplished author and illustrator of his own series of children’s books involving a little brontosaurus named Lickety Split.

Rainmaker Entertainment has produced a number of original short animation films, most starring the company’s mascots, Ting and Juma. The characters were first introduced in Stumped, a 50-second short unveiled at 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver which had the duo creating a new snow sport. The short played at numerous venues during the Olympic Games, including the BC Canada Pavilion and at the VX 2010 Showcase. Most recently, Ting and Juma starred in Zapped! which is being screened on YouTube.

Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Coming September 20, 2011

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment invites audiences to let their spirits soar with the release of the beloved animated classic Dumbo, for the first time ever in high definition as a 70th Anniversary Edition, coming on September 20, 2011. The Academy Award®-winning (1942, Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture) favorite will take flight for the first time with a premium restoration in stunning Blu-ray™ high definition featuring pristine 7.1 Digital Theater System High-Def Surround Sound, allowing fans to see more, hear more, interact more and share more of this timeless adventure about believing in yourself.

Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition will be available for purchase as a 2-Disc Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack (with the suggested retail price of $39.99 U.S./$44.99 Canada), a 1-Disc DVD (with the suggested retail price of $29.99 U.S./$35.99 Canada), High Definition Movie Download (for the suggested retail price of $39.99 U.S./44.99 Canada) and/or Standard Definition Movie Download (for the suggested retail price of $29.99 U.S./$35.99 Canada). All versions come packed with a variety of special bonus features including such features as deleted scenes, interactive games, audio commentary, behind the scenes details and more.

Faced with the daunting task of restoring the film to its original pristine condition, the Walt Disney Studios Restoration Team turned to the US Library of Congress who store the original 70 year old nitrate camera negative in their film vaults, and for reference, to an original 1941 ‘release’ print, held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Using this rare nitrate “dye-transfer” Technicolor print for color reference, the team was able to restore Dumbo to the color settings most likely approved by Walt Disney himself, which will be seen in their full splendor for the first time in 70 years, on the Blu-ray debut.

In addition, the rare film print (housed as part of the UCLA Film and Television Archives collection) proved to be the earliest surviving generation of the original audio for Dumbo which provided a unique source from which to build the new Disney Enhanced Home Theater (DEHT) mix for the Blu-ray release.

Released theatrically in 1941, Dumbo, Walt Disney’s fourth animated film, was an immediate success with audiences and critics alike. In addition to its Academy Award® for Best Music, Dumbo was also Oscar®-nominated for Best Song, for the haunting lullaby, “Baby Mine.” Additional songs from the film, written by renowned composer Frank Churchill and lyricist Ned Washington, have become popular standards. They include the infectious “When I See an Elephant Fly,” sung by a chorus of hip crows who befriend Dumbo and his friend, Timothy Mouse, and “Pink Elephants on Parade,” which accompanies Dumbo’s feverish dream-sequence.

Film Synopsis
In celebration of this landmark film’s 70th anniversary, experience the daring adventures of the world’s only flying elephant with a dazzling all-new digital restoration and brilliant Disney Enhanced High Definition Theater Mix Sound. The inspirational tale of Dumbo, the courageous baby elephant who uses his sensational ears to soar to fame with the help of his clever best friend Timothy Q. Mouse, will thrill and delight audiences of all ages. And now, the award-winning music and empowering messages about friendship and belief In yourself reach new heights in this must-have Blu-ray high-definition presentation of Walt Disney’s classic Dumbo!

