April 20, 2014

Tag Archives: animation

Shanghai’s $2.4 billion “DreamCenter” to Open in 2017

In a sign of Hollywood’s expanding ties with China, DreamWorks Animation and Chinese partners Thursday unveiled their $2.4 billion “DreamCenter,” an entertainment complex in Shanghai that is set to open in 2017.
The complex will contain a 500-seat IMAX cinema with international film festivals and red carpet events in mind, bars, restaurants and performance venues, according to the companies.
A “Dream Avenue” theater district modeled on London’s West End and New York City’s Broadway will also be part of the complex, according to the Associated Press.
The 40-acre site includes eight outdoor events plazas.
The project is led by “Kung Fu Panda” and “Shrek” maker DreamWorks Animation, Chinese investment fund CMC Capital Partners, whose owners include state-owned companies, and Hong Kong developer Lan Kwai Fong, according to the AP.
“This will become the world’s third great urban center of entertainment and arts alongside New York’s Broadway and London’s West End,” DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told a news conference, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Gravity dominates the Visual Effects Society Awards

Yesterday night, the Visual Effect Society held their 12th annual awards show, and surprising no one, Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar hopeful Gravity was the big winner. The film took home six VES awards, making it by far the dominant feature on display. This obviously furthers the chances of it taking home the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, but we can all agree that it was already pretty much a lock to win there. The only other feature competing in that category that made any dent at the awards was The Lone Ranger, which won Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture.
As for Gravity’s half dozen wins, they were in the categories of Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture (their version of Best Picture, basically), Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture, Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture, Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture, Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture, and Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture. A big haul indeed for Gravity.
Here are all of the winners from the VES Awards last night:
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture
Gravity (Tim Webber, Nikki Penny, Neil Corbould, Richard McBride)
Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho, Lino Di Salvo)
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones (Steve Kullback, Joe Bauer, Jörn Großhans, Sven Martin)
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture
The Lone Ranger (Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Shari Hanson, Kevin Martel)
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
Banshee: (Armen Kevorkian, Mark Skowronski, Jeremy Jozwik, Ricardo Ramirez)
Outstanding Real-Time Visuals in a Video Game
Call of Duty: Ghosts (Mark Rubin, Richard Kriegler, David Johnson, Alessandro Nardini)
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial
Call of Duty: Epic Night Out (Chris Knight, Daniel Thuresson. Nick Tayler. Dag Ivarsory)
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
Space Shuttle Atlantis (Daren Ulmer, John Gross, Cedar Connor, Christian Bloch)
Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Smaug (Eric Reynolds, David Clayton, Myriam Catrin, Guillaume Francois)
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Frozen: Bringing the Snow Queen to Life (Alexander Alvarado, Joy Johnson, Chad Stubblefield, Wayne Unten)
Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial or Broadcast Program
PETA: 98% Human (Vince Baertsoen, Jimmy Gass, Dave Barosin)
Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Gravity: Exterior [...]

“Monsters University” and “Pacific Rim” take Hollywood Film Awards Honors

The 17th Annual Hollywood Film Awards announced today that Disney/Pixar’s “Monsters University,” directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, will be the recipient of the Hollywood Animation Award, and Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures “Pacific Rim” visual effects supervisor John Knoll will receive the “Hollywood Visual Effects Award” at the Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony.
The announcement was made today by Carlos de Abreu, founder and executive producer of the Hollywood Film Awards. He said: “John Knoll’s groundbreaking work on Pacific Rim sets a new standard in visual effects. The robots and monsters in the film truly come to life through the best visual effects of the year. Once again, the animation and storytelling of “Monsters University” reflects Pixar’s creativity and greatness.”

