AWN Headline News
Facets Video's fantastic animation inventory has been added to the
AWN Store! Over 3,000 new videos available worldwide! 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 producers/directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman
("Anastasia," "Titan A.E.") have set out to expand their "Dragon's
Lair" game franchise into the land of Webtoons...
Classic Media, a newly created investment group featuring former Golden Books chief Eric Ellenbogen, former chairman of Universal Studios and CEO of Viacom Inc. Frank Biondi and producer Steve Tisch, agreed to purchase a 60% stake in Harvey Entertainment in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about US$30 million. Currently, it is unclear how the move will effect Harveys management structure, but Classic Media officials have said they will be active in company discussions.
Toon In is AWN's guide to what's new on the Net. This week's installment features a short from Bill Plympton, a hilarious Webisode of BIRTHDAY PARTY 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 25, 2000!
New York-based animation and design house, So! much, has created a 3D animated 30-second spot for MCI Worldcom and Blockbuster Video. The "FreeFlix Follies" campaign highlights the free movie bonuses of signing up for MCI with a send-up of vaudeville shows. The commercial reunites Abbott and Costello-like characters Seymour the Movie Ticket and Answer the Telephone, which were created for a previous spot by So! much three years ago. "Were really committed to marrying thoughtful, passionate design work with top-quality CG animation," says Jennifer Yeh, executive producer at So! much.
Highlighted by a gala bash at the Hard Rock Café in Orlando, Florida on August 27, Stan Lee Media will unveil their new Webseries, THE BACKSTREET PROJECT, featuring superhero-likenesses of the singing group sensation, the Backstreet Boys. The promotional push will also include a marketing campaign, featuring CDs and action figure toys, at the Burger King restaurant chain. "We are thrilled that the Backstreet/Burger King promotion will be one of the largest promotions ever to support an Internet entertainment franchise," said SLM president and CEO, Kevin Williams.
Playboy TV is ready to unveil its newest TV series, the completely CGI animated satire/adventure, DARK JUSTICE. Debuting on September 3, 2000 at 10 pm, the 3D toon chronicles the exploits of Justina, a vigilante vixen who must dodge the pursuits of the law as she fights Metro Citys most dangerous villains. Adult filmmaker Michael Ninn directs the series. "Playboy's Dark Justice is the ideal animated series for Playboy TV," said Jim English, president, Playboy TV Networks Worldwide.
In conjunction with the DVD and VHS release of FANTASIA/2000 on November 14, Disney will release FANTASIA on DVD with never-before-seen footage. The FANTASIA DVD will include the original intermission, narration and cut animated scene "Clair de Lune." An additional feature on the FANTASIA/2000 DVD will be a special showcase of Disneys highest digital video and audio quality to date. Also, Disney will offer a three-disc FANTASIA anthology set.
The anime title, THE PROFESSIONAL: GOLGO 13 will be re-released on video. Hitting stores on VHS August 29, 2000, THE PROFESSIONAL follows hitman Duke Togo who has the cross hairs turned on him after he assassinates the son of a notorious industrial tycoon, Golgo. The film is based on the popular comic book series of the same name. Osamu Dezaki directed the film. The new release from Urban Vision Entertainment will have an English dubbed and English subtitled version, selling for US$19.95 and $29.95, respectively.
Europes top selling toy ACTION MAN has made it to American shelves. The entire Hasbro ACTION MAN toy line brings in US$300 million a year overseas and $1 billion in brand sales over the last five years. Various extreme sport versions of Action Man have hit the shelves along with his arch nemesis Dr. X. The figures range from $7.99 to $29.99. "Action Man has been huge overseas," said Perry Drosos, VP of U.S. marketing for ACTION MAN. "In fact, it has been the top-selling action figure line in Europe for several years. Right now, 80% of boys ages four to ten in the U.K.
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.
TOPIX/Mad Dog has wrapped up the 3D animation and design elements for the new 30-second spot for Kelloggs All-Bran Buds. "Chart" features an anatomical poster of the insides of a healthy woman, who leaps from the wall when no one is around to enjoy a bowl of Kelloggs All-Bran Buds. TOPIX/Mad Dog producer Diana D'amelio said the 3D character "began as a real woman shot on set, wearing a body-stocking, actually going through the actions in a series of takes. We then recreated her as a glass figure, with a skeletal structure and a stylized heart and circulatory system.
* Tuesday, September 12 Thursday, September 14, 2000. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Digital Coast 2000 will explore the digital transformation of entertainment and Southern Californias ever expanding Internet economy. Presented in association with the Directors Guild of America and NATPE, the event will bring together Southern Californian senior executives, artists and technologists to discuss the evolution of entertainment in the digital age. For more information: Tel.: (800) 628-7346; or Web: www.natpe.org.
* Tuesday, September 12, 2000. San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Robin Allen will discuss his book EUROPEAN INFLUENCES ON WALT DISNEY and the images that influenced Disney artists. Dr. Allens research is based on interviews with the artists who created the features and short films made by Disney. The event gives a rare chance to discuss the influences on Disney films from SNOW WHITE to THE JUNGLE BOOK. For more information contact Karl Cohen at: (415) 386-1044.
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.
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.
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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.
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.