AWN Headline News
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has announced that Sylvester and Tweety were the most popular stamp of 1998. Over 37.9 million commemorative stamps of the bird and cat duo were saved by collectors. The USPS measures a stamp's popularity by the number saved - not used - through quarterly surveys sent to American households. The Postal Service issues 40-45 billion stamps in an average year, the majority of which are intended for day-to-day usage. Other top stamps included the Celebrate the Century sets from the 1900s, 1920s and 1930s, as well as the Classic Movie Monsters stamp set.
The results are in from the 20th Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latino Americano, which took place in Havana, Cuba, from December 1-11, 1998. All the films in competition were from Latin American countries. The following awards were given out for animated entries:
The box office was bustling this Christmas holiday weekend with DreamWorks' "The Prince of Egypt" and Disney/Pixar's "A Bug's Life" holding their own against many new live-action releases including "Patch Adams," "The Faculty" and "Stepmom." "Prince of Egypt" dropped two places from second to fourth; however, the film saw a 5% rise in business grossing $15.3M for a grand total of a little over $40M. "A Bug's Life" saw a 1% jump in totals despite being taken off more than 300 screens. The film finished seventh with $10.1M and has now grossed $114.6M in six weeks.
ANIMALS ON 64 ZOO LANE. Germany-based ZDF Enterprises, a subsidiary of ZDF German Television Network, and French animation producer, Millimage, are set to co-produce 64 Zoo Lane, a 13x10 minute series for children ages four to ten. The show, which will be ready in August 1999, uses illustrator An Vrombaults painterly animation style to create a colorful world of animal characters. A different animal stars in each episode and recounts his or her own story to Lucy, the little girl who lives next to the zoo.
(Colossal) Pictures completed two 10-second Christmas IDs for Nickelodeon. The stop-motion Yummy Winter Wonderland features gingerbread people frolicking in a set made entirely of food with white frosting substituting as snow. A Weenie New Year is a brief New Years extravaganza hosted by a live-action puppet band leader Lawrence Weenie and his swingin Big Band of Weenies. Jim Matison was the director/creative director for these holiday spots.
New York-based J.J. Sedelmaier Productions produced a series of four 30-second ink-and-paint cel style spots for Hallmark Greeting Cards through the Leo Burnett agency: The Fight, Birthday, Rowdy Party, and Romance. This project is animation in its purest sense, giving life to inanimate objects - the alphabet, says director J.J. Sedelmaier, whose animators worked only with the signature typographical treatment of the Hallmark name and the famous crown. The campaign debuted in September.
J.J. Sedelmaier recently completed a simple 30-second spot, Filenes Turkey, promoting Filenes Basement annual charity Giant Turkey Giveaway. The spot used a stark black-ink-against-white-background style to feature a spokes-turkey who grows fatter and fatter each time the cash register rings until it fills up the entire screen. Director J.J. Sedelmaier commented about the ad, Filenes Turkey is a simple spot thats stylistically reminiscent of old black-and-white cartoons where personality carries the day over artistry.
Puffin Designs, the producers of the award-winning compositing system Commotion, recently introduced Knoll Lens Flare Pro Conductor for Alias|Wavefront Maya Composer. The new version, developed by John Knoll, a Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light and Magic, will give users the ability to create realistic sunflares, lasers, flames, bursts, explosions, and "photon torpedoes," among other effects. The plug-in is already available for Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, ElectricImage, and Discreet Logic Flint/Flame/Inferno.
Hibbert Ralph Animations The First Snow of Winter will premiere in the U.K. on BBC1 on Christmas Day, December 25, at 4:40 p.m. The half-hour animated special from director Graham Ralph features the voices of Miriam Margolyes, Sorcha Cusack, and the late Dermot Morgan. The film follows the tale of Sean, a little Irish duck who becomes separated from his parents and misses the annual migration south. Thus, he is left alone to face the hostile climate of the bitter Irish winter. The special also airs in the U.S. on the Disney Channel on December 23 at 7 p.m.
UPN has ordered thirteen episodes of "Home Movies," a new half-hour primetime animated sitcom from Tom Snyder Productions, the producers of Comedy Central's "Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist" and ABC's Saturday morning series, "SquiggleVision" (aka "Science Court"). The series will be done in the producer's trademark production technique, "SquiggleVision" which is also used on Snyder's other shows. Tentatively scheduled to premiere in April, comedian Paula Poundstone, Brendon Small, and H.
