What a year it has been for Internet content. In January, it was like someone had found and removed the flaming sword, opening the gates of Eden to the masses. Now at year-end, Web entertainment providers look more like confused, panic-struck animals scurrying around Noah's place looking to hitch a ride. Let's take a look at what we've learned in 2000 about Internet entertainment. You can't pay big salaries to lure in big executives in the case of the first major dotcom disaster at DEN.com.
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To celebrate the world premiere of his new feature, "Mutant Aliens," at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, wacky animator Bill Plympton is offering you a sneak preview of the film with a 3-minute sinewy trailer...
Walt Disney has decided to release their new animated feature THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE in 16 Los Angeles theaters dubbed in Spanish. The experiment is part of Disney's plan to attract Latino buying power, which is estimated to reach US$452 billion nationwide next year. For years Disney has released Spanish dubbed or subtitled prints of their films to theaters that have requested them. However, most of those films were on their third run after they had been released in Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries.
Incanta, a managed content solutions firm for broadband service providers (BSPs), has announced a new distribution deal with AtomFilms. Incanta's Cinema and Arts channel will feature AtomFilms' short films and original animation. Incanta's content services for BSPs include an award-winning personalized radio service as well as customized video offerings that range in subject from sports to film, from chat to music video. Incanta's other content partners include Quokka Sports, Vidnet, Planet Jam, AdventureTV and Academy Entertainment.
DreamWorks has signed a five-year production deal with Calabasas, California-based TDK Mediactive to produce games for current and next-generation gaming consoles. The first project for TDK will be the gaming adaptation of PDI/DreamWorks' 3D animated feature SHREK. Already DreamWorks has signed a deal to have a Nintendo Game Boy version arrive on shelves in conjunction with the release of the film in May. TDK also produces games for Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Universal, Harvey and New Line.
Microsoft Corp. and Electronic Arts (EA) announced that EA will provide its games for the Xbox video game system, Microsoft's highly anticipated, next-generation video game console. Initial titles will be MADDEN NFL FOOTBALL, NASCAR 2000, FIFA and F1 2000. Under the terms of the multiyear pact, EA will publish up to 10 titles in support of the console's launch in fall 2001. In addition, EA has ordered 500 Xbox Development Kits (XDKs) from Microsoft.
Fox TV Studios has tapped Los Angeles-based Gear-CGI to develop and produce a new action/adventure TV series entitled XERONINE. The series follows the mishaps and adventures of a simple-minded robot, a mad half-cockroach-half human scientist and the president of the United Earth. Providing voices for the series will be Gary Coleman (DIFF'RENT STROKES) as Xeronine, Clancy Brown (STARSHIP TROOPERS, SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION) as Dr. Canard and Pam Grier (JACKIE BROWN) as the president of the United Earth.
Collideascope Digital Productions has signed a deal with Teletoon to create the first television and online convergence program produced in Flash. OLLIE'S UNDER THE BED ADVENTURES will be a half-hour special consisting of ten 2-minute episodes targeted to children aged 5-10. The show will chronicle the imaginary tales of Ollie, a young hyperactive boy who invents a world of his own underneath his bed where he embarks on wild adventures. The show will also air at OllieLand.com, which will include an interactive environment where viewers can journey into Ollie's crazy world.
* Thursday, February 15 Saturday, February 17, 2001. Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California, U.S.A.
After claiming the U.S. box office crown over the Christmas weekend, CAST AWAY reclaimed the titled as BO champ for the New Year's weekend with a gross of US$31.2 million. The desert island adventure, with primary visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks, has floated $111.2 million in just 10-days of release. In fifth, Disney's THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE danced in with another $11.8 million. The new animated comedy has collected $47.9 million to date. Falling from fourth to sixth, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS grabbed an additional $7.8 million.
The U.S. Library of Congress has added two more animated films to The National Film Registry Bob Clampett's PORKY IN WACKYLAND and the 1957 theatrical trailer, LET'S ALL GO TO THE LOBBY from Filmack Studios. As part of the Library of Congress, the Registry was established in 1989 to preserve American film heritage. The list is formed by input from the National Film Preservation Board and the public. The Library adds 25 films per year that are deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant.
Solange, teamed with Destiny's Child and Baha Men, has agreed to record theme songs for Disney Channel's two upcoming animated series, THE PROUD FAMILY and STANLEY. Gary Marsh, executive vice president, original programming, Disney Channel, said, "Great music, performed by uniquely talented artists and integrally linked to our award-winning original programming, is a key component of our programming strategy.
AWN's Web Animation Guide is the place for what's new on the Net. In this week's installment Rick's Pick's Best of 2000, various holiday themed toons, the Salem Witch Trials and much, much more!
