Tagged: Madagascar

The Point Radio: CONTINUUM Making Time Travel Work

Twisty time travel is back on a new season of CONTINUUM. Creator Simon Barry and star Rachel Nichols tell us what’s coming up on the SyFy series and how they keep it all straight. Plus Morgan Freeman shares his new Imax film, ISLAND OF LEMURS:MADAGASCAR and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY heats up the comic market.

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The Wind Rises Vocal Cast Announced

The Wind RisesWe remain enchanted by the offerings coming from Japan’s Studio Ghibli and the latest release, The Wind Rises, has a very impressive vocal cast. Check out the formal details:

BURBANK, Calif. (December 17, 2013) – An A-list roster of voice talent has been assembled for the English-language version of Studio Ghibli’s The Wind Rises, which opens in select North American theaters on Feb. 21, 2014, expanding wide on Feb. 28, 2014. The film marks director Hayao Miyazaki’s final feature, as the legendary animation veteran announced his retirement in September 2013.

In The Wind Rises, Jiro dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes, inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni. Nearsighted and unable to be a pilot, he becomes one of the world’s most accomplished airplane designers, experiencing key historical events in an epic tale of love, perseverance and the challenges of living and making choices in a turbulent world. The voice cast of the English-language version follows.

  • JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT (Don Jon, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) lends his voice to Jiro Horikoshi, who harbors strong ambitions to create his own beautiful airplane. A bubbling mix of wild excitement, extreme focus, individualism, pride, realism and idealism, Jiro also has a cool and brilliant mind and is recognized for his talent.
  • JOHN KRASINSKI (The Office, Promised Land) provides the voice of Honjo, Jiro’s college friend and fellow aviation engineer.
  • EMILY BLUNT (The Young Victoria, Edge of Tomorrow, Into the Woods) voices Nahoko Satomi, a beautiful and cheerful girl who is a passenger on the same train as Jiro on the day of a natural disaster. Ten years later, they reunite.
  • MARTIN SHORT (Father of the Bride, Saturday Night Live) was tapped to portray Kurokawa, Jiro’s grumpy boss.
  • STANLEY TUCCI (Julie & Julia, The Hunger Games films, The Devil Wears Prada) provides the voice of Caproni, an airplane creator known worldwide from the dawn of Italian aviation through the 1930s, who appears in Jiro’s dreams to stir up, advise and voice Jiro’s thoughts and emotions.
  • MANDY PATINKIN (Homeland, The Princess Bride) lends his voice to Hattori, the senior designer at Mitsubishi.
  • WERNER HERZOG (Jack Reacher, filmmaker Grizzly Man) voices Castorp, a mysterious visitor to Japan who encounters Jiro at a mountain resort.
  • WILLIAM H. MACY (Shameless, Fargo) steps into the role of Satomi, Nahoko’s father.
  • MAE WHITMAN (Parenthood, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) was called on to voice Kayo Horikoshi, Jiro’s younger sister, who adores him. Whitman also voices Kinu, Nahoko’s caretaker.
  • JENNIFER GREY (Dirty Dancing, The Cotton Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) provides the voice of Mrs. Kurokawa.
  • DARREN CRISS (Girl Most Likely, Glee) lends his voice to Katayama, a jovial junior engineering colleague of Jiro.
  • ELIJAH WOOD (Wilfred, Grand Piano, The Lord of the Rings trilogy) voices Sone, a studious engineering colleague of Jiro.
  • RONAN FARROW (From Up on Poppy Hill) is the voice of the Mitsubishi Employee.

Also featured in the English-language version of The Wind Rises are Zach Callison (Sofia the First, Mr. Peabody and Sherman,  Steven Universe), who voices young Jiro; Eva Bella (Frozen, Despicable Me 2, Almost Heroes 3D), who lends her voice to young Kayo; and Madeleine Rose Yen (Broadway’s War Horse, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas), who provides the voice of young Nahoko. Rounding out the English-language voice cast are Edie Mirman (Epic, Howl’s Moving Castle English-language version) as the voice of Jiro’s mother, and David Cowgill (Madagascar) as the voice of the flight engineer.

The English-language voice cast of The Wind Rises is directed by Gary Rydstrom, a seven-time Academy Award®-winning sound designer (Saving Private Ryan, Titanic) who worked on Wreck-It Ralph and Brave. Rydstrom also directed the English-language versions of The Secret World of Arrietty and From Up on Poppy Hill. The English-language version of the film is produced by Studio Ghibli and executive produced by Frank Marshall, who produced dozens of landmark films, including the Indiana Jones series, The Bourne Legacy and War Horse, and executive produced the English-language versions of Studio Ghibli films PONYO, The Secret World of Arrietty and From Up on Poppy Hill. Mike Jones (In the Event of a Moon Disaster) is credited with the English-language screenplay adaptation for The Wind Rises.

