Stan Lee Media has announced a teaming with producer Mark Canton (RED PLANET), which will bring a live-action version of the Internet animated series 7TH PORTAL to the big screen. With no studio yet attached, Canton plans to take the project to Warner Bros. where he has a production deal. Currently, Canton is set to produce the feature with Stan Lee Media co-founders Stan Lee and Peter Paul serving as executive producers. Canton told the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, "The opportunity to work on the new characters and stories created by Stan Lee is about as exciting as one can imagine.
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On Thursday, June 8, 2000, the three-time Pulitzer Prize winning creator of the comic strip SHOE, Jeff MacNelly passed away. He died at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, succumbing to lymphoma, which he has been fighting since late last year. In 1972 at the age of 24, MacNelly won the Pulitzer for one of his political cartoons for the RICHMOND NEW LEADER. He had been working there for only 16 months. Before leaving the NEW LEADER in 1982, he received his second Pulitzer Prize in 1978.
On Wednesday, June 7, 2000, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered that the worlds largest software company, Microsoft, be split into two separate companies. The ruling came as no surprise as the current conclusion to this phase of the antitrust case brought against the mega-firm. Quickly after the decision was handed down Microsoft pledged it would appeal the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court.
Duck Soup Studios recently produced both the 3D animation and live-action for the 30-second Wal-Mart spot entitled "Sunny Skies." The mixed media spot features Wal-Mart´s friendly mascot, Smiley, who appears this time as the bright sun behind dark stormy clouds and then flies down to a Wal-Mart store to rollback prices once again. The animation was created by using Alias Wavefront´s Maya and was directed by Lane Nakamura with the live-action directed by Gale Tattersall and produced by Jon Derovan. Executive producer for the spot was Mark Medernach.
Interface Media Group, a Washington D.C.-based film and video production house, created the 3D animated end tag for "Choose Your Cover," a campaign for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 60, 30 and 15-second spots stress the importance of using sun protection to avoid skin cancer. Utilizing 3D animated icons created for last year´s campaign by Interface, art director/3D animator Carol Hilliard and designer/Flint artist John Bennett created a 4-second end tag, which mimics the project´s print campaign.
Toronto-based TOPIX/Mad Dog has created the visual effects for three 30-second spots for Visa´s latest campaign. The "Penguins" ad, which promotes the Visa Gold card, is currently airing in Canada. The commercial follows a family outing to the beach where a seemingly passive penguin pilfers the family´s Visa card. Likewise, the other two spots "Monkey 2" and "Cat Burglar," feature a Machiavellian monkey and crafty cat who walk away with unknowing victims´ Visa cards. TOPIX/Mad Dog Inferno artists had to replace the live-action animals with puppets.
iXL, an Atlanta-based Internet solutions firm, designed, edited and composited a 60-second spot to promote ESPN International´s coverage of the NBA Finals, the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Triple Crown, the French Open, the U.S. Open golf tournament and other top sporting events. The "Champions of the World" spot opens with a golden hued 3D graphic of the ESPN logo and "Champions of the World." The camera moves quickly around the graphic, while an animated gold circle, like a medal, forms.
Keeping the look "clean and simple," animation director J.J. Sedelmaier of J.J. Sedelmaier Productions transformed the popular print campaign for Connecticut´s People´s Bank to a 15-second TV spot. In the spot, which highlights the People´s Bank on-line services, an animated male hand and computer mouse quickly perform a multitude of tasks on-line, including paying the mortgage, depositing checks and checking on investments, all at his unseen wife´s request. "People´s Bank has an ongoing outdoor campaign and they wanted a spot that was very similar.
MTV viewers voted for their theater favs and THE MATRIX rose to the top. The sci-fi sensation took home nods for best picture, best actor for Keanu Reeves and best fight between Reeves and Laurence Fishburne. The naughty number "Uncle F**ka" from SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER AND UNCUT took home the prize for best musical performance. When excepting the award Matt Stone thanked the "MTV viewers for not even nominating Phil Collins." STAR WARS: EPISODE 1 THE PHANTOM MENACE finally got some thank yous for best action sequence.
Opening this past weekend in Australia, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 uncovered US$3.7 million in 3 days on 366 screens. The total is the highest weekend take of all time for foreign distributor UIP, which also released GLADIATOR and PHANTOM MENACE Down Under. The spy sensation also racked up $893,000 on 39 screens in Singapore and $488,000 on 38 screens in Malaysia. GLADIATOR still scored big receipts raising its international cume to $97 million. The period-piece pit-fight landed atop the German, British and Italian box office.
