Thursday, July 31, 2008

Who Would Win 11: John McClane vs. John Rambo

TheAnimationEmpire asks you... Who Would Win between the burnt out Die Hard detective (John McClane) and the burnt out die hard soldier (John Rambo).

Cast your votes in the comments or with a Response Video. Let's see if you Tubers agree with The Animation Empire Doodz.

Directed and edited by MattyO.
Check out MattyO's "Spectrum Song" and "Flowers N Plus" on his channel:

3D animated intro by Ed 'word' Price. 2D animation and effects by MattyO.

Written by Ed 'word' Price with assistance by MattyO. Featured Animation Empire Doodz include: Ed, Justin, OTizzle, Tyler, John, and Shawn.

Thanks! Please subscribe for more!


1 - Punky Brewster VS Pippi Longstocking:
2 - Superman VS Batman:
3 - Superman VS Himself:
4 - Ash (Pokemon) VS Ash (Army of Darkness):
5 - Abraham Lincoln VS Ronald Reagan:
6 - Walt Disney VS Bill Gates:
7 - Optimus Prime VS Harry Potter:
8 - Woverine VS Aquaman:
9 - Captain Jack Sparrow VS Captain America:
10 - Indiana Jones VS The Ultimate Warrior
11 - John McClane VS John Rambo

Thanks for watching!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

OTizzle 2: Family Guy Theme Song (Acoustic Guitar Cover)

We made another music performance video!

OTizzle sings the theme song of Family Guy and plays the theme song of Family Guy on his acoustic guitar... and in his style!

Do you watch Family Guy?


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New TAE Channel Background!

We've got a new channel background:


It's on our YouTube site:

Thanks to WillemWorks for the channel background! Check out his new Steven Seagal animations:


Monday, July 28, 2008

New TAE "Join the Empire" Banner!!!

New YouTube channel banner!

Full image:

Thanks to WillemWorks for the channel banner! Check out his new Steven Seagal animations:


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Videogame Portable Wars: Nintendo DS VS Sony PSP

PSP is doing better than all the current consoles:


They’re basically just surviving off the popularity of PS3 and PS2. As someone said, they’re just porting crappier versions.

DS is doing twice as good:


So I consider PSP an intelligent business move for Sony, but it is directly connected to the success of PS2 and PS3. If Sony drops in the console race, the PSP will follow suit.

It’s actually similar to the Game Gear, which was dependent on the success of the Genesis. I think Sega may have innovated slightly more than Sony is though.

Meanwhile on the DS, Nintendo is innovating like crazy with the pen technology and the dual screen. They are also repackaging all their old 2D titles (that’s the beauty of Nintendo’s model: with each new system they resell every game they’ve ever made), they are really selling the value of their wireless connection (people are going crazy over it), they are innovating on the casual games front (jaw-dropping sales on Nintendogs, Brain Age, etc.), and they are listening very well to what consumers want (a Peach platform game, Mario and Luigi game, Donkey Kong, lots of Pokemon stuff, etc.). Plus the portable market seems to be even more focused on price point than the console market. And Nintendo always wins with the price point.

So Nintendo knows exactly what they’re doing in the portable market. I think we should avoid it and port our games to the other handhelds. If we can’t beat Nintendo on the console front, we have no prayer on the portable front. Nintendo has owned it since the Game & Watch days. The best we could do is emulate the PSP and make a few bucks porting crappier versions of our games to a portable system. I doubt we’d even have as much success as the PSP though, because they’re success is tied to the PS2, and we haven’t had anything on the console front that’s as successful as PS2.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kung-Fu Panda is performing better than Wall-E

Kung-Fu Panda is performing better than Wall-E right now. Cars did better than what Wall-E currently is doing. (Based on comparing how well they did each week). These numbers are domestic only.

Kung Fu Panda:

- Week 4 sales: $11,692,061
- Total after Week 4: $179,276,754


- Week 4 sales: $9,813,000
- Total after Week 4: $182,476,000


- Week 4 sales: $10,899,179
- Total after Week 4: $165,519,955


- Week 4 sales: $14,569,356
- Total after Week 4: $182,591,139

So Kung Fu Panda is on track to beat Ratatouille and Wall-E.

My guess is that it will cap out at around $230 million domestic. It’s currently at $206 million domestic and $360 million total.

See the full chart here:


Friday, July 25, 2008

Xbox 360 E3 Sales Announcements

The E3 announcement of Xbox 360 having more 3rd party sales is silly. Wii has more game sales overall, and a lot of their sales are 1st and 2nd party, which puts more dollars per sale in their pocket. They are also getting more dollars per sale for every console they sell than Xbox is, and they are selling a lot more than Xbox is.

So while it’s true that we have more 3rd party sales, we don’t have more overall sales, and we don’t have the most profitable business model by far. It just means the Xbox 360 is the best system for distributing money across many companies rather than padding our own pockets. Seems like a silly thing to advertise.

