Over 400 EM.TV shareholders are seeking an out-of-court settlement from the company for more than DM20 million (US$9.5 million) in regards to problems over EM.TV's acquisition of the Jim Henson Co. and half of the Formula One racing circuit. The investors claim that EM.TV CEO Thomas Haffa and his brother, former chief financial officer Florian Haffa, falsely represented the actual costs of the US$650 million acquisition of Henson. Moreover, the investors claim management hid key facts about the deal to buy as much as 75% of Formula One holding company SLEC.
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Disney's direct-to-video LADY & THE TRAMP II: SCAMP'S ADVENTURE has raked in an amazing US$50 million in its first week in stores. TRAMP II hit the coveted 1 million units sold mark in its first week. In comparison, DIGIMON: THE MOVIE, the second highest selling video for the week, has only sold 600,000 units since its video release date on February 6, 2001. Disney direct-to-videos have been doing extremely well of late.
Disney has placed an order for 13-episodes of a new animated series for "Disney's One Saturday Morning," entitled TEAMO SUPREMO. The new Walt Disney Television Animation show will join the ABC line-up in the fall of 2001. The series will follow a trio of pint-sized heroes -- Captain Crandall, Rope Girl and Skate Lad as they battle the forces of evil and homework. The series' style is based on the bright, colorful themes of the mid-1960s, the comic book-style of the live-action BATMAN and GREEN HORNET television series and the architectural concepts popularized at the 1964 World's Fair.
Toronto-based SimEx Inc., a major player in the location-based entertainment industry, has announced that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire Iwerks Entertainment Inc., a leading special venue production firm. SimEx will pay $0.63 per share for Iwerks, which values the deal at approximately $2.2 million. Once the deal is completed, Iwerks will keep its name and continue to work out of its Burbank, California offices, under its current team.
Originally slated as a direct-to-video, the sequel to Disney's 1953 classic PETER PAN will now be released on the big screen. The film is scheduled to hit theaters in the spring of 2002. The project was shelved in the fall of 1999, but was revived little over a year ago. Like TOY STORY 2 and THE TIGGER MOVIE, Disney's execs liked the would-be direct-to-video so much they decided to give it a theatrical run. PETER PAN: RETURN TO NEVERLAND will be set during the World War II air raids on London, and finds Peter Pan on the trail of Captain Hook after the pirate kidnaps Wendy's daughter, Jane.
In yet another consolidation move, AOL Time Warner has combined all of its TV operations under one roof. As a result, the WB Network's CEO Jamie Kellner will become the new CEO and chairman of an expanded Turner Broadcasting. He will oversee the WB, TBS, TNT, CNN and Cartoon Network. He replaces Terence McGuirk, who will continue as vice chairman and will assist Kellner in his transition. Kellner will relocate to Atlanta. What does this move have in store for animation?
The CFO of Viacom, Fredric Reynolds, has decided to step down from his post. Fredric served at Westinghouse Electric Corp. when they purchased CBS, subsequently overseeing the purchase of CBS by Viacom. Reynolds is leaving the post for personal reasons, but will continue working for the New York-based company in some fashion out of the California offices. He will remain CFO until a replacement can be found. A Viacom spokeswoman said, "He wants to spend more time with his family in California, and it wasn't possible for the CFO to be in California."
Fred Lasswell, the cartoonist behind SNUFFY SMITH for the past 60 years, passed away on Sunday, March 4 at his home in Tampa, Florida. The cause of death was congestive heart failure. He was 84 years old. He continued to work on the SNUFFY strip up until his death, leaving behind 49 unpublished cartoons. In 1934, Lasswell became an assistant to cartoonist Billy DeBeck, creator of TAKE BARNEY GOOGLE, FOR INSTANCE and SNUFFY. Lasswell took over SNUFFY in 1942 after DeBeck's death. He would focus his career on the Smith character, a card-playing, moonshine-making hillbilly from Hootin' Holler.
* Thursday, April 12 Saturday, April 21, 2001. Toronto, Canada.
The Images Festival is an exhibition of artists' film, video and new media. The event searches out cutting-edge work from inventive filmmakers. For more information contact: Tel.: (416) 971-8405; E-mail: email@example.com; or Web: www.interlog.com/~images.
* Friday, April 13 Sunday, April 15, 2001. Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
Fantasm 2001 is a leading multimedia science-fiction, fantasy, horror, art, film and gaming convention. Foundation Imaging's computer animation wizard, Mojo, will be on hand to discuss his work on the TV series BABYLON 5, STAR TREK: VOYAGER and STARSHIP TROOPERS. Visitors can bring their demo tapes and questions on how to break into the computer animation business. For more information contact Fantasm 2001 at Web: http://www.fantasm.org.
