Despite the threat of an actors' strike at the end of June, Columbia Pictures and Amblin Entertainment have decided to start the production of MEN IN BLACK 2 on June 3. Priority will be set on New York exteriors and heavy effects shots. Therefore, if an actors' strike does disrupt shooting the visual effects artists can start on the effects in the interim. The first MEN IN BLACK stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are set to return with Barry Sonnenfeld reprising his role as director.
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Soviet animator Vyacheslav Kotenochkin, creator of the world-famous slapstick cartoon NU, POGODI, died on November 20, 2000 after a battle with a long illness. He was 74-years-old. NU, POGODI, which screened in theaters around the globe, chronicled the misadventures of a hungry, dimwitted wolf that constantly chased a wide-eye rabbit. The Roadrunner-esque cartoons always ended with the wolf shouting, "Nu, pogodi!
Despite a report in the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER that the company is bankrupt, Internet animation producer and distributor Dotcomix is in discussions to be bought. AWN spoke with founder and chief creative officer Brad DeGraf and he said the company "just couldn't keep producing as it had in the past." DeGraf said the production staff has been laid off until the transition period is finished. However, president and CEO Damon Danielson has left the company to become the CEO of Video4I, a multi-platform video streaming company.
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SCARY MOVIE, WHAT LIES BENEATH and CHARLIE'S ANGELS all held strong at the international box office. In Italy, SCARY MOVIE debuted at #1 with a strong gross of US$2.28 million. Dropping a lofty 59%, X-MEN fell to sixth, grossing $466,646, thereby lifting its Italian cume to $4.1 million. In seventh, FREQUENCY channeled $460,570 in its Italian premiere. In France, SCARY MOVIE held onto the top spot with a gross of $2.32 million, raising its cume to $15.24 million. The French debut of SHAFT, therefore, had to settle for second, grossing $1.62 million.
Despite DreamWorks and Imagine Entertainment's downfall with Pop.com, Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard plan to create Webtoons for CoutingDown.com, the movie-fan site purchased by DreamWorks to be part of Pop.com. Howard's toon will be based on a recurring nightmare he has been having, where he is trapped on a crazed and out-of-control film set. Spielberg's toon will also be based on one of the filmmaker's dreams, but no plot has been released. The site will debut one toon early in December and the other in January.
KING OF THE HILL creators Greg Daniels and Mike Judge have teamed to develop a live-action series based off of the series' TV preacher Monsignor Martinez. Jim Dauterive, a supervising producer on KING, is set to produce the new show. Martinez is a recurring character on a TV soap that Peggy Hill and the rest of her family watch religiously. The spinoff would chronicle the vigilante adventures of the rough and tough priest. Insiders say that Fox TV is close to placing a script order for the series.
ADV Films is releasing the third volume of the LOST UNIVERSE series on video November 14, 2000. The series is a zany space adventure following the exploits of the starship Swordbreaker and its crew. Included in the third installment, the crew's only bathroom gets lost in a giant maze. Each tape features 4 episodes. The first two volumes in the series were released earlier this year. The film retails for US$19.98 for English dubbed and $29.95 for English subtitled.
In a report commissioned by Nickelodeon U.K., BBC's plan to form two new children's networks could cause commercially funded networks up to £400 million (US$580 million) in funding over a five-year period by undermining the economics of the commercially funded stations. Therefore the other 14 children's networks in the U.K. would have to rely more on cheap imports and repeat programming to stay viable against the publicly funded BBC networks. The report was conducted by independent analysts at Arthur Andersen. Nick U.K.
Jack Ozark, animator and newspaper sports cartoonist, died on November 16, 2000. He was 82-years-old. In 1931, Ozark started his career at the Fleischer Studios, animating on POPEYE, BETTY BOOP and GULLIVER'S TRAVELS. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps and afterward moved to Los Angeles to work on the early Hanna-Barbera shows YOGI BEAR, FLINTSTONES and TOP CAT. He specialized in animating Snagglepuss and Wally Gator. He finished out his career at Filmation on HE-MAN and SHE-RA until his retirement in 1987. He was awarded the L.A. Cartoonists' Union 839 Golden Award in 1992.
BOXX Technologies, a leading provider of digital content creation tools for the entertainment and digital film industries, announced that James H. Moore has joined the company as chairman. Moore recently served as president and COO at Crossroads Systems, a high-technology manufacturer of fibre channel storage routers for the computer networking industry. Prior to joining Crossroads Systems, Moore was vice president and general manager of Crystal Semiconductor and Cirrus Logic.
