Monthly Archives: April 2013

Marvel’s Avengers AcademyThe Disney Cruise Line announced a makeover of the Disney Magic while it is in dry dock. One addition of note is the Avengers Academy:

Marvel’s The Avengers will make their presence known in an epic way aboard the Disney Magic, with Marvel’s Avengers Academy calling Disney’s Oceaneer Club its new seaward home. Young crime-fighters will be transported to a high-tech command post used by The Avengers for special missions and operations training.

Throughout the base, displays featuring some of the equipment that helps to make The Avengers the earth’s mightiest heroes – Iron Man’s suit of armor, Captain America’s shield and Thor’s hammer — inspire super hero “recruits” through their academy missions. Avengers Academy is a multi-day, immersive entertainment experience where children interact with Marvel characters and unleash their inner super heroes.

kungfupanda_2Variety reports that a licensing deal with Dreamworks Animation will significantly expose toon studio’s characters to families vacationing in Macau.

The toon studio has brokered a licensing deal with Sands China Ltd. to bring its cast of animated characters to Macau which is expected to help the city known for its gambling biz attract more families.

Starting July 1, Cotai Strip Resorts will offer perforamnces, parades, meet-and-greets, photo shoots and dining expriences featuring DreamWorks Animation characters like Po from “Kung Fu Panda,” Shrek, Fiona and Puss in Boots from “Shrek;” Alex the lion, King Julien and the penguins from “Madagascar,” and “How to Train Your Dragon’s” Toothless and Hiccup.

Deal will significantly expose DreamWorks Animation’s characters to consumers in China, especially kids, where it’s looking to increase its presence. But it also will help Cotai Resorts attract more families to its properties as it looks for more ways to keep its thousands of hotel rooms occupied. Pact is backed by the Macau Government Tourist Office.

theawesomesHulu is getting into the original content game along with Netflix and Amazon Prime, reports Variety.

Hulu crested 4 million monthly premium subscribers in the first quarter — and for the first time streamed more than 1 billion videos in the period — with Internet TV venture queuing up 10 original and exclusive shows to try to keep the ball rolling.

Other stats Hulu touted: It generated $695 million in revenue last year, up 65% over 2011. Subscribers to Hulu Plus, $7.99 per month for access to 2,500-plus TV series and other programming, doubled in 2012.

Celebs and talent at the Hulu NewFronts included: Seth Meyers (“SNL”) and Michael Shoemaker (“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”), co-creators of “The Awesomes” animated original; James Corden and Mathew Baynton from “The Wrong Mans” original scripted action-comedy coproduced with BBC;Eva Longoria from “Mother Up!” exclusive animated laffer; and WWE grapplers Rey Mysterio and Sergeant Slaughter, who touted Hulu as exclusive destination for WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” and other shows.

About “The Wrong Mans,” costar Corden said it’s “a conspiracy thiller-coaster,” and compared skein to cross between “24″ and “Dumb & Dumber.

Soap stars on hand included Erika Slezak and Kelley Missal from “One Life To Live” and Denyse Tontz and Robert Wilson from “All My Children.” Sudsers, reborn in new productions by Prospect Park after ABC canceled them in 2011, debuted on Hulu on Monday.

Other new originals are: “Quick Draw,” Western crime-investigation comedy from writer/director Nancy Hower and writer/star John Lehr; and “Behind the Mask,” docu-series about sports mascots. Exclusives coming to Hulu include Keshet International’s “Prisoners of War,” which follows two Israeli soldiers who return to their families after 17 years in an enemy prison; “Moone Boy,” family comedy skein written by and starring Chris O’Dowd (“Bridesmaids,” “Girls”); and “East Los High,” scripted drama about East L.A. teenagers.

Hulu also highlighted “Spotlight Series,” which it hopes to sell to brand advertisers that want integrated marketing within the shows. These include “The High Road” interview show hosted by chef Mario Batali, who kibitzes with Gotham notables like Jimmy Fallon and Julianna Margulies about the town; and Carson Daly-hosted live music series “Sundays at the Greek” from L.A.’s Griffith Park. Another in this group includes Believe Entertainment Group’s “Money Where Your Mouth Is,” gameshow series hosted by Jay Mohr.

Thanos Rising #2Our weekly look into what’s worth buying at your local comic book store. My list can’t keep getting as big as it has.

  • Thanos Rising #2
  • Age of Ultron #7 – Wolverine and Invisible Woman go back in time to kill Hank Pym. Now that they’ve returned to the present, what world do they return to?
  • Indestructible Hulk #7 – We last left Hulk lifting Thor’s Hammer and being declared worthy. How will the out of control Hulk handle even more power?
  • Iron Man #9 – The origin of Howard Stark.
  • Superior Spider-Man #9 – Peter Parker is ready to take back his rightful place in his own body. Will Doc Ock permanently rid the world of Peter Parker?
  • Hawkeye #10
  • All New X-Men #11

Carrie Fisher appeared at the recent Calgary Comic Expo. The Calgary Herald was there to report on the Q&A Session. Here are highlights.

Fisher did confirm that she will be in Star Wars: Episode 7. “She was the first of the original cast members to announce her participation back in March, although apparently jumped the gun. Her publicist later said she was joking and that nothing had been confirmed.”

