Based on the forthcoming release of 20th Century Fox's futuristic animated feature film, TITAN A.E., Fox Interactive announced its plans to develop the TITAN A.E. game for PlayStation. Fox Interactive is banking on the sci-fi feel of the film to translate easily to the gaming world. "We're raising the level of excitement for the film and inviting fans to embark on their own TITAN adventures through the game," said Dave Shaw, executive director of Worldwide Brand Marketing. "Titan A.E.
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Will Vinton Studios will be offering home video titles from their library on their Web site www.vinton.com. The Academy Award winning CLOSED MONDAYS, The California Raisins and the Mr. Resistor collection will all be available on the site. Additional titles, as well as Will Vinton merchandise, will be added to the site in the months to come.
Rumpus.com is readying their 45-minute Internet epic HERSHEL HOPPER, NEW YORK RABBIT. The kids animation destination will broadcast the film featuring their Hershel Hopper character on Easter Sunday (April 23, 2000) at 3 pm. The film follows the mishaps of Hershel as he is unwittingly shipped to New York City. Currently, Rumpus is airing a music video previewing the adventure. The Webpic features the voice talents of Jason Priestley, Brad Renfro, Brendan Sexton III, Sean Thomas and former New York City mayor Ed Koch.
London, UK-based ADN Entertainment, a new UK company aiming to
leverage technological innovations in graphics and visual fields and
apply them to feature animation, is looking for a FEATURE FILM
Aardman Animations will be releasing Darren Walsh's ANGRY KID on the Internet at AtomFilms. The first 60-second episode of ANGRY KID will be available for download midnight on Sunday, May 7, 2000 at a specially developed Angry Kid spotlight on the AtomFilms site at www.angrykid.com. "We believe the Internet could very well prove to be one of the most exciting platforms for entertainment distribution," said Dave Sproxton, co-founder and managing director of Aardman.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) filed their first documents in the CINAR Corp. tax fraud case. According to the report CINAR received at least CA$7.8 million (US$5.4 million) in Quebec provincial tax credits by allegedly placing false Canadian names on scripts written by U.S. writers to receive tax credits. In the report, RCMP says that several executives, including former co-CEO and co-founder Ronald Weinberg, asked former CINAR employee Thomas Lapierre to create subcontracts that would be used to pay U.S. scribes.
GT Interactive Software Corp. announced that in an effort to boost its Humongous Entertainment children's software division, it would fold the company's existing operations into the GT Interactive arm. The New York-based gaming company will adopt a unified corporate direction, similar to that of GT Interactive's majority owner Infogrames Entertainment. Infogrames hopes that the new arrangement will increase shareholder value and produce a re-energized company.
In the television competition at Cartoons on the Bay, Warner Bros.' beleaguered series MISSION HILL took home the prize for best over-all animation series. The 4th Cartoons On The Bay International Festival of Television Animation was held in Positano (Amalfi Coast), Italy from April 14 - 18. Cartoons on the Bay is the only festival in the world dedicated to television animation. The festival is an international event with awards, workshops, lectures and events centering on the ever-changing world of television animation.
BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD and KING OF THE HILL creator, Mike Judge, is in final negotiations to helm the re-make of THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET. The Warner Bros. flick was previously touted as a vehicle for Jim Carrey. However, once original director and scribe Steve Oedekerk (ACE VENTURA: WHEN NATURE CALLS) left the project over budgetary and creative differences, Carrey left too. The original screenplay was written by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick and then re-worked by Oedekerk. If the new deal goes through, Judge will pen a new version with Clay Tarver (SQUELCH).
Riding the hopes that fantasy will be hot after LORD OF THE RINGS and HARRY POTTER, Disney has reportedly signed a multi-million dollar deal to produce the film versions of horror-film-writer-director Clive Barker's new fantasy series THE ARABAT QUARTET. Britain's EMPIRE magazine quotes a Disney spokeswoman as saying, "The work is a combination of HARRY POTTER and a contemporary WIZARD OF OZ." The first in the series is scheduled to hit bookstores next year. Barker's lawyer said that Disney inked the agreement "without reading any written words of the novels."
U.K. football hero and sports anchorman Gary Lineker is about to get the cartoon treatment from the BBC. Lineker's animated alter ego appears in a regular slot on a new BBC1 Sunday morning magazine programme, FOOTBALL FEVER. The segment has been created by Alive Animation, which built up a library of Lineker's movements and expressions on computer. This means the character can be animated at the last minute, allowing for topical script changes. According to the UK newspaper EVENING STANDARD, the technology is so advanced that the cartoon could even be created 'live' on air.
