AWN Headline News
Makati City, Philippines-based pasi and BKN Kids have teamed up to co-produce 40 half-hour episodes of KONG, THE ANIMATED SERIES. As part of the pact, pasi and BKN will also produce a direct-to-video feature entitled KONG, KING OF ATLANTIS. The series is scheduled to air in over 80 territories. KONG will put a modern twist on the classic King Kong character by pitting the gentle-hearted giant against his enemies, who want to capture the power of the Internet. The demands of producing 40 episodes at a rapid schedule pace will require pasi to utilize several allied studios throughout Asia.
Nintendo of America Inc. has filed an infringement complaint against SongBoy.Com, a minority-owned company that has developed a digital multimedia player plug-in module that transforms the Nintendo Gameboy player into a CD-like music player. SongBoy.Com offered Nintendo a deal to become a licensee but was denied. SongBoy.Com claims that Nintendo's lawsuit is not valid and is a harassment measure. "Our legal team has taken great measures to ensure that we have in no way violated the Nintendo patent and trademark.
Spain's Terra Networks have announced that their shareholders have approved the company's US$12.5 billion purchase of U.S. Internet portal Lycos. The shareholders also okayed $17.7 billion in capital increases to pump up liquidity in the new arm. "The acquisition of Lycos is the big leap that will allow us to position ourselves as a truly global company," Terra president Juan Villalonga said at the company's shareholders meeting. The Spanish-language Internet server and provider announced last month its intention to purchase Lycos as an inroad to the U.S. market.
Cinar's insurance company, Liberty Mutual, has hired private investigators to look into the allegations of fraud against the children's television producer. Liberty may have to pay out millions if the board of Cinar is found liable. The insurance company's law firm Gasco Lelarge hired two former Montreal police detectives, Alain Pirrol and Andre Boudreau, to head up the investigation. Pirrol and Boudreau run the Montreal-based investigation agency Quali-T Investigation.
Nickelodeon and Toys'R'Us have announced an agreement to create a new Nickelodeon boutique channel on Toysrus.com to launch by fall of 2000. As part of the deal, the two companies will co-develop a Nickelodeon channel that will offer a wide variety of Nickelodeon licensed products, links between the sites, customized content and cross promotions. Moreover, Toysrus.com will acquire the inventory of Nick On-lines now defunct on-line toy store, Red Rocket. Terms were not disclosed.
Shockwave.com announced it has appointed former Pixar Animation Studios executive Lawrence Levy as its new president and CEO. Levy will also join the board of directors of the company. This new position will be effective June 19. Rob Burgess will continue as chairman of shockwave.com and chairman and CEO of Macromedia. Levy was the executive vice president and chief financial officer at Pixar where he spearheaded business operations and was responsible for Pixar's 1995 initial public offering.
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Nelvana Limited announced it has acquired the development, production, distribution and associated merchandise licensing rights for animated television programming, based on the 13-book series, DOCTOR DOLITTLE, written and illustrated by Hugh Lofting. Nelvana has also acquired the production publishing tie-in rights to animated television programming, which the company will develop and produce from its adaptation of the book titles. Nelvana will also develop and produce original stories based on the classic character, who made his book debut in 1920.
Five Disney On-line producers, programmers and Flash engineers, and four veterans from Disney Feature Animation and Walt Disney Imagineering, have jumped ship to join Stan Lee Media (SLM). The team includes Jamie Wilkinson and Gary Manfredi, who will lead the company's new in-house research and development studio, focusing on new digital productions and technologies. The new division Squnkwurx was named as a tribute to the once-secret Lockheed division (the Skunk Works) which developed the first experimental production jet aircraft during World War II.
DreamWorks' GLADIATOR continues to plunder the pockets of moviegoers around the globe. Complete box numbers from Germany, France, Australia and a number of other countries were not available due to local holidays, however GLADIATOR looks like it is still slaying the competition. The bloody blockbuster is still topping the charts after five weeks in release in both the U.K. and Australia, regaining the top spot from MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 in the later. In its four weeks in release, the Roman revenge tale took the #1 spot in both Italy and Spain.