I also noticed that Xbox announced they have more North American hardware sales than Wii does... exactly three days before it was no longer true and Nintendo announced the same thing. =^)


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sony's Playstation 3 showing at E3

At E3, Xbox enthusiasts argue that PS3 was showing off too many future games, "vapor ware."

But I think that “vapor ware” might actually be in their favor, even if it is frustrating. A few of their hit games are coming out this fall, and the games after that are what people are going to buy PS3 in anticipation for.

We had the same effect with Halo 3. After Halo 3, we just didn’t generate the future excitement we had. In other words, we’ve done that too, just not to such an extreme degree by showing so many different games that are far out.

Sony’s doing the same thing. They’re selling people on buying now for a couple of cool games and out of anticipation for more cool games.

I think that’s phenomenal marketing, no matter how infuriating it might be. When we or Nintendo got the games lined up like that, we also play that card. I think that’s Sony’s current advantage.

First of all, their fall lineup is comparable to ours…


1. Resistance 2 (Nov 08)
2. Ratchet & Clank Future 2
3. MotorStorm 2 (Oct 08; the first had 3.4 MUS)
4. Socom 4 (Oct 08)
5. The Agency (Dec 08; MMO)


1. Gears of War 2
2. Fable 2
3. Banjo-Kazooie
4. Viva Pinata 2
5. Too Human

(Too Human looked good at the product fair.)


1. Wii Music
2. Animal Crossing: City Folk
3. Super Mario Sluggers
4. Wario Land: Shake It
5. Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles 2 (maybe 2009)

Second of all, they’re doing a better job pointing to future games…


1. Killzone 2 (Feb 09)
2. DC Universe Online
3. Gran Turismo 5
4. infamous
5. Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier
6. MAG
7. Twisted Metal 5


1. Halo Wars
2. Star Ocean
3. Alan Wake


1. Wii Sports 2: Resort
2. Pikmin 3
3. Kid Icarus
4. Zelda Wii 2
5. Mario Wii 2
6. Wii Motor Sports

I think this is also why Nintendo’s realizing to get more games going for the gamer market (they’re obviously concentrating too much on the casual market). They suddenly realized that Animal Crossing, Mario Sluggers, and Wario Land weren’t exciting enough people. So Nintendo is working on Mario, Zelda, and Kid Icarus games, but they should also try to revitalize Star Fox and Donkey Kong properly. It’s also funny that Nintendo doesn’t have to show any of these future titles. We just nag them and say “when’s it coming out?” until they confirm that they’re working on it. =^)


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No one wants to sing along with Titan

Funny Clip From Space Chimps. Andy Samberg voices the second character, Ham.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Andy Samberg - Goes To Space (Space Chimp Interview)

Description: caught up with Andy Samberg amd cheryl hines for Space Chimps and got the scoop on why we should watch this film.Space Chimps is an intergalactic comedy that highlights the antics of astronaut chimps with the "wrong stuff." Ham III (Samberg), the slacker grandson of the first chimp blasted into space before manned spaceflight, joins two other astronaut chimps for a dangerous mission through a black hole to an inhabited planet. When they're stranded there, the chimps must help the inhabitants rid themselves of a tyrannical leader, and then figure out how to get back to Earth.

Andy Samberg got some of his improved lines into the film. Sweet. Looks funny.



Monday, July 21, 2008

Leave it Up to the Space Chimps

Space Chimps stills set to Aaron Carter's "Leave it Up to Me."


Sunday, July 20, 2008


Space Chimps!!!

Yeah, somebody took the trailer to Space Chimps, mixed it with the Crazy Frog music and some of the video. Sweetness results.

Wow. This person got hold of Space Chimps clips I haven't seen yet. Sweet.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pixar Movies: Box Office Analysis

A Bug's Life is the lowest grossing Pixar film, which I thought was a shame. Toy Story should be because it was breaking new ground. Even Toy Story 2 was breaking solid ground, so it shouldn’t be evaluated against Kung Fu Panda and the current films. That was back in 1999 before Shrek came out. Disney/Pixar still had no 3D animation competition except for Antz, which was pushed out quickly to beat to market and feed off of the momentum of Bug’s Life.

The Stats:

1 Finding Nemo
Gross: $339,714,978; 3,425 Theaters
Opening: $70,251,710; 3,374 Theaters

2 The Incredibles
Gross: $261,441,092; 3,933 Theaters
Opening: $70,467,623

3 Monsters, Inc.
Gross: $255,873,250; 3,649 Theaters
Opening: $62,577,067; 3,237 Theaters

4 Toy Story 2
Gross: $245,852,179; 3,257 Theaters
Opening: $300,163

5 Cars
Gross: $244,082,982; 3,988 Theaters
Opening: $60,119,509; 3,985 Theaters

6 Ratatouille
Gross: $206,445,654; 3,940 Theaters
Opening: $47,027,395

7 Toy Story
Gross: $191,796,233; 2,574 Theaters
Opening: $29,140,617; 2,457 Theaters

8 A Bug's Life
Gross: $162,798,565; 2,773 Theaters
Opening: $291,121

9 Wall-E
Gross: $131,701,577; 3,992 Theaters
Opening: $63,087,526

Overall I think Wall-E was super ambitious, but the human aspect and using more emotional/clever humor rather than silly humor are what are going to keep it from getting to those higher numbers. But the emotional aspect should definitely win it the Academy Award this year, beating out Kung Fu Panda, Horton, Tales of Despereaux, and Madagascar 2. (I don’t think Bolt or Star Wars will get nominated, but they might.)

