Here’s the latest trailer for the Michael Bay-produced and Jonathan Liebesman-directed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Megan Fox and Will Arnett star in the origin story which focuses on four unlikely outcast brothers who rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles team up with fearless reporter April O’Neil (Fox) and her wise-cracking cameraman Vern Fenwick (Arnett) to save New York City from Shredder and his evil Foot Clan. Paramount releases the pic August 8. Check it out:
Ahead of Season 3′s debut this fall, Nickelodeon has picked up a fourth season of the CG-animated series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a 20-episode order. It’s slated to premiere in fall 2015. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been a global hit, maintaining impressive numbers across the network’s ratings and our digital and consumer products platforms,” said Russell Hicks, President of Content Development and Production at Nickelodeon. “While new episodes will continue to debut on Nickelodeon, we look forward to propelling the momentum with a fourth season for our loyal fans.”
Season 3 will kick off with Robot Chicken’s Seth Green joining the voice cast alongside Sean Astin, Rob Paulsen, Greg Cipes, Mae Whitman, Hoon Lee, and Kevin Michael Richardson, Josh Peck and Corey Feldman. Ciro Nieli is exec producer.
EXCLUSIVE: If the half-shell hero Leonardo sounds a bit like Bad Grandpa in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the half-pint sensei Splinter sounds like Monk, there’s good reason. Johnny Knoxville has just been added to voice the role of Leonardo, and Tony Shalhoub is voicing Splinter, the Yoda-like creature that teaches chop socky technique to the turtles. Now, Pete Ploszek played the role of Leonardo during the filming part, while Seinfeld‘s Danny Woodburn played Splinter. Insiders tell me they were always open to changing the voicing component of the Jonathan Liebesman-directed film that Paramount releases August 8, and those actors were only guaranteed to physically perform the roles in costume. But as it has proven with World War Z, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Noah, Paramount also is a studio that isn’t reticent to adding ingredients to the souffle after it has risen, and right up to the point where it’s ready to be served.
Here’s the first look at the Michael Bay-ified version of the iconic comic quartet. Looks like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been toughened up, a departure from the franchise’s more kid-friendly animated past more akin to the Turtles’ ’90s-era live-action iterations. Megan Fox and William Fichtner star in the origin story, which Jonathan Liebesman directs. Paramount releases the pic August 8, a busy date on the summer schedule with New Line/Village Roadshow’s Into The Storm (which also dropped its teaser today), Disney’s The Hundred-Foot Journey and Universal’s Scarlett Johansson-starrer Lucy also set to premiere that day.
CinemaCon: Paramount Kicks Things Off With ‘Transformers’, ‘Turtles’ And Brief Footage Of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’
Six major studios, and what many have been referring to as a seventh major (Lionsgate/Summit who have the week’s number one film Divergent and what appears to be Hollywood’s latest franchise player), will be presenting, in one form or another, their goods to exhibitors this week at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. This major convention, coming only three weeks on the heels of the Oscars, is promising to show off the most commercial flicks the studios have in store, not necessarily the most awards worthy. You get the drift? Paramount opened the studio portion of the convention tonight with a brief reel highlighting its 2014 slate, but then really focusing on just three of those movies: Hoped-for summer blockbusters Hercules (with MGM), starring Dwayne Johnson; a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cinematic reboot from producer Michael Bay; and Bay’s fourth go-round with Hasbro’s Transformers franchise, Age Of Extinction. Each got the full-court press from Par’s Vice Chairman Rob Moore who said he stopped by the convention in between trips to “Vatican City and New York City” on behalf on the studio’s terrific, but sure-to-be-controversial, Friday release, Noah. The latter shown in some brief footage represents the kind of ambitious and daring fare studios tried more often before the Hollywood corporate takeover started dictating more obviously commercial and exhibitor-friendly kinds of movies like Paramount’s big summer slate promises.
There appears to be a trend here that might disturb studios that released family films with the expectation of seeing a windfall from licensed merchandise sales. The new pre-holiday recommendations from Toys ‘R Us (it lists its “Fabulous 15″) and Walmart (it has 23 items it says were “Chosen by Kids”) feature TV characters including Disney Junior’s Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins, Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Sesame Street’s Elmo. But when it comes to films, Toys ‘R Us suggests one from Universal’s Despicable Me 2, and Walmart has something from Disney’s Planes — but there’s nothing from DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo, Fox’s Epic, Pixar’s Monsters University, or Sony’s Smurfs 2. It’s a sign of a larger trend says International Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association SVP Marty Brochstein. “TV seems to be grabbing more of the attention and shelf space,” he says. Some film properties were hurt by the summer’s animation glut.
