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Walt Disney Studios has promoted Dean Hallett to executive VP and chief financial officer. Hallett, an 11-year veteran of Disney, previously served as senior VP and chief financial officer of the studio. He assumed that role in April, following the departure of Rob Moore. Hallett will continue to oversee all financial, strategic and operational aspects of the firm. As executive VP, he will help develop and expand strategy and management. Hallett joined Disney in 1990 as a manager in the corporate management audit department.
Gillian Samuels has joined Digital Pictures as marketing director and executive producer. In the new role, Samuels will oversee the development of the firm's brand, capitalize on new and existing markets and help expand their design and high-end visual effects capabilities in both television and film. Previously, as director of marketing and client services at Garner MacLennan Design, Samuels was responsible for the marketing and developing of the Broadcast Design division.
Spontaneous Combustion helped bite off the heads of Pepperidge Farms' Goldfish for a new ad campaign. Filmed by New York-based Chelsea Pictures, the campaign consists of one 30-second, a 20-second with a 10-second endtag, and a 15-second ad. The spot begins with CG goldfish swimming and diving through a page of sheet music. As the fish start to swim throughout the room, live-action footage of kids and mothers munching on goldfish fill the scene.
Rhinoceros Visual Effects & Design has brightened up six 15-second spots introducing Colgate Total Whitening toothpaste. "Hearts" shows a toothpaste tube floating in a red space until heart-shaped balloons peel away from the background and float skyward revealing the new package in a stunning white environment. "Brightness" opens with the tube on the same red background, when a brightness adjustment bar pops up, goes haywire and turns the background again to white. These first two spots launched in the beginning of February with the others set to roll out in the upcoming months.
The Web3D Consortium has announced the Rich Media 3D (RM3D) initiative, which is developing an open standard to enable rich media content containing 3D graphics, video and audio to be sent over the Internet and used in broadcast applications. RM3D is intended to enable an emerging category of media-capable Internet and broadcast devices and appliances to receive and present advanced content optimally while simplifying the media authoring process.
Sony Computer Entertainment of America has recently installed a 16 M-Series Camera (MCam) Real-Time Vicon 8 system in their 5,000-square-foot motion-capture studio. The system, which can capture the nuances of multiple actors simultaneously, will be used in the development of games for Sony's new PlayStation 2 system. "Vicon 8 motion-capture technology is a state-of-the-art hardware and software system with no equal in the industry," stated Jason Parks, motion-capture manager, Sony Computer Entertainment America.
Comfortably remaining the top toon, THE SIMPSONS ranked #34, with an 8.8 rating/14 share. In a three-way tie for 63rd place, KING OF THE HILL pegged a 5.8 rating/10 share. Also in a three-way tie, FUTURAMA descended into the 78th slot with a 4.9 rating/9 share. Sinking into the WB basement, THE PJS piled up a 1.5 rating/3 share. However it was UPN's animated Friday line-up that proved the worst in toondom. GARY & MIKE placed 114th with a 1.4 rating/3 share and CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH placed 116th with a 1.3 rating/2 share. These ratings and shares represent primetime TV in the U.S.
Inkwell Images has purchased the only existing picture and sound negatives to a series of early Max Fleischer Bouncing Ball SONG CARTUNES. Inkwell purchased the prints from New York-based Movietronics film library. One title, MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME is one of the earliest attempts at animating dialog, as a black dog character mouths, "Follow the ball and join in, everybody!" Produced in 1924, they feature synchronized sound and are part of the Library of Congress' archives, however their prints are without soundtracks.
Imax Corp. has announced that due to a corporate restructuring it will lay off 130 of its 1,000 employees. The restructuring comes as a result of several theater-chains' recent bankruptcies, which has lowered the demand for large screen films. The company will consolidate its sound and projection systems manufacturing at its facilities in Mississauga, Ontario and will scale down film production at its studio in Birmingham, Alabama. Imax will take a first quarter 2001 loss as a result of restructuring costs.
* Wednesday, March 7, 2001. Brentwood, California, U.S.A.
TEAM X Awards highlight public service announcements on tobacco awareness created by students. The event is organized by the Los Angeles Unified School District and AnimAction, Inc. Thirty-three awards will be presented to middle school students. Sponsors include Kids WB!, Fox Kids, Cartoon Network, Disney and Toon Disney. For more information contact AnimAction at: Tel.: (323) 464-1181; Fax: (323) 464-1191; E-mail: email@example.com; or Web: www.animaction.com.
