The king of family film remakes Eddie Murphy will star in the newest redux of THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN. Set to direct the film is TOMMY BOY helmer Peter Segal. Fred Wolf, a former writer on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, has penned the new version of the film that follows the trials and tribulations of a man shrunk to the size of a mouse by a strange mist.
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Curious Pictures has finished production on AVENUE AMY for the fledgling cable network, Oxygen Media. The series is directed by Curious Pictures' Joan Raspo and written by Amy Sohn, based off of her New York Press column. The new show will air on "X-Chromosome," an original showcase of animation done by women. The show sets brightly colored, rotoscoped actors against live-action photo collage backgrounds in a satirical look at daily life of a woman living in New York. The animated block airs on Oxygen Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 pm.
The new UPN clay animated series HORMONE HIGH has added more names to its lengthy voice cast. Recently joining the pilots' cast are Jerry O'Connell (MISSION TO MARS, SLIDERS), John Cryer (GETTING PERSONAL), Adam Goldberg (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) and Jennifer Tilly (BOUND, BRIDE OF CHUCKY). The half-hour comedy is being directed by CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH creator Eric Fogel. Other talent on the voice-over cast are PUNKY BREWSTER child-star Soleil Moon Frye, FRAISER's Harriet Sansom Harris, SPARKS' Arif Kinchen and BAKERSFIELD, P.D.'s Brian Doyle-Murray.
The Aides of March have changed to the Idiots of March at Cartoon Network. On March 15, 2000, Cartoon Network will feature a mini-marathon of I AM WEASEL. The series follows the exploits of the super-smart weasel, I.M. Weasel, and his blunder-prone baboon nemesis I.R. Baboon. The COW AND CHICKEN spin-off's marathon will air from 7 pm - 10 pm.
Microsoft announced on Friday, March 10, 2000, that it will create its own video-game unit entitled X-Box. The high-end console will be in direct competition with Sony's PlayStation 2 and Sega's Dreamcast. "We want X-Box to be the platform of choice for the best and most creative game developers in the world," said Microsoft chairman Bill Gate at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose. Intended to be a hybrid of the personal computer and traditional gaming console, the new system is expected to hit stores sometime in 2001.
Sony Corp. shares took a gouge on Friday, March 10, 2000 after the company reported it was investigating customer complaints about a glitch in their new PlayStation 2 gaming system. A spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), Sony's game unit, said it was looking into problems associated with the new console's playing of DVDs. The company's shares fell 6.41% to end at ¥26,300 (US$249), extending a seven straight day losing streak that has brought a 22% price drop in the stock.
The Brussels Cartoon and Animated Film Festival has announced their winners. Each year the festival programs the "crème de la crème" in international animation and serves as one of the top festivals on the international cartoon and computer generated images circuit. This year's jury consisted of Canal +'s Servane Calmant, director Catherine Montondo, "RTBF" journalist Hugues Dayez, "Plateau" journalist Luc Joris and producer Steve Walsh. Brussels nominates four films for the prestigious Cartoon d'Or, the winner of which will be announced in September.
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On March 9, 2000, the winners of the British Animation Awards were announced to a packed audience at London's National Film Theatre. The big winner was ROBBIE THE REINDEER: HOOVES OF FIRE directed by Richard Goleszowski, which took home three awards. The half-hour TV special tells the story of the trainee reindeer, Robbie (son of Rudolph), and his bulbous nose. The film was a BBC Animation Unit/BBC Worldwide production in association with Comic Relief. Oscar short-listed films HUMDRUM and SILENCE both picked up awards. Below is a full list of winners in each category.
Palo Alto, California-based Pacific Data Images is looking for SENIOR
CHARACTER ANIMATORS. . . Neoglyphix, a pre-IPO Internet entertainment
channel, has an opening for an ANIMATION DIRECTOR who will supervise
all artwork for production of the company's animated Webisodes. . .
Colorado Springs-based Visual Approach is looking for 3D CHARACTER
ANIMATORS for the production of a 3D animated kids series. . .
Hollywood Digital Visual Effects is seeking junior and senior 3D
The Tampere International Short Film Festival in Finland has always been a place for animation. This year was no exception. Animation is an integral part of the programme. The Tampere Festival, which celebrated its 30th edition March 8-12, 2000, is often regarded as one of the major short film festivals in Europe, even in the world. However, among the general short film festivals it has the clearest emphasis on animation. The festival enjoyed beautiful weather; the sun shone and the ground was completely covered with soft white snow.
March focuses on Production Technology and has a number of special contributors and features. J. Paul Peszko discovers how DreamWorks integrated digital technology with traditional animation for their latest release "The Road to El Dorado." Eric Huelsman interviews Mike Milne, the man behind the amazing "Walking with Dinosaurs," a show which took Britain by storm and is now coming to the U.S. Howard Beckerman takes a historical look at a few early "real-time" animation techniques, like Mobilux Lumia.
In response to PBS directing its animated work to Canada, MPSC Local 839 Cartoonists Union is set to picket Los Angeles' PBS affiliate KCET. PBS, the United States' public broadcasting network, is funded by U.S. tax dollars and recently struck a US$40 million deal with Canada's Nelvana [AF 1/5/00]. Upset with the ever increasing practice of studios sending work outside the States, the Union will picket in front of the KCET building on Thursday, April 13, 2000 between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. Local 839 members earn credit toward dues for picketing or sign-drawing.
