Archive for December, 2011

The toon world: the good news and the bad news

 

Oh, there was good news and bad news in the world of cartoons! Perch Perkins here along with Gene Scallop with box office news for the last of 2011. Here, the toon world was joyful with lots of good news such as the Fairly Odd Parents 10th anniversary, the birth of TUFF Puppy, the Penguins Operation Blowhole, and the arrival of Po and the Furious 5 in Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness.

We’ve also found out the Penguins were the winners of the Daytime Emmys and at the Kids Choice Awards, SpongeBob notched up his 10th blimp this year.

But there was bad news on the horizon that shocked the toon world, we told you recently that Viacom was caught off guard by the Neilson ratings mistake, SpongeBob was only watched for younger people and not for preschoolers, and the Pokémon/ Princess team-up rumor was a bust. Sony recently told Bikini Bottom News that it only focuses on its entertainment business and movie franchises such as the Men in Black movies, the Stuart Little movies and so on.

As for returning characters for the Penguins of Madagascar scheduled to take effect next year, we also recently found out that all of your favorite special guests will be back except one. We’re desperately keeping a close and watchful eye on when and if they will return to the show.

On our previous newscast, we told you the protesters made a global impact. but the only event that shocked the world was the Euro crisis. This Associated Press report from last week proves it.

Europe took the financial world on a stomach-churning ride in 2011.

The rising threat of default by heavily indebted European countries spread fear across financial markets and weighed on economies worldwide. As the year came to a close, banks and investors nervously watched Europe’s political and financial leaders scramble to prevent the 17-nation euro zone from breaking apart.

Several of the other biggest business stories of the year highlighted the global economy’s linkages: A British phone-hacking scandal shook the foundations of Rupert Murdoch’s U.S.-based media empire; a nuclear disaster in Japan stymied auto plants in the U.S. and beyond; and the price of gasoline surged because of unrest in the Middle East and growing demand in Asia and Latin America.

In the U.S., political squabbling led to the first credit downgrade for government debt, the economy suffered its fourth straight disappointing year and Apple founder Steve Jobs died.

The European financial crisis was chosen as the top business story of the year by business editors at The Associated Press. The sluggish U.S. economy came in second, followed by the death of Jobs.

1. European financial crisis

The government-debt crunch rattled Europe’s financial system and weighed on the global economy. Portugal became the third European country, after Greece and Ireland the year before, to require a bailout as its borrowing costs soared. And investors grew worried that countries with much larger debts, such as Spain and Italy, would also need help.

Financial markets were volatile all year as hopes rose and then were dashed that forceful steps would be taken to prevent the financial crisis from becoming Europe’s version of the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, which triggered a global financial panic and deepened the Great Recession.

Banks worried that they or their partners wouldn’t be able to cover losses if governments defaulted, so they cut back on lending. European governments, facing ever higher borrowing costs, reined in spending — a policy response that is expected to stunt much-needed economic growth. Analysts estimate the slowdown in Europe, America’s No. 1 trading partner, will cut U.S. economic growth next year.

2. The U.S. downturn, year four

The Great Recession may have ended, but the economic recovery continued to disappoint. For the first six months of the year, the economy grew at an annual rate of just 0.9 percent. Growth improved to a 2 percent rate in the third quarter and a 3 percent growth rate is forecast for the fourth quarter.

Still, 2 ½ years after economists say the recession ended, 25 million people remain unemployed or unable to find full-time work. The unemployment rate fell from 9 percent in October to 8.6 percent in November, providing a hopeful sign. Yet the housing market remained burdened by foreclosures and falling prices in many metropolitan areas. How to fix the economy became the top campaign issue for Republican presidential contenders.

3. Steve Jobs dies

The college dropout who helped popularize the personal computer and created the iPod, iPhone and iPad, died on October 5. That was two months after Apple Inc., which Jobs started in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976, briefly surpassed Exxon Mobil Corp. as the most valuable publicly traded company in the world.

