Shockwave.com, a leading Internet entertainment destination, has launched the next generation of its award-winning site. The new home page is designed to have a "virtual" home theater look. Visitors entering the site encounter a home living room environment where entertainment consoles appear on the screen and invite Net surfers to watch shorts, play games or listen to music. Users may choose from several themes to create their preferred overall look and feel of the home page.
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The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) filed their first documents in the CINAR Corp. tax fraud case. According to the report CINAR received at least CA$7.8 million (US$5.4 million) in Quebec provincial tax credits by allegedly placing false Canadian names on scripts written by U.S. writers to receive tax credits. In the report, RCMP says that several executives, including former co-CEO and co-founder Ronald Weinberg, asked former CINAR employee Thomas Lapierre to create subcontracts that would be used to pay U.S. scribes.
GT Interactive Software Corp. announced that in an effort to boost its Humongous Entertainment children's software division, it would fold the company's existing operations into the GT Interactive arm. The New York-based gaming company will adopt a unified corporate direction, similar to that of GT Interactive's majority owner Infogrames Entertainment. Infogrames hopes that the new arrangement will increase shareholder value and produce a re-energized company.
In the television competition at Cartoons on the Bay, Warner Bros.' beleaguered series MISSION HILL took home the prize for best over-all animation series. The 4th Cartoons On The Bay International Festival of Television Animation was held in Positano (Amalfi Coast), Italy from April 14 - 18. Cartoons on the Bay is the only festival in the world dedicated to television animation. The festival is an international event with awards, workshops, lectures and events centering on the ever-changing world of television animation.
BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD and KING OF THE HILL creator, Mike Judge, is in final negotiations to helm the re-make of THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET. The Warner Bros. flick was previously touted as a vehicle for Jim Carrey. However, once original director and scribe Steve Oedekerk (ACE VENTURA: WHEN NATURE CALLS) left the project over budgetary and creative differences, Carrey left too. The original screenplay was written by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick and then re-worked by Oedekerk. If the new deal goes through, Judge will pen a new version with Clay Tarver (SQUELCH).
Riding the hopes that fantasy will be hot after LORD OF THE RINGS and HARRY POTTER, Disney has reportedly signed a multi-million dollar deal to produce the film versions of horror-film-writer-director Clive Barker's new fantasy series THE ARABAT QUARTET. Britain's EMPIRE magazine quotes a Disney spokeswoman as saying, "The work is a combination of HARRY POTTER and a contemporary WIZARD OF OZ." The first in the series is scheduled to hit bookstores next year. Barker's lawyer said that Disney inked the agreement "without reading any written words of the novels."
U.K. football hero and sports anchorman Gary Lineker is about to get the cartoon treatment from the BBC. Lineker's animated alter ego appears in a regular slot on a new BBC1 Sunday morning magazine programme, FOOTBALL FEVER. The segment has been created by Alive Animation, which built up a library of Lineker's movements and expressions on computer. This means the character can be animated at the last minute, allowing for topical script changes. According to the UK newspaper EVENING STANDARD, the technology is so advanced that the cartoon could even be created 'live' on air.
DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK, INC. (DEN), a privately held interactive entertainment Web site, announced that prominent entertainment industry veteran FRANK MANCUSO has joined its board of directors. With a distinguished career that spans over four decades, Mancuso most recently served as chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and remains a special consultant and member of its board of directors. Prior to joining MGM, Mancuso served as chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures.
ICEBOX.COM, the soon-to-be launched original animated content site, has appointed GARY LEVINE president of Icebox Entertainment. Levine left his post as executive VP of creative affairs at Warner Bros. Television to join Icebox.com where he will oversee all aspects of series development and production, forge deals with traditional entertainment outlets and help Icebox.com expand the scope of its creative partnerships.
CINEGROUPE has named LUCE PELLERIN as the new director of business affairs and PAT PALUMBO as the new director of finance and administration. Pellerin joined CineGroupe's business affairs department in September of 1999 as legal counsel. Since 1988, Pellerin has specialized in entertainment law. She has served as head of business affairs for Behaviour Communications and Telescene. For the past 10 years, Palumbo has worked at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Montreal, both in entertainment and multimedia sectors. For the past few years, he has conducted CineGroupe's audits.
GREENLIGHT INTERNATIONAL has appointed LYNN CHADWICK as new company VP and JAAP JOOST (JJ) BREIJINCK as new director of licensing. Chadwick joins the Hilversum, Netherlands-based company from Canadian distribution house Salter Street Film International. As VP at Salter Street, she oversaw the international division, worldwide sales, secured pre-sale financing and assessed third party product. Breijinck joins Greenlight with 14 years of experience in the TV distribution business.
On May 27, 2000 in Europe, Turner Broadcasting will launch Boomerang, a brand new animation channel from the Cartoon Network stable. The new network will feature over 2,000 characters such as Top Cat, Wacky Races, Yogi Bear and the Hair Bear Bunch. The new channel will run from 6 am until midnight and will be available along with Cartoon Network and Cartoon Network Plus to all Sky Digital homes. Discussions with operators for digital cable and DTT carriage are also underway.
