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Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jason Reitman ("Juno," "Young Adult") is set to pen and direct an adaptation of Dan Santat's award-winning children's book "The Adventures Of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend" for DreamWorks Animation.
Beekle follows an odd imaginary friend whom no kid could possibly imagine, so he sets off on an unimaginable journey to the land of people in search of a best friend.
This marks the first project to be put into development by Dreamworks' recently appointed Co-Presidents of Feature Animation Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria. It's also Reitman's first animated feature.
Source: The Los Angeles Times »
- Garth Franklin
DreamWorks Animation has found a very real director for the story of an imaginary friend, as the Academy Award-nominated Jason Reitman is set to write and direct Beekle, based on the award-winning children’s book, “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend.”
It is the first foray into animation for Reitman, the celebrated director of films including the Academy Award-nominated “Juno,” “Thank You For Smoking,” “Young Adult,” “Labor Day,” “Men, Women & Children,” and the Academy Award-nominated “Up in the Air,” for which Reitman earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay.
Written and illustrated by Dan Santat, “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend,” is the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Caldecott Medal, awarded annually to the most distinguished American picture book for children.
- Michelle McCue
One of the next films by Jason Reitman will be animated. Deadline is reporting that Reitman has partnered with DreamWorks Animation based in Burbank, CA to adapt the book The Adventures Of Beekle: The Unimaginery Friend. This will be the first project put into development since DreamWorks Animation went through staff changes last year, with new Co-Presidents of Animation Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria running the ship. "I was book shopping with my daughter, when a little tooth-shaped character in a paper crown stole our hearts," Reitman said about the project. "His name was Beekle and I'm honored to now be adapting [author Dan] Santat's charming story into a feature film." Sounds like it will be a charming film. The book, by Dan Santat, was first published in 2014 and picked up all kinds of awards, including the 2015 Caldecott Medal. Here's a short intro to the character Beekle via the Amazon listing for »
- Alex Billington
Jason Reitman needs redemption after his 2014 flop "Men, Women & Children" and tepidly received 2013 awards-hopeful-that-couldn't "Labor Day." The typically adult-leaning director of "Thank You for Smoking," witty Oscar nominees "Juno" and "Up in the Air" and under-appreciated and acidic "Young Adult" will now write and direct "Beekle" for DreamWorks Animation. The story of an oddball imaginary friend who embarks on a magical journey to find his perfect (real-life) match, the project marks Reitman's first animated effort, and DreamWorks Animation's first project under new co-presidents Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria. The studio is feeling confident after racking up nearly $350 million worldwide for this year's animated "Home," and is taking sweet time on promising projects, including 2016's "Kung Fu Panda 3." DreamWorks Animation development exec Damon Ross brought the project to the »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Fresh off the massively disappointing box office of his underrated ensemble drama Men, Women & Children (I liked it!), filmmaker Jason Reitman is poised to make his first foray into the world of animation. Variety reports that the Oscar-nominated Juno and Thank You For Smoking director has signed on to write and direct Beekle for DreamWorks Animation. The movie is an adaptation of the children’s book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, which revolves around an imaginary friend who, after becoming tired of waiting around to be chosen by a real child, takes off on a magical journey on his own. This is a curious move for both Reitman and DreamWorks Animation. The studio has been suffering as of late with box office disappointments like Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Penguins of Madagascar. It’s recently gone through a significant behind-the-scenes change, as the studio will restructure its focus to »
- Adam Chitwood
He’s been up in the air and hung out with young adults, but Jason Reitman never has gotten animated — until now. The Oscar-nominated filmmaker is writing and directing an adaptation of the book The Adventures Of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend for DreamWorks Animation. This is also the first project to be put into development by Dwa’s recently appointed Co-Presidents of Feature Animation Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria following the restructuring and resulting layoffs… »
The adaptation of the award-winning children’s book, “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend,” brings the Oscar-nominated filmmaker into the DreamWorks Animation fold. It also marks the first project to be put into development under newly appointed co-presidents of feature animation Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria, giving an indication of the creative direction they hope to take at the studio.
