With high-grossing nods around the globe, Tom Hanks' CAST AWAY easily floated to the top of the international box office. In Germany, CAST AWAY unseated UNBREAKABLE with an amazing ticket take of US$7.01 million. UNBREAKABLE crashed to second with a gross of $1.84 million, lifting its German cume to $11 million. In fourth, URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT slashed in another $837,915, raising its German cume to $2.6 million. At #6, POKEMON 2000 collected $700,338, growing its German cume to $6.23 million.
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In 44th place, a rerun made THE SIMPSONS' numbers slip, however it remained the top toon for the week with a 7.8 rating/11 share. KING OF THE HILL came in at #74, with a 5.7 rating/9 share. FUTURAMA rocketed in at 79th place, garnering a 4.8 rating/8 share. After high ratings in its debut on UPN, GARY & MIKE sunk to 108th place with a 1.6 rating/3 share. In a three-way tie for 111th, THE PJS scored a 1.5 rating/2 share for the WB. At #114, CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH drummed up the second lowest rating on UPN for the week a dismal 1.4 and 2 share.
This past weekend at the U.S. box office the top three remained the same; SAVE THE LAST DANCE remained champ with CAST AWAY taking the second spot with a gross of US$11.15 million. The Tom Hanks-starrer, with primary visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks, has sailed in with $182 million to date. Repeating its turn in third, TRAFFIC raced in another $8.51 million. The drug war saga, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, has garnered $46.69 million thus far. In its U.S. wide release, Guy Ritchie's SNATCH scored a fourth place finish.
Cycore and bioVirtual recently announced that they had teamed up to create a tool to convert animated 3D humans into interactive 3D images for use on the Web. As a result of this partnership the two companies have released "3DmeNow with Cult3D Exporter" - a tool that allows anyone to create interactive photo-realistic 3D human models, characters and avatars, for use in entertainment, security and scientific applications quickly and easily. 3DMeNow with Cult3D Exporter is based on Cycore Cult3D and the 3DmeNow technology from bioVirtual.
The NetImmerse 3D game engine, currently in use by a number of leading games developers worldwide, has been licensed by Applied Research Associates (ARA) to develop a computer animated training environment for emergency response specialists. ARA is currently developing the simulated environment for a chemical manufacturer, but HazMat teams might eventually use the CD-Rom program worldwide to practice for and respond efficiently to hazardous materials accidents.
Kaydara Inc. will be releasing their real-time character animation system, FiLMBOX, on Apple's highly anticipated Mac OS X platform. FiLMBOX for Mac OS X will provide both a hub for 3D data and a strong set of real-time 3D authoring tools, allowing Mac users to pre-visualize, storyboard and develop character animation. FiLMBOX is a real-time character animation system designed to provide the basis of a complete digital media pipeline.
Visual spectacle was the top winner at this year's Golden Globe awards. DreamWorks' GLADIATOR took home the award for Best Drama and Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard took home the Best Original Score prize for their work on the Roman epic. The global sensation CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON racked up statuettes for Best Foreign Language Film and director Ang Lee took home an award for his direction. CHICKEN RUN couldn't repeat TOY STORY 2's win for Best Comedy or Muscial losing out to the rock 'n roll ode, ALMOST FAMOUS.
The long forgotten work by CURIOUS GEORGE-creators Margret Rey and Hans Augusto Rey -- WHITEBLACK THE PENGUIN is becoming a TV series. Publisher Houghton Mifflin has enlisted Vancouver-based animation house Mainframe Entertainment to create the show. The book centers on Whiteback, who journeys out into the world to discover new stories for his North Pole radio show. The story was originally created in 1937 when the Reys lived in Paris, but was only published for the first time this past year.
* Thursday, February 22, 2001. Tuesday, May 22, 2001. Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
The Rochester Institute of Technology will be screening its film and video MFA theses. The February screening will be held on campus at the newly revamped Webb Auditorium at 7 pm. The other date's time and location is yet to be announced. For more information e-mail Marla Schweppe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Wednesday, February 28, 2001. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Animation historian Jerry Beck will be presenting a retrospective of animator Gene Deitch. The screening will scan Deitch's career from his innovative work at UPA to his independent work in Prague. For more information contact ASIFA-Hollywood at: 725 South Victory Blvd., Burbank, California 91502, U.S.A.; Tel.: (818) 842-8330; Fax: (818) 842-5645; E-mail: email@example.com; or Web: www.asifa-hollywood.org.
AWN's Web Animation Guide is the place for what's new on the Net. In this week's installment new Webisodes of THE MULTIPATH ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN and THE CRITIC, the debut of John Ridley's THOSE WHO WALK IN DARKNESSS 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!"
project:messiah Group (pmG) celebrated their first birthday recently by announcing that they were bringing their highly successful project:messiah character animation software to Apple's OS X. The self-confessed team of die-hard NT developers said that they had high hopes for Apple's new platform, and that the platform could be a worthy challenger to NT and Windows 2000. pmG co-founder Fori Owurowa said that, "By porting to the Mac, we will be tapping into a market of graphics professionals that have been waiting for an application such as ours.
