The four-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend created a healthy box office with DreamWorks The Prince of Egypt continuing to edge its way towards $100 million. The religious epic, which was banned this week in Indian Ocean-located The Maldives for its offensive portrayal of Moses, came in eighth with $6.2M after 32 days of release for a grand total of $82.5M. At its current pace, the film is poised to pass The Rugrats Movie as the highest gross non-Disney animated feature of all-time.
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The new animated comedy from Eddie Murphy and Will Vinton Studios, The PJs, has been generating great ratings and some harsh words from the African-American community. A special Sunday night preview of the show on January 10 garnered an incredible 12.6/18 rating, the second-highest preview or premiere numbers in Fox history, topped only by the 12.7 from the January 1990 premiere of The Simpsons. Likewise, the show delivered strong numbers when it moved to its regular Tuesday, 8:30 p.m.
Cartoon Network has announced the launch of three new animated series for the 1999 season - Courage, The Cowardly Dog, Mike, Lu & Og, and I Am Weasel. Courage is based on the 1995 Academy Award-nominated Cartoon Network short Chicken from Outer Space, created, written and directed by John R. Dilworth. Thirteen episodes, launching in November 1999, will chronicle the adventures of a timid dog as he defends his elderly owners in the small town of Nowhere from paranormal elements.
* Thursday, January 21. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The Women in Animation's Writer's Group will hold a discussion about what writers should know about lawyers and agents. The event starts at 7:00 P.M. Call Kellie-Bea Rainey to RSVP and for directions at (818) 623-0020 or e-mail at email@example.com.
Originally intended as a direct-to-video film, Walt Disney Pictures hasannounced that "Doug's 1st Movie," based on the ABC series "Disney's Doug,"will be released to theaters on March 26 in time for the spring break andEaster holidays. Both the TV series and film are produced by New York-basedJumbo Pictures Inc., a subsidiary of Disney acquired in 1996. "Doug's 1stMovie" follows the misadventures of 12-year old Doug Funnie as he findshimself caught between saving the endangered "monster" of Lucky Duck Lake
Wanting to get a piece of the lucrative animated feature pie, Miramax Filmshas announced their acquisition of worldwide distribution rights to theanimated musical fairy tale, "The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina."The film is being produced at Hyperion Studios, known for other animatedworks such as "Life with Louie," "Bebe's Kids" and HBO's "Happily EverAfter: Fairy Tales for Every Child." The film features the voices of ElijahWood as Tom Thumb and Jennifer Love Hewitt as Thumbelina.The story
Thomas Schumacher has been promoted to president of Walt Disney Feature Animation and Walt Disney Theatrical Productions replacing Peter Schneider, who was promoted from this role to the president of The Walt Disney Studios. Joe Roth, Disney chairman, stated, "Tom, who has long collaborated with Peter in running our animation and theatrical units, is the perfect choice to replace Peter as president of Feature Animation.
San Francisco-based The Attik has produced and designed 5 seconds of live-action and graphics for the theatrical trailer end card for "Idle Hands," an upcoming Columbia Pictures film. The segment involves a live-action human hand clutching and clawing at the screen. The Attik team blended the live-action with an illustrated graphic of a hand, animated using a technique similar to stop-motion, to give the piece an organic feel while maintaining a scratchy, hand-crafted texture. Simon Dixon was the Creative Director/Director and Monica Perez was Senior Art Director.
Funny Farm Studios is a new 2D animation studio starting up in Atlanta, Georgia. The facility is headed by Donna Ervin, former manager and producer for DESIGNefx cel animation, and two animation directors, Jim Peebles and Jeff Fastner. "We have enormous talent, experience and speed to offer," states Ervin. The studio will target the national and regional commercial, interstitial programming and web development markets.
This week's comic is a funny look at an extremely controversial issue. A new outrageous comicby Bill Plympton can be found each Friday at his website.
