THE RUGRATS ruled the May rating sweep by topping both of its Saturday morning time slots. The top toon, RUGRATS, gained 2.4 million viewers at 9:30 am and 2.1 million at 9 am, placing that episode in the second slot. Nickelodeon shows ROCKET POWER and SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS took the third and fourth spots respectively. ROCKET landed an audience of 1.8 million at 8:30 am and SPONGEBOB sank 1.8 million viewers into their couches at 10 am. The regular champion POKEMON slipped to 5th place, only luring in 1.74 million viewers for its 10:30 am broadcast.
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With GLADIATOR opening wider in Europe, the DreamWorks darling finished atop six box office charts. Still reigning in Australia and the U.K., the Roman rampage made another US$2.42 million and $2.95 million respectively. The Australian total for hometown boy Russell Crowes action debut is $10.19 million, while the flick has grossed $16.81 million in Britain. The worldwide wonder had successful premieres in Germany, Italy, Sweden and Hong Kong making over $10 million in the four countries combined.
In easily the biggest box office weekend of all time, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 rode in atop the U.S. box office charts. In the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, the motorcycle-cruising crime caper grossed a phenomenal US$70.82 million. Since opening on Wednesday, May 24, the John Woo-directed actioner has exploded forth with a $91.82 million total. Disneys DINOSAUR has already slipped to second rustling up another $32.04 million.
Wild Brain Inc., a San Francisco-based animation producer, has landed US$20 million in its second round of financing, led by first round backers Interfase Capital Partners, LP. The new round of investment dwarfs the original round by $14 million. The funds will be used to continue wildbrain.coms Webisodes; produce POOCHINI, a TV series co-production with German EM.TV; and growing their CGI division with the completion of HUBERTS BRAIN.
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania senior Joe Gorski has won the first Chuck Jones Foundation Award. Speaking by telephone from his home in California, animation legend Chuck Jones announced the winner of the first ever Chuck Jones Award for Excellence in Student Animation to a standing-room-only audience at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Jones daughter, Linda Jones Clough, was on hand to present the award to Gorski. Jones created the foundation that bears his name to recognize, reward, support and inspire continued excellence in art and animation.
Mondo Media has announced that it will produce six new original Web shows. The Internet content provider will be unveiling the six new Mondo Mini Shows at their booth at World Animation Celebration's Tradeshow and Recruitment Expo in Los Angeles. "We are very proud of our new lineup and believe it reflects our commitment to creating character-based, witty animated shows for audiences both on-line and off," said John Evershed, co-founder and CEO of Mondo Media.
Icebox, Inc., an original Web-based animated content destination, has signed an exclusive three-year agreement with REN & STIMPY creator John Kricfalusi. As part of the agreement, Icebox will commission and air three new Kricfalusi series and will be the exclusive Web home for Spumco entertainment which includes the GODDAMN GEORGE LIQUOR PROGRAM. In addition, Icebox will serve as the exclusive Internet distribution outlet for RealCartoons.net, the new on-line animation network founded by Kricfalusi.
To celebrate the launch of their new site Michael Wiese Productions
is giving away an entire shelf of their best-selling filmmaking books
worth over $275...
Millimages, a France-based animation production house, has opened a new Internet production division. The Flash produced products will be targeting a teen and adult audience. The company will create a minimum of fifty 20 second to 2 minute episodes per season. The animation firm with locations in London and Paris hopes to create content that converges television and the Web. Millimages is currently working on the development of 12 original Net series, some of which are co-productions with companies such as Magma Films (Ireland) and Happylife (Sweden).
Walt Disney has promoted Leo Chu to the position of vice president, creative affairs for Walt Disney Feature Animation. Chu will now oversee the development of new features at the California, Florida and Paris-based Disney studios. Previously Chu had worked in various development roles on MULAN and DINOSAUR. Prior to joining the animation wing, Chu helped develop projects for Walt Disney Pictures. Currently, Chu is focusing his attention on next year's ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE.
