Cinar's insurance company, Liberty Mutual, has hired private investigators to look into the allegations of fraud against the children's television producer. Liberty may have to pay out millions if the board of Cinar is found liable. The insurance company's law firm Gasco Lelarge hired two former Montreal police detectives, Alain Pirrol and Andre Boudreau, to head up the investigation. Pirrol and Boudreau run the Montreal-based investigation agency Quali-T Investigation.
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Nickelodeon and Toys'R'Us have announced an agreement to create a new Nickelodeon boutique channel on Toysrus.com to launch by fall of 2000. As part of the deal, the two companies will co-develop a Nickelodeon channel that will offer a wide variety of Nickelodeon licensed products, links between the sites, customized content and cross promotions. Moreover, Toysrus.com will acquire the inventory of Nick On-lines now defunct on-line toy store, Red Rocket. Terms were not disclosed.
Shockwave.com announced it has appointed former Pixar Animation Studios executive Lawrence Levy as its new president and CEO. Levy will also join the board of directors of the company. This new position will be effective June 19. Rob Burgess will continue as chairman of shockwave.com and chairman and CEO of Macromedia. Levy was the executive vice president and chief financial officer at Pixar where he spearheaded business operations and was responsible for Pixar's 1995 initial public offering.
DreamWorks' GLADIATOR continues to plunder the pockets of moviegoers around the globe. Complete box numbers from Germany, France, Australia and a number of other countries were not available due to local holidays, however GLADIATOR looks like it is still slaying the competition. The bloody blockbuster is still topping the charts after five weeks in release in both the U.K. and Australia, regaining the top spot from MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 in the later. In its four weeks in release, the Roman revenge tale took the #1 spot in both Italy and Spain.
Swedish-based animation studio Filmtecknarna F. Animation has produced a 90-second short for Cartoon Network entitled JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS IN MUSICAL EVOLUTION. The film is part of the Cartoon Networks "Shorties" series. In the spot, classic Hanna-Barbera characters Josie and the Pussycats take viewers on a journey through musical styles including punk, country, disco, heavy metal and techno. The spot was directed by Jonas Odell and produced by Leila El-Zein. Craig "Sven" Gordon was the Cartoon Network creative director.
Finishing up on June 4, 2000, The World Animation Celebrations competition has announced its winners. Prizes in over 30 competition categories were awarded. There were over 500 entries from all over the world. Annecy 1999 and Cannes winning short WHEN THE DAY BREAKS by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis took home the grand prize. Taking the top prize for theatrical features was STUART LITTLE. The live-action/CGI animated feature beat out DreamWorks PRINCE OF EGYPT, which took home the second place prize. Below is a complete list of the winners.
With the new actioner from Nicolas Cage racing in to the #1 spot at the U.S. box office, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 fell to #2 in its third weekend in theatres. Disneys GONE IN 60 SECONDS grossed US$25.33 million on its way to receiving the checkered flag. MISSION, with primary visual effects by Pacific Data Images, Double Negative Ltd. and CFC, grossed another $17.23 million, raising its exploding cume to $158.1 million and is on a pace to beat the finishing cume of the original MISSION installment. Disneys DINOSAUR has slipped to fourth grossing another $8.82 million.
Warner Bros. Pictures and Cartoon Network are joining forces to bring THE POWERPUFF GIRLS to the big screen. The shows creator Craig McCracken will supervise the feature. This film marks the first-ever feature based on an original Cartoon Network series. This collaboration will be the first production of a full-length animated film at the newly opened Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, California. THE POWERPUFF GIRLS is targeted for a summer 2002 release.
The Oscar winner for best short animated film, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, has won the coveted grand prize at the International Festival of Animated Film at Annecy. In a lively ceremony held on Saturday, June 10, 2000, the awards were handed out by the festivals artistic director, Serge Bromberg. The short and feature film jury, comprised of Meral Erez (Turkey), Aida Ndiaye (Senegal), Georges Schwizgebel (Switzerland), John Lasseter (U.S.A.) and Jimmy T. Murakami (Ireland), bestowed the top honor to the adaptation of Ernest Hemmingways novella.
After only two airings, ABC has cancelled Kevin Smiths animated TV series CLERKS. The teen-targeted toon debuted on May 31 with a poor rating of 5.2 and slipped to a 4.1 for its Tuesday, June 6 episode. Insiders say that ABC became initially scared of the toon when advertisers balked on its edgy humor. The series was original scheduled to be a 1999-2000 midseason replacement series. Advertising jitters may have lead to ABCs decision to make the toon a summer release, which drew much publicized heat from creator Kevin Smith [AWN 3/13/00].
