EW Reports: New Muppet Show Will Be A ‘Mockumentary-Style Soap Opera’

74Entertainment Weekly has a few new tid-bits regarding ABC’s upcoming Muppets revival. On the plus side: “The project is a mockumentary-style series that goes deeper into the Muppets’ personal lives…[and] will be shot…like Arrested Development and The Office.” Sounds cool! On the negative side: It’s being produced by Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady and Anger Management writer-producer Bob Kushell, and they’re “planning a series that will go deeper into the soap-territory that is the trademark of ABC’s biggest hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.” Sounds like…we’ll have to wait and see.

LEGO Movie Release Dates

tumblr_n0t30xkmu31qzyu6ho2_500The Hollywood Reporter has posted an updated list of release dates for Warner Bros.’ upcoming slate of LEGO movies: The LEGO Batman Movie – Feb. 10, 2017; The LEGO Ninjago Movie – Sept. 22, 2017; The Lego Movie Sequel – May 18, 2018.

I’m super excited for the Batfilm and The LEGO Movie Sequel, but I’ve yet to hear much of anything about Ninjago. Anyone know anything?

‘When Marnie Was There’ U.S. Trailer

Quiet, mysterious and brimming with gothic novel tropes, When Marnie Was There is the newest flick from Studio Ghibli. It was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who previously helmed Ghibli’s The Secret World of ArriettyWhen Marnie Was There will be released on 5/22 in NYC and L.A., with a nationwide roll-out soon thereafter. For lots more info about the film, click here.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ & ‘Inside Out’ Co-Writers May Pen ‘Captain Marvel’

captaHR reports: “Nicole Perlman, who co-wrote Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy, and Meg LeFauve, who co-wrote Pixar’s upcoming Inside Out, are in negotiations write Captain Marvel, […] the company’s first female-driven movie. The project…has a release date of July 6, 2018. No director is involved at this stage.”

Related: Does The ‘Avengers Playset’ Spoil A Capt. Marvel Cameo?

China Launches Mini Marilyn. I Retaliate.

m4China’s DMG Entertainment and America’s own Authentic Brand Group have announced the launch of Mini Marilyn, a chibi-style take on Hollywood’s most enduring fairy tale of woe. According to the official press release, “Mini Marilyn™ is envisioned as the first international brand icon of the 21st Century and a symbol of empowerment for young women around the world.” Continue reading

Recommended Viewing: Homemade, Hand-Drawn, Disney-Style ‘Wicked’

Story artist Megan Lloyd has posted a fully storyboarded scene for an imaginary animated adaptation of Stephen Schwartz‘s Broadway smash, Wicked. Better still, the scene is actually a COMPLETE MUSICAL NUMBER — the play’s showstopper, Defying Gravity. Lloyd’s delightful, Disney-esque drawings really suit the material, and it’s not too hard to imagine such a film someday happening for real. (Hope, hope!)

‘Deadpool’ Movie Q & A(wesome)

derpoolFirst the A(wesome): In all of the set pics from Fox’s upcoming Deadpool film, the costume has CG markers surrounding the eyes. You know what that means, right? Animated eyeholes!

Now the Q: I’ve read that the Deadpool film is shooting — and will actually take place — in Vancouver. As most movies shooting in the V try to play it off like they are taking place in New York, will Deadpool at some point acknowledge this filmic fallacy? After all, Deadpool is the only character in Marvel Comics to know that he is part of a fictional comic book universe. Perhaps the movie Deadpool will similarly know that he is part of a fictional movie universe? That could be quite cool…

R.I.P. Stan Freberg (1926 – 2015)

8Comedian, thespian, advertising wizard and cartoon voice actor, Stan Freberg, died Tuesday of natural causes. He was 88.

Freberg’s work in animation was nearly as long as his life. Freberg did voices for such series as Merrie Melodies, The Ren & Stimpy Show, The Weird Al Show and The Wuzzles. He also starred as Cecil in Bob Clampett’s puppet show, Time for Beany. According to Mark Evanier, Freberg “recorded his first cartoon voice roles in 1945 for release in 1946″ and recorded “an episode of The Garfield Show…last year [that is] scheduled to run on Cartoon Network this October, giving Stan a career span of 69 years.” Amazing.

