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November 29, 2007

Enchanted in Cinefex #112

Disney's Enchanted will have a small VFX feature in the Overview section of Cinefex #112

See Also: The Golden Compass, Tippett completed over a dozen shots for the upcoming fantasy adventure.

The Golden Compass

New Line Cinema returns to large-scale fantasy filmmaking with The Golden Compass, written and directed by Chris Weitz and based on the first book in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Visual effects supervisor Michael L. Fink orchestrated the work of nine companies in creating the film's rich array of magical characters and exotic locales, with lead vendors Rhythm & Hues and Cinesite responsible for the film's signature CG effect - shape-shifting, talking spirit animals known as 'demons.'

See Also, Also: Looks like The Spiderwick Chronicles will hog the cover of Cinefex #113 (I hope one of our creatures hog's the cover, but it very well, and most likely will be one of ILM's critters...)

I Am Legend

In I Am Legend, based on a novella by Richard Matheson, a viral plague has transformed the inhabitants of Manhattan into bloodthirsty, carnivorous and preternaturally strong creatures, leaving a lone survivor to fend for himself. Visual effects supervisor Janek Sirrs engaged Sony Pictures Imageworks to handle the effects, which included digitally generating the hordes of infected creatures and creating a post-apocalyptic look for location photography shot in New York.


Director Robert Zemeckis re-teams with visual effects supervisor Jerome Chen and Sony Pictures Imageworks to bring the ancient epic tale, Beowulf, to the big screen as an all-CG feature. Expanding on and further refining the groundbreaking performance capture developed for The Polar Express, Chen and his team reached new heights of realism in the creation of the film's synthetic humans, while breathing new life into its fabled beasts, exotic environments and dynamic battle action.



2D characters from an animated fairytale are magically transported to the real world of modern-day New York in the Walt Disney fantasy Enchanted, directed by Kevin Lima, with visual effects by Tippett Studio.

The Mist

For The Mist, adapted from a Stephen King novella, director Frank Darabont and visual effects supervisor Everett Burrell combined full-scale animatronic puppets, maquettes and makeup effects provided by KNB EFX with CG creatures created by CaféFX.

Q&A: Dennis Berardi

Visual effects supervisor Dennis Berardi discusses the work of Toronto-based effects company Mr. X, and the state of the burgeoning visual effects industry in Canada.

Posted by dschnee at 10:30 PM

November 27, 2007

VFX of Disney's Enchanted

Making a classic fairytale come to life in modern-day Manhattan was no ordinary assignment, but that's precisely what was needed for Disney's Enchanted (opened Nov. 21). Director Thomas Schelesny at Tippett Studio in Berkeley, California.

-yanked from VFXworld's Article Enchanted: Conjuring Fairytale VFX

The studio has a great reputation for combining visual effects with live action, and Schelesny had previously supervised Tippett's crew on The Shaggy Dog and Son of The Mask. He also brought to the task a background that was useful for a film that bridged the worlds of visual effects and animation -- he had been an animator himself on such projects as Starship Troopers, Men In Black II and Hollow Man.

"When I was introduced to Kevin Lima," recalls Schelesny, "he was entrenched on the Disney lot, surrounded by hundreds of pieces of conceptual artwork thousands of storyboards. When I came to it, Enchanted was entirely not a visual effects effort. I felt like I'd walked straight into a 2D animation pipeline, which is where Kevin's foundation is. Initially what was unfamiliar to me as a visual effects supervisor was that I've rarely seen a director be so prepared to shoot a movie. I realized that this was a 'once in a career' opportunity."
Enchanted takes audiences on the journey of Giselle (Amy Adams), who's living happily in a 2D fairyland until she falls for Prince Edward (James Marsden) and is banished by his disapproving mother, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon). Suddenly Giselle is propelled from an idyllic world (animated in traditional Disney style at Baxter Animation) into present-day, live-action New York City. The prince comes looking for her -- trailed by an angry Queen -- and they also transition from animation to live action. The naïve Giselle has embraced the Manhattan life, including a friendship with the handsome Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and the premise provided plentiful sight gags for Tippett's team to visualize. They created virtual sets, environmental effects and, most notably, realistic CG characters that performed alongside real actors.

With Schelesny serving as overall supervisor, Tippett ended up contributing 320 shots, CIS Hollywood did 36 shots (primarily wire removals and comps), ReelFX did four shots of pop up book page-turn transitions and Weta also did two.

Schelesny remembers, "When I met with Kevin Lima it was clear that we were going to participate in a true homage, not a spoof or some irreverent slam on the tradition of animated films. Kevin was very clear that even some of the best acting animation he'd seen in 3D would not measure up to what he'd need. When I came back to Tippett and sat down with Tom Gibbons (animation supervisor) and Jim Brown (lead animator) and I let them know that we weren't going to follow a regular visual effects paradigm. It wouldn't be the typical action-oriented animation where the monster walks over a truck or giant robot transforms into a plane and flies away."

Instead, they would have to animate -- and integrate -- creatures that ranged from cockroaches, pigeons and rats to central performers like a chipmunk named Pip and a gigantic dragon-like incarnation of Queen Narissa. Tippett Studio had previously animated Templeton the rat in Charlotte's Web, and their use of Autodesk Maya combined with their proprietary fur tool Furrocious had yielded a great character. Enchanted gave them the chance to build upon that experience.
Schelesny remarks, "Pip was a unique character. Unlike the 'Narissa dragon' -- who was allowed to be a fantasy character -- Pip had to sell as a real animal. When we began development, my first instruction was that we needed to make a photorealistic chipmunk and then demonstrate it to Kevin. From there we'd add some of the personification, which would allow Pip to stand on his hind legs and pantomime."

The Tippett team had observed a pet rat while animating Templeton, but it's illegal to own chipmunks, so Schelesny went out and filmed live animals in motion from every conceivable angle. Lima also provided a "soundtrack" of noises to suggest a voice for Pip (who doesn't speak when he's in 3D.) Once again Tippett's artists used Maya and Furrocious to generate a believable furry creature.

"In our first test for Kevin," Schelesny recalls, "our CG chipmunk ran in, groomed himself and stretched upward. Then he spun in a circle and took off. We nailed all of the little cues, which made this chipmunk seem real. It's typical when you're working on a CG character that you want to say 'Hey, look at me!' But we deliberately held back because I wanted to show Kevin that we could 'do real.'"

When Schelesny was on location with Lima in Times Square, he showed the director a QuickTime of this test on a laptop. It looked so convincing that the director thought he was looking at reference footage and said, 'Yeah, like that.' Schelesny remembers how surprised Lima was to learn that he was looking at a CG character. "That helped us build confidence that we were on the right track."

Setting up the scenes in which Pip would perform was challenging, according to Schelesny. "We had a number of tricks to help the actors and the cinematographer understand what they were working with. I had a small stuffed chipmunk that had a wire armature on the inside that we'd place in the scene during rehearsal. In some cases where we couldn't do that, I'd have a rod with a flag on the end with a small marker to show them where to look. I'd be digitally erased from the plate and we place the CG Pip where that marker had been.

