On Wednesday, March 29, 2000, Disney lobbyists helped deliver Gemstar's FCC complaint against the America On-Line and Time Warner merger to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Gemstar has agreements with TV stations in every market in the U.S., which allows the company to engrave program information into broadcast signals. VCRs equipped with Gemstar's VCR-Plus technology can then decode the signal, making it easier for users to record TV programming.
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Montreal-based CINAR Corp. has come to an interim deal with Globe-X Management, which halts the pending lawsuit against the investment firm. The agreement allows CINAR Corp. to look into investments made, without board approval, in Globe-X Management's affiliate Globe-X Canadiana. However, the deal does not finalizes the terms in which CINAR will be able to recover the nearly US$76 million invested in Globe-X. The lawsuit was filed on Monday, March 20, in an attempt to recover the funds, which were signed by former co-CEO Ronald Weinberg and senior executive VP Hasanain Panju.
The Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film was celebrated March 16-21, marking its 20th year in existence. The biannual festival presented a wide ranging programme, giving prizes worth 142,000 German marks (70,000 euros or US dollars) and enjoying a growth of 25% in the number of spectators. With approximately 42,000 spectators and some 500 films in the programme, Stuttgart calls itself, "The second largest animated film event world wide," a definition which might well be true. A new competition category this year was for feature animations.
* Friday, April 21 - Sunday, April 23, 2000. Toulon, France.
The 9th edition of the Cartoonist International Animated Film Festival & Market is expecting 30,000 participants, including production and distribution companies, as well as comic book and game companies. For more information contact Cartoonist M. Gilbert at: Residence du Port, Impasse St Dominique, 83000 Toulon, France; Tel.: ++ 33 (0) 4 94 03 12 67; or Fax: ++ 33 (0) 4 98 02 57 06.
With live-action film ERIN BROCKOVICH staying firm at #1, the new special effects enhanced action flick, ROMEO MUST DIE, finished at #2 in the U.S. box office. In its first week in release, the new Jet Li film brought home US$18.01 million. Opening in theatres Wednesday, March 22, the Warner Bros.' martial arts pic has made a total of $24.6 million. The teen terror pic, FINAL DESTINATION, stayed dead still at third, grossing $7.22 million. The New Line flick has made a total of $20.4 million in two weekends of release.
With the AOL merger coming near, Warner Bros.' Entertaindom.com employees are threatening walkouts and blackouts of the site. Reuters reported that staffers are angry with parent company Time Warner's lack of interest in Entertaindom as the America On-line deal is coming to a close. Hopes of Internet-made millionaires at the fledgling entertainment site were dashed when Time Warner called off the planned spin-off of Entertaindom as a public stock. In addition, the amount of previously agreed-upon Time Warner stock that Entertaindom employees will receive continues to drop.
Nelvana Limited has announced the introduction of Nelvana New Media, a new division that will focus on developing new applications, products and delivery channels for Nelvana's valuable character library. The new branch will create a children's Web entertainment site and interactive games based upon their characters for both CD-Rom and Internet distribution. "Nelvana New Media is an initiative that solidifies the future success of the Company," added Michael Hirsh, Nelvana Limited's co-chief executive officer.
On March 21, 2000, Macromedia, Inc. announced the formation of a venture unit to invest in companies that share Macromedia's vision of Web infrastructure and the interactive, multi-device, broadband Internet of the future. The unit's first investments include Spiderdance, Context Media and iHarvest Corporation. Spiderdance, with branches in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New Jersey, develops a software system that synchs the Web with TV broadcasts.
The executive producer of STUART LITTLE, Stephen Waterman, has signed on to exec produce the new animated feature STARCARS, a co-production between Korean-based entertainment conglomerate Ameko Entertainment Company Ltd. and Hyper Image LLC, an American animation studio specializing in sci-fi CGI. Dong Chung, COO of Ameko will co-executive produce the project. "I am genuinely excited about taking animation beyond the next level and into a new universe," Waterman said.
Todd McFarlane Entertainment (TME) has agreed to work with Jodie Foster's production company, Egg Pictures, on a new film, THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS. ALTAR BOYS, directed by Peter Care and featuring Foster in a supporting role, tells the tale of a group of Catholic school friends who are caught drawing an obscene comic book. TME will produce the animation segments for the film, which is set to begin shooting in May.
Giant Studios' Motion Reality system has been selected as the technology of choice for motion-capture services on the highly anticipated New Line Cinema feature film trilogy, THE LORD OF THE RINGS. New Line Cinema has signed Wellington, New Zealand-based Weta, Ltd. to handle the visual effects, and Weta has named Giant Studios as the exclusive motion-capture resource for all three films.
On March 24, 2000, Joe Cartoon Co., the producers of popular Web toons FROG IN A BLENDER and LEMMINGS, was awarded a preliminary injunction against John Zuccarini for cybersquatting. The court order bars Zuccarini from using or endorsing the use of the domain names joescartoon.com, joecarton.com, joescartons.com, joescartoons.com, cartoonjoe.com and any other derivative of Joe Cartoon Co.'s joecartoon.com URL.
India-based company Colorfront has announced the release of their high-end colour correction tool color*star. color*star is the industry's first plug-in for digital film grading, advanced selective colour correction and creative look-creation running on Discreet's high-end visual effects and editing systems. The plug-in currently runs on inferno*, flame*, flint*, effect* on O2, fire* and smoke* systems from Discreet. Colorfront has recognized the convergence of film, HDTV and video to the 1080p/24 Universal Mastering solution and have standardized color*star's workflow in this format.
The Harvey Entertainment Company and Felix the Cat Productions have come to a new corporate agreement to bring Harvey characters to Latin America. Harvey Entertainment has appointed Felix the Cat Productions, Inc. as their exclusive licensing agent for Latin America. In turn, Donald Oriolo, president & CEO of Felix the Cat Productions, and the other heirs of Casper creator Joseph Oriolo have turned over to Harvey all rights and claims to the trademarks and copyrights of the Casper character.
On Thursday, March 16, 2000, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced its nominations for the Daytime Emmy Awards. The 27th annual event highlights the best in daytime television where animation makes much of its home. Besides the specific categories for animation, animated TV series have a strong presence in various other areas of recognition. BLUE'S CLUES racked up nominations for Outstanding Directing In A Children's Series, Outstanding Pre-School Children's Series and Outstanding Writing In A Children's Series.
Shockwave.com has finalized an exclusive deal with Oscar and Emmy award-winning director, producer, screenwriter James L. Brooks' Gracie Films to create animated programming. Gracie Films and Brooks, whose credits include executive producer of THE SIMPSONS, THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and TAXI, will hold complete artistic control over the characters and properties created for shockwave.com. "We couldn't be more pleased about being in business with Gracie Films," said Rob Burgess, chairman of shockwave.com. "Jim's creative talent and versatility has entertained so many of us for so long.
At the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Oscar Awards on Sunday, March 26, 2000, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA by Alexander Petrov won for best animated short film. "Having been nominated twice before, now I can look at this award without irony," Petrov said. "I'm very happy to have received the Oscar as it has given THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA and my earlier films recognition. And like any artist I wanted to be first. I'm happy that the Academy has the category of animated short film, because it gives a chance to independent artists to show their work.