Category Archives: Animation
Hub has optioned the rights to KISS Hello Kitty (working title), a new animated series based on the unlikely, yet successful KISS x Hello Kitty line of products from Sanrio.
KISS, an iconic rock band known for its creative merchandising, and Hello Kitty, one of the most unique and popular lifestyle brands, came together in 2010 for an unexpected collaboration — KISS x Hello Kitty. This global collection co-branded products connects KISS and Hello Kitty followers all over the world with hundreds of licensed items across all categories, including apparel, toys, electronics, stationery, and back to school merchandise, among others.
KISS Hello Kitty will feature the four KISS x Hello Kitty characters living their rock ‘n’ roll dreams and bringing pink anarchy to every situation they are in. The new animated series is in the initial stages of development with Simmons slated to be one of the executive producers. The series will be produced by KISS Catalogue Ltd. and Sanrio.
“We are thrilled to have these two seminal brands, KISS and Hello Kitty, on The Hub,” said Margaret Loesch, President & CEO of The Hub. “Fans of The Hub know we are a distinct brand dedicated to providing clever, imaginative, and cool shows that families can watch together. The tone and style of the KISS Hello Kitty TV show is a perfect fit for our network.”
“The Hub Network is the perfect home for the TV show, ‘KISS Hello Kitty,’” said Mr. Simmons. “We are incredibly excited about this opportunity and want to make all our millions of fans worldwide proud of a show they can watch with the whole family.”
Another day, another troubling news item about the beleaguered vfx industry. This time it’s London-based studio The Mill which revealed that it will close its TV visual effects unit, with a possible loss of 25 jobs. Best known for its effects work for BBC shows such as Doctor Who, Merlin and Sherlock, The Mill has posted some financial losses in 2012 and the first quarter of this year. However, the studio will continue to focus on its successful commercial ventures in the U.S. and U.K. The division has also produced visual effects for Elizabeth and Longford for the U.K.’s Channel 4 as well as the Oscar-nominated feature Snow White and the Huntsman.
The Mill CEO Robin Shenfield said, “Mill TV has suffered a number of setbacks such as failing to join the roster on Starz/BBC production of DaVinci’s Demons and the cancellation of Sky’s Sinbad sequel. Going forward, broadcasters are commissioning less high-end VFX driven drama series this year, with Merlin discontinued and the BBC not commissioning a Doctor Who series this year.”
“I’m not feeling negative about film and TV VFX in the U.K. I think the work will return in both film and TV,” he added. “We are just at a point of hiatus. While TV VFX has been less volatile than film—last year the U.S. studios spent far less than they did in 2011 —TV also seems to have caught the bug, and there have been less of those high-end commissions and repeat series… We have reluctantly decided that this is a business we do not want to play in any more, although I am immensely proud of what we have achieved and we hope we will be able to redeploy a number of those people elsewhere in the group and are looking very hard at that.”
The Mill will close its TV unit at the end of April .The move will see the departure of senior staffers such as managing director and executive producer Will Cohen. For the past 20 years. the studio has been providing visual effects and post-production services for numerous film, TV and commercial clients.
A holding company associated with Prana Studios has won the bid to acquire bankrupt vfx studio Rhythm & Hues. A court hearing on confirmation of the winning bidder is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday.
Based in Los Angeles and Mumbai, Prana Studios is best known for providing the animation for DisneyToon projects such as the upcoming 3D feature Planes and Tinker Bell movies and Summertime Entertainment’s upcoming Legends of Oz (formerly known as Dorothy of Oz) feature.
Among the other bidders were India’s Prime Focus; a Chinese entity involving Jiang Yanmin, president of China Lion and the animation and vfx company Psyop.
On Thursday morning, South Korea’s JS Communications filed a conditional objection in connection with the auction. JS had pulled out of being the stalking-horse bidder after it missed its court-mandated deadline of March 19 to execute a binding asset sale and purchase agreement in connection with its stalking horse bid.
Post filing for bankruptcy, R&H has been able to operate thanks to $ 17 million in loans from Universal and Fox which allow the studio to continue work on Universal’s R.I.P.D. and Fox’s Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, and $ 5 million in financing from Legendary, which will pay R&H for the completion of work on their movie, Seventh Son.
R&H filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Feb. 13. The troubles of the Oscar-winning studio made a big splash in the media and triggered a global call for unification in the vfx industry.
Audiences in China will be treated to a special Chinese version of Marvel’s Iron Man the studio announced today. This special version will include a special appearance by China’s top actress Fan Bingbing as well as bonus features specially created for Chinese audiences. Both versions of the film will star renowned Chinese actor Wang Xueqi as well as footage filmed in Beijing last December. According to insiders, these bonus scenes will likely appear on the Blu-ray and DVD release of Iron Man 3 in the future. DMG will release the film in China.
Directed by Shane Black, the third installment in the Marvel superhero’s adventures stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau and Ben Kingsley. Iron Man 3 will open in most territories on 3 May 3. The film features vfx by Cinesite, Digital Domain, Framestore, Fuel, Luma Pictures, Method Studios and Weta Digital, among others.
Here’s the film’ s official synopsis:
“Marvel and DMG’s Iron Man 3 pits Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: Does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?”
Don Payne, a co-executive producer of The Simpsons and screenwriter of comic-book blockbuster Thor passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 48 due to cancer. He is survived by his wife and three children.
“Don was a wonderful writer and an even more wonderful man,” The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean said in a statement. “He was beloved in the Simpsons community and his untimely passing is terrible news to us all. I know he is up with Thor now looking down at us and smiling.”
Payne, a University of California Los Angeles graduate, earned four primetime Emmys for his work on The Simpsons. He joined the show’s writing staff in 1998 and penned 16 episodes, including the Writers Guild Paul Selvin Award winner “Fraudcast News.” While at work on the hit Fox series, Payne also ventured into screenwriting territory with live-action features My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007). He also wrote a draft of Marvel’s Thor before beginning work on the sequel, Thor: The Dark World.
At the time of his death, Payne had two Simpsons episodes in production, both set to air during the 25th season–including this year’s holiday special “White Christmas Blues.”