Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have secured a star and director for the UNDERCOVER BROTHER feature. Based off the UrbanEntertainment.com cartoon series, the live-action film will star Eddie Griffin (MOD SQUAD) and Malcolm Lee (BEST MEN) will direct. The UNDERCOVER BROTHER Webseries was one of the first Webtoons to make the jump to film. John Ridley (THREE KINGS) signed a US$2 million deal to pen and executive produce the feature adaptation.
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Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies have announced that the third installment of the RUGRATS movie franchise will team the precocious tykes with the characters from Nick's THE WILD THORNBERRYS. Los Angeles animation house Klasky Csupo, who produces the TV versions of THE RUGRATS and THE WILD THORNBERRYS, will produce the feature film with Paramount distributing it. No release date has been set of yet. The second edition of the theatrical franchise, RUGRATS IN PARIS, now in theaters, has grossed US$60.5 million to date and reportedly cost only $30 million to make.
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The primetime animation champion once again was THE SIMPSONS at #25 with a 9.7 rating/15 share. CBS' Tuesday 8 pm broadcast of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER placed #38 with an 8.3 rating/13 share. In a two-way tie for 46th place, KING OF THE HILL garnered a 7.5 rating/12 share. The Wednesday 8 pm SIMPSONS special tied three ways for #64 with a 5.6 rating/9 share. ABC's Saturday 8 pm airing of MICKEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL sung home a 4.3 rating/8 share. On Friday at 8:30 pm on ABC, DOT COMEDY, featuring Webtoons from BunnyGrenade.com and Oxygen.com, netted a 2.8 rating/5 share.
CHARLIE'S ANGELS is still kicking at the international box office, but HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS and DINOSAUR are knocking on the door. The premiere of ANGELS in Germany knocked THE GRINCH out of the top spot with a gross of $4.1 million. THE GRINCH fell to second with a ticket take of $1.98 million, elevating its German cume to $4.58 million. In its third week in Germany, DINOSAUR slipped to third with gross of $1.7 million, advancing its cume to $9.52 million. In fourth, THE CELL captured another $1.58 million, pushing its German cume to $4.52 million.
Disney's DINOSAUR was released without any restriction in Italy and is gaining quite a bit of heat over the violent content. The film was released on December 1 with a suitable-for-all-ages rating, spurring complaints from parental associations like Italy's Parents Movement, child psychologists and government agencies like the Special Senate Commission for Infants. Currently, Italy has three rating levels: suitable-for-all-ages; under 14 not admitted; and under 18 not admitted.
The Turkish government has taken the next step in its fight against the cartoon POKEMON. Broadcasting officials ordered the privately owned ATV network to shut down for a day as punishment for airing an episode of POKEMON. The move came under a law that bars "broadcasting that could affect children's and teenagers' physical, emotional and ethical development negatively." This action comes on the heels of the Turkish government's call to ban the series after two children hurt themselves imitating POKEMON characters [AWN 11/29/00].
Hoyt Curtin, composer for classic cartoons from UPA and Hanna-Barbera, passed away Sunday, December 10, 2000 at his Southern California home. Curtin was 78-years-old. In November, Curtin won the ASIFA-Hollywood Winsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement, but was too ill to attend the ceremony. He started his career writing commercial jingles and a few tunes for UPA's MR. MAGOO. From the late 1950s through the early 1990s, Curtin worked on many famous Hanna-Barbera cartoons. He composed the themes for such series as THE FLINTSTONES, TOP CAT, THE JETSONS and JONNY QUEST.
Munich officials are looking into several lawsuits that have been brought against kid media and merchandising company EM.TV. One case was filed by the German shareholders association DSW, which claims that EM.TV executives repeatedly held back information about their financial problems. EM.TV's financial concerns started when they first announced the cutting of revenues due to accounting errors in the acquisition of the Jim Henson Co. and Formula One racing.
Rhinoceros Visual Effects & Design has added CG director/project leader David Barosin to its roster. He was a major factor in creating character animations for ad campaigns such as J. Walter Thompson's Orkin Man, "Primetheus" the Primeco alien for The Richards Group, the Statue of Liberty for Oldsmobile and Leo Burnett, and the "Virtual Lady" for Intel. "I really like the team that's here at Rhinoceros," Barosin said. "These are great people, many of whom I've worked with before.
hey!, a New York multi-disciplinary design and production studio, has wrapped on "Nick Arithmetic," a 40-second global network image spot for Nick's international markets. hey! took still photographs of kids in various poses. The images were composited, along with graphic elements built in Illustrator and Photoshop, with animated backgrounds that string together the entire spot.
