On Tuesday, September 5, 2000, Pop.com laid off roughly 65 of its 80 person staff. Without additional comment the company released this statement: "Although the Internet continues to represent an exciting creative opportunity for us, the market has shifted dramatically since our original announcement, resulting in this being a less viable business for us. We will retain a small staff to support our creative endeavors.
AWN Headline News
After making big content deals with stars like Tim Burton and David Lynch, Shockwave.com has decided to change its focus from big celebrity toon deals to interactive games. Shockwave receives most of its hits in its game section. As part of the new move Shockwave has laid off 20 employees in its San Francisco and Los Angeles offices. Production on content in the works, such as programs from Oscar-winning producer/director James L. Brooks and game show host Ben Stein, will continue until the lay off becomes effective in October.
With the special effects-light fall schedule starting, the top two spots were claimed by newcomers BRING IT ON and THE ART OF WAR, leaving THE CELL holding on to third. The stylized shocker, with primary visual effects by Toybox, grossed US$9.68 million, bringing its cume to $33.75 million. Meanwhile, SPACE COWBOYS continues to orbit around the top with a stop in fourth this weekend. After four weeks in theatres, the wrinkled space wranglers, with primary visual effects by ILM, lassoed another $6.51 million, raising its cume to $63.71 million.
In a snap, Pop.coms intended purchase by iFilm has crackled and faded by the wayside. No one at either of the two companies would comment on the negotiations. An iFilm memo to employees read, "As you know, we have been in discussions with Pop.com. Those discussions have ended and have not resulted in a transaction. The companies will continue to enjoy many overlapping shareholding and personal relationships." Whether or not some of the other suitors for the troubled Website will come knocking is yet to be known.
Sideshow Motion Design has created 81 20-second promotional spots for NBC and Coca Cola to highlight the Summer Olympic Games. The ads utilize still photos of over 40 athletes in a moving fashion evocative of gold photo albums. Jie Shen designed and directed the commercials. "Our client, NBC, saw the importance of collaborating with Coke and wanted to do something with still photography and bring it life with an emotional wallop," said Sideshow president Scott Mantel. "This campaign shows Jies talents off beautifully.
Wildlife & Fugitive director Jay Torres created an amusement park world of rides using Sketcher shoes. Torres placed live-action kids inside shoes that served as the cars of the rides. "We had to shoot each element, be it the live kids or the stop-motion shoe elements separately," said Torres. "Since the amusement park wasnt meant to be realistic, we tried to create more of a surreal environment by using a combination of still frames, live-action and 3D animation. Its definitely a new look and a way to come up with ideas that fit into certain budget limitations.
With the live-action comedy, BRING IT ON still claiming the #1 spot, New Lines THE CELL jumped up a spot to second in the U.S. box office charts over the Labor Day holiday. The serial killer mind trek, with primary visual effects by Toybox, grossed another US$9.1 million, raising its cume to $46.4 million. Also moving up a slot to third, SPACE COWBOYS showed that old guys have box office pull with a gross of $8.3 million. The aged astronauts, with primary visual effects by ILM, have wrangled up a total of $74.2 million thus far.
For feature films Martin Goodman is taking a look at this summer's
hits and misses. Gerard Raiti is figuring out why some cartoons don't
work as live-action adaptations and others do. Amid Amidi is
profiling feature films that have been released outside of the big
studios' theatrical machine. Plus, for a look into the Japanese
feature film market, resident expert Fred Patten is going to outline
the lay of the land of the rising sun. Plus, Larry Lauria speaks with
San Francisco, California-based When In Doubt Productions, Inc. is
looking for a 2D ANIMATOR/MOTION GRAPHICS for a hot-cool fusion of
storytelling, poetry, performance, music, drama and animation
project. . . Austin, Texas-based Digital People is looking for a 3D
ARTIST/ANIMATION MANAGER and a 3D ARTIST/ANIMATOR. . . Portland,
Oregon-based Will Vinton Studios, a leading animation studio
specialized in CG and stop-motion character animation, is looking for
Animation Foundation interviews Eric Armstrong, Animation Director at
Sony Pictures Imageworks. In the interview, Eric gives his insights
and thoughts about the role of the animation director, facial
animation and much, much more. An AWN affiliate,
is an Internet-based portal providing information about advanced
animation techniques and assisting student animators in developing
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book,
"Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
Facets Video's fantastic animation inventory has been added to the
AWN Store! Over 3,000 new videos available worldwide! From popular
Disney titles and the Peanuts to surrealist animation from Eastern
Europe, from action-packed Japanese anime to animation created with
paper cutouts, sand, clay, puppets and computer technology, the
Facets Whole Toon Catalog is now available in the AWN Store. Betty
Boop, Fritz the Cat, Tex Avery, Looney Tunes Classics and more
Toon In is AWN's guide to what's new on the Net. This week's installment features an intriguing Webisode of sfON, a brand new Bill Plympton Flash toon, a humorous rant by Sister Randy 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, September 1, 2000!
