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OSCARS Q&A: Tim Burton

By | Sunday February 17, 2013 @ 1:04pm PST

Anthony D’Alessandro is Managing Editor of AwardsLine

In the final stretch before the Oscar ballot deadline, there’s still hope that voters remain undecided in the animation category. Though Disney has cornered the Oscar slot with three titles, its Frankenweenie, directed by Tim Burton, stands as an island against the epic Brave and the existential crisis comedy of Wreck-It Ralph. The film is an auteur’s youthful dream short, once buried by the studio that has resuscitated it as a 3D stopmotion feature — the first in black and white. This Frankenstein homage about a boy who brings his dead dog back to life is signature Tim Burton. Many will argue Burton is overdue for an Oscar. He was nominated in the animated category for 2005’s Corpse Bride. His 1994 absurdist biopic Ed Wood garnered a supporting actor win for Martin Landau (as Bela Lugosi) and best makeup, while 2007’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street won best art direction and earned noms for Johnny Depp as best actor and for Colleen Atwood’s costumes. Another appealing Burton attribute for Oscar voters is that he remains an iconoclast among big-studio directors working today — he’s a visual artist with a spooky canon that appears alienating with its deep subtext but lures the masses with its fanciful spins on children’s tales such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. AwardsLine recently spoke to Burton about his career and Frankenweenie’s place in it.

AwardsLine: Why was this the best time to make Frankenweenie as a stopmotion feature. You could have conceivably made it in 1993 instead of Nightmare Before Christmas.
Tim Burton: All these projects take a long time. I remember when I first designed Nightmare, it took about 10 years to get that in place because nobody really wanted to do stopmotion, and in a way, there weren’t a lot of facilities that were doing it. We did the Frankenweenie short many years ago, and I never really planned on it being anything else. Over the years, I just kept kind of thinking about the relationship with my dog, but also other monster movies, the kids and teachers from my school, and even the downtown places in Burbank. A lot more thoughts came into Frankenweenie, Read More »

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OSCARS: Tim Burton’s ‘Frankenweenie’ Featurette ‘The Puppet Hospital’

By | Friday February 15, 2013 @ 4:21pm PST
Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: Tim Burton received his second animated feature nomination for Frankenweenie, perhaps his most personal movie yet. His first nom came for 2005′s Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. Both are products of the art of Stop Motion animation, a technique that fell on hard times after CGI took over for most animated films. But thanks to Burton and others it is back with a vengeance. Three of the Animated Feature nominees this year (ParaNorman and The Pirates! Band Of Misfits are the others) and two of the Animated Short nominees (Head Over Heels and Fresh Guacamole) are all done with Stop Motion technique. In this exclusive featurette a visit to the “puppet hospital” shows some of the magic behind Frankenweenie.

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Tim Burton Talks Box Office And Oscar Nod

By | Friday October 19, 2012 @ 5:38pm PDT
Pete Hammond

In the race for this year’s Best Animated Feature Oscar, Disney is hoping to pull off a rare feat and grab 3 of the 5 nominations: for their summer Pixar hit Brave, the upcoming holiday release Wreck-It Ralph (November 2) and Tim Burton‘s Frankenweenie. But will the disappointing box office for the latter hurt its chances at landing a nomination for Burton in the category? Grossing only $24 million since its domestic release October 5th, Frankenweenie’s tepid box office receipts are a head-scratcher. It’s the leading animated film in terms of critical reviews at Rotten Tomatoes this year with an 88% Fresh rating. Oversaturation of other horror-themed animated features like Focus Features’ ParaNorman and Sony’s hit Hotel Transylvania could be a factor in the under-performance for Frankenweenie. For Burton it may be his most personal project as he told me on the phone from London this morning so its particularly frustrating that it is not clicking in a bigger way at the box office.

“I don’t really know why. I can never predict from the beginning of my career. Any of them can go one way or the other. When people see it they seem to like it and Disney has been supportive of it so I can’t really fault anything. I don’t really know,” he said. “The Nightmare Before Christmas in a weird way was similar. It didn’t really do anything (at the box office) but it sort of stayed around,”  he said of … Read More »

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Tim Burton & Helena Bonham Carter To Be Honored As London Film Festival Begins

The 56th BFI London Film Festival, which kicks off tonight in the British capital, is set to honor Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton with the BFI Fellowship. The highest award bestowed by the British Film Institute goes to individuals in “recognition of their outstanding contribution to film or television culture.” Burton’s Frankenweenie is the opening-night film at the fest. The BFI also announced the juries for this year’s festival, which runs through October 21. Director David Hare is president of the Best Film jury, with producer Nansun Shi, director Pablo Trapero, producer Victoria Pearman and actress Romola Garai also on the panel. The jury for the Sutherland Award, which recognizes new talent, will be overseen by former director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival Hannah McGill and fellow jurors Harry Potter director David Yates, novelist Sebastian Faulks, producer Robin Gutch, and actress Louise Brealey. The Best British Newcomer Award jury will be headed by Harry Potter producer David Heyman with actors Tom Hiddleston and Olivia Colman, author Kazuo Ishiguru and director Eran Creevy in support.