Nelvana Limited has acquired the worldwide development, production, distribution and merchandising rights to LITTLE CRITTER. The series will be based on the best-selling books by Mercer Mayer. Beginning in 1976, the 90-book LITTLE CRITTER series has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. The story follows the everyday life of Little Critter and his friends Tiger and Gator. As the oldest sibling of five, Critter has to balance his responsibilities with playing sports, going to the mall and reading comics.
THE MIRACLE MAKER is set to air on Easter Sunday at 7 pm screening on ABC. Set in 1st Century Israel, the story follows a sick young girl, Tamar (Rebbeca Callard), her Pharisee father Jairus (William Hurt), and her desperate mother Rachel (Julie Christie) as they encounter the charismatic preacher Jesus (Ralph Fiennes). Can Tamar be healed before those in authority strike against Jesus? THE MIRACLE MAKER was created by Christopher Grace of S4C following the success of SHAKESPEARE: THE ANIMATED TALES, TESTAMENT: THE BIBLE IN ANIMATION and THE CANTERBURY TALES.
COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG has joined Cartoon Network Latin America's line up. The series chronicles the life of a terribly timid dog named Courage who must regularly defend his owners, an old couple living on a farm outside the small town of Nowhere, from paranormal elements that threaten their simple existence. Based on the character from the 1996 Academy Award-nominated cartoon short THE CHICKEN FROM OUTER SPACE, created by John R. Dilworth, COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG is the seventh Cartoon Network Original to make an exclusive appearance in Latin America.
POKEMON is still going strong. KIDS WB! has ordered 52 more episodes of the phenomenon for September 2000. The latest broadcasters to catch the series are TV4 Sweden, TV2 Denmark, TV2 Norway, MTV Finland, RTL-Klub (Hungary) and RTL-TVI (Belgium), as well as Cartoon Network in Australia and New Zealand. The total number of episodes for the series is now 156.
Portuguese broadcaster RTP has begun airing the interactive gameshow STINKY AND BEAVER. The ITE property is created using Silicon Graphics software and 3D animation. The series introduces players to CGI characters who test the participants and serve as the show's hosts. The series is included in RTP's Interactive Hour next to ITE's successful HUGO series.
Japanese trade officials have placed trade restrictions on Sony's PlayStation 2 because of concerns that the gaming system could be used for a military processor. The fear is due to PlayStation 2's high-speed graphic processing. Theoretically, the processor could be removed from the console and used in missile guidance systems. For example, a missile like a Tomahawk needs to locate its destination as it flies through the air and use high-speed graphic processing to pinpoint its target.
Time Warner Inc. reported operating income before amortization of intangible assets (EBITA) of US$1.17 billion on revenues of $6.55 billion for the first quarter of 2000. In the first quarter of 1999, EBITA was $1.24 billion on revenues of $6.09 billion. EBITA grew 13% for the first quarter when normalized for certain items described below affecting the comparability of operating results. Revenue grew 8% for the quarter on a normalized basis.
Orlando, Florida-based AARGH! ANIMATION, INC. has signed veteran animator JEFFREY VARAB. Varab, best known for his key animation on MULAN, BALTO, LAND BEFORE TIME, CASPER, THE TIGGER MOVIE and the upcoming Fox feature TITAN A.E., has moved to AARGH! to be part of a more intimate creative team. "The exciting part of joining Mark and Dave [AARGH!] is that it allows me to use all of my experience in exciting and challenging ways," said Varab. Originally hired at Disney Animation in 1977, Varab started on the movie PETE'S DRAGON beside one of Disney's original "9 Old Men," Eric Larson.
Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) has signed a multi-year deal with Israel's first and only DTH operator Yes to show Cartoon Network. The Turner toon network will be offered as a 24-hour channel alongside TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and CNN International on Yes' channel packages which will launch in the second half of 2000. "Yes is extremely proud of its association with TBS," said Yona Wiesenthal, Senior Vice President of Content, Yes.
Manga Entertainment brings Hayao Miyazaki's first film to DVD and VHS. THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO is the first film written and directed by anime pioneer and visionary Hayao Miyazaki (PRINCESS MONONOKE, KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE). Loosely based on French novelist Maurice Leblanc's ARSENE LUPIN: GENTLEMAN THIEF adventure, the film follows Lupin, an underworld version of Sherlock Holmes, who is famous for swindling goods from the rich around the world.
DRAGOON descends onto video. Sedon finds the beautiful May unconscious in the snow and that's when this young swordsman's troubles begin. May, the product of an evil experiment, has special powers that her creators will go to unthinkable extents to regain. The U.S. release date is scheduled for April 11, 2000. The English dubbed version will sell for US$19.98 and the Japanese with English subtitled version for $29.95.
SPELL WARS: SORCERER HUNTERS' REVENGE 2 casts a spot in stores in April. The evil Zaha is growing in strength and plans to exploit the Hunters' secret power. However, before they can challenge the villain they must save a small village from the deadly gymbots. SORCERER HUNTERS' REVENGE 2 will hit stores April 11, 2000. The English dubbed version will sell for US$19.98 and the Japanese with English subtitled version for $29.95.