Saturday, February 27, 2010
It seems that DC Comics has made considerable progress in catching up with the Marvel franchises in the last couple of weeks...
At least in the production/executives area of development. I'm sure you all heard those rumors of Chris Nolan "shepherding" the Superman franchise that Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood posted. He's as close to the perfect Creative for the Suits at Warner to deal with right now. Nolan is a demigod to the people with power right now... it may not be true, but it's a great rumor. The perfect rumor actually, because it just keeps getting better.
A few days later there was the talk of David Goyer writing the script from Latino Review. Pretty good as he knows a little something about comic book characters. Then there was whispers that he might be writing it with a partner, Jonah Nolan. Again, a great rumor as Jonah is a great writer and he and Goyer have worked together before. Interesting, very interesting. Lastly, the rumors start to mention that Jonah Nolan could not only be the co-writer, but may also be the director as says /Film. Say whahhh?
Would Warner entrust a film that could cost as much as two hundred million dollars to a man that has never directed before. I mean, he's a great writer and he knows the medium, but would they feel safe about giving that much money and responsibility to a freshman? Well, if Chris Nolan were producing and looking over his brother's shoulder to make sure everything was all right, they might. Look at what Disney did with "Tron Legacy." Joseph Kosinski is a first time director and his budget on the 80's sequel is well over one hundred million, some have said it's closer to the two hundred million mark. So it's not without presidence.
Put this together with the rumors that Goyer's take on the Man of Steel being called "The Man of Steel" and that it wouldn't be an origin story. That it would be influenced by John Byrne's version of the Boy Scout. That it would involve Luthor (eh) and Brainiac (yeah!). These are a geek's wet dreams when it comes to rumors. These aren't the kind of rumors where you go, "oh no, not that! Not him/her/it!?" These are the kind of rumors that make you cross your fingers and pray you open up the trades one day to see that it's really happening. If it does happen then Marvel has some serious competition on their hands.
And competition is good...
Thursday, February 25, 2010
So Walt Disney Pictures name dropping (literally) of the "Rapunzel" moniker to "Tangled" has now yielded a logo for the new animated film...
It's done in the same style as the old logo, only with fresh new emphasis on males! Yeah...
Seriously though, I wish this film as much success as it can get. From what I've heard about the screenings so far it may be quite a surprise. The scenes that have been rendered are said to look stunning.
Let's hope the box office for the pic is stunning as well...
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Well last night what arrived on my doorstop would surprise some of you...
Actually, this time it didn't arrive in a nonedescript manila envelope like other secret packages most of the time here at Blue Sky Headquarters. Instead it came as a digital document. Appropriate for a copy of the "Tron Legacy" script, yes?
That's right, the Tron sequel script. Actually, I think it's an early draft of it, as there is only one writer listed on it, Richard Jefferies. Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis' fingerprints are nowhere to be found on this draft. I was thinking of reading it, but I decided I wanted to go into the film fresh with no preconceived notions of what I was going to be seeing. I asked a friend that is a huge Tron-Geek if he'd like to review the script for me. Nada. It appears that he doesn't want to know too much before the actual film comes out in December... I don't blame him. So then I turned to another friend whom I'll call "Tron Unit" to review it. Thankfully, he said yes. He finished it very quickly and then asked if I still wanted his opinions because he could tell that this was an earlier version of the script and not the final one. Yes, I said. I thought that it would give fans the ability to see where they were going in the earlier draft of the script. The differences can be pointed out after you leave the theater this holiday. And with that, here is his review of the Jefferies draft of "Tron Legacy" for your digestion:
Well, I guess he didn't like it. That's fine, as this project has gone through several revisions and writers. The fact that the latest drafts were handled by people that have written "Lost" is reassuring. I've talked to a couple Bothans that say the final script and film itself are significantly different that this version.I will preface by saying that the following review is from what appears to be an early draft written by Richard Jefferies so I've no idea how much of his material will find its way into the finished film and therefore may contain spoilers so read at your own risk.Imagine my surprise when I received an electronic document from Honor Hunter containing a script entitled "TRON 2.0 (aka TR2N)" with the condition that I write a review for Bluesky Disney. How could I refuse? To be honest, I had my reservations. I love the original Tron and having read the script to Star Wars: Episode I months before it was released and having 16 years of anticipation unexpectedly "derezzed" by the time I had reached page 11, I was convinced