This weeks international box office saw big premieres for X-MEN and GONE IN 60 SECONDS and the quick disappearance of THE PATRIOT. In the U.K., X-MEN hit it big with a stellar US$7.08 million three-day take. The mighty mutants had the second highest opening of the year behind TOY STORY 2 and the eighth highest in the countrys history. Holding on at #2, STUART LITTLE landed another $1.11 million, lifting its British cume to $20.24 million. GONE IN 60 SECONDS slipped from first to third, with a gross of $952,847, raising its British cume to $7.95 million.
AWN Headline News
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FRAISER-star Kelsey Grammer and his production company, Grammnet, has signed an exclusive deal with MediaTrip to develop and distribute original content. The first series coming from the new pact will be the toon GARY THE RAT. The Webtoon will chronicle the trials of a lawyer turned giant rat and his death-defying run-ins with exterminator Johnny Bugz. Mark Cullen (writer/producer of HITZ) and his brother Rob created RAT. Grammer and the Cullen Brothers will executive produce, while MediaTrip will produce and finance the project. Both companies will share in the profits.
Catherine Winder has been named VP of 20th Century Fox Animation. Winder will oversee physical production and creative development for the divisions projects. She will be based in Los Angeles and will help Blue Sky during its transformation from a special effects and commercials house into a 3D-animation feature studio. Previously, Winder served as an independent producer and consultant for Fox Animation, Disney Television Animation and Warner Bros. Television Animation.
David Hayter, the only writer credited on screen for the blockbuster hit X-MEN, has been brought in to scribe the sequel to PITCH BLACK and rewrite THE HULK. PITCH BLACK 2 continues where the first film left off and will be produced by Interscope, producers of the original. PITCH star Vin Diesel has been signed to return. Currently, THE HULK project has scripts from Michael Tolkin (THE PLAYER, DEEP IMPACT) and Mike France (CLIFFHANGER). Hayter will morph the two HULK versions into one script like he did for X-MEN.
Stan Lee Media, Inc. (SLM) has teamed with Venture Soft Co., Ltd., Asia's leading creator and aggregator of anime and manga, to form a joint venture that will bring SLM's superhero and fantasy story franchises to Asia. Coming on the heels of a similar deal with Fox Kids Latin America, the Asian venture will be called SLM Japan and will continue SLMs strategy to partner with strong regional communication companies to introduce its branded content via the Internet and then leveraging it into global partnerships.
In the continuing drama that is Cinar Corp., company founders Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg have refused to honor the request of a special board committee to resign as directors.
Warner Bros. has set into motion pre-production on a live-action rendition of BATMAN BEYOND. Tapped to direct the picture is Boaz Yakin, director of PRICE ABOVE RUBIES and the upcoming REMEMBER THE TITANS. The most exciting news is that long time BATMAN/SUPERMAN and BATMAN BEYOND writers Paul Dini and Alan Burnett have been asked to scribe the feature. No budget has been set, but AINT IT COOL NEWS has rumored that funds will be determined based on the script Dini and Burnett write.
With the summer money flow slowing down, THE CELL captured the top spot in another fairly low ticket sale weekend in the U.S. The ALICE IN WONDERLAND meets SILENCE OF THE LAMBS thriller, with primary visual effects by Toybox, grossed US$17.52 million. Showing that old guys have legs, SPACE COWBOYS settled in third with a gross of $9.48 million. Falling a spot behind the debut of the stage comedy film THE ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY, COWBOYS, with primary visual effects by ILM, has rounded up $53.78 million thus far. Rising a slot to finish fifth, WHAT LIES BENEATH floated another $6.76 million.
Toon In is AWN's guide to what's new on the Net. This week's installment features new shorts from Stan Lee Media and Aardman Animations and much, much more.
Get your Toon In: Web Animation Guide here!
Every week AWN's associate editor Rick DeMott highlights what he thinks is the top new toon in cyberspace in "Rick's Picks!"
Rick's Pick For Friday, August 18, 2000!
