Santa Monica, California-based The Joneses' Jim Manera has directed an effects-filled new campaign for Chevrolet's Silverado Heavy Duty. Each of the three 30-second spots, featuring effects created by DIGITAL DOMAIN, pictures giant workmen and a giant Silverado operating in otherwise normal-sized environments. In "Construction," a workman picks up a 50-feet long tool belt as he walks past a normal-sized skeletal frame of a new building. In "Ranch," cowboys use a giant Silverado to help track down a runaway horse.
AWN Headline News
West Midlands, England's Artworld Studios, one of the UK's leading producers of animation for television, film, video games and rendered comics, is looking for ANIMATORS, COMICS AND GAME ARTISTS. . . Montreal, Quebec, Canada's Crater Software Inc., developers of CTP Pro, a 2D cel-animation software, is looking for a PRODUCT MANAGER. . . North Hollywood, California's Film Roman, an independent producer of animated, live-action and Internet programming, is looking for a PROP DESIGNER for the "King Of The Hill" television series. . .
Sony Computer Entertainment has spun off PlayStation.com as a separate arm of the mega-firm to handle the company's online game initiatives. The Foster City, California-based division will oversee Sony's e-commerce and online distribution of Sony's games, music and movies. On Tuesday, January 30, 2001, the Website will begin to sell the tough-to-obtain PlayStation 2 gaming console. There are already plans in the works to spin the division off in a public stock offering or tracking stock.
EM.TV & Merchandising's supervisory board has announced that it is still debating whether to accept or reject German media conglomerate KirchGroup's financial rescue offer. The deal would give Kirch a 25% voting share in EM.TV and half of the company's 50% stake in Formula One racing group SLEC. In addition, Kirch would buy out EM.TV's half of kids television rights group Junior TV for US$550 million in cash. However, recently another offer has come onto the table for EM.TV. Herbert Kloiber's Tele-Munchen Group and U.S.
Alias|Wavefront's Maya won the "Best of Show" award at Macworld 2001, awarded by MacWeek.com. While Alias|Wavefront originally announced that it would be porting Maya to Mac OS X in May of 2000, Macworld San Francisco marked the company's first public demonstration of Maya on the Mac: both at the Alias|Wavefront booth and during Apple CEO, Steve Jobs' keynote address. "All in all Macworld was an astounding show for us," says Director of Maya Technolgoies, Richard Kerris. "Apple has been very supportive throughout our development process.
Pukka recently launched Pukka Group, a company that will be divided into three subsidiary companies: Pukka Films, Pukka Post and Pukka Web. The group's headquarters will be located in the new Portland Mews building (UK), which has just undergone a £1 million (US$1.47 million) refurbishment. Containing the latest in post-production equipment, Pukka will deliver integrated digital media solutions to its clients - producing, editing, packaging and distributing video, film or new media product in the corporate, broadcast and feature markets.
In another move to maximize its remaining cash flow, Icebox.com has laid off 11 employees, over 25% of its staff. Currently, Icebox is in the middle of a US$10 million financing negotiation with some of its initial backers. CEO and co-founder Steve Stanford said, "It's going; it's just not going as quickly as we would have liked." In November, Icebox cut 50 staffers in their first attempt to cool down their capital burn rate [AWN 11/29/00]. Laid-off staff members were given their last paycheck, their computer and their Aeron ergonomic chair.
RE:Vision Effects Inc. recently released Shake, Spark and AVX plug-ins of ReelSmart Motion Blur 1.8. This now lets Nothing Real Shake; Avid Media Composer, Symphony and Xpress; and Discreet inferno*, flame*, flint*, fire* and smoke* users take advantage of the plug-in. ReelSmart Motion Blur applies natural-looking motion blur to a video sequence by automatically tracking every pixel and applying blur in the amount and direction of the calculated movement. RE:Vision's tracking technology is at the heart of ReelSmart Motion Blur, so there is no handwork involved.
Ed Catmull, Pixar Animation Studios co-founder, has been named president of the company. Catmull has served as a member of the company's executive team and chief technical officer since the incorporation of the company in 1986. In his new role as president, Catmull will report to chairman and CEO Steve Jobs and work closely with Jobs and Pixar's executive team to guide Pixar's growth. "Ed and I founded Pixar almost 15 years ago, and we've been through thick and thin together," said Jobs.
Cartoon Network is reuniting the Justice League of America once again! The cable cartoon haven has announced that it has ordered 26-episodes of JUSTICE LEAGUE from Warner Bros. Animation. Emmy Award-winner Bruce Timm (SUPERMAN & BATMAN) will be directing the new series, which will re-team such DC Comics heroes as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter.
The actresses behind the Powerpuff Girls are in a real battle of their own and it's not with Mojo Jo Jo but Cartoon Network. The AOL Time Warner-owned animation network has put out a call for sound a-likes to imitate the Powerpuff Girls for the upcoming feature film. Apparently, Tara Strong (Bubbles), Catherine Cavadini (Blossom) and E.G. Daily (Buttercup) are in heated discussions over the financial terms they were offered.
In 44th place, a rerun made THE SIMPSONS' numbers slip, however it remained the top toon for the week with a 7.8 rating/11 share. KING OF THE HILL came in at #74, with a 5.7 rating/9 share. FUTURAMA rocketed in at 79th place, garnering a 4.8 rating/8 share. After high ratings in its debut on UPN, GARY & MIKE sunk to 108th place with a 1.6 rating/3 share. In a three-way tie for 111th, THE PJS scored a 1.5 rating/2 share for the WB. At #114, CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH drummed up the second lowest rating on UPN for the week a dismal 1.4 and 2 share.