Locomotion, a primetime cable animation network for young-adults, has now launched Locomotion.com, broadcasting animation to fans in English, Spanish and Portuguese. The site will initially produce three of its own series entitled EL SANTOS, TEEVY and RUDO BY NIGHT. SANTOS is based on the cult comic strip from Mexican artists Jis and Trino. TEEVY from British artist Robert Ramsden follows the illogical world of Teevy. From Australians Eddie Mort and Lili Chin, RUDO follows the crazy adventures of a wrestling night school. In the future Mort and Chin will work on three more series -- DR.
Electronic Arts (EA) has sealed the deal with Warner Bros. to give them the exclusive interactive rights to the HARRY POTTER book series and film franchise. No financial details were released. EA has the key Internet gaming rights which could bring POTTER games to America Online, where EA is the exclusive programmer of their game section. EA worldwide studios president Don Mattrick will work with author J.K. Rowling, film director Christopher Columbus and executive producer David Heyman on the game titles.
If Spielberg cant succeed on the Web who can? This is the question that has been buzzing around the long delayed launch of DreamWorks and Imagine Entertainments Webcaster Pop.com. On Wednesday, August 31, 2000, Netcaster iFilm.com confirmed that it is in final negotiations to merge with Pop. No details of the merger have been announced but Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is overseeing the deal. Allen and his Vulcan Ventures injected US$50 million into Pop in its beginnings. The billionaire is also one of the chief investors in iFilm.
The 8th International Hiroshima Animation Festival has awarded its top three prizes to National Film Board of Canada films. The Grand Prize was awarded to Annecy winner and Oscar nominee WHEN THE DAY BREAKS from Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis. In addition, Torril Cove's MY GRANDMOTHER IRONED THE KING'S SHIRTS took home the special jury prize and Eugene Federinko and Rose Newlove's VILLAGE OF IDIOTS was awarded the Renzo Kinoshita Prize. The festival opened on Thursday, August 24 and concluded Monday, August 28, 2000.
Famed graphic artist and novelist Jean "Moebius" Giraud, the man behind the dark designs in the ALIEN series, will be hatching his own 3D animated feature entitled, THRU THE MOEBIUS STRIP. "Its been a life-long dream of mine to create a feature film of my own," said Giraud. "Although its an unknown adventure in some ways, this film presents an opportunity for me to express my many different signature attitudes." The main backer of the film is Global Digital Creation Group.
Soho, U.K.-based The Hive, a 3D animation company, has completed a series of idents to promote the launch of Flextech Interactives brand-new digital TV cable channel, SceneOne. Launched on July 5, 2000, SceneOne is the first-ever television channel to be developed from an Internet site, and focuses on music, film and entertainment. The Hive created three idents "The Club Scene," "The Film Scene" and "The Gig Scene" - to reflect the hip style of SceneOnes three main weekly review programs.
Editing Concepts' Jesse Reisner just finished editing a new spot entitled "Takes It Slow," a new 30-second spot for Pillsbury Toaster Strudels. In the spot, time slows down when a teenager takes a moment to savor a Toaster Strudel before heading off to school. Reisner softened colors, silenced sounds and let the final piece of the tasty food hang in the air before hitting the kids mouth. "This project was all about pacing," said Reisner. "It starts out fast and frantic, then everything slows down when the toaster pops.
The X-MEN are gaining more ground in international theatres with top seat debuts in France, U.K. and Brazil. In France, the superhero saga racked up an impressive US$5.83 million in its opening weekend. Holding steady at #2, Americas summer smash, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2, amassed another $2.65 million, bringing its French cume to $23.18 million. THE PERFECT STORM sank from first to fourth, with a gross of $2.33 million, raising its French cume to $6.77 million. Falling a spot to land in sixth, GLADIATOR garnered $861,846, advancing its French cume to $29.59 million.