"In other situations, if numerous actors had to watch where Pip was moving through a scene, we'd use a device like a synchro mark. It essentially is a laser pointer that plugs into the camera and runs out of phase with the camera's shutter so its mark isn't seen. I would control where the laser pointer went -- pretending I was Pip. The actors would look where the laser pointer went, so we'd get all their eyes looking in the right direction."
It also helped the camera crew, led by DP Don Burgess (Spider-Man, Terminator 3, Forrest Gump). Schelesny notes, "The camera operator needed to know where he'd have to pan or tilt to follow something that's supposed to be moving very quickly." It was important to suggest that the camera was trying to keep up with a darting creature, Schelesny believes. "It sells the spontaneity of the moment. I'd rather see Pip leave the frame and have the camera catch up with him -- almost as though we didn't know where he was going to go, rather than have him always be in the center of the frame." This approach reflected the director's wish to have the CG filmed with a "real" camera, and not a CG camera that would make moves that ignored the rules of physics.

Of course, the Tippett crew couldn't hone the performance of CG characters until the plate photography was complete, and Lima's editorial crew tried to expedite the process as much as possible. As Schelesny explains, "After the background plates were shot they cut out the storyboards and did some simple Avid composites that put 2D versions of characters into the real backgrounds to help our animators understand how long their shots should be and how their coverage should work. It was very clear what the mechanics of those scenes needed to be.

"The main difference between 2D animation and visual effects 3D work is that in 2D animation it's never too late to make a huge change, given a bit of time. In 3D, once the plate is shot, you have nothing but limitations. When you're on set you're limited by time and the camera equipment that you have." Schelesny recalls with a laugh how surprised he was to arrive at one NYC location -- a very small bathroom in which they'd stage a musical number where scores of animals help Giselle clean the messy room.

Shooting visual effects plates in cramped quarters was not for the timid, Schelesny admits. "Some of these camera moves were fast whip pans and tilts. We knew we knew we couldn't do those moves plus have floor effects occurring and still hit our timings. So I called out the timings in half time and we ran the camera at 12 fps. We got whip pans that were super fast and framed perfectly. And it also got us perfect motion blur."

That cramped bathroom was one extreme, and the other was a grand ballroom where Susan Sarandon transforms into a 50-foot beast with explosive force. "It was a real adjustment to start working in large scale," Schelesny acknowledges. "Over 100 extras had to watch her move through the ballroom. So the little rod trick had to become a big rod trick. To help direct the extras' eyelines, rather than use a laser pointer, I was on the stage floor with a long pole, and I'd raise the pole and yell 'Look at ME!!!' as loud as I could. Then I would run out of the frame and we'd do the take while things were fresh in people's memories.

"These shots are by no means subtle. With the beast's appearance, lots of floor effects went off. There was an explosion, and we yanked a bunch of actors out of the frame and all of the extras had to look up and imagine the Narissa character growing higher and higher. At the same time, we had a computer-controlled lighting setup and a repeatable head on the camera all synced together. We had on-set lighting effects for the fire and the camera tilted up in a pre-programmed move. Chandeliers and all kinds of set pieces were knocked back and forth.
"There was also lots of CG fire and smoke, which was built around the Maya fluid system. In order to fit the film's motif, we couldn't have an explosion that looked too real, like a bomb going off. So our effects animation team had to take the physics of the fire and smoke for this transformation and make them follow a Disney 2D composition approach. It looked real but was reminiscent of 2D animated films."

A constant challenge for Schelesny during the filming of Enchanted was deciding what could be gotten on set and which shots had to be done digitally. "You earn most of your pay in those split second decisions. Virtually anybody can go onto a set and come back with 80% of what's needed. It's for that final 20% where you need to go on set well prepared to avoid a problem or to recognize it when you're there, so you can let people know that something will take extra time."

Schelesny was committed to using real footage of actors whenever possible. Tippett Studio did employ significant muscle and cloth simulation to animate some digital doubles in Enchanted, working from modeling data of the actors captured by Realscan's mobile unit. But digital doubles were only used when absolutely necessary. This philosophy led Schelesny to design a "puppeteering" approach to the film's final sequence, in which the Narissa beast climbs Manhattan's Woolworth Building while clutching Patrick Dempsey's character in her claws.

"If we were going to see Patrick's face, why use a digital double? When we first discussed how to tackle this, it was on the heels of King Kong, and we considered whether we should have a computer controlled motion base with a robotic arm that moved Patrick around realistically. But I've done a significant amount of work with puppeteers, and one huge advantage of puppeteering is that you can change a performance very quickly. And humans naturally move smoothly in arcs." Schelesny decided that by working with the floor effects supervisor Steve Kirshoff, they could film Patrick Dempsey being "held" in a puppeteered greenscreen rig.

"I built a 3D model in Maya of how I envisioned the puppeteers would interface with the actor," Schelesny explains. "It was basically a long arm counterweighted on one side. Patrick Dempsey would be held on one end of that arm and there'd be a pivot two-thirds of the way down the arm and then a counterweight on the far side. That would allow us to swing the arm around with him on the end of it.

"Then we built a 3-axis 'wrist' to hold Patrick. Three different floor effects artists would control each axis, like turning a wheel. These were basically steering hydraulics for ships. They'd spin a wheel in one direction and the wrist would move. So they worked like x-y-z axes. They had to work in perfect synchronicity for it to have the proper drag and follow-through and weight of a real arm with somebody inside of it.

"I was working, in many cases, with stunt people who had never done this kind of puppeteering before. But after a couple of weekends rehearsing, they were very good at operating this arm. In some of those movements Patrick was 20 feet off the floor. He brought a lot to this. A visual effects supervisor's best friend is a good physical actor. We shot most all the work with Patrick Dempsey in that arm in one day, with zero malfunctions. And the footage never looked mechanical or programmed."

This footage of Dempsey was then tracked into the claw of the CG Narissa beast as she climbed the building. The camera following this ascent revealed a vista of NYC skyscrapers, all created digitally. Tippett's Matchmove Supervisor Eric Marco had gathered extensive references of the actual surrounding buildings, so that the camera could literally move anywhere. Schelesny notes, "That allowed us to build in a subtle level of parallax, so that as the camera was moving higher up the Woolworth building, we'd see the other buildings in the distance sliding against each other. We could have flown the camera in 360 degrees but we resisted the temptation. Audiences are sophisticated enough to know you can't go from a helicopter shot to the moon and back to the beast's eye."

The finale in Enchanted takes place on one physical set piece of the top of the Woolworth building; digitally extended and surrounded by a computer-animated lightning storm. "The rain was digital, and even was a 'character,'" explains Schelesny. "At first, the rain moves in a linear fashion and then as the sequence builds to the finale it begins to swirl around. And the lighting, which starts out quite far away on the horizon in the beginning of the sequence, is all around the spire of the building at the end. It wasn't just a simulation of a storm." (Disney's classic, The Old Mill was a major inspiration here.)

