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An obscure art-house movie called The Dark Knight, starring a pair of little-known actors named Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, arrives on DVD and Blu-ray today. Also debuting on DVD this week: The animated blockbuster Horton Hears a Who!, starring Jim Carrey as the titular elephant with microscopic friends; and Man on Wire, James Marsh's riveting documentary about acrobat Philippe Petit's 1974 attempt to perform a high-wire act between the World Trade Center's twin towers.
Link | Posted 12/9/2008 by Thomas
- Thomas Leupp
DVD Links: Release Dates | New Dvds | Reviews | RSS Feed The Dark Knight Is there any question what everyone is going to buy this week? I would say the only question will be how many units are going to be sold and at what time will Warner Bros. release a press statement saying The Dark Knight is the best selling Blu-ray and DVD of 2008? Speaking of the Blu-ray, if you haven't done so already you can read my review here, or I can just tell you the picture is phenomenal and the features are not. You are buying this one for the movie though, so enjoy. Lost - The Complete Fourth Season Ugh, I just added my Blu-ray review for the fourth season of "Lost" and it is beginning to look more and more like this will either be a TV series to love in its entirety or to absolutely loathe »
- Brad Brevet
London -- Twentieth Century Fox has signed a video-on-demand rights deal with U.K. telecoms and digital tv supplier BT giving the supplier a range of new and classic movie titles to offer consumers.
The titles, to be offered on demand from Dec. 15 this year via BT's digital TV service BT Vision, include "The Happening," "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who" and "Shine A Light," the parties said Tuesday.
Fox catalogue titles such as "Alien Resurrection," "The Beach" and "Die Hard" will also be offered.
All Twentieth Century Fox movies on BT Vision will be available on a pay-per-view basis without the need for an up-front or mandatory subscription, so customers only pay for what they want to watch.
Prices start at two pounds ($3) for back catalog, rising to 3.99 pounds ($6) for the newest movies. BT Vision also offers consumers HD versions for an extra one pound ($2) on top of the cost. »
- By Stuart Kemp
Photo: DreamWorks Animation The International Animated Film Society announced the nominees for the 2008 Annie Awards and Kung Fu Panda is leading the way with 17 nominations followed by Disney's Bolt with 9 and the Disney/Pixar feature Wall-e earning 8. Panda picked up a healthy amount of noms in categories such as Character Animation, Character Design, Music, Production Design, Storyboarding, Voice Acting and Writing. In each of those categories it was either nominated while Bolt and Wall-e were not or secured multiple nominations giving it the outright nomination lead by 8. Could this be a sign of a Panda-over-wall-e Oscar upset? The nominees are listed below and you can check out the official award site here. Best Animated Feature Bolt (Walt Disney Animation Studios) Kung Fu Panda (DreamWorks Animation) $9.99 (Sherman Pictures/Lama Films) Wall-e (Pixar Animation Studios) Waltz With Bashir (Sony Pictures Classics/Bridgit Folman, Les Films D'ici, Razor Films) Best Animated Home Entertainment »
- Brad Brevet
DreamWorks Animation's "Kung Fu Panda" fought off stiff competition to earn 16 nominations -- the most for a feature -- for the International Animated Film Society's 36th Annual Annie Awards.
That includes a nomination for best-animated feature, a category that includes Pixar Animation Studios "Wall-e"-considered the frontrunner for the Oscar-which earned seven nominations. "Panda" and "Wall-e" also earned one additional nomination each in the best video game competition.
The top category is rounded out by nominations for Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Bolt," a 3-D release that earned five nominations; Sony Pictures Classics' "Waltz With Bashir," Israel's award-winning documentary, which took four nominations; and Sherman Pictures/Lama Films "$9.99," a stop-motion title that earned two nominations.
Blue Sky Studios' "Dr. Suess' Horton Hear as Who," a Fox release, also had a strong showing with five nominations.
All of these features are short listed by AMPAS for this season's animated feature competition.
