Early Buzz: Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss in Boots

I was invited Friday morning to a presentation of Dreamworks Animation’s 2011 slate. Jeffrey Katzenberg hosted the dog and pony show at the Directors Guild of America, where Hollywood press gathered to see the latest computer animated sequels/spin-offs. We got to see the first half of Kung Fu Panda 2 and 15-20 minutes of Puss in Boots (both of which were different stages of unfinished renderings). I must admit,

I wasn’t looking forward to either of this year’s offerings from the Glendale-based animation studio.I was hoping to be surprised by Kung Fu Panda 2, as I was a big fan of the first film. I also came in totally uninterested in Puss in Boots, as I’ve quickly become tired of the Shrek franchise. By lunch my opinion had completely reversed — Kung Fu Panda 2 didn’t impress as much as I had hoped it would (not to say it doesn’t look fun), but Puss in Boots smacked me in the face.I can’t tell you how excited I am to see more of the movie. It doesn’t even feel like a spin-off — from the footage I screened, Puss seems like a stand-alone movie in its own right. Did I mention that Guillermo del Toro has come aboard the project as executive producer and godfathered the production?

I recorded a video blog reaction to the presentation with Frosty from Collider. You can watch our short video blog embedded after the jump.

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Disney and Pixar have always been the undisputed champions of animation but a new contender has been rising in the ranks over the last several years: DreamWorks. The studio that brought us the Shrek films, Antz, Chicken Run, Madagascar, Bee Movie and many others has been fighting the good fight for the better part of a decade and while they have yet to over take Disney and Pixar, their upcoming slate sounds like they’re once again swinging for the fences. On Tuesday, DreamWorks Animation announced their upcoming slate all the way from this summer’s Kung Fu Panda 2 through 2014 when they’ll release How To Train Your Dragon 2 on June 20. In between, they’re preparing original films featuring the likes of Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Jude Law, Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone and many others. The films are as follows:

After the jump, read who is directing and writing each, plot descriptions of several films and more. Read More »

How did that adorable little cat from the Shrek movies get so damn suave and smooth with a sword? Audiences will find out in Puss in Boots, a 3D animated film featuring the voices of Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris. Directed by Chris Miller, who previously directed Shrek the Third, the film will be released on November 4 on regular, 3D and IMAX screens. Check out the brand new, Inception-rip-off teaser trailer, full poster and plot description below. Read More »

Add yet another film to the already tight 2011 IMAX theater schedule. Or maybe two. DreamWorks just announced that their Shrek spin-off, Puss In Boots, is going to play on domestic IMAX screens for two weeks beginning November 4. Why only two weeks when there’s no film scheduled for IMAX release on November 18? Well, that’s the day The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 is coming out and pretty much guarantees Summit is gearing up to release the film in the large screen format. Check out the full upcoming IMAX schedule, and learn more about the films, after the jump. Read More »

del_toro_about_town

A few weeks ago it was reported that Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy director Guillermo del Toro spends time each week at DreamWorks Animation developing upcoming projects, acting as a creative consultant on several specific projects. This entails helping out on design or story, and other things he’s executive producing and developing, none of those projects have been announced yet… that is until today.

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galifianakis-puss-in-boots

Because the world can never get enough Shrek, we’ve known for some time that an upcoming spinoff film, Puss in Boots, has been in the works. Now it seems like things are finally moving forward. The increasingly bankable Zach Galifianakis is currently in talks to voice Humpty Dumpty. He’ll be joining Antonio Banderas as the title character, and Salma Hayek as “Kitty” (this is their post-Robert Rodriguez reunion?!). The film will cover the feline’s adventures before Shrek 2. Tom Wheeler is covering the screenwriting duties, and Shrek the Third co-writer/co-director Chris Miller is directing.

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Puss in Boots

When DreamWorks Animation updated their 2009-2012 line-up a couple weeks back, it was revealed that the Puss in Boots spin-off movie would be an origin story. The official synopsis reads:

“Swords will cross and hearts will be broken in this adventure starring one of the most beloved characters of the Shrek universe – Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas). It’s a swashbuckling ride through Puss’s early years as he teams with mastermind Humpty Dumpty and the street-savvy Kitty (Salma Hayek) to steal the famed Goose that lays the Golden Eggs.”

We didn’t expect Shrek, Fiona or Donkey to appear (after all — it’s an origin story, before they met), but screenwriter David H Steinberg confirms to Moviehole that the film will not feature any returning characters from the previous Shrek films at all, with the exception of Puss, of course!

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DreamWorks Animation Logo

DreamWorks Animation has announced plans to release five feature films every two years, up from their previous two films a year schedule. The company cites their “three very successful franchises” as one of the reasons to produce an extra film every other year. Apparently the plan is to release one or two sequels a year, as well as an original project, all of which will be produced in digital 3D. Check out the full schedule after the jump.

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IESB claims that Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan and David Goyer are already working on the screenplay for a third Batman film, but when they talked to producer Charles Roven, they were unable to get a confirmation. I have a feeling that the process is in the earliest of stages (ideas, possible treatment), and that the trio are not huddled around a table in a room with one of them hard at work typing behind a computer screen.