Describing how the look was carefully choreographed down to the frame, Schelesny says, "We did a rough 2D QuickTime animation that described where the bolts of lightning should go, and that served as a template for the compositors." The integration of all these elements was done with Apple's Shake, and Schelesny credits Lead Compositor Chris Morely and Compositing Supervisor Matt Jacobs for making the storm support the film's story. "There's nothing about a crafted film that is random," he observes.

Ellen Wolff is a southern California-based writer whose articles have appeared in other publications, including Daily Variety, Millimeter, Animation Magazine, Video Systems and the website CreativePlanet.com. Her areas of special interest are computer animation and digital visual effects.

-yanked from VFXworld's Article Enchanted: Conjuring Fairytale VFX

Posted by dschnee at 10:18 PM

November 26, 2007

An Enchanted Thanksgiving for Disney

So Enchanted charmed in $49 million over the 5 day holiday haul, marking the second-biggest boxoffice feast ever over the holiday-lengthened Thanksgiving weekend, this behind Toy Story 2's $80.1 million performance in 1999.

I went with the family, 15 of us in all on Friday night to finally see Enchanted... There was a early screening 2 weeks ago @ Pixar, but I was away in Tahoe that weekend unable to attend. It was definitely worth the wait though, we finished up last May, so it's one of those projects you almost forget about until you see it all again, complete, on screen, all the sounds, bells, whistles with a crowd, and one that's totally engulfed, it was so much fun to watch. Amy Adams gave an amazing almost freaky performance, and the rest were great too, James 'Cyclops' Marsden was pretty damn funny, and the jolly Timothy Spall was great. From Queen to Hag to Evil Queen to Evil Dragon, Susan Sarandon did exceptional job as well.

Our work? I thought it all looked great, truly. The "Happy Working Song" was so much fun. I was hoping I wouldn't cringe at the Queen's big arrival to New York scene, but I did... just a little. I worked really hard on it, but kept feeling as if it turned out a bit hokey. Then I remind myself that she has just emerged from the 2D world, and some of the look and elements involved a more traditional 2D style, while also achieving a level of realism. Anyhow the Dragon/Woolworth/Rain sequence looked really good too, it was great to see everything hold up.

Pip Rocked! The crowd loved him, cheered for him, laughed at him, and cared for him when he was in harms way, kudos to the Animators and Furrocious.

Check out a couple of great articles below about the animation and visual effects of Enchanted: (And I hinted to this in the previous post but I have to mention that we made the First Cut for the VFX Oscar race?!?)

Enchanted: Conjuring Fairytale VFX
Ellen Wolff discovers the charmed life of Enchanted from Tippett VFX Supervisor Thomas Schelesny.


Enchanted by Disney
Joe Strike talks to the creators of Disney's Enchanted, who blended new and old to achieve a style that's both fresh and familiar.

Posted by dschnee at 11:45 AM

November 21, 2007

Enchanted is Released!

in the USA 21 November 2007

visit Enchanted @ imdb.com

Box Office Results November 21-25, 2007

Number: 1
Weekend Gross: $34,440,317
Theatres: 3,730
Theatre Average: $9,233
Weeks in Release: 1
Total Gross: $49,060,281
Budget: $???
Running Time: 1 hrs. 47 min.
Distributor: Buena Vista
MPAA Rating: PG

Monday, December 3, 2007; Posted: 12:40 AM
The Hollywood Reporter states "Disney's family fantasy Enchanted ruled the domestic box-office for a second consecutive session, grossing an estimated $17 million during the latest weekend. The music-filled Amy Adams film dropped an acceptable 50% from its first Friday-through-Sunday frame while boosting its cumulative box-office to $70.6 million..."

Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:15 PM EST
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Disney's fairy-tale romantic comedy "Enchanted" charmed audiences over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend, taking in more than $50 million at the North American box office.

"Enchanted," which stars Amy Adams as a fairy-tale princess in modern-day New York City, collected $50.1 million for what Disney executives said was the second-highest five-day Thanksgiving weekend box-office tally.

So how will Enchanted do? It's going to do very well... it's had a ton of charming reviews around the interwebs, Roeper & Ebert(Phillips) both enjoyed it!, 93% Fresh at the moment, Everyone loves Amy Adams performance, it's the holidays, it's a movie for kids, that adults will enjoy, sort of a date movie, and has Tippett Studio VFX, what's not to like!?!

The film's producer, Barry Josephson, credited the movie's better-than expected showing to its broad appeal to families and fresh approach, as well as Adams' performance as the wide-eyed princess coping on the mean streets of New York.

"Amy Adams really brought such a great spirit to the character. She truly has just this incredible exuberance you don't often see on screen," Josephson said. "She is a big surprise for people who don't know her. It's a breakout role."

Josephson said "Enchanted" brought in the highest five-day Thanksgiving weekend box office for a non-sequel, trailing only 1999's "Toy Story 2."

"We are ecstatic about it," said Mark Zoradi, president of Disney's motion picture group, who also praised performances by Adams and her co-star, Patrick Dempsey.

"It struck a chord in family movie-going, where it's not only great romantic comedy but it had all those little special things tying back to Disney history and music, and it just played across the board," he said.

BoxOfficeMojo.com's "Enchanted" Statistics

Posted by dschnee at 7:03 AM

November 20, 2007

The Spiderwick Chronicles Movie Trailer #2

Also Known As the Darker Trailer...

-via Yahoo! Movies

Posted by dschnee at 7:57 AM

Another Spiderwick Chronicles Poster

Posted by dschnee at 6:32 AM

November 16, 2007

'Enchanted' princess steps out of cartoon, into Manhattan

USA Today put out a nice spread on Enchanted...

"The masterminds behind the PG-rated Enchanted have set out to invent a new studio classic, one that not only recalls the cartoon wonders of Uncle Walt's golden age but also such later landmarks as 1964's Mary Poppins (that's Julie Andrews narrating at the start and finish) and 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit (a similar groundbreaker)."

By Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY
Making the leap from "once upon a time" to "happily ever after" is hardly a waltz in the park for the average Disney fairy-tale heroine.

Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty had to endure jealous crones, clingy animal sidekicks and gnarled little men in their quest for everlasting love.

WATCH: Check out a clip of 'Enchanted'

But Enchanted's Giselle has a few more pressing matters to overcome — including homelessness — as the strawberry-blond princess is rudely shoved out of her animated Eden and into the live-action chaos of modern-day Manhattan.

Cinderella never had to fret about tripping on her ballgown. The artists took care of that. But Amy Adams, the supporting-Oscar nominee from 2005's Junebug who brings Giselle to life in the romantic comedy opening Wednesday, wasn't as lucky. She wrestled with a wedding dress that enveloped her like a silk-and-organza nuclear explosion while negotiating the hustle and bustle of Times Square.