The award will be bestowed at the Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony on Monday evening, October 21, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
The Hollywood Film Awards honors cherished stars, filmmakers and up-and-coming talent, and traditionally kicks off the film awards season with the biggest stars and top industry executives in attendance.
“We are very proud to be the first stop of the awards season. In the last ten years, a total of 96 Oscar® nominations and 34 Oscars® were given to the honorees of the Hollywood Film Awards,” said de Abreu.
Last year’s awards show received more than 41 million media impressions, in addition to more than 300 million online and print readers’ impressions.
About Dan Scalon
Dan Scanlon made his animated feature directorial debut with Disney/Pixar’s 14th feature film, “Monsters University,” which has grossed over $700 million dollars worldwide since its June 2013 release. He also co-wrote the film’s story and screenplay. As a youngster in Clawson, Michigan, Scanlon possessed a love for Warner Bros. cartoons, animated Disney films and, as fate would have it, Pixar short films. His passion inspired him to study film and animation in high school and in college where he focused on illustration at Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD). Upon graduating from CCAD, Scanlon began working as an animator and story artist for Character Builders, a 2D animation company that produced feature and commercial work in Columbus, Ohio. Scanlon joined Pixar Animation Studios in September 2001 as a storyboard artist on Disney/Pixar’s award-winning features “Cars” and “Toy Story 3.” During the initial production stages for both films, he worked to translate the director’s story ideas into [...]

“The Croods” Leads Weekend Box Office

What a difference three years and an deflated expectations make. Three years ago this weekend, Dreamworks had to eat a token amount of crow when How To Train Your Dragon opened with *just* $43 million.
Coming off the $59 million debut of Monsters vs. Aliens a year prior and elevated expectations due to the “new-found” popularity of 3D, the film was written off initially as a slight disappointment with the hopes that strong reviews and word-of-mouth would keep it alive. Of course, the film had insane legs and eventually ended up with $217 million domestic, but that’s another story.
Now, coming off the somewhat disappointing Rise of the Guardians ($303 million worldwide), a series of company lay-offs, and the delaying and/or cancellation of a few projects (like Me and My Shadow), Dreamworks is now trying to sell the (estimated as of this writing) $44 million debut of The Croods as a comeback and/or a massive win for the company.
But not only is this not a comeback, but I would argue that Dreamworks doesn’t have anywhere to come back from and that the perception of their failing after a single disappointing film is indicative of the fall-out of our obsession with rise/fall narratives where they don’t belong.
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos

Celebrating “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” 25th anniversary

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a new digital restoration of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in celebration of the film’s 25th anniversary on Thursday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The evening will feature a post-screening onstage discussion with director Robert Zemeckis and members of the cast and crew, including actress Joanna Cassidy, voice actor Charles Fleischer, supervising animator Andreas Deja, screenwriter Peter S. Seaman and associate producers Don Hahn and Steve Starkey. The panel will be moderated by director Rich Moore, who received an Oscar® nomination for Animated Feature Film for “Wreck-It Ralph” this past year.
A masterful blend of live-action filmmaking and classic animation, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” boldly announced the rebirth of the Disney animation studio. The film endures as an inventive tribute to animation’s golden age that also set a new standard for what the medium could achieve.
“‘Roger Rabbit’ brought together the greatest animators, the most skilled technicians, and the finest talent of the day,” said Zemeckis. “It’s good to have this chance to show our work to both those who remember the film as well as to a new audience.”
“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988) received Oscars® for Film Editing, Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects, and a Special Achievement Award for Richard Williams’s animation direction. It also was nominated for Art Direction, Cinematography and Sound.
This digital restoration is provided courtesy of the Walt Disney Studios. The Disney restoration team used the original 35mm picture, VistaVision optical work and original sound elements to create this pristine digital version.
Tickets for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID, and may be purchased online at 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. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All seating is unreserved. For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit oscars.org.
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ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards–in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners–Academy presents a diverse year-round slate [...]

My favorite film among those nominated is ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Argo is not my favorite film of the year. It didn’t even make my best-of-2012 list. It had to settle for the Runner-Ups section along with fellow nominee/front-runner Lincoln, a choice that caused no end of consternation from my mother-in-law who considers both to among her favorite films of 2012.
My favorite film of 2012 is Cabin In the Woods, a film that had about as much of a chance of winning Best Picture this year as Kung Fu Panda 2 did last year. My favorite film among those nominated is Zero Dark Thirty, which went from front-runner to also-ran after Sony made the financial choice to not fight back against the frankly shameful ‘this film endorses torture!’ arguments until after the film’s wide release.
There are a few films that are nominated that I don’t care for (Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook), but I’d have to say that if we’re picking a Best Picture on a the basis of what film most positively represents the year that was 2012, Argo is the best and most logical choice.
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos
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Online auction of two props used in ‘ParaNorman’ – Do Some Good Today!