Dwa earned a total of 27 nominations. »
- By Carolyn Giardina
The Children's BAFTAs ceremony, which took place on Sunday night, saw the hit Disney series named most popular feature in the Kids Vote category.
The winner was decided by a poll of children aged from seven to 14 and attracted a record number of votes - with over 200,000 fans registering their opinion.
Steve Carell will take the lead character of Groo in new 3D CG animation Despicable Me, which will mark the first film from producer Chris Meledandri's Illumination Entertainment, a family film unit set up at Universal. Meledandri was previously head of Fox Animation, and was most recently responsible for Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who! which, of course, starred Carell. Like that film, Despicable Me boasts a cracking cast, with Judd Apatow favourite Jason Segel, Saturday Night Live stalwart Kristen Wiig, the notorious Russell Brand, Flight Of The Conchords' Jermaine Clement, Jack McBrayer (Kenneth from 30 Rock), Arrested Development's Will Arnett and everyone's favourite musical matriarch Julie Andrews all lending their voices. Carell will play the detestable Groo, who, aided by his evil mother (Andrews), plans to steal the moon from the sky, until a trio of orphans land in his care and threaten to scupper the plot. »
Both films have been shortlisted for the best animated feature Oscar, in a category that will see 14 pictures battle it out for three final slots to compete for the coveted award.
This year's awards saw the honour go to Pixar's Ratatouille.
The award will be announced at the annual ceremony in Hollywood on 22 February. »
In 1992, Beauty and the Beast was an Academy Award nominee for Best Picture. Some people were upset that an animated movie could be eligible for movie's highest honor, when they really should've protested that The Prince of God Damn Tides was nominated that same year. Talk about taking a spot from a deserving movie (Fisher King, Cape Fear, Boyz N The Hood...).
Anyway, a few years later, there was an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, which would solve everything, right? Maybe. Probably. It seems that every year an animated film still gets pushed for Best Picture, though, and that's their right. Best Picture means exactly that.
But I suppose the Academy does need to honor animated films on their own, especially because they make the industry so much money. To that end, here are the fourteen movies submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the Best »
- Colin Boyd
Repo! the Genetic Opera just opened and has already been marketed by Lionsgate as the cult successor to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The movie opened this weekend in just eight theaters and earned $51,000, averaging an impressive $6450 per screen.
''I want to start a sequel next year. But again, everything — I’ll end my whole thing on a soapbox, which I love to get on,” Bousman told the site. “This movie is all about support from the Internet, and support from fans. This is not a movie where you’ll see billboards or bus stop ads or trailers on TV. It’s a movie that exists in a grass roots kind of a fashion. It exists when fans go and see it, and they go on message boards and talk about it. »
- Robert Greenberger
Photo: 20th Century Fox This Article Contains A Spoiler For The End Of Australia. I recently had an idea to post an article headlined "Guess the Studio". I was going to then describe a series of situations based on actual events while hiding the true identity of any film or person involved and see if people would guess it was in fact 20th Century Fox that was being described. Here is a studio that seems to have zero respect for artistic opinion and the suits over there seem to believe they have the answer to everything. This year Fox has delivered such piles as: Deception Jumper What Happens in Vegas The Happening The X-Files: I Want to Believe Max Payne And those are just the titles I saw. They wouldn't even screen Babylon A.D., Shutter or Mirrors and I wasn't even going to »
- Brad Brevet
Photo: Disney / Pixar I just watched Kung Fu Panda again last night and just received the Blu-ray copy of Wall.E today, which is to say I am going to be watching that flick tonight, which means I am getting a double dose, two nights in a row, of the best animated films of the year just as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveils the list of the 14 features that have been submitted for consideration in the Animated Feature Film category for the 81st Academy Awards. They are each listed below in alphabetical order, but I can tell you right now I don't think any film stands a chance against Wall.E unless Bolt ends up being cinematic genius. I have seen Waltz with Bashir and while it's tragic and quite impactful, as well as being a very impressive piece of animation, it isn't up to snuff with Pixar's mammoth. »
- Brad Brevet
Fourteen films have been sent in to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and vye for a chance to snag one of the three noms in the best animated feature category.So who are the contenders? The list is below. Some, including the horrible "Fly Me to the Moon" and "Igor" have no chance whatsoever, despite "Moon" being the first ever animated movie for 3D. MGM distributed "Igor" is just lifeless in total even with John Cusack inn the lead. We're going for the remarkable "Wall-e." True, the contenders are getting better, but for quality of story, no other company can match the Disney/Pixar duo for appealling to human emotions. We loved "Kung Fu Panda" and "Madagascar: Escape to Africa" is a winner as well. "Tale of Despereaux" is in the mix too. Those are all big budget offerings. The less costly have still to be considered. »
"Iron Man," at $315 million the second-highest theatrical grosser of the year, will be released Sept. 30 on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, Paramount Home Entertainment is expected to announce Friday.
