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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: dreamworks, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 65
1. DreamWorks Is Developing ‘Hot Stuff’

DreamWorks is developing "Hot Stuff," a feature film starring the diaper-wearing demon-baby Hot Stuff the Little Devil, who originally appeared in Harvey Comics.

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2. 11 New ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2′ Images

DreamWorks has released a stockpile of "How to Train Your Dragon 2" film stills and publicity shots on the film's official website. There's new renders of Hiccup, Astrid, and Stoick, along with the dragons, including a new one, Cloudjumper. The quality of lighting and atmosphere has progressed notably since the first film in 2010. The Dean DeBlois-directed sequel will arrive into U.S. theaters on June 13.

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3. Gallery: DreamWorks Artist Devin Crane Exhibits in Paris

We’re a little late on this one, but it’s worth mentioning that veteran DreamWorks visual development artist Devin Crane (Kung Fu Panda, Megamind, Monsters vs Aliens) is exhibiting at the Galerie Arludik in Paris through this Saturday, September 21. The show, entitled “Dreams, Fashion and Fairy Tales,” features Crane’s trademark primped and preened women, ready to conquer the world with a glass of champagne in hand and a Louis Vuitton bag over their shoulder. This is Crane’s second exhibit at Arludik, following the “Heaven Can Wait” series in 2010.

See a preview of some of the show’s paintings and drawings below:

Beautiful New Adventures Margaux La Belle et la Bete Midnight At The Hotel Costes Natalia Caviar Jungle Heat

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4. Tomorrow in LA: USC Football Game Will Feature “Croods” Musical Performance

Here’s something for the individual who’s torn between watching college football and animation. Tomorrow’s USC versus Utah game will feature a half-time “Tribute to Alan Silvestri” performed by the USC Marching Trojans. Among the selections that will be performed is “Smash & Grab” from DreamWorks’ The Croods. Footage from the film will play on the Los Angeles Coliseum Jumbotron alongside with the live performance.

“Smash & Grab” is one of the film’s most distinctive tracks, appearing in an early scene involving a hunt for food. Directors Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco (a USC alum, by the way) and composer Silvestri (Forrest Gump, The Avengers, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future) recruited the USC Marching Trojans to perform the track for the film’s score. By comparing the scene in the film to that of a football game, they wanted to underscore that “in the prehistoric world of the Crood family, even getting breakfast is a full contact sport.” As far as I know, this is the first live performance of the piece by the Marching Trojans.

Kickoff time for the USC/Utah game is 3:30pm ET, and it will be broadcast on ABC/ESPN2.


Left to right: Chris Sanders, Art Bartner (Director, Trojan Marching Band), composer Alan Silvestri and Kirk De Micco.

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5. DreamWorks Promotes Upcoming ‘Home’ with New Short ‘Almost Home’

DreamWorks premiered online a new short "Almost Home" on Buzzfeed this morning to promote their next original feature, "Home," which will debut on November 26, 2014.

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6. DreamWorks Will Make ‘King Julien,’ ‘Puss in Boots,’ and ‘Veggie Tales’ Series for Netflix

DreamWorks has announced three new series as part of its mega-content deal with Netflix.

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7. Artist of the Day: Jason Scheier

Today’s Cartoon Brew Artist of the Day post is sponsored by the CG Master Academy. Sign up TODAY for Jason Scheier’s class Fundamentals for Creative Environment Design.

Jason Scheier

Jason Scheier is a visual development and concept artist at DreamWorks Animation SKG. Jason creates digital paintings as well as designs concepts in 3D.

Jason Scheier

In 2008 Jason drew the above concept presentation pieces for The Guardians of Childhood project at DreamWorks that eventually became Rise of the Guardians.

The following digital paint studies were created as personal projects and class demonstrations:

Jason Scheier

Jason Scheier

Jason Scheier

Jason Scheier

Jason Scheier

This is Jason’s modified Chevy Camaro design for the upcoming DreamWorks pic Turbo. The car was built and displayed at the Chicago Auto Show. See more of Jason’s work on his blog.

Jason Scheier

Jason Scheier

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8. DreamWorks to Produce 300 Hours of Programming for Netflix

In the continuing evolution of the on-demand streaming deal between Netflix and DreamWorks Animation, it was reported earlier this week that DreamWorks will produce more than 300 hours of original programming for the popular streaming media outlet.