I’m currently guessing that Wall-E will nestle between Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc., at about $250 million domestic.


Friday, July 18, 2008

just another real UFO

"a real UFO. or maybe not"

3D animation.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Will Andrew Stanton win an Academy Award for Wall-E?

I knew Wall-E would deal with a super-serious theme, because that’s exactly what Finding Nemo dealt with (the death of a mother and then the relationship between a father and son). Andrew Stanton first thought of Finding Nemo when he was in a park and he panicked because he couldn’t find his son. That was the birth of Finding Nemo.

It’s funny that it’s so different from Finding Nemo, because Wall-E was written and directed by the same person who did Finding Nemo: Andrew Stanton. He was also left behind by Lassetter to run Pixar (Lassetter is now running all of Disney animation and the theme parks as the Disney CCO, Chief Creative Officer).

So it looks like a #2 Academy Award for Best Animated Film will go to Stanton. That will put him up square with Brad Bird, who managed to squeak in Ratatouille when he replaced Jan Pinkava. So Brad Bird has two Academy Awards for Best Animated Film (Ratatouille and Incredibles), and now, I suspect, Andrew Stanton will have two (Finding Nemo and Wall-E). John Lassetter has one nomination (Cars) and an honorary award (Toy Story), which is kind of like what they did for Walt Disney on Snow White (so that’s an honor to have that similarity).

If anybody was going to release an animated film in the fall that they wanted to win the Academy Award for Animated Film, then they should consider holding off until next year. =^)



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Action Animated Films: Why they don't do well

Action Animated Films: Why they don't do well

Action adventures don’t typically do well when they’re all in animation (Beowulf, Titan AE, Final Fantasy, Sinbad, Treasure Planet, etc.).

Titan AE and Treasure Planet are amazing films, and Beowulf was also pretty good (except for the whole animated corpse style).

I think it’s a matter of audience. Women control the majority of the family entertainment budget, so if it’s not desirable to them, then the family doesn’t go see it. That leaves men to go see Beowulf and Final Fantasy (which were both geared a little older than Titan AE, Sinbad, Treasure Planet, Atlantis, El Dorado, etc.). The market available for men to go see these animated films is too niche. The mass market of adult males would rather see Die Hard 4 or a movie that women also want to see (like IJ 4). Get the mommy to want to see the film, and you get the kids.

So, the kids usually want to see these action animations, especially the boys. However, the mother must then make the decision if she wants to see it and if her daughter wants to see it too.

That’s why you have a sweet 3D animated film like TMNT that makes less money than most 3D films cost (kudos to them for making it look that good on a cheap budget). Had the movie been made on the normal budget, it would have lost money.

That’s also why I think Pixar is filled with geniuses: they make whatever topic they want, but they make sure it appeals to little girls and moms, as well as boys and men. Same thing that Shrek is using to get blockbuster movie sales with.

The flip side is that market (animation for boys) does extremely well on TV. That’s the mother’s excuse: “just watch your action cartoons on TV, and we’ll rent it on DVD when it comes out.”

An example is that Bill Murray movie … what was it called… oh yes… Osmosis Jones. The movie didn’t do too well. However, the cartoon was successful, even if it only got a one-season run:

With the movie, it was difficult to see who it was marketing. Seemed to be 12 year old boys. But why would women want to see that movie? They don’t. So the boys didn’t either. The boys watched it on TV instead.

Pixar is a master at this. They can get women to see a movie about super heroes, monsters, cars, robots… anything manly they can think of.

So I don’t consider it an issue of quality. (I love Treasure Planet, Titan AE, and Atlantis, and I break them out occasionally.) It’s more an issue of business and marketing. (If the movies don’t make money, they don’t get sequels or more of their kind; Atlantis did an okay $85 million, and got a DVD sequel for its trouble.) In other words, Disney won’t do much with Treasure Planet, but they will milk Stitch pretty regularly.



Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Do penguins fly?

"And most importantly, can someone bring a proof that they do?"

Great 3D animation.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Resident Evil: Degeneration

Resident Evil: Degeneration Trailer

Sony Pictures and Capcom reached an agreement for the development of an animated movie based on the Resident Evil universe, coming November 13, 2008.

Resident Evil: Degeneration will be the first film in the saga generated entirely by computers, after the latest versions led by Milla Jovovich.

