The X-MEN are gaining more ground in international theatres with top seat debuts in France, U.K. and Brazil. In France, the superhero saga racked up an impressive US$5.83 million in its opening weekend. Holding steady at #2, Americas summer smash, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2, amassed another $2.65 million, bringing its French cume to $23.18 million. THE PERFECT STORM sank from first to fourth, with a gross of $2.33 million, raising its French cume to $6.77 million. Falling a spot to land in sixth, GLADIATOR garnered $861,846, advancing its French cume to $29.59 million.
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RKO Pictures has teamed with Phil Roman, CEO of Phil Roman Entertainment, to turn their vintage flicks into animated features. First, RKO chairman-CEO Ted Hartley and Roman will executive produce toon versions of SINBAD THE SAILOR (1946), BLACKBEARD THE PIRATE (1952) and the Three Musketeers film, AT SWORD'S POINT (1952). "Well make them kid friendly," Roman said about the interpretation of the RKO library. "Maybe have a kid as the main character. There is so many ways to adapt them and I dont want to have a formula. Each film is going to have its own challenges.
Nintendo announced on Friday that it would not release its next generation versions of Gameboy and next generation console unit, Gamecube, this year. This announcement marks a crucial hit for the company in the next generation console market, which was led off by the healthy debut of Sonys PlayStation 2 in Japan. The new Sony console looks to be a hot seller for the holiday season, with Sony set to raise ¥150 billion (US$1.4 billion) by selling bonds to keep up with the demand for the PlayStation 2.
Throughout the summer Cartoon Network has been airing a different pilot on Friday evenings, cumulating in the August 25-27, "Voice Your Choice Weekend." Viewers voted for their favorite pilot and the top three will become the next series on Cartoon Network. Surviving the length of the summer after being the first pilot broadcast, THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF BILLY AND MANDY was the top pick to join the channels 2001 schedule.
Joining the long line of celebs turning ideas into Webtoons, comedian D.L. Hughley is taking his edgy stand-up act to the Internet. The series, entitled LET ME HOLLER @ YA, will feature animated segments ranging from 30 seconds to 4 minutes from the comedians stand-up act. Unlike deals such as Kelsey Grammers with MediaTrip which gives the actor stock in the Website, @ YA is part of the marketing campaign to promote Hughleys sitcom, THE HUGHLEYS, move from ABC to UPN.
On Friday, August 25, 2000, cartoonist Carl Barks, who reinvented the fowl-mouthed Donald Duck into an endearing Everyman on the comic book page, passed away. He died at his home in southern Oregon of leukemia. He was 99 years old. Barks started his association with the Walt Disney Co. in the early 1930s as an in-betweener and then moved over to the story department to write gags for many of the early Donald Duck cartoons. In 1943, he moved over to Western Publishing, which published Walt Disney comic books, to draw the Donald Duck segments for WALT DISNEY COMICS & STORIES.
On August 26, 2000, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences held its creative awards ceremony, which featured many of this years animated prizes. The big winner this year was the BBC/Discovery special WALKING WITH DINOSAURS. With special effects by the Framestore, DINOSAURS walked away with the awards for outstanding animated program more than one hour, outstanding special effects in a miniseries, movie or special and outstanding sound editing. To no ones surprise THE SIMPSONS won for outstanding animated program for one hour or less for the "Behind The Laughter" episode.
Toon In is AWN's guide to what's new on the Net. This week's installment features a short from Bill Plympton, a hilarious Webisode of BIRTHDAY PARTY and much, much more.
Get your Toon In: Web Animation Guide here!
Every week AWN's associate editor Rick DeMott highlights what he thinks is the top new toon in cyberspace in "Rick's Picks!"
Rick's Pick For Friday, August 25, 2000!
New York-based animation and design house, So! much, has created a 3D animated 30-second spot for MCI Worldcom and Blockbuster Video. The "FreeFlix Follies" campaign highlights the free movie bonuses of signing up for MCI with a send-up of vaudeville shows. The commercial reunites Abbott and Costello-like characters Seymour the Movie Ticket and Answer the Telephone, which were created for a previous spot by So! much three years ago. "Were really committed to marrying thoughtful, passionate design work with top-quality CG animation," says Jennifer Yeh, executive producer at So! much.
Quiet Man unzipped the tuxes of some penguins for a new Pepsi ad "Zoo," which introduces new lemon-flavored Pepsi Twist (currently being test marketed in Texas and Minnesota), and has some plucky penguins strip down to their Speedos to take a cooling dip in a pool. Quiet Man creative director and the spots visual effects director Johnnie Semerad used Discreet Logic Inferno software to remove the black from the penguins' bodies, and tack on new arms to allow the movements of a simulated striptease. "The key was to determine how to make the penguins look naked," said Semerad.
