Go.com, Inc., the Internet group of the Walt Disney Co., has changed its name to the Walt Disney Internet Group. The name change was made to better reflect the new direction of the Internet company, which has moved its focus away from a Yahoo-like portal to a more Disney-geared entertainment destination. The Disney arm has been plagued with problems from the start. In the last quarter, the company reported a net loss of US$272.1 million, including amortization of intangible assets.
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In July, Nickelodeon saw the most-watched month ever in its 21-year history. The numbers were the biggest on a total-day basis in household delivery, total viewers (persons 2+) and among kids 2-11. According to the Nielsens, Nickelodeon's 24-hour average in July was a 1.7 coverage rating/5 share/1.3 million HH (1.7 million average total viewers). During Nickelodeon's Kids Day programming, the net posted its highest-rated month among kids 2-11 since January '98 and delivered its largest kid audience ever. In addition, Nick crushed its closest competitors.
ThinkBox, a leading Internet provider of education and family-focused media, and The Harvey Entertainment Company have teamed to bring Harvey's classic characters, like Casper, to the Net. ThinkBox will incorporate Harvey characters into classic comic, interactive, video and series content on the first Web site, Kindle Park, which will be an interactive, educational Internet portal for 2-6 year olds and their families. As part of the deal, Harvey will receive an equity position in ThinkBox.
The company that syndicates the live-action TV series XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, Studios USA Domestic Television (SUDT), and Brilliant Digital have signed a deal to syndicate the 3D animated Web series XENA to sites around cyberspace. This new deal marks the first major television syndication firm that has delved into Web syndication. The XENA Web series debuted on July 14 at SciFi.com, USANetwork.com and StudiosUSA.com. SUDT executive VP sales and new business Arthur Hasson, said, "I am excited about expanding our syndication business into the on-line world.
Mondo Media has signed on to syndicate Honkworms FISHBAR. The series, featuring talking fish and a sassy Parisian lobster with an unnatural obsession with cows, was created by Honkworm founder Johan Liedgren and art director Janet Galore. Thus far there are nineteen completed Webisodes and Honkworm will produce 6 more so that Mondo Media will have six months worth of weekly programming to pitch to various Web sites.
Columbia TriStar Home Video is set to flood stores with HEAVY METAL 2000 and the original 1981 Heavy Metal in a two-pack release. On October 17, 2000, the HEAVY METAL sequel, which never found theatrical distribution in the U.S., will be available on VHS and DVD. The special widescreen DVD will feature Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and two-channel Dolby Surround Sound. The extra features on the HEAVY METAL 2000 DVD release will include: the short film JULIE STRAIN: SUPER GODDESS, animation tests, the trailer and multiple language tracks in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Alias|Wavefront, a SGI subsidiary, announced four key senior management changes. Warren Pratt, the previous president of Alias|Wavefront, has been named chairman of Alias|Wavefront and senior vice president of engineering for SGI. Doug Walker, previously vice president of worldwide field operations and marketing, has been appointed president to fill Pratts place. Dave Wharry has joined Alias|Wavefront to fill the empty seat as vice president of worldwide field operations and marketing. Peter Mehlstaeubler has been promoted to vice president.
In light of Nasdaqs delisting of their stock, troubled animation producer Cinar Corp. has brought in investment bank Merrill Lynch & Co. to help assess the future options for the company, which may include the sale of all or parts of the company. "Merrill Lynch & Co. will work with us and our current advisors, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, to review all strategic alternatives available to the Company in order to maximize future shareholder value, including any proposed business combination, partnerships or mergers," said Barrie Usher, President and CEO of CINAR.
RETURN OF THE JEDI and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK producer Howard Kazanjian has joined Cornerstone Animation, Inc.s board of advisors. Kazanjian will serve as a production consultant on the companys major projects. "Needless to say, were thrilled to have someone of Howards talent, reputation and experience aboard," said Larry D. Whitaker, Jr., Cornerstones CEO.
Mattel Interactive has signed Scott Gorden (AN EXTREMELY GOOFY MOVIE) to write a live-action, made for television movie script featuring OREGON TRAIL characters from the successful gaming franchise. The script is scheduled for completion early this fall. THE OREGON TRAIL was originally introduced in 1971 as a text-based simulation created on a Teletype machine and mainframe computer, but has. Gordens other credits include SAVED BY THE BELL, MOONLIGHTING, A DIFFERENT WORLD and GOLDEN GIRLS.
