Last month we had the opportunity to sit down with Jerry Seinfeld and talk about his new film, Bee Movie. Here is a transcript of that round table interview.
Q: Do you find there’s a big difference in the kind of comedy you have to invent?
A: There’s a big difference. Sometimes you can do certain things on stage, or even in a TV series, and people see the look on your face and they know what you mean, so you can get away with certain things. But if you can’t create that look on an animated character, which is essentially a puppet, the line will hit the audience in a very bad way.Â It’s like different musical instruments. You may be playing the same song, but you pick up a different instrument and it has a totally different feel and sound to it. You have to discover it. Each of these things is like a petting zoo and you’re blindfolded. They want you to take care of this animal, which is your show. But you’re blindfolded. We’re going to put you in a room with the animal, and the food that it needs. And everything it needs is in the room, and you’re in the room with the animal. But you’re blindfolded. So you go into this room and start feeling around for this stuff. Feel a little fur, and you feel a little claw. And you go, “Oh, my God, what is this thing?” This is the great advantage that you have doing a TV series. Say, for example, my series — which is the only one I know anything about — by year four, we knew exactly what this thing ate, when it wanted to go out, how it liked to be petted. What it liked and what it didn’t like. And what makes a movie so challenging — so much more challenging than a TV series, frankly — is that you never get that opportunity. Because you make a TV show and you put it out there and you get a reaction. You go, “Okay, this work. This doesn’t work.” You put out another one. “They like this. They don’t like this.” But with a movie, you get one shot at it. Even though you have test screenings, pretty much, we’re going to put this lemur in people’s living rooms. And, just, bang, they’re going to react to it. I hope I didn’t over-answer your question. [Laughs]Â This is one of my big things of creative pursuits. You have your idea you want to do, but then you got to figure out what does this thing want to be? You got to let it lead you a little.
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Anyone who has listened to The Howard Stern Show in the last year will surely recognize the a company called BeeCeuticals because of the consistent advertisements, and the fact that the owner of the organic skin care company is the famous shock jock’s cousin. /Film reader Meredith H just sent word that BeeCeuticals has filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit yesterday against the Paramount/Dreamworks, who is using the slogan “Give Bees A Chance” in their marketing. As it turns out, BeeCeuticals owner Richie Gerber claims to have filed for a federal trademark for the slogan a year ago.
“My client went to the companies to explore joint marketing. Ideas were passed back and forth, and they eventually used the trademark without asking,” says Elliot Zimmerman, a lawyer for BeeCeuticals, told Bloomberg. “That’s something they would have normally paid for.”
BeeCeuticals sent a cease- and-desist letter to the entertainment companies on Oct. 24. Paramount “retired” the advertisements that used the slogan but “refused to guarantee the trademark wouldn’t be used in new marketing for the film”.
Coming off a monumentally disappointing weekend, featuring a slightly disappointing 30 Days of Night (Sony), a decently performing Gone Baby Gone, and a fleet of bombs including The Comebacks (Fox), Rendition (New Line), Things We Lost in the Fire (Dreamworks/Paramount), Sarah Landon & the Paranormal Hour (Freestyle Releasing) and The Ten Commandments (Rocky Mountain Pictures), Hollywood is hoping for a November box office boom.
As I reported Saturday, the estimated combined weekend gross of the top 12 movies this weekend (10/19-10/21) was only $78.44M. That’s the 4th-weakest October 3-day since 2002. The dismal overall performance comes on the heels of October 5-7, which was the worst October weekend since 1999. Year-over-year, the first 3 weekends of October 2007 are down 20% from the same period a year ago. If it weren’t for Hollywood outsider Tyler Perry, who lives in Atlanta, the month’s movie recession would be even more dramatic.
Box office prospects are looking much, much better starting November 2. That’s when Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) will roll out from coast-to-coast. I can compare the tracking, acquired from one of my sources, for Bee Movie to the tracking for June’s Ratatouille (Buena Vista). (I’m using tracking data from 2 weeks prior to release for both movies.)
As a benchmark, Ratatouille opened with $16.45M on its opening Friday and a $47M opening weekend. Good news for Dreamworks because Bee Movie has marginally better tracking than Ratatouille had at 2 weeks out.
Bee Movie has better Un-Aided Awareness 7%-2%. That’s a pretty good measure of buzz and anticipation. The Total Awareness is a wash with 77% of moviegoers aware of Bee Movie compared to 72% for Ratatouille. Moms seem to be know about this movie because with Females 25 Plus Bee Movie holds an 82%-69%.
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Paramount/Dreamworks just sent us a new batch of photos from Jerry Seinfeld’s upcoming computer animated film Bee Movie. I caught a sneak preview of footage from the film last month, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed myself. I’m usually a very harsh critic of the DreamWorks computer animated films (If only everyone could be like Pixar), but this one actually has more than a few interesting aspects (you can read our previous report at this link). Check out all the new photos after the jump, followed by the film’s official synopsis. As always, click on the images to enlarge.
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What is the most anticipated movie scheduled for release in the next year?
The Dark Knight… nope.
Iron Man? Nah uh.
I Am Legend? Will Smith wishes.
The answer to the question and more after the jump.
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Dreamworks has sent us the new poster for Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie. The poster features the Seinfeld-voiced character Barry B. Benson flying through the air, attached to a tennis ball. This is from one of the scenes we screened at a special yellow carpet preview last month. However, if you don’t know the context of this moment, I don’t think it comes off as “funny”. And the tagline “Honey just got funny” is, well, pretty lame. But I still have hope for this film having screened 20 minutes. (Read our report from that screening). Check out the new poster after the jump.Â Read More »
Today I was invited to a special screening of footage from Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie in San Francisco. Seinfeld and director Steve Hickner were in town to present the footage and do interviews (I’ll be posting the interviews at a later date. I would like to first start off by saying how unimpressed I have been with computer animation outside of Pixar. Pixar seems to be the only company that knows how to craft a story, and create interesting characters. Dreamworks Animation always seemed like a subpar product to me. Yes, even the Shrek films. The 2006 film Over The Hedge was the closest the studio ever got to winning me over, and even that was not “spectacular”.
And the footage I’ve seen so far from Bee Movie didn’t seem to be much different from their past efforts. So to say I went in with the lowest of the lowest expectations, would be right on target. In fact, if Seinfeld wasn’t in attendance, I would have been at an Into The Wild press event in Los Angeles instead (but alas, Jena Malone will have to wait for another day).
Seinfeld opened the show up, after riding on a fake cable car (you know, the ones with wheels) to a yellow carpet. Photo courtesy of Drew Altizer. He told us that he has been working on this film for three of four years, and that the film would finally be finished later this week. I’m still a bit skeptical as to why we were unable to view the almost completed film, instead of clips. But my hesitations would soon be put to rest. Seinfeld recounted the story of how the project came to be. Steve Spielberg asked Jerry if he had any ideas, while having dinner in the Hamptons (oh, how good it must be to be rich). Seinfeld blurted out that he would like to make a movie about Bees and call it The Bee Movie. It was just a joke, but Spielberg thought he was serious.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Yes, that’s Steven Spielberg talking to Jerry Seinfeld dressed in a Bee suit.
Last year the first teaser trailer was released for Jerry Seinfeld’s computer animated film The Bee Movie. Many people were angry that the teaser was false advertising, as it was done in live action. A second trailer has finally been released, and it also contains live action footage, but cleverly transitions into the actual computer animation. See that after the jump.
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