Jobs cultivated a countercultural sensibility and a minimalist design ethic. He rolled out one sensational product after another, even during the recession and as his health was failing. He first helped change computers from a geeky hobbyist’s obsession to a necessity of modern life. In recent years, he upended the music business with the iPod and iTunes, transformed the smart phone market with the iPhone and created the tablet market with the iPad.

4. U.S. credit downgrade

The inability of political leaders to come up with a long-term plan to reduce the federal budget deficit led the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s to take away Uncle Sam’s sterling AAA credit rating for the first time. The political bickering enraged voters, spooked investors and led to the lowest consumer confidence level of the year. But the nation’s long-term borrowing costs fell after the crisis. The reason: U.S. debt still looks safer to investors than almost everything else, especially European debt.

5. Murdoch hacking scandal

The man whose worldwide media empire thrives on covering scandal became the center of a dramatic one. A British tabloid newspaper owned by Murdoch’s News Corp., which also owns Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl. Murdoch was not charged with a crime, but an investigation by British authorities raised questions about Murdoch’s ability to run his worldwide media empire. News Corp. fired several executives and closed the newspaper at the center of the scandal, the News of the World.

6. Japan earthquake

An earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor, owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co., cut off supplies of crucial Japanese parts and idled factories thousands of miles away. Auto companies, especially Toyota and Honda, were hit hardest. Inventory of certain models, especially hybrids, fell short at dealerships, reducing sales and sending retail prices higher. The worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl led countries around the world to reconsider nuclear power. Germany decided to abandon nuclear by 2022.

7. Gas prices set an annual record

The retail price of gasoline averaged $3.53 per gallon for the year, eclipsing the 2008 record of $3.24 per gallon. Americans drove less and switched to more fuel efficient cars, but it wasn’t enough to offset the higher prices. A bigger percentage of household income went into the gas tank in 2011 than any year since 1981. Economists say the high prices shaved half a percentage point off U.S. economic growth.

8. Social media IPOs take off

Shares of the business social networking site LinkedIn more than doubled when it went public in May, recalling the froth of the dot-com boom. LinkedIn was followed by large IPOs from online radio company Pandora Media, online discount site Groupon and social gaming site Zynga. But the market is treacherous: shares of Pandora, Groupon and Zynga all traded below their offering prices soon after they were listed. Market anticipation is high for a Facebook IPO in 2012.

9. Occupy Wall Street

On Sept. 17, several hundred protesters gathered at a small plaza about a block from the New York Stock Exchange. They slept in tents, ate donated meals and protested income inequality and the influence of money in politics. The movement inspired protesters around the world who camped in city centers and business hubs to complain about unemployment, CEO pay and a decline in upward social mobility.

10. The downfall of MF Global and Jon Corzine

The former governor, senator and co-chairman of Goldman Sachs lost control of a small brokerage firm he agreed to run in 2010. Saddled with huge debt and risky bets on European bonds, MF Global was forced to file for bankruptcy protection on Halloween after trading partners and investors got spooked. It was soon discovered that $1.2 billion in customer money was missing. Corzine told Congress he had no idea where the money went.

 

The Box Office was hit hard this year due to news events and slumping 3D sales. But its on the rebound thanks to parents taking kids to the movies which his a big high for movie audiences. Before the big downturn, only 3 movies we’re the big winners this year: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

 

Gene, what’s going on now as we approach the end of 2011? Is the mission still ongoing for Tom Cruise and his buddies of the IMF?

Gene: Yep. For the 2nd week MI:4 still holds the top spot as Warner Bros. forces a recount fight between Sony and Paramount. That puts down Sherlock Holmes 2, Alvin and Chipmunks Chip wrecked in 2nd and 3rd. Sony’s Girl with a Golden Tattoo debuts in 4th, and The Adventures of Tintin debuts 5th. This is the 2nd live-action film since The Last Air bender being the first based on the Nicktoon hit Avatar: The Last Air bender to be based on a TV show.

Tintin which is based on the 90’s Nick hit, finds the famous adventurer along with his trusted and faithful dog Snowy track down a treasure that could be a surprise for the world! On a wonderful note Perch come next new year’s eve, DreamWorks’s movie collection will be put under wraps as Paramount Animation takes the stage.