BREAKING: Paramount Pictures has split up two movies that figure to pack a merchandising punch. The studio just moved from June 6, 2014 to August 8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Nickelodeon Movies/Platinum Dunes franchise re-launch. Why the shell game that moves the picture into the back end of the summer? It’s because Paramount has its Transformers movie slated for June 27. That will likely move to June 25 as traditionally the studio has opened these Michael Bay films on the Wednesday of that week. Both of these have involved campaigns and a big merchandising component, and it was thought the studio would be better off spacing the two toy-tied films further apart than the 19 days it was looking at in the original scheduling configuration. Of course, this puts TMNT just one week away from Marvel Studio’s next superhero franchise launch Guardians Of The Galaxy, which opens August 1. That is ballsy of Paramount.
EXCLUSIVE: He’s not playing a turtle in Paramount’s reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but William Fichtner is on board for the movie. Details on the actor’s role are sketchy, but Fichtner is said to be playing a lead with iconic stature in the Turtles’ mythology. A lead in last year’s Nat Geo TV movie SEAL Team Six: The Raid On Osama Bin Laden, Fichtner was a semi-regular on the last two seasons of HBO’s Entourage and also appeared on The West Wing as well as in 2008′s The Dark Knight. Turtles is the third tentpole has coming up, joining his villainous Butch Cavendish in Disney’s The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp and his appearance in the Neil Blomkamp-directed Elysium alongside Matt Damon. Both those movies are coming out this summer, while Turtles is being released on June 6, 2014. As for the Turtles themselves, as Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr revealed in March, Hunger Games: Catching Fire’s Alan Ritchson will play Raphael in the Jonathan Liebesman-directed movie, Pete Ploszek will play Leonardo, Jeremy Howard will play Donatello, and Noel Fisher will play Michelangelo. Megan Fox is set to play the lead female role in the movie that her Transformers director Michael Bay is producing. Fichtner is repped by Intellectual Artists Management.
Here’s more proof that Wall Street has freed Viacom from the penalty box following last year’s steep ratings declines at Nickelodeon and MTV. The stock’s up 2.5% in late morning trading — and touched a record $65.25 — after Nomura Equity Research’s Michael Nathanson and RBC Capital Markets’ David Bank said that trends are improving for the entertainment giant. Nickelodeon’s ratings rose 1% in Q1 and with new shows including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles establishing themselves “we expect that the ratings momentum at Nick should continue,” Nathanson says. That could pay off if, as the analyst expects, studios boost spending to promote new movies later this year. If that happens and Nick’s ratings continue to improve then it “can likely take back some [advertising] market share from Cartoon Network,” he says. Bank’s upbeat case for Viacom goes beyond Nickelodeon. He says that ratings momentum “accelerated in roughly half of Viacom’s ad revenue portfolio” including Nick At Nite, BET, and Comedy Central. What’s more, he says MTV should look a lot better when year-over-year comparisons no longer include Jersey Shore, which ended its run late last year.
EXCLUSIVE: Last week, I broke that Paramount Pictures had set The Hunger Games: Catching Fire newcomer Alan Ritchson to play Raphael in the reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Allow me to lift the shell off who’ll be playing the other three turtles. I’m told that Pete Ploszek will play Leonardo, Jeremy Howard will play Donatello and Noel Fisher will play Michaelangelo in the Jonathan Liebesman-directed film. Now, the turtles in the original movies were kind of interchangeable, stuffed into those cheesy costumes, but this is supposed to be a more sophisticated Avatar-like approach. It should give the quartet better exposure, especially since Paramount views this as a franchise. Megan Fox was already set as female lead, and they will lock the bad guy Shredder shortly. Paramount has already dated Ninja Turtles for June 6, 2014.
EXCLUSIVE: Now that Paramount and Platinum Dunes has set Megan Fox as the female lead in the Jonathan Liebesman-directed live-action/CGI feature Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, they are working on the turtles. First to be cast: Alan Ritchson, who’ll play Raphael. He’ll be coming off playing Gloss, the deadly dagger-wielding male tribute from District One in the upcoming The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Now, the original movie series put its actors in bulky turtle suits, but this one will be more like the performance capture in Avatar, making this a good role. The TMNT reboot is dated for a June 6, 2014 release after it was pushed back to cut the budget to around $125M. Ritchson is repped by UTA and manager Michael Yanni.
Paramount said that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, originally scheduled for wide release on May 16, 2014, will now open three weeks later, on June 6. For now, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has the date to itself. It opens a week before Jurassic Park 4 (3D). Producer Michael Bay announced last week on his blog that Megan Fox would star in the live action/CGI feature. Jonathan Liebesman is directing. The current draft is being written by Evan Daugherty.
