Phillip Bowman and Malcolm McGookin have formed a new animation house in Brisbane, Australia called ASTERISK* Animation. Bowman will serve as executive producer and McGookin as producer and director. Bowman has vast experience in both live-action production and animated television series. His credits include ABC network's LIZZIE'S LIBRARY and KITU AND WOOF. McGookin first started his animation career on the Cosgrove Hall shows COUNT DUCKULA and DANGERMOUSE. Afterwards, McGookin moved on to writing and directing AVENGER PENGUINS and TABALUGA in the U.K and Australia.
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Four of the U.K.'s leading CGI artists, Richard Scott, Graham McKenna, Stuart Aitken and Dana Dorian, together with Scottish new media group VIS Interactive PLC, have launched Axis Animation, a high-end 3D and digital post-production facility based in Glasgow, Scotland. Axis' focus will target the advertising, broadcast, film and computer game markets for animation and visual effects. The four founders were the core team at award-winning digital content creators Digimania.
Paramount Parks and Stan Lee Media, Inc., in association with Blur Studio, have teamed up to create "Stan Lee's 7th Portal 3D Simulation Experience." This deal marks the first time an Internet property has been turned into a location-based entertainment experience. The project is scheduled to debut at all U.S.-based Paramount Parks in spring 2001. Under the pact, Paramount will sell branded merchandise and provide links between its own Web sites and those of Stan Lee Media. The attraction will also be distributed to a worldwide network of simulation theaters by Iwerks Entertainment.
London-based feature film visual effects company Mill Film has been assigned the principal visual effects for the highly anticipated Paramount Pictures' TOMB RAIDER. Directed by Simon West (CON AIR, THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER), the live-action feature film is inspired by the popular interactive video game of the same name. Principal photography is scheduled to start at Pinewood Studios this summer.
* Wednesdays from May 24 - December 13, 2000. Glendale, California, U.S.A.
ASIFA-Hollywood and Glendale Community College are offering life-drawing workshops. The workshop offers live models in pose from one to fifteen minutes in duration, about forty poses per session. Professional assistance is available from the workshop supervisor. The classes run from 7 to 10 pm. The price is US$10 for the public and $7 for ASIFA-Hollywood members. For more information contact ASIFA-Hollywood at Tel.: (818) 842-8330.
For the week ending May 21, GLADIATOR still reigned in the U.K. and Australia and conquered new territory in Italy. By more than doubling the debut of FINAL DESTINATION, the DreamWorks colossal hit grossed another US$5.11 million in the U.K. The world champ has garnered $13.96 million on the British Isle. More than tripling the second placed newcomer ROMEO MUST DIE, the Roman ruler grossed $3.32 million in Australia, raising its cume in that country to $7.79 million. In its Italian premiere, the maker of Maximus coin landed $1.89 million.
Proving the further back in history movies go the more money they make, Disneys DINOSAUR stepped over the two week champion GLADIATOR. The nine-digit price-tagged prehistoric epic grossed US$38.85 million. DreamWorks GLADIATOR dazzled audiences to the tune of another $19.75 million. The Roman romp in only three weeks of release has made a total of $103.1 million. Slipping a spot to #4, U-571 grossed an additional $4.64 million. The Universal U-boat adventure has made $64.39 million thus far in the U.S. New Lines FREQUENCY dropped to 5th place making $4.34 million.
VanHook Studios, a Hollywood-based effects and animation house, has ventured into cyberspace with a new episodic program for whatsonweb.com. VanHook has worked on the visual effects for such features as MY FAVORITE MARTIAN and 13TH WARRIOR and TV series ALLY MCBEAL, ZENA, HERCULES and MAX STEEL. The first series to hit whatsonweb.com will be the fantasy series KIRA: THE CURSED, staring adult film star Kylie Ireland. "Kylie is a great choice for us. Not only is she a wonderful actress, with great screen presence she also has an enormous and incredibly loyal fanbase.
The former owners of Cinars subsidiary, HighReach Learning, Inc., have filed a lawsuit against the parent company to recover alleged losses related to a stock purchase agreement concluded with Cinar as part of the purchase price of HighReach in 1998. The complaint contains allegations that Cinar is liable for losses in stock due to the ongoing investigation into their alleged fraudulent actions. "These legal proceedings pertain to circumstances surrounding the stock purchase agreement negotiated between Cinar and the former owners of HighReach Learning in 1998.
On Friday, May 19, 2000, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences bestowed the honor of outstanding childrens animated program on STEVEN SPIELBERG PRESENTS: PINKY, ELMYRA AND THE BRAIN. The toons left in their wake were ARTHUR, DISNEYS DOUG, MAURICE SENDAKS LITTLE BEAR and THE NEW BATMAN/SUPERMAN ADVENTURES. SESAME STREET beat out BLUES CLUES in the category of outstanding pre-school series. Other animated winners were given out on Saturday, May 13 at the technical achievement ceremony. ROLIE POLIE OLIE won the award for outstanding special class animated program.
The Harvey Entertainment Company announced that its first quarter income has improved nearly 25% over last years results. Net operating revenues improved to US$882,000 in the first quarter of 2000, compared to $562,000 in 1999. Harvey saw a reduced loss from operations of $598,000 in the first quarter of 2000, compared to a loss of $2,412,000 a year ago. These figures do not include the CASPER owners recent purchase of PM Entertainment.