April 23, 2014

Tag Archives: kung fu panda

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.

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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“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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Dreamworks Animation: Quality and Variety

HollywoodNews.com: As the initial reviews for Pixar’s Brave roll in (again, I’m waiting till opening day to take the kid), it’s clear that the film is both pretty solid and somewhat disappointing considering the uber-high standards that Pixar has set for itself. I personally think it’s almost dangerous to go into a Pixar film expecting each one to be as good as Up, but I digress. One of the running themes of said reviews is that the film is merely ‘Dreamworks good’.
If you think that’s supposed to be an insult, it is. The meme for the last decade or so is that Dreamworks is not just inferior to Pixar (probably true over all), but a genuinely mediocre producer of mass-market animated films that constantly engages in some of the worst practices of mainstream animation. But as we examine the last fourteen years of Dreamworks Animation, it becomes clear that their reputation is somewhat unfair, akin to judging Pixar based on Cars.
Dreamworks Animation may not have the sheer number of masterpieces as Pixar, but their 24 animated features (double Pixar’s output) show a remarkable range of both quality and variety. They truly are more than just the worst parts of Shrek the Third and the best parts of How to Train Your Dragon.
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos
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Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is Number One

HollywoodNews.com: As I often say, ranking is a relatively irrelevant stat that shouldn’t be used as a barometer for box office success. Both wide releases opened like rather well this weekend, and in this case the weekend gross of the second place film is arguably a more impressive achievement. Anyway, the number one film of the weekend was Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (review) which debuted with a pretty big $60 million. That’s pretty close to the $63 million that Madagascar 2 opened with back in 2008 and the $61 million that the first film debuted with over its four-day Memorial Day 2005 opening weekend. I had theorized that the film might explode even higher due to the utter lack of kid pics this summer (ala The Lorax earning $70 million in March after months of no family films), but I’m not going to pretend that this debut it’s ‘disappointing’. It’s still a solid debut that’s right in line with the previous entries of the series, give or take inflation and the 3D bump. It’s almost identical to the $60 million debut of Kung Fu Panda in June 2008 and the $59 million debut of Dreamworks’s Monsters vs. Aliens in March of 2009. The film earned an ‘A’ from Cinemascore and while it’s not quite that good it is a lot of visually creative fun. That most kids are already out of school made the film’s Friday ($20 million) play like a proverbial Saturday, meaning that there was no Saturday jump ($22 million) as is sometimes the case with animated films. The film played 45% 3D, 56% female and 54% under 25 years old.
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos
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Angelina Jolie rumored to possibly direct ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

HollywoodNews.com: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is all the rage as fans are waiting for it to be turned into a film, but will Angelina Jolie be attached to the project?
It is now being rumored that Jolie has been in talks to direct the film, states UsMagazine.com. While there are rumors of talks, Universal Pictures has denied this but claims they would be interested if she approached them about it.
Jolie is reportedly currently focused on her upcoming film ‘Maleficent,’ so it’s unknown if she would have time for this other big project.
Do you want her to direct ‘Fifty Shades’?
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Image by PR Photos

Snow White and the Huntsman topped the weekend box office with a strong $56 million

HollywoodNews.com: Putting a non-existent end to the non-existent box office slump, Snow White and the Huntsman topped the weekend box office with a pretty strong $56 million.
After the flop that was Battleship, Universal is somewhat relieved that the next of its ‘let’s make overpriced fantasy tentpoles like every other studio’ entry might actually make a small profit in the end. With about $39 million in overseas grosses, the film has amassed $95 million in its first three days of worldwide play. Alas the film cost $175 million to produce (and who-knows what to market), so this is another situation where a major picture is praying for $400 million worldwide just to break even. That’s obviously not healthy, but the opening is still a darn-good one.
It’s the second-biggest 2D opening of the year behind The Hunger Games and the fourth-biggest debut of 2012 behind The Avengers ($207 million), The Hunger Games ($153 million), and The Lorax ($70 million).
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos
Photo courtesy Universal Studios
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“Rise of the Guardians” new trailer

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: It’s no secret that Dreamworks films often turn out to be far more complicated than their marketing campaigns might imply. For example, Megamind’s marketing didn’t even hint at the jaw-dropping plot twist in the first twenty minutes, nor did it detail any of the major narrative turns in the third act or the ‘must there be evil to co-exist with good?’ subtext that made the movie more than just a gimmick. And Kung Fu Panda 2′s marketing sold easy-going comedy and stress-free action without hinting at the emotionally draining story at its core while Puss In Boots sold bawdy gags instead of trippy fairy-tale adventure.