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Also every week AWN's associate editor Rick DeMott highlights what he thinks is the top new toon in cyberspace in "Rick's Picks!"
Asun Gil has been named channel manager of Cartoon Network Spain. Gil joined Cartoon Network Spain as head of research where she played a key role in building 1.2 million subscribers for the network in just over one year on air. "It is very exciting to take on the channel at this stage and my brief is to increase viewers as well as moving further into the area of new media and launching additional services," said Gil.
West Hollywood, California visual effects and design house Ring of Fire has added four new talents to their roster including lead motion graphics/special effects designer Todd DuFour, Henry artist Paul Geiger, Henry artist John Ciampa and inferno* artist Danny Yoon. Previously, DuFour operated his own broadcast and Web design company called Burrn. Prior to opening Burrn, DuFour spent three years freelancing at ad agency TBWA/Chiat Day as their lead motion graphic designer. Previously, Geiger worked as a freelance Henry artist and before that he worked for Pittard Sullivan.
Click 3X has created effects for the new Disney Store spots highlighting merchandise for the live-action feature 102 DALMATIANS. The 30-second "Pool" has Dalmatians shaking their spots onto a rack of white coats. A series of real Dalmatians were shot on green screen, as well as a still plate for the far wall. The Click 3X CGI department then created a photo-realistic floor with reflecting puddles matching the movement of the camera.
Spontaneous Combustion, a digital studio specializing in the creation of visual effects and design for the advertising, broadcast and film industries, has created and composited a photo-realistic 3D spot for a new Circuit City campaign. "Digital Santa" opens in a world where elves act as caddies and Santa Claus spends his time golfing. The Spontaneous Combustion team needed to make the effects seamless by replacing one of the backgrounds in the first spot with a blue sky.
Oxygen will give life to ABC's DOTCOMEDY. The series that highlighted the funniest content on the Internet was cancelled from ABC after only one airing. The show received one of the network's lowest ratings for a regularly scheduled program with a 2.8 rating. Oxygen will air the four episodes of the show, created by Oxygen Media and Carsey-Werner, but will not produce anymore. Originally, ABC called for 13 installments of the series.
Children's TV executive Haim Saban has exercised his option for News Corp.'s Fox Broadcasting to buy his 49.5% in the Fox Family Worldwide Inc. cable network. As part of the original agreement, each side will enlist an investment bank to determine the fair market value of the company. If the two numbers come within 10% of each other, the final purchase price will be the average of the two numbers. If they differ by more than 10% than a third bank will be brought in to mediate the settlement. Each parties' bank must determine Fox Family Worldwide's value by January 31, 2001.
Late Tuesday, December 19, 2000, Z.com filed suit against Chris Rock for repayment of fees in excess of US$1 million for content not delivered. In Z.com's filing, they claim that Rock and his Chris Rock Enterprises entered into a preliminary programming agreement on April 6, 2000 with a finalization deadline of June 30. Z.com then paid Rock $1.075 million on April 10, 2000 as promised. However, Rock quickly counter-sued Z.com and incubator idealab! for intentional misrepresentation, negligence, breach of a written contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
In a pledge of support for its fledging network, Viacom has agreed to let UPN air episodes of MTV's clay-animated series CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH as a compliment to GARY & MIKE. So far UPN has the rights to 7 choose reruns of DEATHMATCH with an option for 13 more. As part of the arrangement, MTV and UPN will cross-promote each other's airings of DEATHMATCH and MTV is considering a broadcast of GARY & MIKE after it nods on UPN. "It's great to be a part of Viacom," UPN COO Adam Ware said.
The Golden Globe Awards, given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press, have always been kind to animated features. And this year is no exception. DreamWorks/Aardman's CHICKEN RUN has garnered itself a nomination for best musical or comedy. It competes against the live-action films ALMOST FAMOUS, BEST IN SHOW, CHOCOLAT and O' BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? Last year, TOY STORY 2 took home the same prize. Disney's THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE made an appearance in the very Disneyfied category of best original song for "My Funny Friend and Me." F/X films received nods in several categories also.
Rhinoceros Visual Effects and Design has created the design and imagery for a new series of Victoria's Secret commercials for the company's "Satin" line. Each of the three 30-second spots: "Rubies," "Diamonds" and "Emeralds" called for intricate design work in inferno* that highlights both the Victoria's Secret models and the "nine jewel-tone colors" of the new line. "The interesting challenge of the Victoria's Secret spots was to use Inferno to marry extreme close-up shots of these tiny gems with the live footage of the models," said Rhinoceros inferno* artist Vico Sharabani.