The new content, which will be inspired by characters from existing DreamWorks franchises like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar, as well as properties from the recently acquired Classic Media library (Casper the Friendly Ghost, Lassie, Rocky and Bullwinkle, among others) will begin to air in 2014.

The agreement is part of DreamWorks’ initiative to expand their entertainment brand by courting television production away from mainstream TV outlets like Cartoon Network and Nick, where its TV shows currently air. This will begin with the December Netflix debut of a new original series, Turbo F.A.S.T., based on the upcoming feature film Turbo, which will hit theaters on July 17. It will also offer Netflix exclusive streaming rights to a selection of DreamWorks animated films, including The Croods and their movie version of Mr. Peabody and Sherman, coming to theaters in March 2014.

For Netflix, the contract, which is the most significant first-run content deal in its history, is part of their ongoing efforts to beef up their selection of children’s programming, which is very popular among parents as it offers a commercial-free alternative for younger, more impressionable viewers. The streaming site did not renew a deal with Viacom for reruns of Nickelodeon cartoons, and will rely heavily on DreamWorks for kids’ content.

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9. “How To Train Your Dragon 2″ Teaser Trailer

Watch the new teaser trailer for DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 which follows the continuing adventures of Hiccup and Toothless. The film is set to be released in June 2014. The director is Dean DeBlois, who is helming an animated pic solo for the first time.


Dragons 2 – Bande-annonce teaser [VO HD 1080P] by Mister3ZE

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10. Brenda Chapman Acccuses John Lasseter of Micromanagement

Yesterday’s New York Times delivered a glowing profile of DreamWorks chief creative officer Bill Damaschke. The pieces describes how CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is relinquishing oversight of creative matters to Damaschke, who for his part is trying to make the studio more creator-friendly.

It reads like your typical puff piece until it gets to the part about Brenda Chapman. The article reveals that Chapman, who co-directed the first DreamWorks film The Prince of Egypt before jumping to Pixar where she made Brave, has recently returned to DreamWorks. First, Chapman explains why she left DreamWorks:

“I left in part because I felt like I was being asked to do the same story over and over. I look at the movies DreamWorks is doing now, and I see the exact opposite happening.”

Then, it gets juicy when she places the blame for her removal as director of Brave squarely on the shoulders of John Lasseter:

She was pushed out of Pixar after clashing with that studio’s chief creative officer, John Lasseter. Although she could have joined another studio, she said she chose to return to Glendale in part because of Mr. Damaschke, who started at DreamWorks Animation in 1995 as a production assistant on The Prince of Egypt.

“As Jeffrey has gained experience and age, and DreamWorks has grown, he has stepped back and allowed other people to run creative,” Ms. Chapman said. “At Pixar, it’s all John’s show.” She added of DreamWorks Animation, “you can butt heads here and not be punished for it, unlike at another place I could name.”

It’s not exactly news that there was some kind of a conflict between Lasseter and Chapman, but it begins a new chapter in the story when Chapman publicly claims that Lasseter’s micromanagement was the cause of her rift with Pixar. And on another note, who would have ever thought that directors like Chapman and Chris Sanders would begin migrating to DreamWorks for its liberal creative environment. In the animation world, the times they are a-changin.

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11. “Turbo” Reader Reviews

Few industry observers are banking on Turbo, the David Soren-directed DreamWorks pic about a garden snail who races in the Indianapolis 500, to be a blockbuster. But the film is being well received by its kindertot target demo, having received an A+ CinemaScore rating from filmgoers under age 18. The general audience has deemed it sufficiently likable too, giving it an A rating. The critical consensus has delivered a milder yet still respectable 67%.

In Variety critic Peter Debruge’s review, he forgoes the most obvious comparison to Pixar’s Cars and instead says it’s “closer in spirit to Pixar’s Ratatouille.” He continues, “Turbo adheres to an otherwise safe formula, combining cute cartoon characters with the standard all-American ‘dream big’ message: If a rat can thrive in a French restaurant, then why can’t a snail become an Indy speedster.” The NY Times sees the glass as half-full: “Even in the absence of originality, there is fun to be had,” while the Hollywood Reporter is less than impressed: “…[I]t’s as if the makers of Turbo had been pressed to come up with the most extreme underdog tale they could think of. Or else animators really are running out of ideas for original new characters.”

It’s your turn now. After you see the film, report back here with your thoughts in the comments below. As always, this talkback is reserved for readers who have seen the film and wish to comment on it. Any general comments about the film will be politely discarded.