Animation buffs, movie fans, and memorabilia collectors will all have the chance to own unique hand-crafted materials from one of this year’s Academy Award nominees when Variety – The Children’s Charity of Southern California next week begins hosting the online auction of two props used in LAIKA and Focus Features’ comedy thriller ParaNorman, which is Oscar-nominated for Best Animated Feature Film.
The internet auction is coordinated through Profiles in History, the world’s largest auctioneer of original Hollywood Memorabilia, www.profilesinhistory.com, and will begin on Friday, February 22nd and will end Monday, March 4th. Proceeds from the auction will go to help inspire hope, enrich lives and build a better future for children with special needs in Southern California.
Including a letter of authenticity from LAIKA’s studios in Oregon, where the stop-motion-animated feature was lovingly hand-crafted on-site, the auction lot is for two props that were made in-studio and then featured on-screen; in the film’s story, the town of Blithe Hollow, where ParaNorman’s 11-year-old hero Norman Babcock lives with his family, commissioned a historical plaque commemorating the famous capture of a witch from 300 years ago, along with the accompanying mold “cast” of the witch’s head. In the frightfully funny, magically emotional, and hilariously spooky ParaNorman, the revelation comes that the centuries-old witch’s curse is real and is about to come true – and only Norman will be able to stop it from going into overdrive and harming the townspeople, by summoning up courage and compassion in a wild race against time.
In addition to its Academy Award nomination, ParaNorman has won two Annie Awards (the animation community’s Oscars equivalent) and been cited as best animated feature film by 14 critics’ groups, more than any other 2012 animated feature. ParaNorman was directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler from an original screenplay by Mr. Butler; and was produced by Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner.
Elizabeth O’Neil, Executive Director of Variety – The Children’s Charity of Southern California, said, “The movies that LAIKA and Focus have made together have thrilled and delighted millions. With its anti-bullying theme, ParaNorman has proved particularly impactful for kids. We’re so pleased that beautifully detailed and painstakingly created props from this wondrous tale will now be offered for auction to benefit children in need in our community.”
About Variety – The Children’s Charity of Southern California
Variety – The Children’s Charity of Southern California, founded in 1941, is a 501(c)3 organization made up [...]

Paranorman’s LAIKA begins production on The Boxtrolls

Marking their third project together, LAIKA and Focus Features, the two companies behind the current Academy Award-nominated animated feature ParaNorman, announced today that LAIKA has begun production on The Boxtrolls. The new movie will be released nationwide by Focus on October 17th, 2014. Focus CEO James Schamus and LAIKA President & CEO Travis Knight made the announcement today.
As on the previous animation collaborations ParaNorman and Coraline, Focus will hold worldwide distribution rights to The Boxtrolls, and Universal Pictures International will release the movie overseas (with eOne Distribution handling Canada). Coraline (2009) earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics? Choice, and Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature Film; and was named one of the year?s 10 Best Films by the American Film Institute (AFI). In addition to its Academy Award nomination, ParaNorman (2012) is in the running for the BAFTA Awards? animated feature prize. ParaNorman has won two Annie Awards (the animation community?s Oscars equivalent) and been cited as best animated feature film by 14 critics? groups, more than any other 2012 animated feature.
The Boxtrolls is a 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid animated feature based on Alan Snow?s bestselling fantasy adventure novel Here Be Monsters. The Boxtrolls is being directed by Anthony Stacchi (co-director of the hit animated feature Open Season) and Graham Annable (story artist on Coraline and ParaNorman), and produced by David Ichioka and Mr. Knight. The voice cast includes Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley, Academy Award nominee Toni Collette, Elle Fanning (marking her fourth movie with Focus), Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Game of Thrones), Emmy Award nominee Jared Harris (Mad Men), Simon Pegg (Star Trek), Nick Frost (of Focus? upcoming The World?s End), Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd), and Tracy Morgan (30 Rock).
The Boxtrolls is a comedic fable that unfolds in Cheesebridge, a posh Victorian-era town obsessed with wealth, class, and the stinkiest of fine cheeses. Beneath its charming cobblestone streets dwell the Boxtrolls, foul monsters who crawl out of the sewers at night and steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least, that?s the legend residents have always believed. In truth, the Boxtrolls are an underground cavern-dwelling community of quirky and lovable oddballs who wear recycled cardboard boxes the way turtles wear their shells. The Boxtrolls have raised an orphaned human boy, Eggs (voiced by Mr.
Hempstead-Wright), since infancy as one of their dumpster-diving and mechanical junk-collecting own. When the Boxtrolls are targeted by [...]