Now, the commentary... Okay. Sony didn't learn their lesson with their Final Fantasy movie. They thought they could break into this whole new market with a realistic CG action movie. They also aren't learning from Beowulf, which did decently well, and it still didn't make up the cost of the film.

They also aren't learning from the 2D films Titan AE, Sinbad, Treasure Planet, and Atlantis (which did $85 million, the most successful of this pack). They all lost money as well.

Here's why: Sony, moms control the cartoon film market. Think about it.

If a boy wants to see a film, who's going to buy the ticket? The mom. The dad only will if he wants to see the film too, and he'd much rather see Iron Man or Die Hard 4 than a CG version of Resident Evil.

So why is the mom going to want to see this? Even if her son is asking her, and she's selfless, her daughter certainly doesn't want to see this. However, both kids want to see Kung Fu Panda and Wall-E (or whatever the current family cartoon films are... maybe Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Bolt, and Madagascar 2). So the mom isn't going to buy these tickets, especially when she can tell her boys to watch their cartoons on TV and they'll rent this one later on DVD.

That's why this will be a flop. You have no market. The people who want to see this don't have money they control. All your left with is the niche anime and hard core gamer crowd, the same crowd that saw Final Fantasy.

I bet you high school boys or younger is a huge chunk of the market for the games. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s over half the market.

And the mass market men aren’t into CG. We’ve proven that several times.

All you’re left with are the die-hard fans. It’s not enough. The only reason why the live-action RE movies did decently is because people wanted to go see a zombie movie with action. While I’m sure the RE brand helped, that wasn’t the reason why over 90% of the people went to see the movie. If you alienate the men by making it CG, you’re left with a much higher outcome and a lower income. I can understand doing Star Wars in CG (when those movies make $924 million), but why are they making RE into CG (when those movies make $147 million). I wouldn’t be surprised if it cost them $120 million to make the CG RE movie.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Trailer Version 1: The Clones Prepare

Okay, I can't help but think that Lucas cut back on the budget in the textures (looks like a videogame), lighting, character modeling (the stylistic design doesn't lend itself as well to 3D as it does to the 2D micro-series), hair effects, and especially on facial detail and facial animation quality. It literally looks like a TV pilot, which is exactly what it is.

They're using the film to fund the pilot and to fund much of the groundwork and foundation for the 3D cartoon series (much how Jimmy Neutron did).

I just wish they'd increase the quality in the movie.

Despite all that, it is Star Wars, it will probably do ridiculously well, and it may still may be extremely fun to watch, even if all the characters feel "dead" due to a lack of facial animation and unrealistic facial designs (yes, sometimes cartoons need semi-realistic facial designs).

Enjoy the previews here and all the interviews we've compiled!!!


Trailer Version 2: Dooku Opening

Interview 1: George at Sneak Peek

So George blames it on us, his fans, that the low-quality film is hitting the theaters. Great. Thanks for blaming us, George.

Interview 2: Clone Wars Basics

Little girl voice: "I'm a Jedi Knight." [Shudder]

Interview 3: Epic Battles

Interview 4: The Clones

Interview 5: Introducing Ahsoka

The press stuff:

Release Date: August 15, 2008
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: David Filoni
Screenwriter: Henry Gilroy
Starring: Not Available
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: PG (for sci-fi action violence throughout, brief language and momentary smoking)
Official Website:
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: View here
Production Stills: View here
Plot Summary: On the front lines of an intergalactic struggle between good and evil, fans young and old will join such favorite characters as Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padmé Amidala, along with brand-new heroes like Anakin's padawan learner, Ahsoka. Sinister villains -- led by Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous -- are poised to rule the galaxy. Stakes are high, and the fate of the "Star Wars" universe rests in the hands of the daring Jedi Knights. Their exploits lead to the action-packed battles and astonishing new revelations that fill "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."

Produced by Lucasfilm Animation, "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" takes audiences on incredible new "Star Wars" adventures, combining the legendary storytelling of Lucasfilm with an eye-popping, signature animation style.

The theatrical debut of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" is only the beginning of all-new "Star Wars" adventures that continue in the fall when the long-awaited television series premieres on Cartoon Network, followed by airings on TNT.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cartoon Vic

"what i look like as a rotoscoped cartoon. it was a lot of work believe it or not. took about two months too do for such a crappy and short vid!! i had to draw myself over 1250 times. I cant even count that high!"

Yup. This is rotoscoped action.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Dear Anne: The Gift Of Hope

“Dear Anne: The Gift Of Hope” 263 Films’ serious subject cg film about Anne Frank.

It appears that this Dear Anne movie didn’t survive. I think they should have been more strategic and gone for a five-minute short (Academy-Award friendly) to help get funding for a feature-length version.

The trailer:


Thursday, July 10, 2008

3D Animated Films in 2008

Andy Samberg is starring in his first animation this year, Space Chimps (with his second animation, Cloudy with a Side of Meatballs coming next year).

So how will Space Chimps stack up to this year's animations?

