MORTAL KOMBAT director Paul Anderson will direct, produce and scribe the live-action feature adaptation of the popular RESIDENT EVIL video game franchise. Constantin Films AG will produce the film and handle international distribution. Anderson and his production partner Jeremy Bolts Impact Pictures will handle the North American distribution. Along with Anderson, Bolt and Constantin Films AGs CEO Bernd Eichinger will produce the picture. Filming has a start date of January in London.
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Nickelodeon has created its first fellowship program designed to encourage participation from culturally and ethnically diverse new television and film writers. Under the guidance of Nickelodeon production executives, four fellows will get hands-on experience with Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.'s live-action, animated television and feature film divisions for one year. "The fellowship program gives us an opportunity to nurture the talented pool of writers in our industry whose cultural experiences have traditionally remained underrepresented in television and film.
For the third quarter, Cartoon Network has reported ratings 25% higher than a year ago. The toon channel drew an average of 1.26 million households, compared with just over a million in the third quarter of 1999. "Our original animated shows like POWERPUFF GIRLS and DEXTERS LABORATORY have been doing very well, with POWERPUFF GIRLS giving us the highest ratings ever," said Cartoon Network executive vice president Tim Hall.
Disney vice chairman Roy Disney has shut down production on the CGI feature WILD LIFE. According to the online magazine INSIDE, Disney decided to bail on the film because it had "an inappropriate adult sensibility" for a Disney animated feature, "sexual innuendo" and a "gay-friendly" tone. Reportedly the film had already eaten through US$20 million, spurring Disney chairman Michael Eisner to request reviews of every project in development.
London-based rights holder Chorion is launching a new 3D animated childrens series entitled MAKE WAY FOR NODDY. Based on author Enid Blytons books, NODDY follows the Toyland gang as they try to teach children social values and simple life lessons. The NODDY books have sold over 200 million copies in forty languages worldwide. Chorion has commissioned Los Angeles-based SD Entertainment to produce the series, which will combine 2D and 3D animation. SD Entertainment is the animation house formed by former MGM Animation executives Paul Sabella and Jonathan Dern.
Buena Vista Video is releasing special editions of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH on DVD and video. Hitting stores October 3, 2000, the NIGHTMARE DVDs special features will be Tim Burtons directorial debut, VINCENT, and an uncut version of his live-action premiere, FRANKENWEENIE, commentary by director Henry Selick and director of photography Pete Zozachik, plus a still image gallery comprised of over 450 pictures.
Walt Disney is adding BLACK CAULDRON and THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD & MR. TOAD to their Gold Classic Collection. Arriving in stores on October 3, 2000, the CAULDRON DVD will feature the BLACK CAULDRON Mystery Game, the Donald Duck short TRICK OR TREAT, still frame gallery and the original trailer. The ICHABOD & MR. TOAD DVD will include Mr. Toads Wild Ride Game; "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" DVD Storybook featuring music, graphics and animated page turns; a "Merrily On Our Way" sing-along; and the Mickey Mouse short LONESOME GHOSTS.
Paramount Home Video and Nickelodeon are releasing the first feature length adventure based on the hit series BLUES CLUES entitled, BLUES BIG MUSICAL MOVIE. The direct-to-video release will be available on VHS and DVD October 3, 2000. The film is geared toward teaching young children the fundamentals of music including notes, rhythm and tempo. The DVD will include special features such as "Backstage at BLUES CLUES A Sneak Peak for Parents," two musical videos by Ray Charles and a "Who am I?" menu guessing game.
The newest installment of the SCOOBY-DOO direct-to-video franchise will be coming to DVD. SCOOBY-DOO AND THE ALIEN INVADERS will be released by Warner Home Video on October 3, 2000. ALIEN INVADERS has the Mystery Inc. gang stranded in a desert town crawling with alien invaders. The retail price will be US$19.96 (VHS) and $24.98 (DVD).
To promote the NFL retail shop on NFL.com, Spontaneous Combustion, a digital production studio, designed and composited a campaign for NFL Properties. The campaign consisted of five 30-second spots, eleven 15-seconds spots and four 10-second spots. The various spots highlighted the inspirations that several great NFL players have made on current merchandise. Spontaneous Combustion executive creative director/director Tony Robins collaborated with NFL Properties art director Paul Iannacchino to create the concept, which integrates archival footage with NFL shop merchandise and typography.
