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Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie debuted weakly last weekend in fifth place with $11.4 million. The opening is significantly lower than Burton’s last stop motion feature, The Corpse Bride, which debuted with $19.1M in 2005.
The opening of Frankenweenie concludes this year’s great stop motion experiment. It was the third major stop motion feature this year, following Aardman’s The Pirates!: Band of Misfits and Laika’s ParaNorman. None of the three films were able to crack a $15 million opening. In fact, no stop motion feature has ever had an opening north of $20 million. It begs the question, Are stop motion films simply incapable of grossing as much as CG or has no one ever made a stop motion film with mass audience appeal? In a year with more stop motion features than usual, it’s a question worth considering.
Meanwhile, Genndy Tartakovsky’s Hotel Transylvania is on its way to becoming one of Sony’s biggest animated hits. The film dipped a modest 36% in its second weekend, grossing $27.1M and pushing its U.S. total to $76.7M.
I’ll be seeing Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie on Saturday afternoon with my Asifa-Hollywood peeps at a screening on the Disney lot. Looking forward to it – especailly as Betsy Sharkey in The Los Angeles Times says “the artistry reaches absolute perfection… and Burton has never done it better” (though she notes, “it’s the story that poses some problems”). A.O. Scott in The New York Times simply calls it “a sweet and creepy homage to classic monster movies”.
It’s out today and you can see it yourself. How does it compare to The Corpse Bride or Nightmare Before Christmas? Where does it stack on the list next to ParaNorman and Hotel Transyvania? Give your opinions here (and, as usual, this discussion is only open to those who have actually seen the film).
Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Lorax’ nabbed the top spot at the box office this weekend (garnering $70.7 million — the best opening of the year so far — and becoming the best debut ever for a non-sequel animated film! Although the movie didn’t... Read the rest of this post
A new trailer has been released for the adaptation of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, a big screen adaptation of a mash-up novel by Seth Grahame-Smith.
Produced by the great Tim Burton, the film comes out in June–what do you think? Here is a concise plot summary: “Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them.”
Oscar-winner T Bone Burnett and Grammy-winner Danny Elfman will create the music for The Hunger Games film adaptation. According to the release, this project is “an unprecedented film music collaboration.”
The two composers will work together on the film score. Additionally, Burnett will serve as the executive music producer for both the score and the soundtrack. Many Hunger Games fans have reacted happily to the announcement on Facebook.
Lionsgate’s head of film music Tracy McKnight explained: “The Hunger Games is such a special property – it has worldwide mass appeal, but it’s also sophisticated, cerebral, soulful, and rebellious. We needed a composer who can translate these qualities musically, and we have not one but two incredible artists in an absolutely thrilling first time ever collaboration.”
I spent the afternoon (3+ hours) at LACMA exploring the Tim Burton Exhibit. So so good. I got teary-eyed when I saw all the Vincent stuff. These art/animation exhibits always get to me here. I was tremendously inspired by his humor and work unrelated to his movies. I loved his number series so much I could eat it up! I purchased his book of illustrated poems, "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories" and sat outside for a couple hours to churn out some Burton-inspired pieces.
Writer Kathryn Leigh Scott recently hosted a lunch in New York City to celebrate her new novel, Dark Passages. The author starred in Dark Shadows, and called her novel a “love letter” to the vampire soap opera from the late 1960s.
Here’s more from FishbowlNY: “Set in the swinging ’60s, it tells the tale of an actress moonlighting as a Playboy bunny who just happens to be vampire and is determined to make it in New York City without her supernatural powers. While working on the cult hit Dark Passages, she meets her nemesis, a 300-year-old witch.”
The author had just returned from London after shooting a cameo for Tim Burton‘s Dark Shadows film.
Gen Y’s lifeline is their phone, and it’s one of marketers’ (best tools to reach them. More than just mobile ads, brands need to build mobile experiences for consumers; that means a mobile website, a mobile marketing plan, and... Read the rest of this post
I finally made it to LACMA's Tim Burton exhibit, which was all the awesome that I was expecting. No one is allowed to take a camera into the exhibit, but people are permitted to take a photo of the entrance, which is suitably twisted.
I am a huge Tim Burton fan, although I acknowledge that his work has been uneven (Planet of the Apes, anyone?). But in the spirit of Halloween, I thought I'd
Dark Shadows director Tim Burtonmay direct a film adaptation of Ransom Riggs‘ Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children.