(Turbo billboard via Daily Billboard)

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12. “Turbo” Fails to Accelerate at Box Office


Turbo, the DreamWorks-produced and David Soren-directed animated feature about the snail that could, opened in a disappointing third place in the U.S. with an esimated $21.5 million. The film is the third-lowest all-time opening weekend for a DreamWorks CGI film, doing better than only Antz (1998) and the Aardman-produced Flushed Away (2006). However, adjusted for inflation and 3D prices, Turbo had the smallest opening weekend audience EVER for a DreamWorks CG pic. The film has grossed $31.2 million since opening last Wednesday.

Illumination’s Despicable Me 2 kept up its amazing run in its third weekend. The film landed in second place with an estimated $25.1 million. Its current domestic total is a smashing $276 million, and by next weekend it will pass Man of Steel to become the second-highest grossing film in America this year. Holding up the tenth place spot was Pixar’s Monsters University, which earned an estimated $5 million in its fifth weekend. The film’s total now stands at a robust $249 million.

International numbers to come in a bit.

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13. The View from Wall Street: Weak “Turbo” Opening Highlights DreamWorks Business Model Erosion

Following the lackluster opening of Turbo, DreamWorks Animation heard grumbling from Wall Street this afternoon, with shares in the company losing over 5% of their value on NASDAQ. Sterne Agee analyst Vasily Karasyo released a report this morning that offers a big-picture perspective on DreamWorks and explains why the weak Turbo debut highlights the erosion of DreamWorks’ business model, which relies largely on a few tentpole films every year.

Of course, DreamWorks management is well aware, too, that their reliance on blockbusters is not a sustainable long-term model, which is why Jeffrey Katzenberg is scrambling to diversify into other areas, such as acquiring Classic Media’s library, entering the Chinese animation and amusement park markets, and working with Netflix to create online series.

Here is Karasyo’s report:


DREAMWORKS ANIMATION SKG INC. (NASDAQ: DWA)
RATING: UNDERPERFORM
Price: $24.90
Price Target: $21.50
Weak Turbo Opening Highlights Business Model Erosion

Our Call
We believe that the weak opening of Turbo is not a one time event but another illustration of the challenges to DreamWorks Animation’s business model due to decreasing box office opportunity and high legacy production and releasing costs. Although the management’s efforts to build new revenue streams received a lot of attention recently, they are not enough to offset decreasing film profitability. We reiterate our Underperform rating.

  • We estimate at this point that Turbo will generate $70 mln at the domestic box office, less than half of our and the Street’s pre-release estimate of $160 mln. A significant number of international territories don’t open till October but assuming IBO is in line with our forecast at $280 mln, we expect a $19 mln write-down which would drive $0.28 downside to our FY13 forecast. We don’t believe the company has to make a determination on the title’s profitability and therefore the write-down won’t happen until Q4.

  • If we are right about Turbo’s ultimate profitability, the risk to FY14 estimates is now significantly higher. There are two original releases, Peabody and Sherman and Happy Smekday, next year. With two out of the last three titles underperforming, we see the likelihood of another write-down as materially higher.
  • New revenue streams from the recent Netflix (NFLX – $264.58 – Neutral, Bhatia) deal only modestly decrease dependence on film earnings: we estimate they will account for $0.07 in EPS in FY14 assuming there are no execution issues. By comparison, Rise of The Guardians write-down impact on EPS was $0.68 and The Croods contribution to FY13 will be $0.26.
  • We think the execution risk associated with the Netflix deal is overlooked. In recent history, the company pursued several initiatives to drive incremental revenue which ran into challenges and did not yield expected results, e.g. Penguins of Madagascar consumer product licensing program and a shift to three films a year. The main challenge of the Netflix deal, in our view, is to produce high volume of content within tight time frame and at the target margin.
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    14. CG Animated Films Are Dominating the 2013 Global Box Office

    The Wall Street Journal published a story last weekend about Hollywood’s struggle to recoup its costs on big-budget tentpole films, but there’s one bright spot the WSJ (along with the rest of the mainstream media) always fail to recognize and that’s that animation is more successful than ever before.