Our August issue, Internet And Computer Animation, features a number
of special articles. In the Internet animation section we are
featuring a theoretical look at what might have happened if animation
legends such as Tex Avery had the freedom of the Internet at their
disposal. Martin "Dr. Toon" Goodman tells us the tale. Plus, leading
content producers reveal what tools they are using, and two of
AtomFilm Studios' best give advice on setting up your own home studio
Los Angeles, California-based Unbound Studios, a new media company
specializing in animation and gaming for the Web, is looking for 2D
FLASH ANIMATORS, a PRODUCTION/OFFICE ASSISTANT and a TRADITIONAL
CHARACTER ANIMATOR. . . Sucker Punch Productions is looking for a 3D
MODELER and a TEXTURE ARTIST/2D ILLUSTRATOR to work on
character-based games. . . Venice, California-based Brand New School,
a broadcast motion graphics design firm, is looking for an AFTER
There are many talented animators around the globe that unfortunately
don't get the proper attention from within our community and the
numerous important sectors closely related to our business...
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book,
"Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
From popular Disney titles and the Peanuts to surrealist animation
from Eastern Europe, from action-packed Japanese anime to animation
created with paper cutouts, sand, clay, puppets and computer
technology, the Facets Whole Toon Catalog is now available in the AWN
Store. Betty Boop, Fritz the Cat, Tex Avery, Looney Tunes Classics
and more animation treasures from around the world, from the silent
era to the present have also been added! Here are a few examples of
Cinar Corp. has formally fired company founders Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg. The couple was terminated on Thursday after a special committee of the board met to discuss the future of the troubled toon firm. Charest and Weinberg stepped down from their posts as chairman and president, respectively, as well as their co-CEO posts in March once it was discovered that US$122 million was invested in offshore accounts without board approval. They subsequently assumed the roles of company directors. As part of the misappropriation of funds, senior VP and CFO Hasanain Panju was fired.
Roy Disney has agreed to help director Richard Williams restore his masterpiece, THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER, to the version he had originally intended to make. The heart-wrenching saga of the THIEF began after Williams success on WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? With the backing of Warner Bros., the filmmaker set out to finish his then 20 years in the making feature about a mute cobbler and an unsuccessful thief. The stipulation attached to the project was that Williams must finish the film for a 1992 release. The production fell behind schedule and Warner Bros.
* Sunday, September 24, 2000. Ottawa, Canada.
Bill Plymptons newest film "Mutant Aliens" will be screened as part of the Ottawa International Animation Festival. The event will take place at 1 pm at the National Arts Centre. The film version being screened is a work-in-progress. For more information contact the festival at: Tel.: (613) 232-8769 or Web: http://www.awn.com/ottawa/ottawa00.
Belgium-based Eyetronics, a 3D-acquisition technology company, is opening an office in Los Angeles, California. Nick Tesi, Eyetronics LA representative, said, "Eyetronics has been operating from their headquarters in Belgium since the start of operations in 1998. The 9 hour time difference has been a major drawback in communicating with our clients and prospects in the U.S. and Canada.
* Monday, September 25 Tuesday, September 26, 2000. Saint-Laurent, Canada.
The National Film Board of Canada is holding an open house of their new facilities. The event gives the public a chance to meet the filmmakers and staff. The NFB will feature screenings, studio tours and receptions on Monday from 2-6 pm and on Tuesday from 10 am 5 pm. Screening facilities will be available for visitors to screen their own work as well. For more information contact the NFB at: Tel.: (514) 283-9571 or (514) 283-9332.
Harvey Entertainment has announced their acquisition of the U.S. rights from Pearson Television International for the feature-length film A MONKEYS TALE. The film follows the story of two tribes of monkeys one tree dwelling and one ground dwelling and what happens when one curious ape falls into the other tribes world. The film recently won best animated feature at the Hollywood Film Festival and the Toronto Sun Animation Award at the Sprockets International Film Festival for Children.
As counter-programming to the Summer Olympics, the WB Network has decided to begin airing new episodes of THE PJS. The foamation toon will make its official switch from Fox to the WB in a special airing on Friday, September 8, 2000 at 8:30 pm. The Warner Bros./Imagine/Will Vinton Studios production will then join the Sunday line-up on September 10, 2000 at 8:30 pm and will move to 7 pm once the regular season starts. The Eddie Murphy-voiced toon will also have another Friday run on September 15.
Like its doomed toon brother CLERKS, SAMMY has been sacked by NBC after only airing two episodes. The network pulled the plug on the long-shelved comedian David Spade series after it was down 1.1 million views from its lackluster debut of 4.1 million. The beleaguered toon scored a dismal 1.6 rating among adults 18-49 in its Tuesday 8:30 pm time slot. The cancellation isnt much of a surprise, especially when insiders have said that the series ranked as one of the networks lowest-scoring shows in front of test audiences.