Bonus Features:
· Deleted Scene — “The Mouse’s Tale”
· Deleted Song — “Are You a Man or a Mouse?”
· Taking Flight: The Making of Dumbo — A journey back to the origins of the film as everybody’s favorite baby elephant takes wing.
· The Magic Of Dumbo: A Ride of Passage — Witness the excitement and magic of Disneyland’s most popular ride through the eyes of a child.
· Audio Commentary with Pete Docter, Paula Sigman and Andreas Deja
· Sound Design Excerpt from The Reluctant Dragon
· Original Walt Disney Television Introduction
Everything on the DVD plus:
· Cine-Explore
· Disney View
· “What Do You See?” Game
· “What Do You Know?” Game
· “Celebrating Dumbo” Featurette
· Animated Short: “The Flying Mouse”
· Animated Short: “Elmer Elephant”
Movie Download (Standard Definition& High Definition Versions):
· Deleted Scene — “The Mouse’s Tale”
· Deleted Song — “Are You a Man or a Mouse?”
· “Celebrating Dumbo” Featurette

STREET DATE: September 20, 2011
Direct Prebook: July 26, 2011
Distributor Prebook: August 9, 2011
Feature Run Time: Approximately 64-minutes
Rated: G (Bonus material not rated)
Aspect Ratio: Fullscreen (1:33:1)
Sound/Language Tracks: 7.1 Digital Theater System Hi-Def Surround Sound
Subtitles: English/French/Spanish
Suggested Retail Price: 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD): $39.99 U.S./$44.99 Canada
Aspect Ratio: Fullscreen (1:33:1)
Sound/Language Tracks: 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix (DEHT) English 5.1, (DEHT) French and Spanish Language Tracks
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles
SuggestedRetail Price: 1-Disc DVD: $29.99 U.S./$35.99 Canada
Disney’s FastPlay: Disney FastPlay enabled (Technicalspecifications may only apply to feature)
Movie Download:
Suggested Retail Price: High Definition Movie Download = $39.99 U.S./$44.99 Canada; Standard Definition Movie Download = $29.99 U.S./ $35.99 Canada.

Warner Home Video Releases “The Smurfs: A Magical Smurf Adventure” On DVD

Get your Smurf on with Warner Home Video’s (WHV) release of The Smurfs: A Magical Smurf Adventure, a “super-Smurfy” collection featuring 10 episodes from the hit ‘80s Saturday morning cartoon series. Available in stores July 19, 2011, this delightful compilation stars everyone’s favorite Smurfs, including Lazy, Brainy, Smurfette, Hefty, Clumsy, Papa Smurf, and others in a delightful set of adventures the entire family can enjoy together. The Smurfs: A Magical Smurf Adventure will retail for $19.97 SRP.

10 “Smurftastic” Featured Episodes Include:

Smurf Van Winkle — Lazy is tricked into believing he’s slept his life away.

Revenge of the Smurfs — The Smurfs try to get even with an army that’s stormed their village.

Magic Fountain — The Smurfs search for a magic fountain.

Smurf Me No Flowers — Lazy is led to believe he has only a few days to live.

The Cursed Country — An evil master captures Smurfs to work in his diamond mine.

The Blue Plague – Brainy gives the Smurfs a meal that makes them feel like chickens.

The Ring of Castellac — The Smurfs return a drugged duke to his rightful place.

A Mere Truffle — Tracker loses his memory while leading the Smurfs on a truffle hunt.

Gormandizing Greedy — Greedy gains weight after a diet of sweets and desserts.

Sister Smurf — Smurfette and a young girl are held captive by an old hag.

The Smurfs are a group of over 100 bluish, three-apple tall creatures who live in the mushroom homes of Smurf Village. They are led by 543-year-old Papa Smurf (who doesn’t look a day over 530). Their lives would be perfect were it not for their villainous Gargamel, a wizard who spends his days trying to capture them to eat, turn into gold, or for other evil reasons. Gargamel’s cat Azrael adds to the menace, always looking for a tasty, Smurfy snack.

Produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, The Smurfs originally premiered as part of NBC’s Saturday morning programming lineup. The Emmy® Award winning series ran for nine seasons on NBC earning a 42% share of the U.S. Saturday morning audience.

