Todd McFarlane Entertainment (TME) has agreed to work with Jodie Foster's production company, Egg Pictures, on a new film, THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS. ALTAR BOYS, directed by Peter Care and featuring Foster in a supporting role, tells the tale of a group of Catholic school friends who are caught drawing an obscene comic book. TME will produce the animation segments for the film, which is set to begin shooting in May.
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Giant Studios' Motion Reality system has been selected as the technology of choice for motion-capture services on the highly anticipated New Line Cinema feature film trilogy, THE LORD OF THE RINGS. New Line Cinema has signed Wellington, New Zealand-based Weta, Ltd. to handle the visual effects, and Weta has named Giant Studios as the exclusive motion-capture resource for all three films.
On March 24, 2000, Joe Cartoon Co., the producers of popular Web toons FROG IN A BLENDER and LEMMINGS, was awarded a preliminary injunction against John Zuccarini for cybersquatting. The court order bars Zuccarini from using or endorsing the use of the domain names joescartoon.com, joecarton.com, joescartons.com, joescartoons.com, cartoonjoe.com and any other derivative of Joe Cartoon Co.'s joecartoon.com URL.
India-based company Colorfront has announced the release of their high-end colour correction tool color*star. color*star is the industry's first plug-in for digital film grading, advanced selective colour correction and creative look-creation running on Discreet's high-end visual effects and editing systems. The plug-in currently runs on inferno*, flame*, flint*, effect* on O2, fire* and smoke* systems from Discreet. Colorfront has recognized the convergence of film, HDTV and video to the 1080p/24 Universal Mastering solution and have standardized color*star's workflow in this format.
With live-action film ERIN BROCKOVICH staying firm at #1, the new special effects enhanced action flick, ROMEO MUST DIE, finished at #2 in the U.S. box office. In its first week in release, the new Jet Li film brought home US$18.01 million. Opening in theatres Wednesday, March 22, the Warner Bros.' martial arts pic has made a total of $24.6 million. The teen terror pic, FINAL DESTINATION, stayed dead still at third, grossing $7.22 million. The New Line flick has made a total of $20.4 million in two weekends of release.
With the AOL merger coming near, Warner Bros.' Entertaindom.com employees are threatening walkouts and blackouts of the site. Reuters reported that staffers are angry with parent company Time Warner's lack of interest in Entertaindom as the America On-line deal is coming to a close. Hopes of Internet-made millionaires at the fledgling entertainment site were dashed when Time Warner called off the planned spin-off of Entertaindom as a public stock. In addition, the amount of previously agreed-upon Time Warner stock that Entertaindom employees will receive continues to drop.
Nelvana Limited has announced the introduction of Nelvana New Media, a new division that will focus on developing new applications, products and delivery channels for Nelvana's valuable character library. The new branch will create a children's Web entertainment site and interactive games based upon their characters for both CD-Rom and Internet distribution. "Nelvana New Media is an initiative that solidifies the future success of the Company," added Michael Hirsh, Nelvana Limited's co-chief executive officer.
At the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Oscar Awards on Sunday, March 26, 2000, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA by Alexander Petrov won for best animated short film. "Having been nominated twice before, now I can look at this award without irony," Petrov said. "I'm very happy to have received the Oscar as it has given THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA and my earlier films recognition. And like any artist I wanted to be first. I'm happy that the Academy has the category of animated short film, because it gives a chance to independent artists to show their work.
Jeffrey Kramer has been named the new president of Honkworm International's cross media division. Kramer's main role at Honkworm will be to attract new major talent to the Internet company. Kramer comes to Honkworm from David E. Kelley Productions, where he served as president. He was the executive producer on ABC's THE PRACTICE and Fox's ALLY MCBEAL.
Renowned director Paul Vester has left Rhythm & Hues to become the creative director, digital and mixed media for Class-Key Chew-Po Commercials. Vester has helmed spots for Xerox, Listerine, Hershey, Twizzlers, Geico Direct. He also served as the animation director of the Grammy-nominated music video for Oasis' "All Around the World." Recently, Vester's film ABDUCTEES was featured in the animated short film compilation, CARTOON NOIR, which has played in theatres across the U.S. Some of his other animated short film credits include SUNBEAM and PICNIC.
Steve Ziolkowski has signed on as director of animation at SuperToons, the new animation division of the Super 78 Company. At SuperToons, Ziolkowski will help build the company into a top-of-the-line producer of animation for PlayStation 2, the Internet and digital TV. Ziolkowski will also oversee Moscow-based Super 78/Russia, which specializes in CGI animation. Before moving to SuperToons, Ziolkowski was a senior animator at Disney's DreamQuest Studios (recently renamed The Secret Lab).
ITV has ordered 26 episodes of the half-hour, 3D CGI animated series BUTT-UGLY MARTIANS. The Mike Young Productions, The Just Group PLC and DCDC-produced show follows three Martians, who came to Earth to overthrow it but stayed because the loved it. The director of the first season of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, Gary Selvaggio, is the creator of series. DCDC handles the TV rights for the show in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, while the U.K.-based The Just Group handles all other international TV, video, merchandising and licensing rights. BUTT-UGLY MARTIANS has not yet found a home in the U.S.