Twentieth TV has signed a cable-TV rights deal for KING OF THE HILL with the Fox Channels Group. Either FX or Fox Family Channel will get the series in September of 2004 on a four-year licensing deal. Twentieth TV has licensed out the series to syndicated networks for US$3 million dollars per episode. The series will start airing off-network in the fall of 2001. So far, Twentieth TV is nearing $300 million in off-net syndication deals for the series.
BROADCASTING AND CABLE has reported that SOUTH PARK creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are currently being lured by ABC to create new material for the network. Currently, Comedy Central pays the team of tastelessness between US$400,000 to $500,000 per episode for SOUTH PARK. Reportedly, ABC is offering the cross-dressing crew $1 million per episode for the new programming. THE NEW YORK POST reported that Comedy Central has countered ABC by offering the SOUTH PARK partners artistic freedom on a new series, an offer ABC could never make.
Prague-based SAF Studia Animovaneho Filmu.a.s. is currently producing a series of short inserts for a Disney TV pilot, NONE OF THE ABOVE. The primary client for the project is Tapehouse Toons in New York. The clips are being produced by Zdenka Deitchova, senior producer at Animovany Film Prague. The project is being produced in cooperation with Frame, s.r.o., who are providing the computer animation and special effects facilities.
Walt Disney has announced that the new animated series TEACHER'S PET will join ABC's "Disney's One Saturday Morning" line-up this fall. Tony award-winner Nathan Lane will voice the knowledge-fiend dog, Spot, who disguises himself as a boy to go to school. TEACHER'S PET is being produced at Walt Disney Television Animation by the team of cartoonist Gary Baseman and Emmy Award-winning primetime sitcom writers Bill & Cheri Steinkellner (CHEERS, THE JEFFERSONS).
Shockwave.com, a leading Internet entertainment destination, has launched the next generation of its award-winning site. The new home page is designed to have a "virtual" home theater look. Visitors entering the site encounter a home living room environment where entertainment consoles appear on the screen and invite Net surfers to watch shorts, play games or listen to music. Users may choose from several themes to create their preferred overall look and feel of the home page.
POKEMON is still going strong. KIDS WB! has ordered 52 more episodes of the phenomenon for September 2000. The latest broadcasters to catch the series are TV4 Sweden, TV2 Denmark, TV2 Norway, MTV Finland, RTL-Klub (Hungary) and RTL-TVI (Belgium), as well as Cartoon Network in Australia and New Zealand. The total number of episodes for the series is now 156.
Portuguese broadcaster RTP has begun airing the interactive gameshow STINKY AND BEAVER. The ITE property is created using Silicon Graphics software and 3D animation. The series introduces players to CGI characters who test the participants and serve as the show's hosts. The series is included in RTP's Interactive Hour next to ITE's successful HUGO series.
Japanese trade officials have placed trade restrictions on Sony's PlayStation 2 because of concerns that the gaming system could be used for a military processor. The fear is due to PlayStation 2's high-speed graphic processing. Theoretically, the processor could be removed from the console and used in missile guidance systems. For example, a missile like a Tomahawk needs to locate its destination as it flies through the air and use high-speed graphic processing to pinpoint its target.
Time Warner Inc. reported operating income before amortization of intangible assets (EBITA) of US$1.17 billion on revenues of $6.55 billion for the first quarter of 2000. In the first quarter of 1999, EBITA was $1.24 billion on revenues of $6.09 billion. EBITA grew 13% for the first quarter when normalized for certain items described below affecting the comparability of operating results. Revenue grew 8% for the quarter on a normalized basis.
Orlando, Florida-based AARGH! ANIMATION, INC. has signed veteran animator JEFFREY VARAB. Varab, best known for his key animation on MULAN, BALTO, LAND BEFORE TIME, CASPER, THE TIGGER MOVIE and the upcoming Fox feature TITAN A.E., has moved to AARGH! to be part of a more intimate creative team. "The exciting part of joining Mark and Dave [AARGH!] is that it allows me to use all of my experience in exciting and challenging ways," said Varab. Originally hired at Disney Animation in 1977, Varab started on the movie PETE'S DRAGON beside one of Disney's original "9 Old Men," Eric Larson.
DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK, INC. (DEN), a privately held interactive entertainment Web site, announced that prominent entertainment industry veteran FRANK MANCUSO has joined its board of directors. With a distinguished career that spans over four decades, Mancuso most recently served as chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and remains a special consultant and member of its board of directors. Prior to joining MGM, Mancuso served as chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures.
ICEBOX.COM, the soon-to-be launched original animated content site, has appointed GARY LEVINE president of Icebox Entertainment. Levine left his post as executive VP of creative affairs at Warner Bros. Television to join Icebox.com where he will oversee all aspects of series development and production, forge deals with traditional entertainment outlets and help Icebox.com expand the scope of its creative partnerships.