Links for your perusal, starting with DreamWorks getting a pat on the head from stock analysts:
Dreamworks Animation (DWA) shares received a lift today from UBS analyst Michael Morris, who upgraded the stock to Buy from Neutral, setting a new price target of $50, up from $34. The stock closed yesterday at $40.57. Morris lifted his 2010 EPS forecast to $2.75, from $2.29; the Street consensus is for $2.43.
Morris writes in a research note that the company is “a unique media investment at the start of a strong cycle with no exposure to advertising volatility.” He notes that the company will release five films in the next two years, all of which you are bound to see if you happen to have kids ...
A new Belgian animated feature is, judged by available evidence, receiving enthusiastic reviews:
Every now and then, the movies cough up something so unusual, so bizarrely and confidently itself, that you’re willing to overlook the flaws, which in any case tend to be those of enthusiasm and/or lack of money. ... Let us now add to the roster “A Town Called Panic,’’ which is from Belgium and suggests a fusion of “Toy Story’’ and “Fantastic Mr. Fox’’ as conceived by a pair of 10-year-old boys suffering from raging ADHD and an overdose of maple syrup.
Bloomberg details the ripples caused by Avatar. And how it struggled to get launched:
... [Fox] told us in no uncertain terms that they were passing on Avatar,” Cameron says.
Cameron tried to persuade another studio to get involved. Walt Disney Co. had produced two of the director’s 3-D underwater documentaries, so Cameron invited Dick Cook, then Disney’s studio chief, to watch the clip.
“We loved Jim and would have liked to have worked with him,” says Cook. “He has an infectious love of 3-D that impressed us. Unfortunately, we never got that far.”
The reason: Fox had the first right of refusal ...
Ari Folman's animated followup to Waltz with Bashir rolls out in early Spring:
Just over a year ago it was announced that Ari Folman, director of the exceptional Waltz With Bashir, would next oversee an adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s story The Futurological Congress. The short story, which is only partially being used for the film, is about Ijon Tichy, a man “who is propelled into a world where hallucinogenic drugs have replaced reality.” Now we’ve got the first still from the film, which stars Robin Wright and is called simply The Congress ...
The question is asked:
Does the idea of Pixar - or rather, Pixar's people - moving into live action appeal to you? And do you expect to see Stanton thrive in his new arena, or struggle to make waves outside his natural habitat? Is the wonder of movies such as Up and Wall-E all in the animation, or do you, like me, suspect that these are works of unparalled dynamism and verve, filled with deceptively simple ideas that might just transform the wider film-making world?
The Examiner directs our attention to new stills (one of them up above) from a soon-to-be-released 3-D spectacular:
Just released from Walt Disney Studios are brand new ... photo images plus a brief interview featurette with actor, Johnny Depp, who takes on the challenging role of the Mad Hatter in the upcoming motion picture, Alice in Wonderland.
The epic fantasy-adventure, filmed in Disney Digital 3-D, is one of the most anticipated films of the year and is being released on Friday, March 5, 2010.
Six months ago, in the hallway of Walt Disney Animation Studio's hat building, monitors were showing Margie Belcher's/ Champion's black-and-white movie performance of Snow White. She wore Snow's dress, she had Snow's gestures. She ran through a tacky soundstage forest just like Ms. White did. (Or rather, Ms. White ran just like Marge.)
A lot of this archival footage was new to me, but I thought of it when I watched this:
Cameron and Co. have put together a featurette illustrating the acting process Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver went through [making Avatar.]. It may not be enough to get these folks a Oscar nom but it should earn them more respect in Hollywood ...
(The featurette has been up a while, but I'm slow sometimes.)
Have a joyous and relatively dry weekend.