"It's definitely heavier than you think," says Adams, 33, who took more than a few tumbles in her 45-pound costume, causing her to half-jokingly refer to director Kevin Lima as "the Marquis de Sade." Giselle also has to bear the weight of both sending up and celebrating Disney's 2-D animation, a tradition that has been on the brink of extinction until recently.

The masterminds behind the PG-rated Enchanted have set out to invent a new studio classic, one that not only recalls the cartoon wonders of Uncle Walt's golden age but also such later landmarks as 1964's Mary Poppins (that's Julie Andrews narrating at the start and finish) and 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit (a similar groundbreaker).

Says Lima, who has done animation (1999's Tarzan) as well as live action (2000's 102 Dalmatians) for the studio: "Shrek tends to beat up on Disney, but this is just the opposite. The ideas behind the fairy-tale movies might be somewhat antiquated, but put into the real world, they don't have to be cynical. They can still have that same joy."

What follows is the story of the key talents behind the birth of a postmodern princess, one who might help the Magic Kingdom rediscover its old-fashioned knack for enchanting audiences.

Chapter 1: The storytellers three

Long ago (circa 1997) and far away (in Hollywood), Bill Kelly's script for Enchanted cast a spell over producer Barry Josephson (Men in Black, TV's Bones), and a deal was struck with Disney.

Hitches and delays followed, however. The project was an ambitious one, with 14 minutes of animated segments plus elaborate musical numbers. Several writers took a stab at polishing the screenplay, while directors Rob Marshall (Chicago) and Adam Shankman (Hairspray) came and went.

It wasn't until 2005 that everything fell into place — after Lima was recruited and Kelly refocused his fantasy on Giselle's journey instead of cynical lawyer Robert (Patrick "McDreamy" Dempsey), who rescues her and eventually falls for her smiling charms.

One of Lima's strengths: He understands the rules of a cartoon universe. "Kevin knows the world of Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas and Mulan," Josephson says. "He knows what princesses are like, what they want, how they sit down, how they talk, what their eyes look like. He knew exactly what Giselle should embody."

The filmmaker also realized what effect being fully dimensional would have on a make-believe creation whose destiny is centered on waiting for her prince to come.

"She is about 80% Snow White, with some traits borrowed from Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty," Lima says, "although her spunkiness comes from Ariel of The Little Mermaid. These characters expect things to happen to them, but being in the contemporary world forces Giselle to grow and become an active participant."

The magical if strangely romantic epiphany arrives for Giselle when she feels anger for the first time after arguing with Robert, and the sight of his chest hair peeping out from his robe awakens her sexuality as if from a deep slumber. AsLima explains, cartoon princes don't have hirsute bodies: "It's too difficult to draw."

Chapter 2: The pied piper

What's a Disney animated feature without snappy novelty tunes and swoony ballads? Enchanted boasts five such musical numbers, clever pastiches that borrow from fairy tales old and new.

Lending an air of authenticity is Alan Menken, who has made a career out of writing music for such films as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, collecting eight Oscars for his efforts.

Given that his previous cartoon score was for Disney's last 2-D feature, 2004's little-seen Home on the Range, Menken is all too happy to remind moviegoers why they used to relish such films.

"Spoofing what we do is the best way to win audiences back," says the music man, who re-teams with Stephen Schwartz (Broadway's Wicked), his partner on Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. "They appreciate it when you appeal to the smarter part of their brains. This is a new start."

The first song, True Love's Kiss, a throwback to such Walt-era songs as Someday My Prince Will Come, proved the most difficult. "Kevin had a strong idea of what he wanted and, at the end of the day, it was a very good thing," Menken says. "But, oh, my God, was he involved."

More fun was mining his own legacy with the impossibly catchy That's How You Know. "Think of it as Under the Sea, but paying tribute to the melting pot of New York," the songwriter says. "It starts with salsa, moves to steel drums, then reggae, an oompah band, even some Bollywood."

Chapter 3: A king of cartoons

With the studio's 2-D animation division shut down, James Baxter, a Disney and DreamWorks alum who runs his own boutique company, was drafted to oversee Enchanted's cartoon sequences.

"Kevin wanted the animation to feel nostalgic, to have it feel familiar to the audience," says James Baxter, the creator of Jessica Rabbit and Belle. "But he also wanted it to have a style of its own, a unity. We used art nouveau as a jumping-off point."

Much effort was made to tweak clichés of past films. "It's done with a lot of love," he assures. "Kevin would say, 'I want Prince Edward to pick up Nathaniel (his servant) and dance with him.' That's like what Prince Phillip does with King Hubert in Sleeping Beauty."

For Giselle's look, Baxter says, "She had to be a cross between Amy and a classic Disney princess. She is a forest nymph, barefoot with flowers in her hair." As for Prince Edward (played by James Marsden): "We worked hardest on him to make him look enough like James. The princes are usually so bland, it was exciting to see Jimmy's audition. This guy nailed it with complete conviction."

Chapter 4: The princess and her prince

Giselle and Prince Edward may be from Andalasia, not Venus and Mars. But the accidental tourists could not react more differently to their new environment.

"Ultimately, she survives because she has an instinctual ability to adapt," Lima says. "She can follow her dream no matter what stands in the way, whether it's a houseful of rats or learning how to make a new dress. She can survive. Unlike Edward. He's all about entitlement and bravado. He doesn't doubt himself very much. The world is too much for him."

That this less-than-passionate couple is supposedly destined to be each other's true love just lends to the comedy of the situation, he says. Not that both actors weren't perfect for their parts.

Says Adams, who last sang and danced at a Chanhassen, Minn., dinner theater in such shows as Brigadoon: "My boyfriend always says, 'You're a cartoon, Amy.' I felt I understood Giselle. I already knew the movies embarrassingly well."

As for Marsden, 34, who previously had a chance to showcase the musical talent he honed in high school as Corny Collins in Hairspray this past summer, "Enchanted let me go back to being a kid again and to pretend. It's very liberating. There is no one saying you can't be too big with it."

He gladly did his homework, too. "I revisited the classic films with my daughter Mary (2) and son Jack (6). The princes didn't have much personality. So I borrowed a little of Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, minus the evil intentions, and some Buzz Lightyear. Edward is always in love with being in love."

Adams enjoyed her time spent in Giselle's glass slippers.

"She is eternally optimistic and romantic, but she also is a little goofy. She gets herself in trouble in the tradition of Disney princesses. But she is very independent and true to her convictions. If I'm lucky, she rubbed off on me."

Chapter 5: The villainess

A princess is nothing without a nemesis. And Giselle has a doozy.

"Sexy and slinky." That's how Baxter describes Susan Sarandon's Queen Narissa, who wants to be rid of Giselle before the fair damsel has a chance to wed her stepson Edward and kick her off the throne.

"I felt like a drag queen marching across Times Square," says Sarandon, describing her heavily cleavaged schemer, who hunts down her girlish prey in the big city.

