April 23, 2014

Tag Archives: shrek

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.

“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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The Phantom Menace is about to out-gross The Dark Knight!

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: With just $1 million separating the two films, today or tomorrow is likely the day when one of the more reviled films in geek-ville, Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, will surpass one of the more openly worshipped geek film in recent years, The Dark Knight, at the global box office.
As of Wednesday, Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace crossed $1 billion, becoming the eleventh film to do so and the first Star Wars film to cross said benchmark. Obviously there is inflation and 3D price-bumps to figure, but just remember that The Phantom Menace’s adjusted-for-inflation grosses from 1999 would equal about $664 million in domestic grosses alone (it earned $431 million in the summer of 1999, the second-largest grossing first-run film behind Titanic at that point). And don’t forget that a number of major fantasy films, chiefly the first three Star Wars films, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, have had several theatrical releases since their initial respective debuts.
In the days before VHS became mainstream, it was not uncommon for popular films to show up repeatedly at a theater near you. With the apparent consumer appeal of 3D-converted re-releases, we are seeing a return to what may be a revolving door atop the list of all-time box office champions.
One immediate effect of these 3D-converted releases is the fact that a number of benchmarks will be arbitrarily altered as a result of these successful re-releases. If Titanic earns $161 million in the US during its 3D-release this April, it will swap places with Avatar (now at $760 million) at the top of the domestic box office chart. We all witnesses how The Lion King added $166 million to its international coffers to leapfrog several places up the domestic and worldwide list, ending as the biggest-grossing cartoon of all-time on both fronts. Should this September’s 3D release of Finding Nemo proved as popular (if not more-so), we could again see another rearranging of the list for top-grossing cartoons. Hell, if Warner Bros cares (they probably don’t), they may try to do some kind of Dark Knight re-release in early July to get fans pumped for the third installment, which may allow the film to make up whatever ground its lost to the Star Wars prequel.
What if Warner Bros. decides to invest in [...]

Gregg Taylor Named DreamWorks Animation’s Head of Development and Alex Schwartz Named Producer of Mr. Peabody & Sherman

HollywoodNews.com: DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. today announced that Gregg Taylor has been named head of development for the studio, a role previously held by Alex Schwartz. Schwartz will serve as a producer on the studio’s upcoming feature film, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which is scheduled to be released onMarch 14, 2014. Taylor will oversee the development of all projects at DreamWorks Animation.
“Gregg is an exceptional executive with a wide range of creative experience that will positively influence our future slate. I am confident that he will thrive as the new leader of DreamWorks Animation’s development team,” said DreamWorks Animation Chief Creative Officer Bill Damaschke. “Alex’s exemplary work in development over the years makes her an ideal choice to assume the role of producer on Mr. Peabody & Sherman and I look forward to her continued creative input and leadership. On behalf of the entire studio, I offer heartfelt congratulations to both Gregg and Alex as they take on their new roles.”
“To be able to make movies with the incredibly talented team of executives and artists at DreamWorks Animation is an absolute privilege,” said Taylor. “This studio is a very special place and I am deeply grateful to be working alongside Jeffrey, Bill and Ann Daly as we strive to tell great stories and find innovative ways to expand our business.”
“I have enjoyed four wonderful years overseeing development at DreamWorks Animation, thanks in large part to the unparalleled quality of my team, including Gregg, Damon Ross and Chris Kuser,” added Schwartz. “I am eager to take on the next creative challenge of producing Mr. Peabody & Sherman, whichhas long been a passion project of mine. I am thrilled to be working with the immensely talented director Rob Minkoff and partnering with veteran DreamWorks producer Denise Cascino.”
Taylor previously served as a senior development and production executive, overseeing DreamWorks Animation’s expanding franchise properties, including the upcoming sequel to How to Train Your Dragon as well as The Penguins of Madagascar and the Company’s television initiatives. Taylor served six years as executive vice president of development and production for The Kennedy/Marshall Company, during which time the company produced The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Persepolis and The Bourne Ultimatum, among others. His relationship with DreamWorks Animation began with Shrek when Taylor ran Mike Myers’ production company, where he co-produced Austin Powers in Goldmember and executive produced The Cat in [...]