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‘Taken 2′ Kidnaps Weekend For #1 & $50M As Moviegoers Return To Late Night Shows; Tim Burton’s ‘Frankenweenie’ Flops $11.1M

By | Sunday October 7, 2012 @ 4:05am PDT

SUNDAY AM,  3RD UPDATE: This was a slammin’ weekend at the domestic box office turning around 6 weeks of sluggish grosses – with total moviegoing up +41% from last year. Here’s one reason why: I’ve learned that 20th Century Fox’s Taken 2 (3,660 theaters) is the first film that has performed normally for weekend late night shows since July’s Aurora shooting tragedy in a movie theater. “Great news for our film and great news for our industry as hopefully we can get back to some normalcy at the box office,” one Fox exec emails me. Action sequel starring Liam Neeson hit $50M despite Fox attempts to lowball expectations at around mid-$30sM. It’s now the 2nd biggest October opening weekend record (behind Paranormal Activity 3‘s $52.6M) but also the highest PG13 opener in October ever. ”Bryan Mills continues to have a ‘particular set of skills’ – namely kicking ass at the box office!” the exec gushed. On the other hand, Tim Burton’s flat 5th place Frankenweenie (3,005 theaters) got off to a “slower start than we would have hoped,” one Disney exec admitted to me, and never took flight. Audiences gave both newcomers a ‘B+’ CinemaScore which could help word of mouth. Meanwhile, Sony Animation’s Hotel Transylvania (3,352 theaters) mantained an amazing -36% hold from last Friday for #2. Universal’s small female college comedy Pitch Perfect (2,770 theaters) went wider and wound up with a new cume of $21.5M against its cost of only $17M. Meanwhile, with Columbus Day on Monday, total Sunday moviegoing should be bigger than normal.

Box OfficeThe original Taken seemed an improbable hit: Liam Neeson wasn’t hot at the box office, director Pierre Morel came out of nowhere, and the action took place in ho-hum Paris for crissakes. But this sleeper didn’t suffer from political correctness. Instead it presented good vs evil as black and white without any grey area – something missing from films with more sophisticated storylines. Audiences responded to this uncomplicated thriller in droves for $145M domestic and $226.8M worldwide. Now they’re looking for more of the same in the sequel, and Taken 2 did an impressive $1.5M in midnight showings from 2,036 locations for the highest midnight number since The Dark Knight Rises. This time the director is Olivier Megaton, and the setting is far more mysterious Istanbul. Written again by Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen, returning daughter Maggie Grace and wife Famke Janssen re-joins Neeson and this time together they fight bad guys. And, once again, Fox for both this movie and the first one pays a flat fee to Europa Corp for certain territories upon delivery. Otherwise Fox has all the world, excluding Eastern Europe, Middle East, Germany, France, Benelux and Scandinavia. Taken 2 already opened in Korea to an outstanding #1 on its opening day and unseated a blockbuster Korean film, Masquerade, distributed by CJ. The marketing campaign was pretty straightforward and fairly ordinary, relying heavily on Neeson who truly did anything and everything to promote the sequel. A fan event in New York at the AMC Empire on Monday sold out 2 theaters in under 90 minutes from launch on Eventful. It’s hard to find any TV show that Neeson didn’t do from Jim Rome, Leno, GMA, Live With Kelly, Ellen, Fallon, Daily Show, Watch What Happens Live, ESPN Carwash, and Inside The Actor’s Studio. ”Taken Tuesdays” on Facebook added new content every week. The Ultimate Fighters did sponsorships supporting the film through a high-profile match and fight clock branding, while Bellator Fighting Championship had sponsorship of the 2-hour largest Mixed Martial Arts tournament in the world.