DreamWorks Animation scored a surprise hit with last spring’s “Home,” but the studio has struggled in recent months following failed sales to SoftBank and Hasbro, as well as a series of film flops. The studio is trying to get costs under control following a series of layoffs and the sale of its Glendale, Calif., campus. It »
- Brent Lang
Jason Reitman will write and direct “Beekle,” an adaptation of an award-winning children’s book, for DreamWorks Animation, the studio announced Wednesday. “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend” is the story of an imaginary friend who is so odd and so unique that no kid could possibly imagine him. So he decides to take matters into his own hands, and sets off on a journey to the land of people in search of a best friend. “Beekle” is the first project to be put into development by DreamWorks Animation’s recently appointed co-presidents of feature animation Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria. »
- Joe Otterson
Mann will voice the matriarch of a rival family to the Croods, while Dennings will feature as the new family's daughter whose instinct to hunt is being suppressed, The Hollywood Reporter reveals.
DreamWorks Animation is expanding the voice cast for The Croods 2, its upcoming sequel to the 2013 animated hit, with news that Leslie Mann (This is 40) and Kat Dennings (Thor: The Dark World) will lend their voices to new characters.
Mann will portray the matriarch of an upscale family that winds up in a rivalry with the titular caveman family and their human companion. Dennings, meanwhile, will play the frustrated daughter of that new family, who yearns to hunt but is consistently suppressed by her “civilized” parents.
The key players are all back for this follow-up, including Nicolas Cage as the Croods’ patriarch Grug, Catherine Kenner as mother Ugga, feisty daughter Eep (Emma Stone), luggish son Thunk (Clark Duke), ferocious grandma Gran (Cloris Leachman) and Ryan Reynolds as human companion Guy. Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders are once again writing and directing.
- Isaac Feldberg
DreamWorks Animation, reeling from a restructuring and a string of under-performing films, reported earnings that were slightly better than projected, after taking out one-time restructuring costs. The company announced a 64-cents-per-share net loss Thursday, but that improved to a minus 37 cents a share after taking out January restructuring costs. Analysts had projected a 45 cents per share negative mark going into the announcement.
The toon maker’s revenues of $166.5 million were just ahead of projections, but the costs attributable to layoffs and the remaking of the Burbank-based company dragged earnings lower. The company reported a net loss of $54.8 million for the quarter that ended March 31.
Chief executive and founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, despite still being in a rebuilding mode, said he found hope for the future in the company’s lone 2015 film release, “Home.” The fillm has logged more than $300 million in worldwide box office, one month after its opening.
The company »
- James Rainey
Shares in the company are up more than 8% as markets open, kicking off the day trading at $24.30. That’s the highest level they have reached since last November. It’s a welcome change for DreamWorks Animation, which has seen its stock slide precipitously since spring of 2014, weighed down by a series of film flops, write downs, failed sales to Hasbro and Softbank, and layoffs.
But “Home” briefly swept those troubles aside when it debuted to $54 million, roughly $20 million more than most analysts had predicted it would generate.
“It’s a huge morale boost both for investors and employees at the company,” said Tony Wible, an analyst with Janney Capital Markets. “The film business is what’s been languishing there and these results mean they avoid another impairment and have found a possible other franchise.”
Indeed, “Home »
- Brent Lang
Heading into the weekend, “Home” looked like yet another box office disappointment for DreamWorks Animation.
The studio has suffered through a grueling period of film flops like “Mr. Peabody and Sherman,” “Penguins of Madagascar” and “Turbo.” “Home,” with a projected opening of $30 million to $35 million, seemed unlikely to break the cold streak.
For one thing, reviews of the story about a cute alien who befriends a young girl after earth is invaded were mediocre at best. Plus, the film is of the most dangerous of gambles — it doesn’t have a numeral affixed to its title.
Instead, “Home” put box office prognosticators to shame when it kicked off to $54 million stateside, the company’s third-biggest non-sequel opening ever, behind only “Kung Fu Panda” ($60.2 million) and “Monsters vs. Aliens” ($59.3 million). Overseas the film pulled in $24 million, pushing its global total to $102 million after two weeks in foreign theaters.
“It shows there »
- Brent Lang
Jake Coyle, AP Film Writer
New York (AP) - Business was brisk at the weekend box-office, where the DreamWorks animated alien adventure "Home" beat out the Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy "Get Hard" with a resounding debut of $54 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
While the two films had been expected to vie for the top spot at North American theaters, "Home" came in well above expectations, handing DreamWorks Animation a much-needed hit. Though a distant second, "Get Hard" also opened strongly with an estimated $34.6 million, rewarding the Warner Bros. pairing of two of the most bankable stars in comedy.
With a $100 million-plus debut expected next weekend for "Furious 7" - a franchise built on street-racing adrenaline and a diverse cast - Hollywood scored with two films that sought a variety of audiences. »
- The Associated Press
Massive writedowns. Failed sales. Deep staffing cuts.