The Wind Rises was released in Japan in July 2013, topping the Japanese box office and the $120 million mark. The film opened for Academy Award® qualification engagements in New York and Los Angeles Nov. 8-14, 2013, showcasing the original film in Japanese with English subtitles.


In The Wind Rises, Jiro dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes, inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni. Nearsighted from a young age and unable to be a pilot, Jiro joins a major Japanese engineering company in 1927 and becomes one of the world’s most innovative and accomplished airplane designers. The film chronicles much of his life, depicting key historical events, including the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, the tuberculosis epidemic and Japan’s plunge into war. Jiro meets and falls in love with Nahoko, and grows and cherishes his friendship with his colleague Honjo. Writer and director Hayao Miyazaki pays tribute to engineer Jiro Horikoshi and author Tatsuo Hori in this epic tale of love, perseverance, and the challenges of living and making choices in a turbulent world.

From Studio Ghibli, The Wind Rises is slated for limited release in North American theaters on Feb. 21, 2014, and expanded release on Feb. 28, 2014, under the Touchstone Pictures banner.

Martha Thomases: Where Are Our New Nerds?

In last Monday’s New York Times Media Watch columns, they ran a list of the ten films released this year that had the highest box office ion their opening weekends. What’s amazing to me is that the top five (Marvel’s The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Hunger Games, Amazing Spider-Man and Twilight: Breaking Dawn: Part 2) can all be classified in the fantasy genre, or, as I like to call it, nerd stuff.

Of the next five (Skyfall, Brave, Ted, Madagascar 3 and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax), three are aimed primarily at children, and one is a James Bond film, which has its own separate but overlapping geek audience. Only Ted could be considered a movie aimed at what was once the wide, mainstream audience, and even then, because it is an R-rated comedy, that limits the wideness.

When did our beloved nerd culture become so dominant? I was certainly the only girl in my high school (which was all girls) who read superhero comics, and if anyone else read science fiction or fantasy, they were in the closet about it.

Even in the 1980s, when Frank Miller and Alan Moore and Art Spiegelman were publishing work that attracted mainstream media attention, there wasn’t much spillover to the medium of graphic storytelling.

When I first went to work for DC, the most common reaction I encountered when people learned what I did was, “Do they still publish those?”

For that matter, even today, the success of the movies listed above doesn’t do much for comics. There’s a history of tie-in films boosting the sale of books (for example, Gone With the Wind), but that doesn’t always overlap to your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, or comic book store.

Still, I don’t think fans like us can claim to be outsiders anymore. We might not be the cool kids, but we aren’t unwanted loners, either. What are today’s nerds about?

Is it Steampunk? Is it libertarian politics? Are there still obscure rock bands to follow, or has everything been American Idol’d to a bland pap. What distinguishes the kids getting beat up and/or ostracized today?

Besides being queer, I mean.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman and This Week’s New DC


‘Men in Black 3’ Will be a 3-D Reunion

‘Men in Black 3’ Will be a 3-D Reunion

With the summer 2010 film season officially underway, calendars for 2011 and 2012 are rapidly filling up with eagerly anticipated fare. The latest juggernaut to claim a weekend is Columbia Pictures’ Men in Black III, which staked out May 25, 2012. Jumping on the bandwagon, the film was also announced as a 3-D production.

The film will feature the return of Will Smith as Agent Jay, and Tommy Lee Jones is expected back as Agent Kay, although he has yet to complete negotiations. Portraying a younger Agent Kay will likely be Josh Brolin.

A screenplay has been completed by Etan Cohen after several years of discussion over whether or not any of the principals wanted to reprise their roles. Barry Sonnenfeld will return to direct as he has on the first two installments based on Lowell Cunningham’s black and white comic book from Malibu (now owned by Marvel/Disney).

Summer 2012 will be another sequel heavy period with Madagascar 3 set for the same weekend followed June 29 by the Star Trek sequel and then Spider-Man 4 on July 3. The season kicks off May 4 with The Avengers.

Jeff Blake, chairman of Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing and Distribution, said in a release, “Sony’s summer of 2012 will get off to a red hot start with an incredible new 3D adventure for the Men in Black. We couldn’t be more excited that the original filmmaking team responsible for the first two worldwide hits is reuniting for this third installment.”


DreamWorks Animation schedules five films every two years; Shrek, Madagascar & Kung Fu Panda sequels coming

DreamWorks Animation schedules five films every two years; Shrek, Madagascar & Kung Fu Panda sequels coming

I’m in a rush for Book Expo, so I’ll just cut and paste the press release:

Calif., May 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.
(Nasdaq: DWA) announced today its plans to release five feature films
every two years, adding an additional film every other year to its
existing two picture a year release schedule on a going-forward basis.
The Company also announced its upcoming slate of animated feature film
releases through 2012.