    Despite Turbo’ stumble at the box office and Henry Selick’s diss that American animated films are all the same, audiences around the world can’t get enough of big-budget CG animated features. Check this out:

    Only six films have grossed $500 million dollars or more at the worldwide box office in 2013, and three of those films are animated. Let’s put this into perspective: animation studios have released just five animated features this year with a production cost of over $75 million and three of those films became half-billion grossers; on the other hand, live-action filmmakers have released over 20 films this year that cost $75 million or more, and only three of those films have achieved a similar mark. The evidence is clear: expensive animated tentpoles have a much better chance of being profitable than their live-action counterparts.

    Leading the way amongst animated films at last week’s box office was the mega-hit Despicable Me which landed in 3rd place with $16.4 mil in its fourth U.S. weekend, boosting its domestic total to $306.8 mil. The film added $24.5 mil from foreign markets for an overseas total of $354.5 mil.

    Monsters University continued a similarly strong run, earning $2.9 mil in its sixth U.S. weekend and $15.6 mil from overseas. The film’s totals are now $255.5 mil domestically and $321.6 foreign. The film has yet to open in markets like China and Italy, and by the time it’s all over, the film should become Pixar’s fourth highest-grossing movie ever.

    The only animated clunker in theaters right now is DreamWorks’ Turbo, which had a sophomore frame gross of $13.7 mil, good enough for fourth place and a U.S. total of $56.2 mil. The film had a slim 35.5% decline, but it was slim only because the film couldn’t decline much further from its already meager opening weekend. Turbo managed to pick up $12.5 mil from 30 overseas markets pushing its foreign total to $41.9 mil. After two weekends, the film’s combined gross is $98.1 mil.

    More animation is coming soon, too. Sony’s Smurfs 2 will be released this week, and Disney’s Planes next week.

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    15. “The Croods” Talkback

    Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco’s The Croods opens todsay in the United States as well as over 45 other countries. Critics haven’t been particularly kind, and the film has a mild 61% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Typical reviews include Richard Corliss in Time who complained that, “The family-dramedy genre that the film inhabits demands a bit more narrative ingenuity than is on display,” and Leslie Felperin in Variety who wrote that the film “adopts a relatively primitive approach to storytelling with its Flintstonian construction of stock, ill-fitting narrative elements.”

    The good news is that mainstream audiences seems to disagree with the critics. They’ve given The Croods a robust 87% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    So who do you agree with? Check out the film and report back here with your opinion in the comments below. As usual, the talkback is open only to those who have actually seen the film and should be about your opinion of the film.

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    16. Artist of the Day: Gabriele Pennacchioli

    Gabriele Pennacchioli

    To conclude our week of exploring (a few) of the crew members on The Croods, let’s take a look at the work of Gabriele Pennacchioli, who served as a story artist on the film.

    Gabriele Pennacchioli

    Gabriele Pennacchioli

    Gabriele’s blog is where you can see more of his personal work, such as his “Young Minotaur” character who battles all kinds of other creatures. He released a collection of these drawings as a book in 2008, which is still available here.

    Gabriele Pennacchioli

    Gabriele Pennacchioli

    Scrolling further through his blog you’ll also find some other spear-wielding people, panthers, a cyclops and all sorts of expertly executed cartoon drawings.

    Gabriele Pennacchioli

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    17. “The Croods” Opens In First Place With $43.6 Million

    DreamWorks’ The Croods opened in first place at the U.S. box office with $43.6 million. That is almost the exact same opening as Chris Sanders’ last film, How to Train Your Dragon, which opened with $43.7 million in 2010. It is also much stronger than the studio’s last film, Rise of the Guardians, which earned $23.8 million during its opening weekend last November. The Croods netted an additional $62.6 million from its foreign debut. Russia, which as we’ve established is crazy for DreamWorks animation, was the film’s top foreign market and generated $12.9 million in box office earnings.

    In other box office news, The Weinstein Company’s Escape from Planet Earth is winding down its theatrical run. It grossed $477,522 in its sixth frame, upping its total to $53.4 million. GKIDS expanded Goro Miyazaki’s From Up on Poppy Hill into 6 theaters and grossed $59,693. The film’s two-week U.S. total stands at $131,927.