Yes indeed Gene. The Golden Globes are approaching as we speak. Recently, they have released the nominees for best animated feature such as Cars 2, Rango, Puss in Boots, The Adventures of Tintin the TV series, and Arthur Christmas. The winner will be announced January 15th.

We bid farewell to 2011 this week as we move on to 2012. Here’s what to watch for next year:

  1. The return of House of Anubis
  2. New episodes of your favorite shows
  3. The new TMNT cartoon
  4. More Nick movies
  5. Paramount’s 100th anniversary
  6. SpongeBob’s 200th episode
  7. DreamWorks’ last year with Paramount

Plus, we look forward to breaking news throughout 2012 as we get set for another year at Bikini Bottom News. For the entire team, this is Perch Perkins saying Happy 2012!

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

A Christmas movie from 1959 is ranked the worst Christmas movie and the protesters dominate 2011

 

A devilish movie turns even worse for holiday viewers and as a surprise, the protesters make a global impact! I’m Realistic Fish Head. We’ve reached the half way point of our holiday coverage. And as many holiday shoppers get last minute gifts this shopping season, we’ve also found another surprise in the toon world who learned a lesson this year. Fourth only to SpongeBob, Jimmy Neutron, and Timmy Turner, Dudley Puppy has learned the lesson in the sprit of gift giving.

Yearning for the gift that he wants, he gives his gift to a young boy in need of a gift he desperately needs this Christmas. As a gift for himself with Santa’s help, Dudley gets a gift for his own: his very own racing bed. Another lesson learned in the Nicktoon world.

Turning to current events, the protester, selected by Time magazine, is the front cover because of a lot of reasons, the fall of a Libyan dictator, the protests of Egypt for electoral concerns, and protests in Athens, Greece due in part to the Euro bailout. These protests were actually inspired by another protest: Occupy Wall Street targeting the financial markets which feels the effects of the Euro zone.

Month after month, police have successfully arrested dozens of people nationwide in part of the occupy protests. And as of now, many of the world’s banks are being downgraded which was the end result of the Occupy protests in New York as well as the imminent termination of the Euro due to protests in Athens. How long will it last? We’ll have to wait next year to see if the single European currency’s fate is sealed.

It was the only choice that Time had to make. As for the people who weren’t on the cover, wait until next year!

Since we have 2 weeks left this year, Gene Scallop’s here to ask the question, which is the worst holiday movie of all time?

Gene: Hi again movie fans! Since 1970, holiday movies have touched us all. but some of them are not quite as good as previously thought. That’s why this list of these holiday movies are proven to be the worst. Let’s rank them!

 

All Mine to Give (1957)

Were It’s a Wonderful Life pitted against this lachrymose extravaganza in a steel-cage death-match for the ultimate Christmas tearjerker, George Bailey’s guts would run onto the floor. A loving couple with six children make a nice life for themselves in the Middle West in the mid-19th century. Then one of the boys comes down with diphtheria. Fear not—he recovers. Unfortunately, he gave his father a kiss—a death kiss—and dad expires. Then mom gets typhoid and knows her number is up. Time to disseminate the kids. Mom falls short in her efforts before she, too, expires. The oldest child asks the townspeople if they might spend one more day together—Christmas, of course—as a family, given that they’ll never be together again. Very merry.

Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (1979)

The Rankin-Bass films and holiday specials are generally quite solid, but this one—which you may also encounter around Independence Day—is a bloated, trippy affair, with a helping of holiday skeez. Rudolph gets himself into a situation where he has to be a con man, so everyone turns against him, save Frosty, who is being used to create an army of sadistic snowmen.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

Santa is duly abducted, along with some Earth kids for good measure. Repeated assassination attempts are made on Santa’s life.

Elves (1989)

This one’s a little less innocent. But, if anti-Christmas pagan rituals, big-time kink, and advanced sexual theories hold any appeal to you, 1989’s Elves is a veritable Citizen Kane of the holiday genre.

