(theguardian.com) The sixth Marvel Studios movie to cross $600m (£370m) worldwide was dethroned by the Idris Elba thriller No Good Deed, but we all know which one will live longer in the collective consciousness. Guardians of the Galaxy now ranks third after seven weekends and crossed $300m in North America to reach $305.9m, consolidating its status as the highest ranking North American release of the year to date. At this stage in the calendar, it’s a likely bet to become the biggest North American release of 2014, while Transformers: Age of Extinction – far less potent in its country of origin – will round out the year as the top film worldwide on $1.1bn and counting.
These are impressive numbers in isolation, but in the grand scheme of things will probably not save the 2014 box office from dropping against 2013. But watch as 2015 bounces back to become the biggest of all time, thanks to what on paper looks like an unbeatable stack of movies. These things are cyclical and the Hollywood trade press likes to forget this in its stampede to rustle up a little drama on a slow late-summer weekend. Meanwhile, international theatrical box office keeps on swelling. That is good news until it, too, eventually slows down.
Will Avatar Sequels Use New High FrameRate 4K 3D System?
(digitalspy.com) James Cameron's Avatar sequels could use Douglas Trumbull's new system for 4K 3D at 120 frames per second.
The filmmaker and inventor has discussed the new system with Avatar series producer Jon Landau, he told The Hollywood Reporter.
Landau has requested a screening of short film UFOTOG, which is being used as a showcase for the MAGI process.
"I know that Cameron admired Showscan [Trumbull's earlier invention of a large-format high-frame rate projection system] and that he is a huge advocate of high frame rates [HFRs]," said Trumbull.
"The use of HFRs for Avatar would be very appropriate and very successful.
"I don't know if Cameron is interested [in using MAGI for the Avatar sequels]. He's in seclusion writing the screenplay for Avatar. I am talking to Jon Landau, and we plan to have a screening [of UFOTOG] soon."
Trumbull has said that he is in talks with other directors about MAGI.
"It delivers extreme fluidity of motion and amazing clarity with no strobing, no double flickering and a viewing experience that far exceeds conventional movie quality," he said during his keynote speech at the IBC Convention in Amsterdam.
The first 3D Avatar sequel is expected to be released in cinemas by Christmas 2016, with the subsequent movies set for 2017 and late 2018 respectively.
Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana will return for the three sequels, which will start filming in 2015.
Best VFX Oscar Buzz Begins
(indiewire.com) The crafts buzz has already started. As for VFX, "Interstellar" will face stiff competition from Weta's "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," which reaches new photo-real, performance-captured heights with Andy Serkis as simian leader, Caesar. Weta will also have "The Hobbit" finale, "The Battle of Five Armies," boasting the best that Peter Jackson's company has to offer in virtual production wizardry. Other contenders include "Guardians of the Galaxy," featuring the superbly animated Groot and Rocket by MPC and Framestore, "Godzilla" (more MPC greatness), and ILM's "Transformers: Age of Extinction," in which the indestructible Hasbro bots have never looked more powerful and majestic.
But don't discount another potential "Gravity" effect for Christopher Nolan's epic space adventure, "Interstellar," shot primarily in IMAX for maximum impact by Hoyte Van Hoytema ("Her," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"). Judging by the stirring trailers, Nolan has captured the right celestial stuff with Matthew McConaughey leaving behind his daughter and son to find another planet to colonize because ours is dying.
The imagery is stunning for its contrast: There is a barrenness on Earth indicative of a world facing starvation, while glimpses inside the space craft and in outer space look perilous but very organic as well. In fact, it's not surprising that Nolan assembled a modeling unit to stay as practical and as in-camera as possible. And while the wormhole looks like a thrilling light show, the potential alien planets being scouted look alternately glacial and oceanic.
Look for further Oscar potential from composer Hans Zimmer, production designer Nathan Crowley, editor Lee Smith, VFX supervisor Paul Franklin (and Double Negative), sound editor Richard King and re-recording mixers Greg Landaker and Gary Rizzo. All are long-time Nolan collaborators and Oscar winners save for Crowley.