It’s a trifecta of troubles that has left DreamWorks Animation struggling to find its footing and move forward after the worst year and a half in its often rocky history.
The company’s suffering won’t be alleviated when “Home,” its upcoming alien invasion film, lands on Friday. The picture is on track to open to between $30 million and $35 million, a respectable result but for the fact that it also carries a $130 million pricetag.
“Home” opened to strong numbers overseas last week, leading some analysts to predict that the film should end up with more than $100 million domestically and roughly $380 million globally.
“They would skirt the writedown and be out of a deficit situation with those numbers,” said David Miller, an analyst with Topeka Capital Markets.
Others are less optimistic.
“We have become a little bit more concerned that ‘Home’ could underperform expectations, »
- Brent Lang
Jeffrey Katzenberg diverted his attention from his core business of making family films, and it contributed to DreamWorks Animation racking up a whopping $300 million in losses last year — nearly half of what it generated in overall sales.
“The last eight months have been the worst in the company’s 20-year history,” Katzenberg told Wall Street analysts on Feb. 24, as he licked his wounds and reflected on a period of painful cost-cutting that resulted in layoffs, the closure of Dwa’s Northern California studio, and a serious re-examination of its creative choices. Analysts and stockholders don’t care about the past, however. They want to know whether Katzenberg has a plan for the future.
That future is dependent on hit movies, something Dwa has been sorely lacking. The Glendale, Calif.-based animation company’s recent success largely has ridden on the back of its “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise, and its 2013 hit “The Croods. »
- Marc Graser
By Michelle McCue and Melissa Thompson
This year there are 30 nominees in the animated category, between the Short and Features. “Don’t we love these people who bring us the magic?,” said Academy Governor Bill Kroyer as The Academy celebrated the Feature Animated films on Thursday.
The Academy presented their seventh annual event celebrating the nominees for Best Animated Feature Film.
Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, who won last year’s Animated Feature Film Oscar for Frozen, moderated the discussion with all the nominated filmmakers from Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Song Of The Sea and The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya. This year’s nominated films come from around the world and encompass traditional animation, computer animation and stop-motion, and the evening also featured clips from each film.
Prior to the panel discussion, a few of the nominees spoke with Wamg.
- Movie Geeks
Though DreamWorks Animation just landed an Oscar nomination for How to Train Your Dragon 2 in the Best Animated Film category, the studio still isn't doing so hot. Even though The Croods was a success, other recent releases like Rise of the Guardians, Turbo and Mr. Peabody & Sherman haven't done as well at the box office as anticipated, resulting in their stock prices dropping and more layoffs happening as the company begins a massive restructuring of their feature animation business. And part of that restructuring includes a plan to only release two films each year now, one original project and one sequel. More below! Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria were recently appointed new co-presidents of feature animation, and it's all part of the restructuring happening at the studio. Chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg told Variety: “I don’t think we ever attained the creative capacity to maintain the highest level of »
- Ethan Anderton
DreamWorks Animation has some pretty huge issues to deal with, as the studio has been hemorrhaging money over the last few years thanks to numerous notable flops. These problems have led the company to announce a huge reconstruction of their feature film productions, which includes reducing their output from three films a year to just two. According to Coming Soon, Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria have both been appointed as the new Co-Presidents of Feature Animation at Dreamworks, and they have been forced to completely alter the studios near future thanks to underwhelming titles released in the recent past. But what has led to DreamWorks Animations reaching such a crisis? Well, we.re not one to point fingers, but a great deal of the blame has been hoist upon Rise of the Guardians, Turbo, and Mr Peabody & Sherman. Why? Because they lost a combined total of $153 million for the studio. »
In the wake of recent low-performing movies such as Rise of the Guardians, Turbo and Mr. Peabody and Sherman, DreamWorks Animation has announced a restructuring of the company. The studio will now only release two movies a year instead of three, cutting over 500 jobs. DreamWorks Animation also announced its new slate over the next three years, with the studio releasing one original movie and one sequel each year.
However, the studio did not mention projects such as B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations, which was recently pulled from its 2015 release, and other previously-scheduled releases such as Mumbai Musical (March 10, 2017), Madagascar 4 (May 18, 2018) and Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives and 40 Thieves (November 2, 2018). It isn't known if these projects are being delayed indefinitely or not. Take a look at the full press release from DreamWorks Animation below.
DreamWorks Animation is implementing a new strategic plan to restructure its core feature »
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