Toronto-based TOPIX/Mad Dog (T/MD) created the visual effects for the relaunch of T. Eaton Company Ltd., the Canadian department store chain now owned by Sears Canada, Inc. The new campaign was developed by Ammirati Puris of Toronto, and directed by Floria Sigismondi. The campaign contains one 1:55 spot, one 2:35 spot, one 90-, 60- and 30-second spot and three 5-second Billboard spots. The spots recreate the feel of a 1950s Hollywood musical. The spots feature three principal characters: Gracie, the heroine; Harry Carmichael, Gracie's boss; and Arch, Gracie's right-hand man.
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Rhinoceros Visual Effects and Design has created the visual effects for a new New York State Lottery 30-second spot. In "Talking Mule," a live-action talking donkey ponders why miners bother panning for gold when all they need to do is play New York Lottery's "24K" game. Rhinoceros developed a highly efficient new system of simulating speech for "Talking Mule" that called for Inferno compositing, rather than the standard CGI work.
Disney's Buena Vista has promoted Jason Reed to senior VP of the motion picture group and Bob Chapek and Dennis Maguire to presidents of home entertainment domestic and international respectively. Reed will now be the third in command at Buena Vista Motion Picture Group, under president Nina Jacobson and exec VP Mark Vahradian. Previously, Reed served as VP of production for the last 5 1/2 years. As president of Buena Vista Home Entertainment's domestic division, Chapek will oversee all areas of domestic distribution for Walt Disney, Touchstone, Miramax and Dimension.
Saban International, the distribution division of Fox Family Worldwide, has promoted Julie Wineberg to senior VP of international sales and management, Tony Howe to VP of international business and legal affairs and Maria Torregrosa to VP of sales. Wineberg will increase her work with international Fox Kids channels while continuing to oversee all aspects of the division's day-to-day television sales administration. Previously, she served as VP of international sales management. Howe will continue negotiating and spearheading co-productions and distribution deals across all media worldwide.
Film Roman has promoted Uriel Sigala to the position of chief technology officer. In his new post, he will be responsible for modernizing the company's technology so that it can be more efficient and cost-effective. Sigala is a five-year veteran of Film Roman as the head of the technology division, in which he helped establish Film Roman's entertainment Website Level13.net. Currently, he is spearheading the design and implementation of the forthcoming www.filmroman.com Website.
ABC has decided to redesign its Disney's One Saturday Morning line-up starting December 9, 2000. Instead of airing three half-hour series and interstitials during a two-hour programming block, they will air four half-hour episodes. This move will secure start times for all four series, which up until now floated around the two-hour window depending on the length of the various animated and live-action interstitials. Until their new series LLYOD IN SPACE joins the block in 2001, ABC will air TEACHER'S PET, WEEKENDERS and two episodes of RECESS.
For the second straight weekend, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS has captured the top spot at the U.S. box office. With the second highest all time five-day Thanksgiving holiday cume of US$73.8 million, THE GRINCH, with primary visual effects by Digital Domain, has nabbed an amazing $137.1 million in just ten days. Therefore, director M. Night Shyamalan's follow-up to last year's sleeper hit, THE SIXTH SENSE, UNBREAKABLE had to settle for a second place debut.
Nickelodeon Films and Paramount Pictures have asked producer/actor Dan Schneider to pen the script for their next animated feature based on Keith Graves' short story PET BOY. The story will unravel the adventures of a pet-loving boy and his trip to an alien planet after discovering a secret alien pet selling operation at his local pet store. The project came to Nick as a pitch from Graves and producer John Williams. Schneider might be best known for his role as Dennis on the '80s sitcom HEAD OF THE CLASS.
AWN's Web Animation Guide is the place for what's new on the Net. This week's edition collects what is new in Internet animation starting over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday!
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!"
Read Rick's Pick For Monday, November 27, 2000!
On September 4, the new afternoon Monday-Thursday line-up will be unveiled with a "POKEMON Top 15 Countdown," highlighting the most popular characters selected by viewers. The three series set for the Monday-Thursday schedule are POKEMON, HISTERIA! and THE SYLVESTER & TWEETY MYSTERIES. The fourth spot will rotate throughout the fall, with series such as THE ZETA PROJECT and X-MEN: EVOLUTION.
ADV Films and DIC will release the first two compellations of the popular TV anime series SAILOR MOON on November 21, 2000. The series is the story of Serena, a junior high school student who discovers that she has mystical powers and must defend the world against Queen Beryl and the evils of the Negaverse. ADV Films has licensed the first 82 episodes of the series from DIC and will be releasing them periodically. "The Legend Begins" and "The Power of Friendship" will be the first two volumes released, containing four episodes each. The tapes will retail for US$12.98 each.