UPDATED: At the Nickelodeon upfront presentation in New York this afternoon, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said that the kids cable network, which has gone through some rough times lately, “has hit the reset button” and is “reinventing itself.” There will be a big investment in animation, including the company’s upcoming feature offshoots of Nick toon series, the SpongeBob Square Pants 3D movie and the Michael Bay-directed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, both slated for a 2014 release. Coincidentally, Nick’s upfront announcements today were all in the animation arena — a series pickup for Breadwinners, a new animated series based on the animated short by animator Gary “Doodles” DiRaffaele and writer Steve Borst (Mad), and a third season renewal for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. DiRaffaele and Borst, who came from Nickelodeon’s Animation Shorts Program, are also behind the Nickelodeon series about two booty-shaking ducks, which has received a 20-episode order. (watch the short below). Breadwinners joins recently picked up new live-action series The Haunted Hathaways, The Thundermans and Sam & Cat.
During the presentation, Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami acknowledged that the network has had a “tough year” where “new competitors came on strong,” a reference to upstart Disney Jr. She outlined the network’s strategy for getting back on track by targetting “post-millennial kids,” born in and after 2008.
Looks like Michael Bay doesn’t hold a grudge. He’s just announced via his blog that Megan Fox will star in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the live-action/CGI feature from producer Bay, his Platinum Dunes and Paramount. Jonathan Liebesman is directing. This comes after Fox was most publicly dismissed from Bay’s Transformers threequel back in 2010 after the two clashed (Fox likened Bay to Hitler on set and called him “a nightmare to work for”, which set off a firestorm and led to her getting the boot). The TMNT reboot is dated for a May 16, 2014 release after it was pushed back to cut the budget to around $125M.
This is worth noting considering how important Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is to the turnaround story at Nickelodeon, and Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman’s eagerness to accelerate sales of consumer products based on his company’s properties. The partners describe their new agreement as a “worldwide, multi-year deal” giving Activision Blizzard rights to “develop and publish video games inspired by the new CG-animated series.” No word on the deal’s financial terms. “The fans of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are unique in that they span generations and are very passionate,” Activision VP Kurt Niederloh says. “We respect this passion and look forward to working with Nickelodeon to create games that embody the spirit of the property.” Last week, Dauman told analysts that Viacom is “seeing ongoing strength from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, both on air and at retail, where sell-through rates of most products approached 100%” in the last three months of 2012.
Brown Johnson, president of animation for Nickelodeon, announced today at TCA that the new animated comedy series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will premiere on September 29. Turtle voices on the panel included Sean Astin (Raphael), Jason Biggs (Leonardo) Greg Cipes (Michelangelo) Rob Paulsen (Donatello) and Mae Whitman (April). The session started off on a humorous note. Johnson noted that the TCA crowd is very different from the folks that the show’s creative team met at Comic-Con: “At Comic-Con, we had 3,000 people, and they were all dressed as turtles”, she said.
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman doesn’t sound anything like Dwight Eisenhower, but he seems to to have the architect of D-Day in mind when he talks about his broad plan to invade retail shelves with licensed merchandise. At Paramount, “for the most part we’re going to greenlight films with consumer products potential,” he told investors today at the Nomura U.S. Media & Telecom Summit. That’s key to his goal for Paramount to “focus on profitability” especially by integrating with other Viacom businesses. He’s particularly excited about Viacom’s plans to relaunch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which Viacom bought for $60M in 2009. The characters will appear in an animated series on Nickelodeon this fall and in a film on Christmas 2013. ”Everybody knows the history of it and are excited by the way it’s been reinvented,” Dauman says. “Once you get that strength at the retailer level, it allows you to layer in more properties.” It also ties in with his plan to develop new programs — and marketable characters — to help revive Nickelodeon from its ratings slump. “Nickelodeon will show improvement and it won’t take that long,” he says. Dauman adds that his interest in retail sales contributed to his decision to buy a stake in an Italian animation company with the popular Winx Club franchise, which has “good consumer products for girls.”
The studio has moved the Christopher McQuarrie-directed Tom Cruise-starrer One Shot into the holiday 2012 slot, hoping to replicate the adaptation of the Lee Child bestseller mirrors the success of Mission:Impossible–Ghost Protocol.
The has moved the Marc Forster-directed zombie apocalypse saga World War Z into middle of summer 2013. That film stars and was produced by Brad Pitt, based on the Max Brooks novel. Paramount partnered with Skydance on both One Shot and World War Z.