Rhinoceros Visual Effects has signed five digital CG design artists: Armin Matin, Natalie Saenko, Jeff Guerrero, Patrick Porter and Mark Stienberg. The new team came from the now defunct R/Greenberg Studios, where Rhinoceros executive producers Michael Miller and Rick Wagonheim previously worked.
face2face, a Lucent Technologies-owned facial analysis software developer, has named Kathleen Papera as director of business development and Rich Smith as director of marketing. In her new post, Papera will oversee face2face's marketing strategy, focusing on the gaming community. Papera will also be in charge of finding and managing relationships with complementary partners in the gaming industry, as well as supervising gaming customer's beta sites. "When I was first introduced to face2face's alterEGO, I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of this venture," said Papera.
Wild Brain has finished three spots for Sony Music Entertainments "Pass It On" campaign. "Adventure," "Love" and "Street Party" air exclusively on MTV and highlight several of Sony Musics top artists by combining live-action music video footage with traditional cel animation. Creative director Ed Bell brought to the project his futuristic hip hop/anime designs, while director Robert Valley helped bring to life the surreal tone of the spots. "Ed Bell created a new genre of animation that isnt confined by stylistic boundaries," said Valley.
TOPIX/Mad Dog has created the visual effects for a 30-second spot entitled, "Stuntman" for Clearnet Communications Inc. Highlighting their new wireless phone, Mike, the commercial is airing in Canada. The ad features a stuntman jumping from a building and making phone calls as he descends. Director Chris Wehfritz brought the spot to life without having a real stuntman jump from a building. Wehfritz took footage of a free-falling parachutist and rotoscoped each frame.
The Chinese Administration of Radio, Film and Television has instituted a new regulation cutting the airtime of imported cartoons. Starting on June 1, TV networks in China must air six Chinese toons for every four imported ones. Before the new rule two-thirds of the cartoons broadcast in China were from foreign soil and with their domestic production only reaching 6,000 minutes (roughly 272 twenty-two-minute episodes) a year there is little for Chinese programming to choose from.
Raymond Eugene "Gene" Portwood Jr., a one-time Disney animator and the co-creator of the ground breaking computer game, WHERE IN THE WORLD IS CARMEN SANDIEGO?, has passed. On July 17, 2000, Portwood died of a heart attack in the Windsor, California convalescent center, where he was staying to recover from a stroke 18 months earlier. He was 66 years old. In 1950, Portwood skipped college and went directly to work at Disney. He eventually helped draw scenes for LADY AND THE TRAMP, SLEEPING BEAUTY and CAPTAIN HOOK.
Bankruptcy officials are investing Digital Entertainment Networks (DEN) possible fraudulent below-market sale of assets and executive salaries. As reported in the LA TIMES, court-appointed officials are investigating allegations that three weeks prior to filing for bankruptcy, DEN sold off assets to insiders far below market price.
Icebox.com has signed a deal to transform its STARSHIP REGULARS into a live-action series. The show chronicles the lives of ordinary men and women aboard a military spaceship. The animated short will nod at Icebox and Showtime on August 11, 2000. REGULARS was created by Icebox co-founder Rob LaZebnik (co-exec producer of THE SIMPSONS), who will produce the live-action show. After the first five Webtoons air on Icebox, the next installment will be broadcast on Showtimes site, www.sho.com. The first episode of the TV series will debut next June.
There is no doubt about it, Macromedia Flash is the industry standard
for Internet animation. It's utilized by over half a million Web
authors worldwide to create animated vector-based Web sites.
Macromedia just announced revenues of $94.8 million for the first
quarter ended June 30, 2000, an 85% increase over a year ago. With
these results, the company has achieved record revenue results for
the tenth consecutive quarter. During the quarter, Macromedia
With MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 still holding on in many countries, PERFECT STORMs debut in Hong Kong and the U.K. shook up the international box office. Finishing at the top spot in the U.K., STORM grossed US$2.86 million over the weekend and $3.25 million since its Wednesday nod. Slipping to #2, STUART LITTLE grossed $2.08 million, advancing its British cume to $9.59 million. The U.K. sensation, CHICKEN RUN, amassed another $1.82 million in third, bringing its cume to $28.85 million.
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Pulse Entertainment has signed a deal with Paris-based digital post-production company, Exmachina, which will have the French post house resell Pulse technology to developers, designers, agencies and corporate clients in Europe. Exmachina first utilized the Pulse software to create a Web character, Akinia, who helps on-line gamers solve riddles in a treasure hunt. "We are making Pulse technology one of the cornerstones as we build our Web business," said Pierre Noizat, general manager of Exmachina.
Our August issue, Internet And Compuer Animation, features a
number of special articles. In the Internet animation section we
feature a theoretical look at what might have happened if animation
legends such as Tex Avery had the freedom of the Internet at their
disposal. Martin "Dr. Toon" Goodman sends that one our way.
Plus, we have professionals currently working in the
Internet animation field give you tips on the latest equipment and