Sunday, May 04, 2008


An abreviated roundup of animation news, starting with Sigourney Weaver's enthusiasm for the oncoming hit Wall-E.

SIGOURNEY WEAVER is back in outer space ... as a ship's computer in Disney's new Pixar Animation Studios film, "WALL-E" ...

"I think it was given to me because Andrew Stanton loves science fiction and is such a fan of the 'Alien' movies," says Weaver. "And he thought it would be funny after having such an important computer mother in 'Alien,' if I played the ship's computer. I'm playing such a small part, but it's such a great movie to be a part of, I'd play the wastebasket" ..."

In the "Where are they now?" category, The Age in Australia answers the question "Whatever happened to Gumby?"

The original trippy green guy, Gumby, is enjoying a revival ... Debuting on the Howdy Doody Show in 1956, Gumby's adventures in Toyland and his battles with the nefarious Blockheads, have become part of popular consciousness. He kept going for 40 years, from the original episodes to a kitschy revival in the '80s and, finally, to the feature-length Gumby movie released in 1995.

At 86, [Gumby creator} Art Clokey is now ailing, his speech and mobility affected by strokes in 2005, and so [son] Joe runs the Gumby empire ... "When you own a character like Gumby, it's hard to weave a deal that doesn't have somebody swipe Gumby away forever," Clokey says. "And we want to keep Gumby in the family."

Clokey Studios is now in pre-production for another Gumby movie and TV series. One has to wonder, though, how Gumby's classic stop-motion animation style will translate into the dazzling, 21st-century CGI world ...

Animation Magazine has a dandy interview with Batman Gotham Knight writer and story editor Alan Burnett:

From a visual point of view, this is the most stylized Batman that’s come out of Warner Bros.,” says Burnett. “What they’ve done is really eye-catching, and it truly expands his world. Their visualization of Gotham City is stunning, and it’s very interesting to see how they’ve envisioned Batman, his environment and his action and movements" ...

“I’ve always liked Deadshot as a villain, and I really like stories with assassins,” Burnett explains. “The fact that they’re killers, and what they do has impact, automatically heightens the energy of the story. For my segment, I think the first Deadshot murder is quite good—there’s a lot of eye candy within the cityscape. The artists added fireworks and balloons and a lot of interesting elements to what ultimately is a cold-blooded murder.”

While on the subject of the Brothers Warner, it's good to know that Kids WB! lives ... if only on the internet:

Warner Bros has unveiled two new Internet destinations including, a personalized video-on-demand network, and -- both sites offering youth-oriented entertainment ...

Destination which has been designed for children aged 6 to 12 years, will offer a collection of animated characters such as Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo, and DC Comics heroes like Batman at a single online destination. Typically, it will unite Warner Studios libraries of animated characters and programming, including Warner Bros Animation, Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera, and DC Comics. The site will feature games, videos, prizes, and original programming. It will also enable kids to interact with these iconic characters using tools to personalize and customize them ...

This must be that "new media" that everyone is talking about.

Let's end on a happy note: DreamWorks Animation better-than-expected profits!

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. said Tuesday that its first-quarter profit surged 69% on solid DVD sales for "Bee Movie," "Shrek the Third" and its earlier films.

The Glendale company, best known for the "Shrek" franchise, reported net income of $26.1 million, or 28 cents a share, versus $15.4 million, or 15 cents, a year earlier. Analysts had predicted profit of 22 cents a share on average, according to Thomson Financial.

DreamWorks shares slid 49 cents to $25.74 before the earnings release, then rose nearly 5% to $27 in after-hours trading.

Revenue rose 67% to $156.6 million, thanks partly to television and DVD revenue from 2005's "Madagascar" and "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit," as well as 2006's "Flushed Away."

Use the rest of your Sunday wisely and well.


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