First and foremost, the trailer looks pretty funny, so it seems to have a decent chance. However, this is not the best year to be releasing an animation like this. The competition is fierce. Not only do you have what is arguably the best Pixar film (Wall-E), but you also have a pair of heavy hitters from DreamWorks, a Star Wars animation, a valid attempt from Disney, and a secret weapon from Universal Studios.

1. Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who

Date: March 14, 2008
Studio: Fox/Blue Sky
Starring: Jim Carrey, Steve Carrell

Domestic Totals: $153,948,010
Worldwide Totals: $294,480,506

Notes: From the studio of Ice Age and Robots.

2. Kung Fu Panda

Date: June 6, 2008
Studio: Paramount/DreamWorks
Starring: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu

Current Domestic Totals: $184,023,000
Current Worldwide Totals: $285,781,156

- Taking over Madagascar as the #2 DreamWorks franchise, behind Shrek. It made more than Shrek or Madagascar on its opening day (60 million versus 40-42 million).
- A sequel is planned, possibly for 2011.

3. Wall-E

Date: June 27, 2008
Studio: Disney/Pixar
Writer/Director: Andrew Stanton
Starring: Fred Willard

Current Domestic Totals: $86,311,330
Current Worldwide Totals: $89,470,409

- Written by Pete Doctor (Monsters Inc.) and Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) and directed by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo).
- This is a roller coaster of emotions. Picture the emotions of Finding Nemo but add more to it and replace the silly humor with clever humor.
- I suspect that this is the Academy Award Winner for Best Animated Film of 2008, which would be Stanton's second Oscar (after Finding Nemo; this would also tie him with Brad Bird, who currently has two of these Oscars for Ratatouille and Incredibles).

4. Space Chimps

Date: July 18, 2008
Studio: Fox/Vanguard
Starring: Andy Samberg, Patrick Warburton, Jeff Daniels

Notes: Vanguard hasn't done well with their first two animated films (Valiant and Happily Never After).

5. Star Wars: Clone Wars

Date: August 15, 2008
Studio: Warner Bros./Lucasfilm Animation
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee

Notes: Surprisingly poor animation, facial animation, lighting, textures, and animated hair quality, especially since coming from the company that's behind all the CG amazingness in movies today (namely through ILM).

6. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Date: November 7, 2008
Studio: Paramount/DreamWorks
Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen

Notes: Madagascar was originally a steal off Disney. Occasionally DreamWorks hears the press releases from Disney and then steals the idea and tries to get their version out first, to make it look like Disney is copying. They did it with Antz (before Bug's Life), Madagascar (off of The Wild), and Flushed Away (came in to beat out Ratatouille to the market). Some say that they were inspired to do Shrek when thinking of monsters, to try to beat Monster's Inc., but there's a good chance that's just a coincidence.

7. Bolt

Date: November 26, 2008
Studio: Disney
Starring: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus

- First, I'd like to say that this trailer was a lot more interesting before they revealed that he was actually an dog acting like a cybernetic hero. Having the dog actually be the cybernetic hero (ala Incredibles) would have been a much better story (IMO).
- Second, the story for thi movie was written by Chris Sanders (writer and director of Lilo & Stitch). Sanders was directing this movie. However, when Lassetter took over Disney, he threw out most of Sanders' work, and Sanders walked out and joined DreamWorks (now working on Crood Awakening, a caveman animation that DreamWorks pulled from Aardman (due to their poor sales of Wallace & Grommit and Flushed Away) and gave it to Sanders to do in-house at DreamWorks). The Bolt project was then given to two writers and story artists on the project. Lassetter often has the writers and story artists direct the animations, since they often have the strongest vision of the project.

8. The Tale of Despereaux

Date: December 19, 2008
Studio: Universal Studios/Framestore
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson, Sigourney Weaver, William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Kline, Christopher Lloyd, Tracey Ullman

- A new animation studio was formed for this production.
- The director, Sam Fell, is fresh off of Flushed Away. What's interesting is that this is another Mouse movie (like Flushed Away and Ratatouille), from the director of Flushed Away, but the art style is nothing like Flushed Away at all. Flushed Away uses the Nick Park/Aardman style, while the style of Despereaux is clearly similar to Pixar's style for the humans, and similar to Pixar for the animals as well (but they clearly try to go one more step toward realistic animals). The result will be a beautiful movie that tells a beautiful story.
- The primary negative aspect is the name. They should have changed the name; it's too hard to remember IMO, and it doesn't describe the story.
- So this is Universal's secret weapon. Universal has been silent in the battle of 3D animation films (while Sony, WB, Paramount, DW, Weinstein, Fox, and Disney have all been active), except for distributing Veggie Tales 2 earlier this year (I didn't bother including it on this list). So I guess they were waiting for a big gun, and they finally found one.



Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wall-E & Presto

First off, I just wanted to tell you that Presto is available on iTunes (Nate mentions this below).


