I’m in Las Vegas at Cinema Con, the movie exhibition convention formerly known as ShoWest.  This is where movie theater owners, managers, industry merchants, the guys who design concession stand and projection equipment, and others gather to network with other professionals, learn about new equipment, trends and of course — get excited about upcoming movies. All the film studios come to town to present clips from their yearly slates, which is why I’m here.

Tonight Paramount Pictures, Marvel Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation presented footage from JJ Abrams’ Super 8, Thor, Captain America, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Puss in Boots. The DreamWorks Animation footage was basically a shortened version of the presentation we saw in Los Angeles a couple weeks back (article here). After the jump you can read my thoughts and reactions to the other footage screened tonight, along with a video blog. We try to keep everything as spoiler free as possible, and don’t get into anything detail-wise that you wouldn’t have picked up from the movie trailers. So feel free to read/watch my/our reactions without being spoiled.

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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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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

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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