Santa Claus (1959)

Now this one really scary! Despite being the worst movie, this one involves the jolly man himself facing off against the devil. Fortunately in the end, he wins the face off.

 

Before we snoop out some of this week’s box office numbers, we have a little breaking from Paramount where Jim Fish has the latest:

Jim Fish- via (Hollywood Reporter)-Paramount Pictures has unveiled a new logo that pays tribute to the the studio’s 100th anniversary.

The new logo will be seen at the opening of Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, which opened back on Dec. 16th. The studio’s logo, which depicts the Wasatch mountain range that stretches from the Utah-Idaho border, was created in 1916.

The 100th anniversary logo was created by Devastudios Inc.

The logo will be used throughout 2012 and the 100th anniversary wording will be dropped in 2013.

 

Get your detective gear out Sherlock Holmes fans because the game’s afoot! Let’s look in this week and see if we can find any clues in our best of the box office report preview coming up soon…

 

Starting first, Warner Bros. strikes again with Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows the sequel to the shield’s first Sherlock Holmes before it joined with New Line Cinema to play catch up. 2nd, Alvin and Chipmunks along with the Chippettes are “Chip wrecked” during an unexpected turn of events. In 3rd, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol or M:I 4, puts Tim Cruise and the rest of the IMF in a world of trouble in Russia. This comes off after Paramount unveiled its centennial logo for 2012 come next May. In addition to the year-round logo, the new logo prints on Paramount’s new movies as well as TV shows, will be on DVD’s next spring as shoppers look ahead for new DVD sales which happens very soon.

Audiences were surprised when Warner Bros. previewed the next Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises the third prequel after the first two Dark Knight movies. That puts New Year’s Eve in 4th and The Sitter rounds out the top 5.

That brings out two weaknesses in the box office to look for: A weakened box office due to the economy caused by what happens to the Euro and quite possibly the resurrection of 3D sales or do movie audiences have already got it right all along, “so long 3D”? And if so, could that be responsible for the box office’s big slumping numbers making it as is, a permanent box office? Let’s see if it doesn’t come to pass next year!

This week marks the final week in our holiday coverage. Next week, we look back to the good news and bad news in the toon world. And what will it mean for some new changes in 2012? You’ll have to find out! This is Realistic Fish Head saying Merry Christmas Bikini Bottom!

Leave a comment

Ratings mess puts Viacom in trouble

 

Looks like the Neilson ratings have found a flaw concerning the big V! I’m Realistic Fish Head! This just in… Neilson’s made a big mistake in their latest discovery in its viewer research. According to Gene Scallop, there’s been a slight miscalculation with the estimated number of kids and young teens that have watch our favorite Nick shows since 2007, and Viacom’s CEO is hot water! Gene’s here with a double scoop of reports that came in just this week.

Gene: Whoops! the Neilson ratings has a confession to make! Tracy Queen fish is here on this investigation!

Tracy Queen fish- Here’s some more anti-Nielsen fodder for Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman today at his UBS Global Media & Communications Conference appearance: The TV ratings company is admitting that it made a mistake when estimating the number of kids who are watching TV compared with last year. Though not directly related to Dauman’s fight with Nielsen over the ratings decline at kids network Nickelodeon, it’s likely he will use the admission for an I-told-you-so moment: The CEO has been on the hot seat since September, when Nielsen first reported the unusually weak ratings, and now he’s got ammunition for his claim that the decline is a “blip” owing to errors on Nielsen’s side. During the downswing, Viacom has seen analyst downgrades and a boost in make-goods that can’t be recouped during a time when Nick is ramping up its always robust fourth-quarter ad business, when it accounts for about 25% of Viacom’s ad revenue thanks to toy ads around the holidays. Nick also is losing traction to rivals like Disney Channel, which the week of November 20 beat Nick in the ratings for the first time since August 2007. Today, Nielsen is telling the Wall Street Journal that it is revising its estimate on the number of kids who watch TV: from up 1.7% to down 2.9%. The paper said Nielsen found that it failed to “apply a standard adjustment” after Viacom questioned the numbers, but that it has nothing to do with its measurements of Nick’s ratings. That matter remains before the Media Rating Council.