TOPIX/Mad Dog completed the 3D animation for a pair of 10-second spots for Boots Lights Cigarettes entitled "Striptease" and "Mirilla." In "Striptease," a crowd of lighters eagerly await the arrival of the main attraction - the new Boots Lights cigarette packaging. The old package shimmies out of its wrapper and the crowd goes wild when the new packaging makes its debut. In "Mirilla," cigarettes get restless in their old package and wrestle to be the first to get into their new packaging.
FilmCore's editor Michael Bartoli and ILM director Bill Werts have teamed on the new spot for Toyota's new Corolla S Model. The 30-second spot opens on a newspaper floating in the air above a suburban street. On the center of the front page is a large picture of a man who comes to life and tries to hail a ride from a passing car. Werts and the team at ILM shot a real newspaper against blue-screen, with the paper attached to monofilament to make it dance. The actor was shot separately then composited with the newspaper. Initial compositing was performed by Bartoli on Avid.
The Holland Animation Film Festival concluded its five-day festival with the presentation of its awards. This year's event was the first to hand out an award for independent animation films. With this competition, the festival sets out to promote the short, artistic animation film, and, as a result, encourage media attention toward independent animation. This year's student jury included: Joan Ashworth (animation filmmaker, England), Henk Beumers (animation filmmaker, the Netherlands) and Menno de Nooijer (animation filmmaker, the Netherlands).
At this weekend's box office, Universal's HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS thieved the U.S. crown with a multi-record breaking premiere. The GRINCH grossed US$55.08 million, making it the biggest debut for star Jim Carrey and director Ron Howard, best non-holiday debut in November, biggest opening for a non-sequel and the eighth biggest weekend gross of all time. Therefore, Paramount and Nickelodeon's THE RUGRATS IN PARIS had to settle for a second place premiere. The second feature based on the wildly popular RUGRATS TV series, with animation by Klasky Csupo, grossed $22.72 million.
The Filmografo gallery on AWN is presenting the entire body of work produced by Abi Feijo's studio from 1987 to date...
The Holiday season has just about begun and what better way to enjoy the time than with a few of the season's cartoon classics. Here are a few jolly holiday titles available in the AWN Store. To find more of your favorite holiday toons, simply log on to the Store and type "Christmas" under Quick Find.
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book, "Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
AWN's Web Animation Guide is the place for what's new on the Net. This week's edition features funny installments of THIS MODERN WORLD, ABSOLUTE ZERO, SISTER RANDY 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!"
Read Rick's Pick For Friday, November 17, 2000!
This month we are talking about everyone's pal - television. We are featuring a profile of veteran animation director and producer Eric Radomski. We are also taking a long hard look at primetime animation and trying to figure out what went wrong this year. In addition, we will showcase five shows that are extra special for many reasons. They include France's "Belphégor," Oxygen's "X-Chromosome," the U.K.'s "Butt-Ugly Martians," Tom Snyder Productions and Disney's "Teacher's Pet."
Madrid, Spain's Animagic Studio, a traditional animation production company, is looking for a 2D ANIMATOR for a feature film. . . Morrisville, North Carolina's Random Games, a family-run video game company, is looking for 2D and 3D ARTISTS, an ART DIRECTOR and PROGRAMMERS. . . Edmonton, Alberta, Canada's Bioware Corp., award-winning game developer, is looking for a 3D MODELER/TEXTURER/SCENE MANAGEMENT and a CHARACTER ANIMATOR. . . Sucker Punch Productions, developers of character-based games, is looking for 3D MODELERS. . .
At Digital Media World in London, Toon Boom Technologies released USAnimation Version 5's second service pack...
Cinanima 2000 finished its week of screenings with the presentation of its awards on Saturday, November 11, 2000. This year's grand prize winner was Michel Dudok Wit's "Father And Daughter," which also won the journalists' prize. In two categories the international juries awarded ties. Paul Driessen's "The Boy Who Saw The Iceberg" and Florence Miailhe's "Au Premier Dimanche D'Aout" both took the prize for best film between 7 and 21 minutes; Mark Van Der Maarel's "The Pinboard" and Vários' "Daddy And I" took home the best first film award.
Electronic Arts and its Austin, Texas subsidiary, ORIGIN Systems have announced they will release ULTIMA ONLINE: THIRD DAWN early next year. THIRD DAWN is the third upgrade to the popular game that currently boosts more than 200,000 active subscribers. The new version will have enhanced gesturing and motion-captured 3D animations. In addition, THIRD DAWN will include an enhanced lighting and shading system, one new environment, over a dozen new monsters and improved music and sound effects.