“Fans have eagerly been awaiting another installment of The Smurfs on DVD and we are delighted to bring them another volume of this classic cartoon this summer,” said Jeff Brown, WHV Executive Vice President and GM of Non-Theatrical Franchise. He added, “The Smurfs remain immensely popular decade after decade because the universal messages of love, friendship and respect that they impart in each of their episodes are timeless. Those who grew up with The Smurfs on TV in the ‘80s are now eager to pass the joy they experienced while watching this series onto to today’s younger generations.”

Toonz Animation India Announces Animated Movie Based on Taj Mahal

Toonz Animation India is working on a project based on the story of Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and an eternal symbol of love to the universe.

The ball has just been set rolling and acclaimed script writer, Sasi Warrier is working on the story line along with the team at Toonz. National award winning director, Shyamaprasad has been roped in to direct the film. This would be his first animation venture.

“The story of Taj Mahal is known to one and all. So we wanted to deviate from the documentary style of storytelling and follow a bit more personal line where the building of the magnificent Taj is seen from the eyes of a young boy. We believe this would be equally exciting and acceptable to the old and young alike.” said Toonz Animation CEO, P Jayakumar elaborating on the plot.

The project has attracted initial interests from Pakistan Telecom Company (PTC) and Qatar based Al Jazeera Television Network. The cost of production is estimated around Rs.20 crore and the entire movie will be produced in the Technopark studio of Toonz Animation in Trivandrum.

Jayakumar also said that creating the characters for this love story would require about 200 professionals and Toonz is looking to have an experienced Hollywood animation director to organize the production. Toonz is also planning to get a renowned musician for the background score and foreign actors to lend voices to the characters. The film is expected to hit theaters by 2012 end or by Valentine’s Day in 2013.

Sun-Maid Launches Promotion in Conjunction With DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2

Sun-Maid, the largest producer and processor of the “World’s Favorite Raisin” and other premium dried fruit, today announced a new promotion in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) in support of the studio’s upcoming film Kung Fu Panda 2, which premiers May 26th in theaters nationwide.  Beginning this month, Sun-Maid raisin six-packs, as well as 24 oz. Sun-Maid raisin canisters, will feature on-pack QR (Quick Response) codes that direct consumers to specially designed mobile websites where they can view Kung Fu Panda 2 movie trailers, learn more about the movie’s characters, download computer wallpaper designs or enter for a chance to win a grand-prize trip for four to the world-renowned Zoo Atlanta for a VIP tour of its Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center.

Consumers who have a camera-equipped smart phone with Internet access can simply scan the image of the QR code on pack to open the promotional web page where they can submit contact information and register for an opportunity to win the once-in-a-lifetime trip including airfare and hotel accommodations to Zoo Atlanta–one of only four zoos in the U.S. that giant pandas call home.

“Through our work with DreamWorks Animation to promote Kung Fu Panda 2, we are excited to engage Sun-Maid consumers and Kung Fu Panda fans in a fun, new way by using QR codes,” said Rick Bruno, Vice President – Brand Management at Sun-Maid.  “By keeping the promotion entry simple and easily accessible by mobile devices, we anticipate a lot of entries and overall site activity, and we look forward to awarding someone with an exceptional grand prize.”

“We are pleased to offer our audiences and consumers the healthy snack option of Sun-Maid raisins in conjunction with the release of Kung Fu Panda 2 and we are particularly excited about their creative and innovative use of quick response coded on-package technology,” added Susan Spencer, DreamWorks Animation’s Head of Promotions and Marketing Services.

In addition to the grand prize package, 100 first prize winners will receive a Mattel Kung Fu Panda 2 plush toy in celebration of the new DreamWorks Animation movie.

Academy Announces U.S. Finalists for 2011 Student Academy Awards, Including Animation

33 students from 22 U.S. colleges and universities have been selected as finalists in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 38th Annual Student Academy Awards competition.  Academy members will view the finalists’ films at special screenings and vote to select the winners.  Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal awards, along with accompanying cash grants of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000, respectively, may be presented in each of four categories: Alternative, Animation, Documentary and Narrative.  The winning filmmakers will be brought to Los Angeles for a week of industry-related activities and social events that will culminate in the awards ceremony on Saturday, June 11, at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

The finalists are (listed alphabetically by film title):

[Editor’s Note: Edited to show only Animation Category. Full list of finalists can be seen here.]

