A week after the Super Bowl cut its numbers greatly, THE SIMPSONS rebounded with an outstanding 27th place finish, garnering a 9.8 rating/15 share. KING OF THE HILL climbed into 59th place with a 6.4 rating/10 share. At #79, FUTURAMA beamed down a 4.9 rating/8 share. Lifting itself out of WB's ratings basement a little, THE PJS finished in the 106th slot with a 2 rating/3 share. However, UPN's GARY & MIKE sunk further into the cellar with a 1.6 rating/3 share. Its Friday night toon partner, CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH placed 121st, with the worst rating of the week for UPN, a 1.3 rating/2 share.
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Around the globe, CAST AWAY remains at the top of the international box office. In Germany, CAST AWAY claimed the top spot with a gross of $4.99 million, lifting its three-week total to $17.74 million. In second, VERTICAL LIMIT made its German debut with a gross of $2.51 million. BEDAZZLED bewitched third place, grossing $1.88 million, raising its German cume to $3.09 million. In fifth, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON amazed audiences to the tune of $624,096, elevating its German cume to $1.88 million. At #6, UNBREAKABLE secured another $570,085, bringing its German cume to $12.52 million.
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Realviz recently announced that it has completed a third round of financing worth 10 million euros (US$9.39 million). The money will help with the future development of the company and their products. This new fundraising will enable Realviz to finance their international expansion programme in the U.S.A., Europe and Asia, as well as to finance a new Internet solutions business unit.
Microsoft has signed a deal with Lego to create games for its upcoming next-generation console, Xbox. As part of the deal, Lego will also create online activities for the children's section on Microsoft's Websites. Financial terms were not released. In recent years, Lego has aggressively moved to leverage its multicolored interlocking building bricks franchise into new technology. Lego-produced CD-Roms have proven successful and Lego Mindstorms are high-tech robots that utilize microcomputers.
Irvine, California-based Interplay Entertainment has obtained the gaming rights to Warner Bros.' hot sci-fi property, THE MATRIX. No financial terms were released, but some analysts project them to be upwards of US$8 10 million. Laguna Beach, California-based Shiny Entertainment has already signed to develop at least one title from Interplay's license. The first game expected to hit shelves is a 3D third person action/adventure title for the PlayStation 2. The release of the game will most likely coincide with the theatrical release of the MATRIX sequel in winter 2002.
Internal tensions have risen at embattled German media firm EM.TV & Merchandising over whether or not to accept German mega-firm Kirch Group's proposed bail out. CEO Thomas Haffa, whose family owns 50% of EM.TV shares, has been reported to favor the Kirch deal. Rumors have suggested that he even asked supervisory board chairman, Nickolaus Becker, to step down from his post. Becker along with other members of the board favor a deal with U.S.
California SUN International Animation Festival
* Saturday, March 24, 2001. Northridge, California, U.S.A.
Entry Deadline: February 25, 2001
* Friday, July 13 Monday, July 23, 2001. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Wednesday, July 25 Sunday, July 29, 2001. São Paulo, Brazil.
Entry Form Deadline: April 15, 2001
Films & Videos Deadline: June 1, 2001
At South Burlington's Imaging Lab, students learn the three "Rs" of Reading, 'riting, and Real-Time Rendering using Intergraph Computer Systems ViZual Workstations.
* Tuesday, March 6 Thursday, March 8, 2001. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
eStreaming World's goal is to connect streaming media producers with enterprise executives to help both parties generate revenue growth. Attendees can find producers who can enhance their company Websites and help move their business into the next level of Internet activity. For more information contact eStreaming World at: E-Mail: email@example.com; or Web: http://www.etvworld.com/estream/framestre.htm.
With live-action comedy THE WEDDING PLANNER and the debut of teen-horror flick, VALENTINE, taking the top two spots respectively, CAST AWAY floated into third for the second straight week, grossing another $7.47 million. The volleyball friendly film, with primary visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks, has accumulated $203 million to date. Jumping up yet another slot to finish fifth, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON rescued an additional $6.82 million.
The Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival has announced its winners. Michael Dudok De Wit's FATHER & DAUGHTER took home the award for best international animated film. Receiving the prize for best French animated short was Florence Miailhe's AU PREMIER DIMANCHE D' AOÛT. AtomFilms sponsored both of the animated short categories. The jury was comprised of Wasis Diop, Qu-Dok Hwang, Cédric Kahn and world-renowned director of AT THE ENDS OF THE WORLD Konstantin Bronzit. Over 136 films were in official competition from over 50 countries.
Sci-fi/horror entertainment Website Distant Corners has signed a deal to manage the online and licensing rights for the CREATURE FEATURES franchise. FEATURES is an upcoming HBO and Cinemax series, which will modernize versions of Samuel Z. Arkoff's 1950s classic monster movies. The first two films in the series will be THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED and WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST. The series is being produced by Lou Arkoff, Colleen Camp and Stan Winston, whose Stan Winston Studios will handle the visual effects.
On Friday, February 2, 2001, scandal plagued Cinar Corp. released their long-awaited reworked financial statements for the past four years. For the year ended November 30, 1998, the company lowered net earnings from CA$21.8 million (US$14.6 million) to $15.7 million ($10.5 million) and for the year ended November 30, 1997, $12.9 million ($8.6 million) to $6.6 million ($4.4 million). Retained earnings for the year ended November 30, 1996 were reduced from $22.4 million ($15 million) to $16.3 million ($10.9 million).
Internet entertainment destination iFilm has secured US$10 million more in financing. The new funds will keep the Website in operation well into the next year. New investors in the dotcom were Yahoo! and cable executives Marc Nathanson and Leo Hindery. Axiom Ventures, Eastman Kodak Co., Sony Pictures Entertainment and Vulcan Ventures were the returning investors. Officials at both iFilm and Yahoo! declined to give specifics about how the investment will change the two Net firms' relationship. However, negotiations are in full swing to have iFilm utilize Yahoo!
MIP TV (April 2-6, 2001, Cannes, France) is one of the premiere television conferences and markets in the world. The six-day event brings together production companies and distributors from all over the globe. The conference includes a vast array of panels and round-table discussions with some of the world's top professionals. MIP TV 2000 scored a hit with over 11,000 participants, representing 2,776 companies from 100 countries. The countries most represented in terms of stands were: France, US, UK, Canada and Germany.
CountingDown.com will roll out two animated shorts by directors Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard on Monday, February 5, 2001. Each of the two DREAM shorts will feature a personal introduction by the acclaimed directors and a shot by shot explanation of their own animated dream. PDI DreamWorks was hired to animate the shorts in Flash. The DREAMS will kick-off CountingDown.com's Theater, which will feature over 100 short films made by amateur filmmakers and USC film students, as well as parodies and spoofs.
The Brussels Animation and Cartoon Festival (February 21-March 3, 2001) has concocted an exceptional program for its 20th anniversary. 575 films were submitted for selection, a record number of entries. 113 of them have been selected, representing 19 countries. Belgium is well represented, with 24 entries. The complete list of selected films is now available on the festival Website.
Icebox president Gary Levine is shedding his coat at the struggling entertainment Website for warmer pastures at Showtime. Levine was the key player in Icebox selling its STARSHIP REGULARS series to Showtime as a live-action series. At the cable network, he will assume the role of executive VP of original programming, and therefore will oversee the production of STARSHIP from the other side. Before joining Icebox, Levine served as exec VP of creative affairs for Warner Bros. TV.