Oscars® “Celebrate the Movies” with Launch of Digital Exhibition

HollywoodNews.com: In anticipation of the 84th Academy Awards®, the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences has launched “Celebrate the Movies,” a digital exhibition spotlighting iconic moments from 84 films.
Beginning today, January 23, the exhibition will appear on digital billboards in Los Angeles, and on ABC’s digital “SuperSign,” an electronic landmark in New York’s Times Square. It will also be showcased on an online gallery on Oscar.com, and extend to youtube.com/Oscars, where fans can share their most memorable movie-going experiences through video or text.
Images will debut in groups of 20 within the next two weeks. The 84 films represented span eight decades, beginning with “Bride of Frankenstein” (1935) and culminating in “Avatar” (2009). Highlights from each decade include “Gone with the Wind” (1939), “Casablanca” (1942), “The Killers” (1946), “Sunset Boulevard” (1950), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961), “True Grit” (1969), “The Exorcist” (1973), “Saturday Night Fever” (1977), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980), “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989), “Apollo 13″ (1995), “Shrek” (2001), “Ray” (2004), and “The Dark Knight” (2008). The exhibition highlights all of Hollywood’s major genres, as well as independent, animated, foreign-language, and documentary films.
Included in the first 20 images are the eight that were featured in the key art campaign, which was unveiled in late December.
The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24, at 5:30 a.m. PST in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar® presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.
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Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter influence a decade of blockbusters

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: This is the final entry in a handful of essays that will be dealing with the various trends that were kicked off during the 2001 calendar year, and how they still resonate today.
Yesterday (the 19th) marked the tenth anniversary of the US theatrical release of The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. It was just over a month after the US theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which had debuted with a record-breaking $92 million opening weekend. Debuting with a December-record $72 million five-day haul, The Fellowship of the Ring parlayed superb reviews and splendid word of mouth to break a number of Christmas and New Year’s season records and show off some of the best legs this side of Titanic and The Sixth Sense. These two films, which closed out the year, would directly or indirectly pave the way for the next full decade of would-be blockbuster filmmaking. At last, we had reached a point where basically anything was possibly onscreen if you had enough money and (ideally) enough talent. The culmination of every trend discussed in the prior essays (the gutting of the R-rating, the explosion in opening weekend box office potential, the emergence of overseas box office dominance, the mainstreaming of ‘family entertainment’ etc) was personified in the massive success of these two big-budget fantasy pictures. Whether based on a novel, a comic book, or a theme park ride, big-budget fantasy spectaculars were about to become the dominant tentpole of choice.
I’m not going to spend paragraph after paragraph discussing why Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter resonated with audiences (IE – why they were both so damn good), both because I’ve done so on several occasions and because if you don’t believe it now, this essay isn’t going to change your mind. But the two noted blockbuster films and their respective massive successes had a number of effects, for better or worse. They normalized the $300 million domestic-earner, they basically sent every studio scrambling to find their next fantasy franchise, and they led to what I like to call ‘the trilogy trend’. Obviously this applies to the Lord of the Rings trilogy more than the eight-part Harry Potter series, but what followed in ‘blockbuster-land’ was an incessant need to turn every big-scale picture not just into a series of continuing [...]

This Week In Movies By Pete Hammond – “Puss In Boots”