The Future Of Animation: More Women!

xxGreat news, via TAG Blog: “In 2015, 70% of the Cal Arts animation department trends female. (In ’12, the male to female ratio was 50/50.) What is the level of employment for women in 2015? [...] More women are employed in the cartoon business than at any time since the ink and paint departments (always predominantly female) packed up and went overseas. With the numbers of women now training in animation departments at universities, colleges and art schools, this rising tide looks as though it will keep moving up for some time to come.”

Print & Frame: Disney’s U.S. War Bonds

wwiiPretend you lived way back in the days of WWII and were so enraged by the horrors that you saw Donald Duck endure in Der Fuehrer’s Face that you immediately went out and bought a Disney-themed U.S. War Bond to show your support. Or something like that. Anyway, folks interested in owning an illegit piece of American and animation history can click through for a full-sized, ready-to-print version. Continue reading

‘Home’ Saves DW, Damns Us To More ‘Home’

homeDreamWorks’ Home outdid everyone’s expectations, raking in an estimated $54 million in its opening domestic weekend and snatching the #1 spot at the box office. This unexpected financial windfall will provide a much needed boost to the struggling studio, whose shares fell to a new 52-week low at the beginning of the year. Will this be enough to stave off the mass layoffs that follow every recent DreamWorks release? I sure hope so.

The only downside to this? The fact that an ugly and uninteresting rip-off of Lilo & Stitch will now be deemed ‘good’ simply because it made money, inevitably inspiring Katzenberg to green-light any and all available Home-related spin-offs, sequels and direct-to-Netflix shorts.

From The Cutting Room Floor

brsTIL that Tim Burton’s Batman Returns (1992) was originally going to feature an in-universe ‘Batman Store’ that sold nothing but Batman-themed merchandise. According to early drafts of the script, the store was to be burned down during the film’s opening scene. Making this scene all the more ironic was the fact that Burton requested the store be stocked with merch created as tie-ins for his two Batman films!

To see some interior pics of the unused set, click through. Continue reading

Coming 2016: Dr. Seuss Museum

8Springfield, MA will soon be home to The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum. The majority of the museum is aimed squarely at kids, featuring giant, brightly colored reproductions of Dr. Seuss’ books plastered on everything — literally EVERYTHING — from floor ceiling. The official press release also promises “immersive literacy activities geared toward a range of reading levels, from preschool through third grade and beyond.”

The museum’s second floor sounds a bit more intriguing to cartoon nerds, featuring a “recreation of Ted’s Geisel’s sitting room and studio” filled with his drawings, oil paintings and memorabilia.

For more info and images, click here.

Recommended Viewing: TIE Fighter

Paul Michael Johnson has created an intense and intoxicating animated Star Wars short — by himself!

Yes, as unbelievable as it may seem, Johnson animated the WHOLE THING by his lonesome, only asking for help on the score and sound. Johnson’s visual inspiration (well, besides ILM’s awesome, original starship designs) are the classic space anime of the 1980s. Do yourself a favor and set aside 9 minutes to really savor it. You’ll be glad you did!

(Post-prequels, I can’t believe I’m getting excited about Star Wars again.)

Does Disney’s ‘Avengers Playset’ Spoil A Secret Superheroine Cameo?

cmaDisney’s new Avengers Figure Playset contains one character who is definitely not part of the Avengers…yet. CAPTAIN MARVEL! Does that mean we might see her in Avengers: Age of Ultron?


This cameo isn’t all that far-fetched when you consider that Captain Marvel — aka Ms. Marvel, aka Carol Danvers — will be starring in her own Marvel film in 2018. Plus, Joss Whedon LOVES him some strong female characters, so it seems like a pretty likely cameo if you ask me.

To get a better look at the figure and playset, click here.

Air Force Officers Identified With Avery’s Wolf

wolfe“Personnel of the 667th Bombardment Squadron, training in Gainesville, Fla., have adopted this scene from the MGM cartoon, Red Hot Riding Hood, as their squadron insignia. The ‘Wolfe’ — in white tie and tails — appears on all their planes. In writing to Fred Quimby, in charge of cartoon production at MGM studios, the commandant stated that they wanted the drawings because ‘the modern wolf is so typical of many of our officers here.’” — Showmen’s Trade Review 1/1/44 (x)

Dad & Daughter Make LEGO ‘Jurassic Park’

The Legend: Get ready for squeals and feels! The daddy/daughter team of Paul and Haley Hollingsworth made a stop-motion version of Jurassic Park using LEGO. The results are delightful!