Nickelodeon has announced the nominations for its 14th Annual Kids' Choice Awards. Receiving nods for Favorite Voice From An Animated Movie were Mel Gibson (CHICKEN RUN), Kevin Kline (THE ROAD TO EL DORADO), Susan Sarandon (RUGRATS IN PARIS) and David Spade (THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE). Vying for Favorite Cartoon are Nick's HEY ARNOLD!, Cartoon Network's THE POWERPUFF GIRLS, Nick's RUGRATS and Fox's THE SIMPSONS. Best movie nods went to effects heavy flicks CHARLIE'S ANGELS, THE GRINCH and THE NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS along with live-action comedy BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE.
SOFTIMAGE announced that the eagerly anticipated SOFTIMAGE|XSI 1.5 is now shipping. Building on the highly-acclaimed previous release, SOFTIMAGE have, as Michael David Smith, XSI product manager, says, "touched virtually every part of the software to add new tools and improve existing ones." Utilizing the solid architecture of SOFTIMAGE|XSI 1.0, a large number of new capabilities and performance enhancements were incorporated into the SOFTIMAGE|XSI 1.5 version.
AtomFilms has signed deals with TiVo, In Demand and Cisneros Television Group (CTG) to provide content for the offline networks. TiVo will feature AtomFilms' shorts on the company's digital video recorder channel. Programming will air on TIVO TAKES, TiVo Direct and the "Now Showing" section of TiVo Central. The deal also calls for the two firms to co-produce content under both brand names. In addition, starting in March, AtomFilms will be the exclusive provider of short content for In Demand's 28 million household pay-per-view subscribers.
Government officials in Australia are threatening a lawsuit against WebWank.net for posting a political satire Web game, which pokes fun at the country's treatment of its aboriginal people. Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Herron feels that the use of his likeness in the game, JOHN HERRON'S STOLEN CHILDREN GAME, is a defamation of character. In the game, players must capture all ten of John Herron's children then place them in non-white families.
Comedian Adam Sandler's Meatball Animation is set to produce a feature, animated film entitled WHITEY & DAVEY. Described as a "Hanukkah musical," the story centers on Davey, a pro basketball executive, who befriends an old-fashioned coach named Whitey. Sandler will travel to the Toronto-based studio in mid-February to begin voice work for the Davey role. Traditionally animated, the feature will contain a bevy of pop tunes. The film should be finished for a Christmas 2001 release upon securing distribution.
Rumpus.com, a children's new media company, announced that Rick Mischel, former president and chief operating officer of Harvey Entertainment, will join the company as acting president. Mischel will forge new revenue streams for Rumpus in domestic and international television and home video markets. Mischel will continue his consulting duties at Harvey, and will serve in a non-exclusive capacity to Rumpus.
Mandy Martin has joined ATTIK, an all-media creative solutions provider, as executive producer of the San Francisco studio. Previously, Martin served as executive producer for Los Angeles-based broadcast design and media company Pittard Sullivan. She has worked on campaigns for Sat.1 (Germany), Star TV (Turkey) and BskyB (England), among others. Will Travis, president ATTIK USA, said, "I couldn't be any happier about Mandy joining ATTIK. Her blend of professionalism and production acumen is a fantastic match for our growing team.
PRoGRESS provided design solutions for the new faster-paced Cisco ad campaign. The four spots share the common theme of the Internet being a tool that can help businesses overcome obstacles to their growth. PRoGRESS used type animation as a metaphor for Cisco being the bridge spanning the digital divide. In the opening of each spot, digital information travels along a glowing blue digital line in the center of the screen and then a computer carat wipes the information away leading to the next scene. "Hotel" then presents a real-time tutorial with streaming video and 3D illustrations.
ViewPoint Studios has created a new hyper-realistic 3D animated spot for Gillette's Venus, a womens 3-blade razor. "The script called for extreme macro cinematography with complex motion and invisible rigging," said creative director Glenn Robbins. "CGI was the only way to go." Utilizing Maya and Flame compositing the 3D scenes were seamlessly integrated with live-action footage. Starting with an overhead view of a contemporary bathroom, a tub transitions into the razors head, showing off the three strategically placed blades and pivotal mechanism.
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With high-grossing nods around the globe, Tom Hanks' CAST AWAY easily floated to the top of the international box office. In Germany, CAST AWAY unseated UNBREAKABLE with an amazing ticket take of US$7.01 million. UNBREAKABLE crashed to second with a gross of $1.84 million, lifting its German cume to $11 million. In fourth, URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT slashed in another $837,915, raising its German cume to $2.6 million. At #6, POKEMON 2000 collected $700,338, growing its German cume to $6.23 million.
This past weekend at the U.S. box office the top three remained the same; SAVE THE LAST DANCE remained champ with CAST AWAY taking the second spot with a gross of US$11.15 million. The Tom Hanks-starrer, with primary visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks, has sailed in with $182 million to date. Repeating its turn in third, TRAFFIC raced in another $8.51 million. The drug war saga, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, has garnered $46.69 million thus far. In its U.S. wide release, Guy Ritchie's SNATCH scored a fourth place finish.