Beating out the only major new release BIG MOMMAS HOUSE, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 finished atop the U.S. box office for the second straight weekend. The TV series redux grossed another US$27.02 million. The sensational sequel, with primary visual effects by Pacific Data Images, Double Negative Ltd. and CFC, has now topped the scales by making $130.7 million in only one and a half weeks in theatres. Now proving that Martian Lawrence in a rubber fat ladys suit is more attractive to moviegoers than realistic talking dinosaurs, Disneys DINOSAUR slipped to #3, making $12.04 million.
Film Roman Inc. has launched a major expansion of its commercial production activities. As a result, Kathee Schneider has been named vice president of creative affairs and the commercial division's executive producer. Joining Schneider as executive creative director will be three-time Emmy-winning director, Eric Radomski. The artists featured on Film Roman's animation Web site, Level13.net will also be involved with the commercial division. "We are drawing on this vast new pool of talent who create avant-garde work for Level13.net," said Schneider.
Making history on June 6, 2000, 20th Century Foxs TITAN A.E. was beamed digitally from a remote location to an Atlanta theater during the Supercomm trade show. The film was sent from Qwest Communications Cyber Center in Burbank, California using a secure Internet transmission protocol developed by Cisco Systems Inc. Up until now, digital projection systems played the movies on the screen from DVD-like disks. Many studios, however, question the security of sending their top-secret premieres over satellite and Internet lines.
The FCC and Department of Justice have given the go ahead for AT&T to merge with MediaOne making the combined company the largest cable firm in the nation. One stipulation on the US$58 billion deals approval is that the company seal off its holdings in Road Runner, a high-speed Internet access service. The FCC also said that either AT&T has to sell its stake in Time Warner Entertainment, divest programming assets like Liberty Media or unload various cable systems within the next year. AT&T has six months to decided which of the three courses of action it will take.
Amidst the resignation of their three-month term CFO, Cinar Corp. announced it would regain CA$10 million more of the $122 million that was invested without the company boards approval. Cinar expects to receive the $10 million from Nassau, Bahamas-based Globe-X Management Ltd. after the investment matured May 31, 2000. Cinar said Globe-X required five business days from May 31 to "process transactions for administrative purposes" and that Cinar expected to receive the $10 million within that time.
TV veteran Larry Charles has been added to Columbia TriStars live-action TV version of THE TICK as an executive producer and show-runner. As part of the deal, Charles has extended his overall production-development pact with Columbia TriStar. Previously, Charles worked on SEINFELD and MAD ABOUT YOU and most recently executive produced Columbia TriStar's animated series DILBERT for UPN.
On Tuesday, June 6, 2000, the House of Representatives approved and sent to the White House legislation awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to late PEANUTS comic strip creator Charles Schulz. The gold medal is the highest civilian honor given by Congress. The measure, which the House passed by voice vote after unanimous approval by the Senate, praises Schulz for giving "the nation a unique sense of optimism, purpose and pride.
The winners are out for the first World Internet Animation Competition, held in conjunction with the World Animation Celebration and sponsored by Shockwave.com. One grand prizewinner, one student winner and first and second prizewinners in multiple categories were awarded US$100,000 in cash and prizes in conjunction with the annual World Animation Celebration. The competition received more than 650 animations in ten categories. The winners were chosen by a jury comprised of industry headliners .
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada-based Collideascope Digital Productions is looking for 2D ANIMATORS and INBETWEENERS. . . Burbank, California-based Rich-Crest Animation, an animation company that specializes in producing feature-length direct to videos, is looking for an ANIMO COMPOSITOR to finish a couple of projects. . . Atlanta, Georgia-based Turner Studios, a full service broadcast production and post-production division of the Turner Entertainment Group, is looking for an ART DIRECTOR. . .
"L'Equip de Folimage Studio de Films d'Animation," an exhibition on Folimage studio, the creators of numerous award-winning productions, will be opening at the Annecy Museum this week-end...
The Toronto Animated Image Society (TAIS) presents "Timing For Animation" with Greg Duffell. The event will take place on June 7, 2000 at 8:00 p.m. at the National Film Board in Toronto, Canada. Admission is CA$5.00. TAIS Members get in free. Memberships will be available at the door. Also, animated films by TAIS members will be shown at Quickdraw Animation Society in Calgary on Saturday, June 3 at 7:00 p.m. The films will be presented by Patrick Jenkins, President of TAIS.