Mattel, Inc. has signed a new multiyear worldwide licensing pact with Nickelodeon to renew and expand its current toy license agreement. The deal will include toy categories such as action figures, dolls, plush toys, games, handheld games, puzzles, and infant and preschool products. Mattel now controls all properties from Nickelodeon's children's television programming services, as well as Nickelodeon's motion pictures division, Nickelodeon Movies. As part of the deal, Mattel will be the international toy licensee for Nickelodeon's RUGRATS and BLUE'S CLUES in more than 30 countries.
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Three of animation's top producer/artists on BATMAN, THE X-MEN and THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, as well as such comic book classics as SPIDER-MAN, CONAN and TARZAN, have joined Stan Lee Media, Inc. (SLM). Will Meugniot, Larry Houston and Thomas McLaughlin, who have overseen programming for such major studios as Fox, Warner Bros., Sony and Saban, will be steering SLM projects in development as well as THE 7TH PORTAL Web animation franchise.
The convergence between the Net and TV gets narrower as KING OF THE HILL steps into the game in a big way. On Sunday, May 14, 2000, Fox will air an episode of KING where Peggy Hill is lured into making an inspirational video about her long time embarrassment her big feet. However, the shifty photographer just posts Peggys plus-sized piggys on a fetish Web site called peggysfeet.com.
Slaying the competition at the U.S. box office, DreamWorks' GLADIATOR easily finished in the top spot. The Roman action epic, with primary special effects by Mill Film Ltd., grossed a Goliath US$34.82 million, which is nearly the combined gross of the rest of the top ten films. GLADIATOR dethroned two-week box office champ U-571, which fell to second. The Universal World War II submarine story grossed another $7.77 million bringing its total theatre receipts to $49.59 million. Despite horrid reviews from about every source, THE FLINTSTONES VIVA ROCK VEGAS managed to finish in third place.
With live-action Julia Roberts-starrer ERIN BROCKOVICH reigning the international box office, POKEMON: THE FIRST MOVIE and STUART LITTLE started their descent down the charts. For the week ending May 4, 2000, STUART LITTLE fell from the #1 spot in Australia to land in 2nd place. The Columbia pic grossed another US$1.53 million Down Under, raising its cume in the country to $10.7 million. The radiant rodent also fell from the top spot in Germany and Hong Kong to land in fourth place in both countries. STUART's gross in Germany was $516,789, raising its German cume to $4.75 million.
Nelvana Limited announced that it has filed with the Ontario Securities Commission to offer 3.75 million subordinate voting shares of the company in the U.S. and Canada. A portion of the money gained from the new offering will be used to repay loans for the purchase of Klutz Publishing, a leading U.S. childrens book publisher. The remainder of the funds will be used to pay off borrowings under the firms credit facilities. The producer of children favs BABAR and FRANKLIN is selling 3,684,032 shares and the remaining 65,968 shares are being sold by two unnamed shareholders.
Pushing the boundaries of bedtimes everywhere, Nickelodeon will extend their Friday night line-up to 10 pm. Cyma Zarghami, Nick exec VP and general manager, said that the new hour block might be filled with U-PICK, a show that gives kids the chance to vote on what Nick series they want to watch. Currently, U-PICK airs on Friday nights and Zarghami said, "[U-PICKs] performing very well right now. We may expand that to 10 pm. We may put an anchor block in there. We havent decided yet." This decision comes amid rumors that ABCs TGIF Friday family programming is on the skids.
* Thursday, May 11 Friday, May 12, 2000. North Hollywood, Calfornia, U.S.A.
The California Institute of the Arts, School of Film/Video is holding Showcase 2000, a chance for students to screen their films and videos. Films in character animation will be shown on May 11 at 9pm and experimental animation films will be shown on May 12 at 8pm. The event will be held at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, 5230 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. For more information call Tel.: (661) 253-7818.
Quebec Animation, an alliance of animation companies in Quebec, announced that Oscar award-winning Productions Pascal Blais has joined the group. Productions Pascal Blais THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA recently won the Oscar for best animated short. Formed in 1999, the organization highlights the creativity and mastery in animation and visual effects of its members, while each company stands as an independent entity. "The rise of Montreal as an internationally recognized shooting center in the past ten years has been impressive," said Pascal Blais, President of Productions Pascal Blais.