So when I say this preview looks painfully generic, take it with a grain of salt. But judging just what’s on display, it’s a little disheartening to see a fascinating idea (a look into the lives of the various holiday-themed creatures of our modern American mythology) and use them purely as a springboard for a conventional action picture (uh-oh, Santa Clause, Tooth Fairy, and the gang have to stop a random villain!).
Again, I’m hoping there is more to the story, even while I’ll try to avoid as much spoiler information as possible. It’s no secret I hold Dreamworks Animation in very high regard, so I can only presume that they have something more up their sleave. Rise of the Guardians opens on November 21st, which is a new release date (Thanksgiving weekend) for a Dreamworks cartoon. As always, we’ll see…
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memo
Photos by Dreamworks
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Animation record: The Lorax opens to $70 million

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: The full weekend chart HERE. See this is what happens when you have just two major cartoon during the Winter/Spring season instead of six. Last year, February, March, and April saw an onslaught on high-profile animated features, five of which opened just in March and April. Gnomeo and Juliet ($25 million opening/$99 million domestic total), Rango ($38 million/$123 million) Hop ($37 million/$103 million), and Rio ($39 million/$143 million) all did well, but were burdened by directly competing with each other. Mars Needs Moms ($6.9 million/$21 million) was one of the biggest box office bombs in modern history while the never-had-a-chance Hoodwinked: Hood vs. Evil ($4 million/$10 million) was DOA. This time around, it’s The Lorax or nothing (that second cartoon I mentioned doesn’t open until April 27th), which coupled with the absolute lack of truly new kid-friendly product and the relative disinterest in domestic audiences in Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (which was still leggy enough to gross $130 million domestic) and The Adventures of Tintin (which is no flop with $372 million worldwide), left a very large gap in the marketplace. No you can see how its $70 million opening is not *that* surprising.
At $70.7 million, the Illumination production is within striking distance of a few records if the estimate holds. First of all, the film will end up surpassing Ice Age 2: The Meltdown ($68 million) for both the second-biggest animated opening not from Dreamworks or Pixar (it easily tops any Dreamworks opening that isn’t a Shrek sequel) and the second-biggest for a non-sequel (both records belong to the $74 million debut of The Simpsons Movie). It’s also the sixth-biggest animated debut of all-time, and the biggest non-summer animated debut ever. If it makes it to $70.9 million, it surpasses 300 ($70.8 million) to become the second-biggest March opening ever, behind Alice In Wonderland ($116 million). Even if the estimate is a big high, as Despicable Me estimated $60 million but ended up with a $56 million debut 2.5 years ago, this is a huge debut and a massive win for all involved. That film plus this mighty debut for The Lorax proves that Universal is truly a force to be reckoned with (that they opened Hop to $38 million last year isn’t to be ignored either). The film debuted on a rather strategic weekend, [...]

DreamWorks Animation Hook-Up with Investment Groups in China

HollywoodNews.com: DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. today announced that it has agreed to form a joint venture with China Media Capital (CMC), with plans to include Shanghai Media Group (SMG) and Shanghai Alliance Investment, Ltd. (SAIL), to establish the leading China-focused family entertainment company.
Oriental DreamWorks will engage in the development and production of high-quality original Chinese animated and live action content for distribution both within China and to other territories around the globe. In addition to content creation, the joint venture will pursue business opportunities in the areas of live entertainment, theme parks, mobile, online, interactive games and consumer products.
“We are incredibly proud to establish Oriental DreamWorks alongside CMC, SMG and SAIL in this groundbreaking and historic alliance to create the leading Chinese-branded family entertainment company,” said DreamWorks Animation’s Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Katzenberg. “Together with our partners in China, we look forward to building a first-of-its-kind enterprise to locally conceive, produce and distribute high-quality creative content and family entertainment experiences – not only for the people of China but also for related export markets.”
“We share the same vision with DreamWorks Animation to build a world-class family entertainment company,” commented Ruigang Li, Chairman of China Media Capital. “By combining the expertise of CMC in investment and operation, SMG in media and entertainment management, SAIL in high-tech R&D, as well as DreamWorks Animation in creative processes, innovative technology and global network capabilities, Oriental DreamWorks will be in a unique position to create high-quality content and interactive entertainment products for China and international markets.”
The Chinese companies will hold a majority stake of approximately 55% in Oriental DreamWorks and DreamWorks Animation will hold approximately 45%. The enterprise will initially be capitalized with cash and intellectual property valued at $330 million. The joint venture plans to launch business operations in Shanghai later this year.
DreamWorks Animation has enjoyed a great track record of success at the box office in China, led by its blockbuster Kung Fu Panda franchise. Kung Fu Panda was the #1 animated film upon its release into China in 2008 and last year, Kung Fu Panda 2 became the highest-grossing animated film of all time in the region, grossing approximately $100 million.
Photo by Dreamworks SKG
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