Will Vinton Studios has finished two live-action/CGI spots highlighting Midway Games' NFL BLITZ 2000 and READY 2 RUMBLE BOXING ROUND 2. The humorous spots were directed by Mike Wellins, who in the past has directed spots for Almond Joy, Chili's, Kikkoman, Mirinda, Pringles and ABC. In "Good Clean Fight," highlighting READY 2 RUMBLE BOXING ROUND 2, a 3D animated afro style boxer warms up by punching a disco ball and by the end we know that he isn't going to give a good clean fight.
Wild Brain has picked AniManagement to represent the animation house in the U.S. The agency will work in Wild Brain's interest to find syndication deals for the company's film, television and Internet content. AniManagement's Aaron Berger and Rebecca Poole will handle Wild Brain's film and TV productions with James Strader handling the Internet content. Poole will also work with Wild Brain to increase their production slate.
Numerical Design Ltd. (NDL) and Nintendo of America announced that the NetImmerse game engine is now available to developers creating games for the highly anticipated Nintendo Gamecube. NetImmerse is a multi-platform game development tool that, according to NDL, can save approximately six months of development time and a year or more of engineering costs. It can be used for a wide variety of game genres and platforms.
REALVIZ announced that the new version of their award-winning camera tracking software, MatchMover, is now shipping. The software is used to track the motion of a camera accurately so that the 3D elements can be seamlessly composited into place. The new version includes a graph editor that allows the user to edit camera parameters as curves on a graph easily. In addition, the new status-tracking feature also allows for the tracking and analyzing of project progress and results.
DreamWorks and Lucasfilm have secured places on Forbes 500 Private Companies list for 2000. Each year Forbes magazine ranks the top privately held companies in the U.S. based on revenue and number of employees. DreamWorks placed #174 and Lucasfilm was #219. If the companies on the list do not provide revenue data to the magazine they arrive at estimates based on analysts, trade organizations and competitor recommendations. For the year 2000, Forbes estimated that DreamWorks made approximately US$118 million in profits and $1.2 billion in revenue.
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS snowballed all the newcomers in its fourth weekend at the U.S. box office. The Who-ville hijinks, with primary visual effects by Digital Domain, shoveled in another US$18.65 million, piling its green up to the tune of $195.6 million. Therefore, the debut of VERTICAL LIMIT landed in second. The K2 rescue flick, with primary visual effects by Centropolis Effects, dug up $15.51 million. PROOF OF LIFE's premiere had to settle for a lackluster third place finish. The kidnapping love triangle, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, garnered $10.21 million.
AWN's Web Animation Guide is the place for what's new on the Net. This week's installment features new Mondo Mini Shows, the conclusion of INDIEPLANET and much, much more!
Get your Web Animation Guide here!
Also every week AWN's associate editor Rick DeMott highlights what he thinks is the top new toon in cyberspace in "Rick's Picks!"
Read Rick's Pick For Monday, December 11, 2000!
Stephen Johnstone has been named head of interactive for Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) Europe. He will oversee content creation across the Internet (including Cartoon Network), broadband, wireless devices, interactive and enhanced TV. Joining Turner in 1994, Johnstone played a key role in launching Cartoon Network in European territories including Holland, France and Spain. He will move back to London from the company's Madrid office where he was Channel Manager for Cartoon Network Spain, the number one channel on Canal Satellite Digital.
Sucker Punch Productions, developers of character-based games, is looking for 3D MODELERS. . . Stony Brook, New York's Inky Dinky Animation Studios is looking for 3D MODELERS, 2D ARTISTS and ANIMATORS. . . Ste Catherine, Canada's Wack Animation Limited, is looking for ANIMATORS for animated television series. . . Burbank, California-based Nickelodeon's Nick Digital Lab West, is looking for an ANIMATOR/MODELER for a cel-shaded production. . .
Until now, animators who have wanted to learn about acting have had no option but to study the subject side by side with stage and movie actors, a group that uses acting techniques in a wholly different way...
Prestigious life drawing instructor Glenn Vilppu will teach two drawing classes at Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, March 5-9, 2001: "Drawing Animals" and "Head Drawing, Expression And Drapery." For more information, call the school at (941) 955-8866. Plus, Vilppu's Sketching Tours Of Italy will return next summer. Take a tour of Italy where you will draw the sights and receive personal instruction from world class life drawing master Glenn Vilppu. Participants will go to places where most tourists never dream of going!
Lee Lanier is known for his gritty, black-and-white, absurdly surreal short films. Surprisingly, his work is a product of computer animation. Lee worked at Pacific Data Images as a lead lighter and lead modeler on "Antz" and "Shrek." His first short, "Millennium Bug" was shown at numerous festivals and such venues as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Smithsonian Institution. Lee just completed his second computer animation short, "Mirror." Pramod Sahoo is the creator and founder of www.chachoo.net, India's only site showing Webisodes starting with the "Sandoo" series.