Universal logs best box office record for the year; Triggerfish gets funding plans for a new animated action comedy; Teen Nick releases Thanksgiving schedule with an animated feel



Welcome to the Triggerfish edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Here’s what’s topping today!


Yesterday Universal broke a new box office record of 1.352 billion smackers thanks in part to Gru and the minions for keeping the other movie competitors at bay. But they weren’t they only ones part of the big achievement. Which of the globe’s top flicks made it happen Angie?


Angie Angelfish (via Dateline Hollywood)- Universal Pictures today announced that the studio has set a new record for its highest-grossing year ever at the North American box office with a total of $1.352 billion through Sunday. The previous record was set in 2012 with total grosses having reached $1.335 billion. The studio bested its previous international box office record ($1.794 billion/2012) in mid-August and the previous worldwide record ($3.129 billion/2012) in September. Universal’s total worldwide grosses to date are $3.49 billion.

Propelling Universal’s success at the North American box office this year were eight films that claimed the number one spot including: Mama ($71.6 million), Identity Thief ($134.5 million), Oblivion ($89.1 million), Fast & Furious 6 ($238.7 million), Despicable Me 2 ($365.9 million), The Purge ($64.5 million), 2 Guns ($75.6 million) and Riddick ($42 million). Identity Thief, Fast & Furious 6 and Despicable Me 2 each claimed the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office twice. Fast & Furious 6 was Universal’s top North American opening of 2013 ($117 million) and the second-highest domestic opening of the year (behind Iron Man 3). Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me 2 had the highest opening for an animated film in 2013 domestically ($83.5 million). In addition, Universal’s first micro-budget film under the studio’s production deal with Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions, The Purge, grossed more than ten times its $3 million production budget in its North American opening weekend and has gone on to gross $89.9 million worldwide.

On a worldwide basis, Universal Pictures boasts the second and third highest-grossing films of 2013 with Despicable Me 2, having grossed $916.1 million to date, and Fast & Furious 6 with $788 million. Despicable Me 2 is the highest-grossing animated film of 2013 and is currently the fifth highest-grossing animated film of all time. Despicable Me 2 is also the studio’s second highest-grossing film of all time behind 1993’s Jurassic Park.

Universal has two films yet to be released in 2013. These include 47 Ronin, the epic 3D feature that stars Keanu Reeves in his explosive return to the action-adventure genre on Christmas Day; and also in limited release on December 25, Lone Survivor, based on The New York Times bestselling true story of heroism, courage and survival starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster.


Triggerfish Studios strikes again this week as it prepares for yet another animated film to add to their collection. What could it be this time Jim?


Jim Fish (via Hollywood Repoter)- South Africa’s Triggerfish Animation Studios has secured development funding that it says will allow it to develop the first two projects in a slate of five movies, company executives said.

Financial details weren’t disclosed. The company also continues to explore additional financing options and the possible sale of a stake to a strategic partner.

Triggerfish also said it plans to release one movie a year starting in 2016.

The Cape Town-based company, which has been dubbed the “Pixar of South Africa,” said in the first phase of development of its slate it would focus on previously announced sea monster adventure Here Be Monsters and a new project with the working title Seal Team.

Triggerfish’s first two features, Zambezia, starring Samuel L. Jackson among other voice actors, and Khumba, starring the voices of Liam Neeson, Laurence Fishburne and Steve Buscemi, have performed well in South Africa and beyond.

Here Be Monsters was selected for the Creative Focus pitch at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival earlier this year. It is based on an original story from writer Raffaella Delle Donne who worked on both of Triggerfish’s previous films. The movie will tell the story of a boy and a sea monster, marking the studio’s first foray into animating human characters.

Seal Team is described as an action-comedy that pits a group of seals against the great white sharks of South Africa. The script is currently being written by Brian and Jason Cleveland of Cinema Management Group who handled world sales on Triggerfish’s previous films.

“We had a good working relationship with the Clevelands on Zambezia and were impressed by their passion for the medium and for great stories,” said Triggerfish CEO and producer Stuart Forrest. “So it was great when they came with this concept that is so close to home for us.”