Next Blockbuster You Watch Could be Rendered on Google
(theregister.co.uk) Google has confirmed its gobble of Zync, a cloud-based special effects rendering service.
"Creating amazing special effects requires a skilled team of visual artists and designers, backed by a highly powerful infrastructure to render scenes. Many studios, however, don’t have the resources or desire to create an in-house rendering farm, or they need to burst past their existing capacity," said Belwadi Srikanth, product manager for Google Cloud Platform, which will absorb Zync.
"Together Zync + Cloud Platform will offer studios the rendering performance and capacity they need, while helping them manage costs. For example, with per-minute billing studios aren’t trapped into paying for unused capacity when their rendering needs don’t fit in perfect hour increments."
Zync, formerly Zero VFX, started out in 2009 as a small rendering studio that farmed out computer processing power to film studios. The company has worked on such blockbusters as Star Trek: Into Darkness, Flight, and Transformers: Dark side of the Moon, and claims to have more than 6.5 million hours of rendering under its belt.
"Pairing this history with the scale and reliability of Google Cloud Platform will help us offer an even better service to our customers - including more scalability, more host packages and better pricing (including per-minute billing)," Zync said in a statement.
"With a friction-free, affordable, and elastic rendering solution, visual designers and artists in the industry can continue to do their best work. Yes, we are excited, and yes, great things are coming. But we most especially want to thank our customers, our partners in the VFX software industry, and our phenomenal team for getting us to where we are today."
Terms of the deal and the purchase price have not been disclosed.
The Hulk Says Another Hulk Movie Is Coming
(cinemablend.com) We hope you’re ready for more of The Incredible Hulk, because today’s rumors hint at not only another movie, but a brand new television series as well.
Actor and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno dropped these bombshells at Wizard World Comic Con over the weekend during a brief interview with blog Film Fad. During the course of the chat, the original Green Goliath mentioned that he "think(s) down the road, I think in another year, they’re going to film a solo Hulk movie." He then asked if he thought there’d ever be another Hulk television show, and if there was, who would don the green body paint and purple pants. Here’s Ferrigno’s response:
"Well to tell you the truth, they plan to do a TV series someday, and it will probably be CGI. I don’t think you’ll ever see a human Hulk again. Because with the technology people would rather see something that is a little more animated like CGI."
The catch here is that "someday" part. Hollywood is full of things that might get made "someday" down the road and never come to fruition. We don’t doubt that Marvel and Disney are exploring plans for another Hulk solo project, given that Ang Lee’s version and the Edward Norton take on the character never quite caught on the way Marvel hoped. But the company doesn’t appear to be in any rush to give Bruce Banner and his angry alter ego a third bite at the apple of success, despite what Lou Ferrigno believes.
This is unfortunate, because The Avengers has proven not only that the character is a fan favorite, but that the tandem of Mark Ruffalo and CGI really works well together. The downer is that Marvel is sitting on two fantastic The Incredible Hulk story arcs that would make great films in World War Hulk and Planet Hulk. It’s not hard to imagine a film adaptation of either of those comics becoming a huge hit for the company.
As far as television goes, Pacific Rim filmmaker Guillermo del Toro generated a lot of buzz awhile back when he started talking about a meeting he had with Marvel about bringing the character to television. Del Toro had a script for a new show, and a writer he wanted to bring on board, but the project basically withered on the vine in the wake of The Avengers’ success. Marvel felt the big screen version of the character, as molded by Joss Whedon and Mark Ruffalo, was the right direction and the Del Toro series died before it ever had a chance to live.