I liked Wall-E. It was amazingly emotional and fantastic for quite awhile (see Patrick’s great assessment below), and the end was decent what with the antagonists (I’m keeping this super vague), but it did seem to try to end on a high note right after several low notes, and I think the low notes took it lower than the high notes were able to bring it back up. Thus they didn’t end the movie at its peak of positive emotion.

So I completely understand why people don’t think it ended well. It definitely leaves you more emotionally exhausted than any other Pixar film.

Also, as an animator, I couldn’t get over their attempts to use live-action and stylized humans in the same movie. I think they should have increased their level of realism in characters (to something like the Final Fantasy movie or at least Shrek’s slightly more realistic approach), and used that consistently through the film rather than embracing the inconsistency. Even the pictures of the photo realistic captains changing to stylized cartoony captains basically says that we either turn cartoony when we get fat or we evolved into cartoon characters. It bugged me. =^)

That said, I also agree that it was a great Pixar film, much better than the last two.

I’d probably put it here on my list of favorite Pixar films:

1. Incredibles*
2. Finding Nemo*
3. Toy Story 2
4. Toy Story
5. Wall-E
6. Monster’s Inc.
7. Bug’s Life
8. Ratatouille*
9. Cars

That’s not a knock on Ratatouille or Cars. Both were amazing. It’s just a tough crowd they’re in. =^)

* Winners of Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature.


Looks like a waiter from Ratatouille. =^)

This is now my second favorite Pixar short. So I think Presto is very noteworthy for its excellence in humor and animation.

1. For the Birds*
2. Presto
3. Geri’s Game*
4. Tin Toy*
5. Knick Knack
6. Luxo Jr.
7. Boundin’
8. Lifted
9. One Man Band
10. Red’s Dream
11. The Adventures of Andre and Wally B.

* Winners of Academy Awards for Best Animated Short.

I want to watch it again, because I’m not entirely sure how the ladder gag and a few others even made sense. =^)

I still think it should be a feature-length film. Sure, the gag can only be used once. But I bet they could do a road film of those characters moving to America and competing against other types of entertainment. It would be a nice fun break from some of Pixar’s more emotional and heady efforts.

However, I also think they should make that Monkey movie that Lassetter had planned before George Lucas vetoed it (before Steve Jobs took over Pixar).


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Kung Fu Panda is set to become DreamWorks' #2 franchise (sequel coming)

Kung Fu Panda is set to become DreamWorks' #2 franchise (sequel coming)

Rank, Title, Studio, Gross, Gross Theaters, Opening income, Opening Theaters, Date

1 Shrek 2
$441,226,247 4,223 $108,037,878 4,163 5/19/04

2 Shrek the Third
$322,719,944 4,172 $121,629,270 4,122 5/18/07

3 Shrek
$267,665,011 3,715 $42,347,760 3,587 5/16/01

4 Madagascar
$193,595,521 4,142 $47,224,594 4,131 5/27/05

5 Kung Fu Panda
$182,662,882 4,136 $60,239,130 4,114 6/6/08

6 Shark Tale
$160,861,908 4,070 $47,604,606 4,016 10/1/04

7 Over the Hedge
$155,019,340 4,093 $38,457,003 4,059 5/19/06

8 Bee Movie
$126,631,277 3,984 $38,021,044 3,928 11/2/07

9 Chicken Run
$106,834,564 2,953 $17,506,162 2,491 6/23/00

10 The Prince of Egypt
$101,413,188 3,218 $14,524,321 3,118 12/18/98

11 Antz
$90,757,863 2,929 $17,195,160 2,449 10/2/98

12 Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
$73,280,117 3,362 $17,770,036 3,317 5/24/02

13 Flushed Away
$64,665,672 3,707 $18,814,323 3,707 11/3/06

14 Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
$56,110,897 3,656 $16,025,987 3,645 10/5/05

15 The Road to El Dorado
$50,863,742 3,223 $12,846,652 3,218 3/31/00

16 Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
$26,483,452 3,086 $6,874,477 3,086 7/2/03

It’s going to easily catch up with Madagascar before its run is done.

Look at that! It opened making more than Shrek or Madagascar did!

Sequel planned (maybe 2011?)

Here’s their list chronologically:
Title, Studio, Gross, Gross Theaters, Opening income, Opening Theaters, Date

$90,757,863 2,929 $17,195,160 2,449 10/2/98

The Prince of Egypt
$101,413,188 3,218 $14,524,321 3,118 12/18/98

The Road to El Dorado
$50,863,742 3,223 $12,846,652 3,218 3/31/00

Chicken Run
$106,834,564 2,953 $17,506,162 2,491 6/23/00

$267,665,011 3,715 $42,347,760 3,587 5/16/01

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
$73,280,117 3,362 $17,770,036 3,317 5/24/02

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
$26,483,452 3,086 $6,874,477 3,086 7/2/03

Shrek 2
$441,226,247 4,223 $108,037,878 4,163 5/19/04

Shark Tale
$160,861,908 4,070 $47,604,606 4,016 10/1/04

$193,595,521 4,142 $47,224,594 4,131 5/27/05

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
$56,110,897 3,656 $16,025,987 3,645 10/5/05

Over the Hedge
$155,019,340 4,093 $38,457,003 4,059 5/19/06

Flushed Away
$64,665,672 3,707 $18,814,323 3,707 11/3/06

Shrek the Third
$322,719,944 4,172 $121,629,270 4,122 5/18/07

Bee Movie
$126,631,277 3,984 $38,021,044 3,928 11/2/07

Kung Fu Panda
$182,662,882 4,136 $60,239,130 4,114 6/6/08

First, you can see that Paramount bought DreamWorks in 2006.

