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This Week's Web Animation Guide For Friday, January 19, 2001

AWN's Web Animation Guide is the place for what's new on the Net. In this week's installment new Webisodes of THE MULTIPATH ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN and THE CRITIC, the debut of John Ridley's THOSE WHO WALK IN DARKNESSS and much, much more!

Get your Web Animation Guide here!

Also every week AWN's associate editor Rick DeMott highlights what he thinks is the top new toon in cyberspace in "Rick's Picks!"

Headline News

Messiah Is Coming To OS X

project:messiah Group (pmG) celebrated their first birthday recently by announcing that they were bringing their highly successful project:messiah character animation software to Apple's OS X. The self-confessed team of die-hard NT developers said that they had high hopes for Apple's new platform, and that the platform could be a worthy challenger to NT and Windows 2000. pmG co-founder Fori Owurowa said that, "By porting to the Mac, we will be tapping into a market of graphics professionals that have been waiting for an application such as ours.

Version Headline News

Avid|DS 4.0 Receives Praise From Beta Testers

The recently released Avid|DS Version 4.0 has received advance praise from the post-production facilities involved with testing the new system. The major new release has been hailed for its performance, feature improvements and timesaving capabilities. Among the most highly anticipated features in the new version is an optional remote processing capability that enables users to continue working on a project while computationally intensive tasks are being processed in the background, thereby avoiding interruptions to the creative process.

Headline News

Columbia Snatches Spawn Feature Rights

Columbia Pictures has snatched up the feature film rights to the comic book SPAWN. Recently, New Line Cinema, who produced the original live-action feature, let their claim on the rights expire, thus reverting them back to creator Todd McFarlane. Columbia was quick to pounce on the film rights to the popular Imagine comic book series. Already, Don Murphy has signed on to produce the next feature through Sony-based AngryFilms. Currently, McFarlane and screenwriter Steve Niles are working on the first draft of the SPAWN sequel.

Disney Headline News

Disney Channel Proud Of New Toon Sitcom

The Disney Channel has announced that it will produce its first animated sitcom entitled THE PROUD FAMILY. The series will chronicle the experiences of a 14-year-old African-American girl named Penny and her family. Co-executive producer Bruce Smith (SPACE JAM) created the series. Ralph Farquhar, co-creator of the UPN live-action comedy MOESHA, will serve as the other executive producer. The voice cast will include Kyla Pratt (LOVE & BASKETBALL) as Penny, Paula Jai Parker (THE WAYANS BROS.) as Trudy Proud and Tommy Davidson (IN LIVING COLOR) as Oscar Proud.

Series Headline News

Nick's Zim & Fairly OddParents Set For March Debut

Nickelodeon is set to premiere two new cartoon series, INVADER ZIM and THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, in March. Debuting on Friday, March 30 at 8:30 pm, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS follows the adventures of 10-year-old Timmy Turner (Tara Strong) and his newly arrived fairy godparents -- Cosmo (Daran Norris) and Wanda (Susan Blakeslee), who grant him wishes in an attempt to fix his problems. The series is created by OH YEAH! CARTOONS! veteran Butch Hartman.

Series Headline News

Toon Disney Gets First Original Series – Tarzan!

Toon Disney, the all-Disney cartoon channel, has announced their first original series, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN. The series will bow on the cable network in fall 2001. In the show, Tarzan (Michael T. Weiss, THE PRETENDER) will be reunited with his animal family and must defend the jungle from the encroachment of man. Other characters in the series will be Jane (Olivia d' Abo, THE WONDER YEARS), Professor Porter (Jeff Glen Bennett, THE WEEKENDERS), the well-meaning ape Terk (April Winchell, RECESS, PEPPER ANN) and Tantor the elephant (Jim Cummings, THE TIGGER MOVIE).

Effects Headline News

Digital Film Tools Offer Free Plug-In

Digital Film Tools, the producer of Composite Suite, a comprehensive set of visual effects plug-ins for editors and visual effects artists, is offering a free Fast Blur plug-in for Avid editing systems and Adobe After Effects. The plug-in is a high-quality, deep focus blur plug-in that can be downloaded from Digital Film Tools Website at www.digitalfilmtools.com/html/products.html.