Our guess is we may get a Hulk television series at some point, but it could be an animated show on a Disney channel. It seems more likely that we’ll see another Hulk standalone film before we see a regular TV series, because it’s hard to imagine Ruffalo (who is The Hulk at this point) wanting to move from the feature films to television. Stranger things have happened, but at this point, we’d advise you not to get your hopes up for either a new movie or a weekly series. If you love The Hulk, you’ll have to get your fill in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Legacy Effects Confirmed To Be In Charge Of Live Action Robot Tentpole "The Gundams"
(kdramastars.com) The Gundam live action movie trailer was leaked online and a couple of pictures from the alleged trailer has surfaced online.
JapNation AniManga has reported that the Gundam live action movie trailer leaked online and they posted a couple of pictures from the reported leaked Gundam live action trailer as you can see above.
When it was announced that Yoshiyuki Tomino will team up with Hollywood VFX team, Legacy Effects, a lot of people assumed that a Gundam live action movie will be made but unfortunately that wasn't the case as Tomino confirmed that they will work on bringing children's character books to life instead of Gundam. However, it seems that Tomino isn't giving up on the idea of a Gundam live action movie.
Filipino News Website GMA News, claimed that a Japanese production team linked with Legacy Effects have been seen scouting for locations in the Philippines leading to speculation that the rumored Gundam live action movie will be shot in the Philippines.
JapNation AniManga claimed that the Gundam Live action movie would be announced soon and that the Gundam live action movie trailer would be officially released soon!
Source with pics: http://www.kdramastars.com/
Florida Still Feeling the Fallout of Digital Domain Collapse
(browardpalmbeach.com) The Tupac hologram wasn't enough.
Back in 2012, New Times brought you a comprehensive post-op on Digital Domain, a California-based special effects company that grabbed a lot of attention after it resurrected hip hop legend Tupac via hologram for the 2012 Coachella music festival.
But at the same time the company was collecting kudos for the stunt, the company was sinking into financial disaster. Six months later, the company declared bankruptcy. South Florida cities are still trying to pick up the pieces.
This week, Port St. Lucie made a move to do just that. Back in the late 2000s, as Digital Domain was picking up speed, the company made a push to kick-start the film industry in South Florida with a high tech studio in the town -- largely because the company's chairman John Textor has South Florida roots.
It was a disaster.
According to Bloomberg, the city originally borrowed $40 million to build the studio. After Digital Domain went belly up, the city's taxpayers began shoveling $3.5 million annually to pay the debt service -- service the company's rent was supposed to pay in the original plan. No one has been interested in buying the 115,000-square-foot building that was supposed to house 500 employees.
This week, the city announced it "plans to issue $33 million of debt to refinance securities" issued for the project, according to Bloomberg.
In July, the state of Florida launched at lawsuit at against the remaining pieces of the company. The legal action claimed that in the late 2000s the Digital Domain sweet-talked the state out of $20 million in seed money for local operations without leveling about their financial difficulties. West Palm Beach was also screwed over by the company, who secured local money for a film school that went south with the firm.
Chinese-Australian Animation Co-venture Rramps Up
(if.com.au) Shanghai Hippo Animation Design and Australia’s Vue Group are expanding their 3D animation co-venture.
Last December the two entities unveiled plans to co-produce three films with aggregate budgets of more than $57 million.
This week Shanghai Hippo Animation Design CEO Kerr Xu and Vue Group MD Alan Lindsay told IF they will collaborate on four to five films a year. They say they are able to produce 3D animation much faster and far more cheaply than the US studios.
“We don’t need 20 executive producers. We do the character design in- house and I direct, produce and write," Kerr tells IF on a visit to Vue’s VFX facility in Bunbury WA. “We save an awful lot of money.”
The first film from the co-venture, Farm House II - Perfect Friends, will open in 4,500 cinemas in China on October 1. Kerr estimates there will be 15,000 sessions a day for the sequel to Farm House 81, which sees Cluck Norris ruling the roost as a soldier with unique superpowers.
Enemy spy Annie infiltrates Farm House 81 to learn the secret of Cluck's power and uses this knowledge to steal the moon's energy and to morph into the monster Anka, who is intent on destroying Farm House 81.
