Imagi, the Hong Kong based animation house, has had a heck of a weekend, with TMNT opening at #1 in America.
But, as the saying goes, that was yesterday. What have they done for us today?
Wonder no further. Via IESB, we learn that Imagi’s next film project is a full length version of Gatchaman, or as we called it when we watched it on television in the 70’s, Battle of the Planets. Yes, Battle of the Planets! G-Force, five incredible young people with superpowers! And watching over them from Center Neptune, 7-Zark-7! Watching, warning against surprise attacks by alien galaxies from beyond space! G-Force! Fearless young orphans, protecting Earth’s entire galaxy! Always five, acting as one. Dedicated! Inseparable! Invincible!
Some images at the link. No word on voice casting yet (hey, Casey Kasim’s still around) or whether we’re going to see 1-Rover-1.
Comic books continue to lead Hollywood box office business as TMNT, based upon the comics books of the same letters beat out 300 $25,400,000 to a mere $20,500,000 in estimated weekend North American box office receipts.
It was the first weekend for the Turtles’ latest movie venture, and the third for the Frank Miller property. Thus far, 300 has earned nearly a quarter-billion dollars worldwide. Then again, box office totals in Iran are expected to be rather low.
Whereas both movies were released by Warner Bros., neither one is based upon a DC Comics property. DC is a unit of Warner Bros.
Next up: Spider-Man 3, in just a few weeks. ComicMix carried the link to the final movie trailer; scroll down and you’ll find it.
While some of us in the New York area are starting off I-CON weekend by listening to live streaming of The Comic Book Novice tonight at 9 PM Eastern (penciller and Dreamchilde Press head honcho James Rodriguez is the guest), we understand that things are actually happening in the rest of the world. I don’t quite believe it, but I’ll take these people’s word for it:
At 5:30 PM today, you can catch cartoonist Keith Knight at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Hey, Michael Davis is black, why wasn’t he invited to this?
Seeing Things: The Art of Jim Woodring opens tomorrow at Seattle’s Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery.
In addition to TMNT, the kids movie The Last Mimzy bows today nationwide (Matt Raub reviews it on ComicMix Podcast; scroll down), and Jenna Fischer assures folks "It is a very cute kid’s movie…better than most in the sense that it isn’t cut and paced like a rock video. It is actually sweet and magical and interesting. Oh…and you get to see Rainn’s ass. Well, you see him in his undies bending over at the fridge. Angela and I were giggling like schoolgirls. Were were like, ‘Woah! There is Rainn’s ass on a giant movie screen!’ (I’m sure the boys from The Office will be saying something similar about my ‘ladies’ when we see Blades of Glory next week.)" Glenn can have his Sopranos; I’m just loving that The Office actors all seem so much like their characters. Cool Office cast photos accompany that blog entry, by the way.
Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing (who’s just discoveredAmerican Born Chinese, so congrats Gene Yang, you’ve been BoingBoinged!) mentions that artists Rob Sato (Burying Sandwiches) and Ako Castuera have a new show going up at the LA comic shop The Secret Headquarters starting next Friday. By the way, Cory also mentions he’s signed a deal with IDW to sell comics based on his stories, and had his agent write a clause spelling out that "those stories are already under Creative Commons Attribution/ShareAlike/Noncommercial licenses that allow fans to make non-commercial comics," so it’s whatever the opposite of an "exclusive" is. ("Loss leader," perhaps?)
And although it’s slightly past rather than upcoming, I wanted to mention Trina Robbins’ astounding news that "comics are alive and well in Scandinavia, and women are drawing them," as she reviews her lecture tour through Malmo, Copenhagen and Stockholm. Brr, Scandinavia in March, glad someone looks happy in those photos!
Here’s one you probably won’t see in most news reports. I only heard it second-hand on the radio during my morning commute. The traffic reporter commented about slow-downs on the upper level of the George Washington Bridge in New York City because folks dressed up like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were doing something or other on the bridge’s pedestrian walkway, and thus all the cars were slowing down to look. He had no idea why the Turtle characters were there, but I blame viral marketing (what we used to call a "publicity stunt" in the old days — in this case, for this Friday’s opening of the TMNT movie).
My wife and I were plowing through our TiVo this weekend, catching up on programs the device trapped for us during the previous week. We happened to catch the current spots for Ghost Rider as well as the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and 300 movies. As is frequently the case when I’m on deadline, I had a revelation.
Thematically, the only thing these three movies have in common is the fact that they are based upon comics. It occurred to me that five years ago they would have been lumped together as "comic book movies." Today, we are more sophisticated. Today, they might be lumped together as "graphic novel movies," but more likely most people perceive them as simply "movies."
That’s fine. We don’t see such distinctions made in movies culled from other genres. "Based on the novel," sure. Big deal. But that’s buried in the movie’s credits and on the small print at the bottom of the poster. For almost 100 years now, most movies have been based upon something — books, short stories, comics, radio shows, television shows, and most often from other movies. Now our medium has joined the pack.
There was a great deal of hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth when word leaked out of Hollywood that Joss Whedon had left the Wonder Woman film project and David Goyer would no longer write and direct a Flash film. Similarly, people reacted in horror at the notion of Joel Schumacher having anything to do with a Sandman movie.
Here’s the thing: none of this is shocking. Disappointing, yes, but we long time fans have gotten our hopes raised and dashed countless times through the years.
For those less familiar with Hollywood’s inner workings, the studios are always looking for the next great thing, uncertain of what it might be and where they may find it. So, in addition to buying original stories from screenwriters or ideas from producers and stars then assigning the stories to screenwriters, Hollywood goes shopping. They will receive yet-to-be-published books in galley form, they will scour the news for stories to dramatize, and they will see what their kids are listening to, and so on.