I’m frequently sent information on upcoming television, DVD/Blu-ray and movie news. I’ll be compiling and sharing the best and most interesting news with you here each week.
FRANKENWEENIE – New Featurette & Science Experiment Activity Sheets!!!
A brand new featurette from FRANKENWEENIE is now available!
Frankenweenie – Featurette
From creative genius Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland,” The Nightmare Before Christmas”) comes “Frankenweenie,” a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life—with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.
A stop-motion animated film, “Frankenweenie” was filmed in black and white and rendered in 3D. The talented voice cast includes: Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell and Winona Ryder.
Presented by Disney, “Frankenweenie” is directed by Tim Burton, produced by Tim Burton and Allison Abbate, from a screenplay by John August, based on a screenplay by Lenny Ripps, based on an original idea by Tim Burton. “Frankenweenie” releases in U.S. theaters on October 5, 2012.
“SAVING MR. BANKS” BEGINS PRODUCTION IN LOS ANGELES”
Los Angeles, Calif., September 19, 2012—Disney began production today on “Saving Mr. Banks,” the account of Walt Disney’s twenty-year pursuit of the film rights to P.L. Travers’ popular novel, Mary Poppins, and the testy partnership the upbeat filmmaker develops with the uptight author during the project’s pre-production in 1961.
Two-time Academy Award®-winner Tom Hanks (“Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump”) will essay the role of the legendary Disney (the first time the entrepreneur has ever been depicted in a dramatic film) alongside fellow double Oscar®-winner Emma Thompson (“Howard’s End,” “Sense and Sensibility”) in the role of the prickly novelist. Before actually signing away the book’s rights, Travers’ demands for contractual script and character control circumvent not only Disney’s vision for the film adaptation, but also those of the creative team of screenwriter Don DaGradi and sibling composers Richard and Robert Sherman, whose original score and song (Chim-Chim-Cher-ee) would go on to win Oscars® at the 1965 ceremonies (the film won five awards of its thirteen nominations).
When Travers travels from London to Hollywood in 1961 to finally discuss Disney’s desire to bring her beloved character to the motion picture screen (a quest he began in the 1940s as a promise to his two daughters), Disney meets a prim, uncompromising sexagenarian not only suspect of the impresario’s concept for the film, but a woman struggling with her own past. During her stay in California, Travers’ reflects back on her childhood in 1906 Australia, a trying time for her family which not only molded her aspirations to write, but one that also inspired the characters in her 1934 book.
None more so than the one person whom she loved and admired more than any other—her caring father, Travers Goff, a tormented banker who, before his untimely death that same year, instills the youngster with both affection and enlightenment (and would be the muse for the story’s patriarch, Mr. Banks, the sole character that the famous nanny comes to aide). While reluctant to grant Disney the film rights, Travers comes to realize that the acclaimed Hollywood storyteller has his own motives for wanting to make the film—which, like the author, hints at the relationship he shared with his own father in the early 20th Century Midwest.
Colin Farrell (“Minority Report,” “Total Recall”) co-stars as Travers’ doting dad, Goff, along with British actress Ruth Wilson (the forthcoming films “The Lone Ranger” and “Anna Karenina”) as his long-suffering wife, Margaret; Oscar® and Emmy® nominee Rachel Griffiths (“Six Feet Under,” “Hilary and Jackie,” “The Rookie”) as Margaret’s sister, Aunt Ellie (who inspired the title character of Travers’ novel); and a screen newcomer—11-year-old Aussie native Annie Buckley as the young, blossoming writer, nicknamed “Ginty” in the flashback sequences.
The cast also includes Emmy® winner Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing,” “The Cabin in the Woods”) as screenwriter Don DaGradi; Jason Schwartzman (“Rushmore,” “Moonrise Kingdom”) and B.J. Novak (“NBC’s “The Office,” “Inglourious Basterds”) as the songwriting Sherman Brothers (Richard and Robert, respectively); Oscar® nominee and Emmy winner Paul Giamatti (“Sideways,” “Cinderella Man,” HBO’s “John Adams”) as Ralph, the kindly limousine driver who escorts Travers during her two-week stay in Hollywood; and multi-Emmy winner Kathy Baker (“Picket Fences,” “Edward Scissorhands”) as Tommie, one of Disney’s trusted studio associates.