With it already grossing out audiences in the States, HANNIBAL has begun to take a slice out of the international box office. In Italy, the blood-thirsty thriller claimed the top spot with a gross of $5.65 million. In fifth, CAST AWAY floated an additional $679,996, raising its Italian cume to $12.78 million. CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON descended into sixth with a ticket-take of $529,624, lifting its Italian total to $1.14 million. In eighth, 102 DALMATIANS barked up another $284,555, bringing its Italian cume to $4.48 million.
ADV Films is releasing the first two volumes in the anime mini-series A.D. POLICE. This series is a spin-off of the widely popular BUBBLEGUM: CRISIS 2040 series. After a massive earthquake destroys Tokyo, high-tech robots are set forth to rebuild the metropolis, however when a widespread glitch begins a techno crime wave its the A.D. Police's job to save the city. Hitting stores on February 20, 2001, "Bad Blood" and "Love's Labor Lost" will sell for US$19.98 each.
Gobbling up tickets over the President's Day weekend, HANNIBAL remained the toast of the U.S. box office, grossing US$30 million. In merely ten-days at theaters, the cannibalistic caper, with primary visual effects by Mill Film, has scoffed down an amazing $103.9 million. Disney's TV series turned feature, RECESS: SCHOOL'S OUT placed third in its debut, freezing up $10.8 million. In turn, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON slipped to fifth, with a gross of $8.77 million.
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As a result of the impending bail out of EM.TV by KirchGroup, a top Kirch executive has assumed a role at EM.TV. Head of Kirch New Media Rainer Huether will replace Hans Peter Vreins as head of sales, and also assumes the role of deputy CEO. In addition, EM.TV's head of production Sylvia Rothblum has been asked to step down from her post. Moreover, Nickolaus Becker, head of EM.TV's supervisory board, has also stepped down.
Mainly an international showcase for live-action films, the Berlin Film Festival awarded the "Ours d'Or" award for best short film to Martine Chartrand's animated short L'AME NOIRE (BLACK SOUL). The film was produced by the National Film Board of Canada and tells the story of African people's migration through the Caribbean to America. The Berlin International Film Festival was founded in 1951 from an American cultural-political initiative and has become one of the foremost film festivals in the world.
The U.S. federal appeals court has upheld a 1998 ruling, which extended the length of copyrighted material another two decades. In a 2-1 ruling, the three judge panel ruled that Congress does have the right to extend the time of a copyright. The arguments against the ruling were brought forth by a group of individuals and companies dealing with public domain works stating that the extension infringed on their First Amendment rights.
Stan Lee Media, Inc. has announced that it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In a statement, CEO and president Kenneth Williams said, "After looking at all of the available options, management and the board of directors concluded that the best way to maximize the company's value is to seek to sell the company in a Chapter 11 proceeding. As previously announced, the company has been reviewing strategic alternatives for the company since mid-December, and in conjunction with this review has had discussions with a number of potential buyers and strategic partners.
AWN's Web Animation Guide is the place for what's new on the Net. In this week's installment a new ANGRY KID Webisode, another would-be POP.com toon is now on CountingDown, several Valentine's Day-themed shorts and much, much more!
Get your Web Animation Guide here!
Also every week AWN's associate editor Rick DeMott highlights what he thinks is the top new toon in cyberspace in "Rick's Picks!"
Curious Pictures has announced it has signed Noble Jones as a live-action/special effects director. Noble is renowned for his work directing commercials in far off places like South Africa and Switzerland for such clients as AT&T, Coca-Cola, MTV and Toyota. His music video for Wide Mouth Mason won awards for Best Cinematography at the Much Music Awards. "We have been aware of Noble for years," said Richard Winkler, executive producer, Curious Pictures. "His work took a quantum leap in the last year or so and the timing was right for both of us.
This month we take a look at one area of animation that has been showing enormous and steady growth. With game development on the rise and the emergence of new platforms, the gaming industry is rich with possibilities - not only economic but also artistic. Jacquie Kubin tells us why gaming is bigger than ever and how animators can bank on it in the future. Paul Younghusband discovers why Artworld UK is one of the leading, innovative gaming companies using digital images across several mediums for both continuity and profits.
Michel Welter has been named president of CinéGroupe International. In this newly created position, Welter will head the companys international corporate development efforts in addition to overseeing all aspects of international sales for the company including distribution, licensing and merchandising. Prior to coming to CinéGroupe, he was president of Saban Enterprises International, where he managed the worldwide licensing and merchandising activities of Saban Entertainment and developed new international ventures.