“We have a number of exciting properties in the pipeline,” said head of development Anthony Silverston. “But we’re particularly excited by these two highly original and exciting high-concept stories. And although both stories have an ocean setting, they couldn’t be more different!”

Asked about how much financing Triggerfish had secured, Forrest told THR it was enough to get the two scripts developed on the studio’s budgets, which are much smaller than budgets for Hollywood animation fare.

“We are still looking for a strategic partner to take a stake in Triggerfish and help to take us to the next level,” he added without providing further details.

“We want to build the business and have a stronger platform for the next movie to launch it broader into the world and have even better success,” Forrest had told THR earlier this year. He argued that  the budgets for his firm are low enough that it can make five films for the price of one “and have five chances to find a franchise hit.”

According to the CEO, Zambezia has grossed more than $30 million to-date. “I believe it is the highest-grossing South African-owned film in around 30 years,” he recently told THR.

Although Triggerfish’s stories so far have been set in Africa, the company has said it has “a global vision to create animated films with universal messages for all ages.”

The studio secured the new development funding from Business Partners’ Venture Fund, a finance company that focuses on small to medium-sized companies.

“The funds will be used towards developing Triggerfish’s slate of five animated feature films and to expand the studio’s digital department building on existing properties and exploring new ideas with apps and games,” the studio said.

Khumba, which has been at festivals and film markets all year, is currently in cinemas in South Africa. It has held the top spot for two weeks and will be rolling out throughout the rest of the world going into 2014.

In our last edition, Dan Barry found out that Boomerang might not be able to keep up with their Thanksgiving tradition with their own schedule sticking with their current weekday schedule. This time Teen Nick’s Thanksgiving schedule takes their shows by using animated GIF’s. Who’s coming to Turkey Day this year Dan?


Dan Barry (via Nick and More)- TeenNick is celebrating Thanksgiving November 25 – December 1 with a special event called ThanksGIFFing week, in which hour long specials and movies will air. The event starts each night at 8pm ET and will feature special GIFs from the series/movies featured.

The schedule is as follows:

Monday, November 25

8:00 PM VICTORiOUS – “Tori Goes Platinum”
9:00 PM VICTORiOUS – “Locked Up!”
10:00 PM Zoey 101 – “Chasing Zoey”

Tuesday, November 26

8:00 PM iCarly – “iStart a Fan War”
9:00 PM iCarly – “iPsycho”
10:00 PM Zoey 101 – “Goodbye, Zoey?”

Wednesday, November 27

8:00 PM Big Time Rush – “Big Time Dreams”
9:00 PM Big Time Rush – “Big Time Concert”
10:00 PM Zoey 101 – “The Curse of PCA”

Thursday , November 28

8:00 PM Ned’s Declassified – “Field Trips, Permission Slips, Signs & Weasels”
9:00 PM How to Rock – “How to Rock Cee Lo”
10:00 PM Zoey 101 – “Spring Break-Up”

Friday, November 29

8:00 PM Bandslam
10:30 PM Bandslam

Saturday, November 30

8:00 PM Rags
10:00 PM Swindle

Sunday, December 1

8:00 PM Jinxed
9:30 PM Drake & Josh – “Go Hollywood”
11:00 PM Drake & Josh – “Really Big Shrimp”


 Checking the Penguins tally, 2,440 fans sign in as Team Skipper plans a trip to Antarctica as they discover great danger ahead! A few editions ago, we took a look at secret crushes in the show. The secret crush we took a look recently was Private and Hunter. The writers of the show made sure that both of them could trust each other by keeping their crush a secret from anyone else. Not according to Skipper, Rico, and Kowalski! They classify Hunter as a “friendly killing machine”. Private has to prove to the team that leopard seals and penguins can be true friends. Should his theory prove a success, Skipper will have to realize that both Private and Hunter can be best friends. And as the team’s enemies, they should heed Private’s promise if Team Skipper gets through the rest of their missions without a scratch.  We’ll see if it plays out for the rest of the season as Saturday weekend sweeps continue.


With a week to go before this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, be on the lookout for The Sponge’s new balloon on the current parade route that was modified last year, plus all the current and new arrivals that we could see this year as the holidays are fast approaching! We’ll see you after the T’giving day parade for more of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Until then, enjoy the turkey and trimmings!

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