Kung Fu Style, a comedy-adventure which follows Kung Fu kid Dodo Lee, who dreams of being a star at Oscar Lei’s movie studio but is stuck as a puppeteer in his father’s show, will be launched in January during Chinese New Year, a peak cinemagoing period.
When Dodo encounters superstar Kitty Mo, dreams and reality clash and the pair find themselves in a fight between good and evil orchestrated by the power-crazed Oscar.
The Vue Group handled the VFX sequences for both films and is recruiting the voice casts for the English-language versions.
Kerr aims to conclude worldwide distribution deals for Perfect Friends at the American Film Market in November and says he is weighing offers from US studio.
The next production is The Water Planet, the story of aliens who steal the Earth’s water and a family’s attempts to retrieve it; Kerr says that will be shot in 3D and 4D, the latter involving simulated physical effects which can include rain, wind, strobe lights, and vibration synchronised with the film.
That will be followed by The Galactic Storm, an outer space adventure based on a popular Chinese novel whose English title is The Skeleton Fairy. Kerr likens the narrative to a cross between Star Wars and Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers.
Those two projects will cost almost twice as much as the first three, Kerr says, financed partly by the Western Australia/China Film Fund he set up.
Japan's Anime Industry May See Shift To CGI
(scmp.com) Yasuhiro Yoshiura's Patema InvertedWhen Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement from feature filmmaking in September last year, it was hardly unexpected: the septuagenarian co-founder and resident genius of Studio Ghibli had been retiring and returning for years. But once it became clear that this time he meant it, the tectonic plates in the Japanese animation business shifted, although the tsunami of change has not come - yet.
In July, as it had done almost annually for more than two decades, Studio Ghibli released an animated feature, Hiromasa Yonebayashi's When Marnie Was There. Based on a 1967 children's novel by British author Joan G. Robinson, this film about a life-changing friendship between two girls received generally positive reviews - but its projected box office take of about 3.6 billion yen (HK$262 million) was less than a third of the 12 billion yen earned by The Wind Rises, Miyazaki's last film, released the summer before.
The likely competition to do what anime does, to compete at a more domestic, perhaps even consciously 'Asian' level, is going to come from China
Its disappointing performance, at least by Ghibli standards, has prompted speculation that When Marnie Was There will be the studio's last film, fuelled by a blogger's mistranslation of remarks made by Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki, on a Tokyo Broadcasting System documentary show last month. Suzuki's comment that Ghibli might temporarily shutter its production department while it assessed its future direction became an announcement of the studio's imminent demise.
Despite the corrections that soon appeared, as well as a statement by Suzuki that Miyazaki was thinking about directing a short film, it is now clear Japan's animation industry has entered not just a post-Miyazaki but a post-Ghibli age in the eyes of many. At the same time, however, industry insiders are quick to stress that the anime business is not so much dying as it is changing, even evolving.Stand By Me Doraemon, by Takashi Yamazaki, is a 3D CG reboot of a long-running television series.
"Miyazaki's retirement is important for people at the studio and for the market … but the animation industry as a whole, us included, is not affected," is how Shuzo John Shiota, president and CEO of Polygon Pictures, a digital animation house with a three-decade history, puts it.
One reason: the industry has long expected the 73-year-old Miyazaki - who will be presented with an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement on November 8 - and his 78-year-old fellow Ghibli co-founder and master animator, Isao Takahata ( Grave of the Fireflies; The Tale of Princess Kaguya), to fade from the scene.
For another, the industry, says Shiota, is already "moving in a new direction" towards 3-D computer animation, a direction that Miyazaki and much of the anime old guard have long resisted, favouring instead the traditional, hand-drawn 2D style.
Anime away: The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki's final filmThat change, however, is not coming immediately. Ronia the Robber's Daughter, an animated television series Polygon is making with Miyazaki's son and heir apparent Goro Miyazaki, in co-operation with Studio Ghibli and other partners, is a melding of 3D digital techniques with a 2D hand-drawn look.