The Facts: Dad and daughter were joined by a small cadre of filmmaker friends who helped build sets, animate characters, shoot the film and score it. Oh, and it cost $100k in LEGO! That said, it’s still a pretty rad testament to the cool stuff creative parents can do to inspire their kids. Hell, I wish I had friends/a dad/a LEGO collection like that!

Wide-Eyed Infants Love Crazy-Eyed Cartoons

7“According to Chinese myth, when the bottom of the white part of the eye, known as the sclera, is visible it represents physical imbalance in the body and is claimed to be present in alcoholics, drug addicts and people who over-consume sugar or grain. Conversely, when the upper sclera is visible it is said to be an indication of mental imbalance in people such as psychotics, murderers, and anyone rageful.” — Wikipedia entry for Sanpaku

Ah, but what does it mean when the upper AND lower sclera are visible in CARTOON CHARACTERS?

According to the marketing wizards/graphic design apostates behind Little Baby Bums, instant appeal with infants and over ONE BILLION VIEWS on YouTube. Stupid babies.

Coming Soon: The California Raisins Movie

cr3Cartoon Brew reports that Rusty Citron (a.k.a. president and founder of the ‘Actors Hall of Fame Foundation,’ a.k.a. the former senior vice-president at New World Pictures in the late 1980s, a.k.a. just another one of those cliched, level-headed, Hollywood realists you always hear about in books and movies) is running around town, attempting to interest someone — anyone! — in his live-action/CG hybrid movie starring 80s ad icons, the California Raisins. Will this feature feature the original Raisins, A.C., Beebop, Stretch and Red? (Thanks, Wikipedia!) Or will this reunion be like every other Motown reunion and include one original member and a bunch of random, younger, more photogenic guys grapes? Honestly, who cares?

Japanese Government Deletes 700,000 Illegal Online Anime & Manga Files

7The Manga-Anime Guardians (great name!), a joint anti-piracy project created by the Japanese government, the government’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (bad name!), the Content Overseas Distribution Association (worse name!), and several of Japan’s largest animation studios and publishers, announced today that they have succeeded in deleting over 700,000 illegal online anime and manga files.

According to The Manga-Anime Guardians’ official press release, 447,096 illegal manga files from 577 titles and 264,601 anime files from 90 titles were deleted due to the campaign, which targets online manga reading sites, video streaming sites and torrent sites.

WTF Merch: Roger Rabbit Dip Flip Game

dipflipTIL that Disney once put out a Roger Rabbit-themed game where players act as the villainous Judge Doom, tossing ‘toons (including Roger, Jessica and Baby Herman) into a spinning barrel of deadly Dip.

Yes, you read that right: THE POINT OF THE GAME IS TO KILL THE GOOD GUYS!!

Feeling evil? Roger Rabbit Dip Flip currently sells for $15 on Amazon.

Banned In The USA:
Kemco’s ‘Roger Rabbit’ Video Game

pppleaseBack in 1989, Japanese animation addicts and their video game counterparts were blessed with the Famicom Disk System game, Roger Rabbit. The game was a Super Mario Bros.-esque ‘platformer’ loosely based on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and would’ve surely been my favorite game at the time had it ever been released in America. Alas, conflicting copyrights prohibited this brief moment of happiness from ever entering my otherwise unbearable childhood. Woe was me.
Continue reading

Sneak Peek: ‘Pinocchio: The Disney Epic’

pinoccTwo years ago, J.B Kaufman put out one of the most thoroughly researched and lavishly illustrated animation history books of all time, The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Two months from now, he’s set to release his follow-up, Pinocchio: The Disney Epic. Want a sneak peek? Continue reading

Minor Spoilers: The LEGO Movie Sequel

pooThe Santa Barbara Film Festival recently held a screening of The LEGO Movie. After the screening, the film’s writers/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller took the stage for a Q&A session. Two minor spoilers/pretty big story points were unveiled there:

1. The LEGO Movie Sequel will take place in a “weird, dystopian version of Bricksburg.”

2. EMMETT HAS A SISTER(!), and she will be traveling side by side with Emmett as they navigate this “weird, dystopian version of Bricksburg.” Continue reading