Popular Plasticine cartoon characters Wallace and dog Gromit are returning to the screen for the first time since the Academy-Award winning 1995 short A Close Shave. The cheese-loving duo will make a cameo appearance in an episode of the new 13-part Aardman series Rex the Runt, a cartoon about the adventures of four dogs who share a suburban semi-detached home. Their brief appearance showcases them in their Close Shave role of window cleaners, except this time they face the dastardly Bad Bob.
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Animation and visual effects house Pacific Data Images (PDI) has appointed industry veteran George Merkert as Executive Producer of the Motion Picture Visual Effects division. This decision comes on the heels of PDIs announcement of their intention to grow their operation and core business capabilities beyond its present size and scope, and to further develop its traditional animation/visual effects support work with a new emphasis towards content creation.
Canadian-based CINAR Films has signed an agreement with Shanghai Animation Film Studio, a subsidiary of Shanghai TV, Chinas second largest broadcasting company, to co-produce a 52 ten-minute episode animated series called Rumble and Growl. The Chinese-developed educational series chronicles the adventures of two friends, Rumble and Growl, who are always hungry. In their quest to find food, the pair uncovers scientific wonders and never-before explained natural phenomena. This is the first-ever official Canada-China co-production for an animated series created in China.
Disney/Pixar's "A Bug's Life" dominated the box office this weekend with a staggering number one debut of an estimated $33.3M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and a record-setting $45.7M over the five-day holiday frame. If the estimates hold, the computer-generated bug picture will become the largest Thanksgiving opening in history topping Disney's 1996 release "101 Dalmatians" which debuted with $33.5M and $45.1M over the comparable periods.
BEAU CAMERON has joined Santa Maria, California-based COMPUTER CAFÉ as a 3Dcharacter animator. His first project is animating a flock of penguins fora Mervyn's television spot.
On Sunday, December 6, Fox Family Channel premieres AN ALL DOGS CHRISTMASCAROL at 6 -7:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The canine retelling of Dickens' "AChristmas Carol" is based on the Don Bluth film, "All Dogs Go to Heaven.".
Not only are the RUGRATS burning up the big screen but they're also settingrecords on the small screen. A Thanksgiving-themed episode, "The Turkey WhoCame to Dinner," which aired on November 10 garnered Nickelodeon's biggestratings ever among the age 2-11 demographic. The special outperformed allcompetition, even broadcast networks, in its time period earning a 9.4/28national rating share (3.7 million viewers) among kids 2-11.
A digitally remastered version of the animated holiday classic, RUDOLPH THERED-NOSED REINDEER will air on U.S. network CBS Monday, November 30 from8-9 p.m. (ET/PT). The Rankin-Bass film about an awkward shiny-nosedreindeer will include an additional two minutes and 50 seconds of footagenot seen since 1964. The extra footage comes from the reinsertion of twosongs, "We Are Santa's Elves" and "We're a Couple of Misfits."
Sunday, November 22, marked the end of the 7th Holland Animation FilmFestival 1998. Awards were presented for both the international competitionfor applied animation and student films. The jury for the internationalcompetition for applied animation consisted of Garri Bardin (Russia), PaulBush (United Kingdom), Dingeman Kuilman (The Netherlands), Adriaan Lokman(The Netherlands), and Linda Simensky (United States). They chose thefollowing films to receive the Golden Pegbar Awards:
The 22nd Cinanima International Animated Film Festival wrapped up onNovember 15 in Espinho, Portugal. The international jury consisted ofCarlos Pinto Coelho (Portugal), Florence Henrard (Belgium), BorivojDovnikovic (Croatia), Georges Sifianos (France) and Georges Schwizgebel(Switzerland). Below is a complete list of winners as reported by thefestival:
CLASS A (less than 6 minutes) - tie"Festival" by Roberto Catani (Italy)."L'Arme du Crocodile" by Eric Blesin (Belgium).
CLASS B (between 6 and 13 minutes).
The 32nd annual U.S. International Film and Video Festival is now seekingsubmissions in computer animation and non-computer animation categories.Entries must be received by March 1, 1999. For entry kits and additionalinformation, contact (630) 834-7773 or visit www.filmfestawards.com.
* Monday, November 30. San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Nik Phelps and the Sprocket Ensemble present Mike "Temple" Brady and the"Flaming Won Ton Show," a performance art presentation. The event is partof the Ideas in Animation program and is billed as "an evening of animationwith live original music." The West coast premiere of "Publegg Enemy," anew clay animated film from Dave Clausen and Carrie Kessler, and JasonShiga's new cartoon, "Double Duce," will also screen at this event which
* Monday, December 7. Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
The Association of Northern Animators (ANA) will hold a Christmas partycalled 'Animate 98' at 8 p.m. at the Telegraph Hotel. Everybody is welcome.Local animators will come together to meet, view each others' work, discussand network. The evening will include DJs and screenings of localanimators' work. Cost £2. For more details, e-mail email@example.com ring (0191) 232 8432.