Version Headline News

Crater Launches CTP 1.4

Crater Software has released the latest version of their flagship 2D animation package CTP. Among other things, version 1.4 now offers complete compatibility with Macromedia Flash, making the cartoon production tool ideal for animators looking to publish their work on the Web. "Enhancing CTP 1.4 with Flash compatibility was clearly the next step to take," explained Crater Software President Joe Alonso, "With an overwhelming majority of Web users with Flash installed on their browsers, it has gone from a mere file format to the new standard in Web media delivery.

Entertainment Headline News

Z.Com Seeks Savior

Z.com is in need of an Internet savior. In October, Z.com laid off 50 employees, which was most of its staff. The Web entertainment site is looking around town for a possible merger partner. The company's major backers include Internet incubator Idealab, Basic Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Maverick Records partner Guy Oseary. Z.com CEO Joe DiNunzio told THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER that, "We're exploring strategic alternatives that include mergers or bringing in new equity partners."

Million Headline News

EM.TV Shareholders Demand $16.8M

Angry EM.TV shareholders are stating that the company should pay them DM35 million (US$16.8 million) in damages for financial mismanagement and deliberately misleading the investors. Shareholders, represented by lawyers Tilp & Kaelberer and Klaus Rotter, said they would sue EM.TV if the firm doesn't comply with their out-of-court settlement. The German children's production house has refused to discuss a settlement until an investigation by the Munich state prosecutor's office into the company's actions is completed.

Time Headline News

Entertaindom To Fold February 1st

Entertaindom.com has become the first casualty of the AOL Time Warner merger. As part of overall company trimming, Entertaindom will fold up operations on February 1st. The content from the site will most likely be combined with series on the Warner Bros. Online site. How many employees will lose their jobs is yet to be known. However, insiders say that over the next few weeks there will be major cuts throughout Time Warner. Already 400 staffers have been cut from news division CNN. The completion of the merger has long loomed over Entertaindom.

Million Headline News

EM.TV's Haffa Brothers Admit To Selling Off Stock

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 17, 2001 at 12:00am

EM.TV's CEO Thomas Haffa and deputy chairman Florian Haffa have admitted that they sold shares in the company without consulting the firm's financial advisory, WestLB. The sale may be a violation of German stock exchange rules. Thomas sold DM40 million (US$19.2 million) worth of EM.TV shares while Florian's amount was not released. Up until Tuesday, Thomas had insisted that he informed WestLB of the sales, but now says he only informed the bank of his intention of the sales and did not place the move in writing.

International Headline News

BKN International Buys Its Former Parent Company

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 17, 2001 at 12:00am

Germany-based children's TV and licensing firm, BKN International, has acquired the operational assets of its former parent Los Angeles-based BKN Inc. BKNI will pay US$25.5 million over the next two years to gain the rights to BKN's fifth largest animation portfolio in the U.S. In addition, BKNI will pay $2.6 million in cash for BKN Inc.'s L.A. studio and its trademark. Therefore, BKN Inc. will only exist as a holding company with a 34% share in BKN International. In a separate deal, Sony Pictures Family Entertainment has purchased 3.8% of BKNI from BKN Inc.

Headline News

Czech Animator Karel Zeman Screening Comes To LA!

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 17, 2001 at 12:00am

* Thursday, February 15 Sunday, February 18, 2001. Hollywood, California, U.S.A.

The American Cinematheque and the World Animation Festival are sponsoring a screening of Czech animator Karel Zeman's work. Zeman's work as an animator and special effects artist stretched from the 1940s to the 1960s. He worked on such films as THE FABULOUS WORLD OF JULES VERNE (1958) and BARON MUNCHAUSEN (1961). For more information contact the American Cinematheque at: 1800 North Highland Ave., Los Angeles, California 90028, U.S.A.; or Tel.: (323) 466-FILM.

Headline News

Gary & Mike Does Well In Debut On UPN

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 17, 2001 at 12:00am

THE SIMPSONS yet again claimed the primetime TV toon crown scoring an 8.6 rating/13 share in 38th place. KING OF THE HILL notched in a four-way tie for #68, garnering a 5.8 rating/9 share. Not preempted by NFL football, FUTURAMA took the 84th slot with a 4.3 rating/7 share. The premiere of GARY & MIKE placed high for its fledgling network, UPN. With extreme help as a follow-up to WWF SMACKDOWN on Thursday, the new stop-motion cartoon kicked off with a 3.6 rating/5 share in 86th place.