    Nearly 600 people took our Croods box office poll which asked readers to guess how much the film would earn during its opening weekend. The correct choice—$42-44 mil—was the sixth most popular answer, guessed by 7.35% of readers. Here were the top five guesses:

    10.93% of readers guessed $38-40 mil
    10.04% of readers guessed $40-42 mil
    9.5% of readers guessed under $25 million
    8.78% of readers guessed $36-38 mil
    7.53% of readers guessed $30-32 mil

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    18. DreamWorks Buys Trolls from Dam Things

    Ogres are so yesterday. DreamWorks Animation just announced that they have acquired the IP for the Trolls franchise from the Dam Family and Dam Things of Denmark. DreamWorks now becomes the exclusive worldwide licensor of the merchandise rights for the humorously-deformed Don King-hairstyled Troll Dolls, with the sole exception of Scandanavia where Dam Things will remain the licensor. The studio had previously announced that they were developing a Trolls feature.

    DreamWorks also announced that they have tapped American Girl veteran Shawn Dennis to lead the Trolls brand development. “Trolls is a brand with over fifty years of deep heritage and we are thrilled to bring this iconic, multi-generational property to DreamWorks Animation,” said Chief Operating Officer Ann Daly. “We have big plans for this franchise and Shawn Dennis is uniquely suited to lead this charge. She helped grow the American Girl brand into a household name and by bringing this expertise to Trolls she will introduce these characters to legions of new fans around the world.”

    Dennis joins DreamWorks from American Girl, where she was Senior Vice-President of Marketing (Product Development and Publishing). Prior to that, she was group head of global branding at Dell, and Chief Marketing Officer and Vice-President of the NFL.

    Calle Ostergaard, CEO of Dam Things, said, “DreamWorks Animation is renowned for telling wonderful stories about imaginative worlds while bringing characters with universal appeal into the hearts and homes of families everywhere – I can think of no better future for Trolls. We are confident that the time-honored legend of the Trolls, which holds such special significance to the Dam family and the people of Scandanavia, will now live on in new and exciting ways with DreamWorks Animation.”

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    19. DreamWorks Animation’s Chinese Arm Announces Live-Action Movie Franchise

    DreamWorks Animation is moving into live-action. At a Beijing news conference last week, Jeffrey Katzenberg announced a co-production agreement between Oriental DreamWorks and the Chinese state-owned China Film Group Corp. The deal will result in a movie franchise based on the bestselling Chinese book series Tibet Code.

    Katzenberg said that the film will become “China’s Indiana Jones,” while China Film Group chairman Han Sanping proclaimed that the film’s “characters represent traditional Chinese culture and Chinese morality.”

    The Wall Street Journal offers the most in-depth piece I’ve read about the new Tibet Code deal. In the same article, they report that Oriental DreamWorks is taking the lead on the production of Kung Fu Panda 3.

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    20. Executive Pay at DreamWorks Animation Was Up in 2012

    Whew, for a second there, we were worried that DreamWorks Animation was struggling, but if their executive pay is any indication, they’re doing just fine. The Hollywood Reporter reports that executive pay at DreamWorks rose significantly in 2012.

    Jeffrey Katzenberg’s compensation rose 31% from $4 million to $5.24 million. Katzenberg, who has typically taken a $1 annual salary and has waived option awards in the past, still earns a pittance compared to other major media honchos, like Viacom’s Philippe Dauman who took home $33.45 million last year and Disney’s Bob Iger whose pay package totalled $37.1 million.

    The same Reporter article also offered numbers on other DreamWorks execs:

    As for other executives at the company, COO Ann Daly’s compensation increased from $3 million to $4.6 million and CMO Anne Globe’s compensation was upped from about $2.3 million to $2.8 million. Losing out was Lewis Coleman, president and CFO, whose compensation package decreased from $3.7 million to under $3.2 million.

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    21. Why Jeffrey Katzenberg is Considered Among the Most Powerful People in American Politics

    The new print issue of Mother Jones (May/June 2013) has a fascinating piece about DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and his central role during the 2012 U. S. Presidential elections. The article will be an eye-opening read for anyone who considers the animation business to be detached from American politics. It makes clear that Katzenberg’s involvement in Obama’s Presidency has opened doors for him at the highest levels of both U. S. and Chinese government, and given him the ability to more quickly expand into the Chinese film market, whose box office returns are expected to overtake the American film market within the next decade.

    The six-page Mother Jones piece by Andy Kroll isn’t online so here are some of my takeaways from the piece:


    • Katzenberg, who is worth an estimated $800 million, donated $3.15 million to Democratic super-PACs during the 2012 election cycle. (He potentially donated more to other groups which aren’t required by law to disclose donor lists.)