She knows she is as over the top as her blue eye shadow, which makes her appreciate Dempsey's grounded counterpoint: "It's great to have Patrick's character undercutting everything constantly, like a Cary Grant."

Sarandon, who also plays the toothless hag who is determined to persuade Giselle to bite a poisoned apple even if it's afloat in a martini glass, based her queen on the one in Snow White as well as Malelificent in Sleeping Beauty. But when the actress checked out the source material, she realized something about the animated wrongdoers.

"There is a lot of scary smiling and saying of horrible things. But no screaming," she says. "There is a whole tradition of relishing your power and evilness very softly, and not yelling all the time."

Chapter 6: A kick of a sidekick

Pip, the wisecracking chipmunk, is voiceless in the real world, forcing him to be the Marcel Marceau of the animal kingdom.

By the time the CG pipsqueak is reduced to doing a frantic mime to inform the clueless Edward of Narissa's plot, the furry fellow has earned a round of applause from the audience.

"My inside joke is that Pip is imitating Kevin just trying to direct the movie," says Josephson about Lima, who provides the chipmunk's nonsense chittering.

In the end, the rodent does what any animal sidekick does in a Disney fairy tale: steals scenes. "This is the first time I was upstaged by a character or actor who was never on set," Marsden says. "And I still have yet to meet Pip."

Chapter 7: Spellbound fans?

Ultimately, the ending to the story is up to moviegoers, who will decide whether Enchanted lives up to the promise of its title.

"We all want to believe in happily ever after in our souls," Lima says. "That is one of the hopes that Disney gives you. It has been a while since a movie this pure of heart has been attempted. That 20-year-old guys in their backward baseball caps and low-rise jeans are loving it at test screenings probably has something to do with the child that still lives in us all. "
-USA Today

Posted by dschnee at 6:49 AM

November 14, 2007

Enchanted opens in 1 week!?!

Here is a photo taken by a friend in London, down Oxford Street. The London Premiere was on October 20th. A few articles and a music video below, ~enjoy.

"Just as we're thinking there's no movie this holiday season where anyone stands a chance of living happily ever after, there's Disney's "Enchanted" to prove us happily wrong." -hollywoodreporter.com

"Six years after "Shrek" put a modern spin on the classic fairy tale with some not-so-veiled references to Disney animation, the Mouse House has once again found itself in the crosshairs. This time it's the target of "Enchanted," a movie that isn't afraid to have fun with some of old Walt's more famous characters." -mtv.com

"At a moment that finds the film industry in a bout of public hand wringing over the (un)bankability of female leads, Amy Adams may be the answer to a few prayers. Nobody's praying harder than Disney, who are deploying her (trailer here) as the energetic and exceedingly watchable ingenue in their Enchanted, a film that's meant both to summarize a lifetime of Disney movies and more to the point, set the studio up with an ongoing franchise." -portfolio.com

""Watch out, Hairspray," writes Gregory Ellwood for MSN. "That Golden Globe award for Best Musical or Comedy isn't locked up yet. Amy Adams and her new Disney movie, Enchanted, are appearing as a pleasant November bombshell in the awards season race." -hollywood-animated-films.suite101.com

Carrie Underwood's Music Video: Ever Ever After

Posted by dschnee at 7:40 AM

November 13, 2007

Movies Don't Make Money?!?

Son of a ..... this is interesting in a 'this sucks' way, check this out from Rotten Tomatoes and Variety:

In marked contrast to the music business, which has spent the last seven years dealing with declining profits and assorted bad news, the 21st century has seen the film industry repeatedly setting new records for ticket receipts. The movie biz is healthy, right?


Not if you believe "Do Movies Make Money?," the just-released report from Global Media Intelligence. In an article published yesterday, Variety takes a look at the numbers crunched by GMI, and according to the report, things aren't looking good. In fact, GMI says the Hollywood studios will post a $1.9 billion loss on the movies they released last year. Yes, that's a "b" in front of the "illion." Seriously, check out the Variety article HERE

Studios set to lose $1.9 billion
2006 releases suffer from high production costs

LONDON — The Hollywood studios will make a loss of $1.9 billion on the movies they released in 2006, according to the first report from Global Media Intelligence, a new division of media research firm Screen Digest.

The report, titled “Do Movies Make Money?,” says that production costs for mid- to big-budget movies have risen much faster than revenues over the past few years, leaving the studios’ business model deep in the red.

Analyzing the 132 pics distributed by the U.S. majors in 2006, it estimates a pre-tax operating loss of $1.9 billion after five years of exploitation across all global media. That compares with a profit of $2.2 million for all new studio releases in 2004.

“We believe there is little chance of the negative revenue trend reversing in the coming years,” commented the report’s New York-based author Roger Smith.

“New technology will not deliver anything like the revenue initially predicted, and as DVD sales continue to decline and the cost of making movies increases, the message is simple: the Hollywood studios must begin a serious attempt to rein in costs, like News Corporation’s Fox has done, if they are to survive.”

GMI is dedicated to delivering research for institutional investors in the U.S. Its first report strikes a warning note for the hedge funds and private equity players that have been co-financing studio production slates over the past couple of years.

It suggests that DVD revenues, which rose by 75% between 1999 and 2004, have fallen for the past three years. In the first half of 2007, this decline accelerated further with a 12.5% drop in U.S. DVD sales, mirrored by a similar fall in international sales.

With DVD providing the lion’s share of studio profits, that has punched a hole in the business model for big-budget production, at a time when the cost of “gross participation” deals for actors, directors and producers has risen to $3 billion in 2006, double the level of five years ago.

According to the report, “While the studios are currently in negotiations with writers, actors and directors over fees, these salaries are not the main issue; the current cost of producing, casting and advertising in the present environment simply exceeds the likely returns.”

-source Variety.com

Posted by dschnee at 2:16 PM

November 7, 2007

The "Happy Working Song"

is in neato quicktime...
Download: "Enchanted's" "Happy Working Song"
care of the LA Times.com who released this article below today...

An early look at Disney's 'Enchanted'

Those longing for Walt Disney to return to the classic animated style of yore are in luck – in a way.

The studio's "Enchanted," due in theaters Nov. 21, is a throwback to Disney animated features "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty." "Enchanted's" opening 10 minutes, in fact, play-out like a long-lost 1940s animated film, complete with old-school, 2-D-style animation.

And then its main character, the Snow White-like Giselle, played by Amy Adams, is transported to modern-day Manhattan, where cute and cuddly forest critters are replaced by dancing, computer-animated roaches.

The fairy tale, directed by Kevin Lima (“Tarzan,” “102 Dalmatians”) is part homage to traditional Disney musicals, with references to everything from “Sleeping Beauty” to “The Little Mermaid” to “Beauty and the Beast,” in addition to a re-imagining of the classic, princess-finds-her-prince yarn.

Banished to New York by the jealous Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), who pulls the ol’ poison apple trick to reek revenge, Adams give a star-making performance as Giselle, playing the character’s naivety straight.