that the person who gave me the script had punked me with a fake script. Alas, it was the genuine article and all my hopes were crushed in one swift stroke. So I carefully pondered whether or not to potentially spoil any expectations I have prior to Tron Legacy's December 17 release. I was so impressed by the teaser trailer which poised some very interesting ideas and questions and I was blown away by the visual effects and the artistic design that has appropriately evolved to bring Tron into the 21st century. Needless to say I was more than a little curious to find out why Flynn appears in the trailer to simultaneously co-exist between the electronic and the real world.Richard Jefferies' script begins with an intruder attempting to break into Encom's hacker-proof security firewall called X-Net. We discover that the program that has hacked it is Tron who has successfully eluded detection because his programming is so low-res and obsolete that the system doesn't see him to pose any real threat. Tron disrupts the system by causing an overload and is detected by X-Net who responds with intrusional counter-measures known as X-Takks. Tron successfully eludes them and crashes the system but meanwhile, back in the real world, Rush Nortebi, the security system's programmer for Encom is frantic that his perfect security system has been compromised.Encom's CEO Gordon Sinclair has been preparing the media for the corporate launch of Encom's X-Net which guarantee's 100% security protection for any system. When news of the security breach reaches him he tells Rush and his team to find the intruder before product launch or it will turn into a public relations disaster for the company. So Rush along with an advanced projects expert named Megan Randall access the lab of Kevin Flynn who was presumed killed in a laboratory accident some years before. Meg back-engineered Flynn's Quantum Digitizer that breaks down physical matter and digitizes them into binary bits of data. Rumor has it that Flynn survived and was sucked into the computer during the accident. Sinclair and Meg decide to use the Quantum Digitizer to send Rush into the system to find the intruder. As they prepare to send him in, there is another system's breach and the machine loses stability and overloads just as Rush is digitized.Inside the system Rush is mistaken as the intruder by X-Net intelligence program Mega, the counterpart of real-world Megan who detains him and takes Rush to the Central Control Server to be questioned by Plexor, X-Net's CPU and dopplegangert of real-world Sinclair. Rush tells Plexor that he has identified the intruder as Tron and tries to convince him and Mega that he is a User which they dismiss but believe he can help them locate and destroy Tron. To help them they are joined by another program named Krod, another called I-Beem and a gargantuan King Kong-like formatting program called D-Rezz who hurls a massive Romball that smashes data and derezzes it. They go to the ancient Game Grid sector where they intend to lay a trap for Tron who just can't resist a good grudge match.Krod pulls out a light wand and rezzes up his light cycle. Rush dose the same and Mega climbs on. They head for the Game Grid. I-Beem and D-Rezz overlook the horizon of the grid along the rocky boundary as they prepare to lay an ambush for Tron. It isn't long before Tron is racing towards them across the grid on an intercept vector. They rally as Rush and Krod try to lure Tron into the awaiting ambush but Mega unexpectedly grabs the handlebars and veers off course. They jump from the bike before it smashes into the walls. Tron suspects something is wrong and sees D-Rezz hurtling his Romball that clips the the rear wheel of Tron's light cycle and it derezzes. Tron escapes into a tunnel and they pursue him into a maze of exposed memory leaks that derez anything that touches them. Tron hurls over the memory leaks and gains ground to throw his disc at D-Rezz but it is ineffective against the colossal program. D-Rezz hurls his Romball but is knocked away by Tron's disc and it falls into a memory leak and derezzes. Tron moves in for the killshot but Rush blocks him. Tron has no data of this program. He jumps up to a higher level and the others climb up after him but D-Rezz falls into a memory leak and lives up to his name. Rush squares off with Tron and demands that he identity his User. He sends a surging wave of energy zapping through Tron's nanocircuits triggered by entering all nine digits of his encryption code. Tron shuts down and falls into a memory leak and is derezzed. Rush picks up Tron's code disc. Mega is worried.They are quickly surrounded by Finity Fighters and a dark limping figure appears who is revealed to be Flynn whose leg was badly damaged in the lab accident and barely escaped by activating the Quantum Digitizer. Flynn reveals that Mega has been working for him and he tells them that they have been playing for the wrong team and that Plexor's X-Net has taken control of the free system and that back in the real world Sinclair plans to hijack and control every computer system worldwide with his X-Net security software.Meanwhile, in the real world, ATM's, traffic lights, and cell phones simultaneously go berserk causing widespread panic and chaos. Televisions all run the same add for X-Net's security software solution. Soon Encom is flooded with calls from all the major banks, airlines and governments from all nations demanding X-Net's security protection. Sinclair and