  • He helped raise nearly $30 million from other Hollywood figures, including a $1 million donation from Steven Spielberg. According to actor Will Smith, “Jeffrey has no problem asking you for, like, way too much money.”
  • Katzenberg is considered unique among President Barack Obama fundraisers for his tenacity and personal involvement. One person in the article said, “He’s like soy sauce in Chinese food: He’s everywhere,” and another commented, “No one in the United States did what Katzenberg did. He is in a class of one.”
  • Katzenberg and his political advisor Andy Spahn visited the White House an average of once a month during Obama’s first term as U. S. President.
  • Obama takes Katzenberg’s phone calls personally.
  • The son of a Wall Street stockbroker, Katzenberg has been involved in politics since childhood. In his teens and early-twenties, Katzenberg worked as an aide to NY mayor John Lindsay, and helped during Lindsay’s 1972 run for President.
  • Katzenberg’s wife, Marilyn, first saw Senator Obama in 2006 on Oprah and encouraged her husband to meet him. Obama reminded Katzenberg of John Lindsay. Katzenberg said in a TV interview that Lindsay was “very much about hope and about engagement and change. All the things we hear today were things he represented in 1965.”
  • Obama has said of the Katzenbergs: “Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg have been tireless and stalwart and have never wavered through good times and bad since my first presidential race, back when a lot of people still couldn’t pronounce my name. I will always be grateful to them.”
  • It’s not clear what Katzenberg’s endgame is from supporting the President, but most presume that easier access to the Chinese film market is a big part of his motivation.
  • When China’s top leader ‪Xi Jinping‬ visited the U. S. in 2011, Katzenberg sat next to him at a State Department luncheon. Later that week in California, Katzenberg announced a $350 million deal to open Oriental DreamWorks, with Jinping’s personal approval.
  • Vice-President Joe Biden asked Jeffrey Katzenberg and Disney CEO Bob Iger what they thought was a fair solution to the profit-sharing disputes between the Chinese government and U. S. film studios. Biden was able to craft a new agreement that gave 25% of the profits to film studios, and also allowed more American 3-D and IMAX movies to be released in China.
  • Katzenberg’s advisor Andy Spahn denies that Katzenberg had discussions with anybody in the Obama administration about his Oriental DreamWorks venture or that he played a role in the deal that Biden made with the Chinese government about film profit-sharing.
  • DreamWorks is among several studios that are under federal investigation for possibly violating US anti-bribery laws in China.
  • Katzenberg is involved in politics beyond Obama. He is set to cohost a fundraiser soon for the 2014 Senate bid of Newark mayor Cory Booker. He also helped raise $150,000 for the Los Angeles mayoral bid of former DreamWorks employee Wendy Greuel.
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    22. DreamWorks Animation Bets That AwesomenessTV Will Deliver Awesomeness

    Earlier this month, it was announced that DreamWorks Animation had purchased the YouTube channel AwesomenessTV for $33 million in cash. Factoring in earning and performance targets, the sale has a maximum earnings potential of $117 million.

    An online aggregrator-network aimed at young male entertainment consumers, AwesomenessTV was founded as collaboration between TV producer Brian Robbins (Smallville), United Talent Agency and law firm Ziffren Brittenham. According to the May 1st press release, it “has already signed up over 55,000 channels, aggregating over 14 million subscribers and 800 million video views”.

    “Awesomeness TV is one of the fastest growing content channels on the Internet today and our acquisition of this groundbreaking venture will bring incredible momentum to our digital strategy,” said DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg. “Brian Robbins has an extraordinary track record in creating family content both for traditional and new platforms and his expertise in the TV arena will be invaluable as we grow our presence in that space.”

    Under the new partnership, the network AwesomenessX, that will offer “original sports, gaming, comedy, pranks and lifestyle content” targeted toward males in their teens and 20s. Robbins, who has stayed on to run the company, has also been rewarded with an executive position at DreamWorks to develop a DreamWorks Animation-branded family channel.

    AwesomenessX will pick up some AwesomenessTV faves like The City – Basketball, Sk8 Spotterz, That Was Awesome and How To Be Awesome as well as launch a new series around Winter X-Games gold medalist David Wise and videos of choice game moves and swimsuit model photo shoots. Shows like Frank the Dog, Baby Gaga and Fingerlings – which provide pop and web culture commentary from a dog, a baby and finger puppets, respectively – will also be featured.

    “[AwesomenessX] will attract some girls as well,” Robbins added.