But what Shiota describes as "mental barriers" erected by the Japanese audience and industry to full 3D computer animation are eroding. One sign is the enormous success in Japan of Frozen, with the Disney animation earning about US$243 million, the third-highest box office total of any film ever released in Japan.
The all-time leader, Miyazaki's Spirited Away, recorded US$293 million in 2001.
Hayao Miyazaki, father-figure of the anime industry, retired last year.The American film's appeal to its Japanese audience, however, may lie less in its 3D computer graphics (CG) animation than in its popular theme song Let It Go, which was re-recorded in Japanese. "Disney did a great job of adapting the film to the local market and making it accessible," Shiota says.
A more telling indicator of the industry's direction may be Stand By Me Doraemon, a 3D CG reboot of a long-running 2D animated series featuring a robot cat from the future and his bumbling boy companion. Directed by live-action hit maker Takashi Yamazaki ( The Eternal Zero; the Always: Sunset on Third Street series) and Ryuichi Yagi, the film earned nearly US$9.6 million in the first three days following its August 8 release and is now expected to finish with US$50.5 million.
Despite this success, the changeover to digital has been slow, notes Jonathan Clements, an expert on Japanese animation and author of Anime: A History. "It involves massive re-skilling and investment in software and hardware," he says.
Television series Tron: Uprising But the anime industry has also long relied on labour in other Asian countries such as South Korea and Vietnam - especially for the simpler jobs - while keeping the more creative, high-end work in Japan. Now, however, this division of labour is shifting.
As the Japanese master animators who began working in the 1960s anime boom follow Miyazaki into retirement, a market gap is appearing that the so-called "new Miyazakis" - such as Makoto Shinkai (The Garden of Words), Mamoru Hosoda (Wolf Children), Keiichi Hara (Colorful) and Yasuhiro Yoshiura (Patema Inverted) - are only partly filling, despite their critical acclaim.
"The likely competition to do what anime does, to compete at a more domestic, perhaps even consciously 'Asian' level, is going to come from China," Clements says.
The Garden of Words by Makoto Shinkai, one of the "new Miyazakis" "The Chinese animation business has a lot to learn, and much of its output is highly derivative. But it is generating an animation labour base bigger than Japan's every year."
Shiota, however, doesn't believe the Chinese animators will pose a threat to their Japanese counterparts any time soon. "More of what they're doing now is good technically, but it's not original," he says. "I'm sure that someday they'll make something they can call their own, but I don't see it yet."
He contrasts China's relatively regimented social and political system, which he believes stifles creativity, with Japan's more open society. "We get stimulus from a variety of sources," he says, citing everything from manga to cosplay.
But with Japan's population greying and shrinking, the standard industry strategy of appealing first and foremost to the home audience, with the world market taking second place, means steadily losing ground to more globally minded rivals, beginning with Hollywood.
Studio Ghibli's When Marnie Was There disappointed at the box office this year Shiota has positioned his company, Polygon, as a bridge between Japan and Hollywood, with credits that include Tron: Uprising, a series made for Disney Television Animation, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a series produced for Lucasfilm Animation.
His ultimate ambition, however, is to make feature films that he describes as "basically Japanese, but marketable internationally" - like those of a certain studio that's long been the country's anime leader.
As for Studio Ghibli, its future, Clements says, may lie less in feature production, and more in managing the rights of Miyazaki and other studio creators. "Ghibli was lightning in a bottle," he says.
"I think what people forget was just how lucky Disney was that Pixar could show up at the right moment and completely revitalise its output with fresh ideas and fresh technology and real talents.
"Ghibli doesn't have that. Ghibli doesn't have a powerful competitor it can embrace and merge with."
Pixar is Benched for 2014 Oscars
(goldderby.com) With just a few months left on the 2014 Oscar calendar, Warner Brothers' "The Lego Movie" is the early favorite to claim the Best Animated Feature prize, according to Gold Derby's official racetrack odds. But, hey, not so fast: What about Pixar Animation Studios?