But as Giselle awaits the inevitable rescue by her Prince Edward (James Marsden), she’s forced to come of age away from her magic kingdom, and learns from handsome divorce lawyer Robert Phillip (Patrick Dempsey) that adult relationships aren’t always the happily-ever-after cliché.

But for all its modern twists, “Enchanted” fits firmly in the traditional Disney model. The film’s charm and innocence is an unabashed nod to a pre-“Shrek,” pre-“Alladin” era of irony and edginess.

“It’ll be nice if people feel nostalgia for 2-D animation,” says Steven Schwartz, who wrote lyrics for five original songs with composer Alan Menken. The pair collaborated on 1996's “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and 1995's “Pocahontas,” which won Oscars for Best Song and Best Original Score, and Menken has composed music for such Disney classics as “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast,” among others.

“Enchanted” presented the Schwartz and Menken with distinct challenges. The pair were directed to reference Disney favorites. In fact, “Enchanted’s” “Happy Working Song,” for instance, takes inspiration from “Snow White’s” “Whistle While You Work.” Yet, the writers had to be careful not to bombard the audience with plot-distracting allusions.

Additionally, as the musical moves to the non-animated world of New York, audiences will need to believe that Giselle’s way with a tune can get the denizens of Central Park dancing.

Here, Menken and Schwartz discuss the songs of “Enchanted,” and share clips of two of the film's non-animated numbers, “Happy Working Song” and “That’s How You Know,” for your viewing pleasure.

Talk about your objective in writing and composing the songs for "Enchanted," as they’re filled with references to past Disney films.

Stephen: We were trying to channel, I guess, classic Disney, and push it just a step further. We were trying to walk the line of both being an affectionate homage, but also poking a bit of fun at it. As one moves through the film, the music gets increasingly modern. Certainly for the beginning, with [opening song] "True Love’s Kiss," we looked at three Disney movies and how they were musicalized – "Snow White," "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty."

Alan: To start in the film in the Walt era, there was really this hyper innocence, this hyper escape. That made for the best possible contrast for when Giselle ends up in Times Square. Because we begin with this whole world where we exaggeratedly break into song, it gives us a real opportunity for the audience to go, 'We get it. We get the joke. We get the conceit and we’re with you.'

Did you have to check yourself, as in did you ever feel you were mimicking something from the past too much?

Alan: No. The whole conceit of this musical just made going right into those styles dead-on the perfect way to approach it. It was the situations in the film that would turn the songs on an angle, but musically, I went straight at it.

Let’s look at a song like 'That’s How You Know,' which is Giselle's big number in Central Park. How much of a song like this is written visually, as it’s really about her going through the park and bringing her world to New York.

Stephen: That was a song where we wanted to have a little fun with ourselves. There are references to "Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl," some of Alan’s stuff from "The Little Mermaid."

Alan: I wanted to go for a salsa riff at the top. I certainly didn’t want to ape those other songs. I just wanted the flavor of New York somehow.

Stephen: We wanted a moment where she inappropriately broke into song, but then it sort of infected -- if you will -- the world around her … I wanted to ask what would happen if one of these people just broke into song. In real life, people would be looking at you like you’re crazy. I thought that would be fun.

Since this film gave you opportunities to look back at other Disney films, was there anything in particular you wanted to dig up?

Stephen: Deliberate is the wrong word, but we were very clear about from whence we were taking inspiration from what songs. The prince riding on his horse in the forest in the beginning, and hearing the voice in the distance is directly from "Sleeping Beauty," and that was very conscious.

Also, there’s a song, "So Close," that refers to "Beauty and the Beast," and this is something I find very funny, and this is very ‘in.’ The camera moves in the original animated "Beauty and the Beast" were the first time in animation that they imitated live-action camera moves, and now in this live-action version, we’re imitating the imitation of those camera moves. There’s all sorts of geeky type of references like that for Disney geeks like me.

I wanted to ask you about 'Happy Working Song,' particularly what Amy brings to that. This is the first time she attempts to sing in Manhattan, and she sort of powers her way through it, even though the vermin of Manhattan are completely foreign to her. She's going to muscle through it no matter what.

Stephen: Exactly. And that song – full marks to Kevin Lima. When I came onto the project, that moment was there in the script, and that was one of the things that made me want to do the movie. What is wonderful about Amy's performance is that she understood the tone. She understood how to become that character, as if Snow White were brought into our world. And she does this all without commenting on it. She’s extremely charming and endearing, but she never once looks as if she’s trying to be funny.

The film gets very contemporary as it builds to a grand, fantasy finale, with Giselle even going shopping in Manhattan.

Alan: There was a lot of discussion about that sequence. At one point, we wrote a Queen Narissa song. We wanted to maybe have Narissa enter with a song called 'Nobody Gets in My Way.'

Stephen: I still would have liked to. I still think we should have done something for her … We were going to do like ["West Side Story's" pre-climax number] "Tonight’s Quintet."

As the film gets more modern, did you worry that it would be jarring for viewers, especially after beginning as an animated movie?

Stephen: The hope is that people will get what we’re doing. Giselle moves through time. She starts out as a 1940s animated girl, and becomes a 2007 contemporary woman. One hopes that people will understand that. If that journey isn’t landing, or people are thrown out of the movie, then we haven’t been successful.

(Photos and clips courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures)

Posted by dschnee at 2:12 PM

November 6, 2007

Das Heads Tech at Tippett

Sanjay Das has joined vfx power player Tippett Studio as Chief Technology Officer. Das previously served as director of R&D at DreamWorks Animation, where he was instrumental in the studio’s scaling up to release two CG movies per year. Prior to DreamWorks, he was director of research and engineering at Loudcloud/Opsware, and spent nine years at HP in various management and worldwide leadership positions.

Source -Animation Magazine

Das joins recently hired head of production Denise Minter, whose previous
experience includes stints at PDI/DreamWorks and Starz Ent. Tippett has also
fortified its R&D team with several engineers from Tweak Films, a San Francisco-based visual effects company which recently narrowed its focus to IP creation.

“With this kind of executive power, Tippett Studio is ready for the next step in its
corporate evolution,” comments Tippet Studio president Jules Roman. “We can leverage not only the artistic and creative strengths of our great employees, but also provide a strong but flexible organizational structure poised to take advantage of every opportunity in filmed entertainment.”

Founded in 1984 by animation pioneer Phil Tippett, Tippett Studio is an Academy
Award-winning visual effects company specializing in CG animation and digital effects for feature films and television commercials. The company has contributed to more than 50 films including Charlotte’s Web, The Shaggy Dog, Constantine, Hellboy, The Matrix Revolutions, Hollow Man, Starship Troopers, Blade 2 and Jurassic Park. Upcoming releases baring the shop’s mark include Disney’s Enchanted and Paramount Pictures’ The Spiderwick Chronicles. Currently in production is South of the Border for Disney.