The Birds Upstairs, Christopher Jarvis, New York University
Correspondence, Zach Hyer, Pratt Institute, New York
Defective Detective, Avner Geller and Stevie Lewis, Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida
Dragonboy, Bernardo Warman, Academy of Art University, California
The Girl and the Fox, Tyler Kupferer, Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia
Heart, Erick Oh, University of California, Los Angeles
The Renter, Jason Carpenter, California Institute of the Arts
Swing, Yen-Ting Kuo, School of Visual Arts, New York
Treasure, Chelsea Bartlett, Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida

To reach this stage, students competed in one of three regional competitions.  Each region is permitted to send to the Academy up to three finalists in each of the four categories.  For the first time this year, up to three films may be honored in the Foreign Student Film category.  Academy members have selected students from the Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom as finalists.

The Academy established the Student Academy Awards in 1972 to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level.  Past Student Academy Award® winners have gone on to receive 43 Oscar® nominations and have won or shared eight awards.  At the 83rd Academy Awards earlier this year, 2010 Student Academy Award winner Luke Matheny took home the Oscar for Live Action Short Film for “God of Love.”  Tanel Toom, another 2010 Student Academy Award winner, also was nominated in the Live Action Short Film category for “The Confession,” and John Lasseter, a 1979 and 1980 Student Academy Award winner, was a nominee in the Adapted Screenplay category for “Toy Story 3.”

The 38th Annual Student Academy Awards ceremony on June 11 is free and open to the public, but advance tickets are required.  Tickets will be available on May 2.  Tickets may be obtained online at www.oscars.org, in person at the Academy box office or by mail.  The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.  For more information, call (310) 247-3600.

Film Roman’s Dana Booton Promoted to General Manager, Head of Film Roman Production for Starz Media Animation Studio

Starz, LLC, President and CEO, Chris Albrecht has promoted Film Roman‘s Dana Booton to the newly created position of General Manager, Head of Production for Film Roman. With more than 20 years of executive experience in the business of animation production, Booton steps into the lead executive role for the top animation studio following her previous position as Film Roman’s vice president of production.  In this role, she was most recently the executive in charge of Film Roman’s current Marvel Entertainment production projects, Ultimate Spider-Man, The Super Hero Squad Show and The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Booton joined Film Roman in 2008 after founding Studio NM8, where she served as president and chief executive officer.  From its inception in 2002, Studio NM8 produced various animation projects for Disney Channel, including Daigundera, W.I.T.C.H., and A.T.O.M., and The Zula Patrol for PBS. Prior to that, Booton was at Saban Entertainment dating back to 1992, where she served in various executive roles through its 1998 sale to Fox Family Worldwide and subsequent sale of Fox Family to ABC Cable Group in 2001.  With her leadership, Booton helped architect the creation of a state of the art animation studio for Saban/Fox Family.  These efforts enabled Saban/Fox Family to be one of the first animation studios that specialized in 3D animation production and innovative 2D/3D combined animation.  Booton joined Saban in 1992 following a stint at Marvel Productions where she served in various capacities, including significant work on the legendary X-Men animated series.

“Dana has a proven track record of success and accomplishment in her time at Film Roman and the animation business during her career,” said Albrecht.  “Her credentials in traditional and CG animation will ensure that Film Roman continues the quality work and reputation it so richly deserves and remain at the forefront of securing new opportunities as the market for animated programming grows and evolves.”

“I am both honored and excited to take on the responsibilities and opportunities that this position offers me for the industry’s premier TV animation company,” said Booton. “Film Roman has earned rightfully a global reputation for animation excellence with a history of quality, award-winning work for its clients and business partners.  Its future remains incredibly bright thanks in part to wealth of animation talent in its workforce.”