The Oscar winner for best short animated film, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, has won the coveted grand prize at the International Festival of Animated Film at Annecy. In a lively ceremony held on Saturday, June 10, 2000, the awards were handed out by the festivals artistic director, Serge Bromberg. The short and feature film jury, comprised of Meral Erez (Turkey), Aida Ndiaye (Senegal), Georges Schwizgebel (Switzerland), John Lasseter (U.S.A.) and Jimmy T. Murakami (Ireland), bestowed the top honor to the adaptation of Ernest Hemmingways novella.
Swedish-based animation studio Filmtecknarna F. Animation has produced a 90-second short for Cartoon Network entitled JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS IN MUSICAL EVOLUTION. The film is part of the Cartoon Networks "Shorties" series. In the spot, classic Hanna-Barbera characters Josie and the Pussycats take viewers on a journey through musical styles including punk, country, disco, heavy metal and techno. The spot was directed by Jonas Odell and produced by Leila El-Zein. Craig "Sven" Gordon was the Cartoon Network creative director.
Finishing up on June 4, 2000, The World Animation Celebrations competition has announced its winners. Prizes in over 30 competition categories were awarded. There were over 500 entries from all over the world. Annecy 1999 and Cannes winning short WHEN THE DAY BREAKS by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis took home the grand prize. Taking the top prize for theatrical features was STUART LITTLE. The live-action/CGI animated feature beat out DreamWorks PRINCE OF EGYPT, which took home the second place prize. Below is a complete list of the winners.
With the new actioner from Nicolas Cage racing in to the #1 spot at the U.S. box office, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 fell to #2 in its third weekend in theatres. Disneys GONE IN 60 SECONDS grossed US$25.33 million on its way to receiving the checkered flag. MISSION, with primary visual effects by Pacific Data Images, Double Negative Ltd. and CFC, grossed another $17.23 million, raising its exploding cume to $158.1 million and is on a pace to beat the finishing cume of the original MISSION installment. Disneys DINOSAUR has slipped to fourth grossing another $8.82 million.
Warner Bros. Pictures and Cartoon Network are joining forces to bring THE POWERPUFF GIRLS to the big screen. The shows creator Craig McCracken will supervise the feature. This film marks the first-ever feature based on an original Cartoon Network series. This collaboration will be the first production of a full-length animated film at the newly opened Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, California. THE POWERPUFF GIRLS is targeted for a summer 2002 release.
St. Louis, Missouri-based Technisonic Studios is looking for 3D ANIMATORS. . . Lombard, Illinois-based Big Idea Productions Inc. is looking for 3D MODELING SUPERVISORS. . . Max Ink Cafe, LLC is looking for 3D MAX CHARACTER ANIMATORS and MODELERS to animate CG characters for game cinematics, and a SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR to maintain NT operating system and network. . .Santa Monica, California-based Zeros & Ones Inc., a rapidly-growing broadband company, is looking for ANIMATORS for a Web-based animated series and DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANTS for TV and Web animation. . .
AWN is excited to announce that it has launched the AWN Animator Affiliate Program, an extensive initiative dedicated to providing independent animators worldwide with high profile exposure to the professional creative community through AWNs official Web site. The program officially kicked off this Tuesday at the Annecy International Animation Festival, where AWN co-hosted a cocktail party given by the festival in honor of the directors in official selection.
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book, "Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
In the wake of the booming on-line entertainment world, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has created a new contract for made-for-Internet writers of live-action and animation scripts. As part of the new contract, Guild affiliated Net firms will have to sign a Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) and provide financial reports regarding Internet revenue. The new rules guarantee scribes MBA minimums for Internet content that is the impetus for a TV pilot or series.
Former Disney chairman Joe Roths Revolution Studios, a film and television production company, has released the details regarding the roles that its investors will serve. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Starz! Encore Group and Fox Entertainment Groups were among the investors that have sunk US$3 billion into the five-month old production house. Additionally, Revolution has gained a controlling stake in the on-line entertainment channel MediaTrip.com.
Speaking at an investors conference in London, Viacom president and COO, Mel Karmazin, emphasized to attendees that if UPN doesnt begin to make a profit it would either be shut down or sold off. Karmazin said Viacom expects UPN to meet the performance criteria set for all its operating divisions. The total losses for the five-year old network have risen to nearly $800 million. "UPN will become profitable, or it wont exist," Karmazin said.