Box OfficeHere we go again: another Tim Burton film that is underperforming at the domestic box office. This time he returns to his first stop-motion animation movie since 2005 when his Warner Bros’ toon Corpse Bride debuted DOA. But this 3D black-and-white film about a boy and his dog for Disney looks like a lot more fun, thanks to the screenplay credited to John August (who based his on Lenny Ripps’ script) and story and direction by Burton. Though it faces stiff competition from Sony Animation’s pre-Halloween family fare Hotel Transylvania. But Frankenweenie was never intended as widely popular family fare: it’s fanboy stuff. Which is why pic had such strong presence at Comic-Con. “The Art of Frankenweenie” exhibit began there and is touring Disney’s California Adventure before it travels to 7 countries. The film itself won’t roll out in most international territories until the next six months. Back at home, Frankenweenie integrated with Halloween events at Disney Parks. The world premiere was held September 20th on the opening night of Fantastic Fest, followed by an LA premiere September 24th at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre. Film was also the closing night film at the London Film Festival. Disney also had what it called “unparalleled partnership” with Apple to launch first-ever Disney Publishing digital book to use iBooks Author based on a film. (The e-book allows audiences to delve into the inspiration behind the film, from story concept to creation and execution, with photos, art, interviews, music, 3D characters, and more.) Games, apps, social media, IMAX, Subway in-store signage added to the marketing campaign which included a heavy rotation of TV ads – much bigger than the box office prospects of this Burton film warranted. Disney also pushed the official film soundtrack by frequent Burton collaborator Danny Elfman, plus “Frankenweenie Unleashed” inspired-by album. Voice talent included Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell, and Winona Ryder. Besides Burton, Allison Abbate produced.

Here’s how my sources see the Top Ten for weekend box office:

1. Taken 2 (Fox) NEW [3,661 Runs] PG13
Friday $18.5M, Saturday $19.0M, Weekend $50.0M

2. Hotel Transylvania 3D (Sony Animation) Week 2 [3,352 Runs] PG
Friday $6.4M, Saturday $11.7M, Weekend $27.1M (-36%), Cume $76.8M

3. Pitch Perfect (Universal) Week 2 [2,770 Runs] PG13
Friday $4.8M, Saturday $5.9M, Weekend $14.6M, Cume $21.5M

4. Looper (FilmDistrict/Sony) Week 2 [2,993 Runs] R
Friday $3.5M, Saturday $5.1M, Weekend $12.0M (-42%), Cume $40.1M

5. Frankenweenie 3D (Disney) NEW [3,005 Runs] PG
Friday $3.2M, Saturday $4.5M, Weekend $11.1M
Read More »

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London Film Festival Unveils Lineup

By | Wednesday September 5, 2012 @ 3:30am PDT

The BFI London Film Festival will screen 225 features including 14 world premieres and a further 111 live-action and animated shorts. Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie is the previously announced opener and Mike Newell’s Great Expectations closes the fest. There are 12 films in the main competition, and gala presentations include Ben Affleck’s Argo, Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet, Roger Michell’s Hyde Park On Hudson and the world premiere of Rolling Stones documentary Crossfire Hurricane. The festival runs Oct. 10-21 in the British capital. Full details follow: Read More »

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Tim Burton’s ‘Frankenweenie’ To Open London Film Festival On Oct. 10

The European premiere of Frankenweenie will officially be held at London’s Leicester Square Odeon cinema. But, in a first-of-its-kind move for the BFI London Film Festival, the premiere screening will be simultaneously transmitted to 30 moviehouses around the UK when it kicks off the event on Oct 10. Tim Burton’s 3D stop-motion animation about a boy and his dog is the feature adaptation of his own 1984 short and was produced in London at 3 Mills Studios. The voice cast includes Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau and Winona Ryder. Disney will release it in the UK a week after the premiere, on Oct 17. The festival has also just announced it will host The Art of Frankenweenie exhibition from Oct 17-21 at the BFI’s Southbank Centre Festival Village. The exhibition will be a look inside Burton’s stop-motion animation process replete with sketches, props, sets and puppets. The 56th edition of the London Film Festival runs from Oct 10-21.

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‘Frankenweenie’ IMAX Policy Trailer: Video

By | Friday August 17, 2012 @ 3:29pm PDT

As part of the run-up to Disney’s October 5 release of Tim Burton‘s stop-motion animated 3D movie Frankenweenie, this “please no phoning, talking or texting during the movie” video has emerged on YouTube:

Watch More ENTV Videos!

Related: ‘Frankenweenie’ To Bow At Fantastic Fest

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‘Frankenweenie’ To Bow At Fantastic Fest

By | Friday June 29, 2012 @ 9:52am PDT

Disney’s stop-motion animated Tim Burton movie Frankenweenie has been set to world premiere as the opening-night film at Fantastic Fest on September 20, organizers said this morning. The studio opens the movie wide domestically on October 5. The black-and-white 3D pic, written by John August, is about a boy who brings his beloved dog back to life — with just a few minor adjustments. Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell and Winona Ryder are among the voice cast. The genre festival runs through September 27 in Austin. UPDATE: As part of Disney’s promotion of the pic, it has released a cool 360-degree tour video of the set with interactive elements to click into. It’s certainly a different way to tell a behind-the-scenes story. Here it is: Read More »

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Hot New Trailer: ‘Frankenweenie’

