Werner Herzog Penguins

Werner Herzog wants to teach you about penguins. We had no idea that the filmmaker with one of the world’s best voices had lent his talents to the DreamWorks Animation spin-off The Penguins of Madagascar. And yet here he is, as the voice of a documentarian leading a crew shooting footage of penguins in their natural habitat. Herzog’s presence in a kids film turns out to be just as great as you’d hope. As March of the Penguins parodies go, the only way this could be any better is if Morgan Freeman’s omniscient narrator showed up to get into a fist-fight with Herzog’s documentarian. Check out the Werner Herzog Penguins of Madagascar appearance in the extended clip below. Read More »

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Labyrinth sequel

The Jim Henson Company is moving forward with an animated adaptation of Eva Ibbotson‘s 1979 book Which Witch?, with Billy Crystal co-writing and set to play a role. But that’s not the bit you might be excited to read about. The bit that could get your attention is that, along with that film, The Jim Henson Company is also developing a slate of films tied to properties you might be more invested in already. The big one is that a Labyrinth sequel is in development at the company.

Update: Another source says the Labyrinth sequel talk is over-inflated, and not to expect anything to come of it.

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Lego Batman spinoff

“Darkness! No parents! The opposite of light!” People liked the Lego version of Batman so much in The Lego Movie that Warner Bros. has fast-tracked development on a Lego Batman spinoff movie.

In fact, while WB still plans to make The Lego Movie 2 eventually, this Batman spinoff is basically taking its place. Chris McKay, who acted as animation supervisor on Lego Movie, will now direct the Lego Batman movie, from a script by Seth Grahame-Smith. Read More »

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs TV series

DHX Media, the company behind the Paddington film and in-development TV re-do of Inspector Gadget, is now working with Sony Animation to create a Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs TV series. The show will consist of 22-minute CG-animated episodes that follow at least the basic concept of the two films. But there’s mention of this being a “re-imagined” version of the two-film series, so things might be changed for the TV incarnation.  Read More »

JK Rowling / Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Every day, conversations in the film community gravitate to how DC, Marvel and Lucasfilm are working on huge, interconnected universes on the big screen. Innumerable other franchises are emulating this blueprint too, whether it be the Universal Monsters or Ghostbusters. But a similar franchise largely kept out of the conversation is Harry Potter.

In the next decade, we’re going to get at least three new films in Potter’s universe. The spin-off series, set years before Harry’s story, is called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. J.K. Rowling herself is writing the screenplay and David Yates, who helmed the final four Potter films, is returning to the world of witchcraft and wizardry. Warner Bros. has set a release date of November 18, 2016 for the film and latest news on the series comes from the series creator herself.

Rowling took to Twitter to confirm she’s now “tweaking” the Fantastic Beasts screenplay. Read her quotes and more on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them below. Read More »

Tale of the Princess Kaguya US trailer

Studio Ghibli is back this year with another gorgeous feature. Based on the classic Japanese folk tale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya spins a fantastical story about an older couple who find a tiny child inside a special bamboo stalk. She grows into a famous beauty, attracting all manner of suitors.

Chloe Grace Moretz leads the English-language voice cast as the title character, with Mary Steenburgen and James Caan playing her adopted parents. Watch the first The Tale of the Princess Kaguya US trailer after the jump.

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Petes Dragon casting

David Lowery‘s Pete’s Dragon reboot is expected to depart from the original in some significant ways, but at the end of the day it’s still Pete’s Dragon. It needs a Pete and a dragon, and now it’s found the first of those.

Oakes Fegley is set to play the little boy who befriends the dragon Elliot. In addition, Oona Laurence has been set to play his other (human) friend Natalie. Hit the jump for the latest on the Petes Dragon casting.

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Walt before Mickey

We’ve been waiting years for a Walt Disney biopic, and we might have to wait a bit longer for a real good one, but Juilliard graduate Khoa Le has made an independent film titled Walt before Mickey which chronicles the early days of the legend’s animation career. The acting is sometimes a bit over the top and the writing is “melodramatic” at best (it feels like a Lifetime television movie event kinda thing), but this film tries to bring the truth to the screen — based on Timothy Susanin’s 2011 book Walt before Mickey: Disney’s Early Years, 1919-1928. The Walt Disney biopic stars American Pie star Thomas Ian Nicholas as older Walt, Napoleon Dynamite star Jon Heder as his brother Roy, Disney alum David Henrie plays an animator and Full House‘s Jodie Sweetin is Charlotte Disney. Watch the Walt Before Mickey trailer embedded after the jump.
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