In a lackluster weekend at the U.S. box office, early reports have Sonys HOLLOW MAN and Warner Bros. SPACE COWBOYS finishing neck-and-neck for the top spot. COWBOYS, with primary visual effects by ILM, moved up from third to claim an early-tally share of #1, with a gross of $13.1 million, bringing its 10-day cume to $39.1 million. HOLLOW, with primary visual effects by The Ranch Entertainment, Tippett Studios and Sony Imageworks, held on to a piece of first place, adding 13.1 million to its $50.4 million cume.
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Nelvana Limited has announced plans to produce two new animated series. BRACEFACE will be a co-production between Nelvana and Chinese studio Jade Animation. Voiced by Alicia Silverstone (CLUELESS), the series tells the story of Sharon Spitz, a 13-year-old who turns her metal mouth into a winning smile. The first 26 episodes are set for completion in spring 2001 for Fox Family in the U.S. and Teletoon in Canada. CYBERCHASE will be a co-production between Nelvana and WNET/13 in New York, which will air nationally on PBS KIDS in winter 2002.
A long list of Hollywood heavyweights has been announced as the voice cast for Disney/Pixars upcoming CGI feature MONSTERS, INC. The star-studded cast includes Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tily, Bonnie Hunt and first-timer Mary Gibbs. The film chronicles what happens when a careless monster lets a human girl into the land of spooks and scares. Goodman will voice James P. Sullivan, a large, furry and horned employee of Monsters Inc. Voicing Sullivans sassy one-eyed sidekick will be Crystal.
For the live-action feature SIMONE, writer-director Andrew Niccol (THE TRUMAN SHOW) has decided to go completely CGI for the title character in the New Line Cinema drama. According to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, the CGI actress will star opposite Al Pacino, who will play a Hollywood film producer. The story centers on the life-changing challenges of an aspiring young actress who becomes a movie star overnight. In a move that marks actors worst nightmares, Niccol decided to go with the computer-generated lead after unsuccessfully testing several young, up-and-coming actresses.
Class-Key Chew-Po director Voltaire has wrapped up his first national spot for Kelloggs PopTarts Pastry Swirls. The spot features cherries parading in a chorus line then diving into a pool of cream cheese. Innovative Business Communications provided the CGI cream cheese so that the fluid nature would be more believable. The commercial was produced for Chicago-based ad agency Leo Burnett.
Ring of Fire has finished two spots for Sonys Walkman entitled "Spaceship" and "Dorm." Both spots center around the space alien Plato. In "Spaceship" after downloading tunes onto his Sony Memory Stick Walkman, Plato fights Los Angeles traffic in his shuttle on his way to his new college. In "Dorm," Plato enters his room after a shower to find that his female over-night visitor loves the mini disk of songs Plato has made her on his MiniDisk Walkman.
Eyeball has livened up the newest spot for Nikes latest shoe line, Presto! The spot that airs in Nike stores shows off the bright colors of the shoes with slick retro style. Director Limore Shur said, "We were after a moving, driving, fun-looking piece to exemplify what the shoes are all about. I think we achieved that. There was a nice aesthetic appeal to the whole thing." Curious Pictures used Adobe After Effects, Illustrator, Photoshop and Discreet edit* to blend the graphics with the colors and product shots.
Toon In is AWN's guide to what's new on the Net. This week's installment features the newest toon from John K, Bill Plympton 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 11, 2000!
AniVision Inc. has signed a licensing deal with the U.S. college footballs Southeastern Conference (SEC) to transport online game players into key plays from the 2000 season. Under the 5-year pact, AniVision will recreate SEC games and place gamers within the action to view replays on-demand, analyze players performance or insert themselves into key plays. The alliance marks the first use of AniVisions 3D-animation technology for real-sports recreation.
Curious Pictures has completed the opening for the new Cartoon Network series THE BOB CLAMPETT SHOW. The spot highlights the mix of Clampetts styles from his Warner Bros. shorts to his later puppet work. In Flame, the Curious artists created smiles on the puppets faces and a film transition into a puppet theatre. Steve Patrick was the creative director for Cartoon Network and Denis Morella directed the open for Curious Pictures.
Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design (RMCAD), located in Denver, Colorado, has added a new animation program to its bachelor degree program. Currently, the college offers five other Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Graphic Design and Interactive Media, Illustration, Painting, Sculpture and Interior Design. The schools goal is to delve into the medium of animation as the only interdisciplinary visual art that merges art, writing, storytelling, drawing, design, sculpture, acting, filmmaking, art direction and film directing.
AtomFilms has appointed veteran TV executive Mikael Shields senior VP entertainment Europe. At the Netcaster, Shields will shepherd acquisitions and development of entertainment properties, negotiating and managing co-productions and content partnerships in Europe. He will work out of the year-old London office of the Seattle-based company. Previously, Shields served as CEO of U.K. television production company EVA Entertainment. He was a founding shareholder of EVA and helped negotiate the firms sale to Pearson Television in February 1999.
Slingshot Entertainment is set to release a compellation DVD featuring Brilliant Digital Multipath Web shorts. DVD Intl., which distributes interactive movies IM YOUR MAN and TENDER LOVING CARE, will distribute DVDs featuring the series SUPERMAN, XENA, ACE VENTURA and THE MUMMY. The release will feature further computer rendered graphics and 15-20 minutes of linear programming to advance the interactivity of the story.
On Tuesday August 8, 2000, David Spades new animated series, SAMMY, made a lackluster debut in the bottom of its 8:30 pm time slot. Despite a decent lead-in by a rerun of 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN, the new primetime toon drew only 4.1 million viewers and a 1.8 rating/6 share for adults 18-49. The long shelved series follows the reunion of a newly famous son and his deadbeat dad. How long will the series last only time can tell. The last two heavily hyped primetime toons, GOD THE DEVIL & BOB and CLERKS, never made it past six episodes combined.
Berkeley Breathed, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and childrens author, is set to make his directorial debut with the filmed version of his newest book, EDWURD FUDWUPPER FIBBED BIG. Nickelodeon Movies and Storyopolis are set to produce the seven-minute short. The book will be released next month by Storyopolis and Little, Brown Co. Sources say the film will screen in theatres in the fall, which might signal its attachment to the release of RUGRATS IN PARIS, but no official word has been announced.
Former Disney chairman Joe Roths Revolution Studios will turn the Web series, LIL PIMP, into a Flash-animated feature. The MediaTrip.com series will be the first feature length film to be animated using Macromedias Flash software. Creators Paul Gilstrap and Mark Brooks with their team of four animators are set to scribe, produce and direct the project. Production on the flick could begin as early as three to four weeks. No monetary details have been released, however Gilstrap and Brooks look to make most of their money from backend revenues.
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With several debuts around the globe, THE PATRIOT has won the war for international box office supremacy. Premiering at #1 in Germany, the Mel Gibson-starrer grossed a hefty $3.23 million. Slipping to second, THE PERFECT STORM garnered $1.29 million, raising its German cume to $8.62 million. Down one to #4, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 added another $1.01 million to its $22.42 million German cume. At #8, THE TIGGER MOVIE rounded up an additional $206,761, bringing its German cume to $3.97 million. In its 10th week in Germany, GLADIATOR grossed $119,979 in tenth, advancing its cume to $19.99 million.
Web toon house Honkworm International will open a new studio in Vancouver. Video and gaming designer Ian Verchere has been named president of Honkworm Canada and digital production veteran David Weir has been named president of digital production. The Seattle-based company has also assigned Verchere to the post of senior executive producer and Weir to creative director. As president of Honkworm (Canada), Verchere will oversee the physical development and production of new series by the Canadian company.