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    23. Blue Sky’s “Epic” Opened in 4th Place at the Box Office

    Blue Sky’s Epic, directed by Chris Wedge, opened its U.S. box office run in fourth place with a respectable weekend take of $33.5 million. If you add in earnings from Monday, which was a holiday in the States, Epic’s 4-day total stands at $42.8M.

    The film was based on a story by children’s author/illustrator Bill Joyce, whose movie projects have had difficulty capturing the attention of audiences. Similarly, Epic is the weakest opening ever for a Blue Sky feature. While Epic outperformed the dismal openings of the last two films based on Joyce properties—DreamWorks’ Rise of the Guardians ($23.8M) and Disney’s Meet the Robinsons ($25.1M)—it still failed to match the opening weekend of the Blue Sky/Bill Joyce collaboration Robots which had a 3-day total of $36 million in 2005.

    Fox president of dommestic distribution, Chris Aronson, was optimistic about the film’s long-term potential, telling the Hollywood Reporter, “I think it’s a fantastic start. We have a four week run before Monsters University opens, and I’m very bullish on where Epic goes.”

    In other box office news, after ten weeks in theaters, DreamWorks’ The Croods continues to show great legs and remains in the top ten. The film took ninth place last weekend with $1.2 million. As of yesterday, its U.S. total stands at $179.6 million and its foreign total is $383.4 million for a grand total of $563 million.

    Finally, GKIDS is headed for its first million dollar-grossing release in the U.S. with Goro Miyazaki’s From Up on Poppy Hill. The film earned $17,281 last weekend pushing its grand total to $958,610.

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    24. “Kung Fu Panda” Director Mark Osborne Will Helm “The Little Prince”

    Onyx Films, the Paris-based producer of the fantasy film Upside Down and the low-budget animated sci-fi Renaissance, is currently working on an animated film adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 novella The Little Prince.

    According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film has now gained a voice cast comprised of James Franco, Rachel McAdams, Jeff Bridges, Benicio Del Toro and Paul Giamatti. More notably, the film is to be directed by Mark Osborne, co-director of Dreamworks’ 2008 hit action-comedy Kung Fu Panda.

    Some may consider it unusual for the director of a successful animated film from a major American studio to move on to a project from a small foreign studio, however when you consider the diversity of Osborne’s previous work: live action sequences in Spongebob Squarepants, music video work for “Weird Al” Yankovic and a half-dozen live action and stop motion film projects, it seems like his experience may aid a project of any size.

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    25. A “Brutal Animation War” Is Predicted by the “Hollywood Reporter”

    The Hollywood Reporter published a lengthy piece that suggests an impending feature animation war:

    The unprecedented glut of product points to a seismic shift in the animation business as new players such as Universal and Sony finally gain a stronghold and established companies like DreamWorks Animation, Fox, Disney Animation Studios and Pixar up their games. Family franchises can be incredibly lucrative if done right — between global theatrical sales (particularly international), home entertainment and merchandising. Pixar’s Cars franchise, for example, moved north of $10 billion in merchandise alone. If they don’t work, studios can lose tens upon tens of millions, with hundreds of jobs at risk.

    Late last month, Pixar and Disney Animation chief creative officer John Lasseter essentially declared war on Katzenberg by dating a slew of untitled Pixar and Disney Animation Studios films through 2018, going so far as to claim June 17, 2016, even though DWA already had put How to Train Your Dragon 3 there. Never before have a Pixar and DWA movie gone up against one another. Katzenberg and Fox, where Vanessa Morrison heads up Fox Animation Studios, retaliated by flooding the calendar through 2018 with their own untitled films, even planting one on June 16, 2017, a Pixar date.

    The Reporter doesn’t have all their facts straight. They wrote that, “For the past handful of years, there have been no more than four or five studio animated films a year, plus a handful of indie titles. There are eight releases this year and 10 next year.” However, there have easily been eight to ten major studio animation releases per year in recent times. Just take a look at the 2011 and 2012 release slates.

    Of course, the other argument is that there aren’t too many tentpole animated features, only too many features that are cut from the same cloth. Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks and Blue Sky each use their own finely tuned formulas, and audiences are guaranteed to tire of those sooner than they do of animation itself.

    0 Comments on A “Brutal Animation War” Is Predicted by the “Hollywood Reporter” as of 6/13/2013 3:13:00 PM
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