August Issue News Section
Time Warner-Turner Merger Approved and Fox to Take Over New World.
The recent merger/takeover mania in the American entertainment industry
continues apace as the Federal Trade Commission finally gave its approval
of the merger of Time Warner and Turner. The combination, besides creating
the world's largest entertainment company, will also include a host of animation
units that include Warner Bros. Feature Animation, Turner Feature Animation,
Warner Bros. TV Animation, Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Warner Bros. Classic
Animation, Fil-Cartoons and the Cartoon Network. In addition, there is Warner's
distribution deal with Chuck Jones and Turner Feature Animation's development
deal with Colossal Pictures. The merger also makes the Warner Bros. animation
library whole, as the rights to the pre-1948 cartoon are held by Turner.
At the same time as the FTC made its announcement, News Corp., which owns
Fox, announced a $2.5 billion takeover of New World Entertainment, whose
assets include New World Animation and Marvel Films Animation. The deal
gives Fox an in-house television animation capability (it already has a
feature animation unit); Fox is the most successful terrestrial broadcaster
of animation, with its Fox Children's Network and The Simpsons in
prime time. (Although Fox has an interest in The Simpsons, its actual
production is handled by Film Roman.)
Disney Will Distribute Japanese Animation. Walt Disney Studios and
Japan's Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co. have formed and alliance for the international
distribution of animated product from Tokuma's Studio Ghibli. The catalog
will include eight animated features by Hayao Miyazaki, whose films include
Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro (which had
considerable success in the US in its video release), as well as rights
to distribute his next film, Princess Mononoke. One of Japan's most
famous directors, Miyazaki's films regularly outdraw such Disney films as
Aladdin and The Lion King at the box office. Disney organization
has long admired his work, but Miyazaki had previously shunned the studio's
offers and said that recent Disney films lacked "decency." He
has also been approached by Fox and Warner Bros., but in the past has shunned
efforts to promote his films abroad, as he was wary of changes that might
be made by foreign distributors. At a news conference in Tokyo, Miyazaki
said he agreed to the deal to help Tokuma, which had backed him from his
Prime Time Emmy Nominations Announced. The nominees for best "Animated
Program (for Programming One Hour or Less)" were: Cow and Chicken
in No Smoking (Pilar Feiss, director, for Hanna-Barbera/Cartoon Network),
Dexter's Laboratory (the series) (Gennedy Tartovsky, executive producer,
and Craig McCracken and Paul Rudish directors, for Hanna-Barbera/Cartoon
Network), Duckman (Klasky Csupo/USA Network), A Pinky & the
Brain Christmas Special (Rusty Mills for Warner Bros. TV Animation/Amblin)
and The Simpsons (Bob Anderson, director, for Film Roman/Gracie Films).
The nominees for "Individual Achievement in Graphic Design and Title
Sequences" are: Caroline in the City (NBC), Central Park
West (CBS) and Discovery Journal (Discovery Channel). In addition,
Peter and the Wolf, an animated special made for ABC which utilized
character designs by Chuck Jones, was nominated in the category of "Children's
Program (Area Award).
Also, a bit belatedly, we would like to report that Lynn Smith: Method,
one of six episodes in the documentary series, Animated Women won
a regional Emmy for San Francisco/Northern California area, in the category
of "Cultural Affairs: Single Program from a Series." The series
was directed by animation historian Sybil Del Gaudio.
First Asia Computer Animation Festival (ACAF) to Debut in November.
The festival, to be staged at the Funan Centre, in Singapore, will be held
from November 22 to December 8, 1996. The sponsors anticipate some 600,000
people will attend the 17-day event. The objectives of the festivals include:
Providing a forum to display state-of-the-art technology; help build a computer
animation industry in Asia; and increase Asia's animation standards through
competition. For more information about the festival, which hopes to be
an annual event, contact Raymond Neoh, the event's organizer, at email@example.com.
CST Entertainment To Buy Toon Unit. CST has signed a letter of intent
to acquire the production services division of Hollywood's USAnimation which
does digital ink-and-paint work(The Simpsons, Ren and Stimpy, The New
Adventures of Jonny Quest )and has developed software tools for various
types of animation work. CST does colorization, color correction for a number
of studio and production clients.
Saban Signs Deal With Germany's ARD TV Network. A three year, $50
million co-production and library program licensing agreement has been signed.
ARD will co-produce 6 children's series amounting to 182 half-hours with
Saban Entertainment, of which two shows are new--Jim Button and Night
of the Wishes--from renowned German author Michael Ende. In addition,
ARD will acquire 390 half-hour episodes of exisiting children's TV programs
and 30 telefilms.
Betty Boop: The Definitive Collection Arrives In Stores This Fall.