According to Deadline, Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark and Jenno Topping will produce the film. Riggs released his YA novel back in June and has since gone on a “whirlwind trip around the country” in search of more peculiar photos for a planned sequel.
Here’s more from the article: “[The book stars] Jacob, a 16-year-old whose childhood was filled with stories his grandfather told him about an orphanage for unusual children. Among the residents: a girl who could hold fire in her hands, another whose feet never touched the ground, and twins who communicated without speaking.”
You already know my policy when it comes to books adapted for the silver screen. For those who are new to The Pen Stroke, I’m against it. However, even I, the staunch naysayer, took pause when I first saw the trailer for Alice in Wonderland.
It’s a feast for the eyes. Both Disney and Tim Burton have pulled out all the stops. But is that all it is? Beyond the visual mastery is there substance? I guess there’s only one way to find out.
This Week is Words Matter Week
Check out the Words Matter Week blog, sponsored by the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors for interesting prompts and daily blog challenge questions. There’s something about ‘Alice’
The Boston Globe features a great article on Lewis Carroll’s book and readers obsession with Alice’s story. In other “Alice” news, Tim Burton’s 3-D movie version opens today!
U.S. Plans New Measure for Poverty
This week the federal government announced it would begin producing an experimental measurement of poverty next year, a step toward the first overhaul of the formula since it was developed nearly a half-century ago.
Teaching kids to read from the back of a burro
For hundreds of children in the rural villages of Colombia, Luis Soriano is more than a man riding a stubborn donkey – he is a man with a mission to save rural children from illiteracy.
John Ehrenberg and J. Patrice McSherry are Professors of Political Science at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. Jose Ramon Sanchez is Associate Professor of Political Science at Long Island University. Caroleen Marji Sayej is Assistant Professor of Government and International Relations at Connecticut College. Together they wrote The Iraq Papers, which offers a compelling documentary narrative and interpretation of this momentous conflict. In the post below we see how Alice in Wonderland mirrors our own political world. Read other posts by these authors here.
That is what the playing card Queen of Hearts in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, (and in all previous versions) shouts, a flippant order to decapitate everyone and anyone who dares show her any insolence, no matter how trivial the offense. The movie is a reminder of the excesses and abuses of authority. It exposes the often illogical and dangerous decisions that emerge from unaccountable rulers. There are many signs that Alice would encounter these same dangers in America today. Two congressional events from last week come immediately to mind. One was the passage of a bill to prevent the torturing of American school kids and the other was the introduction of a new bill that would require government authorities to treat anyone arrested as if they were already guilty.
On March 3, 2010, the House passed HR 4247, Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act. The bill is designed to prevent the occurrence of torture in schools, including forceful restraints, seclusion, and beatings. Hundreds of U.S. children have suffered from such physical and mental abuse, resulting in countless injuries and death in many states, according to the General Accounting Office. What is most interesting about this new law is that so few Republicans voted for it. The final vote tally was 238 Democrats and 24 Republicans voting for the bill. The overwhelming majority of Republicans, 145, voted against. The reasons Republicans gave for voting against the bill were that not enough information was available about the prevalence of such school torture, the need to protect state’s rights, and their reluctance to impose federal guidelines on private schools. These are all legitimate concerns. I would wonder, however, why such concerns trump something as insidious, shocking and unconstitutional as the use of torture on children in our schools? Why are we so casual about burying our children alive, as Charles Dickens once described solitary confinement?
Another curiosity from last week appears to spring from the same odd rabbit hole that Alice fell into. Senators John McCain and Joe
Eight years ago after the worlds worst break-up ( and before I met the amazing Julie, who would improve every aspect of my life ) I couldn't draw for a while. For months and months I barely scratched out a proper line on paper. I was also busy failing school. A tough time. I could however, write. Maybe not well but there were stories and ideas that had to come out somewhere, somehow. That's where Bera came from. She started off as a troll but I'm not sure what she is anymore. Bera is a horror comic about ghosts and monsters and zombies. Loads of fun. A bit like Burton or Gilliam or Gaiman ( well, in my opinion.) Anyway, I'm babbling. The reason I'm bringing this up is because I was just talking to the good people at Chizine (one of Canada's very best publishers) and throwing around the idea of a short illustrated book about her. This wouldn't be finished for a couple of years but I'm super excited in any case. I hope this happens. Something like this is a dream for me.