"Iron Man" is the second in what could be as many as 18 theatrical features to be announced for the home entertainment market in the lucrative fourth quarter, and its arrival in stores one day before the official start of the fourth quarter indicates it likely will be the first.
The movie blockbuster represents the first title wholly produced by Marvel Studios.
Another big film to be slotted for the fourth quarter, Fox's "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!" has a Dec. 9 DVD and Blu-ray release date attached to it. At $153.4 million, "Horton" is the year's No. 7 movie.
The two releases, coming at opposite ends of the holiday-selling season, reflect two different philosophies at the home entertainment divisions of the major Hollywood studios. Come out early and benefit from the first rush of consumers to stores; come out late and you'll hit stores at the same time as the last-minute impulse buyers.
Paramount is releasing "Iron Man" as a two-disc "Ultimate Edition" on DVD and Blu-ray. Each includes a seven-part making-of documentary and a six-part feature on the origins of the Marvel superhero.
Other extras include a documentary on the film's visual effects; Robert Downey Jr.'s original screen test; deleted and extended scenes; a photo gallery of concept art; and behind-the-scenes images on the set.
The Blu-ray presentation also offers several additional extras, including a "Hall of Armor" that lets viewers zoom in on any of the three Iron Man suits, or Iron Monger, and then activate digital 3-D schematics to check out every weapon. They also can fly around each suit to explore it in great detail. Also included is a Bd-Live Web application, "Iron Man Iq," that lets users create and share new multiple-choice quizzes based on clips from the film.
A single-disc "Iron Man" DVD also will be issued, with just the movie and the deleted and extended scenes. »
- By Thomas K. Arnold
It's still summer, but already the fourth-quarter DVD and Blu-ray Disc release slate is looking pretty strong.
While no exact dates have been set, at least seven theatrical blockbusters are all but certain to be released on disc in the final three months of the year, including Paramount's "Iron Man" -- at $309.2 million the year's No. 1 movie -- and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," close behind at $300 million.
Whether using a split screen to keep the action going or recruiting celebrities to star in ad-sponsored micro-series, networks are continuing to experiment with ways to keep viewers tuned in during commercial breaks.
Tlc recently adopted a strategy for its series "Your Place or Mine?" that treated viewers to a glimpse of what was going on behind the scenes of the home-makeover game show with a "box inside the box" format during commercials. MTV this year partnered with Dove and Alicia Keys on a five-part micro-series that aired during breaks in "The Hills" and followed the lives of three young roommates in New York.
These are just the latest examples of networks trying to stop viewers from channel surfing or fast-forwarding through commercials on their DVRs, which are now in one out of every four U.S. homes.
"The networks and markets are trying to come up with strategies that are going to have their commercials seen by as many people as possible," said Brad Adgate, senior vp research at New York-based Horizon Media. "There are going to be a lot of innovative and different ideas."
Adgate argues that those networks that skew younger -- such as Fox, the CW and MTV -- are the most aggressive in this area because younger viewers tend to channel surf more. In fact, the CW has been playing around with its commercial breaks since it launched two years ago.
At launch, the network started airing content wraps, or fully sponsored mini-episodes that ran in place of national spots on certain nights. That was followed by the 10-second "CWickies." This season, the network is set to debut "CWingers," in which viewers see part of a story line on air but must visit the Web to see Part 2 before viewing the resolution on TV.