Series Headline News

DIC To Transform Live-Action Evolution Into Toon

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 17, 2001 at 12:00am

DIC Entertainment has signed on to create 26 half-hour episodes of EVOLUTION, based on Ivan Reitman's forthcoming summer live-action feature. This project re-teams DIC's president and CEO Andy Heyward with Reitman, who collaborated on REAL GHOSTBUSTERS and MUMMIES ALIVE. Producing the series along with DIC will be Reitman's The Montecito Picture Co. (TMPC) in conjunction with DreamWorks and Columbia Pictures. Heyward, Reitman and TMPC's co-founder Tom Pollack will executive produce the traditionally animated show.

Headline News

Adobe Ships Premiere 6.0

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 17, 2001 at 12:00am

Adobe is now shipping the latest version of their award-winning and very popular digital video editing software Premiere. Adobe Premiere 6.0 allows users to edit digital video on a desktop and publish it to the Web in multiple formats, including RealNetworks RealMedia, Microsoft WindowsMedia and Apple QuickTime, quickly and easily. This new version is being dubbed "the tool of choice for DV professionals" because of its built-in support for a large selection of DV devices on Macintosh and Windows platforms.

Short Headline News

Academy Announces F/X Short List

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 17, 2001 at 12:00am

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the short list of films being considered for the Visual Effects Oscar. The seven films chosen were CAST AWAY, DINOSAUR, DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, GLADIATOR, HOLLOW MAN, THE PERFECT STORM and X-MEN. Fifteen-minute clip reels from each of the seven films will be screened for the Visual Effects Award Nominating Committee on February 7. The members will then pick three of the seven films for nominations. Those nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 13, at 5:30 am.

Headline News

Macromedia To Acquire Allaire

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 17, 2001 at 12:00am

Macromedia Inc., creator of Flash software and parent to Shockwave.com, has announced that it will acquire Web content management company Allaire Corp. in a US$360 million cash and stock deal. Macromedia will exchange 0.2 shares of its stock plus $3 in cash for each share in Allaire. Macromedia CEO Rob Burgess will continue as CEO of the new combined firm, with Allaire's CTO Jeremy Allaire talking over the same role at Macromedia. The combined company will retain the Macromedia name.

Animation Headline News

Animation Stock Ticker For Tuesday, January 16, 2001

AWN's stock ticker features the most prominent publicly traded companies in the world of animation. AWN, Inc. makes available certain financial information from third party information providers. AWN does not give advice in any such fields, and has not reviewed, and in no way endorses the validity of such data. This information is provided solely as a means to keep our readers informed of the market performance and trends of certain companies. AWN strongly suggests that one seek advice from a competent professional regarding any investment or financial issues.

Million Headline News

Unbreakable: Int. Box Office Hero, Chicken Still Runs Mexico

Touchstone's UNBREAKABLE is truly becoming an international box office hero with top place finishes all over the globe. In France, UNBREAKABLE held on tight to the top spot, with a gross of US$4.68 million, elevating its cume to $11.74 million. At #3, CHICKEN RUN escaped with a gross of $2.64 million, flying its French cume to $11.48 million. DINOSAUR roared in at #4, grossing $2.22 million, thereby growing its French cume to $25.14 million. In sixth, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS slew $1.16 million, increasing its French cume to $2.83 million.

Short Headline News

Original-Cut Pete's Dragon Arrives On VHS & DVD

Disney is releasing for the first time PETE'S DRAGON in its original theatrical 135-minute cut. Hitting stores on January 16, 2001, the VHS and DVD will have a restored and remastered video and audio track. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Original Song Score and Best Song for "Candle On The Water." The story follows lighthouse keeper Lampie (Mickey Rooney) and Nora (Helen Reddy) as they try to save Pete (Sean Marshall) and his pet dragon Elliot from his cruel foster mother Mrs. Gogan (Shelley Winters) and the scheming quack, Dr. Terminus (Jim Dale).

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