The Company’s slate through 2012 now includes eight feature films
from DreamWorks Animation’s talented and seasoned creative leadership
team, including five original films and three sequels based on the
Company’s existing blockbuster franchises, Shrek, Madagascar and Kung
Fu Panda. As has been previously announced, all DreamWorks Animation
feature films are now being produced in 3D.

“Our exceptionally talented and highly experienced creative team is
bringing to DreamWorks Animation a significant number of imaginative,
original and cutting-edge ideas today,” said Bill Damaschke,
Co-President of Production and President of Live Theatrical. “Having
achieved a high level of success and consistency in our creative
process and having in our development pipeline more great story
concepts than ever before, we are very confident in our ability to add
one original film every other year.”

The upcoming animated films on the Company’s future theatrical release schedule are currently planned as follows: How to Train Your Dragon, which is based on the book of the same name by Cressida Cowell, will be released on March 26, 2010. Shrek Forever After will be released on May 21, 2010. Oobermind (formerly titled Master Mind) will be released on November 5, 2010. Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom will be released on June 3, 2011. The Guardians (working title), based on the forthcoming books by William Joyce, will be released on November 4, 2011. Puss In Boots (working title) will be released on March 30, 2012. The next chapter of the Company’s hit franchise Madagascar
is due to be released on May 25, 2012. On November 2, 2012, the Company
plans to release one of three original projects currently in
pre-production at the studio. The first is The Croods (working title).

Madagascar Penguins double up at Nickelodeon, The Life and Times of Tim renewed

Madagascar Penguins double up at Nickelodeon, The Life and Times of Tim renewed

At the Television Critics Association meeting on Friday, Nickelodeon announced that they were giving the go-ahead for 26 additional episodes of the computer-generated animated series The Penguins of Madagascar, for a total of 52 episodes.  A Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation co-production, The Penguins of Madagascar is set to launch on the network Saturday, March 28 at 9:30 PM.  The series will air regularly Saturdays at 10 AM starting April 4.

Remember, boys… cute and cuddly…

In other animation news, HBO renewed the animated comedy The Life and Times of Tim for a second season.

Thanksiving Good for the Box Office

Thanksiving Good for the Box Office

The Thanksgiving weekend gave Hollywood plenty to be thankful for as the top dozen films took in $223.7 million from Wednesday to Sunday, the second best holiday weekend in history according to the Associated Press.

Twilight did not manage to stay atop the charts during its second week but actually saw a rather steep drop of 62.1%, taking in just $26,370,000 for a total of $119,688,000.  Without merchandise revenue, the film is already profitable more than justifying the sequel but clearly the tween audiences have seen it often enough.

The top film proved to be Four Christmases with Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon.  The Warner Bros, comedy, the only holiday-themed film currently in release, nabbed $31,680,000.  In second place was Disney’s Bolt, the well-received animated tale, taking in $26,596,000.

Fourth place belonged to Quantum of Solace, dropping another 27% and showing $142,056,000 after three weeks in domestic release.

Baz Luhrman’s Australia pleased crowds more than critics, roping  $14,815,000 and a solid per screen average of $5,607 and taking fifth place.

The new film in wide release did less well with Lionsgate’s Transporter 3 taking in $12,330,000. Milk is in limited release had a terrific per screen average of $38,361.

Slumdog Millionaire, made on a miniscule budget, has gained word of mouth cred and has seen its audience grow, with total revenues of  $3,565,000 while still in limited release. Other films saw varying drop offs with Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa dipping a low 7.4% and totaling  $159,511,000 after four weeks. The other big drop went to Universal’s Changeling which fell another 55.2% and is rapidly running out time to make a connection for Oscar consideration.

Behind the Scenes Look at ‘Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa’

Behind the Scenes Look at ‘Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa’

The buzz is growing for the sequel to Madagascar with early reviews saying it may well be better than the first film.  Our friends at Parramount provided the following Behind the Scenes clip to give you a taste of the action.

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Hollywood News & Notes

Hollywood News & Notes

Universal Studios helped pioneer the direct-to-DVD concept for film franchises with American Pie. The series of videos — American Pie: Band Camp, American Pie: Naked Mile and American Pie: Beta House — has brought them much cash and provided Playboy with many an actress to peel for their pages. Now, Moviehole says the studio is eyeing an actual feature film to pick up the story of the original characters. After all the first film, released in 1999, brought in an eye-popping $235 million. No cast or crew has been signed or announced so speculation can run rampant as to which characters will be brought back as the focal point.  Stifler? Stifler’s Mom? Jim and Michelle? We vote for Nadia, since after all, Shannon Elizabeth could always use the work.