Over the weekend beginning Friday, March 10, 2000, TOY STORY 2 made history in Japan by grossing US$3.8 million on only 364 screens to become the biggest opening for a U.S. animated film in Japan and finishing #1 at the box office. The Buena Vista International release crushed the old record set by Disney's THE LION KING by nearly 80%. Woody and Buzz more than doubled this weekend's debut of the 21st installment of the Japanese animated feature series, DORAEMON.
With bad reviews a side Buena Vista's MISSION TO MARS finished #1 at the U.S. box office. Serving as the closest thing to an event flick currently in U.S. theatres, MISSION TO MARS became the third highest March debut in U.S. history. The space spectacle, with primary special effects by ILM and Dream Quest Images, grossed US$22.9 million in its first weekend. Finishing in second place in its opening weekend was THE NINTH GATE, with primary special effects by Sony Imageworks and Mikros Image. Teaming Roman Polanski and the Devil once again, the film released by Artisan grossed $6.6 million.
In Chennai, India, Penta Media, 3D Max Media and Hewlett Packard have announced plans to produce a film, STARWAY, which will star two deceased Indian actors, brought back to life through CGI. The TIMES OF INDIA reported that no decision has been made on which stars would be reincarnated as themselves. In regards to ethical concerns, the newspaper published a comment from S. Rangarajan, director of special effects at Media Dreams: "This mixing of the real and unreal has a dangerous dimension.
The new NBC animated series, GOD THE DEVIL AND BOB, received heavenly ratings in spite of the devilish controversy surrounding the sitcom. After being axed or shifted by a total of nine NBC affiliates due to religious concerns, GOD, THE DEVIL AND BOB garnered time slot-winning scores of 14.42 million viewers, a 7.3/19 rating in adults 18-49 and 8.0/23 in adults 18-34. However, the show's premiere, positioned between the network's top shows FRIENDS and FRASIER, lost about 30% of the viewers from its FRIENDS lead-in.
As part of the four-picture deal with DreamWorks, Nick Park and Aardman Animations have started the planning stages on a WALLACE AND GROMIT feature. Based off of the Oscar winning franchise, no details have been released on the plot or intended release date for the film.
The new animated series MAX STEEL premiered at #1 for its rating slot. The new CGI series scored a 7.6 rating/24 share, finishing #1 with Boys 6-11 against all of its Saturday morning competition. The show also garnered Kids WB! a #1 rating with teens for the first time since May of 1999. The series, set in the fictitious, futuristic city of Del Oro Bay, centers around Max Steel, a young secret agent pitted against the evil plots of the mercenary organization, DREAD.
DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK, INC. (DEN), an on-line network targeting Generation Y, announced the appointment of MORRIS SIM as head of digital programming. Formerly with Microsoft, Sim held a variety of top-level managerial positions, supervising entire teams of programmers and designers for Microsoft's extensive line of consumer software. During his seven-year tour-of-duty, Sim was a key player in the development and design of some of Microsoft's top software products, like Access, VisualFoxPro, Visual Basic, Microsoft Works, Home Suite and Microsoft Office.
High-end 3D software developer Alias|Wavefront began shipping Maya Fusion 2 last week. Maya Fusion is Maya's NT-based compositing and effects software, which is integrated within the Maya UI to give artists the power to combine their live action footage with their Maya CG elements realistically.
During the week of March 6, 2000, NewTek began shipping the eagerly anticipated Windows NT versions of LightWave . This is NewTek's most significant upgrade to LightWave in 10 years, and the new upgrade features advanced modeling tools, groundbreaking rendering capabilities, advanced character animation features and a refined working environment. The new version boasts more features than we could possibly list.
In its first weekend on the market in Japan, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s PlayStation 2 has reached 980,000 units sold. This initial sales milestone blows away the original PlayStation's three-day mark in 1994 by nearly 10 times. A total of 26,400 retailers in Japan, including 18,500 convenience stores, approximately 7,900 retail stores, current PlayStation retailers, as well as PlayStation.com (Japan) Inc., began selling the PlayStation 2 units on March 4.
Former Time-Warner chairman and CEO Robert A. Daly has signed a check for an undisclosed million-dollar figure to animation Netcaster Shockwave.com. As part of the investment, Daly joins the board of the San Francisco-based company, which broadcasts games, animation and music programming on-line for free. Since leaving Time-Warner, Daly has been focusing on his chairman and CEO post overseeing all operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. At Shockwave, he will help sign up big name talent to produce original programming for the site.
London-based publisher Dorling Kindersley has lost US$40 million on the book adaptation of STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE. The educational and CD-Rom publisher had 13 million of the STAR WARS books printed for last holiday season and sold fewer than 3 million copies. After the initial news was released earlier this year, shares plummeted 40% and CEO James Middlehurst resigned. Chairman and 30% shareholder Peter Kindersley has taken over the head position. An unnamed worker told the LONDON DAILY EXPRESS that founder Kindersley has "fallen victim to a terrible error of judgment." Mr.