“Saving Mr. Banks” will be directed by John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side,” “The Rookie”) based on a screenplay by Kelly Marcel (creator of FOX-TV’s “Terra Nova”), from a story by Sue Smith (“Brides of Christ,” “Bastard Boys”) and Kelly Marcel. The film is being produced by Alison Owen of Ruby Films (the Oscar®-nominated “Elizabeth,” HBO’s Emmy®-winning “Temple Grandin”), Ian Collie of Essential Media (the Aussie TV documentary “The Shadow of Mary Poppins,” DirecTV’s “Rake”) and longtime Hancock collaborator Philip Steuer (“The Rookie,” “The Chronicles of Narnia” trilogy). The film’s executive producers are Ruby Films’ Paul Trijbits (“Lay the Favorite,” “Jane Eyre”), Hopscotch Features’ Andrew Mason (“The Matrix” trilogy, “Dark City”) and Troy Lum (“Mao’s Last Dancer,” “I, Frankenstein”) and BBC Films’ Christine Langan (Oscar® nominee for “The Queen,” “We Need to Talk About Kevin”).
Hancock’s filmmaking team includes a trio of artists with whom he worked on his 2009 Best Picture Oscar® nominee, “The Blind Side”—two-time Oscar® nominated production designer Michael Corenblith (“How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Apollo 13”), Emmy®-winning costume designer Daniel Orlandi (HBO’s “Game Change,” “Frost/Nixon”) and film editor Mark Livolsi, A.C.E. (“Wedding Crashers” “The Devil Wears Prada”). Hancock also reunites with Academy Award®-nominated cinematographer John Schwartzman (“Seabiscuit,” “Pearl Harbor”), with whom he first worked on his inspiring 2002 sports drama, “The Rookie.”
“Saving Mr. Banks” will film entirely in the Los Angeles area, with key locations to include Disneyland in Anaheim and the Disney Studios in Burbank. Filming will conclude around Thanksgiving, 2012, with no specific 2013 release date yet set.
Sesame Street Kicks Off New Season with More Elmo, Celebrities and Spoofs
The countdown has begun to the launch of Season 43 of Sesame Street. And it all begins on Monday morning, September 24th on your local PBS station. This promises to be the most exciting season ever with lots of spoofs, celebrities, and the debut of “Elmo the Musical,” which is replacing “Elmo’s World” after 13 years!
Elmo the Musical
He’s red, he’s furry, he’s adorable, and this season Elmo will be adding to the excitement of the 43rd season of Sesame Street with the debut of an innovative new segment, “Elmo the Musical.” In each entertaining 11-minute skit, Elmo will use his imagination to make math musical – singing, dancing and taking kids along with him on fun-filled interactive adventures. Focusing on imagination and math, Elmo will take viewers on thrilling explorations as he imagines himself in “Sea Captain the Musical,” “Mountain Climber the Musical,” “Prince Elmo the Musical” and even “President the Musical!” “Elmo the Musical” is the first new Elmo format 13 seasons!
Last season Sesame Street integrated a STEM curriculum into its format as part of a new and bold mission to excite and engage a generation of future scientists, mathematicians and engineers. This year, the show will add Arts to the equation, in an ongoing effort to encourage preschoolers to think artistically and critically even before they start school.
Everything’s more fun with a little help from your friends – especially celebrity friends. That’s why this season, Sesame Street is thrilled to welcome an all-star lineup of celebrity guests: Academy Award-winning and nominated actors Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Amy Ryan, Casey Affleck and Melissa McCarthy; Golden Globe-winning and nominated actors Steve Carell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar; Emmy Award-winning and nominated actors David Hyde Pierce and Timothy Olyphant, Up All Night’s Maya Rudolph; Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet; Mad Men’s John Hamm; Parenthood’s Dax Shepard; NBA Slam Dunk Champion Blake Griffin; NFL Superstar Troy Polamalu; Los Angeles Dodger’s Matt Kemp; actors Zac Efron, Ed Helms, Kristen Bell and Paula Patton; Extra’s Mario Lopez; talk show host Wendy Williams; singer Colbie Caillat; rock band Train and rapper/musician Common.