Don't forget, Pixar has won the most Oscars for Best Animated Feature — seven — since the category was created in 2001, making it a force to be reckoned with year after year. Surely "The Lego Movie" can be stopped by whatever film Pixar has up its sleeve this year, right?
Who got Best Actor Oscars boost from TIFF:
Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne, ...?
Wrong. Pixar announced last year that it would not have a film ready to go in 2014, making this the first time since 2005 that the animation giant skipped the Oscar derby. (The next Pixar film scheduled for release is "Inside Out" in June 2015, starring the voice talents of Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling.)
With Pixar benched for the 2014 Oscars, the bulk of our predictors are throwing their support to the well-received "The Lego Movie." This animated feature has the backing of 13 Experts, four Editors and most of Gold Derby's Users, giving it first-place odds of 13/8. The current runner-up is "How to Train Your Dragon 2" with 7/2 odds, followed by "Big Hero 6" in third place with 5/1 odds, "The Boxtrolls" in fourth place with 15/2 odds and "The Book of Life" in fifth place with 20/1 odds.
VFX Breakdown For THE EXPENDABLES 3
Visual effects studio Worldwide FX has release a video showcasing the breakdown of the digital effects that they produced in The Expendables 3.
In THE EXPENDABLES 3, Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team come face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill… or so he thought. Stonebanks, who eluded death once before, now is making it his mission to end The Expendables -- but Barney has other plans. Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables’ most personal battle yet.
VIDEO - Take a look: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/
The 10 Most Amazing Things About Laika, the Studio Behind 'The Boxtrolls'
(moviefone.com) A few weeks ago, we were whisked away to the magical land of Portland, Oregon, for the sole purpose of visiting Laika, the animation studio whose dazzling new stop motion confection "The Boxtrolls," opens later this month. As you can imagine, it was downright magical and while we were there, for a few short hours, we tried to soak up all we could from the place – the sets, the people, the vibe – so we relay that special feeling to you. It was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime treat, to the point that we had to actively wonder if we had come down with some incurable disease and they were whisking us there as a dying wish.
While we tried to cram as many anecdotes and notes as we could into our trip, but we were also working (see our adorable interview with Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who voices Eggs, a small child raised by the titular underground gremlins), but we will try to make it feel like you too have visited the wonderful realm of Laika. Hope you enjoy the tour, as we countdown the ten most amazing things about Laika.
Take a look: http://news.moviefone.com/
Oculus CEO Donates $31M To Build VR Lab
(techcrunch.com) Brendan Iribe dropped out of University Of Maryland his freshman year to launch a startup before going on to form Oculus. But now inspired by Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropy and made rich by Zuck’s company buying Oculus for $2 billion, Iribe is donating $31 million to build the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation at University Of Maryland (UMD), plus set up a CS scholarship.
The building will include labs for virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics, computer vision, and artificial intelligence. Iribe tells me he believes the virtual reality industry “is about to completely take off, and to put a building in place that’s largely focused on this…will help inspire a lot of students and incredibly brilliant engineers to become part of the industry and solve the next set of difficult problems.”
The scholarship will be in the name of Andrew Scott Reisse, the Oculus co-founder who was tragically killed as an innocent bystander in a police chase last year.
Along with Iribe’s $30 million for the building and $1 scholarship fund, his mother Elizabeth is giving $3 million to set up two endowed chairs in the school’s computer science department. And Oculus co-founder and chief software architect Michael Antonov is donating $3.5 million to the CS building and another $500,000 to fund scholarships, though unlike Iribe, he actually graduated.
“I dropped out to pursue a dream” Iribe tells me. “But we dropped out and then dropped back in on the local area and set up the company right next to campus. I still established a lot of relationships with my best friends for life at college, and hired one of our professors at the time. I was born and raised in Maryland and attended the public school system. It just felt like the right thing to do to give back to a state school and public school, I’m a really big fan of public education.”