Posted by dschnee at 3:31 PM

November 5, 2007

Writers Guild of America On Strike

There has been buzz over this for months now, and here it is... So how does this affect you? Your favorite TV shows like the Daily Show, Conan O'Brien, SNL, basically any show that does it's writing on the same day, with current events will go off air immediately and show re-runs. Next would be your comedy shows like The Office could start to see re-runs in the next week or so, depending on how many shows have all ready been taped. In the long term, and how this affects me is with screenwriters... no writers mean no movies going into production, which in turn means no visual effects, which could result in a drought in our industry. Most of the companies have work now and into next year, but depending on how long this strike will go on for will determine work or lack of work beyond that. Time shall tell...

So what happened? basically:
"The contract between the 12,000-member Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producer expired Oct. 31. Talks that began this summer failed to produce much progress on the writers' key demands for a bigger slice of DVD profits and revenue from the distribution of films and TV shows over the Internet."

I agree though, the writers have been under the same agreement since 1988 way before the lucrative sales of DVDs, based on VHS sales back then, wait what the hell is VHS? and damn straight they should get a piece of any material that goes out on the interwebs.

and as a result...

WGA strike on as talks with producers collapse
"A last-gasp attempt to stave off a strike by the WGA failed Sunday, and Hollywood writers launched plans to mount picket lines at studios and networks on both coasts.

A federal mediator who recently joined talks between the guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers convened a hasty last bargaining session Sunday amid speculation the AMPTP would deliver a new proposal to the guild. But despite that marathon session lasting well into Sunday night, when the parties emerged from the Sofitel hotel in West Hollywood it was clear the talks had broken down again."

One flashpoint involved the WGA East's refusal to halt the start of its strike after East Coast clocks struck midnight. Negotiations were still in session at the time, and the WGA West wasn't scheduled to strike for another three hours.

"Notwithstanding the fact that negotiations were ongoing, the WGA decided to start their strike in New York," AMPTP president Nick Counter said. "When we asked if they would 'stop the clock' for the purpose of delaying the strike to allow negotiations to continue, they refused.

"We made an attempt at meeting them in a number of their key areas including Internet streaming and jurisdiction in new media," Counter said. "Ultimately, the guild was unwilling to compromise on most of their major demands. It is unfortunate that they choose to take this irresponsible action."

The WGA also issued a statement after the meeting broke up.

"Early today, the WGA completely withdrew its DVD proposal, which the companies said was a stumbling block," the guild said. "Yet the companies still insisted on ... no jurisdiction for most of new media writing, no economic proposal for the part of new media writing where they do propose to give coverage, Internet downloads at the DVD rate, no residual for streaming video of theatrical product, (and) a "promotional" proposal that allows them to reuse even complete movies or TV shows on any platform with no residual."

The WGA also slammed what it called a management proposal for a distribution window providing "free reuse on the Internet that makes a mockery of any residual."

The WGA and AMPTP have negotiated on and off since July 16, holding just 17 sessions through Sunday as they sought to replace a three-year film and TV contract that expired Wednesday. The most troublesome areas have been DVD and new-media residuals.

"Our position is simple and fair," WGA West president Patric Verrone said Friday after the WGAW board and WGA East Council voted to approve strike recommendations for 12:01 a.m. Monday. "When a writer's work generates revenue for the companies, that writer deserves to be paid."

On Saturday, Juan Carlos Gonzales of the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service called the labor and management teams together for the Sunday session in an effort to forestall Monday's walkout.

It was also recently disclosed that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had connected with reps of the guild and the studio companies in an attempt to get talks back on track. The mayor met in person with Verrone and other labor execs Tuesday, and he subsequently discussed the situation with studios reps.

But it remains unclear how much muscle Villaraigosa might be willing to exert to force himself into the situation as an actual deal broker. For the present, any preliminary outreach involving the mayor's office appears to have fallen short.

One or more other interested parties also are serving as back-channel conduits for communications between the labor and management negotiators. It appears those include writer-producer John Wells, a former WGAW president who's well respected on both sides of the labor-management divide.

NBC chief Ben Silverman seemed to hint at just that Saturday when he introduced the "ER" executive producer at a party for the show's 300th episode by suggesting Wells "will save us all from the writers strike."

Asked about the reference later, Wells allowed, "It's not over yet."

He then huddled at length with "Law & Order" showrunner and former "ER" exec producer Neal Baer, who is a member of the WGA negotiating committee.

But for now, the immediate future will focus on the rollout of pickets.

Strike captains were coordinating teams to picket 14 sites throughout Los Angeles in shifts running 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. PST.

In Manhattan, WGAE leadership was expected to join a picket set for 9 a.m.-5 p.m. EST at NBC's headquarters at Rockefeller Plaza. The WGAE has also set a membership meeting for Wednesday night to update East Coast rank and file on the strike and why it's being mounted.

On Thursday night, WGAW brass told 3,000 writers it was recommending a strike action to the board. The AMPTP responded by suggesting the WGA had distorted the facts about bargaining to date.

"The WGA leadership continues to mischaracterize the current provisions for compensation in new media," Counter said Friday. "When a consumer pays to view a TV program or a feature film for a limited period of time, the writer gets a residual. When the consumer pays for a permanent download of a TV program or feature film, the writer gets a residual."

Writers do not receive extra compensation when ad-supported programming is streamed over the Internet for free.

WGAE president Michael Winship said Friday the decision to strike was not one "we take lightly."

With the membership meeting set for Thursday and the board and council meetings Friday, guild brass decided it would be better to hold off picketing until Monday rather than to mount a strike action over the weekend.

The last major strike by Hollywood writers was in 1988, when a 22-week WGA work stoppage effectively shut down the town. Economic impact on the L.A. economy was estimated to run as high as $500 million.

"Our sense is we can do some economic damage immediately," WGA negotiating committee chair John Bowman said.

The point of the strike is to "inflict as much damage as quickly as possible" in order to bring about a resolution," Bowman added.

Picketing plans were disseminated to strike captains but details of timing and location were closely guarded over the weekend. Studio security was boosted at lots all around town as soon as the strike decision was announced.

Guild rank and file again distributed flyers at studio and networks sites Friday, following similar earlier "informational" efforts.

A WGAE flyer read in part: "The studios and networks make billions from the content we create. All we want is our fair share. They have refused. We don't want to strike, but we must defend the standards of our profession. We ask for your understanding and your support."

Meanwhile, with writers now setting up picket lines, some will start wondering anew what the DGA will do.

The DGA, like SAG, is under contract until June 30. But many expect the directors to start early talks with the AMPTP on its own new film and TV deal.

If successful in such talks, a DGA agreement could set a template that the other guilds are effectively forced to follow--perhaps including terms on DVD and the Internet. A well-placed source confirmed strategy meetings are afoot already at the DGA, which has formed a working negotiations committee.

One thing under discussion: whether to pick up the phone and ring the AMPTP about starting early contract talks. The source suggested that could happen sometime this month.