his executives are pleased.On the other side of the screen, I-Beem has returned to X-Net's central server and is revealed to be a spy for Plexor who tells him their location and that they are being helped by Flynn. He assembles his X-Net cruisers and X-Takk squads to find them. X-Net quickly crashes their hideout. Mega is captured. Plexor reprograms her. Rush is concerned that Mega is under Plexor's control but Flynn assures him that he gave Mega free-will to make her own choices. Flynn's Code Monkey's (no seriously) manage to hack a copy of the Hologon master encryption key to shut down X-Net. Rush is the only one who can power up Tron's code disc and becomes… wait for it… "Tronified."They head for X-Net's power supply. I-Beem rejoins them and switches sides by shaking off his programming. They are confronted by X-Takks and bestial Cybavors. Flynn confronts Plexor. Rush manages to insert the Hologon into X-Net's control cell shutting it and Plexor down for good. The programs are liberated and free once again.Back in the real world, Sinclair is giving his presentation for X-Net when it crashes. Rush re-materializes back in the lab. He is reunited with Megan and… Flynn whose leg has miraculously healed. Sinclair enters the lab furious that X-Net has crashed but when he see's Flynn he knows that his plan has been exposed. Flynn fires Sinclair and orders security to detain him so he can be questioned for charges from the SEC and the Justice Department and rewards the "heroes" by promoting them to executives in charge of the company. Rush kisses Meg.END OF LINE.I have to say that I felt Jefferies' script to be a big disappointment but knowing that this is not the final story as it will appear in the finished film does at least give me some hope and I remain cautiously optimistic that Joseph Kosinski will deliver a finished film that will be deserving of the legacy of Tron. The problem with this script is that it takes the original film's framework and reworks it for the internet generation. It's essentially Tron meets Hackers. Plexor is basically Sark. Encom has been transformed from a worldwide corporation with major military and defense contracts into a diabolical internet software company like Norton Anti-virus. The plot is predictable and cliched. That's not to say that the plot of the original film was much better because I will be the first to admit that it wasn't. Tron creator Steven Lisberger was heavily criticized for having a weak script that hampered Tron's critical reception when it was released but what sets the original film apart was that it was developing an entirely new mythology that had yet to be defined and was nearly a decade ahead of its time. Tron came out in 1982, the same year that cyberpunk author William Gibson released "Neuromancer" and coined the term "cyberspace" for the as-yet-to-be-defined electronic frontier. Tron was attempting to take these abstract ideas and concepts and work them into quasii-religious themes in an allegorical landscape while simultaneously pioneering a revolutionary kind of computer generated visual effects that not only gave the film a distinguished look and feel unlike anything that had ever come before it, but one that would remain solely unique in cinematic history. The techniques employed to create the world of Tron are in and of themselves obsolete and it would be impossible today to replicate the same aesthetic look, feel and nuances that gave Tron its defining characteristics. For example, the random "glitches" that occur throughout the original film were actually a happy accident caused by a problem with printing frames of exposed Kodaliths on film. Those techniques to process the film's visual effects are no longer used in the digital filmaking world. Certainly the technology has changed and advanced to the point where it would be relatively easy for the filmmakers to recreate the exact same environments and design of the original film digitally but have taken it to the next level by upgrading it to meet current 21st century visual standards. By that token, Tron Legacy will attempt to break new visual ground just as similarly as its predecessor did with a technically sub-standard script. I can only hope that Joseph Kosinski was aware of the shortcomings with Jefferies' script and that additional contributions made by writers Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis, Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal have reworked it into something much more sophisticated and philosophically intriguing. The trailer brilliantly hinted that Flynn was somehow able to mentally project himself within the electronic world as his younger-looking program Clu and that the electronic world can somehow interact simultaneously with the physical real world as if it is virtually juxtaposed three-dimensionally over our own. The Jefferies' script makes no allusions to this. My questions raised by the trailer are still unanswered. I can only hope that all will be revealed come December. Hopefully I'm not setting my expectations too high.END OF LINE.
And that trailer coming out soon has been described as very impressive...
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
It appears that Warner, like Disney wants to be more and more into the interactive part of entertainment...
That's why Warner has purchased a majority stake in Rocksteady Studios, the game company that created the fantastic "Batman: Arkham Asylum" game from last year. My favorite PS3 title btw.