Oculus’ new parent company Facebook’s CEO showed Iribe the way. Zuckerberg famously donated $100 million to the New Jersey public school system, signed the giving pledge to give away most of his fortune, has taught a class a public school near Facebook’s headquarters, and was recognized as the most generous American in 2013 after donating $990 million worth of Facebook stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
Iribe explains “Mark Zuckerberg was a big inspiration for me personally on this. He’s an incredible person and incredible donator”. Iribe cites Elon Musk and Bill Gates’ philanthropic efforts as also driving him to give back to UMCP. “I’m really fortunate to finally be in a place to make these donations and make a difference. Mark was very personally excited about it and supportive.”
Iribe will do some educating himself next week when Oculus puts on its Connect developer conference, where he’ll give the keynote and reveal its latest innovations. The company recently began shipping its DK2 developer kits, and just unveiled the mobile VR rig it built for Samsung which uses the Galaxy Note phablet as the screen.
Full article: http://techcrunch.com/2014/
Warner Bros. Registers Four Superhero-movie DomainNames
(popwatch.ew.com) Warner Bros’ explicit attempt to conjure up their own superhero-movie mega-franchise has led to a summer of tantalizing hints and possible red herrings. Is Dwayne Johnson playing Shazam…or is he playing Shazam’s nemesis? Will the Aquaman movie feel 300-y or Castle-ish? If Guillermo Del Toro talks about a movie, does that mean it’s definitely happening or definitely not happening?
Possible clarity about WB’s DC plans comes from the news, initially reported by TechTimes, that the studio has registered four key domain names that auger big things for some major DC characters. The domains are:
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Currently, going to any of those URLs takes you to Warner Bros. website. But it seems likely that, soon enough, they’ll take you to the homepages of the four movies WB will release after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Wonder Woman always seemed like a natural choice, given all the hullabaloo around the casting of Gal Gadot as the Amazon in BvS: DoJ. And it’s been widely rumored that Jason “Khal Drogo” Momoa will have some kind of appearance in the movie as Aquaman, a character who is totally awesome and completely deserves a spinoff no matter what your douchebag older brother says.
The fact that WB is inching forward on a Shazam movie is probably the most surprising–although Johnson practically talked more about Shazam this summer than Hercules, so maybe it’s not surprising. Keep in mind that these are just domain names and actual announcements could be months/years away. But now we know decisively that Warner Bros. isn’t not making an Aquaman movie.
Judge Grants John Textor Emergency Restraining Stemming from Jackson hologram Controversy
(tcpalm.com) MARTIN COUNTY — A Martin County judge has issued former Digital Domain CEO John Textor an emergency restraining order for protection against a California man who claims Textor stole his patented technology to create a virtual Michael Jackson that performed at an awards show earlier this year.
Full article: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/
Disney Planning New Star Wars Attraction For Paris Park
(forbes.com) Euro Disney, the theme park complex on the outskirts of Paris is planning to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2017 by making major investments including the installation of a new attraction themed to the Star Wars movie series.
It would be the first significant expansion of the Star Wars brand at The Walt Disney Company’s European outpost since the American media giant bought its parent company Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012. The plans coincide with the filming of the seventh instalment of the Star Wars series which is currently underway at London’s Pinewood Studios and is due for release next year.
Euro Disney is Europe’s most-visited tourist attraction with its two theme parks attracting 14.9 million visitors last year. Its flagship Disneyland Paris was the first of the two parks to open and features a Star Wars-themed simulator ride called Star Tours which is now more than 20 years old.
“We are looking at updating Star Tours at the moment,” says Björn Heerwagen, show design and production manager for Euro Disney’s design division which is known as Imagineering “We are looking at rehabilitations of the first gate. It’s been there for 20 years. We want to do some special stuff for the 25th anniversary as well.”
It follows Disney chief executive Bob Iger saying last month that “when we grow ‘Star Wars” presence, which we will do significantly, you will see better bets being made that will pay off for us than were made in the past.”