Mainz, Germany-based ZDF Enterprises is planning to re-invent the popular TV detective DERRICK as an animated feature film. Last year DERRICK finished its unprecedented 24-year run on German television and 100 plus other territories worldwide. The theatrical release is being produced by ZDF, Ireland-based Magma Film and Hamburg-based neue deutsche Filmgesellschaft (ndF). The producers on the project are ndF's Matthias Walther, Magma Film's Ralph Christians and ZDF's senior VP of North American operations, Horst Muller. The trio have been developing the project for the last two years.
India-based UTV Toons, a division of UTV Group a media and entertainment company, has signed a US$65 million deal with Ottawa-based Funbag Animation to produce nine animated series. Funbag will produce 26-episodes of each program over the next 3 years. Both companies will own all global merchandising rights. "This deal clearly puts India on the global map for animation," said UTV Group chairman Ronnie Screwvala. Recently, UTV produced JASON AND THE HEROES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS for Fox/Saban, co-produced KONG with BKN and co-produced FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE with Funbag.
Lycos becomes the first major Internet portal to launch a programmed video network with tv.lycos.com. Three of the twelve channels will feature animated content. The first of the channels presents Mondo Media's Webtoons LIKE, NEWS and THUGS ON FILM. The second channel presents Animation Express' Net series WENCHELL BOGUM, BULBO, MR. MAN, SEX SLAVE and FATMAN, which is produced by Honkworm International. The final channel broadcasts Animation Express shorts like SLEEP ELUSIVE and THE BUS STOP. Lycos plans to launch more Webcasters in the upcoming months.
Quebec, Canada-based Sarbakan is looking for a 2D ANIMATOR. . . Los
Angeles, California-based Unbound Studios is looking for a strong 2D
Annecy is getting ready to celebrate its 40th anniversary (June 5-10)
with Mr. Roy E. Disney as Honorary President of this 24th edition and
prestigious guests such as John Lasseter, Jimmy Murakami and more...
The M.P.S.C. Local 839 IATSE, the labor union for screen cartoonists
and CGI artists and technicians in southern California, has updated
their site with the May 2000 edition of their newsletter, The
This week's updates to the Calendar
of Events is massive! AWN is now
listing over 70 international events, from major festivals to lesser
known events such as the 10th Annual Sensual & Erotic Art Exhibition
(USA), The 7th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival (USA) and the
10th International Symposium on Electronic Art (France). With
multiple search capabilities, AWN's new calendar of events gives you
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book,
"Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
Fox Family Channel will be shopping for a new head now that president
and CEO Rich Cronin has stepped down from his post. Awaiting the
announcement of Cronin's replacement, programming and marketing
decisions will go through exec VP and Fox Kids general manager
Maureen Smith. Before coming to Fox Family from Viacom, Cronin was
locked up in a breach of contract suit with his former employers.
Once clear of his Viacom commitment, Cronin took Fox Family's reins
On Monday, May 22, 2000, The Walt Disney Co. announced that its majority-owned Toysmart.com has gone off-line. Disney purchased 60% of the e-commerce site for educational toys in August for an estimated US$50 million. Disney execs, which made up 3/5s of the board, decided to shut down operations after a new round of financing was denied. One hundred-ten of the remaining employees were laid off. In April, 205,000 Web surfers visited the site compared to 1.3 million for Toysrus.com and 1 million for EToys said Media Metrix.
Phillip Bowman and Malcolm McGookin have formed a new animation house in Brisbane, Australia called ASTERISK* Animation. Bowman will serve as executive producer and McGookin as producer and director. Bowman has vast experience in both live-action production and animated television series. His credits include ABC network's LIZZIE'S LIBRARY and KITU AND WOOF. McGookin first started his animation career on the Cosgrove Hall shows COUNT DUCKULA and DANGERMOUSE. Afterwards, McGookin moved on to writing and directing AVENGER PENGUINS and TABALUGA in the U.K and Australia.