According to the Chinese calendar, 2012 will be the year of the Dragon.
Well, someone should probably tell Manny the Mammoth that. Because this Ice Age star is already living large, thanks to the great ratings that Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special racked up for Fox on Thanksgiving night.
But come 2012, Manny the Mammoth looks to get even more massive. Thanks to the July release of Ice Age: Continental Drift (the fourth installment in this Twentieth Century Fox film series), the opening of "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - The 4-D Experience" (a new theme park attraction for Alton Towers in the UK & Italy's Gardaland) as well as the November 2012 premiere of "Ice Age Live! A Mammoth Adventure."
"And what exactly is an 'Ice Age Live?'" you ask. According to what Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products and Stage Entertainment Touring Productions revealed earlier today, "A Mammoth Adventure" will be a completely original live entertainment spectacular. The first arena show of its kind, "Ice Age Live! A Mammoth Adventure" will combine ice skating, puppetry, filmed segments as well as aerial arts to it take audiences on a journey to a toony version of our frozen prehistoric past.
Mind you, Manny, Sid and Diego are sure to encounter some competition as they hit the road for their five-year, round-the-world tour. Given that July 2011 saw the launch of the "Batman Live" world arena tour and August brought us Disney's Phineas and Ferb; The Best LIVE Tour Ever! Meanwhile next March, DreamWorks Animation & the creator of Walking with Dinosaurs will be coming together to produce the "How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular."
So what's going to make "Ice Age Live! A Mammoth Adventure" stand out among all these other arena shows? For starters, Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products and Stage Entertainment Touring Productions have reached out to production designer Michael Curry. Curry -- who's probably best known to theater fans for the amazing costumes & puppets that he created for Disney's long-running Broadway smash, "The Lion King" -- will be designing all of the costumes for this mammoth theatrical undertaking.
And while the source material for "Ice Age Live!" will be one of the top-grossing international animated film franchises of all time, Stage Entertainment Touring Productions still wanted to make sure that this live entertainment spectacular actually did have some spectacle in it. Which is why they recruited Guy Caron -- Cirque du Soleil's first creative director -- to come direct this "Mammoth Adventure." Meanwhile Ella Louise Allaire and Martin Lord Ferguson have been tapped to write the book, music and lyrics for this over-sized stage show. Which will tell an all-new story that then draws its inspiration for the first three "Ice Age" films.
Just so you know, though: While the creatives at Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products and Stage Entertainment Touring Productions are already hard at work on "Ice Age Live! A Mammoth Adventure," it'll still be another 11 months 'til this ice-encrusted extravaganza has its premiere at London's Wembley Arena and then begins presenting performances in more than 30 countries around the globe.
Of course, if you just can't wait 'til next November to get your Manny fix and Ice Age: Continental Drift's July 13th release date seems too far away, I guess you could spring for the Blu-ray or DVD version of Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special, which hit store shelves this past Saturday. And come 2012, between the upcoming theatrical release and Fox's new arena show (not to mention that "Dawn of the Dinosaurs - The 4D Experience" theme park attraction that's due to open at Alton Towers and Gardaland next Spring), there'll be plenty of mammoth to go around.
So -- in short -- you can stop fretting about global warming. For if Twentieth Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios have their way, this "Ice Age" is never ever going to end.
Follow Jim Hill on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jimhillmedia