By Pete Hammond
Hollywoodnews.com: This cat may have the Halloween record in his hat. Despite the East Coast early snows and massive power outtages , Puss In Boots, Dreamworks Animation’s first spinoff of their cash-cow Shrek franchise is meeting DWA boss Jeffrey Katzenberg’s highest expectations with an estimated $34 million for the opening weekend. If it holds on Monday that would be enough to best Saw III’s $33.6 million by just a hair (or whisker if you’re up for puns today). Audience and critics certainly liked what they saw. The sharply-written and animated ‘toon got a nice A- Cinemascore audience satisfaction rating and has scored a Rotten Tomato meter friendly 81% fresh ranking (86% among top critics). Does it deserve the love? Absolutely. Ever since his debut in Shrek 2 in 2004 as a supporting player this sly character voiced brilliantly by Antonio Banderas has proved no pussy. But sometimes when an under-the-title player graduates to starring status the whole delicate soufflé can fall apart. Not this time. Director Chris Miller has made sure this feature is true to the Boots roots. Plus Salma Hayek is a great addition as the declawed but deviously clever Kitty Softpaws and Zach Galifianakis is a joy as the conniving but doomed Humpty Alexander Dumpty.
I’m not sure why there wasn’t more anticipation for this flick when it was first announced but the hip quotient and execution of it certainly seems to have caught critics by pleasant surprise. Banderas does Puss proud by basically sending up his own image in movies like The Mask Of Zorro and there’s a great recurring bit in the film with an interstitial cat whose hand-to-mouth reactions to the proceedings is just priceless comedy. When I spoke to him about three weeks ago Banderas told me he was about to take off on a massive worldwide tour promoting the movie which has the family audience all to itself for another few weeks in the U.S. but will be clawing it out with the likes of Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin in many overseas markets. Banderas is no fool. He knows this Puss has upped his financial booty considerably and reps a career highlight for him as does his current reunion with Pedro Almodovar in The Skin I Live In.
On the opposite end of the scale, Johnny Depp’s [...]

Antonio Banderas attends “Puss in Boots” cat premiere

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Someone made a joke that the Internet is 90% cat pictures, and 10% everything else. You laugh … but then you get a message in your Inbox that convinces you the punch line might be right.
In honor of the upcoming animated comedy “Puss in Boots,” Paramount held a “Cat Premiere” with Antonio Banderas and some feline fans. The names of the famous cats on the red carpet crack me up. Robert Meowny, Jr. Kitty Purry. Leonardo Dicatrio. That, alone, prompted me to post this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCff_6TkFOs
Banderas is a good sport. He knows he’s into something fun and entertaining with the “Shrek” franchise. Plus, this prequel for Puss could be the creative spark this animated franchise has needed.
“Puss in Boots,” directed by Chris Miller, reunites Banderas with Salma Hayek. It will be in theaters on Oct. 28.

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“Puss in Boots” release date moved to October 28th

HollywoodNews.com: Well this comes out of left field, or perhaps not. As you can see above, Dreamworks Animation has shifted the release date for their Shrek spin-off from the plum ‘start of the holiday season’ date of November 4th (where cartoons such as The Incredibles, Monsters Inc, Megamind, and Madagascar 2 all successfully debuted) to the crowded Halloween weekend. What is odd about this is that November 4th was a pretty open weekend, with only Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist and A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas representing competition. But October 28th already has four wide releases – In Time, Anonymous, Johnny English Reborn, and The Rum Diary. Puss in Boots would have likely won the weekend no matter which of these two weekends it chose to debut on, so the question is, ‘why the date change?’.
I have two theories, both of which are PURE speculation (I tossed an email to a Paramount contact and I’ll update if I actually get a response). First of all, I have to wonder if the announcement regarding Mission: Impossible IV’s early IMAX release played a role. If Puss in Boots were promised a certain number of weeks in IMAX, then the easiest way to accommodate both parties (since Dreamworks Animation is, for the moment, still under the Paramount umbrella). The second, and most logical assumption, is merely that Dreamworks felt that the four relatively minor releases (in regards to box office, not necessarily quality) would still be weaker competition than the all-star Tower Heist and the ever-popular Harold and Kumar series. Megamind debuted to $46 million last November, and its presumed that the film took an opening weekend hit from the respective strengths of Due Date (which opened with $33 million) and Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls (which debuted with $19 million).
It’s no secret that Dreamworks thinks that Kung Fu Panda 2 took a hit domestically (it was a $661 million monster worldwide) because it opened head-to-head with The Hangover part II, a film that dominated the young male demos that a big-budget cartoon needs to justify the large budgets (you can’t be a blockbuster just servicing kids). It is reasonable to assume that Dreamworks felt that Harold and Kumar Apologize For the Awful Second Film and/or Tower Heist represent the same kind of quadrant threat that the respective Todd Phillips [...]

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