For further collections of Bill's comics, read his brand new book: "We EatTonight!" a new collection of Bill's print cartoons from major magazines,some of which inspired the gags in his short films. These are all quickone-panel bits of shocking hilarity. "We Eat Tonight!" is now available for
Featured in the Animation World Store this week: Italian Maestro Bruno Bozzetto and Weston Woods Classic Children's Collection...
The deadline for submitting news and company descriptions for the February 1999 Animation World Magazine motion-capture and stop-motion issue is January 25th...
The 2nd annual Ottawa Student Animation Festival, slated for October 21-24,1999, is now accepting submissions. To ensure a level playing groundamongst participants, the official competition has been divided into fivecategories: high school/secondary films; undergraduate films; graduatefilms; first films and children's films. Schools from around the world willcompete for the Best Artistic Achievement in Animation Education award. Inaddition to the Official Competition, SAFO '99 will feature a variety of
Mondo Media, a leading developer of digital content, has received a $2 million investment from venture capital firm, Sofinnova. The investment will fund the development of a line of Mondo Mini Shows - a series of animated and personalized, interactive, web-based cartoons. The shows will mirror the syndication model of newspaper comics where popular properties attract broad audiences on a repeat basis. "The syndication model is novel for the web, a proven success in other media," explains Randy Komisar, Mondo Media's Virtual CEO.
* Thursday, January 14. Westwood, California, U.S.A.
Women In Animation's Writers' Group is starting up their Seminar Series again for 1999. The first seminar will cover the differences between live-action and animation writing, the philosophy of comedy, and gag writing techniques. The group meets at Saban Entertainment at 7:30 PM. For further information call Jean Ann Wright at 818-360-8321.
Fox will debut the new mid-season animated sitcom, "The P.J.s," on Sunday, January 10 at 8:30 p.m. following a divisional conference football playoff game. The show will start the following Tuesday in its regular 8:30 p.m. slot following "King of the Hill." The "foamation" series was produced at Will Vinton Studios and is executive produced by comedian/actor Eddie Murphy.
Film Roman Inc, the producer of The Simpsons and King of the Hill, has struck a deal with Launch Media Inc. under which Film Roman will provide content for the Launch CD-ROM - a monthly interactive guide to music and movies that is sold in retail stores and available by subscription. The Launch CD-ROM currently reaches an estimated 1 million users monthly with approximately 300,000 subscribers.
By special arrangement with Nielsen Media Research, AWN publishes the Nielsen ratings for animated programs on a monthly basis in the Animation Flash. The ratings included herein are only for U.S. national network television. The following list of animated national network programs is ranked by Household Ratings. A Rating is the percentage of households that tuned into the program. This percentage can provide us with the number of households that tuned into the program on average during the month. The universe estimate for the 1997-98 television season is 98 million TV homes.
The post-New Years box office was quiet as usual with DreamWorks The Prince of Egypt on top of the animation heap grossing 6.1M for fifth place. To date, the high-budgeted religious flic has grossed nearly $75M domestically and $83.7M internationally. Disneys live-action/CGI Mighty Joe Young stayed put in sixth place with $5M for a 17-day total of $34.9M. Disney/Pixars A Bugs Life fell from fifth to seventh with $4.7M and a 52-day cume of $143M.
Silicon Graphics Inc, a company that built its reputation on UNIX-based systems used to create visual effects for countless films, has unveiled new workstations based on Intel processors and the Windows NT operating system. Dictated by a changing marketplace, the new systems will appeal to a wide group of users who need the computing power but not the prohibitive prices. However, SGI believes that these systems will not replace the high-end UNIX workstations but will rather complement them.
Actor/comedian Eddie Murphy and Oregon-based Will Vinton Studios have teamed up to create "The PJs," the first stop-motion animation series to air in prime-time. Set in a big city housing project, the "foamation" series centers around a unique cast of characters led by building superintendent Thurgood Stubbs (voiced by Eddie Murphy). The premiere episode, "Hangin' With Mr. Super," airs Sunday, January 10, at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on FOX network following "The Simpsons." The show moves to its regular day and time on Tuesday, January 12 at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT) following "King of the Hill."