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July 26, 2014 | 5:53 p.m.

Comic-Con 2014: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ pizza thrower revs up

The pizza thrower is back at Comic-Con International, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lovers — just in time for the newest film’s Aug. 8 release. Pizza Hut, appropriately, sponsored the vehicle, which can go up to 75 mph and can fire manhole cover-sized cardboard pizzas 30 feet at up to 20 feet per second. Participants in the Interactive Zone climb up to the turret seat, and though aiming is slow, can fire away at targets. For the uninitiated, the pizza thrower was a toy released in the early ’90s that — remarkably — fired pizza at the Turtles’ enemies, mainly Shredder and his horde of ninja followers. COMIC-CON 2014: Full Coverage | Scene photos | Cosplay The pizza thrower attraction (actually a tricked out Toyota Tacoma) saw some of the film’s stars, namely Will Arnett and Megan Fox, make an unannounced […]
May 23, 2014 | 1:05 p.m.

Preview ‘Nightwing’ series conclusion

"Nightwing" No. 30 (DC Entertainment)
Right from the start, the “Forever Evil” series was meant to bring major changes to Nightwing. From his Issue No. 1 unmasking at the hands of the Crime Syndicate to the few minutes where he technically died in the aptly titled “Murder Machine” in Issue No. 6, Nightwing hasn’t had an easy few months. Not that DC chief creative officer Geoff Johns would have had it any other way. In an interview with Hero Complex when the series began, Johns talked of the significance of the character. “With the Justice League out of the way, the top of the heap is Nightwing,” Johns told Hero Complex in a phone interview. “Every other hero, in my opinion, looks up to Nightwing…. And I think in some cases, people listen more to Nightwing than they would to Batman, because Nightwing is sincere, […]
May 20, 2014 | 2:37 p.m.

Kevin Smith, Ralph Garman dive into ‘Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet’

Portrait of Kevin Smith (Carlo Allegri/Associated Press)
Long before superhero teams became a box-office staple, there was Batman and the Green Hornet. When the two heroes, along with their respective sidekicks Robin and Kato, teamed up in the second season of the “Batman” television series in the two-part episode “A Piece of the Action” and “Batman’s Satisfaction,” it marked the first time two masked avengers had joined forces on screen. To commemorate the landmark moment, DC is launching “Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet,” a 12-part series premiering in digital form this week. Batman super-fans director Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman (“The Joe Schmo Show,” “Family Guy”) were tapped to pen the tale. Smith is no stranger to crafting a Batman story, having worked on the limited series “Batman: Cacophony,” which ran from 2008 to 2009 and the six-issue mini-series “The Widening Gyre” in 2010. He and […]
April 04, 2014 | 12:46 p.m.

‘Hunger Games’ sequel casts ‘Game of Thrones’ star Gwendoline Christie

Gwendoline Christie plays Brienne of Tarth, whose sword skills and unusual strength and size set her apart from other young maids. Brienne swore an oath to Lady Catelyn Stark to deliver hostage Jaime Lannister to King's Landing in exchange for the safe return of Catelyn's daughters, Sansa and Arya. (HBO; Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
“Game of Thrones” star Gwendoline Christie is joining the cast of next year’s “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” the final installment in the blockbuster movie franchise. Christie, whose previous screen credits include Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” and the BBC children’s series “Wizards vs. Aliens,” is best known for her “Game of Thrones” role. In the lavish HBO fantasy series,” Christie plays Brienne of Tarth, a warrior woman who is better with a broadsword than most of the male knights who cross her path. Christie is slated to play Commander Lyme, taking over the role from “Mockingjay – Part 1″ actress Lily Rabe (“American Horror Story”) due to a scheduling conflict with Rabe’s previous commitment to a production of “Much Ado About Nothing” at Shakespeare in the Park, according to Lionsgate. QUIZ: Test your ‘Game of […]
Jan. 23, 2014 | 11:59 a.m.

Diagon Alley: Universal reveals new Harry Potter plans, Gringotts ride

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will bring even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life. Guests will pass through London and the brick wall archway from the films into Diagon Alley – a wizarding hub within a Muggle city.  There will be shops, restaurants and a new ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. (Universal Orlando Resort)
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is getting an upgrade. Universal Orlando Resort has revealed new details for its planned expansion of its theme park experience based on J.K. Rowling’s saga — a re-creation of Diagon Alley, the famous shopping thoroughfare visited by Hogwarts students and their magical families before the beginning of every new school term. Diagon Alley also will be home to a new ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, designed to take patrons through the vaults of the famous Goblin bank. According to a release issued by the theme park Thursday, the new attraction will feature a number of shops and eateries from Rowling’s bestsellers about the boy wizard. FULL COVERAGE: Harry Potter through the years Visitors will be able to purchase wands at Ollivanders and Hogwarts uniforms at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, […]
Nov. 24, 2013 | 9:00 a.m.

Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise gets a new jingle

Jingle Cruise
The holidays have finally wound their way into the deepest, darkest jungles … of Disneyland. So, you know, it’s not really that deep or dark. In fact, it’s one knee-slapper after another sprinkled with a bit of Christmas cheer. To help celebrate the holidays, the Happiest Place on Earth has for the first time temporarily rechristened the venerable Jungle Cruise the “Jingle Cruise.” Although not nearly as extensive as seasonal makeovers for rides such as It’s a Small World or Haunted Mansion, the popular Adventureland ride is one of a growing roster of Disneyland attractions that receive the Christmas treatment. The first Jingle Cruise vessel left the docks with a boatload of passengers and new corny holiday-themed jokes in mid-November. The ride, which has undergone minor redecorating — dangling Christmas lights and beige Santa hats for the skippers — will […]
Nov. 16, 2013 | 8:30 a.m.

Disneyland amps up Christmas with Jingle Cruises, ‘Winter Dreams’

Mickey and Minnie Mouse are wearing their Christmas sweaters, even if the weather is balmy some days. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)
The scattered nature of L.A.’s expansive urban grid is never more noticeable than during the winter holidays. While certain centers festoon the streets with lights and artistically ambitious homeowners create front lawn tableaux, Los Angeles simply lacks the central pedestrian thoroughfares that make Christmas so enchanting in cities like New York and Chicago, London and Paris. But if we don’t have Oxford Street, we do have the Disneyland resorts, where Walt Disney’s initial nostalgic imagining of Americana has become more festive with each passing holiday season. What began in 1956 with a Christmas tree on Main Street and a Santa hat on Mickey has become an increasingly dramatic, and dramatically marketable, Christmas-fication of Just About Everything. The Christmas fantasy parade, the holiday version of “It’s a Small World,” the sudsy snow falling in “Believe,” the Haunted Mansion gone all “Nightmare Before […]
Nov. 05, 2013 | 6:54 p.m.

Grumpy Cat goes Disney: Online celebs pitch in for new theme park push

Grumpy Cat poses with Grumpy the dwarf at Disneyland. (Disney)
Grumpy Cat was just one of about two dozen Internet stars that turned up at Disneyland in Anaheim Tuesday as part the company’s unveiling of its new marketing push, dubbed Disney Side, which is attempting to harness the power of social media “all stars” to promote the parks. The new campaign is designed to encourage people to express the “Disney side” of their personalities, and includes original contributions from stop-motion Vine animator Ian Padgham, Instagram photographer Lauren Randolph, wacky video personality Mark Malkoff, “CuteGirlsHairstyles” YouTube-r Mindy McKnight, singer Tiffany Alvord, fashionable dog Trotter Pup, Ridiculously Photogenic Guy Zeddie Little and “How to Be a Dad” blogger Charlie Capen, among others. The 24 creators chosen by Disney have a combined fan following of 30 million and have generated an estimated 2 billion views online. “We looked for people with a solid […]
Aug. 09, 2013 | 2:32 p.m.

D23: Imagineer Tony Baxter on his decades shaping Disneyland design

Tony Baxter in 1996 discusses the redesign of Disneyland's Tomorrowland. (Los Angeles Times)
When a young Disney employee in the early 1970s by the name of Tony Baxter found his daily assignments to be lacking a certain luster, he opted instead to devote his time to building a model train. This self-described “little train” would eventually cost more than $15 million to construct. Known today as moderate thrill ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Baxter’s extracurricular hobby would ultimately become one of the premiere attractions at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts. It opened first at the Anaheim theme park in 1979. “Going into Big Thunder, I was a kid in a model shop. Coming out, I was a designer,” says Baxter. At 66, Baxter this year has transitioned from his senior executive position at Walt Disney Imagineering into a creative advisory role. Baxter officially will be recognized as a Disney “legend” at […]
May 30, 2013 | 2:05 p.m.

Heading to Disneyland? Beware the Fastpass rules change

Guests wait in line to enter Walt Disney Co.'s California Adventure Park, part of the Disneyland Resort, in Anaheim, California, U.S., on Friday, May 24, 2013. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)
PERSPECTIVE A word of warning if you’re headed for the maddening crowds at the Magic Kingdom this summer – the line situation just took a big step backward. I’m not one to exaggerate, but mapping the human genome was nothing compared with the development of the Disneyland Fastpass, which can cut wait times for major rides by a half or a third. And now a critical benefit of the glory and envy of the civilized amusement park world has been quietly changed for the worse. Earlier this year the Disney time lords apparently decided that when a Fastpass provides a window of an hour to return to your chosen ride it means you better zip-a-dee-doo-dah do so – or else you can kiss that short Fastpass line goodbye and say hello to the hordes in the standby line. MORE: Disney is […]
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