Unlike Disney, Warner has been buying well known, super hot companies. Disney under Bob Iger has focused on purchasing talented companies that don't really have that many blockbuster hits under their belts. It's still a year or two out before we know if this strategy is working. Some feel that it would serve the Mouse better to purchase a high profile studio to collect/let rub off the "cache" of that companies titles and experience. There have been rumors for months of a purchase or takeover of EA by either Disney or Apple. Strange that it's those two companies, eh? So far, it's vapor-rumor, but you never know...
Here is the press release from Warner Bros:
BURBANK, Calif., February 23, 2010 – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group announced today the acquisition of a majority stake in Rocksteady Studios, a privately held developer of interactive entertainment targeted at teens and adults, continuing Warner Bros.’ pattern as one of the industry’s fastest growing games publishers.
“Rocksteady demonstrated its professionalism and extraordinary development abilities with Batman: Arkham Asylum,” said Kevin Tsujihara, president, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. “This arrangement is a great strategic fit and we are very pleased to solidify our relationship with this talented development team.”
Founded in 2004 in London, England, Rocksteady specializes in developing action-adventure video games, including Batman: Arkham Asylum, one of the most critically acclaimed games of 2009. The title has enjoyed robust sales, shipping over three million units worldwide, and has garnered numerous industry awards.
“We are proud to strengthen our association with WBIE, a world class publisher that we have enjoyed working with since we began developing Batman: Arkham Asylum,” said Jamie Walker, studio director, Rocksteady Studios. Sefton Hill, games director, added, “The Rocksteady team is very much looking forward to creating more great games based on widely recognized Warner Bros. brands like Batman.”
Warner Bros. continues to grow its games business through key acquisitions, building internal development capabilities, leveraging its global video distribution infrastructure, and focusing on developing major games franchises such as Batman, Mortal Kombat, The Lord of the Rings and LEGO.
“With the successful release of Batman: Arkham Asylum, a franchise that is a key focus for Warner Bros., Rocksteady has proven that they have the expertise to create hit games with mass appeal,” said Martin Tremblay, president, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “We are currently working with Rocksteady on the sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum and look forward to bringing the continuation of the franchise to fans worldwide.”
“We are delighted to be deepening our relationship with London-based Rocksteady Studios, one of the UK's most respected games developers and 2009 recipient of the VGA’s coveted ‘studio of the year’ award,” said Josh Berger, president and managing director, Warner Bros. UK. “Rocksteady clearly has the talent, expertise and technology to make great games and we are fortunate to continue working closely with them as we further expand our games portfolio.”
In 2007, Warner Bros. acquired TT Games, developer of the hit LEGO-based game franchises, including LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Indiana Jones and LEGO Batman, which have wide appeal with players of all ages. In early 2009, Warner Bros. acquired Snowblind Studios to develop its The Lord of the Rings games franchise, with the first title expected to be released in 2011. Most recently, Warner Bros. purchased the primary assets of Midway Games. Midway published the Mortal Kombat franchise, which has sold over 26 million units worldwide, and owned a robust IP catalog and broadly applicable game engine technology. As part of the transaction, Warner Bros. acquired two talented development studios to focus on the Mortal Kombat franchise as well as other key properties.
Hat Tip to Deadline Hollywood.
Pixar is known as a director driven studio, but when you think of those directors it settles in to Lassetter, Stanton, Docter, Bird primarily...
Even Bird was brought in to shake things up with that idea he had called "The Incredibles," and we all know how badly that worked out. Now Lee Unkrich is about to join those ranks later this summer, but who else could take the reigns of a Pixar film and deliver something fantastic, yet original? Is it time to shake things up again now that it looks like there are sequels all around for the next few years?
Well, it seems that a certain animation director has been seen in Emeryville lately and some are wondering is he coming to the Lamp? Could Henry Selick, the director of "Coraline" be planning on shaking up Pixar like Bird did? He could just be visiting friends, but he may be interviewing for a job. After all, even though he's known for stop-motion animation he's not a stranger to CG animation. If you haven't seen his short, "Moongirl" I'd suggest you take a look at it because that could be a preview to his future.
And the Lamps...
Monday, February 22, 2010
Man of science, both mental and physical...
You know I love me some pulp...
I reported last year on Ain't It Cool News' story of Shane Black writing a script adaptation of pulp hero Doc Savage with Anthony Bagarozzi and Chuck Mondry. Now comes news from Variety that he'll direct the film as well. And knowing Black's love of the character is like mine, him setting it as a period film is wondrous. Now if they'll just find the right actor I'll be floating around on Cloud 10.
Cloud 9 is way, way down there...