The critically acclaimed animated flick, CHICKEN RUN, will fly into video stores on November 21, 2000. Fans of the US$105 million box office hit will be able to own the death-defying adventures of Ginger and the rest of the Tweedy Farm hens as they race time to avoid the chopping block. The film features the voices of Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha and Miranda Richardson. The DVD will feature audio commentary from directors Nick Park and Peter Lord, "The Hatching of CHICKEN RUN" featurette, a "making of" documentary and interactive games.
Aardman Animations and BBC Video have announced they will be releasing "The Incredible Adventures of Wallace & Gromit" featuring all three of the Wallace & Gromit shorts. A GRAND DAY OUT has Wallace and Gromit traveling to the moon in search of cheese. THE WRONG TROUSERS chronicles the mishaps that ensue when Wallace takes in a shifty penguin as a lodger. A CLOSE SHAVE uncovers how Wallace and Gromit unravel a countrywide sheep-rustling ring. The volume will retail for US$19.98. Note the shrewd timing of this video -- on the same day that Aardman's CHICKEN RUN is released in stores!
ATTIK, a global creative solutions company, produced and designed the new branding campaign to launch the Sony PlayStation game, MOTORACER WORLD TOUR. The campaign contains a 30-second spot with a 15-second cutdown, a full spread and single page print ad, the front cover of the game and its point of purchase packaging. The spot features game footage woven together with typography and a CGI motorcycle.
Stockholm animation studio Filmtecknarna F. Animation AB has just wrapped on a new 30-second commercial for McDonald´s. The spot features an animated prince, sleeping beauty and dragon. The commercial was directed by Filmtecknarna´s Jonas Dahlbeck, who has previously directed spots for Boddingtons, Sky and Cartoon Network. The 3D backgrounds were designed and produced by Boris Nawratil with Lars Ohlson producing. The ad was created for the British agency Leo Burnett.
Warner Bros.' exec VP of production Robert Guralnick will leave his post after his contract expires at the end of November. Sources say that the executive is pursuing other offers at various media companies. Currently, Guralnick was overseeing the Arnold Schwartzenegger film, COLLATERAL DAMAGE and the live-action adaptation of SCOOBY-DOO. Guralnick is an 11-year vet of Warner Bros., who was hired in 1989 as a production VP. After Guralnick's exit Warner Bros.' will be left with only two executive VPs of production, Kevin McCormick and Jeff Robinov.
PDI/DreamWorks (formerly PDI), the animation and visual effects arm of DreamWorks SKG, has named Teresa Cheng as head of production. Cheng will oversee all of the global production efforts for PDI/DreamWorks. Previously, she has served as production manager for the DreamWorks animated feature film, SPIRIT, currently in production. Prior to DreamWorks, Cheng served as visual effects producer for Warner Bros.' BATMAN AND ROBIN.
Despite the threat of an actors' strike at the end of June, Columbia Pictures and Amblin Entertainment have decided to start the production of MEN IN BLACK 2 on June 3. Priority will be set on New York exteriors and heavy effects shots. Therefore, if an actors' strike does disrupt shooting the visual effects artists can start on the effects in the interim. The first MEN IN BLACK stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are set to return with Barry Sonnenfeld reprising his role as director.
On Monday, November 20, 2000, DreamWorks announced it would release its US$186.6 million summer blockbuster GLADIATOR on Imax screens. The film will hit theaters in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Toronto and other major cities on Wednesday, November 22, one day after it hits video stores on VHS and DVD. The flick will be shown in its original 35mm format. No details on the financial terms of the deal between Imax and DreamWorks were released. When Disney's FANTASIA/2000 played on the giant screens in January, the two companies split the proceeds 50/50.
THE SIMPSONS came in 39th place with an 8.5 rating and a 13 share. At #65, KING OF THE HILL earned a 6.2 rating and a 10 share. On the WB, THE PJS only grabbed a 1.4 rating and a 2 share in its Sunday 7:30 pm time slot. These ratings and shares represent primetime TV in the U.S. on broadcast networks for the week starting Monday, November 13 through Sunday, November 19, 2000. A rating is the percentage of households that tuned into the program in the entire universe of TV homes. The universe estimate for the 2000-2001 television season is 102.2 million TV homes.
Oxygen Media is in talks to secure the rerun rights to XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS. XENA reruns currently air on USA Network and Sci-Fi Channel, but if Oxygen's deal closes they will have first airings of episodes from the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons. What Oxygen will have to dish money wise has yet to be released, but it might be quite a bit of cash considering that the series has other cable suitors. XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS announced in October that it would end production at the end of this its sixth year.