Produced by animation historian Jerry Beck and distributed by Republic Pictures,
this 8 volume set features a collector's edition library case with a special
introduction from Richard Fleischer, the son of animation pioneer Max Fleischer.
Betty, who has delighted audiences for over 65 years, has enjoyed many adventures
included in this special collection of 115 original cartoon shorts.
Overview Of Manga Sheds New Light On Japanese Culture. Acknowledged
Western expert, Frederick Schodt, explains just how pervasive Japanese comics
are in Japan and how influential they are in his new book, Dreamland
Japan: Writings on Modern Manga. In this tome about this Japanese obsession,
Schodt ponders the future of manga drawn with computer and discusses the
influence of manga on US comics. Available in stores now for $16.95. from
Stone Bridge Press.
ANIMHA 96 Celebrated Throughout The Year In The UK. ANIMHA 96 is
a community-based animation film project taking place in the Northern Arts
Region as part of the centennial celebrations of the birth of the movies.
It's aim is to celebrate this by uniting people through animation. It plans
to link the region through a series of film production workshops, in which
many communities are involved in animation process. Two key films are in
production: The Lambton Worm, a modern interpretation of a traditional
North East folktale, and Tales from the Pit, produced in Seaham,
Co. Durham, in the heart of the famous East Durham Coal field, in which
retired miners have created a new world of colliery characters. For further
information, contact Mike Booth, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AnimAction Announces Second Annual Animation 500. On November 2,
1996, in Los Angeles, California, AnimAction will host this fundraising
event for BRIDGES, their animation and interactive multimedia training program
dedicated to helping artists realize their dreams in a career in animation.
Animation 500 is an animation "production race" in which teams
work together with interns for up to 9 nine hours to produce 20 seconds
of an animated short. By day's end, the team's animation is projected at
a Gala Screening. For more information call (310) 260-4891.
The following items are from AWM's July 7, 1996 Email News Flash:
Marvel Super Heroics To Continue On Fox Kids Network. In the deal,
Fox is believed to have secured the rights to major Marvel comic book characters
including Caption America, Daredevil and Silver Surfer, who is already slated
to have a series on the Fox Children's Network in September 1997. Fox, who
currently airs X-Men by Saban Entertainment and Spider-Man
from Marvel Entertainment Group, has guaranteed Marvel it will produce a
minimum of 52 episodes of programs based on at least four Marvel properties
during the 7-year term of the deal.
Cartoon Network Will Have "Cow" With H-B Premiere. Cow
and Chicken, the Cartoon Network's second animated series will premiere
on the next year. Thirteen half-hour programs have been ordered of the show,
which follows the antics of a surreal pair of siblings of different species;
the first half hour,"I Am Weasel," will be animated by David Fiess.
The series follows the first "World Premiere Toons" show, Dexter's
Laboratory, which was launched in April. The network will also introduce
the new Real Adventures of Johnny Quest this August.
Hearst Establishes Entertainment Licensing Unit. William Jemas, Jr.
to head this new unite that will concentrate on merchandising and consumer
product licensing related to Hearst's television programming and feature
films. Among the Entertainment Licensing unit initial activities will be
the merchandising and licensing of Paramount's recently-released The
Phantom and the upcoming Prince Valiant, as well as for the animated
TV series Flash Gordon, which makes its debut this fall in national
Turner, Subway Tango On Cat's Don't Dance. Turner Home Entertainment
has locked up a licensing deal with Subway Sandwiches and Salads for Turner's
first animated feature Cats Don't Dance, produced by David Kirshner and
Paul Gertz. Subway will be launching a 4 to 6 week kids meal program to
coincide with the film's debut in March 1997. The promotion will appear
in up to 12,000 restaurants worldwide with a yet-to-be-determined premium
Sarandon, Class6 Interactive Ink For CD-ROM. Academy Award winner
Susan Sarandon, will be involved with TechToons Ltd. to narrate the upcoming
CD-ROM release, Cosmo's Rocket. The disc, slated for fall release,
tells an original story of a boy, his dog and his inventions. Class6 Interactive
has also signed an exclusive production deal with former Ren and Stimpy
animators, Ted and John Mathot. The pair is wrapping up work on an upcoming
Class6 game, Creature Crunch, due out next month.
Interactive CD-ROM Teaches How To Draw Cartoons. Diamar Interactive's
new CD-ROM, How to Draw Cartoons, is based on the book Everything
You Ever Wanted To Know about Cartooning But Were Afraid To Draw, by
cartoonist Christopher Hart. Aimed at teenagers and adults who always wanted
to draw, it is designed to teach users the techniques of perspective, character
development, scene design, and color. The lessons include more than 800
illustrations and Hart cartoons. Christopher Hart has worked on the Blondie
comic strip and is a regular contributor to Mad Magazine. For more information
in the US, call 1-800-234-2627.