As the days pass we're going to see more and more Marvel news relating to Disney...
Later this year there are going to be stories and announcements for both television and theatrical as for Marvel characters that the Mouse wants to market for that all powerful "young males" sector of the nation/world. I expect to hear a good amount of stuff related to television (Disney XD, ABC, ect.), but the hunt is on for what properties Disney wants to make into theatrical films out of Marvels massive stable of characters. Everyone wants to know what will they chose to film, but particularly, what will they pick first.
Well, for that you have to go back and examine the distribution agreement between Marvel and Paramount Pictures that was announced just a couple years ago. The agreement was for five films following "Iron Man." With that films success, I'm sure that Paramount was hoping to extend it but with Disney's purchase of the comic book company those plans all evaporated. So what are those five films? First off is "Iron Man 2" released this coming May 7th, then "Thor" will be released May 6th the following year, "The First Avenger: Captain America" July 22, 2011, and culminating in "The Avengers" May 4, 2012. I know, that's four. Well, the fifth one is said to be the rights to "Iron Man 3," which means any hope of seeing a Robert Downey Jr. cast Shell Head film isn't going to happen. So, unless that film gets postponed then the production deal will be done. All other films of those characters and any other characters not leased out to Sony or Fox will be coming out under a Touchstone Pictures or a Walt Disney Pictures logo (or Hollywood Pictures).
So then what? Well, no one knows for sure as of yet, but the other day Allie Grant (Weeds), has a listing up of her bio that mentions she'll be appearing with Michael Shannon Marvel Studios film "Runaways." Now, there is some confusion as to whether this is the Joan Jett bio-pic "The Runaways" simply being confused for this film. No word yet on confirmation of this but there has been talk for sometime about turning this comic into a film. It would seem to attract the young market, particularly males, that Bob Iger wants to go after. I have an idea we'll probably know by summer what the future production slate of Marvel under Disney will be. And I bet some of those choices are going to be surprising and a few even shocking.
In a good way, of course...
Friday, February 19, 2010
Walt Disney Pictures has released the trailer to the documentary "Waking Sleeping Beauty" about the Second Golden Age of Disney Animation...
Take a look at this and tell me you don't want to see this. If you don't, then you're not a fan of Disney Animation like myself. It's a compelling story that doesn't try to hide all the ugly warts and human complexities of business, art the compromise that comes somewhere in between.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
After the "Jewel of Orleans" closes Disneyland will have one remaining store like this that is not the gimmicky merchandise local that seems to choke the atmosphere right out of each land - and that is the Coat-of-Arms in Fantasyland. Selling plaques and shirts with family crests and sabers and swords and such. And I'd bet the Coat-of-Arms days are numbered too!
“Our Dear friends,
We want to extend our thanks for all you both have done to help us over the years. It is with deep sadness that we must tell you that we are closing our Disneyland location. We plan to close The "Jewel Of Orleans" on April 15th. Due to this tough economic time we have no choice but to focus on our two Northern California stores. We will continue to offer sales and special deals on our company website. We also encourage you to check us out on facebook. And please keep in mind that our Home store in San Francisco is not far from the new "Disney" museum!”
It's very sad to see these shops go. I think part of the charm of Walt's early Disneyland was that there were shops that evoked the spirit of each land like the flower or candle shop on Main St., or the old one-of-a-kind antique shop in New Orleans Square among others.
Given the times, reinforcing this kind of shopping that is half entertainment and nostalgia could go a long way. I'd love to see things like a baseball card shop on Main St. 0r an old time hat shop in Adventureland? Walt built the berm around Disneyland to keep the rest of the world out. Now there's Quicksilver and Roxy all over Adventureland, with the same stuff at any mall in America. - and you can buy any merchandise from the parks online anyway. Why not preserve some of the Gems that make Disneyland a diamond in the rough?
Monday, February 15, 2010
It appears that WDAS isn't the only studio with story troubles...
Now, before I begin I want to remind you that all films have bumps in the road on their way to the screen. The storied history "Ratatouille" being the one that comes closest to mind. But believe it or not, many Pixar films had problems in their development and some right up until the final year of production (Toy Story 2 anyone?). So with that mentioned, on we go.