Booton resides in Burbank with her husband, Don, and son, Michael.

Ovation TV Network Creats Art of Animation Programming Block Called “Unreal Worlds”

Ovation, the only television network dedicated to arts culture, is taking viewers on a trip to “Unreal Worlds” beginning May 21. The programming event showcases the art of animation and the creative vision of some of animation’s finest directors. Included are the US Television Premieres of two animated features with vastly different, but equally stunning visual styles: Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence and Millennium Actress.

Kicking off “Unreal Worlds” is the follow up to Mamoru Oshii’s critically acclaimed movie Ghost in the Shell. In this sequel, the year is 2032 and the line between humanity and technology has increasingly blurred. Cyborg detective, Batou, investigates a series of mysterious murders being committed by service robots manufactured by a powerful company. When he uncovers a sinister plot to exploit the “essence” of humanity in order to fuel the creation of an advanced robot, he learns that it’s a secret the
company will stop at nothing to protect. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence will have its US Television Premiere on Saturday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m ET/10:00 p.m. PT.

Taking on the complex narrative style of a play within a play is acclaimed director Satoshi Kon’s Millennium Actress. In this intriguing animated feature, the story centers on the closure of a 70-year-old film studio and the documentary filmmaker who decides to chronicle the historic building’s legacy through the career of one of its biggest stars. As the Garbo-like actress talks, her life and her many characters merge in a journey across time from the Sengoku period to a futuristic space age. The US Television
Premiere of Millennium Actress is Thursday, May 26 at 9:00 p.m. ET/10:00 p.m. PT

Also airing during “Unreal Worlds” is Renaissance, a unique black-and-white animated film by Christian Volckman. Set in 2054 Paris, where all movement is monitored and recorded, the city’s largest company, Avalon, insinuates itself into every aspect of contemporary life to sell its primary export — youth and beauty. Assigned to solve the kidnapping of one of the company’s scientists, police captain Karas (voiced by Clive Owen) faces a moral conflict when he discovers the truth behind the
abduction. The Ovation premiere of Renaissance is Monday, May 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET/11:30 p.m. PT.

For a full listing of the animated features showcased during “Unreal Worlds,” as well as previews and trailers, please visit http://www.ovationtv.com

Nickelodeon’s Animated All-Stars Take On Baseball’s Best as 2K Play’s Nicktoons MLB Comes to Video Games This Summer

The epic showdown that fans of America’s favorite pastime have been clamoring for is on! 2K Play, Nickelodeon and Major League Baseball® Properties today announced Nicktoons MLB for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft featuring support for Kinectâ„¢ for Xbox 360®, Wiiâ„¢ system, and Nintendo DSâ„¢. For the first time, an all-star roster from Nickelodeon’s Nicktoons series will take on players from all 30 MLB teams, delivering not only an unforgettable baseball gaming experience, but also the first to fully take advantage of Kinect for Xbox 360.

Nicktoons MLB will feature a dugout full of Nicktoons characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants, ZIM, Dudley Puppy, Fanboy, Chum Chum, and Ren and Stimpy, along with players from all 30 MLB teams, including Matt Holliday (St. Louis Cardinals), Andre Ethier (Los Angeles Dodgers), Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers), Jason Heyward (Atlanta Braves), Cliff Lee (Philadelphia Phillies), and Robinson Cano (New York Yankees). Custom created digital ballparks will add new meaning to “home field advantage” and range from the famed Fenway Park to the frigid Frosty Freeze Field.

“The Nicktoons are an animated bunch and it’s no secret they have been petitioning our office to facilitate this unprecedented match up,” said Steve Lux, Vice President for business development of 2K Play. “Whether an extraterrestrial from Planet Irk, superheroes who wear underwear on the outside of their costumes, or a secret agent dog, time will tell if these heavy hitters have the grit to play in the big leagues.”