The recently released Avid|DS Version 4.0 has received advance praise from the post-production facilities involved with testing the new system. The major new release has been hailed for its performance, feature improvements and timesaving capabilities. Among the most highly anticipated features in the new version is an optional remote processing capability that enables users to continue working on a project while computationally intensive tasks are being processed in the background, thereby avoiding interruptions to the creative process.
Columbia Pictures has snatched up the feature film rights to the comic book SPAWN. Recently, New Line Cinema, who produced the original live-action feature, let their claim on the rights expire, thus reverting them back to creator Todd McFarlane. Columbia was quick to pounce on the film rights to the popular Imagine comic book series. Already, Don Murphy has signed on to produce the next feature through Sony-based AngryFilms. Currently, McFarlane and screenwriter Steve Niles are working on the first draft of the SPAWN sequel.
The Disney Channel has announced that it will produce its first animated sitcom entitled THE PROUD FAMILY. The series will chronicle the experiences of a 14-year-old African-American girl named Penny and her family. Co-executive producer Bruce Smith (SPACE JAM) created the series. Ralph Farquhar, co-creator of the UPN live-action comedy MOESHA, will serve as the other executive producer. The voice cast will include Kyla Pratt (LOVE & BASKETBALL) as Penny, Paula Jai Parker (THE WAYANS BROS.) as Trudy Proud and Tommy Davidson (IN LIVING COLOR) as Oscar Proud.
Nickelodeon is set to premiere two new cartoon series, INVADER ZIM and THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, in March. Debuting on Friday, March 30 at 8:30 pm, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS follows the adventures of 10-year-old Timmy Turner (Tara Strong) and his newly arrived fairy godparents -- Cosmo (Daran Norris) and Wanda (Susan Blakeslee), who grant him wishes in an attempt to fix his problems. The series is created by OH YEAH! CARTOONS! veteran Butch Hartman.
Toon Disney, the all-Disney cartoon channel, has announced their first original series, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN. The series will bow on the cable network in fall 2001. In the show, Tarzan (Michael T. Weiss, THE PRETENDER) will be reunited with his animal family and must defend the jungle from the encroachment of man. Other characters in the series will be Jane (Olivia d' Abo, THE WONDER YEARS), Professor Porter (Jeff Glen Bennett, THE WEEKENDERS), the well-meaning ape Terk (April Winchell, RECESS, PEPPER ANN) and Tantor the elephant (Jim Cummings, THE TIGGER MOVIE).
Digital Film Tools, the producer of Composite Suite, a comprehensive set of visual effects plug-ins for editors and visual effects artists, is offering a free Fast Blur plug-in for Avid editing systems and Adobe After Effects. The plug-in is a high-quality, deep focus blur plug-in that can be downloaded from Digital Film Tools Website at www.digitalfilmtools.com/html/products.html.
Crater Software has released the latest version of their flagship 2D animation package CTP. Among other things, version 1.4 now offers complete compatibility with Macromedia Flash, making the cartoon production tool ideal for animators looking to publish their work on the Web. "Enhancing CTP 1.4 with Flash compatibility was clearly the next step to take," explained Crater Software President Joe Alonso, "With an overwhelming majority of Web users with Flash installed on their browsers, it has gone from a mere file format to the new standard in Web media delivery.
Z.com is in need of an Internet savior. In October, Z.com laid off 50 employees, which was most of its staff. The Web entertainment site is looking around town for a possible merger partner. The company's major backers include Internet incubator Idealab, Basic Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Maverick Records partner Guy Oseary. Z.com CEO Joe DiNunzio told THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER that, "We're exploring strategic alternatives that include mergers or bringing in new equity partners."
Angry EM.TV shareholders are stating that the company should pay them DM35 million (US$16.8 million) in damages for financial mismanagement and deliberately misleading the investors. Shareholders, represented by lawyers Tilp & Kaelberer and Klaus Rotter, said they would sue EM.TV if the firm doesn't comply with their out-of-court settlement. The German children's production house has refused to discuss a settlement until an investigation by the Munich state prosecutor's office into the company's actions is completed.
Entertaindom.com has become the first casualty of the AOL Time Warner merger. As part of overall company trimming, Entertaindom will fold up operations on February 1st. The content from the site will most likely be combined with series on the Warner Bros. Online site. How many employees will lose their jobs is yet to be known. However, insiders say that over the next few weeks there will be major cuts throughout Time Warner. Already 400 staffers have been cut from news division CNN. The completion of the merger has long loomed over Entertaindom.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the short list of films being considered for the Visual Effects Oscar. The seven films chosen were CAST AWAY, DINOSAUR, DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, GLADIATOR, HOLLOW MAN, THE PERFECT STORM and X-MEN. Fifteen-minute clip reels from each of the seven films will be screened for the Visual Effects Award Nominating Committee on February 7. The members will then pick three of the seven films for nominations. Those nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 13, at 5:30 am.
Macromedia Inc., creator of Flash software and parent to Shockwave.com, has announced that it will acquire Web content management company Allaire Corp. in a US$360 million cash and stock deal. Macromedia will exchange 0.2 shares of its stock plus $3 in cash for each share in Allaire. Macromedia CEO Rob Burgess will continue as CEO of the new combined firm, with Allaire's CTO Jeremy Allaire talking over the same role at Macromedia. The combined company will retain the Macromedia name.