Acclaim Entertainment has released the highly-anticipated "South Park" video game for Nintendo 64 with a PC version that will be available in January 1999. The adventure game features original dialogue recorded by Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and Issac Hayes and can be played in a single or multi-player mode. The game unfolds as a mysteriously evil comet approaches South Park causing much mayhem. It is left up to Kenny, Kyle, Stan and Cartman to save the day. All the perennial "South Park" characters pop up throughout the game including Mr. Hankey, Chef, Terrance and Phillip, and Big Gay Al.
San Francisco-based (Colossal) Pictures created a new animated Nickelodeon theatrical open, which premiered with Paramounts The Rugrats Movie, and stars Slap D. Pooch, a blue-balloon-nosed dog who was featured in his own short film as part of Nickelodeons Oh Yeah! Cartoons! series. The 16-second open, Slaps Fleck, was directed by Colossals Charlie Canfield, creative directed by George Evelyn, and animated by Chuck Gammage Animation based on a character created by Bill Burnett and designed by Vincent Waller.
Chris Wedge, one of the founders of Blue Sky Studios (now Blue Sky | VIFX), has released his personal film, "Bunny." The seven-minute computer-animated film utilizes "radiosity," an advanced computer rendering technique, a relative of the ray-tracing technology, that mimics subtle properties of natural light. The three-year project was written and directed by Chris Wedge, produced by Nina Rappaport, with music by singer/songwriter Tom Waits.
This year's final and quite possibly, most anticipated, animated feature, DreamWorks' "The Prince of Egypt" debuted this past weekend at number two with a respectable but not stellar $14.5M. While DreamWorks reps blame the impeachment proceedings, the White House affair didn't seem to have much effect on the strong $18.4M number one opening for the live-action Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film, "You've Got Mail." It is too early to make any guesses on the success of DreamWorks' 'Prince' and the next few holiday weeks will be integral in determining the film's profitability.
San Francisco-based Wild Brain has completed an in-house seven-minute short film called A Dog Cartoon, featuring a highly-energetic dog who faces many perils as he attempts to recover his coveted bone.
Hong Kong-born animation director and illustrator Paul Chung completed a French bubblegum spot, "Rainforest," for Passion Pictures through Young and Rubicam (Paris, France). The ad takes place in a brightly colored South American jungle setting as Indian natives watch their jungle being destroyed by an army of loggers. To thwart the loggers, a native opens a pack of Malabar bubblegum and from the pack jumps the superhero Malabar Man who proceeds to block the bulldozers with gum. The 30-second spot which combines traditional 2D with computer animation, will air in France starting in 1999.
Hollywood Shorts, a monthly series designed to screen short films and introduce their directors to the Hollywood film community, is currently accepting animated entries for possible exhibition in upcoming programs. Submissions received by February 1, 1999 will be given first consideration for spring programming. Films must be under 30 minutes in length and submitted on VHS - NTSC only. For complete entry info, contact Kimberley Browning at Hollywood Shorts: email@example.com or (310) 358-7634.
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 1999 Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival, now in its 52nd year, will take place from May 13-16, 1999 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada. Entries to compete for the festival's Golden Sheaf Awards are now being accepted until March 5, 1999. Awards will be given to Canadian film entries in a total of nineteen film categories including: Animation, Children's Production, Arts and Entertainment, Comedy, Educational and Commercials. International filmmakers can enter works in five categories including: Children's Production, Documentary and Drama.
Disney may not have an animated film to put up against DreamWorks Prince of Egypt, but theyve come up with an ingenious way of profiting from the November release of A Bugs Life. The company announced that starting December 18th, a completely new set of animated bloopers will accompany the closing credits of the film.
Coming off their successful animated feature, Antz, Pacific Data Images (PDI) and DreamWorks have announced that their next collaboration will be Tusker, directed by Tim Johnson (co-director of Antz) and Brad Lewis (producer of Antz). The film will be PDI/DreamWorks third project and will follow the release of Shrek, which is currently in production. Tusker follows a herd of elephants as they make a perilous trek across Southeast Asia confronting numerous dangers including a malevolent group of poachers.
As a follow-up to our 11/17/98 Animation Flash story, Canadian-based CINAR Films Inc. has changed their name to CINAR Corporation (Corporation CINAR in French) after a Special Meeting of Shareholders approved the change. The new name better reflects the diversification of the companys business activities which have expanded beyond the film industry.
MEDIALAB, a real-time performance animation production company, and Cine-Groupe, a production house and distributor of animation, have joined forces for the first time in a co-production deal that will see two properties, Pinocchio 3001 and Sphinx@com, developed into computer-generated animated feature films and television series. These projects will be produced over the next four years using MEDIALABs propietary performance animation techniques.