“Our Nicktoons stars are taking the field and plan to ‘go yard’ against the best players in Major League Baseball,” said Shaan Kandawalla, Vice President of Digital Retail Games for Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group. “Nicktoons MLB will introduce a whole new rivalry on the baseball diamond and mark the first time our popular animated characters and MLB’s players will be featured in the same game.”

The excitement leading up to the summer launch of Nicktoons MLB will be supported with social media and special events in Major League ballparks throughout the country. The games are not yet rated and are under development by High Voltage Software for consoles and Black Lantern Studios for Nintendo DS. Stay tuned for updates on this extraordinary showdown by visiting 2K Play on Facebook and Twitter.

LeBron James Ditches “Space Jam”

A College Humor commentary on NBA player LeBron James that shows what would happen if he was in Space Jam instead of Michael Jordan. Probably makes more sense if you follow basketball. It’s an interesting day and age when unsanctioned cartoons using the Looney Tunes characters stay truer to the personalities of the characters than the official product that Warner Bros. is producing.

Director: Matt Pollock
Animation: Mike Parker
VFX: Gloo Studios
Director of Post Production: Michael Schaubach
Post Production Producer: Lacy Wittman
Editor: Drew Nissen
Producer: Creight Desimone

“The Looney Tunes Show” talkback

Today’s the day of judgement – your judgement, that is – as Cartoon Network’s new Looney Tunes Show makes its debut at 8pm (West Coasters with an East Coast feed will see it at 5pm).

For all those wondering what I think: I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve only seen the clips leaked to the internet and all the promos. I’ll be tuned in for the premiere just like you. But I congratulate Tony, Spike, Jessica and all my friends at Warner Animation for simply getting the show made. My fingers are crossed.

USC, CalArts, Woodbury and UCLA Student Showcases

It’s student film season. Below is a list of the student screenings taking place in LA over the next month. Admission is free to all the screenings, but most require RSVPs.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 4: USC’s First Frame begins at 7pm at the DGA Theatre Complex (7920 Sunset Blvd.) in Hollywood. Details on films and filmmakers at USC website.

THURSDAY, MAY 5: CalArts Experimental Animation Showcase screening at the RedCat (631 West 2nd Street) in downtown LA. Screening begins at 8pm. Reservations encouraged. Call the box office at (213) 237-2800. More details on the Experimental Animation Tumblr.

FRIDAY, MAY 6: Woodbury University’s Animation Showcase begins at 7pm and 8pm in the Fletcher Jones Auditorium on the school’s Burbank campus. All seating is reserved. Please call (818) 252-5123 to reserve your spot.

THURSDAY, MAY 12: CalArts Character Animation Producer’s Show begins at 8pm. No location announced or on-line info about films being shown, but you can make a reservation by emailing [email protected] or calling (661) 253-7818.

SATURDAY, JUNE 4: UCLA’s Animation Prom is at the James Bridges Theater on the school’s campus. There are two screenings–5:00 and 8:30pm. The premiere screening at 5pm is when they hand out the awards, and also when June Foray makes an appearance. More info on the UCLA website.

Design for the China Comic and Animation Museum in Hangzhuo Revealed

The design of China Comic and Animation Museum was revealed at the Seventh International Animation and Cartoon Festival when it opened Thursday evening in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province.

The museum is designed by MVRDV, an international architecture and urban design company, and will be located on an island in Baima (White Horse) Lake in the Binjiang District of Hangzhou,

Inspired by the dialogue box in comic books, MVRDV’s design transforms the boxes into three-dimensional bubble like structures.

The construction of the museum, with an area of 30,000 square meters, is expected to be completed in 2013. The total investment of the whole project is around 1 billion yuan (150 million U.S. dollars).

The museum will include a cartoon exhibition hall, comic hall, as well as an IMAX cinema. Once finished, the museum will be symbol of China’s animation industry, said Wang Xiaomei, deputy director with the municipal publicity department.

