AWN Headline News
Veteran animation producer and executive Max Howard has finalized a first-look production deal with DreamWorks. Launching his new production company, Melwood Pictures, Howard will be developing both live-action and animated features. Therefore, he will be stepping down as producer on DreamWorks Pictures' upcoming animated release SPIRIT, STALLION OF THE CIMARRON. Howard came to DreamWorks from Warner Bros. where he served as president of feature animation. During his tenure, the studio produced the award-winning animated feature THE IRON GIANT, as well as QUEST FOR CAMELOT and SPACE JAM.
With live-action film ERIN BROCKOVICH firmly planted at #1, DreamWorks' THE ROAD TO EL DORADO ended up finishing in second place at the U.S. box office. The newest toon featuring Elton John songs grossed US$12.85 million. The special effects enhanced action flick, ROMEO MUST DIE, slipped to #4. The Jet Li film, with primary special effects by Manex Visual Effects, brought home $9.38 million bringing its cume to $38.8 million. Coming off its best picture win at the Oscars, AMERICAN BEAUTY finished in 6th place grossing another $5.41 million, raising its cume to $116.7 million.
Boris FX, the producer of high-end compositing and effects technology recently launched a new titling plug-in called Boris Graffiti. Based on the powerful text animation engine found in Boris RED, Boris Graffiti allows editors to create complex 2D and 3D animated titles within their already familiar non-linear editing system.
REALVIZ has announced a new application, ReTimer 2.0, that can be used to change the speed or length of any motion sequence in post-production. ReTimer utilizes a revolutionary method for creating highly accurate new frames between frames that were actually shot, and can also be used to subtract frames to shorten a sequence realistically. ReTimer automatically creates any number of new frames through an accurate warping technique developed by INRIA, the renowned French Research Lab that is a technology partner to REALVIZ.
ARON WARNER has been named the new head of PACIFIC DATA IMAGES (PDI), the computer animation, commercial production, and effects affiliate of DreamWorks SKG. The move follows the announcement that PDI president and chief executive officer Jim DeRose is resigning his post, effective April 1, 2000, to pursue an unspecified Internet business opportunity. In making the announcement, Katzenberg stated, "During his time at PDI, Jim made enormous contributions to the firm. In one short year, he re-established PDI in the commercial and effects business and took it to record levels.
DISNEY CHANNEL has promoted GARY MARSH to executive VP, original programming. In his new role, Marsh will be responsible for the development and production of Disney Channel's entire slate of original programming, including Disney Channel original movies, narrative and reality series for both pre-school and older kids and music and documentary series and specials. In addition, he will oversee the network's newly created talent and alternative programming department. Marsh joined Disney Channel from Columbia Pictures Television in July 1988 as executive director, programming.
The team behind INDEPENDENCE DAY and GODZILLA is back, producing ARACH ATTACK, a special effects-driven comedic thriller about a toxic waste spill that creates giant spiders. The flick is scheduled to start shooting in September in Australia. New Zealander Ellory Elkayem will direct from a script he co-wrote with Jesse Alexander. The pic is being produced by Centropolis Entertainment, the production house of Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, which has teamed on the project with Warner Bros. and Australia's Village Roadshow Pictures.
HARRY POTTER has decided to sail with Chris Columbus at the helm. The director of HOME ALONE and MRS. DOUBTFIRE will steer the adaptation of J.K. Rowling's mega-selling book HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE. Reportedly, the sequel novel, CHAMBER OF SECRETS, is already in development. The film is being produced at Warner Bros. Steven Spielberg was in line to direct the film, however there were reported creative differences with the novel's writer Rowling.
DreamWorks allowed Reel.com to design and host the Web site for its upcoming stop-motion feature CHICKEN RUN. Launched April 3, 2000, www.reel.com/chickenrun contains the movie trailer, screensavers and downloadable "desktop adventures" created by ToggleThis, which created the successful Virgin Atlantic/Austin Powers Web toons of last summer. DreamWorks has recently licensed out its official Web sites for AMERICAN BEAUTY and GALAXY QUEST to Amazon.com. Reel.com is an e-commerce site that sells videos and DVDs.
Indie film queen Parker Posey has joined the cast of the live-action feature rendition of JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS. Posey (WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, SCREAM 3) will play the tyrannical record producer who is bent on controlling the minds of the world's youth. Posey joins Rachael Leigh Cook (SHE'S ALL THAT) who is set to play the title character. Tara Reid (AMERICAN PIE) is in talks to play the absentminded, blonde band member Melodie, while Alan Cumming is in talks to play the agent who discovers the tiger-like trio. Rumors still are floating on who will play the third pussycat Valerie.
Two new shorts from Spunky Town have set down on Shockwave.com. Two episodes of THE BEATLESS, "Zombies of Love" and "Beat Less the Devil," have come to the Netcaster. The series follows three of the world's worst rockers who investigate paranormal activity. Also premiering on Shockwave is HIX HOLLAR, USA, a new comedy cartoon about a suburban family's move to a farm town.
Two new storyboarding books, STORYBOARDING 101: A CRASH COURSE IN PROFESSIONAL STORYBOARDING by James O. Fraioli and STORYBOARDS: MOTION IN ART, 2ND EDITION by Mark Simon, are currently on the shelves. STORYBOARDING 101 is written for individuals looking to break into storyboarding but don't know where to start. The book features concise information on both the mechanics of the art and how the business works. James O. Fraioli has storyboarded THE TEMP, WILD AMERICA, ACE VENTURA: WHEN NATURE CALLS and EIGHT HEADS IN A DUFFEL BAG.
The Vancouver Film School (VFS) has launched the largest scholarship competition in the history of the institution. Open to residents of Canada and the United States, the VFS 2000 Scholarship Competition will award 12 scholarships, for a total value of more than US$174,000. Established in 1987, VFS focuses on portfolio development and production-based education. "We are basically a production house that teaches; our students learn by doing," said director of registration Daniel Craig.
Director of MIMIC, Guillermo del Toro is set to helm BLADE 2: BLOOD HUNT, the sequel to the hit 1998 horror film starring Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson. The film will go in front of cameras this fall. Potentially, the film could see a summer 2001 release date. Snipes is back in the title role, and Kristofferson will come back as his mentor -- even though he seemingly died in the first film. Based on the Marvel Comics hero who's part man and part vampire, Blade hunts down the walking dead as they try to liquidate the human race.
The Harvey Entertainment Co. has entered into a deal with Vancouver-based Studio B to produce a new TV series based on their character Wendy the Witch. Studio B has acquired the rights to the popular children's series from Harvey and has partnered with Harvey in producing 26 half-hour episodes for the worldwide television and video marketplace. The series is expected to be available for delivery beginning in January 2001. Studio B also produces D'MYNA LEAGUES, WHAT ABOUT MIMI and YVON OF THE YUKON.
Jim Henson Interactive (JHI), the interactive division of The Jim Henson Company, released the first of a series of MuppeToons on its Muppetworld Web site. This collaboration between Pulse Entertainment, The Jim Henson Company and its award-winning Jim Henson's Creature Shop will feature the first 3D version of Kermit the Frog and Fozzie the Bear.