If you were to wonder the halls of the Hat Building right now you'd find something unusual. Something that hasn't happened in a good while. I'd say almost a couple of years. Each week you could usually find John Lasseter walking the halls at least once, more likely twice a week as he hurried from meeting to meeting before he headed off to Glendale or some other meeting. But the last month or so he's not been seen that much. And he won't be for another month or so. See, he's been stuck up in Emeryville working on "Cars 2" so that it's ready for release next year. There have been story problems that have developed late last year and into the new year that needed to be addressed. So as of now, John is riding the film as co-director. Now, will he be listed in the credits as that when the film comes out? Not yet determined if he'll get his name up there with that label. We will see as time starts to move closer to the release date.
This doesn't mean doom and gloom for those that look for signs of the Apocalypse. It means that this film, like many before it, needed John's attention and this is a film that is still almost a year and a half out. Things have to be dealt with and his valuable talent was needed to adjust some of the plot points. All this really means is that the story will be better with him involved. So this is a tune up, not a wreck like some of the e-mails I've gotten were worried about.
Just some routine Lamp maintenance...
Sunday, February 14, 2010
With Disney Animation's attempt to bring in the male side of the audience with the change in "Rapunzel's" name I thought we might look at how to bring in more box office in future releases of old classics...
Here are some suggestions that might make boys give these titles a second look:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - The Tale of the Seven
Pinocchio - The Wood Liar
Dumbo - Flying Circus Freak
Bambi - Deer Hunt
Cinderella - One Night at the Ball
Alice in Wonderland - Down the Hole
Lady and the Tramp - Tramp
Sleeping Beauty - The Curse
The Aristocats - Fat Cats
The Little Mermaid - Under the Sea
Beauty and the Beast - Lair of the Beast
Aladdin - Three Wishes
Pocahontas - Pioneer: The John Smith Story
Mulan - Battle for China
The Princess and the Frog - Spellbound
And I'm sure the list could go on and on and on...
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Nice to see what I'm going to be doing come summer...
Walt Disney Pictures has finally released Pixar Animation Studios third trailer for "Woody & Buzz: The Golden Years" or as most people call it, "Toy Story 3" the movie.
Click over and take a look for yourself...
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
So with the shelving of "King of the Elves" and "The Snow Queen" there are a lot of story artist that are looking for something to do...
And not all of them are looking inside the Mouse. In fact, Jeffrey Katzenberg's house has had a lot of people looking to rent rooms since the end of January.
Like, you ask?
Mark "Rhino" Walton and several others have decided to move over to DreamWorks Animation, not just for the job security that seems to come with a line up of films that look pretty stable, but more money. It seems success can do that to/for people/animators.
Here's to wishing them well, and someday, once WDAS has had a few hits under their belts, wishing them back...
UPDATE: It should be noted that Paul Briggs was mentioned in the original article as having left with Mark and others. This isn't the case and Paul is still at Disney Animation. And I'm very happy to report this correction.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
It appears that MTV Movie Blog talked to Joseph Kosinski about his follow up to "Tron Legacy" for Disney...
He gives some details as to what he wants to leave in and what he wants to discard from "The Black Hole" in the interview. Give it a read.
And yes, it's a remake/reboot not a sequel...
Very interesting rumors reported over at Deadline Hollywood today...
I'm sure many of you have heard the news or what might be news if it turns out to be true. Christopher Nolan, who in my opinion, has made the only Batman films is going to sheppard the "Superman" reboot/remake/redo/unscrew up. The Suits have wisely sought out his advice on the film. A great move for them and the Big Guy himself.
I've seen people labeling this as a darker, edgier version of the Man of Steel. No so, if you look at it as an incredibly intelligent film maker. He "gets" the Batman character, and I bet very much, that he gets Kal-El as well. And this appears to be something he would be doing as a producer, not a director. He's already got one super hero to direct and it won't be the guy with the red cape.
So that means he's probably going to guide the script, possibly hire the writers and possibly have a hand in the decision of deciding on a director. Here's my suggestion. Something many of you have heard me mention before. I think he should take care of both with one choice.
Hire Brad Bird.
We know that Bird's "1906" project is stalled right now. How about you bring him on board as the director and possibly co-writer along with some other screenwriter? He's pitch perfect for this kind of project. And it would make buckets of money. Hear that, Warner? BUCKETS.
Heck, if only Disney had the rights to characters they own, there would be a great Marvel film for him to do: "Fantastic Four." But another studio already has that in play so we won't likely see that under a Walt Disney Pictures or Touchstone Pictures label for a decade at least. As well as Spidey and the Mutants as well. But Warner has a great opportunity here.
Let's hope they grab it, but I have to admit that they've made a great start with this decision on Nolan...