On Saturday, March 18, 2000, Cartoon Network announced the winner of their inaugural CARTOON CAMPAIGN 2000. "Political" ads started airing on January 15, 2000 toting the 50 candidates, but a crime-fighting Great Dane has become the clear winner. Scooby-Doo captured 17.4 percent of the more than three quarters of a million votes received, followed by The Powerpuff Girls with 11.1 percent and Bugs Bunny with 8.6 percent. A mini-marathon of Scooby-Doo cartoons celebrated the election winner on Sunday, March 19, 2000. With endorsements from ex-U.S.
The Harvey Entertainment Company and Felix the Cat Productions have come to a new corporate agreement to bring Harvey characters to Latin America. Harvey Entertainment has appointed Felix the Cat Productions, Inc. as their exclusive licensing agent for Latin America. In turn, Donald Oriolo, president & CEO of Felix the Cat Productions, and the other heirs of Casper creator Joseph Oriolo have turned over to Harvey all rights and claims to the trademarks and copyrights of the Casper character.
On Thursday, March 16, 2000, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced its nominations for the Daytime Emmy Awards. The 27th annual event highlights the best in daytime television where animation makes much of its home. Besides the specific categories for animation, animated TV series have a strong presence in various other areas of recognition. BLUE'S CLUES racked up nominations for Outstanding Directing In A Children's Series, Outstanding Pre-School Children's Series and Outstanding Writing In A Children's Series.
Shockwave.com has finalized an exclusive deal with Oscar and Emmy award-winning director, producer, screenwriter James L. Brooks' Gracie Films to create animated programming. Gracie Films and Brooks, whose credits include executive producer of THE SIMPSONS, THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and TAXI, will hold complete artistic control over the characters and properties created for shockwave.com. "We couldn't be more pleased about being in business with Gracie Films," said Rob Burgess, chairman of shockwave.com. "Jim's creative talent and versatility has entertained so many of us for so long.
Fox Family will be adding two new animated series to its 2000-01 daytime schedule. DA MOB follows the life of a wanna-be hip-hop band on their futile journey to fame and fortune. The series is being produced by Happy Life Entertainment. DETECTIVE CONAN will be the newest anime series to hit the channel. The show follows the adventures of top detective Shinichi Kudo, who has been accidentally transformed back into a child by his enemies. The series is being distributed in the States by TMS. Twenty-six episodes of each series has already been secured.
Klasky Csupo and Nickelodeon Movies have tied the knot on an exclusive multi-year deal to develop and produce animated feature films. The new partnership comes from the pair's successful production of THE RUGRATS MOVIE and the forthcoming RUGRATS IN PARIS. The first two projects from the new agreement slated to hit the drawing boards are POLITENESS MAN and COOKIE COMPANY. The AUSTIN POWERS-like POLITENESS MAN is based off of Ron Barrett's classic National Lampoon comic strip. The story will follow the exploits of a secret agent, whom excels in the fields of manners, hygiene and etiquette.
On Tuesday, March 21, 2000, CINAR Corp. announced that co-founder, Ron Weinberg, and former controller, Mario Ricci, signed documents approving the company's non-board-approved investments. CINAR's spokeswoman, Suzan Ayscough, said, "The documents in question were signed either by Ron Weinberg alone, or by Mr. Weinberg and Mr. Panju or by Mr. Ricci." Previously, CINAR reported that their now fired senior executive VP Panju acted alone in investing the money.
There's still time to submit your original work for consideration in the World Internet Animation Competition...
Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of SOUTH PARK, have shocked Shockwave.com with the first of their 39 shorts for the Netcaster. As part of a US$2 million pact, the new toon by Parker and Stone has a level of crude and gross humor described as higher than the SOUTH PARK feature! The duo of doo-doo jokes have now left the Shockwave.com executives twiddling their thumbs nervously contemplating what to do next. As part of the agreement, the SOUTH PARK creators have complete artistic control and ownership of the content they create for Shockwave.com.
On the occasion of the upcoming MIP TV (April 10-14) and Cartoons on the Bay Festival (April 14-18), AWN will be publishing a special TV Animation edition of the Animation Flash on April 4, 2000. To insure that all your television-related news is printed in the Flash please submit press releases to email@example.com by March 30, 2000. Please put "MIP TV News" in the subject area of your e-mail. Thank you.
Shockwave announced it has finalized a deal with director, writer and producer David Lynch to develop a series of animated shorts exclusively for the Netcaster. Like pacts with Stan Lee and the SOUTH PARK creators, Lynch will hold complete artistic control and ownership of the characters and properties he creates. "The Internet is our future and shockwave.com is a very important part of it," said David Lynch. "David Lynch is amazing. The Internet is a perfect new medium for him," said Rob Burgess, chairman of shockwave.com.
The M.P.S.C. Local 839 IATSE, the labor union for screen cartoonists and CGI artists and technicians in Southern California, has updated its AWN page with the most recent editions of their newsletter...
This year, in addition to its regular program, the Brussels festival launched Anima 2000, a 4-day event with various conferences, screenings and panel discussions covering such topics as interactive animation, video game development and script writing. This first edition of Anima was a huge success and led to a substantial increase in the number of participants. In addition to top industry guest speakers, other renowned professionals such as Deane Taylor, Georges Lacroix, Steve Walsh and Enzo d'Alo participated in these debates, which will continue at the Annecy Festival next June.