News Bytes: ‘Space Jam 2’ Hits BO High as Artist Goes Uncredited, Hosoda on Anime’s Issue with Women & More

‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ Steals Ball Away from ‘Black Widow’ with $31M+ Opening
Despite less than stellar reviews and its simultaneous streaming launch on HBO Max, LeBron James and the Looney Tunes managed to dunk on Scarlett Johansson in the hybrid flick’s opening weekend. Bringing in $31.65 million, Space Jam 2 scored the best three-day tip off for a family film as well as Warner Bros.’ best box-office opening during the pandemic era, just squeaking past Godzilla vs. Kong ($31.625M). Disney/Marvel’s Black Widow dropped -67% in its second week ($26.25M) — the steepest second week plunge for an MCU title since Ant-Man and the Wasp — but the movie’s 10-day cume stands at $132M. The title is also available on the extra-free Disney+ Premiere streaming option (and was the most-pirated movie last week on Torrent Freak).

Space Jam: A New Legacy character designs by Dave Alvarez (@DAlvarezStudio).
Space Jam: A New Legacy character designs by Dave Alvarez (@DAlvarezStudio).

‘Space Jam 2’ Character Designer Left Uncredited
Not everyone is excitedly toasting the sequel’s success. Artist Dave Alvarez (Looney Tunes Cartoons, The Looney Tunes Show, Wabbit!) shared his frustration with being left out of the “New Legacy” over Twitter, writing:

“I just want to put this out there… Last night me and my family sat down to watch Space Jam. My kids were excited to see the movie that ‘dad help make’ only to find out that … my name was omitted from the final credits. At first I thought that perhaps I missed it but … no … we checked 3 times and I’m just not there.

“I feel devastated. I worked hard in summer 2019 to help the crew with a lot of designes that were actually USED in the final product. When I began my career, one of my goals was to see my named on the big screen … and that moment was taken off from me and it will never be back. I feel a lot of pain right now. My kids were frustrated and so am I right now.”

Mamoru Hosoda [Photo: AFP]
Mamoru Hosoda [Photo: AFP]

Hosoda: Japanese Anime Has Problem with Women and Girls
Acclaimed director Mamoru Hosoda (Mirai), in Cannes to premiere his digital world fantasy-drama Belle, had some insightful thought to share with the AFP about the role of women and in film and particularly in anime. The father of a young daughter non-explicitly called out Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki:

“You only have to watch Japanese animation to see how young women are underestimated and not taken seriously in Japanese society …  It really annoys me to see how young women are often seen in Japanese animation — treated as sacred — which has nothing to do with the reality of who they are,” Hosoda vented. “I will not name him, but there is a great master of animation who always takes a young woman as his heroine. And to be frank I think he does it because he does not have confidence in himself as a man. This veneration of young women really disturbs me and I do not want to be part of it.”

How These Wonder Women Are Changing the World of VFX, Animation
A spotlight on the growing cohort of women taking on the industry around the world, featuring Saraswathi Balgam (The Life of Pi), Charuvi Agrawal (founder, Charuvi Design Labs), award-winning animator Gayathri Rao (founder, Animagic) and Rounak Magoo (producer, Green Rain Studios) — mentors in The Women Creators Program, a recent four-week virtual training initiative supported by Epic Games and ASIFA.

WATCH: Mabel’s New Song & Video ‘Take It Home’ in Collaboration with Pokémon
Released in celebration of the brand’s 25th anniversary, the playful official video follows the BRIT Award-winning artist on a dreamy adventure with Jigglypuff and taking the stage with Pikachu. The MV is directed by Sophia Ray. The song, recorded exclusively for the P25 Music anniversary compilation album, was produced by Tommy Brown and Mr. Franks. The album will be released this fall by Capitol Records.

TV & Streaming Updates:

  • Ameba is adding over 3,500 new programs to its catalogue of children’s entertainment available now throughout North America. The raft of new content stems from new procured partners while several new titles and properties have been added from Ameba’s existing distribution partners:

    • New to the platform: Dandelooo‘s Chico Chica Boumba, Kiwi, Little Houdini, Ribbit’s Fantasy Riddles, The Treehouse Stories (486 episodes); Sparky Animation‘s Jack, Mr. Moon, One Stormy Night (174 Episodes); One Animation‘s Antiks, Insectibles, Oddbods, Rob the Robot (671 episodes); Paul Louis Miller‘s Jelly Bean Jungle (32 episodes); Media IM‘s Sunny Bunnies (214 episodes); Boatrocker‘s Rollbots, Stella & Sam, Strange Hill High (200 episodes); Kids First‘s Marblegen, Max & Maestro, Nate Is Late, Rocky Kwaterner (388 episodes); Magic2media‘s Bitziboos, Ha Ha Hairies, Katya and the Nutcracker, My Magic Theater, Spider! (254 episodes); Dog YearsDog Years (26 episodes)
    • Additional programs from existing partners include: Zeptolab‘s Om Nom (more episodes) (615 episodes); more movies and 496 episodesfrom Brightermoon; Outfit7‘s Talking Tom (more episodes) (389 episodes) and Nelvana returns with more content, adding over 600 new episodes of programming to the platform.
Chico Chica Boumba
Chico Chica Boumba
  • Genius Brands announced that Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten has exceeded 40 million views on Kartoon Channel! Starring and exec produced by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the series has rolled out 11 episodes since its premiere with 15 more due this year, and the comedy-adventure is credited with a 900%+ increase in unique users in the channel ecosystem. In the first week of July, episodes of SLSK took up all of the Top Ten Most Watched chart spots.
  • Sandbox Kids has launched the Hopster channel as an English-language-learning service for children on Amazon Prime Video Channels in Spain, Italy and The Netherlands. The outlet’s suite of titles includes hit shows like Alphablocks, The Hive and Cloudbabies and fun songs like Pocoyo Nursery Rhymes and Lingokids, available for 4.99 euro per month.
  • Award-winning Singapore & London-based Omens Studios inked a key deal with media conglomerate MBC for its SVOD & AVOD platforms Shahid VIP and Shahid, bringing a trio of series to platforms across MENA and the Arabic-dubbed world: Counting With Paula S5 (60 x 11’ – premiering July) and S6 (60 x 11’), Leo the Wildlife Ranger S2 (52 x 11’ – July) and the brand-new series 123 Number Squad (40 x 11’ – summer 2022).
  • APC Kids (the children’s entertainment division of APC Studios) has secured a far-reaching deal with WarnerMedia for its 3D CGI series Roger (78 x7′; Kids 6-9); produced by Je Suis Bien Content for France Televisions. The deal includes exclusive pay TV rights and non-exclusive non-linear rights in Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Australia for the company’s kids’ brands, including Cartoon Network and Boomerang (expected in Q4 2021). The series follows the misadventures of carefree little Fatou and her clumsy alien friend Roger on a tropical island.


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