When The Emoji Movie arrived in theaters this past summer, most mainstream critics weren't exactly kind to it. In fact, there was already some negative buzz swirling around it since it was first announced - and even I questioned just how, exactly, Sony Pictures was planning to execute a feature film based on the characters than live within our phones. Thing is, that's exactly what they did - with filmmaker Tony Leondis crafting a tale of a world that literally exists inside of our devices, connecting everyone. Emojis have been everywhere these past few years, and The Emoji Movie gives them purpose, because even those who openly detest the creatures who evolved from emoticons, now harbor them within their purses or pockets every single day. Thing is, this isn't a movie for grownups, but very much a tale for tech-obsessed kids, which is always something of a double-edged sword here in our house.
The Jim Henson Company, who has recently and quite disappointingly been attempting to recruit writers and bloggers* into an unpaid promotional program called "The Jim Henson Family Hub" aka "The Hubbub," is following-up their rights-grab "contest" to design a new creature for their forthcoming Labyrinth series (the "winner" receives a measly pittance of just $500 in exchange for the rights to their creation) with the announcement of a new series based on the popular female action figures by IAmElemental. Henson's recent shortcomings aside, IAmElemental is a fantastic toy line - one of our favorites here at Rock Father HQ, and the announcement of a series is great news. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they'll do with this, and very happy to see the work of IAmElemental's Julie Kerwin and crew being recognized!
At the D23 Expo in Anaheim this summer, I was in the room when Jon Favreau walked on stage to present a first-look at early footage from his reimagining of THE LION KING. I truly wish that all of you could see it, because it's phenomenal. Still, it was unfinished, but an evolution of the photorealistic animation that Favreau did so well with on last year's THE JUNGLE BOOK. Today comes word from Disney that the cast for this new vision for the 1994 animated classic has been assembled. See the full lineup below!
During Game 7 of the 2017 World Series, fans watching the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Houston Astros were momentarily interrupted for a quick trip to a galaxy far, far away. In a new TV spot entitled "Awake," fans got a fresh look at new footage from STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, including Luke Skywalker's long-awaited return to the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, a nice look at the throne room of Supreme Leader Snoke, and a rainy lightsaber exchange. Check it out below!
It's week six for the second season of ABC's THE TOY BOX and this coming Sunday we'll get a look at new batch of toys from a fresh crop of hopeful toy inventors. As we've seen before, not all of the toys being showcased are truly "new," and several of them have crossed my path here at Rock Father HQ in recent years. This week sees a game that launched at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair back in 2012 - Ninja Cards. Sound familiar? They might, as they already made a failed run at Shark Tank back in 2014. Five years in, how will this one fare against the judges on The Toy Box? We'll find out this Sunday, but first check out the full rundown on all eight toys competing this week...
Halloween is almost here, and for 2017 my friends at DreamWorks Animation have served-up a fresh batch of free printable activities from some of their kid-favorite Netflix Original Series. There's printable pumpkin stencils for Spirit Riding Free and DinoTrux, and from Voltron: Legendary Defender there's patterns for creating masks, a sword, and The Cow of Voltron!
Ready for some Halloween action?
With the December 15 release of Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi fast-approaching, audiences will soon be reunited with Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron and the crew as they find out what Luke Skywalker's been up to (aside from hanging out with porgs). The current Star Wars trilogy puts a strong woman at the center of the action, with Daisy Ridley's Rey inspiring a new generation of young girls. Here at Rock Father HQ, we have two of those - and I've written about that often, both here and at The Toy Insider. We're certainly not alone in this, and it's fantastic to see how other families share their love of Star Wars... but since it's Halloween, what if there was a spooky spin on things? Enter NORAH OF THE LIVING DEAD, a short film from NYC-based producer/editor/dad Matt Mayers. Check out the three-minute short below in which one 8-year-old girl faces off against a zombie straight from the world of George A. Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD by harnessing The Power of The Force (and some Hasbro action figures)!
With most of October now behind us, more folks are seeking frights in the final days leading up to Halloween. The crew over at YouTube has seen an uptick in searches for terrifying content, and tonight they sent over a list of the Top 10 horror films that people have been searching for and watching on YouTube. Some, like 2013's The Conjouring, are surprising, while the return of the SAW franchise to theaters with Jigsaw is no doubt fueling interest in the earlier installments. Also, 1988's Child's Play makes the list, right alongside Cult of Chucky, which hit Netflix, Blu-ray and AMC this month. And did you think that Pennywise would be left out? Check out the full list below!
After making some waves with audiences this summer, Sony Pictures' THE EMOJI MOVIE has come home on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD. While I'll post some more detailed thoughts in a formal review of the in-home release next week, suffice to say that The Rock Daughters loved it (we even had a themed birthday party back in August), and the appeal is lasting - just like the Emojis that inspired the film. For families looking to put an Emoji spin on Halloween, now you can with FREE PRINTABLES including a collection of EMOJI MOVIE Pumpkin Carving Patterns! Gene, Hi-5, Jailbreak, Poop and Smiler are all here, ready to add a friendly glow to your favorite gourds!
We've cleared the halfway mark for the second season of ABC's slightly retooled version of THE TOY BOX and this coming Sunday we'll get a look at a fresh batch of toys from a new crop of hopeful toy inventors. This week we've got yet another toy that first hit my radar some years back - "My Doll Room," which was previously marketed as "American Doll Room." Geared toward 18" dolls, it'll be interesting to see how that fares when put in front of Mattel, makers of American Girl. Check out the full rundown on all seven toys competing this week...
As we roll toward Halloween, it just feels right to see some seasonal fare topping the box office. Thing is, the box office results for the weekend of October 22 could be considered frightening for studios and theater owners alike, as audiences weren't exactly out in droves. According to data provided by comScore, Tyler Perry's BOO 2! A Madea Halloween topped the weekend estimates, pulling in $21.6M, far ahead of Warner Bros. Geostorm with $13.3M. In its second weekend, Happy Death Day (Universal/Blumhouse) is in third with just $9.4M. As for Universal's The Snowman? Although they did hit media outlets like this one with some entertaining care packages this past week, The Snowman got decapitated with just $3.4M amid bad reviews and rumors that the whole script may not have even been shot (seriously).
It's almost time for Frank Castle to have revenge. On November 17, Marvel's The Punisher makes its long-awaited debut as a Netflix Original Series, the latest following Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders. Jon Bernthal stars as the title character, a heavily-armed former Marine-turned-vigilante known throughout New York City. On a mission to punish the criminals responsible for the murder of his family, Frank Castle will soon find himself involved in a military conspiracy far bigger than he could possibly imagine. Check out the new trailer below!