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.
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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.
Oscar nominee Angelina Jolie is in final discussions to play buxom cyber-hero Lara Croft in TOMB RAIDER, a live-action feature based on the mega-hit video game. The Paramount project is set to begin production this summer, with director Simon West (CON AIR, THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER). Jolie is up for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for GIRL, INTERRUPTED, a film for which she has already won the Golden Globe. Known for playing wild and tough women, Jolie's star is on the rise and can easily play Croft, who is described as a female Indiana Jones.
Mark Steven Johnson is in talks to pen and direct DAREDEVIL, the live-action adaptation of the Marvel Comics superhero franchise. The project originally started at Fox where directors such as Chris Columbus and Carlo Carlei developed the production. Now based out of Columbia Pictures, comic fan Johnson will breathe life into the story of the blind lawyer who uses his other, heightened senses to fight for justice. Marvel moved DAREDEVIL from Fox, because the studio is already busy putting together the Marvel titles X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR and SILVER SURFER.
Tim Burton is going ape over the chance to remake 20th Century Fox's 1968 sci-fi classic PLANET OF THE APES. If the final negotiations finish as planned, Burton could be helming Fox's big picture for summer 2001. Rumors have attached names like Oliver Stone, Chris Columbus, James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger to the project. In development since 1993 (longer than it took to make the original and four sequels), Bill Broyles has written the newest and hopefully final version of the new APE flick.
A new television series based on TOY STORY's Buzz Lightyear character will be coming to ABC and UPN in October. Walt Disney Television Animation is producing 65 episodes of BUZZ LIGHTYEAR OF STAR COMMAND -- 52 for UPN's "Disney's One Too" and 13 for ABC's Saturday morning lineup. Pixar will produce the CGI opening, but the series itself will be traditional 2D animation. Taking on voice duties as Buzz will be SEINFELD's Patrick Warburton, who's also starring in the live-action THE TICK series.
"They'll end up being like SOUTH PARK or something like that," said Charles Schulz's son Monte regarding the future of his father's PEANUTS comic strip, in an Associated Press article by Mary Ann Lickteig. Before Schulz's death, he strictly left instructions that nobody else could draw THE PEANUTS strip and the animated shows must end. In regards to honoring their father's wishes, Schulz's children's concern centers around United Media, who holds the copyrights on the PEANUTS characters.
Director Kevin Smith is steaming over the treatment ABC has given his new animated series version of his cult-classic film CLERKS. After Disney owned ABC pushed back the premiere of the new series to May 31, 2000, Smith said the summer release date "almost ensures the show's failure" due to the traditionally low TV ratings of the summer months.
Recently, Gold Zebra Communications launched its new preschool network Hop! The Israeli Nursery Channel. The net airs daily from 6 am to 7 pm catering toward the youngest viewers. The completely non-violent content has been acquired from producers in Europe and the States. Recently, Hop! appeared at the Monte Carlo Television Market to promote and attach new content for the fledgling channel. For more information contact Gold Zebra Communications Ltd. at: 7 Harugei Malchut St. Tel-Aviv 69714 Isreal; Tel.: ++972-3-649-6228; Fax: ++972-3-649-6229; or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The writer behind GHOST and DEEP IMPACT will be writing the second installment of STUART LITTLE. Bruce Joel Rubin will have to be typing like a madman to meet the proposed Christmas 2001 release date for the STUART sequel. The star of the first picture, Geena Davis, is reportedly committed to STUART II, but it is yet unknown if director Rob Minkoff will return. However, the current US$136.9 million at the U.S. box office might be a convincing enough number to lure him.
Bardel Animation Limited has secured the rights to bring the young adult adventure SILVERWING to the big screen. SILVERWING, a novel by Ken Oppel, follows the coming-of-age tale of Shade, who is in search for his father. The book has sold more than 250,000 copies internationally and still remains on the bestsellers' list two years after its initial publication. Ken Oppel will help develop the story with Bardel Animation.
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book,
"Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
Two weeks ago, AtomFilms announced that it has locked the first-ever,
exclusive, on-line distribution deal with the University of Southern
California (USC) School of Cinema-Television to broadcast student
films from the illustrious film school's catalog, giving USC students
a worldwide public venue for showcasing their work. As part of the
deal, for the next 18 months, USC will provide AtomFilms with
exclusive on-line distribution rights to 100 student titles which
Dream Theater is seeking an ART DIRECTOR to work on the creation of
concepts, presentation materials and the refinement of design
directions in production. . . Hammerhead Productions is looking for
SENIOR ANIMATORS 2D/3D/TD for feature film visual effects. . . San
Francisco, California-based Attik is looking for a SENIOR ANIMATOR. .
. Monterrey, N.L. Mexico post-production house PubliK is looking for
a creative 3D SGI ANIMATOR. . . The Chimney Pot (Sweden) is seeking a
The deadline to register your film for competition at the 3rd
California Sun (CSun) festival is Friday, March 10, 2000...
The Ottawa 2000 Independent Film Competition will be selected by
festival organizers. The Commissioned Films Competition will be
selected by Curtis Crawford (Canada), Chris Landreth (US), Pjotr
Sapegin (Russia) and Andrei Svislotski (Russia). The Ottawa 00
International Jury will be comprised of Suzanne Gervais (Canada),
Wendy Jackson Hall (US), John Hays (US), Priit Parn (Estonia) and Jin
Guo Ping (China). Jury member bios are now available on the festival
has posted another article in its new Festival Review
section. In "The Celebration of BC Animation," Leslie Bishko reviews
the event which presented an impressive 25-year retrospective of
independent animation in Vancouver last October.
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