Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Weekend Links

Can you believe it? Another year gone by and Cartoonists Day has sped past once again! Meanwhile...

Bart Simpson's big-screen scene of (almost) full frontal nudity hit the news circuit -- both print and television -- last week. News Corp. knows as well as any company that you can't buy publicity like this for most cartoon characters.

A nice, in-depth article on the technology of the new 3-D system "Real D," and how full dimension movie-going will be the rule in a few years:

If we were to tell you that a revolution in cinema — one that’s potentially as profound as the advent of sound or colour — was not just on the horizon, but already sitting in hundreds of theatres around the United States and indeed the world, what would you say? If we were to tell you that these cinemas — kitted out with new technology and the content to showcase it — were merely the first waves lapping against the 21st century’s multimedia shores, heralding a tsunami of support from filmmakers, studios, production houses and theatre owners, what would you say?

There is indeed a revolution in cinema taking place. It’s quietly slipped under the radar of most technophiles, beginning its assault on the way we consume media clothed in thoroughly unassuming garb — the Disney Digital 3-D film, Meet the Robinsons. Yes, we’re talking about 3-D. And no, we don’t blame you for being skeptical. Most people in their mid-20s or later think of 3-D movies from the old school perspective — goofy red and blue coloured glasses, strained eyes, possible migraines. And most importantly, a so-so 3-D effect. No more.

3-D is back, packing sophisticated, highly refined, and most importantly, affordable technology courtesy of a company called Real D, and it’s here to stay.

And DreamWorks Animation stock is on a roll, what with the solid sales numbers for last year's Over the Hedge. And of course, this yeat's upcoming Shrek the Third isn't a drag on numbers either:

"In what was a relatively quiet quarter, our library of titles continued to perform well especially in the home video market, with 'Over the Hedge' performing even better than we had expected," commented Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation's CEO. "This is an exciting time for all of us at DreamWorks Animation. With two strong films set to be released in 2007, we are all hopeful that this is the start of a great year for our company and its shareholders."

On the labor negotiations front, SAG and the WGA are working more closely together (although AFTRA seems to be, ah, sort of the ugly orphan...)

In another sign of strengthened relations between the guilds, SAG for the first time has created a committee to liaison with the WGA before and during writers' contract talks with the studios.

As usual, SAG also will send an observer to sit in at the WGA's talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, set to commence July 16.

But even as the cozier relationship between those guilds suggests heightened labor solidarity for the impending contract season, it's worth noting that AFTRA wasn't consulted on the new SAG advisory committee, according to well-placed sources. Last month, the performers union was excluded from a strategy meeting held between representatives of the WGA and SAG.

Finally, Daryl Cagle remembers "National Cartoonists Day," which happened this weekend (may 5)...except nobody much remembers that CD is supposed to happen then:

Some readers will remember when most of the newspaper comic strips touted Cartoonists Day. As a cartoonist, I love the idea of having my own day where my fans shower me with gifts and adoration -- in fact, that was pretty much the idea behind Cartoonists Day. The date was chosen because the first recurring character in American newspaper comics, the Yellow Kid, first appeared in print on May 5, 1895. Cartoonists are suffering from a painful transition now as newspapers decline and their traditional markets for gag cartoons and advertising work suffer a prolonged slump. We can cheer Mom up on Mothers Day, make the secretary happy on Administrative Professionals Day and feed the government on Tax Day -- even trees and flags have their own days -- why not make long-suffering cartoonists happy with their own day?

The first Saturday in May is also “Free Comic Book Day,” where comic book stores join in a promotion to give away comic books and which happens to fall on May 5 this year. This is also Cartoon Appreciation Week. The stars are aligned for cartoonists this Saturday.

Have a restful Sabbath.


Anonymous said...

With the price of projectors and home theater systems being so affordable I am awaiting the day when you download the movie the day it comes out. Iger had it right and its been tried a couple of times.

The theatre experience is too expensive and for a myriad of other reasons too risky from focus to people issues. the attendance will continue to decline regardless of the tricks they try.

Give me the same day download.

Anonymous said...

Five years ago, I was on a panel with the L.A. County Bar Association where a panel-member stood up and talked about music downloads.

He said that the old way of delivering music -- CDs sold in brick-and-mortar stores -- was over. That the music companies had to find themselves a new business model because suing kids for downloading music for free wasn't going to preserve the old "$16 per CD" way of doing business.

He was right. Trouble is, the music companies have tenaciously hung on to their old model, and every year CD sales decline.

The same thing will happen -- is happening -- in the movie biz. Movie theatre attendance has declined since the dawn of television. The big difference now is there are a lot more entertainment venues than just teleivision.

Movie companies, like record companies, will have to adopt to the new delivery systems or they won't survive. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

"Movie theatre attendance has declined since the dawn of television. "

He writes this on the day that Spidey brings home 148 million for a non-holiday weekend.

The number of movie tickets sold has been increasing steadily over the past few decades. Not just the price of tickets or the total revenue. Butts in seats are increasing, not decreasing.

Codgers like us might love our home theater.

But the movie theater has got one thing that no home in America's got:

A place for teens to escape their parents.

As long as there are people old enough to want to escape their parents for an evening, and too young to get into a bar, movie theaters will exist.

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