AWN Headline News
planetLingo, an Internet-based language learning company, has hired three former Disney executives John Feenie as president and CEO; Cedric Astor as executive VP and CFO; and Greg Probert as executive VP and head of content and curriculum. Previously, Feenie served as executive VP, China Affairs for Disney, in which he was responsible for all of the companys activities in China. For planetLingo, Feenie will help establish markets around the globe. Most recently, Astor served as senior VP for Disney consumer products in Europe/Middle East/Africa.
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 São Paulo. The festivals goal of highlighting different styles and points of view was achieved with a list of winners from around the world. From Portuguese director José Miguel Ribeiro, A SUSPEITA took home the top prize in both Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The five-day event drew 16,000 people.
Nickelodeons newest series DORA THE EXPLORER debuted as the highest rated show in Nick Jr. history. The Monday, August 14 11 am airing scored an 11.22/43 rating/share (1.3 million viewers) among kids 2-5 years old. To top its own success the second airing of DORA at 11:30 am scored a 12.85/48 rating/share (1.5 million viewers) among kids 2-5 years old. The new series beat out the September 9, 1996 premiere of BLUES CLUES, which scored a 10.68/48 rating/share among the same demographic.
Quincy Jones Media Group and Gerber Pictures have teamed with Warner Bros. to bring the Looney Tunes characters back to the big screen in a feature film currently known as "untitled Looney Tunes car project." According to the DAILY VARIETY, the pic will use classic characters, like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, in live-action sequences much like the 1996 film, SPACE JAM. Ken Kaufman, co-writer of Warners SPACE COWBOYS, has been brought on to write the script. Quincy Jones president Joel Simon and Gerber head Billy Gerber are set to produce the film. Overseeing the project for Warner Bros.
Aspiring actors can breathe a collective sigh of relief. The news item, originally reported in the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and then trickled down through many media sources, that director Andrew Niccol had chosen to create a CGI lead for his next dramatic film, SIMONE, is incorrect. Apparently, the REPORTER confused production information with the plot, which tells the story of a producer (Al Pacino) whose lead actress walks off the set. He then replaces her with a life-like CGI actress which he tries to pass off as real.
The first commercial for the Center for Digital Imaging and Sound (CDIS) includes a clip from VANCOUVER UNDER ATTACK, created by CDIS Visual Effects and Digital Animation (VEDA) Program graduate Sean McQuarrie. The excerpt shows a monstrous alien space craft hovering above Vancouver Science World before unleashing a laser beam that blows up the centre. "It involved two days of filming in DVC Pro and miniDV formats," said McQuarrie. "To get the mix right, I used Maya, Maya Live and the Discreet Station for building up 20 layers of visual effects in total.
Disneys delightful feature, THE TIGGER MOVIE, has bounced into homes. The adventures of the orange cat and his pal, Roo, hit video stores on VHS and DVD on August 22, 2000. The film was directed by Jun Falkenstein and the legendary Sherman Brothers provided the songs. On a lonely day when no one in the Hundred Acre Wood has time to bounce with Tigger, the swing-tailed tiger decides he will set out to find other Tiggers to play with. The VHS tape will sell for US$24.99 and the DVD for $29.99.
This weeks international box office saw big premieres for X-MEN and GONE IN 60 SECONDS and the quick disappearance of THE PATRIOT. In the U.K., X-MEN hit it big with a stellar US$7.08 million three-day take. The mighty mutants had the second highest opening of the year behind TOY STORY 2 and the eighth highest in the countrys history. Holding on at #2, STUART LITTLE landed another $1.11 million, lifting its British cume to $20.24 million. GONE IN 60 SECONDS slipped from first to third, with a gross of $952,847, raising its British cume to $7.95 million.
AWN's stock ticker features the most prominent publicly traded companies in the world of animation. AWN, Inc. makes available certain financial information from third party information providers. AWN does not give advice in any such fields, and has not reviewed, and in no way endorses the validity of such data. This information is provided solely as a means to keep our readers informed of the market performance and trends of certain companies. AWN strongly suggests that one seek advice from a competent professional regarding any investment or financial issues.
FRAISER-star Kelsey Grammer and his production company, Grammnet, has signed an exclusive deal with MediaTrip to develop and distribute original content. The first series coming from the new pact will be the toon GARY THE RAT. The Webtoon will chronicle the trials of a lawyer turned giant rat and his death-defying run-ins with exterminator Johnny Bugz. Mark Cullen (writer/producer of HITZ) and his brother Rob created RAT. Grammer and the Cullen Brothers will executive produce, while MediaTrip will produce and finance the project. Both companies will share in the profits.