The Sesame Street Muppets™ will also have a lot of fun spoofing some of pop-culture’s favorite shows, including Birdwalk Empire, The Voice, and Upside Downton Abbey.
Children’s programming that remains innovative and exciting for more than four decades deserves widespread attention. Year after year, Sesame Street balances innovation with its timeless characters and consistent commitment to children’s education. We’re confident you’ll agree that season 43 of Sesame Street would make a great story for your readers.
Universal Pictures’ PITCH PERFECT Music Video & More! In Select Theaters September 28
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Adam DeVine, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow with John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks
Directed by: Jason Moore
Screenplay by: Kay Cannon
Based on the Book by: Mickey Rapkin
Produced by: Paul Brooks, Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman
Executive Producer: Scott Niemeyer
Beca (Anna Kendrick) is that girl who’d rather listen to what’s coming out of her headphones than what’s coming out of anyone’s mouth. Arriving at Barden University, she finds herself not right for any clique but somehow is muscled into one that she would never have picked on her own: alongside mean girls, sweet girls and weird girls whose only thing in common is how good they sound when they sing together, in the new out-loud comedy Pitch Perfect.
When Beca takes this acoustic singing group out of their world of traditional arrangements and perfect harmonies into all-new mash-ups, they fight to climb their way to the top of the cutthroat world of college music competitions. This could wind up either the coolest thing they’ll ever do or the most insane, and it will probably be a little of both.
Loaded with new takes on old favorites, to hits of right now that are seamlessly mixed together, mashed-up and arranged like you’ve never heard before, Pitch Perfect is directed by Jason Moore, who opened our eyes to the very misbehaved life of puppets in the surprise Broadway sensation Avenue Q. www.pitchperfectmovie.com
Here is the Mike Tompkins a cappella version of “Starships,”featuring the film’s cast and over 300 user generated video submissions! After you sing-along to the aca-awesome “Starships,” find out how to have a Pitch Perfect Night Out and win big!
Watch the Mike Tompkins ‘Starships’ video!
This is the first time Tompkins has collaborated with filmmakers, talent and a studio on the official music video for a movie. Tompkins, represented by Maker Studios—a next-generation talent-first music company—is best known for creating his own unique twist on music covers using only his voice and mouth. As his popularity rose, he was noticed by some of the biggest names in entertainment and has since collaborated as a producer and writer with Timbaland and been featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, NBC’s TODAY show and PerezHilton.com, among others. Tompkins and Alana Da Fonseca arranged this new a cappella version of “Starships,” which was written by Nicki Minaj, RedOne, Carl Falk, Rami Yacoub and Wayne Hector.
Pitch Perfect Night Out
Make it a Pitch Perfect Night Out! You can plan your Pitch Perfect evening with friends (the movie with cocktails, karaoke, dinner, etc.) and enter to win a party for 10 with a limo! Find out more here.
DISNEY PRESENTS ITS FIRST LITTLE GIRL PRINCESS IN “SOFIA THE FIRST: ONCE UPON A PRINCESS,” AN ANIMATED TELEVISION MOVIE PREMIERING SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18 ON DISNEY CHANNEL
Classic Disney Princess Cinderella Makes Special Appearance
All-Star Voice Cast Includes Ariel Winter, Sara Ramirez, Wayne Brady and Tim Gunn
Disney will introduce its first little girl princess with the debut of “Sofia the First: Once Upon A Princess,” an enchanting, music-filled animated Disney Junior television movie for the whole family, SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18 (7:00-8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel and THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22 (9:00-10:00 a.m., ET/PT) on Disney Junior, the 24-hour channel. A “Sofia the First” television series will premiere in early 2013. The movie and series will roll out internationally through mid-2013 on both Disney Channels and Disney Junior channels.