Back to the Table of Contents
The following items are from AWM's July 21, 1996 Email News Flash:
Welter New President In Saban's Overhaul. Michael Welter has been
named president of Saban Enterprises International, a new division of Saban
formed to manage the company's international licensing, merchandising and
promotional activities. Also, as part of the restructuring, Oliver Spiner,
senior vice president of Saban International, will now handle Welter's previous
operational duties out of the Saban Paris office. In addition, Eric Rollman,
previously senior vice president production, has been named executive vice
president of Saban Animation.
Cinar Production Help Increase Profits. Cinar reported profit of
C$3.3 million for the six months ending May 31, 1996, up from C$2.3 million
a year earlier. Production has brought Cinar's library to 750 half-hours
by year end. The new series include City Mouse, Country Mouse and
Ivanhoe (co-produced with France Animation for broadcast on the state-run
France 2 and TVOntario, the Ontario government' educational channel).
Fine-Tooning Global Animation Festival. The Animation Celebration,
scheduled for March 23-30, 1997 in Pasadena, California, will serve as an
umbrella event for two existing events: The Los Angeles International Animation
Competition (LAIAC) and ASIFA Hollywood's Animation Opportunities Expo,
as well as a new Animation Technology Trade Show and a slate of seminars,
exhibitions and symposiums.
The Real Adventures Of Jonny Quest Premieres In August On Cartoon Network.
Based on the 1960s prime time series, the new Hanna-Barbera animated
series, purportedly updated to the 1990s, will air in a Monday-Friday strip
on all three Turner Networks--the Cartoon Network, TNT and TBS.
Tracer And Holy Grail Games Ships. The latest CD-ROM title published
by 7th Level and developed by Future Endeavors of Canada, is now shipping
in the US for Window 95 at the suggested retail price of $29.99. Players
can choose from four "lifelike characters" to escape the Tracer
virus that's in hot pursuit. You must strategically place stepping stones
of like colors to create a path to the computer's inner sanctum--the data
core. You can go it alone or have up to eight players. Monty Python and
the Quest for the Holy Grail, based on the classic movie, is also shipping
and is available in stores now.
Sierra On-Line New Strategic War Game Now Available. MissionForce:
Cyberstorm, is a new simulation game which is said to be constantly
creating new battlefields, terrain and missions every time the game is played,
is now available for Windows 95 on 2 CD-ROMs for $59.95.
The following announcements were made at the recent VSDA (Video Software
Dealers Association) in Los Angeles, California:
Aladdin And The King Of Thieves Releases Direct To Video.
Robin Williams once again brings life to "the big blue guy", will
be available on August 13, and is the final chapter of the Walt Disney Video
trilogy that began with the 1992 box office hit Aladdin. In this
movie, Aladdin and Jasmine are finally married, but before they take their
vows, he embarks on a quest to find his long-lost father. Running time is
82 minutes and it is priced at $24.99.
Paramount Launches Nickelodeon Partnership With New Rugrats. Two
new-to-video titles, Rugrats Phil and Lil Double Trouble and Rugrats
Tommy Troubles each contain four cartoons; each video retails for $12.95
and are due on stores this October.
MGM/UA Acquires Rights To Pee-Wee's Playhouse. The first installment
of Pee-Wee's Playhouse volume sets will be released fourth quarter this
year. This Emmy award winning show includes such animated shorts as "Penny"
by Craig Barlett. MGM/UA will also release Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas
Special, in addition to four volumes of Pee-Wee's Playhouse episodes. Some
show titles are "Open House," Pee-wee Catches A Cold" and
"To Tell The Tooth."
Sony Music Video And MTV Release Beavis And Butt-Head Do Christmas.
Featuring America's favorite morons in their own twisted versions of
two holiday classics along with viewer letters to Santa Butt-Head. In "Huh-Huh
Humbug" a Scrooge-like Beavis is visited by the ghost of Christmas
past, present, and future. In "It's a Miserable Lie," Charlie
the Angel is sent down from heaven to show Butt-Head how much better life
would be without him. Beavis and Butt-Head Do Christmas arrives in
stores this October.
Brøderbund Software Announces Next Generation Of Carmen Sandiego.
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Where in the USA is
Carmen Sandiego?, will feature 360 degree panoramas from over 50 countries
and 50 states as walking tours and extensive electronic databases that include
videos, photographs and short essays from National Geographic as well as
flags and geopolitical maps. This next generation will ship this Fall for
approximately $45 - $50.
Mr. Bill's Christmas Special Releases On Video For Holiday Season.
Anchor Bay Entertainment and Sluggo Broadcasting System offers this clay
animated holiday special, written, directed, and produced by Mr. Bill's
creator Walter Williams. This 30 minute video features all his friends set
in the Play-Doh patriarch's home on Christmas Eve while taking on all the
Yuletide standards. Suggested retail price is $9.99.
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