For feature films Martin Goodman is taking a look at this summer's
hits and misses. Gerard Raiti is figuring out why some cartoons don't
work as live-action adaptations and others do. Amid Amidi is
profiling feature films that have been released outside of the big
studios' theatrical machine. Plus, for a look into the Japanese
Munich, Germany-based H5B5 Media AG is looking for 3D ANIMATORS, an
ASSISTANT VFX-PRODUCER, DIGITAL MATTE ARTISTS, MODELERS, TEXTURING
ARTISTS and CHARACTER ANIMATORS as well as ALLROUNDERS for various
documentary, fiction and science-fiction productions. . . San Rafael,
California-based Artmaze, Inc., producers of media types such as
still images, panoramas, walk through animation and real-time 3D, is
looking for a 3D MODELER and a 3D TECHNICAL DIRECTOR. . . Fremont,
The M.P.S.C. Local 839 IATSE, the labor union for screen cartoonists
and CGI artists and technicians in southern California, has updated
their AWN page with the latest wage survey and August 2000 edition of
their newsletter, The Peg-Board...
The 5th edition of I Castelli Animati will take place in Genzano,
Italy, October 4-8, 2000. I Castelli Animati highlights animation in
all its forms from commercials to features films. The international
competition features the following prizes: grand prize "I Castelli
Animati," special jury prize, best debut short film, best European
short film, audience prize, the Fabrizio Bellocchio prize and best
non-narrative short film. The Italian competition will give a grand
Serving as the major animation festival in South America, Anima Mundi
has rolled out its list of winners for the 2000 competition in both
Rio de Janeiro and S Paulo...
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book,
"Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
Facets Video's fantastic animation inventory has been added to the
AWN Store! Over 3,000 new videos available worldwide! From popular
Disney titles and the Peanuts to surrealist animation from Eastern
Europe, from action-packed Japanese anime to animation created with
paper cutouts, sand, clay, puppets and computer technology, the
Facets Whole Toon Catalog is now available in the AWN Store. Betty
Boop, Fritz the Cat, Tex Avery, Looney Tunes Classics and more
Animation producers/directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman
("Anastasia," "Titan A.E.") have set out to expand their "Dragon's
Lair" game franchise into the land of Webtoons...
Classic Media, a newly created investment group featuring former Golden Books chief Eric Ellenbogen, former chairman of Universal Studios and CEO of Viacom Inc. Frank Biondi and producer Steve Tisch, agreed to purchase a 60% stake in Harvey Entertainment in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about US$30 million. Currently, it is unclear how the move will effect Harveys management structure, but Classic Media officials have said they will be active in company discussions.
The anime title, THE PROFESSIONAL: GOLGO 13 will be re-released on video. Hitting stores on VHS August 29, 2000, THE PROFESSIONAL follows hitman Duke Togo who has the cross hairs turned on him after he assassinates the son of a notorious industrial tycoon, Golgo. The film is based on the popular comic book series of the same name. Osamu Dezaki directed the film. The new release from Urban Vision Entertainment will have an English dubbed and English subtitled version, selling for US$19.95 and $29.95, respectively.
Europes top selling toy ACTION MAN has made it to American shelves. The entire Hasbro ACTION MAN toy line brings in US$300 million a year overseas and $1 billion in brand sales over the last five years. Various extreme sport versions of Action Man have hit the shelves along with his arch nemesis Dr. X. The figures range from $7.99 to $29.99. "Action Man has been huge overseas," said Perry Drosos, VP of U.S. marketing for ACTION MAN. "In fact, it has been the top-selling action figure line in Europe for several years. Right now, 80% of boys ages four to ten in the U.K.
Highlighted by a gala bash at the Hard Rock Café in Orlando, Florida on August 27, Stan Lee Media will unveil their new Webseries, THE BACKSTREET PROJECT, featuring superhero-likenesses of the singing group sensation, the Backstreet Boys. The promotional push will also include a marketing campaign, featuring CDs and action figure toys, at the Burger King restaurant chain. "We are thrilled that the Backstreet/Burger King promotion will be one of the largest promotions ever to support an Internet entertainment franchise," said SLM president and CEO, Kevin Williams.
Playboy TV is ready to unveil its newest TV series, the completely CGI animated satire/adventure, DARK JUSTICE. Debuting on September 3, 2000 at 10 pm, the 3D toon chronicles the exploits of Justina, a vigilante vixen who must dodge the pursuits of the law as she fights Metro Citys most dangerous villains. Adult filmmaker Michael Ninn directs the series. "Playboy's Dark Justice is the ideal animated series for Playboy TV," said Jim English, president, Playboy TV Networks Worldwide.