Ian Jeffers has written an original werewolf tale and according to Bloody Disgusting, he has sold it to director Ridley Scott.  Jeffers has previously written Death Sentence and the screen adaptation of the video game Castlevania.

Madagascar 2 director Tom McGrath told Skiewed and Reviewed, “While we never know how well the film will do, I have been kicking around ideas for another film in the series.” He went on say he’d like to see the characters return to their home, the Central Park Zoo, in the third film.

As we mentioned the other day, M. Night Shyamalan is producing three films in his new three-picture deal with Media Rights Capital. Now we hear the first picture will be Devil, written by Brian Nelson (30 Days of Night). John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine) will direct and produce alongside his brother, Drew Dowdle. Devil comes from an original story by Shyamalan. The Unbreakable and Sixth Sense director will produce the film with Sam Mercer under Shyamalan’s new Night Chronicles banner. Night Chronicles was set up by MRC as a financing and production partnership with M. Night to create one genre film per year over three years. Shyamalan will come up with the ideas, select the creative team and oversee the creative direction. He’ll also co-own the film copyrights and retain artistic control.

Twentieth Century Fox has announced its sequel will be titled Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel opening Christmas Day 2009.  Fox has also moved the kid/family movie Tooth Fairy to Thanksgiving 2009 release. Chris Columbus other movie, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, based on Rick Riordan’s books, has been kicked back a year to July 2, 2010.   Another kid’s series, Beverly Cleary’s Ramona, will become a feature film, to be released March 19, 2010.

Sir Roger Moore has been added to the voice cast of Gnome & Troll: The Forest Trial. The animated feature is coming from Swedish film company White Shark and is set to debut in 2009. The film is a sequel to this year’s Gnome & Troll The Secret Chamber.   Moore will play King Leif, with Peter Stormare to voice Ogar Mini.

Director Rob Cohen confirmed for Collider that xXx 3 is being developed with an eye towards being ready summer 2010. "Yes, they’re doing it with me and producer Joe Roth”, he said. “We made the deal recently, it’s named xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. We met the writers yesterday and we’re trying to get into production by late spring, to have it out for the summer of 2010." Diesel will first be seen in the summer 2009 sequel to the Fast and Furious.

Producer Gale Anne Hurd confirmed for Moviehole that her recent comment about trying to reboot the Alien Nation franchise was more than wishful thinking. “I dropped Hurd a line to see whether she’s actually pitched the film or whether it’s just something she bought up in conversation,” Moviehole wrote, “with no plans to actually convince someone with money to bankroll it. “The good news is? Hurd has indeed talked to the powers-that-be about doing the film but, in her words, there’s ‘no traction yet’. The 20th-Century Fox film spawned a beloved weekly series which aired on Fox in the 1980s.

‘Shrek the Halls’ Comes to DVD in Time for Holidays

‘Shrek the Halls’ Comes to DVD in Time for Holidays

Paramount Home Video has begun the Christmas shopping season with the announcement of Shrek the Halls coming to DVD on November 4.  The CG-animated television special debuted last holiday season and featured a brand new story, cramming all the trilogy’s characters into a thirty minute event.  It received good reviews and had an impressive audience averaging 22.7 million viewers.

The DVD will feature fun and interactive holiday-themed bonus material including a sing-along version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” starring the entire gang of characters from DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar, a unique take on “Deck The Halls” with the hilarious Madagascar penguins and sing-along lyrics, a Gingy Dunking Game that tests your matching skills, plus a Shrek Carnival Craze game demo and cheat codes. 

The DVD will be available as a single disc in either full screen or widescreen, as well as in a special two-pack with Shrek the Third and in limited edition holiday packages featuring Holiday Shrek, Holiday Puss, Holiday Donkey or Gingy plush characters.

Disc details:

  • The Twelve Days of Christmas Sing Along—Join along and watch the entire Madagascar gang as they celebrate the holidays in style with their own take on the “Twelve Days of Christmas.”  Sing along to the Madagascar-inspired lyrics, including “lemurs leaping, foosas fussing and a penguin who made a loud squeak!”  In classic sing-along style, the words appear on screen as the characters perform.
  • Deck The Halls Sing Along—“Deck the halls, it’s time to party.”  This is your chance to sing along with everyone’s favorite Penguins from Madagascar.  Join Skipper, Private and Kowalski for their version of the classic holiday song as they get into the spirit of the season. 
  • Gingy’s Dunking Game—Test your skills at being a master baker and make sure you have plenty of flour as you try to match the Gingerbread cookies that come out of the oven with the Gingy that appears on screen. 
  • Shrek Carnival Craze video game demo and cheat code
  • DreamWorks Animation Video Jukebox