Leslie Simmons and Nellie Andreeva contributed to this report.

$1 Billion Damage Estimate For Writers Strike

(thecelebritycafe.com) Experts predict that a 22-week walkout will incur at least $1 billion in economic losses. This will affect over 200,000 employees that service the industry, which contributes over $30 billion of economic activity for Los Angeles County alone.

The major point of contention throughout the negotiations has been residual fees for writers from DVD and digital download revenues. The WGA says that the total compensation package sought by writers would cost the studios $220 million over three years, a small percentage of the $24.4 billion in revenues generated by U.S. DVD sales and rentals just in the last year, according to the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Posted by dschnee at 11:01 AM

November 2, 2007

The Enchanted Marketing Machine

is in motion... Enchanted has a myspace profile up full of goodies... actually it has the entire "Happy Working Song" sequence with all the vermin Tippett did, very fun sequence to work on, but beware that song can get stuck in your head. The official Enchanted movie website has been updated with a slick pop out book theme to it. There has been some buzz about Amy Adams outstanding performance, Oscar anyone? A number of positive early screening reviews are out there, box office predictions, I've seen posters at the bus stops, billboards in San Francisco, speaking of which The San Francisco Chronicle put out a nifty 22" x 44" glossy Enchanted Poster in with Friday November 2nd's paper! much more to come...

Enchanted on myspace.com

Enchanted — Very, very quietly, this precious little film is garnering a potentially huge following — big even by Disney standards, which is really, really saying something. The mixture of traditional animation and live-action footage, which will likely be totally new to a generation not raised on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, promises to draw massive numbers of preteens and their families, and word is that Enchanted is tracking so well, a sequel (or two) is all but assured. Never, ever underestimate the power of magic, especially when it comes courtesy of Uncle Walt's company.
BfYB's Projections for Enchanted: $93 million Total B.O. / 3 PTA points / 13 Top 5 points / 6.9 IMDb -fantasymoguls.com

Posted by dschnee at 2:22 PM

November 1, 2007

The Spiderwick Chronicles to Be Released in IMAX

Paramount Pictures' The Spiderwick Chronicles to be released as IMAX(R) Film February 15, 2008

LOS ANGELES, CA, Nov. 1 /CNW/ - IMAX Corporation and Paramount Pictures
announced today that The Spiderwick Chronicles, a fantasy adventure based on
the best-selling series of books, will be simultaneously released to both
IMAX(R) and conventional theatres on February 15th, 2008. Directed by Mark
Waters (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday), produced by Mark Canton (300) from a
screenplay by Karey Kirkpatrick and David Berenbaum and John Sayles, The
Spiderwick Chronicles will be digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled
image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience(R) through IMAX's DMR(R)
(Digital Re-Mastering) technology. Today's announcement marks the fourth film
agreement between IMAX and Paramount Pictures in the past five months.
Beowulf, the next Paramount film to be released in IMAX, opens November 16th,

"The grand scale and immersive nature of The IMAX Experience gives
Spiderwick a brand new level of excitement," said Mark Canton. "In IMAX
theatres, fans will be drawn into the movie even further and feel as if they
are actually part of the story."
"The Spiderwick Chronicles is an ideal fit for the IMAX brand and our
audience, and it is a terrific way to launch our slate for 2008," said IMAX
Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "Paramount
Pictures' continued enthusiasm towards IMAX theatres as a distribution
platform is adding to the strength of our release schedule, which contributes
to the growing popularity of The IMAX Experience, and ultimately the growth of
the IMAX theatre network."
"We've had phenomenal success with Hollywood movies that are based on
best-selling books, and we are excited to work with Paramount Pictures and the
filmmakers to reach the millions of Spiderwick fans with a completely unique
way to experience the first film-adapted adventure of this beloved series of
books," added Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed
Entertainment. "In IMAX theatres, audiences will feel as if they are actually
inside the Spiderwick mansion as the magical adventures unfold around them."
From the beloved best-selling series of books comes The Spiderwick
Chronicles, a fantasy adventure for the child in all of us. Peculiar things
start to happen the moment the Grace family (Jared, his twin brother Simon,
sister Mallory and their mom) leave New York and move into the secluded old
house owned by their great, great uncle Arthur Spiderwick. Unable to explain
the strange disappearances and accidents that seem to be happening on a daily
basis, the family blames Jared. When he, Simon and Mallory investigate what's
really going on, they uncover the fantastic truth of the Spiderwick estate and
of the creatures that inhabit it.
Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present a Kennedy/Marshall and
a Mark Canton Production of a Mark Waters film The Spiderwick Chronicles
starring Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte with Joan Plowright
and David Strathairn and the voices of Seth Rogen and Martin Short. The film
is directed by Mark Waters from a screenplay by Karey Kirkpatrick and David
Berenbaum and John Sayles, based on the books by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly
Black. The film is produced by Mark Canton, Larry Franco, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein
and Karey Kirkpatrick. The executive producers are Julia Pistor, Tony
DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. The director of photography is Caleb Deschanel,
ASC. The production designer is James Bissell. The editor is Michael Kahn,
A.C.E. The costumes are designed by Joanna Johnston. The music is by James
Horner. The special visual effects are by Industrial Light & Magic. Visual
effects by Tippett Studio.

About IMAX Corporation

IMAX Corporation is one of the world's leading digital entertainment and
technology companies. The worldwide IMAX network is among the most important
and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event Hollywood
films around the globe, with IMAX theatres delivering the world's best
cinematic presentations using proprietary IMAX, IMAX 3D, and IMAX DMR
technology. IMAX DMR is the Company's groundbreaking digital remastering
technology that allows it to digitally transform virtually any conventional
motion picture into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX
Experience. IMAX's renowned projectors and new digital systems display
crystal-clear images on the world's biggest screens. The IMAX brand is
recognized throughout the world for extraordinary and immersive entertainment
experiences for consumers. As of June 30, 2007, there were 290 IMAX theatres
operating in 40 countries.

IMAX(R), IMAX(R) 3D, IMAX DMR(R), IMAX MPX(R), and The IMAX Experience(R)
are trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information on the Company can be
found at www.imax.com.

This press release contains forward looking statements that are based on
management's assumptions and existing information and involve certain risks
and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from
future results expressed or implied by such forward looking statements.
Important factors that could affect these statements include ongoing
discussions with the SEC and OSC relating to their ongoing inquiries and the
Company's financial reporting and accounting, the timing of theatre system
deliveries, the mix of theatre systems shipped, the timing of the recognition
of revenues and expenses on film production and distribution agreements, the
performance of films, the viability of new businesses and products, risks
arising from potential material weaknesses in internal control over financial
reporting and fluctuations in foreign currency and in the large format and
general commercial exhibition market. These factors and other risks and
uncertainties are discussed in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for
the year ended December 31, 2006, as well as the Company's Quarterly Report on
Form 10-Q.

Posted by dschnee at 1:29 PM