(Source: comingsoon.net)  This morning, Disney officially launched its A Christmas Carol train tour, a traveling presentation bound for over 40 cities across the US between now and the film’s November release.

ComingSoon.net was there, today, at Los Angeles’ historic Union Station as director Robert Zemeckis and star Jim Carrey officially christened the engine with a bottle filled with water from both coasts and ceremoniously donated $100,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

(Source: Variety.com)  Visual effects now vie with stars as box office draws in summer tentpoles. But a possible shortage of visual effects shops could be a brutal blow to the next wave of f/x-heavy tentpoles.

Studios depend on outside vfx shops to deliver ever-larger amounts of first-class work on ever-shorter schedules. Some leaders of the visual effects business, both at vfx shops and at studios, are warning there could be a shortage of vfx capacity within a year — a shortage that could drive up costs and even threaten release dates.

The combination of Hollywood’s production slowdown and the recession have already driven some California vfx shops out of business, with more threatening to shutter.

(Source: news.thomasnet.com)  Microsoft Corp. today announced updates to its Photosynth technology that enable commercial use through integration with Microsoft Virtual Earth. The Photosynth integration into Virtual Earth signifies the first release designed to enable businesses to use Photosynth in commercial applications.

Photosynth software analyzes digital photographs and generates a 3-D model by “stitching” the photos together. These models, or “synths,” can now be viewed using Silverlight technology across multiple platforms. Virtual Earth brings together features, functionality and content that help consumers, businesses, citizens and governments bring location to life. It helps businesses and governments share location-based information, build better connections with consumers or citizens, and helps organizations make better operational decisions. With the integration of Photosynth into Virtual Earth customers will be able to create detailed 3-D views of anything from places to products and from hotels to homes.

(Source: kansascity.com) It took 11 trailer trucks to deliver “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Exhibition,” which opens today at Union Station. Those centaurs take up a lot of space, not to mention the giant ogre.But the effect is magical, judging from the reaction of children from the Ronald McDonald House and Blue Ridge Christian School who got a first look on Thursday.

“I didn’t expect not nearly as cool as this,” said a wide-eyed 10-year-old Spencer Rice of Grandview.

“Terminator Salvation” Looks For $70M Open

(Source: Hollywood Reporter) – The witching hour was anything but a horror show for “Terminator Salvation.”

Warner Bros. unspooled the sci-fi-action feature — the fourth “Terminator” movie and the first in almost six years — in 3,450 theaters Thursday, with thousands of the venues programing midnight Wednesday performances for the Sam Worthington/Christian Bale-starring film.

Data on the picture’s total Thursday coin won’t be in until Friday, but early estimates suggested that “Salvation” midnight performances alone fetched more than $3 million domestically.

(Source: examiner.com) Tom Hanks as Woody Woopecker?

Tom Hanks hasn’t had a lot of luck recently with his much maligned film, Angels and Demons. The latest rumor from Hollywood suggests that either Mr. Hanks has tricks up his sleeve or that he has totally lost his mind. While Tom’s latest venture is rumored to be at the early stages, one has to wonder if a 3D animated Woody Woodpecker film really has box office legs.

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