Monday, February 8, 2010
The second part of /Film's Frogumentary series is out...
Take a look at it and enjoy the loving craft these animators of hand-drawn art work so hard to create.
Sooooo much talent coming from such a little pencil...
Saturday, February 6, 2010
I alluded to some of this in"The Killing of a Queen by a Princess" post the other day...
Yes, it looks like "Rapunzel" will get a name change. I've known about this for the past couple of weeks. And this along with some other news has sort of been disappointing when it comes to the animated world that we all love to talk about.
The marketing guys have gotten together with the Suits and Ed and John and have determined that boys being boys, well... they won't go see a movie that is perceived to be a "girlie" pic. Now, I may think that there might be some truth to what they're saying, but I certainly don't believe wrapping it up in that nice little bow explains fully the box office disappointment of TPATF. In fact, one of the main problems I believe happened with this film is that the word "Princess" in the title made many a girl expect to see more, not less princess and some of them were disappointed that she spent so much time as a frog. They did, after all, come to see a princess movie. So I think that the perspective may be somewhat off here.
One important thing to remember is that just because the name changes doesn't mean the story does as well. From everything I've gathered, the film itself is quite good, entertaining and gorgeous to behold. The last couple of screenings up on reels have improved the story which Lasseter is very happy with. So when it comes out in theaters it'll have to stand on the tale that is written, not the name on the screen. There are several factors that also seem to have worked against Frog as well. The holiday release date which is so jam packed as well affected this (Pixar in my estimation gets the more desirable summer openings).
Now another thing I want to address is the strategy that Ed and John came in with and how it was/is noble and was/is flawed. Now, that is changing and hopefully it's a good thing. But when they came in the plan was to get the division up and running as quickly as possible. John went through the entire list of development projects and shelved some while altering others and looking for new stories in the process. The original strategy was to take what Disney is known for (Princess films, fairy tales, classic characters) and show that you can make a solid, well crafted film with a good story. The problem with many of those stories in the past is that they used all these characters in crappy stories. Ed and John felt that making quality stories using a tradition Disney staple would help get the company back on track and then after showing that they would move on to other, original material (like the Lamp). After TPATF this idea has been scrapped and the focus will just be on creating good stories as it appears fairy tales are perceived as "old hat" and there is a need to "just tell good stories." Ed and John thought that focusing on these stories would help out the marking department and other consumer divisions that continually want to focus on Disney's "Brands." Now, the feeling is that the marketing department will have to bend to the story not the other way around.
Back to Rapuzel, I'm sure most of you have heard about the names that are up for this new title change. I personally like none of them, although the "Tangled" one is in the lead. I just pray that "The Thief in the Tower" doesn't wind up wining the prize. Again, it doesn't mean the film will be bad, I happen to think "The Great Mouse Detective" is a wonderful film despite "The Basil of Baker Street" being the better and original title. I don't know why they don't just take part of the original title and call it that... "Unbraided" as in "Rapunzel Unbraided," which was the actual name of this project. We'll find out about this very soon, btw. And by that I mean VERY soon. The only way that the title will remain the same is if Ed and John decide against it and right now they're part of the group that is working on this name change. If it does happen, let's try and makes sure the box office results of this film are different from TPATF as well. Come November, we'll all get to put our voice and dollars into this process. Only then will we find out if this tangled web ends happily everafter.
Time will tell...
Friday, February 5, 2010
Those of you that happened to have really enjoyed "The Princess and the Frog" like myself should head over to /Film...
They've put together a very nice documentary of the making of the film from videos of their visit to the Hat Building of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Great stuff. Go take a look and see what goes into making one of these films.
With more to follow...
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Let me just say that I've been in a bad mood over the past week so I'm sorry if it's bled over in to the posts...
Yes, it's been related to Disney and it's not just this news. But it appears that for the second time the Snow Queen has been put on ice. There are several factors that were/are the reason behind this. One is obviously story, as it just wasn't coming in a satisfactory way, but also the "Royalty" problem. With all the hub bub going out now about "The Princess and the Frog," box office and the lack of boys wanting to see "girlie" films has had a cooling effect on moving forward with another Princess-type story. I can tell you that were it to have gone forward, it wouldn't have been called Snow Queen.
Hey, she may not be a princess, but being a queen is twice as bad, right? That'll keep those young boys from buying tickets. After all, remember back in the 50's when we saw hundreds, thousands of boys running screaming from the the theaters when they saw the words "Cinderella" on the screen. I mean, they didn't realize they were tricked into seeing a princess movie. And don't get me started on "Snow White" since we know that males were decidedly absent from that film. Marketers being the brilliant men that they are might be having a little too much sway in those names, but it's not the only reason that the film won't be coming out in 2012.
