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Annie Awards: ‘Wreck-It-Ralph’ Wins 5 Including Feature, Robot Chicken ‘DC Comics Special’ TV, ‘Paperman’ Best Short

By | Saturday February 2, 2013 @ 9:58pm PST

Wreck-It Ralph heads toward this year’s Academy Awards withRich Moore and Clark Spencer newly added momentum. The videogame-themed Walt Disney Animation Studios pic was the bigger winner tonight at the 40th Annual Annie Awards. Ralph took Best Animated Feature plus Best Directing, Music, Voice Acting and Best Writing in an Animated Feature. Last year’s Annies Animated Feature winner Rango went on to win the Oscar for the same category in 2012.

Related: Annie Award Nominations Unveiled

Hosted by film critic Leonard Maltin and voice actors Maurice LaMarche and Rob Paulsen, the ceremony from UCLA’s Royce Hall saw DreamWorks’ Rise Of The Guardians, LAIKA/Focus Features’ ParaNorman, and Pixar’s Brave pick up several awards as well. Robot Chicken’s DC Comic Special won the Best General Audience Animated Television Production award. Marvel’s blockbuster The Avengers took the nod for Best Animated Effects in a Live Action Production and Rhythm & Hues Studio won best Character Animation in a Live Action Production for their work on Life Of Pi. Walt Disney Animation Studio’s Paperman won the Best Animated Short Subject award. South Park’s Trey Parker scooped a best Writing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production for the long running satire’s South Park: Jewpacabra. Check out the full list below:

Wreck-It RalphAnimated Feature
Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Director Rich Moore only thanked Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios CCO John Lasseter, as many people did tonight, but said he was so honored and thankful to be part of the Disney Legacy.

Annie AwardsGeneral Audience Television Production
Robot Chicken DC Comics Special – Stoopid Buddy Studios

“Let’s just keep making awesome stuff”, says Seth Green to the crowd on Robot Chicken’s win and the animation industry in general.

Directing in a Feature Production
Rich Moore, Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

The Annies exploded with a roar when Ralph’s Moore name was read aloud for best Feature Directing. The director joked that he’s in trouble because he gave his speech to “the teleprompter guy” (they’ve had issues tonight). Moore then gave a seamless speech thanking a wide variety of people involved “in this fantastic film”.

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Disney To Make ‘Wreck-It-Ralph’ Available Early On Digital HD

By | Friday January 4, 2013 @ 3:52pm PST

Disney is the latest studio to jump on the emerging trend of releasing a key title in Digital HD before becoming available on disc and on-demand. Wreck-It-Ralph, which has made $175.5 million domestically and $275M-plus globally to date, will get that treatment February 12, while its Blu-ray, DVD and VOD offerings will come available March 5. Fox was the first to dip its toes in these waters, releasing Ridley Scott’s Prometheus — it’s biggest title to date — on September 18, three weeks before its disc debut; last month, Fox offered Taken 2 on digital four weeks ahead of its disc debut. The push is to promote the branded Digital HD, which offers downloads of movies weeks before their traditional home video window begins at a discounted price (Prometheus’ price point was less than $15). Read More »

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OSCARS: Animating ‘Wreck-It Ralph’

By | Saturday December 1, 2012 @ 6:00pm PST

Thomas J. McLean is an AwardsLine contributor.

For Wreck-It Ralph, Disney’s animated hit about an arcade videogame villain who wants more out of life, the movie hit its critical mass and graduated from an idea to becoming a real movie came via a tool borrowed from TV animation: the table read.

Rich Moore and Clark SpencerDirector and cowriter Rich Moore, who spent the better part of two decades working on series from The Simpsons and Futurama to The Critic, Drawn Together, and Sit Down, Shut Up, imported the practice for the spring 2010 meeting at Pixar that included cast members Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, and Alan Tudyk. “It’s a very, very useful tool for the filmmakers—to hear the characters come to life and to hear the dialogue, and to get a good pace for the movie, a feeling for the movie,” Moore says.

Related: OSCARS – Indies Stake A Claim On Animated-Feature Category

The result was so well received — even by absent lead actor John C. Reilly and executive producer John Lasseter — that the studio brought in producer Clark Spencer and a storyboarding team to kickstart the 3D CGI movie into full production.
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AFI Fest: ‘Rise Of The Guardians’ Tries To Stake Its Claim In Oscar Race And At Holiday Box Office

Pete Hammond

AFI Fest 2012 continued Sunday with the World Premiere of DreamWorks Animation’s holiday biggie and Oscar hopeful, Rise Of The Guardians, and if the buzz generated by this screening is any indication DWA should have a hit on both fronts. First and foremost Guardians,  is the perfect holiday family movie, but rather remarkably it appears the be the only holiday-themed family movie this season (it opens November 21), a sad state of affairs that had even DWA topper Jeffrey Katzenberg shaking his head in disbelief when I spoke to him. What the hell is happening here Hollywood?

