Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Aardman back in a big way

The Baltimore Orioles, in true Orioles fashion, managed to hold on to first place - by sheer luck of alphabetical order - for exactly one day. Oh well. I still love baseball, and I always will.

In much better news, Sony has stepped in to rescue Aardman Features by signing the animation studio to a three-picture deal. Aardman's divorce from Dreamworks was one of the least surprising but still depressing stories of the year, but now there's new hope for good, old-fashioned animation.

The numbers on the last Aardman/Dreamworks flick are indeed fairly bleak. "Flushed Away" cost $130 million to make and market, but grossed only $179 million worldwide (which prompts two questions from me: How in the world does an animated movie cost $130M to make, and who in the world can't live with a profit of $49M?)

And the real good news here? Aardman has four scripts in development, including (and hopefully first) another Wallace & Gromit movie. First, however, will come an American version of "Creature Comforts" for CBS, which will hopefully retain all the British humor that Dreamworks tried so desperately hard to squelch. I can only say bring it all on.

John Boorman's back too

And that can never be a bad thing. If I've translated this report from my favorite Froggy site, Cinempire.com, correctly, he will be directing a flick based on the novel "Memoirs of Hadrian" by French writer Marguerite Yourcenar and Grace Frick.

From here the translation just got more complicated. If I have it right, Charlie Hunnam of "Green Street Hooligans" fame will play the young Antinous, and Antonio Banderas is in talks to play the emperor Hadrian.

If I have this correct (or even if I don't exactly), this one is definitely worth keeping your eyes on.

Drinky Crow is Go

Though I concede it's too dark for most of the world, I just can't get enough of Tony Millionaire's Maakies cartoon (to check it out yourself, click the link in my blog roll at right.)

For a while now I had heard rumblings about a "Drinky Crow Show" being created for the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming bloc, and now this morning from Brendon Connelly at Film Ick comes confirmation that it's definitely on.

He was even kind enough to include a link to download the first 30 seconds of the show, which you can do by visiting his great blog here. As for the show, it's coming May 13, so tune in if your sensibility can take the hit.

Eli Roth's "Thanksgiving"

"This year there will be no leftovers."

I considered not posting this trailer on a site that is, after all, linked from a family-friendly newspaper, but it just made me laugh from start to finish so I had to share it.

I do offer the following warning: Do not watch this while at work, or else you might get in hot water. Among other oddities, it features several beheadings and a cheerleader stripping as she bounces up and down. Juvenile? Absolutely, but along with Edgar Wright and Rob Zombie, Roth has clearly had fun creating this fake trailer that will be sandwiched in between the two halves of "Grindhouse." Stay tuned until the end for a preview of all three trailers. Peace out.


* (asterisk) said...

I'm sure you know this already, but for a limited time Gromit is going to be taking the place of Nipper the Jack Russell in the HMV logo. Awww. Cute. But I'm glad it's not permanent.

Reel Fanatic said...

I did know that, Mr. *, and I'm with you on both counts .. Any chance to see Gromit is good, but definitely, in this case, only for a limited time

lunatic core said...

That was fantastic.

The cheerleader is classic.

Reel Fanatic said...

It definitely made me smile, lunatic core ... I have to post warnings before putting material like that up on here, even though it doesn't offend me

Divinity said...

I bought several "nice Wesleydale" cheeses while living in England. The Wensleydale factory has W&G cut-outs as their mascot. When I heard about the Aardman fire, I thought first of the dairy. :P
Trivia for the day: did you know HMV originally stood for "Her Majesty's Voice"?

Reel Fanatic said...

I never would have known that, Divinity .. The Aardman fire was just so depressing, but it does look like they'll land on their feet

Eaglewing said...

Could be worse - you could be cheering for the 'No-Hope' Nationals. My Jays won their 1st game against Detroit, to my surprise. It took'em 10 though. And I'll always love baseball too. Just something about the grand ol' game. (As long as I ignore the presence of mind boggling salaries and the commish)

That fake trailer was sick, in a good way. They should do that kind of thing at more parades - would spice things up.

Marina said...

Oh man. That was funny but at the same time, made me shake my head in awe at how awful it was. Yet, I enjoyed ever bloody second.

I'm excited.

Reel Fanatic said...

I wanted to like the Nationals, Eaglewing, but after they fired my man Frank Robinson that was the final straw ... That team has pitching so bad that they just might lost 120 games

Chris said...

When a movie makes a certain amount, like in the case of Flushed Away, the total amount you see is not what the studio makes. A $130 million film has to make (ballpark) $260 million to break even, because they share the gross with theatres (luckily for studios, there's profit in video and TV rights). It's not completely 50-50: On the first weekend, the percentages are weighted towards the studios, and then it steadily declines in favor of the theatres the longer the film is out.

So in other words, there's a good chance Dreamworks lost money on Flushed Away even though they made $179 million worldwide.

But I don't know where all that cost in animation goes, either. Even the traditionally animated films cost a lot back in the day. It must be that they take so long to make that they have to pay everyone longer than they would on a typical three-month shoot. Plus, you throw in all these stars doing their voices and that jacks it up nicely.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for the info, Chris ... I figured Dreamworks had taken a serious beating on "Flushed Away," since the break with Aardman was so drastic ... I wish I had the time to read up on how studios finance movies, because it is a subject that fascinates me

* (asterisk) said...

Divinty, I've never heard that HMV stood for Her Maj's Voice... The name comes from the painting of the dog listening to a recording of his master's voice, and the painting is called His Master's Voice.