A Canadian Television Fund (CTF) commissioned report calls for stiffer conflict-of-interest rules for the distribution of their CA$200 million in funds. Two reports, one by consultants François Colbert and David Silcox for CTF and one by KPMG for the Heritage Ministry, pointed out several serious administrative problems in the way Canadian funds are handed out to production companies. Both reports recommend that Telefilm Canada, a second government agency that helps fund and produce Canadian productions, should get out of the funding business and concentrate on producing feature films.
This week's updates to the Calendar of Events includes the Singapore Animation Fiesta in June 2000, and the first AnimeOnline Festival in Los Angeles in July 2000. With multiple search capabilities, AWN's new calendar of events gives you a customized way to look through the upcoming events - by Name, Location, Entry Deadline, Category, Event Type and more. Use it to stay abreast of animation related activities across the globe. If you know of animation related events that we don't have listed, send an email with the pertinent facts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book, "Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
Test your skills and challenge your brain with AWN's Animation Trivia Quiz. This week, we're asking questions about award winners...
"The Masters of Russian Animation," an extraordinary collection of Russia's most important animated short films, is now available on DVD! Volume 1 includes ten films from directors Fyodor Kitruk, Vadim Kurchevsky, Andrei Khrjanovsky, Rasa Strautmane, Yefim Gamburg, Andrei Khrjanovsky, Nikolai Serebryakov and Anatoly Petrov. In All, the Russian collection includes seven videotapes, available individually and in 3- or 7-tape packages. Volume 1 is now available on DVD for $24.95 plus s/h.
Former Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth has joined Pixars board of directors and IRON GIANT director Brad Bird has signed on as a director as well. The announcement came on the same day that the 3D-animation company revealed heavy earnings in the first quarter due to the phenomenal success of TOY STORY 2. Roth helped develop TOY STORY 2 before he left Disney to start his own production company. Roth told Reuters that he wanted to keep in touch with the ever-advancing world of 3D animation as his new business is being formed.
On May 11, 2000, the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences will hand out their top honors of the year with PC game AGE OF EMPIRES II leading the field with 7 nominations. Held in Los Angeles, this, the third edition, will be hosted by comedian Martin Short. Members of the Academy with expertise in each area formed review panels to vote for the winners. The award for game of the year, computer game of the year and console game of the year was voted on by all of the eligible members of the Academy. This years competition saw over 350 entries from 60 different companies.
Los Angeles, California-based Unbound Studios, an Internet animation and gaming company, is looking for 2D/FLASH ANIMATORS, an ANIMATION DIRECTOR and TRADITIONAL ANIMATORS. . . Sherman Oaks, California-based Animation Creations, an Animation Workshop, is looking for an ANIMATION INSTRUCTOR/ASSISTANT. . . Toronto, Canada-based Nelvana is looking for traditional ANIMATORS for a new series animated in Flash, as well as a DIRECTOR and STORYBOARD ARTISTS. . .
For its 2000 edition and its 40th anniversary (June 5-10, 2000), the Annecy International Animated Film Festival received 1,092 films (995 in 1999) from 52 countries. 279 of them, representing 36 countries, have been selected for official competition with 207 in competition and 72 in panorama.
Cinar has been quiet about an internal investigation looking into the use of company funds to renovate the co-founders Montreal home. No comment, was all Suzan Ayscough would give the press about co-founders Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg using almost CA$500,000 (US$348,000) of company funds to touch up their home without the knowledge of the board of directors. In March, Charest stepped down from her positions as co-CEO and chairman and Weinberg left his post as president and co-CEO.
SOUTH PARK creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have signed a three-year deal with Comedy Central. The profanity purveyors announced an exclusive multimillion-dollar deal with the cable network ending rumors they were fleeing to ABC for a $1 million an episode pact. The deal calls for 30 new episodes of SOUTH PARK and a new live-action series to debut next year. "For the last three years we have been exceptionally lucky to have our show on a network that respects creative freedom," said Parker.
On Tuesday, May 2, 2000, Swatch, a world leading watch producer, and AtomFilms, a leader in Internet entertainment, announced a partnership to seek independent creative talent for an animated Swatch "Internet Time" ad campaign. The jointly organized competition is open to Flash animators from around the globe. Winners will help Swatch develop an Internet communication campaign. Peter Fonda, two-time Academy Award nominee, will join Swatch and AtomFilms as one of the advisory judges for the contest.