Certainly being largely alone in the Christmas corridor’s family marketplace (the PG13 Hobbit not withstanding) won’t hurt the business prospects for the film, and a big box office smash will  lift its already bright prospects in what is turning out to be a fairly wide open race for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, especially with chief rival Disney’s attention divided between three films this year – Pixar’s Brave, Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie  and this weekend’s hit, Wreck-It Ralphwith the latter moving way up the charts thanks to a stronger-than-expected $50 million B.O. haul and some rave reviews that have placed it alongside Frankenweenie and ParaNorman as the best-reviewed toons at Rotten Tomatoes in 2012. The latter two could be hurt at Oscar time by being (unfairly?) lumped together with the hit Hotel Transylvania in the animated horror spoof sub-category. The delightfully clever and likeable video game-centric Ralph might eventually prove too hip based on past voting patterns  … Read More »

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#1 ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ Muscles $50M Weekend; #2 ‘Flight’ Soars To $25M With Low Theater Count; ‘The Man With Iron Fists’ Weak $8.2M

SUNDAY 7 AM, 6TH UPDATE (Top Ten grosses below) Total moviegoing this weekend is $138.3M, which is a healthy +21% from last year. The good news is that as Hurricane Sandy recovery continued, Saturday became a big attendance day. Going into this weekend, less than 100 movie theaters on the East Coast remained off the grid on Friday. But that number went down as the power came on. The even better news was that NYC biz in particular was very strong – despite continuing transportation problems but because of cabin fever. ”Clearly, folks need and have an escape valve from the misery of Sandy – namely the movies,” one top distribution exec tells me.

Overall weekend domestic box office was led by Disney’s well-reviewed 3D blockbuster Wreck-It Ralph (playing in  3,752 theaters) whose gross went up a huge +58% from Friday to Saturday for an expected $50.0M through Sunday. It’s the biggest non-holiday opening for a Disney Animation Studios title. Clearly here’s a brand new original franchise for the Mouse House. This action toon went into Friday accounting for 20% of all online ticket sales at Fandango and MovieTickets. Yet there was some flopsweat by Disney not just because of the storm variable but because family tracking has been unreliable of late. (Remember Frankenweenie, anyone?) “I think they’re going to get enough teens to supplement the family audience and pop a real number,” a rival studio exec told me ahead of time. Pic did. Audiences gave Wreck-It Ralph an ‘A’ Cinemascore which should bode well for positive word of mouth and playability through the Thanksgiving holiday as there is little family competition in the marketplace until then.  The toon infused from 30-plus years of video game history so target audience wasn’t just kids but also adults and game enthusiasts as well as males and females. (I always think the movie industry doesn’t understand how many gals play video games…) Fix-It Felix Jr classic-style game consoles toured the country, with stops at Comic-Con, gamer-focused events like Classic Gaming Expo and PAX Prime, as well as colleges, family events, Disney Parks, etc. The trailer debuted at E3 in June while the film itself had a strong presence at Comic-Con in July, including a Hall H panel with director Rich Moore and voice cast John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman. As for its marketing campaign, Wreck-It Ralph had a huge Olympic integration, plus promotional partnerships with Subway, Nesquik, Gamefly, Netgear, Costco, and Lego. Global press junket in mid-October featured immersive experiences in the game’s worlds, followed by a special gaming press day in San Francisco in conjunction with Sega, Disney Mobile and Activision. The world premiere was held at the El Capitan Theatre on October 29. For animation fans and cinephiles, toon is playing in theaters with Paperman, a black-and-white 3D short film that features an innovative new hybrid of hand-drawn and CG animation.

