Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Usual End-of-Week Animation Links Carnival

Fox is not amused. The Simpsons family has its new movie hitting the multiplexes in July, but News Corp. is having its temper tantrum now about a Simpsons' spoof that it doesn't much like:

Not everyone finds funny a new Internet parody of Fox’s long-running animated series “The Simpsons” with O.J. Simpson in the starring role.

Lawyers for 20th Century Fox have sent letters to video hub requesting that they remove "The O.J. Simpsons," three animated clips that reimagine the Fox series starring the former football star. Broadcaster Inc. is reviewing Fox’s demand but noted Friday that fair-use doctrine protects parodies.

And on the Shrek front (which is wide and deep on Shrek's opening weekend), Wall Street is watching intently as the Big Green Ogre works to make his third outing a third lucrative outing:

Los Angeles, May 16: "Shrek the Third" will likely capture the box office throne this weekend, but Wall Street is closely watching to see whether the green ogre's reign over ticket sales may be cut short by pirates.

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. sandwiched the release of the third installment of "Shrek" between "Spider-Man 3," whose USD 151 million debut on May 4 smashed records, and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," whose predecessor held the previous opening weekend record.

The Motley Fool also muses on Shrek the Third's box office prospects, and points out the other animated features which will be rolling out behind it:

...June...has a pair of highly promoted computer-animated films on tap. Sony's "Surf's Up", about surfing penguins, and Disney's "Ratatouille", about a rat who wants to become a chef, will eat away at the inked entertainment dollar. Ratatouille opens at the end of the month, but it's the second Pixar release to come out since Pixar became a wholly owned Disney subsidiary. The Disney-Pixar project Cars was last year's top-grossing animated flick.

The Daily News has a piece on the newest crop of Cal Art students, jockeying for job positions in the ever-changing animation industry:

VALENCIA - Graduation is show time in the CalArts animation program, with students vying for studios ready to hire them...

To its credit, CalArts has a long list of alumni who have graduated from its animation programs and done more than just find paying jobs in the industry. Tim Burton is virtually a cult figure; Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise co-directed "Beauty and the Beast"; Craig McCracken created "The Powerpuff Girls"; John Lasseter became an executive at Pixar after having directed both "Toy Story" movies and "A Bug's Life."...

The year culminates with a boisterous marathon showing of all the students' animation shorts. Students down alcohol and cheer each other on at the "open show." Then comes the "producer's show," when only the best shorts are showcased and students dress up to hobnob with studio execs - another stepping stone to a potential job.

"It's like the open show is the bachelor's party and the producer's show is the wedding," said student Dimitri Frazao...

I remember in the nineties, animation shops hired Cal Arts graduates by the truckload, many way before graduation...

In the Land Down Under, Animal Logic is signing a long-term partnership deal with Warner Bros.:

Through the deal, the two companies will develop and co-produce a slate of animated feature films. Immediately under the deal, three projects will be put into the development pipeline—the titles of which will be announced in the coming months. Warner Bros. Pictures will have worldwide distribution rights for all films produced through the deal.

Newer animation studio Imagi (based in Hong Kong, but with a satellite studio in Sherman Oaks, California) is shooting to have a new feature ready every eight months:

Imagi Animation Studios has pledged to deliver a computer-generated imagery (CGI) animated film to movie audiences every eight months. Since that process typically takes 18 months now, the studio knew it would have to give its storage environment a proverbial shot in the arm if it was to have any chance of hitting the self-imposed deadline.

To shorten the production process so dramatically, Imagi’s IT managers knew they needed a technology that could alleviate storage bottlenecks and improve substandard system performance caused by the constant accessing of tens of thousands of files in the digital animation rendering process.

And we'll end as we began, with the Yellow Family...and it's 400th series episode:

It's the longest-running comedy, in terms of years, in TV history, reaching its 400th-episode milestone on May 20 (the Federal Communications Commission-baiting instalment You Kent Always Say What You Want, which finds newsman Kent Brockman locking horns with Ned Flanders over alleged indecency).

Only one other TV comedy – The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, with 435 episodes – has produced more segments. Already renewed for Season 19, Simpsons will tie all-time series champ Gunsmoke if it gets renewed for a 20th, which is thought to be likely but hardly a certainty.

Have a relaxing weekend.


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