“I like being bought by Disney, because they never wanted to buy me before.  I’m glad they are doing a new movie because they are sending a trainer to my house so I can get in really good shape. So I’m really eating a lot of sugar in advance, as you can see. By the time I really get down to it I will have eaten everything.”

 

IMAX Poster

IMAX Poster

Iron Man 3 has not yet opened in the United States and it has already earned $195 million internationally. This surpasses the Avengers international opening of $185.1 million.

According to Variety:

The nearly $200 million bow for “Iron Man 3,” which kickstarted Wednesday in a few markets and rolled out to 42 territories, still trails the benchmark international openings of blockbusters “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” ($260.4 million) and the reigning champ, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” with its $307 million overseas start.

The question is can Iron Man 3 do just as well this opening weekend. My guess is yes it will.

LA Times reports that Space Mountain will remain closed without explanation.

Disney officials, who said they have no estimate on when the ride will reopen, closed Space Mountain and two other rides April 13, after receiving the state citations. The other rides, Soarin’ Over California at Disney’s California Adventure Park and the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland, have reopened.

State safety inspectors scrutinized the rides after a maintenance worker was injured in November from a fall he suffered while cleaning the outside of the Space Mountain building. They found, among other violations, that access routes for maintenance workers on the attraction did not have proper safety railing and other precautions.

Timber Mountain Log Ride Knott's Berry FarmLA Times reports on changes Knott’s Berry Farm is making to its log ride. Story by Brady McDonald.

After thrilling millions of riders for nearly half a century, a classic Knott’s Berry Farm ride is  undergoing a major renovation that will see the addition of about 60 animatronic figures.

About 50 engineers, mechanics and artisans at Garner Holt Productions are busy building animatronic lumberjacks, saloon girls, wolves and bears for the Timber Mountain Log Ride. It is to open at the end of May.

At 300 feet long and 75 feet tall, Timber Mountain Log Ride dominates the middle of Knott’s Berry Farm. Since 1969, the log flume has taken riders seated inside a hollowed log past largely static scenes populated with loggers and animals frozen in motion.

Time has not been kind to the ride. Animated scenes have broken down. Detailed figures have been replaced with store mannequins. Raccoons have gotten into the ride and eaten some of the taxidermy animals. Seasonal Halloween overlays have made a bad situation worse.

The renovation will introduce 10 scenes that take riders past sawmills, cabins, tents, tool sheds, locomotives and steam-powered machines. Along the way, the four-person logs will travel through a forest, a valley and a tunnel. At one point, thunder and lightning will rattle through the darkness.

Animatronic characters will saw through a fallen tree, chop wood and run atop a spinning log. Other figures will laugh, swing from a rope or smoke a pipe. Each character will feature a level of detail found in a typical Disney dark ride.

During my visit to the Garner Holt factory, I watched as an employee made adjustments to a character holding onto a 25-foot-long rope ladder with one hand and a lantern light with the other.

Knott’s has asked Garner Holt Productions to keep the finale scene of the renovated Timber Mountain ride, known only as the “kiss goodbye,” a secret until the grand reopening.

Kick Ass Movie Update

Synopsis: Kick-Ass, Hit Girl and Red Mist return for the follow-up to 2010’s irreverent global hit: Kick-Ass 2. After Kick-Ass’ (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) insane bravery inspires a new wave of self-made masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), our hero joins them on patrol. When these amateur superheroes are hunted down by Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse)—reborn as The Mother F%&*^r—only the blade-wielding Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) can prevent their annihilation. With graduation looming and uncertain what to do, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with Mindy. Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she’s forced to retire. With no one left to turn to, Dave joins forces with Justice Forever, run by a born-again ex-mobster named Colonel Stars and Stripes.

Release date: August 16, 2013

Cast:
Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Kick Ass
Chloë Grace Moretz – Hit Girl
Christopher Mintz-Plasse – Red Mist (The Mother Frr)
Morris Chestnut
John Leguizamo
Donald Faison
Jim Carrey – Colonel Star and Strips

Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes.

Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes.

Written and Directed by: Jeff Wadlow

Produced by: Matthew Vaughn, Tarquin Pack, Adam Bohling, David Reid, Brad Pitt

Kick-Ass, Hit Girl and Red Mist return for the follow-up to 2010’s irreverent global hit: Kick-Ass 2. After Kick-Ass’ (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) insane bravery inspires a new wave of self-made masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), our hero joins them on patrol. When these amateur superheroes are hunted down by Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse)—reborn as The Mother F%&*^r—only the blade-wielding Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) can prevent their annihilation.

When we last saw junior assassin Hit Girl and young vigilante Kick-Ass, they were trying to live as normal teenagers Mindy and Dave. With graduation looming and uncertain what to do, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with Mindy. Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she’s forced to retire—leaving her to navigate the terrifying world of high-school mean girls on her own. With no one left to turn to, Dave joins forces with Justice Forever, run by a born-again ex-mobster named Colonel Stars and Stripes.

Just as they start to make a real difference on the streets, the world’s first super villain, The Mother F%&*^r, assembles his own evil league and puts a plan in motion to make Kick-Ass and Hit Girl pay for what they did to his dad. But there’s only one problem with his scheme: If you mess with one member of Justice Forever, you mess with them all.