The design decisions are down to the Imagineers as they are the wizards who create Disney’s theme park attractions. Imagineering was a term coined by Walt Disney and formed from imagination and engineering. Although Mr Heerwagen is an Imagineer, his work is far from abstract. In fact, he is responsible for making Disney’s magic become reality.
“We go through the creative process and we get the attraction up to what we call schematics. I then take over from that point and complete it. I have to make it such that we can actually build the thing. I have to take some crazy ideas and think about how to make them realistic.”
Mr Heerwagen is in charge of 40 divisions which range from animated props, themed paint and special effects to the relatively more mundane fields of graphics, media and video projection.
“I bring all of the stuff in and start the installation process. I make it look pretty, make sure that it stays within the theme and tells the story that we want to tell.” Mr Heerwagen says that the next step is to synchronise everything which sounds easier than it actually is.
As Forbes has reported, the newest ride at Disneyland Paris features cutting-edge trackless simulator cars which move through huge indoor sets themed to the Oscar-winning Disney movie Ratatouille. The cars move in time to the events on giant 3D screens to give the impression that the riders are the size of rats which are being chased through a restaurant. The synchronisation process involves such exotic steps as making sure that fake rats’ eyes flicker from behind crates whilst a smell of bread is pumped in when the ride car enters the pantry scene.
“Then we run the attraction for 72 hours non-stop for reliability before going into soft opening and the grand opening.” Mr Heerwagen adds that he is already planning rides which will open decades in the future and there is good reason for this.
“Ratatouille is a fantastic example. At one point, three months after ground-breaking for Ratatouille we had a very serious question posed to us about moving it somewhere else in the same park. We studied it, we were going to do that and it would have fit. We would have just flipped it. Eventually while we were looking at it they re-looked at some different stuff, re-jigged it and said ‘leave it where it is it’s actually fine.’ We have to look up to 20 years forward because if you take something like Ratatouille, it took five years to make from start to finish.” It goes to show that although the rides may seem like magic it takes more than the wave of a wand to pull them off.
AARDMAN DRIVES UK ANIMATION INDUSTRY INTERNSHIP SCHEME
(toonzone.net) Following the success of last year’s inaugural Certificate in Character Animation, Aardman and The NFTS are running the course again this year to meet the growing demand for animators in the UK.
The exciting three-month Certificate in Character Animation course will be taught by industry professionals and led by Loyd Price,Head of Animation at Aardman (Nightmare before Christmas, Chicken Run, The Curse of the WereRabbit, Flushed Away and Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists).
The 12-week intensive course, a scheme which is part-funded by Creative Skillset’s Skills Investment Funds,will take place at Aardman’s Bristol headquarters and provide the core practical skills needed to become professional animators. The majority of the course is practical with participants working on animation exercises to improve their skills, knowledge and experience. This will also be supported by animation theory. It culminates in a short character animation sequence – pre-planned and boarded – to showcase the skills learnt during the course.
To further enhance the experience, Aardman have secured a number of industry partners who have signed up to offer workplace internships, which is fundamental part of the investment in and development of animation talent in the UK.Following completion of the course, students will be given the opportunity to apply for practical placements within some of the country’s leading animation and post production companies which include; MPC (Life of Pi, Godzilla, Man of Steel, Guardians of the Galaxy), Factory Transmedia, Lupus Films and Jellyfish. Following the 2013 course, Aardman hired five of the graduates in a variety of different animation roles and hope to have the same caliber of graduates again in 2014.
Loyd Price, Head of Animation at Aardman said: “The first course that we ran here proved very successful with many of the students going on to find work, both here at Aardman and at other UK animation companies. We are now starting to see more animated productions happening in the UK, in both stop-frame and CG and we are continuing to develop the course to allow students to take advantage of the opportunities that this will offer.”
-H For Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Zoe Saldana wanted to portray Gamora through makeup rather than computer-generated imagery or performance capture.