By | Wednesday June 27, 2012 @ 6:53pm PDT

Disney has posted the second full trailer for Tim Burton’s feature-length stop-motion animated movie based on his short. Frankenweenie‘s voice cast includes Winona Ryder, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Landau. It hits theatres October 5th:

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‘Frankenweenie’ Bow Includes IMAX 3D

By | Tuesday March 6, 2012 @ 8:38am PST

Frankenweenie Disney ImaxLos Angeles, CA – Mar. 6, 2012 – IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX; TSX:IMX) and The Walt Disney Studios today announced that Tim Burton’s stop-motion, animated film, Frankenweenie will be digitally re-mastered into the immersive IMAX® 3D format and released in IMAX® digital theatres worldwide day-and-date on Oct. 5, 2012. The film marks the first black and white Hollywood feature and first stop-motion animated movie to be presented in IMAX. From Disney and directed by Tim Burton, Frankenweenie: An IMAX 3D Experience features the voices of Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short and Winona Ryder. The film is a remake of the live-action short directed by Tim Burton in 1984.

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Hot Trailer: ‘Frankenweenie’

By | Thursday March 1, 2012 @ 12:14pm PST

Tim Burton’s short is now a full-length Disney feature the includes the voices of Winona Ryder, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Landau. It’s set for release October 5.

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Who Needs Comic-Con? Disney Reveals All At D23 Expo

Pete Hammond

Disney Announces Two New Pixar Films
Who needs Comic-Con when you can do it yourself?

That must be exactly what Disney is thinking as it continues its massive second annual Disney D23/ Expo, the “ultimate fan event” taking place all weekend long at the Anaheim Convention Center right next to Disneyland (the name refers to 1923, the year Walt Disney started his studio).  It’s an offshoot of the official Disney Fan Club and includes a ginormous exhibition center with every imaginable opportunity to buy Disneyana, numerous fan events and celebrity-sighting opps, and then there was today’s centerpiece: a near-three-hour preview of movies in the pipeline from Disney, Pixar and Marvel (which announced a partnership with the company in 2009 that is just now gearing up).

Call it “Mickey Con”. It’s all a bit overwhelming, so no wonder it takes three days just to get through it all. The event continues through the end of Sunday.

After his major presentation of the new Disney slate in the gargantuan arena in front of 4200 seemingly rabid fans (and a few more restrained press members), I caught up with Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross in the Green Room for an exclusive interview in which he talked about the possibilities of a fifth Pirate.s of the Caribbean film as well as his first comments on the demise of  Pirates team Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer’s about-to-shoot Western The Lone Ranger, which Deadline’s Mike Fleming first reported had been dropped by Disney due to budgetary concerns on the pricey pic. When I asked Ross if there was anything new to report  he said, ”Nothing definitive. There is nothing new. I’m hoping to do it, I’m certainly hoping. I think it’s a compelling story and no one wants to work with Jerry and Johnny more than me, so we’ll see how it works.” And about the possibility of a fifth Pirates? The situation is obviously clouded with the Lone Ranger situation, but again he used the word “hopeful.” Read More »

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Disney Moves ‘John Carter Of Mars’ To Same Date As Fox’s ‘Prometheus’

By | Wednesday January 19, 2011 @ 11:14am PST
Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Walt Disney Studios has shifted the release dates of two of the studio’s 3D films. But there were definitely some raised eyebrows at Fox today at this aggressive John Carter Of Mars vs Prometheus scheduling move by Disney. Dogfight! Prometheus is that Ridley Scott film scripted with Lost‘s Damon Lindelof from Alien DNA. So now Disney’s 3D John Carter Of Mars based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ fantasy series comes off its June 8th, 2012, date and onto March 9, 2012. Disney also moved its Tim Burton-directed Frankenweenie based on his student film about a kid who reanimates his dog after it was run over down to October 5th, 2012, from March 9th, 2012.

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Tim Burton Finds His ‘Frankenweenie’ Cast

By | Monday September 20, 2010 @ 3:10pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Tim Burton is going to familiar people to voice cast Frankenweenie, Burton’s stop motion animated Disney feature based on his 1984 short about a man who reanimates his dog after it gets hit by a car. Burton has set Winona Ryder (Edward Scissorhands and Beetle Juice) to play the role of Elsa, and Martin Landau (his Oscar-winning portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood) to provide the voice of Mr. Rzykruski. Martin Short (Mars Attacks!) and Catherine O’Hara (Beetle Juice and A Nightmare Before Christmas) take on the voices of five characters each. Short plays Bob, Nassor, Toshiaki, Victor’s Dad and Mr. Bergermeister. O’Hara voices Edgar, Weird Girl, Victor’s Mom, and Gym Teacher. Scripted by John August, the pic’s slated for release by Walt Disney Pictures on March 9, 2012.

Here is part of Burton’s original short film:

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