VanHook Studios, a Hollywood-based effects and animation house, has ventured into cyberspace with a new episodic program for whatsonweb.com. VanHook has worked on the visual effects for such features as MY FAVORITE MARTIAN and 13TH WARRIOR and TV series ALLY MCBEAL, ZENA, HERCULES and MAX STEEL. The first series to hit whatsonweb.com will be the fantasy series KIRA: THE CURSED, staring adult film star Kylie Ireland. "Kylie is a great choice for us. Not only is she a wonderful actress, with great screen presence she also has an enormous and incredibly loyal fanbase.
Category: Internet and Interactive
The troubled Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) has closed up shop. Nearly one week after its relaunch, DEN execs laid off 150 employees stating that the low money flow could no longer support the company in its present form. The employees were informed of the news at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, May 17, 2000. The final straw that broke the camels back was this weeks decline from a key investor to supply additional funding. The Netcaster has been plagued with problems from the start.
Digital Entertainment Network (DEN), a Gen Y-targeted Netcaster, has relaunched its site. The new version has a slicker look and features a Flash comic strip called CRIME TIME. Director, producer and writer Steve Oedekerk (ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE) has also signed a deal to bring his Thumb.com content to the site, which includes WORLD THUMB WRESTLING. In the next 60 days, DEN plans to relaunch the Flash animated THE FAT KID NETWORK.
Wild Brain, Inc. announced that the animation studio is producing a slate of original Web shows for the Cartoon Network On-line. The 15 Webtoons will air on both of the companies' Internet channels. The two companies have worked together before, most recently on EL KABONG, a Cartoon Network retro TV short featuring the famous 1960s cartoon character, Quick Draw McGraw. Reflecting Cartoon Network's wide array of animated genres, Wild Brain's 15 new creations will vary in terms of art-direction, character design and overall tone.
Honkworm International, a leading producer of original on-line entertainment content, has unveiled three new animation projects at the Cannes Film Festival. Each title will consist of no less than 20 Webisodes, ranging from two to six minutes in length. Honkworm executive VP of content Chris Cobb said, "We approach each of our short-form series from a filmmakers perspective, for us, first and foremost, it's about storytelling.
With the Internet becoming a place for strange bedfellows, veteran actor George Hamilton has joined Stan Lee Media as their new president of global branded entertainment. Hamilton will be responsible for signing new Hollywood talent and provide voice work for animated programs. In addition, Hamilton will develop an on-line lifestyles magazine that may have cross-over hopes in television. Hamilton is a proven business man running a successful bar and restaurant chain, production company and cigar brand.
Tom Snyder Productions announced that it has signed a deal with Shockwave.com to create, develop and produce three original shows for the Internet. Each of the three shows will debut over the summer with eight two-minute episodes. The first of the new Webisodes is EXTREMELY RELAXED FLIGHT CONTROL TOWER where a sensitive consultant tries to help air traffic controllers relax on the job. O'GRADY HIGH follows alien invaders who have minimal effects on teens. The third toon, CLEAR!, centers on an inner city emergency medical crew that works hard at avoiding emergencies.
Mondo Media's weekly Web toon, THUGS ON FILM, will hit BBC America's summer primetime line up. Mondo, a leader in Web content production, also announced that bbcamerica.com will air THUGS ON FILM which will include a co-branded show introduction and a special launch page on the bbcamerica.com Web site. The pact also includes a Mondo/BBC America co-production, which will create two brand new animated characters exclusively for BBC America and bbcamerica.com. THUGS ON FILM is a film review show hosted by Cecil and Stubby, two English hoods.
The convergence between the Net and TV gets narrower as KING OF THE HILL steps into the game in a big way. On Sunday, May 14, 2000, Fox will air an episode of KING where Peggy Hill is lured into making an inspirational video about her long time embarrassment her big feet. However, the shifty photographer just posts Peggys plus-sized piggys on a fetish Web site called peggysfeet.com.
Popular syndicated cartoonist Rich Moyer and Celluloid Studios has exploded onto the Web with a new entertainment site called Bunny Grenade. Celluloid Studios executive producer Olivier Katz will oversee the new Net company as executive producer. Rich Moyer is known for his one panel comic strip ICK, which he has now left to focus on Bunny Grenade. Moyer said the main reason for coming to the Web is the chance to "connect with the audience and get them more involved.
The two guys behind Nova Scotia-based RDAStudio's TALES OF IRTH have signed a deal to produce the Flash animated series for DreamWorks and Imagine Entertainment's new Web venture POP.com. About a year ago, Robert Leth, 47, and Frank Forrestall, 27, started working together to bring Forrestalls fantasy TALES OF IRTH to the Web. POP.com has been actively searching the Net for intelligent and forward thinking Webisodes to bring to POP.com. Jamie Tosi, head of Flash animation at POP.com said to AWN, "TALES OF IRTH is very sophisticated, but with a subtle humor.
Ben Stein, the host of Comedy Central's hit gameshow WIN BEN STEIN'S MONEY, will have his own animated gameshow on Shockwave.com. Stein has signed a deal with Shockwave to create an on-line game, a series of e-greeting cards and a daily poll for Shockwave visitors. The single and multi-player game asks questions which Stein calls knowledge --rather than trivia -- based. Stein will have a toon likeness helm the show and sponsors of the series will offer the prizes.