Set in the storybook world of Enchancia, the movie introduces Sofia, an average girl whose life suddenly transforms when her mother marries the king and she becomes a princess, Sofia the First. Sofia must learn to navigate the extraordinary life of royalty while holding on to her own hopes and dreams. Her journey to being the best she can be also paves the way for those around her to realize how special they each are. Disney’s Cinderella makes an appearance in the movie to offer Sofia some words of wisdom – princess to princess.
Sofia’s royal adventure begins as she prepares to move into the castle with her mom, starting a new family with her step-father, King Roland II, and step-siblings, Amber and James. Helping Sofia in her journey are the three headmistresses of Royal Prep Academy – Fauna, Flora and Merryweather (the beloved fairies seen in Disney’s classic “Sleeping Beauty”) and royal steward, Baileywick, as well as a group of cute woodland creatures led by a wise-talking rabbit, Clover. Sofia soon discovers that looking like a princess isn’t all that difficult, but displaying honesty, loyalty, courage, independence, compassion and grace is what makes one truly royal.
Created for kids age 2-7 and their families, the stories of “Sofia the First” communicate positive messages and life lessons that are applicable to young children. While she lives in a captivating world of castles, wizards and flying horses, Sofia remains a relatable peer-to-peer princess who is experiencing many of the same social situations as young viewers at home including learning how to fit in, making new friends and mastering new skills.
Events across multiple platforms will mark the debut of “Sofia the First: Once Upon A Princess” beginning Wednesday September 19 with the launch of the DisneyJunior.com/Sofia website featuring an introductory character gallery. On Friday, November 2, the site will expand to include a fully immersive experience where kids can create and personalize their own prince or princess avatars. A digital EP featuring five songs from the movie will be available on iTunes and other online retailers beginning Tuesday, November 13. A live simulcast on WATCH Disney Channel and mobile VOD for AT&T and Sprint customers will be presented in conjunction with the movie premiere on Sunday, November 18. The movie will also be available the following day on WATCH Disney Junior, Disney Junior On Demand and DisneyJunior.com.
“Sofia the First: Once Upon A Princess” stars the voices of Ariel Winter (“Modern Family”) as Sofia; Sara Ramirez (“Grey’s Anatomy”) as Queen Miranda; Wayne Brady (“Let’s Make A Deal”) as Clover; Tim Gunn (“Project Runway”) as Baileywick; Darcy Rose Byrnes (“Desperate Housewives”) as Amber; Zach Callison (“Land of the Lost”) as James; Travis Willingham (“Ultimate Spider-Man”) as King Roland II; Jess Harnell (“Doc McStuffins”) as Cedric; Ashley Eckstein (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) as Mia the Bluebird and Meghan Strange (“Special Agent Oso”) as Robin. Disney Legend Russi Taylor (Minnie Mouse), Barbara Dirickson and Tress MacNeille (Daisy Duck), bring Fauna, Flora and Merryweather, respectively, to life. Jennifer Hale provides the voice of Cinderella.
Craig Gerber (“Pixie Hollow Games”) developed the movie and serves as co-executive producer and story editor. Jamie Mitchell (“Special Agent Oso”) is executive producer and director. John Kavanaugh (“Winnie The Pooh: Springtime with Roo”) serves as songwriter/music director and Kevin Kliesch (“Tangled Ever After”) is the composer. “Sofia the First: Once Upon A Princess” is a production of Disney Television Animation.
Disney Junior reflects the emotional connection generations of consumers have to Disney storytelling and Disney characters, both classic and contemporary. It invites mom and dad to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical and heartfelt stories and characters, while incorporating specific learning and development themes designed for kids age 2-7. Disney Junior’s series blend Disney’s unparalleled storytelling and characters kids love deeply with learning, including early math, language skills, healthy eating and lifestyles, and social skills. Disney Junior launched in February 2011 with a daily programming block on Disney Channel. In its first year, Disney Junior posted the network’s biggest yearly audience in the daypart in Total Viewers, Kids 2-5, Boys 2-5 and Women 18-49, increasing by double-digit margins among preschooler demographics over year-ago levels. On March 23, 2012 Disney Junior added a cable and satellite channel in the U.S. bringing the total number of channels to 30 worldwide.