WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 3.10
- January 1999
1998: A Year to Remember
Unless you've been asleep for most of
the year, it's hard to miss how pivotal and important a year 1998 was
to the animation world. What you'll find below is not a comprehensive
listing of all the news, but rather the highlights and landmarks that
helped make this an animated year to remember.
Disarms General Chaos
in on 1998's animated features.
Title - Opening Date - Gross (as of 12/21/98)
for Camelot - (5-15-98) - $22,734,144
- (6-19-98) - $120,000,000
- (10-02-98) - $87,016,039
Rugrats Movie - (11/20/98) - $76,828,697
Life - (11/20/98) - $96,342,660
The Prince of Egypt - (12/18/98)
U.S. anime distributor Manga Entertainment
made a bold move this year
by introducing General
Chaos, a compilation of animated shorts meant to compete with
the long-running Spike & Mike animation festivals. However, the touring
film program proved unsuccessful, shutting down in the same year it started
and leaving the door wide open for Spike & Mike to continue their
Forays Into Features
Pictures announced their entry into the animation world by forming Universal
Pictures Animation and Visual Effects, co-headed by John Swallow and Doug
Wood. Their first project is an all-CGI Frankenstein animated feature.
composer Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast,
Aladdin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) entered a ten-year
contract with Walt Disney Studios to continue composing songs and/or scores
for animated and live-action films. [2/10/98]
Simpsons Go Silent
||The cartoon world went silent when Simpsons'
voice cast members - Hank Azaria, Dan Castellaneta, Harry Shearer, and
Yeardley Smith - demanded more money for their role in the show's successful
run. They ended up doubling their pay to $50,000 per episode with increases
for each subsequent season. Plus, each actor will receive a $1 million
bonus in the year 2005. [4/07/98]
|Toon Disney Launches
out the popcorn...
Upcoming Animated Features in
Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2 (Columbia TriStar).
Princess Mononoke (Miramax Pictures).
South Park: The Movie (Paramount).
The Gold of El Dorado (Dreamworks).
The Iron Giant (Warner Bros.).
The King and I (Morgan Creek).
Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of the Mists .
Toy Story 2 (Disney/Pixar).
|Toon Disney, Disney's 24-hour all-animation equivalent
to the Cartoon Network, launched on April 18 showcasing animation from
the Disney/ABC library. [4/15/98]
Opens Animal Kingdom
Disney's new 500-acre theme park, Animal
Kingdom, opened in Orlando, Florida on April 22. Many of the attractions
utilize state-of-the-art technology and animation such as "It's Tough
to be a Bug" and "Countdown to Extinction," while a number
of the stage shows are based on animated features like The Lion King,
Pocohontas and Jungle Book. [4/21/98]
Disney. All Rights Reserved.
|Sony Acquires Sunbow
||Sony Wonder, the kids and family entertainment division
of Sony Music, acquired animation production company Sunbow Entertainment.
The deal allows Sunbow to distribute Sony Wonder titles internationally
and have Sunbow products distributed under the Sony Wonder label domestically.
Ice Out in Orbit
||The making of Fox Animation Studios' second animated
feature, Planet Ice, is worthy of its own story. After numerous
directors, writers and production facility changes, it seems that the
animated sci-fi epic has landed in the capable hands of Fox's own Don
Bluth and Gary Goldman, responsible for the company's first feature, Anastasia..
|Max Howard Heads
After three years of heading Warner Bros. Feature Animation,
left Warners to produce an animated feature for competitor DreamWorks
Softimage to Avid
|Softimage, a 12 year-old animation and graphics software
company, which became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft in 1994,
merged with Avid Technology to form one integrated company. Microsoft
sold Softimage to Avid for $285 million. [6/17/98]
|Anime on Trial
||Are cartoons only for kiddies? A precedent setting
case got underway in France when the publishers/editors of AnimeLand,
an 8 year-old French magazine about animation, were put on trial charged
with corrupting the minds of children. The publishers
maintain that their publication, which features images from adult-oriented
anime, is aimed at and read by adults and not children. They must now
prove in court that an adult audience for animation exists. [6/17/98]
|Ottawa Breaks ASIFA
|The Ottawa International Animation Festival announced
that it is dissolving its 22-year relationship with ASIFA, the international
animation association, due to the organization's inability to respond
to the changing needs of the animation community and animation festivals.
|Dreamworks Ups the
Two beautiful animation art books that deserve
a spot on any fan's shelf are:
Two informative animation history books that
are must-reads for animation fans are:
* Mickey Mouse by Pierre Lambert (Hyperion).
* Batman Animated by Paul Dini and
Chip Kidd (HarperCollins).