U.S. Manga is sailing the first installment of the HARLOCK SAGA onto video, March 6, 2001. Leiji Matsumoto, the creator of STAR BLAZERS, created the series. "Clash of the Space Pirates" begins the voyage of noble space pirate Captain Harlock to return the ancient gods' stolen gold before the universe spirals into chaos. Volume 2: "Wrath of the Gods" and the HARLOCK SAGA DVD will hit video stores on May 8, 2001. The DVD will feature a behind-the-scenes featurette, character sketches, interview with the creator and two language tracks English and Japanese with English subtitles.
March signals the advent of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, which means spring cleaning and renewal. Whether you are working, unemployed or about to enter or re-enter the job market, here are some tips to make sure you are in shape for springing into action.
ATTIK, a leading all-media creative solutions firm, has named Monica Perez their new creative director at the San Francisco office. Perez replaces Simon Dixon who returned to England to assume the creative director role at ATTIK's British offices. Perez joined ATTIK in 1997 as associate creative director and has helped design spots for Microsoft, Ford, Nike, Adidas, Columbia/TriStar Pictures, Levi Strauss and LucasArts.
We take a look at how Klasky-Csupo used Toon Boom Technologies' USAnimation to deliver top quality animation for the film Rugrats in Paris...
Black Logic scratched and won for its new 30-second spot for the New York Lottery. In the spot, scratching an old jalopy turns it into a new sports car, a dribbling sprinkler becomes an ornate fountain, a small abode turns into a giant palace and a loveable dog gets instantly groomed. "The spot presented a double challenge, since two environments had to register accurately and yet be noticeably different so we could see the changes through the scratching," said director Michel Suissa.
iXL Digital Video has wrapped on a new spot for Tiger Electronic's robot dog, I-Cybie. In the 30-second commercial, i-Cybie appears before a futuristic backdrop of swirling colors, and as the camera rotates, the robot performs tricks. "The titles had to look flashy but not appear too frenetic, nor could they distract from i-Cybie," explains Doug Dimon, senior visual effects artist at iXL Digital Video Group. "I decided to use a short blast with a slow fade technique, throwing titles up very quickly with laser-like effect, then letting them drift away.
THE SIMPSONS skipped into the top twenty with a 9.8 rating/15 share. Tying with Sunday's DATELINE in 58th, KING OF THE HILL scored a 6.2 rating/10 share. At #75, FUTURAMA forged a 4.9 rating/8 share. THE PJS tied a rerun of THE JAMIE FOXX SHOW for 101st place, garnering a 1.9 rating/3 share. After being preempted last week, UPN aired GARY & MIKE and CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH twice this past Friday. The special 9 pm GARY ranked 109th with a 1.3 rating/2 share. The 8:30 pm airing of DEATHMATCH sunk in a 1.2 rating/2 share in 112th place.
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In a battle for first, THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE and HANNIBAL went toe to toe in Sweden and the U.K., with the cannibalistic cringer taking a good chunk out of the rest of the international box office. In Sweden, HANNIBAL knocked GROOVE out of the top spot with a gross of $1.02 million. GROOVE grabbed second, grossing $456,488, thereby lifting its Swedish cume to $1.44 million. Jumping up a spot to #7, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON floated $107,750, pushing its Swedish cume to $1.23 million. In ninth, CAST AWAY rescued another $90,711, raising its Swedish cume to $2.36 million.
India-based Pentamedia Graphics has agreed to buy California-based movie production company Improvision for US$19.8 million in stock. Pentamedia first teamed with Improvision as co-production and distribution partners for the animated film SINBAD: BEYOND THE VEIL OF MISTS. Currently, a sequel to that 3D motion-capture film is in production. Improvision's purchase will "help strengthen Pentamedia's pre-production and post-production skills and also its distribution reach in the United States," the company said.
The 20th Brussels Cartoon and Animated Film Festival - Festival du dessin animé et du film d'animation handed out its top European awards. There were prizes only for national films, because the international official selection is non-competitive. Because Brussels is the capital of Belgium, a country with two separate language-based communities, there are, of course, two national Grand Prixs.
UGO Networks, an online entertainment community company, announced that it closed a new round of funding worth US$23 million. Lead investors were GRP and Missouri-based Gryphon Holdings II, LLP Inc. and their investment partners.
Adam Sandler's feature foray into animation has dropped the controversial name. Originally titled, WHITEY & DAVEY, the feature will be distributed through Columbia TriStar under the new name ADAM SANDLER'S 8 CRAZY NIGHTS. Production on the traditionally animated film is being done at Sandler's Toronto animation studio Meatball Animation. Called a "Hanukkah musical," the toon centers on Davey, a pro basketball executive, who befriends an old-fashioned coach named Whitey. The toon is set to hit theaters on December 14, 2001.