Of course the Disney family fare swamped this weekend’s other newcomers which are debuting in only 1/2 as many theaters. But Paramount’s well-reviewed Flight (1,900 locations) enjoyed a +31% bump from Friday to Saturday and opened #2 with a surprise $25M this weekend. That’s enormous considering its medium theater count. Just think how many stars can’t even open pics to $20M with 3,000+ theaters. But Denzel Washington has a very loyal adult fanbase, and the pic from credited screenwriter John Gatins had good reviews despite (or because of) a bleak back half. Expectedly, movie  is very soft with teens. But it received an ’A-’ CinemaScore which will help keep it overperforming tracking and stirring Oscar buzz. It’s certainly been a while since director Robert Zemeckis had a hit like this. Even better for Paramount, which has only released one live action pic since May (Paranormal Activity 4), is the fact that Flight cost only $31M. “That was the ground rule that everyone bought into.” Paramount gave it a release pattern similar to its 2010′s The Fighter which had a similar budget, dark story and awards chatter. As for marketing, Paramount launched the Flight trailer in June on Prometheus. “Our strategy was to aim our efforts at sophisticated moviegoers and have a strong push for men and African Americans,” a studio exec explains to me. Flight campaign kicked off for all four presidential debates’ TV coverage. That early awareness stunt led to an exclusive promotion on CBS. A heavy African-American push was made on BET, VH1 and urban radio) as well as VH1′s Basketball Wives whose reality cast screened the film and waxed enthusiastically about Denzel in a promotional spot. Of course there were big sports buys and lots of media. Flight had its world premiere Closing Night of the New York Film Festival on October 14th. Then Paramount and EPIX hosted an encore presentation in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles with audiences on the West Coast participating in a Q&A with Zemeckis, Washington, Don Cheadle, and John Goodman. Denzel appeared on Letterman, and Zemeckis on Fallon, for the first time those shows ever broadcast without an audience. Zemeckis also traveled the festival circuit (Chicago International Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival). Online, Paramount utilized a Twitter Promoted Trend, reaching 39M unique users in one day then added heavy African American targeting.

With just a 15% drop in its 4th weekend, Ben Afflecks Oscar-buzzed Argo from Warner Bros was mixing it up for #3 and #4 with Universal’s The Man With The Iron Fists (1,868 theaters) whose meh reviews helped sink its debut to a disappointing $8.2M this weekend. But that’s a more optimistic number than other studios’ $7.6M. Pic ended up with only a ‘C+’ CinemaScore which hurt word of mouth: Saturday’s gross was flat from Friday’s. Featuring MMA personality Cung Le, Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu and marking the directorial debut of RZA, he co-wrote with Eli Roth who also produced. But, c’mon, how many times have we seen hip hop artists crash and burn on their big screen projects? But not for lack of trying. ‘Presented by’ Quentin Tarantino, he was the film’s ‘creative godfather’ and marketed the fighting pic directly to the UFC homepage right in the wheelhouse of its target demo. Apparently, that’s a tiny number. Tracking was strongest with older males and ethnic moviegoers; exit polling showed the audience was 64% male vs. 36% female, and 47% aged 30 years and older vs. 53% under age 30. But grosses were on the low range of expectations. Good thing the pic cost only $15M.  Universal explains it gave RZA a chance based on his lifelong kung fu fascination after he served as an on-set apprentice to several filmmakers over the years. The studio calls it “a low-risk project that is more a labor of love for an arriving new film artist than a potential big moneymaker for the studio.” Strike Entertainment’s Marc Abraham and Eric Newman produced. On November 12th, Universal will begin rolling out the film out internationally where it might perform better. Read More »

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Hot International Trailer: ‘Wreck It Ralph’

By | Wednesday October 10, 2012 @ 9:37pm PDT

Here’s an international trailer for Disney’s Wreck It Ralph. It features a few additional clips and a little more dialogue than the trailer Deadline posted last month.

Watch video on YouTube

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Hot Trailer: ‘Wreck-It Ralph’

By | Wednesday September 12, 2012 @ 9:31am PDT

Here’s the latest trailer for Disney Animation’s Wreck-It Ralph, which is set to hit theaters November 2. John C. Reilly voices a bad-guy video game character who jumps through every generation of arcade game trying to become a hero for once. Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch co-star. Rich Moore directed.

Watch This Trailer On YouTube!

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B&W ‘Paperman’ To Front ‘Wreck-It-Ralph’

By | Friday June 15, 2012 @ 2:31pm PDT

PapermanComputer-generated and hand-drawn animation come together in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ short Paperman which the studio confirmed will debut in front of the arcade-hopping adventure Wreck-It-Ralph that opens November 2. The minimalist black-and-white short also screens Sunday with the family friendly indie Crazy & Thief as part of the short films lineup at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Paperman is directed by John Kahrs. It follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman during his morning commute. Convinced the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office.

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Hot Trailer: ‘Wreck-It Ralph’

By | Wednesday June 6, 2012 @ 11:06am PDT

Disney Animation’s 3D Wreck-It Ralph is set to hit theaters November 2. John C. Reilly voices a video game baddie who just wants to be one of the good guys. Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch co-star.

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