TOPIX/Mad Dog has just finished a new Alka-Seltzer ad for the Mexican market. Combining live-action and 3D animation, the 20-second spot, "Termita," features a hungry termite, who cures his upset stomach with Alka-Seltzer. TOPIX/Mad Dogs animation director Richard Rosenman said, "Our priorities were to illustrate the termite eating wood, plastic, becoming ill, and, of course, being cured by a dose of Alka-Seltzer.
Elyse Emmer has joined Film Roman as their East coast commercial sales representative. Emmer will solicit new commercial accounts for the companys animation department. Previously, Emmer has represented various directors and companies including Klasky Csupo. "Elyse Emmer brings knowledge, enthusiasm and imagination, plus a wide range of important contracts, to her position," said Film Roman COO Jon Vein.
Victory Entertainment, an Orlando, Florida-based multimedia production house, has named Michael Jay Solomon to its board of directors. Currently, Solomon is chairman and CEO of MAXX International, a broad-based rights management company. The television veteran has held executive positions at Warner Bros., Telepictures and has launched the television companies Solomon International Enterprises and Solomon Broadcasting International. Michael H.
Barcelona-based Neptuno Films has signed a deal to co-produce, with Planeta 2010, a childrens series entitled PUSS IN BOOTS. Based on the classic tale of Perrault, the story is being adapted by Neptuno director Josep Lluis Viciana. Neptuno also produces THE UGLY DUCKLING, THE THREE BEARS, THE GRAVEDIGGERS SQUAD and BANDOLERO. This production will be the first in what both companies hope to be a long-term co-production relationship.
At MIPCOM, Cosgrove Hall Films has launched their new pre-school series FETCH THE VET. Based on an original concept by childrens author Stephen Thraves, FETCH THE VET tells the story of the day-to-day life of veterinarian Tom Fetch. The series was commissioned by CITV and is co-produced by Flextech Rights Ltd. and ITEL. Currently, 26 11-minute installments have been completed. In promotion of the series, Cosgrove Hall Digital has created a FETCH Website at www.fetchthevet.com.
To blur the lines even more between marketing adult themes to children, the animated characters from SOUTH PARK will be appearing on condoms. Comedy Central has signed a deal with the U.K.-based Licensing Company to provide the faces of Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Kenny and Chef for Condomania prophylactics. The condoms will only be available in the U.K. for about US$20.
At MIPCOM, Cosgrove Hall Films has christened its new media division, Cosgrove Hall Digital (CHD) with the launch of its new Website: www.chd.uk.com. CHD will be run by managing director Iain Pelling and day-to-day operations will be overseen by Jon Rashid. The new division will create digital content for Websites, broadcast transmissions and CD-Roms. Currently, CHD is working on a pre-school series entitled WILD AND WONDERFUL, and a childrens series for ITEL entitled ALBIE.
German animation production house and rights buyer, TV Loonland AG has acquired the television production and distribution activities of Sony Wonder, the childrens production arm of Sony Music Entertainment. The deal was worth US$20.5 million in cash and stocks. As part of the deal, TV Loonland also obtains animation studio Sunbow Entertainment, which Sony Wonder bought in 1998. Sony will retain North American home video rights and international audio rights to their catalog of programming, which includes CLIFFORD and GENERATION O!
With premieres in the U.K. and France, HOLLOW MAN emptied the pockets of moviegoers world wide in this weeks international box office. In the U.K., the updated Invisible Man tale scared up US$2.4 million at #1. SCARY MOVIE slipped from second to third, with a gross of $1.08 million, lifting its British cume to $12.5 million. In 5th place, SNATCH grabbed $735,482, raising its British cume to $16.12 million. SPACE COWBOYS floated in at #6, grossing $497,398 and bringing its British cume to $1.67 million.
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Honkworm and cartoonist Gary Leibs 2D and 3D animation studio, Twinkle, will co-produce a Webseries based on Doug Allens underground comic book story, JICKETTS SPEED SHOP. As part of the deal, Honkworm will distribute the series and also retains rights for offline media such as books, television and merchandise. SPEED SHOP was first published in the comic book ZERO ZERO and chronicles 40-something hipster Jicketts shady body shop.
ABC has secured broadcast rights for the classic holiday PEANUTS specials from rights holder United Media ending the specials 35-year run on CBS. The main reason for the switch was that the new deal was more lucrative for the rights holder. However no specific monetary details were released. The agreement also guarantees that ITS THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN and A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING will be aired each year, which wasnt always an absolute on CBS.