St. Louis, Missouri-based Technisonic Studios is looking for 3D ANIMATORS. . . Lombard, Illinois-based Big Idea Productions Inc. is looking for 3D MODELING SUPERVISORS. . . Max Ink Cafe, LLC is looking for 3D MAX CHARACTER ANIMATORS and MODELERS to animate CG characters for game cinematics, and a SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR to maintain NT operating system and network. . .Santa Monica, California-based Zeros & Ones Inc., a rapidly-growing broadband company, is looking for ANIMATORS for a Web-based animated series and DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANTS for TV and Web animation. . .
AWN is excited to announce that it has launched the AWN Animator Affiliate Program, an extensive initiative dedicated to providing independent animators worldwide with high profile exposure to the professional creative community through AWNs official Web site. The program officially kicked off this Tuesday at the Annecy International Animation Festival, where AWN co-hosted a cocktail party given by the festival in honor of the directors in official selection.
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book, "Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
In the wake of the booming on-line entertainment world, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has created a new contract for made-for-Internet writers of live-action and animation scripts. As part of the new contract, Guild affiliated Net firms will have to sign a Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) and provide financial reports regarding Internet revenue. The new rules guarantee scribes MBA minimums for Internet content that is the impetus for a TV pilot or series.
Former Disney chairman Joe Roths Revolution Studios, a film and television production company, has released the details regarding the roles that its investors will serve. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Starz! Encore Group and Fox Entertainment Groups were among the investors that have sunk US$3 billion into the five-month old production house. Additionally, Revolution has gained a controlling stake in the on-line entertainment channel MediaTrip.com.
Speaking at an investors conference in London, Viacom president and COO, Mel Karmazin, emphasized to attendees that if UPN doesnt begin to make a profit it would either be shut down or sold off. Karmazin said Viacom expects UPN to meet the performance criteria set for all its operating divisions. The total losses for the five-year old network have risen to nearly $800 million. "UPN will become profitable, or it wont exist," Karmazin said.
Thirteen of the largest computer and video game producers have filed suit against six game pirates who have been selling bootleg titles over the Net. The suit claims that James Cabot of Brook Park, Ohio; C. Graves of Raleigh, North Carolina; Tim Knoblich of Daytona Beach, Florida; Travis Lallman of Burley, Idaho; Derek Rufo of Vancouver, British Columbia; and Carol Scott of Columbia, South Carolina allegedly copied games, advertised them on six separate Web sites and sold them via mail.
Pulse Entertainment has received US$35 million in private equity funding led by Softbank Venture Capital, and others like Time Warners Web destination Entertaindom and Autodesk Inc. As part of the deal, exclusive content will be provided by Pulse for Entertaindom. "We cant release the names yet, but we have at least two shows in production," said Pulse CEO Fred Angelopoulos. However, the shows will come from Entertaindoms access to the Warner Bros. portfolio of characters. Currently, Pulse produces a 3D Webtoon based on the Looney Toons character Marvin the Martian.
Imax Corp. has struck a deal that will bring DreamWorks and PDIs newest 3D animated feature SHREK to the giant screen. Opening December 2001, six months after its initial theatrical release, the ogre odyssey will arrive in Imaxs 150 digital 3D theatres. Imax will foot the US$10 million bill to transfer the two-dimensional cartoon to eye-popping 3D. SHREK follows the misadventures of an annoyed ogre and his new frustratingly friendly fairy-tale neighbors.
BKN International, a childrens animated series production, distribution and marketing company, announced their acquisition of France-based Arles Animation. Arles has worked on series such as WACKY WORLD OF TEX AVERY, SABRINA and SONIC UNDERGROUND. Arles credits itself as being the only studio in France with experience in managing and executing a two-episode per week schedule. The French firm has created work for DIC, TF1, Canal +, RTL and La Cinquieme.
The newest lawsuit hitting the embattled Cinar Corp. comes from a former exec, over his inability to exercise his stock options. At Cinar, Louis Fournier served as the companys vice president of distribution and left the company to serve as president of youth and animation programming at Montreal-based TVA International. Fournier is suing his former employer for reimbursement over stock options not paid to him when he exited the company in February 2000.
Stan Lee Media has announced a teaming with producer Mark Canton (RED PLANET), which will bring a live-action version of the Internet animated series 7TH PORTAL to the big screen. With no studio yet attached, Canton plans to take the project to Warner Bros. where he has a production deal. Currently, Canton is set to produce the feature with Stan Lee Media co-founders Stan Lee and Peter Paul serving as executive producers. Canton told the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, "The opportunity to work on the new characters and stories created by Stan Lee is about as exciting as one can imagine.