On March 21, 2000, Activision, Inc. released the highly anticipated TONY HAWK'S PRO SKATER for the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color. The game features a sophisticated yet easy-to-learn trick and combo system that allows players to perform hundreds of combination moves in an effort to become the highest-rated skater. Gamers choose from Tony Hawk and other nine top-ranked skaters as they thrash real-world tracks, performing signature tricks.
Based on the forthcoming release of 20th Century Fox's futuristic animated feature film, TITAN A.E., Fox Interactive announced its plans to develop the TITAN A.E. game for PlayStation. Fox Interactive is banking on the sci-fi feel of the film to translate easily to the gaming world. "We're raising the level of excitement for the film and inviting fans to embark on their own TITAN adventures through the game," said Dave Shaw, executive director of Worldwide Brand Marketing. "Titan A.E.
Will Vinton Studios will be offering home video titles from their library on their Web site www.vinton.com. The Academy Award winning CLOSED MONDAYS, The California Raisins and the Mr. Resistor collection will all be available on the site. Additional titles, as well as Will Vinton merchandise, will be added to the site in the months to come.
Rumpus.com is readying their 45-minute Internet epic HERSHEL HOPPER, NEW YORK RABBIT. The kids animation destination will broadcast the film featuring their Hershel Hopper character on Easter Sunday (April 23, 2000) at 3 pm. The film follows the mishaps of Hershel as he is unwittingly shipped to New York City. Currently, Rumpus is airing a music video previewing the adventure. The Webpic features the voice talents of Jason Priestley, Brad Renfro, Brendan Sexton III, Sean Thomas and former New York City mayor Ed Koch.
Aardman Animations will be releasing Darren Walsh's ANGRY KID on the Internet at AtomFilms. The first 60-second episode of ANGRY KID will be available for download midnight on Sunday, May 7, 2000 at a specially developed Angry Kid spotlight on the AtomFilms site at www.angrykid.com. "We believe the Internet could very well prove to be one of the most exciting platforms for entertainment distribution," said Dave Sproxton, co-founder and managing director of Aardman.
The newest trailer for Disney's upcoming CGI epic DINOSAUR has hit the Web. The trailer, which runs 2 minutes, 26 seconds and offers new footage from the film, was available on the Internet for one week prior to its nationwide debut in theaters on March 10, 2000. Richard Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group said, "Premiering the new DINOSAUR trailer on the Internet is a great way to bring this fantastic film to a large cross-section of moviegoers.
Cartoon Network will bring The Banana Splits -- Fleagle, Drooper, Bingo and Snorky -- to the Web. The original live-action variety show, THE BANANA SPLITS ADVENTURE HOUR, was produced by Hanna-Barbera and Sid & Marty Krofft, and appeared on NBC from 1968-1970. The show featured music by The Splits, and introduced serialized cartoons such as THE ARABIAN KNIGHTS and THE THREE MUSKETEERS. In this updated version, The Splits are transformed by a Magic Machine into animated personas. Each of the characters goes on their own adventure before they all meet up again in the final episode.
Abacus Software, Inc. has release a new add-on for Microsoft's COMBAT FLIGHT SIMULATOR called BEHIND ENEMY LINES. The fictional voice-accompanied adventure takes you into the heart of Axis Germany. Players volunteer to fly a critical mission for the Allies. After sneaking behind enemy lines, one must follow the voice instructions from the mission commander or from secret agents. BEHIND ENEMY LINES features 30 new missions, 16 for the RAF and 14 for the Germans, and 3 new aircraft: the Supermarine Spitfire MkIX, the Schweizer 2-32 glider and an UltraLight. The game is priced at US$29.99.
Shockwave.com, a leading Internet entertainment destination, has launched the next generation of its award-winning site. The new home page is designed to have a "virtual" home theater look. Visitors entering the site encounter a home living room environment where entertainment consoles appear on the screen and invite Net surfers to watch shorts, play games or listen to music. Users may choose from several themes to create their preferred overall look and feel of the home page.
Japanese trade officials have placed trade restrictions on Sony's PlayStation 2 because of concerns that the gaming system could be used for a military processor. The fear is due to PlayStation 2's high-speed graphic processing. Theoretically, the processor could be removed from the console and used in missile guidance systems. For example, a missile like a Tomahawk needs to locate its destination as it flies through the air and use high-speed graphic processing to pinpoint its target.
Eruptor.com has launched their new live-action/animated series, JONNI NITRO. The Web series stars Olivia d'Abo (TV's THE WONDER YEARS) and Thomas Jane (DEEP BLUE SEA). The show is being directed by comic book artist Marc Silvestri. The series follows femme fatale, Jonni, as she tries to bring justice to a world that's not as black and white as it appears. "Getting to watch such a talented animator make another art form come to life, is a real honor," said Brad Foxhoven, Eruptor's Co-Founder, President and CEO.
Jim Henson Interactive (JHI), the interactive division of The Jim Henson Company, released the first of a series of MuppeToons on its Muppetworld Web site. This collaboration between Pulse Entertainment, The Jim Henson Company and its award-winning Jim Henson's Creature Shop will feature the first 3D version of Kermit the Frog and Fozzie the Bear.
Two new shorts from Spunky Town have set down on Shockwave.com. Two episodes of THE BEATLESS, "Zombies of Love" and "Beat Less the Devil," have come to the Netcaster. The series follows three of the world's worst rockers who investigate paranormal activity. Also premiering on Shockwave is HIX HOLLAR, USA, a new comedy cartoon about a suburban family's move to a farm town.