Friday, August 03, 2007

The Weekend 'Toon Linkage

Another end-of-week linkfest to animation you can use! (or maybe not).

Animation Magazine details DreamWorks's and Paramount's plans for the next Shrektacular:

DreamWorks Animation and Paramount Pictures have already staked out a release date for the next installment in the hugely successful Shrek series. Currently in development under the working title The Next Shrek, the pic is currently slated to hit theaters on May 21, 2010. A mid-may opening served Shrek the Third quite well as it opened to $121 million on its way to a worldwide gross exceeding $718 million.

Given the tremendous box-office success of the last three CG-animated fractured fairytales, it comes as no surprise that the DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has confirmed that there will be a fifth Shrek installment as well. Shrek the Third proved critic-proof as it raked in the dough despite lukewarm reviews...

From Animation World Network comes this sad story (no link; the whole story is below):

Growing production costs in India have forced Japan's billion-dollar animation industry to look elsewhere for outsourcing cartoons, including Thailand, reports THE ECONOMIC TIMES.

Shuzo Shiota, ceo of Polygo Pictures, one of Japan's largest computer-animation studios, was in Bangkok last week to brief Thai entrepreneurs on the outsourcing opportunities awaiting them in Japan's 3D cartoon industry, which reported revenues of 1.4 billion yen (around $2 billion) in 2005, according to THE NATION.

Shiota said, "a huge number of Japanese animators," were now outsourcing work to India, but rising costs were forcing the industry to look elsewhere.

"With the higher production costs there, between 25-30% more expensive every year, Japan is looking for other possibilities," said Shiota. Thailand and China were among the most likely options, he said.

Daily Variety reviews the new documentary on Pixar:

Leslie Iwerks' "The Pixar Story" charts the company's rise to infinity and beyond, so to speak, and who better to chronicle the journey than the Oscar-nominated granddaughter of animation pioneer Ub Iwerks? Though a talking-heads retrospective by nature, pic boasts not only all the right heads (from the three Pixar principals -- John Lasseter, Ed Catmull and Steve Jobs -- to Michael Eisner and honorary godfather George Lucas) but also plenty of animated eye candy from Pixar itself, including early shorts and concept art...

...In retrospect, it's easy to mistake Pixar's success as savvy planning on the part of Lasseter ("talented artist"), Catmull ("creative scientist") and Jobs ("visionary entrepreneur"), but the docu goes a long way to remind just how remarkable the meeting of these three minds proved. After all, even Lucas, who developed Pixar as the computer-graphics arm of his own filmmaking operation, decided to cut it loose before the division had revealed its true promise.

Speaking of Pixar, has an interview with the Emryville studio's Andrew Stanton up and on-line:

"...I've watched people watch Luxo, Jr. for almost 15 years now again and again when they come to Pixar, it fascinates me that I still get caught up in it. There's something about the fact that it doesn't have a face; you treat it as an appliance first, not as a character with gloves and hands and stuff, that just makes you really invest even more in it than you would a different kind of character..."

Then there is this interesting summary of new animated shorts shown at the Animation Showcase at Free Cinema Orange, located at the Orange County of Museum of Art.

Forbes Magazine had a preview of Disney corporate earnings that came out last Wednesday (August 1):

Wall Street expects Disney to earn 55 cents per share on revenue of $9.04 billion for the quarter ended in June, according to a Thomson Financial analyst survey. Disney did not issue specific guidance.

ANALYST TAKE: Logsdon estimates profit of 52 cents per share and revenue of $9.1 billion.

He said the relative poor performance by "Ratatouille" is caused by a glut of computer-generated animation movies.* "A flood of output is saturating the market," he said in a note to investors.

(* Which means what? Given the success of the hand-drawn Simpsons Movie, that it's back to 2-D?)

And here's the Reuters report on Disney's financials report after the rollout:

Disney, which runs broadcast, movie entertainment, theme parks and consumer products businesses, said its fiscal third quarter net income from continuing operations rose to $1.2 billion, or 58 cents per share from $1.1 billion, or 51 cents per share a year earlier.

So Disney beat forecasts...and Iger gave praise to Ratatouille, probably because the stock analyst above dissed it...

TAG toots it own horn by linking to the Variety story about its new contract with Imagi USA.

ASIFA's Animation Archive has some great Virgil Partch cartoons up...

Warner Bros. Animation rolled out some of its new product at the recent Comic-con...

Warner Brothers animation had a lot to show on Friday at Comic-con, with clips from new seasons of both the Emmy-winning "The Batman" and a revamped "Legion of Super Heroes," all moderated by TV Guide's Rich Sands...

Finally, Bill Mauldin's WWII cartoons of Willie and Joe are being collected in a two volume set:

More than 600 of Bill Mauldin's World War II cartoons -- many never reprinted before -- will be collected in a two-volume set that Fantagraphics Books is publishing this February.

"Willie & Joe: The WWII Years" totals 650 hardcover pages. It's edited by Todd DePastino, whose biography of the cartoonist -- "Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front" -- is also slated to be published this February by W.W. Norton.

Have yourself a vigorous and robust weekend.


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