* Cartoon Charlie: The Life
and Art of Animation Pioneer Charles Thorson
Enough, Folks: Black Images in Animated Cartoons, 1900-1960
DreamWorks/PDI's Antz was originally scheduled
to be released in March 1999, months after Disney/Pixar's A Bug's Life
hit theaters in November 1998. However, Katzenberg shocked everybody
by announcing he'd moved up the release to October 2, 1998. This clever
scheme helped give Antz an $80+ million U.S. gross. Of course,
this was followed by another stunning announcement: that Antz will
hit video on February 9, 1999 - a little more than four months after its
theatrical release. [7/1/98]
DreamWorks SKG. 1998
|Rich Cronin Headed
|Rich Cronin joined Fox as president and CEO of Fox
Kids Network and Fox Family Channel. Cronin was previously president of
Nick at Nite's TV Land. [7/14/98]
|Vital! Goes Lifeless
Vital! International Animation Festival
(formerly known as Cardiff) closed its doors due to financial losses incurred
during its latest edition in June 1998. The festival began more than 30
years ago in London. [8/26/98]
Pact with Fox
Writers Guild of America made a groundbreaking deal with Twentieth Century
Fox to cover writers working on prime-time animated shows including The
Simpsons, King of the Hill, Futurama, The PJs
and Family Guy. This agreement gives animation writers on
these shows the same benefits as their live-action counterparts. [8/19/98]
Autodesk Makes Discreet
constant in computer gaming is the high-quality animated games from
LucasArts. This year they gave us The
Curse of Monkey Island and Grim Fandango.
the parent company of Kinetix, a leading supplier of 3D software such
as 3D StudioMAX, purchased Discreet Logic, makers of editing and broadcast
production software such as inferno* and flame* in an ever-consolidating
software market. Earlier in the year, the two companies had announced
a product integration partnership foreshadowing this merger. [8/26/98]
Simpsons became the longest-running sitcom currently on television
with the start of their 10th season this past fall. Says creator Matt
Groening: "They [the writers] get the characters and they are creating
original stories that don't repeat what we've done or anything else I've
seen on television." [9/15/98]
Tom Sito, animation artist and M.P.S.C.
Local 839 president, left his post as head of story at DreamWorks
Feature Animation entering a one-year development deal with Warner Bros.
Feature Animation where he joined the Osmosis Jones feature team.
Says Sito, "Everyone thought they were down and out after Quest,
but I think Warner Bros. is a company that's going to surprise a lot of
Established in LA
Kids Network (BKN), scheduled to launch August 29, 1999, acquired Joe
Pearson's Epoch Ink Animation to establish BKN Studios. Under studio head,
Stephanie Graziano, BKN Studios will produce original shows like Roswell
days of Capitol Critters and Fish Police have passed
as primetime TV animation had a major rebirth this year. Networks,
that were no doubt influenced by Comedy Central's enormous success
with South Park, premiered and developed an unprecedented
number of primetime cartoons as shown below:
Bob and Margaret (Comedy Central).
Celebrity Death Match (MTV).
The Downtowners (WB).
Family Guy (Fox).
Home Movies (UPN).
Invasion America (WB).
Rex the Runt (BBC2).
Stressed Eric (NBC).
CEO of Fox Kids Network, Margaret Loesch, joined The Jim Henson Company
in February 1998 as president of the new Jim Henson Television Group.
In November 1998, she was named president and CEO of Odyssey cable channel
after an announcement that Hallmark and The Jim Henson Company had bought
a "substantial" stake in the network. After helping establish
Fox Kids Network as a leading kid's station in the mid-90's, she now has
the power and know-how to turn Odyssey from a primarily religious channel
into a more mainstream and popular wholesome network for these family-friendly
President Roth Resigns
Fox Entertainment Group President Peter
Roth resigned in November after a disappointing season for Fox Network's
television shows. Comedy Central CEO Doug Herzog, responsible for bring
South Park to Comedy Central, was the announced replacement. Regardless
of the changes, Fox network has made a serious commitment to animation
with five primetime animated shows on the schedule for 1999. [11/ 24/98]
- From the Ground Up
1998 was a big year for everything animation related --
including its buildings. In Burbank, California, Nickelodeon's "brand
spanking new" state-of-the-art animation studio opened, as did Disney's
new Frank Wells building. The studios will house TV animation units for
the respective companies. The classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons building
remained unused and abandoned as the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission
denied to grant Cultural-Historic Monument status to the time-honored
Hollywood building. DreamWorks animators moved into their lush new animation
studio in Glendale, California to continue producing animated features;
while they premiered their first traditionally animated feature, Prince
of Egypt, at the newly restored Hollywood Boulevard landmark, the Egyptian
Theatre. For comic book fans, the new comic-themed Marvel Mania restaurant
opened in Universal City, California serving up "Mutant Chicken Wings"
and "Chocolate Carnage."
by Rick Wilson, courtesy of Nickelodeon.
* "Backstage" for
Lipton Brisk Iced Tea. Production Company: Loose Moose, London.
* "Rocky" for Lipton Brisk Iced Tea. Production Company: Loose
* Best Children's Animated Program:
* Special Class-Animated Program: The New Batman/Superman Adventures
(Warner Bros. Television Animation).
|The Old Navy kids.
* Animated Theatrical Feature: Mulan
* Animation Primetime Program: The Simpsons (Gracie Films/Film
* Animated Daytime Television Program: The New Batman/Superman Adventures
(Warner Bros. Television Animation).
* Animated Television Commercial: "Flares/Big Pockets" (Old
* Animated Home Video Production: Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero
(Warner Bros. Animation).
* Best Animated Short: Geri's Game
* Best Achievement in Visual Effects: Titanic (Robert Legato,
Mark Lasoff, Thomas L. Fisher, and Michael Kanfer).
* Animated Series: The Simpsons
(Gracie Films/Film Roman).
* Music and Lyrics: The Simpsons, "You're Checkin In (A
Musical Tribute to the Betty Ford Center)" (Gracie Films/Film Roman).
* Voice-Over Performance: The Simpsons, Hank Azaria as Apu
Amid Amidi is Associate Editor of Animation
Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine
contributor by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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