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.
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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.
Cycore and bioVirtual recently announced that they had teamed up to create a tool to convert animated 3D humans into interactive 3D images for use on the Web. As a result of this partnership the two companies have released "3DmeNow with Cult3D Exporter" - a tool that allows anyone to create interactive photo-realistic 3D human models, characters and avatars, for use in entertainment, security and scientific applications quickly and easily. 3DMeNow with Cult3D Exporter is based on Cycore Cult3D and the 3DmeNow technology from bioVirtual.
The NetImmerse 3D game engine, currently in use by a number of leading games developers worldwide, has been licensed by Applied Research Associates (ARA) to develop a computer animated training environment for emergency response specialists. ARA is currently developing the simulated environment for a chemical manufacturer, but HazMat teams might eventually use the CD-Rom program worldwide to practice for and respond efficiently to hazardous materials accidents.
Kaydara Inc. will be releasing their real-time character animation system, FiLMBOX, on Apple's highly anticipated Mac OS X platform. FiLMBOX for Mac OS X will provide both a hub for 3D data and a strong set of real-time 3D authoring tools, allowing Mac users to pre-visualize, storyboard and develop character animation. FiLMBOX is a real-time character animation system designed to provide the basis of a complete digital media pipeline.
Visual spectacle was the top winner at this year's Golden Globe awards. DreamWorks' GLADIATOR took home the award for Best Drama and Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard took home the Best Original Score prize for their work on the Roman epic. The global sensation CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON racked up statuettes for Best Foreign Language Film and director Ang Lee took home an award for his direction. CHICKEN RUN couldn't repeat TOY STORY 2's win for Best Comedy or Muscial losing out to the rock 'n roll ode, ALMOST FAMOUS.
The long forgotten work by CURIOUS GEORGE-creators Margret Rey and Hans Augusto Rey -- WHITEBLACK THE PENGUIN is becoming a TV series. Publisher Houghton Mifflin has enlisted Vancouver-based animation house Mainframe Entertainment to create the show. The book centers on Whiteback, who journeys out into the world to discover new stories for his North Pole radio show. The story was originally created in 1937 when the Reys lived in Paris, but was only published for the first time this past year.
* Thursday, February 22, 2001. Tuesday, May 22, 2001. Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
The Rochester Institute of Technology will be screening its film and video MFA theses. The February screening will be held on campus at the newly revamped Webb Auditorium at 7 pm. The other date's time and location is yet to be announced. For more information e-mail Marla Schweppe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Wednesday, February 28, 2001. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Animation historian Jerry Beck will be presenting a retrospective of animator Gene Deitch. The screening will scan Deitch's career from his innovative work at UPA to his independent work in Prague. For more information contact ASIFA-Hollywood at: 725 South Victory Blvd., Burbank, California 91502, U.S.A.; Tel.: (818) 842-8330; Fax: (818) 842-5645; E-mail: email@example.com; or Web: www.asifa-hollywood.org.
The Disney Channel has announced that it will produce its first animated sitcom entitled THE PROUD FAMILY. The series will chronicle the experiences of a 14-year-old African-American girl named Penny and her family. Co-executive producer Bruce Smith (SPACE JAM) created the series. Ralph Farquhar, co-creator of the UPN live-action comedy MOESHA, will serve as the other executive producer. The voice cast will include Kyla Pratt (LOVE & BASKETBALL) as Penny, Paula Jai Parker (THE WAYANS BROS.) as Trudy Proud and Tommy Davidson (IN LIVING COLOR) as Oscar Proud.
AWN's Web Animation Guide is the place for what's new on the Net. In this week's installment new Webisodes of THE MULTIPATH ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN and THE CRITIC, the debut of John Ridley's THOSE WHO WALK IN DARKNESSS 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!"
project:messiah Group (pmG) celebrated their first birthday recently by announcing that they were bringing their highly successful project:messiah character animation software to Apple's OS X. The self-confessed team of die-hard NT developers said that they had high hopes for Apple's new platform, and that the platform could be a worthy challenger to NT and Windows 2000. pmG co-founder Fori Owurowa said that, "By porting to the Mac, we will be tapping into a market of graphics professionals that have been waiting for an application such as ours.
The recently released Avid|DS Version 4.0 has received advance praise from the post-production facilities involved with testing the new system. The major new release has been hailed for its performance, feature improvements and timesaving capabilities. Among the most highly anticipated features in the new version is an optional remote processing capability that enables users to continue working on a project while computationally intensive tasks are being processed in the background, thereby avoiding interruptions to the creative process.