Most collections in the museum will be famous works by cartoonists from home and abroad, including the original drafts of the Chinese animated feature films “Uproar in Heaven” and “Astro Boy shakes hands with Monkey King,” a collaboration between a Chinese cartoonist and a Japanese cartoonist, according to Wang.

Hangzhou’s animation industry is well-known in China for its high quality productions. The International Animation and Cartoon Festival has been held annually in Hangzhou City since 2005.

ADC Sells New Series, “Action Dad”, to Major France Networks Canal+ and Télétoon

ADC Licensing, a venture capital firm and aggregator of original animation content, announces the first sale of the original action animated series, Action Dad, to French television behemoths Canal+ and Télétoon. The action cartoon, which ranked in the top twenty for two years in a row at the major television convention MIP Junior, is financed by ADC Licensing and produced by ToonZone Studios.

In an industry that generates over $100 billion a year in the licensing of cartoons, ADC Licensing saw great opportunity in this project and jumped into the current market of children based animated series to help finance Action Dad – a cartoon that centers on a high-tech crime fighting dad raising teenagers. In October 2008, the firm took the animated pilot to MIP Junior, the largest based children’s television convention. The result: Action Dad was the thirteenth most viewed cartoon out of 1,143 cartoons beating out popular shows such as, Batman: The Bold and the Brave and Garfield to name a few. Taking in vital feedback from network executives, the company revamped the image of the series, catching the eye of French giants Canal+ and Télétoon.

“Family, comedy and boys action have always been at the top of the chart of what networks are looking for,” states ADC Licensing CEO, Ira Warren. “Action Dad is parent friendly and fills the needs of networks looking for action based programming in a growing boy’s market.”

“The networks love it and we anticipate signing a few more of them,” says ADC Licensing, EVP of New Media, Stephen Hodge. “Action Dad incorporates the world today. The cartoon kids are into technology, the show discusses social issues and pressures that come with raising a family and saving the world.”

Action Dad starts airing on the networks beginning first quarter of 2012. The thrill-seeking cartoon joins the current lineup on Canal+ and Télétoon’s animated schedule including, Spongebob Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Fairly Odd Parents to name a few.

ASIFA-East Announces Animation Festival Winners

Last night, ASIFA-East held their 42nd annual Animation Festival. The Best in Show prize went to Andy Kennedy’s Accumulonimbus, which we featured on Cartoon Brew last August. ASIFA-East president David Levy also won two of the top awards: Best Educational Film and 1st Place for Independent Film. He’s a nice guy so let’s all look the other way and pretend that’s not a conflict of interest.

Complete list of winners after the jump.
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Audiences Refuse to be Hoodwinked Again

Hoodwinked Too

How bad was the opening of Mike Disa‘s Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil? It made Simon Wells’s Mars Needs Moms look like a Hollywood blockbuster. The release, by the perpetually animation-clueless Weinsteins, debuted in sixth place with a pitiful $4.1 million (est.) from 2,505 theaters. Its per-theater average was $1,653, which at current 3-D prices equals something like two viewers per theater.

The opening of Fast Five dropped Carlos Saldanha’s Rio to second place with $14.4M (est.). The Blue Sky pic has now banked $103.6M in the United States, and more impressively, $364.3M around the globe. The other animated film in the US top ten was Illumination’s Hop which ranked 9th with $2.6M. The US total stands at $105.3M.

Walter Lantz Christmas Cards

Animation collector Martin Almeyra sent me another intriguing set of historical pieces from his archives to share with our readers: several annual Christmas cards from the staff of Walter Lantz Productions to Walt and his wife Gracie (the voice of Woody Woodpecker). Click thumbnails below to enlarge. The first one (below left) is undated but note the signatures of directors Alex Lovy, Paul Smith, and musician Clarence Wheeler. Not sure who drew the humorous image. The one from 1964 (center) shows how far the staff has shrunk, and is signed (among others) by animators Cal Howard and Les Kline. By 1971 (below right), the artwork matches the quality of the films… but is interesting nonetheless.