“Mr. Peabody & Sherman” new release date is March 7

DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced that, at the recommendation of its distributor, Twentieth Century Fox, it has decided to change the domestic theatrical release date for Mr. Peabody & Sherman to March 7, 2014. The film had previously been scheduled for release on November 1, 2013. Me & My Shadow, which had previously been scheduled for release in March of 2014, will now return to development at the studio.
“Our distributor, who has had great success in March with their Ice Age franchise, has recommended we move Mr. Peabody & Sherman to the spring of 2014, which we totally agree is a much more advantageous release window,” said Anne Globe, Chief Marketing Officer of DreamWorks Animation. “Mr. Peabody & Sherman is now the first of our three-picture lineup for next year.”
The Company’s feature film slate for 2013 and 2014 is now as follows: The Croods on March 22, 2013; Turbo on July 19, 2013; Mr. Peabody & Sherman on March 7, 2014; How To Train Your Dragon 2 on June 20, 2014 and Happy Smekday! on November 26, 2014.
“We believe the best strategy for DreamWorks Animation in the long run is to ensure that every one of our films has an optimal release date with the biggest opportunity to succeed at the box office,” added Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation. “The move of Mr. Peabody & Sherman means that we will now release two films in 2013, and we are adjusting our operating infrastructure costs accordingly.”
About DreamWorks Animation
DreamWorks Animation creates high-quality entertainment, including CG animated feature films, television specials and series and live entertainment properties, meant for audiences around the world. The Company has world-class creative talent, a strong and experienced management team and advanced filmmaking technology and techniques. DreamWorks Animation has been named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by FORTUNE®Magazinefor five consecutive years. In 2013, DreamWorks Animation ranks #12 on the list. All of DreamWorks Animation’s feature films are produced in 3D. The Company has theatrically released a total of 25 animated feature films, including the franchise properties of Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon and Puss In Boots.
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“Paranorman” Winner of 15 Best Animated Feature Film awards

Winner of 15 Best Animated Feature Film awards, winner of two Annie Awards in the category of Character Animation & Design and now also nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, and a GLAAD Media Award, ParaNorman was made at the LAIKA Studios located in Oregon.
Over the two years of making the movie, a dedicated crew of over 320 talented animators, designers, artists, and technicians came together to hand-craft the year’s most original animated feature.
CLICK HERE to view/download an interactive booklet and experience a closer look at the members of the filmmaking team and their handiwork. Feel free to share with your readers!
We hope you enjoy your visit to Norman’s town of Blithe Hollow and the people who made it possible.
PARANORMAN
Available to Own on Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital Download & On Demand
Story: The new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA, reteaming the company with Focus Features after the groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated “Coraline.” “ParaNorman” is, following “Coraline,” the company’s second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. In “ParaNorman,” a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.
Directors:
Sam Fell and Chris Butler
Screenplay:
Chris Butler
Cast:
NORMAN BABCOCK Kodi Smit-McPhee
NEIL Tucker Albrizzi
MITCH Casey Affleck
COURTNEY Anna Kendrick
ALVIN [...]

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