MTV executive vp marketing and multiplatform creative Tina Exarhos said it's not always easy marrying the advertisers' needs with viewers' interests.
"We can come up with an idea that the audience loves, but it has to deliver on the sponsor's objectives," she said.
Other MTV initiatives have included a partnership with Doritos for "When Spicy Meets Sweet," a micro-series that mirrored the network's dating shows and spotlighted a new chip flavor. Doritos was so pleased with the results, MTV senior vp integrated marketing Tim Rosta said, that it dedicated its entire media budget to launch the new flavor exclusively on MTV. For the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, the network partnered with Orbit gum to create a comedic skit that aired during an entire commercial pod.
As for the Dove/Keys series, Rosta said the retention around those "was nearly perfect" from "Hills" numbers and that brand recall was high.
"If it's great content, there will be viewer interest," Rosta said. "It doesn't matter if it's a commercial, promo or the program."
Other initiatives include airing a Chevy spot directly from the 2007 Video Music Awards' red carpet with Mary J. Blige and running live, behind-the-scenes footage from the "Hills" premiere party during commercial breaks.
For its part, Fox's initiatives have included eight-second animated vignettes surrounding a taxi driver named Oleg that were intended to intrigue viewers enough to stick around during breaks. Those debuted in April 2007, about a month before Nielsen Media Research began measuring commercial ratings.
Other networks are partnering with the film studios for shortform vignettes. Jerry Seinfeld was back on NBC in the fall, promoting his Paramount/DreamWorks film "Bee Movie" in what he called "live action trailers."
In March, Discovery Communications' Tlc aired so-called "hybrid ads" during the network's "Jon & Kate Plus 8" that served as promos for the series and the Fox film "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!" The network said that both nights in which the ad aired, the commercial +3 (C3) average ratings exceeded that of the live program with an average index of 102. And according to Iag Research, which measures "definite intent" to view the movie, the ads outperformed the overall "Horton" hybrid norms on broadcast and cable by 53%.
"This was fun and creative and fit so well with the show," Discovery Communications senior vp market research Beth Rockwood said.
The news networks long ago got in the game by running news crawls across the screen during commercial breaks but recently began doing so more consistently with the presidential election on the horizon.
Espn has been offering split-screen coverage of its Irl events, whereby the race action and commercials air side by side, and recently began slotting commercial breaks at the times it felt would be least intrusive to viewers. Espn, which actually sees 99.4% of its viewing live because of the nature of sporting events, also runs a crawl during commercial breaks in "Baseball Tonight" and "Espn News."
Another approach has consisted of mock commercials being created around show content that drive viewers to other platforms.
For "The Office," a spot that aired during a commercial break centered on paper company Dunder Mifflin, where the show is set, and invited people who "like paper" to apply for jobs. "Office" stars Steve Carell, Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski appeared in the spots, which directed viewers to a mock company Web site.
Similarly, "Lost" viewers have seen fake commercials for Oceanic Airlines (the airline whose plane crashed in the pilot) and the Hanso Foundation (a mysterious organization tied to the plot of the show). All were part of an interactive, multimedia game dubbed "The Lost Experience" intended to advance the story line between Seasons 2 and 3.
With all this, executives said the evolution of the commercial break is destined to continue.
"Even when you find more things that work, you still have to keep experimenting," Discovery's Rockwood said. "When something becomes the norm, it's not going to continue to work anyway." »
- By Kimberly Nordyke
Hayward began his career as an animator on the Canadian TV series ReBoot before becoming a member of the Pixar family, where he worked on such films as Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo. He also was involved in Fox and Blue Sky's animated film Robots.
Hayward continues to be repped by manager Jason Grode. »
The general temperature of the international boxoffice was the opposite of the weekend's unseasonably hot weather in much of Europe, with the comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall emerging No. 1 with an estimated $7 million from about 1,000 screens in nine markets.