Viacom shares are down about 3.5% at midday on an otherwise up day for the market after CEO Philippe Dauman punted on the big question on the minds of analysts attending the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference: What’s up with the steep decline in Nickelodeon’s ratings — which he said last month was due to a problem with Nielsen’s measurement system? “There’s nothing new” to report, he says. ”No one’s more frustrated than myself.” He didn’t continue his attack the ratings company, which said today that it made a mistake in calculating the number of kids who watch TV — but added that it’s unrelated to the double-digit change in Nickelodeon’s ratings. ”However imperfect Nielsen is, it’s the only game in town, so we have to live with it,” Dauman says. “It is what it is. We’re going to move on.” He acknowledged that the channel’s ratings dive is “unfortunate” because “this is by far the most important quarter for Nickelodeon” due to the number of toymakers who flock to the channel to advertise holiday gifts. But he says the Nick problem will become less significant after the holidays are over. ”One way or the other we’ll move forward” with growing profit margins. Viacom has “more new shows coming to Nickelodeon than we’ve ever had.” He adds that “next quarter we expect to see stronger ad sales growth because we won’t have that issue” with the ratings.

At far as Paramount is concerned, Dauman crowed that he has “significantly reduced the overhead” at the film studio since he took control of the company five years ago. And five years from now “we would expect the studio to grow margins” especially as its animation effort “will be in full swing.” He noted that the studio set a record this year by having six consecutive movies that generated domestic box office sales of at least $100M. And he projected continued success by focusing on franchises including the upcoming Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol which he says ”will play extremely well around the world.” Upcoming films in the franchise as well as Transformers and Star Trek will be done in 3D, he says.

He also says he’s optimistic about the prospects for Viacom’s cable channels. For example, pay TV companies probably won’t push to offer networks a la carte. When operators offer special low-priced programming tiers, “adoption has been low.” What’s more, operators are primarily concerned about high-priced sports channels, so “from Viacom’s perspective we’re going to do well no matter what the environment is.” He also dismissed the suggestion that his channels might face meaningful competition from Google’s YouTube as it rolls out channels of professionally produced programming. “It’s not so easy,” Dauman says. “We spend about $3B a year on programming. No one spends more than we do, and we’re going to grow that.” The company also produces low-cost entertainment for the Web. ”It’s a good way for our creators to experiment,” he says.

Due to a error in kid viewership, Viacom is in deep trouble for not keeping an eye on this important research on Nick’s lover ratings. But that doesn’t mean this hurts Spongebob in the process now that its popularity’s improved ever since 3 years ago! Sorry about that boo-boo guys! As we head to the numbers…

It looks like the nightmare’s over for Warner Bros. As their hit New Year’s Eve cracks the top spot putting an end to Twilight: Breaking Dawn’s 3 week streak at #1. Speaking of that, the nocturnal hit places 3rd while Fox’s The Sitter’s in 2nd. The Muppets drop to 4th and Arthur Christmas goes 5th. With 13 million bucks in Warner Bros.’ favor, let’s see if this makes up for their earnings miss on Happy Feet 2 between now and New Year’s!

 

With the ratings miscalculation by the Neilson ratings, it looks as though we too double checked, found, and corrected those mistakes! And with that aside, this is Realistic Fish Head advising you to check out more holiday specials and new episodes this week!

Leave a comment

Box Office Crisis: The culprit is revealed

 

An Australian studio gets exposed due to Happy Feet 2’s disappointing box office earnings! I’m Realistic Fish Head. Last week, the entertainment world was shocked to discover Happy Feet 2’s box office miss of what was expected for Warner Bros, the studio which sent 600 workers out of the job, ruined their chances of staying in the box office game. John Trout was at the studio at the time after the 600 people were given the boot.

John Trout-International Movie Correspondent-

The future of the Australian digital production company behind Happy Feet 2 – Dr D Studios – is uncertain after the departure of almost 600 staff.

The majority of staff were on contracts expected to end after Happy Feet 2 was completed, however a number of senior employees have also left as part of a restructure. The latest round of departures will occur in early-December.