Snoop Dogg blows up a 4-ton armored truck (in a promotional stunt for the new Zynga game 'Mafia Wars Las Vegas,' that is. The explosive promo, which the gaming giant promised fans would take place when the title hit 10 million users, was broadcast... Read the rest of this post
In a guest essay on The Huffington Post, director Tim Burton picked the 11 of the weirdest holiday art pieces featured in his book, The Art of Tim Burton.
A few of the images featured Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Burton explained: “Christmas has always been one of my favorites. I love the gaudy decorations people strew everywhere and the idea of snow before I ever got to experience it. My other favorite is Halloween, and the combination of the two was where the inspiration for The Nightmare Before Christmas came from.”
The book features 1,000 illustrations. The standard edition costs $69.99. The $299.99 deluxe edition features a slipcase, a signed lithograph, and Burton’s signature on the inside cover.
So if we consider the figures, I appear to be a slacker this weekend. No work on the NaNoWriMo novel. Early last week, I considered trying to hit 60,000 words by the 30th, but my conscience urged me to take the weekend off and finish up and edit a short story with a December 1st deadline. And I just did. I can't add any words to my official word count as I spent today in third draft territory and then line editing, but Dehydrated Human Heart is on its way to...Rejectionville. Hey, best to be prepared.
In other news, froze my butt off at a railway station this morning. After overnight babysitting duty for my niece and nephew and waking up to minus 4 degrees (brr! Still chipping the ice off my eyeballs), the train to Liverpool was cancelled and then the next was cancelled, and they only run every half hour. So, it was a trip across the road to the taxi station and an expensive journey home. I do love British transport.
In worse news, I fell asleep during the last fifteen minutes of Sweeny Todd. I hang my Tim Burton loving head in shame.
Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book Based on the Film Phenomenon, illustrated by Andrew Williamson, paper engineering by Bruce Foster, Insight Editions, $34.95, all ages, 12 pages. Flying off shelves since its November release, this lush pop-up puts the drama of Harry Potter films into 3-D scenes you'll want to get lost in. Illustrated by the lead concept artist on all eight Harry Potter films and engineered by the creator of this year's A Christmas Carol: A Pop-Up Edition, the book feels not only wonderfully familiar -- matching up with film footage we've grown to love -- but has a cinematic quality that doesn't often appear into pop-ups. Warm, glowing colors and deep shadows replicate the lighting effects around Diagon Alley and Hogwarts (one of the most dramatic pop-ups, towering above the book with spires and minarets). You feel instantly swept into the drama and want to stick your head down into the locations of Hagrid's Hut and the Forbidden Forest, as if somehow you could shrink to fit inside.
There's also a sense of the impending in every scene. As you open pop-ups for the Triwizard Tournament and a clash between Harry and Lord Voldemort, you feel like the action is only on pause and could start all over again. Sprinkled among five main pop-up are smaller, charming surprises: lift one flap and the red jaws of a howler open to deliver a message or peer into a cage to see Harry's snowy owl, Hedwig. Fun movie facts and three small movie posters add to the magic and by book's end, you're ready to look at it all over again. This is a book you'll be tempted to display open on a shelf.
Disney's Alice in Wonderland: A Visual Companion, by Mark Salisbury, with a foreword by Tim Burton, Disney Editions, $50, ages 9 and up, 256 pages.Fans of renowned director and producer Tim Burton won't want to miss this spectacular inside look at the making of the movie, Alice in Wonderland. Packed with every snippet of artwork you could imagine, the book shows not only stills from the movie, but behind-the-scenes footage, concept artwork, movie stills marked with editing notes, set and costume designs as they evolve, and interviews with Burton and The Mad Hatter himself, Johnny Depp. Every so often, eye-popping photographs are overlaid with quotes by the movie's creators and actors talks about scenes or each other. The most intriguing part of the book is all the artwork that was created to guide the animation -- gorgeous sketches and paintings that never appeared in the film, for which, without this book, we might never see. One of my favorite photographs shows a series of clay heads used to make the prosthetics that give the king's court its facial distortions. Though pricier than most books, this is one that will be treasured long after your child grows up.