The Judd Apatow co-production, starring Jason Segel and Kristen Bell, finished on top in Australia and in the U.K., where the Universal International release opened to an estimated $4.1 million from 393 sites for a $10,433 per-screen average, representing 26% of the market. Sarah's 11-day overseas total stands at $9.3 million; it's at $44.4 million worldwide.
With mid-80s temperatures holding down weekend theatrical attendance in many European markets, the spring season overseas went out with a whimper. But things will change rapidly this week with the start of the summer blockbuster season.
The first tentpole out of the gate internationally is Paramount's release of the Marvel Comics $135 million version of Iron Man, with Robert Downey Jr., opening in 57 markets worldwide from Wednesday-Saturday.
Tied for second place on the weekend with an estimated $6.2 million each were Sony's 21 and Fox's "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!"
"21," the saga of MIT math whizzes at blackjack, played 1,775 screens in 28 markets for an overseas cume of $30.7 million. The animated Horton played 5,100 sites in 45 markets for a cume of $127.2 million. »
With the beginning of the summer blockbuster season a fortnight away, the international circuit logged another soft weekend that saw 20th Century Fox International's Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! take the No. 1 spot for the fourth consecutive stanza with an estimated $9.7 million from 5,301 screens in 52 markets.
The animated comedy has rolled up a six-week overseas gross of $117.7 million.
Horton barely beat out the weekend's No. 2 title, Sony's 21, about MIT students applying mathematical skills to blackjack. Thanks to robust openings in four big territories including Russia, Brazil and Italy, it grossed an estimated $9.6 million from 1,729 screens in 21 markets for a cume of $20.8 million.
In third place overall was Street Kings, a drama about a Los Angeles policeman (Keanu Reeves) accused of killing another officer. It drew an estimated $8.5 million from 2,429 spots in 37 markets. Co-starring Forest Whitaker, Kings has rolled up a total overseas gross of $10.3 million in 10 days.
Finishing fourth was Paramount's The Spiderwick Chronicles, which raised its overseas cume to $74 million thanks to a $5.3 million weekend at 3,018 screens in 63 markets. At No. 5 was the smash French rural comedy Bienvenue chex les ch'tis, which dropped from first to third in its eighth frame in France, grossing an estimated $5.1 million from about 800 sites for a market cume of $173.5 million. (The film's grosses from French-speaking Switzerland and Belgium were not available Sunday.)
Universal's release of co-producer Judd Apatow's romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the weekend's No. 2 domestic film, opened day-and-date in Australia and Iceland for an estimated $1.7 million from 213 sites, good for an early global tally of $19 million. »
A soft presummer-blockbuster weekend on the international circuit saw 20th Century Fox International's Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! take the No. 1 spot for the third straight weekend with an estimated $10.6 million from 5,307 screens in 56 markets.
All of the weekend's top five domestic boxoffice titles played overseas with Sony's 21 leading the pack with a debut on 975 screens in six markets for an estimated $8.1 million, enough to qualify as the No. 2 international hit (domestically, it was No. 3). Its early worldwide tally stands at $70.4 million.
The drama starring Jim Sturgess about six MIT students applying their mathematical skills to win at blackjack grabbed the top spot in five markets including Germany with an estimated $2.2 million from 300 screens and the U.K. where "21" won $3.2 million from 355 sites. This coming weekend will see openings of the title in 13 markets territories including Italy, Brazil and Russia.
Universal's Leatherheads, the period football comedy with George Clooney, the No. 5 domestic title, tackled $2.3 million in its second weekend overseas at 545 screens in the U.K., Italy and the Ukraine. The No. 4 domestic title, Nim's Island, the family fantasy with Jodie Foster which Universal/Summit International is releasing overseas, drew $3.6 million from 808 screens in seven markets.
Fox's Street Kings, which finished No. 2 domestically, grossed $1.2 million from 322 screens in 10 markets, including first-place finishes in Thailand and Singapore. Sony opened in Australia Prom Night, the horror outing which finished No. 1 domestically, to an estimated $850,000 from 123 sites.
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