Second, you’ll notice that their last 2D film was Sinbad in 2003.

Third, their last two Ardent films didn’t perform (Wallace and Flushed), and they dropped the studio.

It looks like they officially reached the goal of releasing two films a year in 2004.

It looks like their sequels are three years apart. My guess is that’s their average production cycle.

I think


Title, Studio, Release Date

Madagascar sequel

Monsters and Aliens

How to Train Your Dragon

Shrek Goes Fourth

Master Mind

Monday, July 07, 2008

Watch Big Buck Bunny

Big Buck Bunny is done by (to advertise their open source goodness).

They’re an open source 3D software company that makes these community projects to promote themselves.

Check out the movie if you’re interested.

“Big Buck Bunny” video released

Remember this cg animation? Now, the Peach Open Movie Team has released the video free. Story and humor are a bit cliché, but it has a rich visual style.


Streaming (in HD) (in low resolution)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

How Steve Jobs Got Pixar Off the Ground

How Steve Jobs Got Pixar Off the Ground

I once heard an analogy of a fighter jet spiraling out of control. That is literally what it often takes to get a company started. You are dependent on getting your clients to pay and you often start with a major debt. It takes a lot of struggling to get the company profitable.

A great example lies with Steve Jobs. When he was fired from Apple in the 80s (a company he co-founded), he started two other companies. One of those ventures was actually buying a division of George Lucas' ILM (effects studios), Pixar. Jobs bought Pixar from Lucas for 5 million (Lucas was going through a divorce and had to cut something off).

Jobs pushed to sell Pixar's hardware and software, which was the point of the company. Well, even when Jobs bought Pixar, they were employing a young animator, John Lassetter, who was fired from Disney. Lassetter was given the job of using the software to make animations and sell the software and hardware. Well, what ended up happening was that the animations were so popular, that Pixar started making its money off of animation services for commercials. It soon led to movies, and now Steve Jobs is the #1 shareholder of Disney stock (which happened when Disney bought Pixar and made Jobs one of the richest men in the world). (Not to mention that Jobs got hired back by Apple and has led it back to phenominal success.)

Here's the point: Getting Pixar going was a huge struggle for Jobs. He invested millions in it, and he was even at the point where he was shopping it to Microsoft. But he pulled out at the last minute when he started to see some samples of Toy Story come through and he realized that his software and hardware business was a movie studio. He ended up licensing many of his Pixar patents to Microsoft instead, which helped fund Toy Story and keep them afloat.

He was like a jet fighter spiraling out of control. But once he had found a niche and success wit the company, it became a snowball effect in positive direction: positive cashflow.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Microsoft Xbox 360 VS Nintendo Wii

1. Does Xbox have profitablity? Has Xbox gotten out of that $5 billion debt they were in? What about that $1 billion or so they lost last year due to the 360 recalls?

2. Do Xbox hardware manufacturing techniques really work? How come Nintendo can make a console that is decently powerful (no way near as powerful as Xbox and PS3, though), sell it for less than Xbox (they always have the cheapest consoles), sell far more than Xbox and PS3, and still make a profit on every single console unit sold (not relying on game sales alone)? Are the Xbox hardware plans and techniques truly better than that?

3. Xbox Live has an advantage in their online strategy over other online strategies, and they need to continue to capitalize on it. However, the other online strategies are also good. So I don't think many people are saying, "I gotta get Xbox Live!" I think they're saying something more like, "I gotta play Halo 3 on Xbox Live!" So it's more like an improvement and bonus rather than a driving sale (still very valuable though).

4. I think Xbox 360 capitalized on Sony's mistakes in several ways: powerful system, first to market, stronger initial 1st and 3rd party support, pioneering cordless controllers that ship with the hardware, an incredibly strong online strategy, and a powerful lineup of coming Xbox 360 games that is/was focused directly on the adult market.

5. I think Xbox should copy Nintendo's motion control ideas and innovate on them, coming up with their own successes in those areas.

6. However, I don't think Nintendo is doing exactly what some might think they are doing. You see, back with the N64 Nintendo had some great 1st party games. That interest built a decent third-party selection of many games that were exclusive and, obviously, geared toward the family market. Sony also hit the family market strong with the PS1 with Crash and Spyro leading the way to a lot of family-market, third-party support. Then, Nintendo did the same thing with the GameCube, but their games weren't as good in that generation and they didn't really innovate much in hardware or other spaces, so the third party effect was a little less dramatic for the GC. Xbox barely beat Nintendo in that round (Console War 4). Playstation 2 came across as the end-all console of adult games and family games.