* Tuesday, December 15. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The downtown central Los Angeles Public Library will screen a selection ofthe best experimental animation made at CalArts in the last 25 years at 6p.m. The free event is open to the public and will be introduced byfounding director of the CalArts Experimental Animation Program, JulesEngel. Early work from "Antz" co-director Eric Darnell and "Nightmarebefore Christmas" director Henry Selick will be among the fourteen works
A half-hour special, THE MAKING OF THE RUGRATS MOVIE will air on November 26 at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on U.S. cable network TV Land with segments on the Rugrats voices, the unique animation style, and the star-studded soundtrack.
The Varga Group of Companies, which includes the Hungarian animation studio Varga Studio and UK-based VARGA tvc Ltd., will conduct business under a newly formed holding company, Varga Holdings. Varga Holdings reflects Vargas worldwide expansion in the production of high quality animation and replaces Eurotoon, the previous holding company for the two animation studios. Co-founder of Varga Studio, Andras Erkel, was named Chief Executive Officer of Varga Holdings while co-founder Csaba Varga has been named Group Creative Director.
Balmur Entertainment, a music management and publishing company owned by singer-performer Anne Murray, has acquired Evening Sky Productions and The Animation House in an effort to produce original animated series, live-action family entertainment and music-driven television specials for global distribution. Evening Sky (headed by David and Mary Corbett) and Animation House (headed by Bob Fortier) will merge to become a wholly-owned division of Balmur Entertainment and will operate as Evening Sky Productions.
Columbia Tristar Home Video and the Harvey Entertainment Company willrelease "Baby Huey's Great Easter Adventure," a live-action, feature-lengthmusical comedy, starring the classic oversized, diapered duck in his firstmovie ever. The direct-to-video film, which will be released on March 2,1999, stars Joseph Bologna, Maureen McCormick, Harvey Korman, David Lander,and David Leisure. The song-filled film also includes a bonus Baby Hueycartoon, "Daycare Duckie," packaged with the film. The film is about how
Fox Entertainment Group president Peter Roth resigned last week after adisappointing season for Fox Network's television shows. Comedy Centralchief executive officer Doug Herzog was announced as the replacement wherehe'll head Fox's development, scheduling, marketing and promotion. Herzogis responsible for bringing "South Park" to Comedy Central and it is hisintention to push the envelope content-wise at Fox as well. Certainly, agood deal of Fox's future rides on animated shows with three major
Animated films played a very big role at this weekend's box office whichsaw strong performances from three animated features. After eight weeks,"ANTZ" remained in the Top 10 at No. 9 pulling in $2.3 million. "A Bug'sLife" was impressive in its one-theater debut in Hollywood, California'shistoric El Capitan theater grossing an amazing $291,000 during theweekend. This opening set house records at the El Capitan according tosources at Buena Vista. The biggest story this weekend though was
Producer/director Eric Radomski recently joined Film Roman as ExecutiveProducer. His new role includes heading up the company's restructuredanimation development and production program as well as taking the helm ofFilm Roman's expanding digital shorts program. Company president and CEODavid Pritchard stated, "Film Roman is fortunate and excited that Eric hasagreed to help us rebuild the new Film Roman. We see him as part of thefuture of this company, will rely on him to lead our animation division
Laurie Goldberg has been named vice president of public relations atCartoon Network. She will oversee all publicity and public relations forCartoon Network including programming, consumer and cable affiliatemarketing campaigns, Cartoon Network Online, Cartoon Network Enterprises(NASCAR and SMASH tennis) and the network's licensed promotions andmerchandising. She joins the network from Pinnacle Brands, Inc., a sportstrading card company in Dallas, where she also served as vice president ofpublic relations.
Canadian company, Cinar Films Inc., recently announced that they would like to change their corporate name to CINAR Corporation (in French, Corporation Cinar). A Management Proxy Circular was sent to shareholders announcing a Special Shareholder Meeting to be held at the company headquarters in Montreal on December 10, 1998 to vote on the intended name change. The new name was proposed to better reflect the company's diversification into other areas of children's entertainment and education besides the film industry.
The Harvey Entertainment Company (Nasdaq: HRVY) reported a net loss of $2,006,000, or $0.48 per share, for the third quarter of 1998 as compared to a net gain of $2,551,000, or $0.62 a share, for the same third quarter period in 1997. For the nine month period ending September 30,1998, Harvey has totaled a net loss of $4,788,000, or $1.19 per share, as compared to a net income of $2,551,000, or $0.64 per share, in the comparable year-ago period. Net operating revenues were also considerably less coming in at a negative $1,121,000 compared to revenues of $7,126,000 in the year-ago period.
Respected TV executive Margaret Loesch, who moved to the Jim Henson Company a year ago as president of its television group, has been named the president and CEO of the 30-million subscriber Odyssey cable channel. This comes after an announcement that Hallmark and The Jim Henson Company have bought a "substantial" stake in the religious network. Loesch's new responsibilities include developing original programming from Hallmark, Henson, Odyssey and National Interfaith Cable Coalition (NICC) and integrating it with the already well-established libraries of Hallmark and Henson.