But it is the stupidest reason...
It appears that Walt Disney Pictures is moving forward with a sequel to "Enchantment" finally...
There was talk before it even came out about moving quickly to have a sequel ready to go. But despite the fact that the film was a hit, it turned out to not be the blockbuster that Disney was hoping for(Budget: $85 mil, Domestic: $127.8 mil, International: $212.7 mil). So they shifted into slow... then neutral.
Finally, it looks like things are starting to move forward. Jessie Nelson has been hired to write the script and Anne Fletcher has signed on to direct. The original producers Barry Josephson and Barry Sonnenfeld are again on board, but original screenwriter Bill Kelly and original director Kevin Lima sadly won't. It appears that there are looking for a late 2011 release date, but being as there isn't a script yet, that plan is tentative. The cast are expected to return as their contracts include sequels.
Hat Tip to /Film.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Tokyo DisneySEA has released the first artwork from the Japanese version of "Fantasmic!" today...
When we first reported about the nighttime show back in October, it was confirmation of a new show that we reported back in February. Originally, the OLC was going to bring in a clone of "World of Color," but eventually decided that Disneyland's show was a better fit for their Second Gate.
Naturally there'll be differences...
New and different animation will be used, the building structures used near the Rivers of America aren't available in TDS so an entirely different structure will be used. If you notice the artwork there is a mountainous facade in the bay with the walking brooms from "Fantasia" dancing around it. An similar electronic version of Maleficent will be used and water effect will be used more across the more spacious water-filled area. It'll be interesting to see this when it debuts in April of next year.
The tenth anniversary celebration of DisneySEA will a sight to see. DCA on the other hand will be a construction site. In Tokyo they just keep expanding and here we just keep rebuilding. I'll be glad when we can start again on firm footing. Once 2012 comes around we'll be back to square one.
Right where the Tokyo Disney Resort was a decade ago...
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Well, since the Oscars came out with their nominations today I thought I'd put in my picks...
Red will be who I think will win and Blue will be who I think should win.
Jeff Bridges, CRAZY HEART
George Clooney, UP IN THE AIR
Colin Firth, A SINGLE MAN
Morgan Freeman, INVICTUS
Jeremy Renner, THE HURT LOCKER
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Matt Damon, INVICTUS
Woody Harrelson, THE MESSENGER
Christopher Plummer, THE LAST STATION
Stanley Tucci, THE LOVELY BONES
Christoph Waltz, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
Sandra Bullock, THE BLIND SIDE
Helen Mirren, THE LAST STATION
Carey Mulligan, AN EDUCATION
Gabourey Sidibe, PRECIOUS
Meryl Streep, JULIE & JULIA
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Penelope Cruz, NINE
Vera Farmiga, UP IN THE AIR
Maggie Gyllenhaal, CRAZY HEART
Anna Kendrick, UP IN THE AIR
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
FANTASTIC MR FOX
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG
THE SECRET OF KELLS
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
FRENCH ROAST, Fabrice O Joubert
GRANNY O'GRIMM'S SLEEPING BEAUTY, Nicky Phelan & Darragh O'Connell
THE LADY AND THE REAPER, Javier Recio Gracia
LOGORAMA, Nicolas Schmerkin
A MATTER OF LOAF AND DEATH, Nick Park
BEST WRITING (Adapted Screenplay)
DISTRICT 9, Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell
AN EDUCATION, Nick Hornby
IN THE LOOP, Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci & Tony Roche
PRECIOUS, Geoffrey Fletcher
UP IN THE AIR, Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turne
BEST WRITING (Original Screenplay)
THE HURT LOCKER, Mark Boal
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, Quentin Tarantino
THE MESSENGER, Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
A SERIOUS MAN, Joel & Ethan Coen
UP, Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter. Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy
AVATAR, James Cameron
THE HURT LOCKER, Kathryn Bigelow
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, Quentin Tarantino
PRECIOUS, Lee Daniels
UP IN THE AIR, Jason Reitman
THE BLIND SIDE
THE HURT LOCKER
A SERIOUS MAN
UP IN THE AIR
Walt Disney Pictures has released the first official pic of Jeff Bridges in "Tron Legacy" as the famous Kevin Flynn...
Nice to see it coming together.
Now, about that teaser that's coming out...