7. Then Nintendo decided to change leadership and bump up that wacky guy who was leading HAL and who was responsible for the Smash Brothers games and lots of other weirdness. That's when Nintendo DS and Wii came out, and it's when Nintendo took the online plunge. Suddenly Nintendo was attacking non-gamers in all fronts: brain age, Nintendogs, Wii Sports, Wii Play, Miis, Mario Kart wheel, Wii Fit, Wii Music, Internet gaming on DS, and Mario Party 8 with Wii Remote games.

18,595,723 units sold

Brain Training
13,232,264 units sold

More Brain Training
11,312,032 units sold

Mario Party 8
5.30m units sold

8. So now Nintendo had strong first-party sales on a console. They are in the number one spot in hardware sales (and software sales, but not by much). And Xbox 360 was then kicking Sony to the side and cornering the adult gaming market. So, what happens? Simple. The market splits. Wii has more exclusive titles than Xbox does (barely), because they are attracting all the family titles. There aren't too many kiddie platformers on the 360 (especially successful ones), and there aren't too many violent games on the Wii (especially successful ones). There are only a few family games that aren't on the Wii, and there are only a few violent games that aren't on the 360. For the first time ever, the market has split between family titles and adult titles.

9. So when people say that Wii only has a price point and a Wii mote going for it, I don't think that's accurate. Nintendo always has the price point advantage, and they do it with a bigger profit margin than Xbox or PS3 can get on their hardware. So that's not going away. If Xbox or PS3 lowers their prices and eat more debt on hardware, Nintendo can lower their prices and still make profit on their hardware. Xbox and PS3 can't compete there.

10. Xbox can start doing motion-control games, but Nintendo's already innovating at the next level beyond that. It would take Xbox years to catch up (but I still think they should go for it).

11. Xbox can try appealing to non-gamers, but that's not the 360 image at all. They're known for shooters. And They'd really have to try hard to break into Nintendo's monopoly on the family market. Xbox's strong sales on Lego IJ and decent Viva Pinata sales show us that it's possible (I'm hoping Banjo-Kazooie will help a little in this area). Look at Sony. For Sony to break into the family market and maintain good control over third-party family games, they had to release a Crash game and a Spyro game every year (plus strong support on other sides). They've since done that with Ratchet and Jak. Now they have to try to do it again since Nintendo has cornered that market. So Sony's exactly where Xbox is, struggling in that area. Take a look at Lego IJ. The #1 sales for Lego IJ were on the PS2, followed by the DS, Wii, then the 360 and PS3. That helps show that Sony had the family market on the PS2, but now they're even behind the 360 on the PS3. That's why I think Banjo will help, even if Sony has already gotten a Ratchet title out.

12. I think many are on to something with the fact that Microsoft might want to bring Blu-Ray to Xbox. If Xbox is going to compete with Sony being compatible with the current movie medias, then they might have to. Yes, Xbox would be putting money in Sony's pocket, but part of Microsoft's strategy has been to be DVD compatible, and if Blu-Ray becomes half of what DVD is now, Xbox would be changing their strategy to not support it.

So this is how I would splay out the current advantages:

1. Nintendo: price point, they make money on every system sold (good news for them), Wii-mote innovation, non-gamer health titles, non-gamer intellectual titles, non-gamer casual titles, popular 1st party series (like 30 of them), and a general monopoly on the family market.

2. Sony: Blu-ray (and income for those movie sales as well), MGS4, stronger marketing techniques (this comes across in 3rd party commercials, news media, etc.), coming 1st/2nd party titles (GT5, Jak 4, God of War 3, Killzone 2, Resistance 2, Socom 4, etc.), and coming 3rd party exclusives (Final Fantasy 13, etc.).

3. Microsoft: Best online strategy, coming 1st/2nd party titles (Gears of War 2, Banjo-Kazooie 3, Halo Wars, Fable 2, etc.), and generally the strongest sales of non-exclusive 3rd-party games.

I think Xbox is losing the 3rd party exclusivity battle on the family games front to Wii and now slowly on the adult games front to Sony. If Sony has more "killer" titles coming out than Xbox does, and they're buying key exclusive titles like MGS4 and FF13, then they'll quickly grab the adult 3rd-party games market from Xbox, and pass the Xbox 360 in this console war.

So when the typical Xbox fanboy sees this, they bring up software sales. Nintendo is selling more software than Xbox, overall, on Wii. What's worse is that a higher percentage of those sales are Nintendo-made, which means they are selling more games on their system and making a higher rate of profit since more of those games are theirs. Plus they're also making a profit off their hardware.

I hear Nintendo recently changed out their corporate plates and eating utensils to help the environment. Now they use gold.



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