A large number of employees were also offered positions at a new company that KMM plans to set up early next year.

Almost 700 crew were recently working on Happy Feet 2, which was released in the US on November 18.

There are suggestions that the relationship between KMM and Omnilab has become frayed.

Another source said Omnilab staff were recently refused access to the facility while trying to survey the assets of the company.

Omnilab Media managing director Christopher Mapp said he was not aware of that and Omnilab remained fully committed to the Dr D joint venture now that it had finished Happy Feet 2.

“We’ve finished the film and now the shareholders have to sit back and work out the best way forward,” he said.

George Miller’s assistant and Dr D head of production Brett Feeney did not respond to email questions.

KMM’s Doug Mitchell recently said the business had been restructured as it faced a production gap between Happy Feet 2 and the fourth Mad Max film, Fury Road. He opened the possibility that the joint partnership between KMM and Omnilab may be dissolved or that the Dr D business may continue in its current form.

The uncertainty about the company’s future follows Miller’s decision to also move the long-delayed shoot for Fury Road from Broken Hill to Namibia, which was first reported by IF magazine in August. Fury Road is also a Dr D production.

The moves call into question the NSW government’s generous subsidies to lure such businesses to set up in the state.

The joint venture between Kennedy Miller Mitchell (KMM) and Omnilab Media, which was first announced in November 2007, was intended to rival Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital in New Zealand as a home for high-end effects and digital feature film production.

In 2009, KMM to set up at North Eveleigh’s Carriage Works, where it used bays 22-24 and part of bay 25 for motion capture work on Happy Feet 2 and development work on Fury Road. A government source said the deal was with KMM rather than the Dr D joint venture and the lease – effectively at cost – was renewed last year. KMM was described as one of the toughest negotiators the government has dealt with.

The filmmaking business is notoriously volatile and major productions are typically filmed in the countries which are cheapest or offer the highest tax rebates.

In mid-2009, the NSW Labor government announced that Warner Bros’ film, Green Lantern, would be shot in the state, however, just months later the production was shifted offshore as the value of the Australian dollar climbed.

The rising dollar has forced many local crew and post-production staff to abandon the industry or relocate overseas. Earlier this year, a number of Australian crew flew to Taiwan to work on Ang Lee’s Life of Pi.

After the global success of Miller’s Happy Feet in 2006-07, the filmmaker lamented the “brain-drain” that has often occurred in the Australian industry.

“I had found it heart-breaking to watch the home-grown talent pool that emerged in Australian cinema go overseas because there was no continuity of high-end work in this country,” he said. “KMM’s partnership with Omnilab Media and the Mapp family is our attempt to stop history.

 

Could this discovery doom Warner Bros.? Meanwhile, DreamWorks is planning to open a movie studio in China. Gene Scallop has the scoop!

Gene: I’m afraid this discovery has damaged the studio’s reputation already Fish Head. Good news Twilight fans! Breaking Dawn Part 1 still stays on board but what’s this? The Muppets gain ground one spot ahead from 3rd to 2nd. But thankfully, the latest move by Breaking Dawn denied them the top spot. Also making ground is Hugo, which was named best movie from movie observers just this week as the boy trails 3rd behind the Muppets. Arthur Christmas flies in 4th and Happy Feet 2 is 5th after some of our critics still say that the worst might be coming for Warner Bros. And something tells me it could get even worse. If they’re right, then the golden shield needs to do something fast if they want to recover from their damage 2 weeks after the sequel was released because it too faces an uncertain future.

Looks like DreamWorks is moving to China starting next year as it expands along with their joint companies to impress moviegoers in Shanghai. Their first film from outside the states could be released as early as 2015. As December gets underway and with world markets on the rise, Can Twilight’s breaking dawn manage another weekly win? Or can some good news from Warner Bros. come this Monday, pull themselves together and stay in the game?

Keep watching for holiday surprises all December long as our holiday coverage gets underway. This is Realistic Fish head saying, watch out for magical surprises ahead!

Leave a comment