Puss in Boots and The Flash news after the jump.

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Upcoming 3D Movie Release Schedule

3D Movies

At least 5,000 3-D systems expected to be in place by 2009. DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg expects there to be 12 to 18 3D feature films by 2010. 3-D is clearly the future of cinema, at least for the near future. With the recent announcements of Tim Burton’s Alice and Wonderland/Frankenweenie, and today’s announcement of Final Destination 4 in 3D, we’ve decided to compile a schedule for the upcoming 3D movie releases. Enjoy!

2008:

January 25th 2008: U2 3D: Performances from seven different shows of U2’s Latin America Vertigo Tour in early 2006. Previews of this film have tested incredibly well.

February 15th 2008: Fly Me to the Moon: A computer animated tale of three young houseflies stow away aboard the Apollo 11 flight to the moon. Tim Curry, Nicollette Sheridan, Christopher Lloyd, Robert Patrick and Kelly Ripa voice characters.

July 11th 2008: Journey 3-D: Visual effects supervisor turned director Eric Brevig’s take on the classic Jules Verne novel, Journey to the Center of the Earth. Brendan Fraser and Josh Hutcherson star.

October 2008: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Disney has said they plan to rerelease the film around Halloween as long as it remains profitable.

Final Destination 4: Final Destination 2 director David R. Ellis returns to the franchise. Interestingly enough, Final Destination 3 was in development under the working title Final Destination 3-D, but the produces ultimately chose not to produce the movie in 3D due to costs and complications. This film might be pushed to 2009.

2009:

March 27th 2009: Monsters vs. Aliens: A reinvention of the classic ’50s monster movie. Directed by Rob Letterman (Shark Tale).

May 22nd 2009:
James Cameron’s Avatar: A band of humans are pitted in a battle against a distant planet’s indigenous population. Michelle Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi star. $190 million budget.

October 2009: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Disney has said they plan to rerelease the film around Halloween as long as it remains profitable.

November 6th 2009: A Christmas Carol: Has not been publicly confirmed as a 3D release, but the film will use the same performance capture technique Robert Zemeckis also used in Polar Express and Beowuld. The classic retelling will star Jim Carrey as Scrooge and the three ghosts. Tom Hanks, Michael J Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Bob Hoskins are also rumored to be on board the project.

November 20th 2009:
How to Train Your Dragon: Based on the 2003 children’s novel by British author Cressida Cowell, about the adventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III – The teenage son of a Viking chieftain, who must capture a dragon for a rite of passage.

Crood Awakening: A comedy set in the stone age directed by Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch)

TinTin: Directed by Peter Jackson or Steven Spielberg. The adventures of popular Belgian comic-strip hero Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy.

Tim Burton’s Alive in Wonderland: Screenplay by Linda Woolverton (The Lion King) based on the Lewis Carroll classic. Film will be combine performance-capture technology with live-action footage.

Deep Sea-quel: As the name suggests, a sequel to the popular 2006 3D documentary Deep Sea 3D. An underwater look at the diverse coastal regions of Southern Australia, New Guinea and the Indo-Pacific areas and the impact of global warming on the oceans. IMAX.

2010:

May 21st 2010: Shrek Goes Fourth: The further adventures of the giant green ogre, Shrek, living in the land of Far, Far Away. We will discover how Shrek arrived in that swamp. Not to be confused with Shrek 4-D which is a theme park attraction.

October 2010: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Disney has said they plan to rerelease the film around Halloween as long as it remains profitable.

Fall 2010: Master Mind: A satirical take on superhero movies, in which a notorious villain loses his oomph after he accidentally kills his nemesis.

Untitled Tintin Sequel: Directed by Peter Jackson or Steven Spielberg. The continued adventures of popular Belgian comic-strip hero Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy.

Puss in Boots: A Shrek spinoff starring sword fighting cat voiced by Antonio Banderas. They haven’t officially announced this as a 3D title, but Jeffrey Katzenberg has said that all animated films released by Dreamworks after 2009 will be released in 3D.

2011:

TinTin 3: Directed by ????. Spielberg has said that he may direct this in collaboration with Peter Jackson, or that they might hire someone completely new. The continued adventures of popular Belgian comic-strip hero Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy.

In Development:

Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie: A feature length remake of his 1984 short film. A parody of the 1931 Frankenstein film. When young Victor’s pet dog Sparky is hit by a car, Victor decides to bring him back to life the only way he knows how. But when the bolt-necked “monster” wreaks havoc and terror in the hearts of Victor’s neighbors, he has to convince them and his parents, that despite his appearance, Sparky’s still the good loyal friend he’s always been. Burton will shoot the film using stop-motion animation.

Battle Angel
: James Cameron’s adaptation of the graphic novel about a female cyborg who is rescued from the scrapheap by a scientist, who becomes her surrogate father.

Star Wars: George Lucas has announced plans to remaster all of the Star Wars films in 3D. When this might actually happen is anyones guess.

All dates subject to change. Have we missed any upcoming big 3D releases? E-Mail Us.

photo credit: macromaven