Catherine Winder has been named VP of 20th Century Fox Animation. Winder will oversee physical production and creative development for the divisions projects. She will be based in Los Angeles and will help Blue Sky during its transformation from a special effects and commercials house into a 3D-animation feature studio. Previously, Winder served as an independent producer and consultant for Fox Animation, Disney Television Animation and Warner Bros. Television Animation.
David Hayter, the only writer credited on screen for the blockbuster hit X-MEN, has been brought in to scribe the sequel to PITCH BLACK and rewrite THE HULK. PITCH BLACK 2 continues where the first film left off and will be produced by Interscope, producers of the original. PITCH star Vin Diesel has been signed to return. Currently, THE HULK project has scripts from Michael Tolkin (THE PLAYER, DEEP IMPACT) and Mike France (CLIFFHANGER). Hayter will morph the two HULK versions into one script like he did for X-MEN.
Stan Lee Media, Inc. (SLM) has teamed with Venture Soft Co., Ltd., Asia's leading creator and aggregator of anime and manga, to form a joint venture that will bring SLM's superhero and fantasy story franchises to Asia. Coming on the heels of a similar deal with Fox Kids Latin America, the Asian venture will be called SLM Japan and will continue SLMs strategy to partner with strong regional communication companies to introduce its branded content via the Internet and then leveraging it into global partnerships.
In the continuing drama that is Cinar Corp., company founders Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg have refused to honor the request of a special board committee to resign as directors.
Warner Bros. has set into motion pre-production on a live-action rendition of BATMAN BEYOND. Tapped to direct the picture is Boaz Yakin, director of PRICE ABOVE RUBIES and the upcoming REMEMBER THE TITANS. The most exciting news is that long time BATMAN/SUPERMAN and BATMAN BEYOND writers Paul Dini and Alan Burnett have been asked to scribe the feature. No budget has been set, but AINT IT COOL NEWS has rumored that funds will be determined based on the script Dini and Burnett write.
With the summer money flow slowing down, THE CELL captured the top spot in another fairly low ticket sale weekend in the U.S. The ALICE IN WONDERLAND meets SILENCE OF THE LAMBS thriller, with primary visual effects by Toybox, grossed US$17.52 million. Showing that old guys have legs, SPACE COWBOYS settled in third with a gross of $9.48 million. Falling a spot behind the debut of the stage comedy film THE ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY, COWBOYS, with primary visual effects by ILM, has rounded up $53.78 million thus far. Rising a slot to finish fifth, WHAT LIES BENEATH floated another $6.76 million.
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 treasures from around the world, from the silent
era to the present have also been added! Here are a few examples of
Cinar Corp. has formally fired company founders Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg. The couple was terminated on Thursday after a special committee of the board met to discuss the future of the troubled toon firm. Charest and Weinberg stepped down from their posts as chairman and president, respectively, as well as their co-CEO posts in March once it was discovered that US$122 million was invested in offshore accounts without board approval. They subsequently assumed the roles of company directors. As part of the misappropriation of funds, senior VP and CFO Hasanain Panju was fired.
Roy Disney has agreed to help director Richard Williams restore his masterpiece, THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER, to the version he had originally intended to make. The heart-wrenching saga of the THIEF began after Williams success on WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? With the backing of Warner Bros., the filmmaker set out to finish his then 20 years in the making feature about a mute cobbler and an unsuccessful thief. The stipulation attached to the project was that Williams must finish the film for a 1992 release. The production fell behind schedule and Warner Bros.
Toon In is AWN's guide to what's new on the Net. This week's installment features new shorts from Stan Lee Media and Aardman Animations 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 18, 2000!
Our August issue, Internet And Computer Animation, features a number
of special articles. In the Internet animation section we are
featuring a theoretical look at what might have happened if animation
legends such as Tex Avery had the freedom of the Internet at their
disposal. Martin "Dr. Toon" Goodman tells us the tale. Plus, leading
content producers reveal what tools they are using, and two of
AtomFilm Studios' best give advice on setting up your own home studio
Los Angeles, California-based Unbound Studios, a new media company
specializing in animation and gaming for the Web, is looking for 2D
FLASH ANIMATORS, a PRODUCTION/OFFICE ASSISTANT and a TRADITIONAL
CHARACTER ANIMATOR. . . Sucker Punch Productions is looking for a 3D
MODELER and a TEXTURE ARTIST/2D ILLUSTRATOR to work on
character-based games. . . Venice, California-based Brand New School,
a broadcast motion graphics design firm, is looking for an AFTER