After two weekends at No. 1, "A Bug's Life" slipped to second with $11 million for the Friday-to-Sunday period due to a strong opening for "Star Trek: Insurrection," the ninth entry in the consistently profitable sci-fi franchise. Warner Bros.' effects-laden film "Jack Frost" had an acceptable but underwhelming $7 million opening. Paramount's "The Rugrats Movie" continued to attract little tykes taking fifth place with $4.5 million. "A Bug's Life" has now grossed a total of $83.3 million in 24 days of release while "The Rugrats Movie" has brought in $73.2 million in the same amount of time.
AWN Headline News
The new, futuristic "Batman Beyond" animated series is set to have a special one-hour primetime sneak preview on Sunday, January 10, 1999 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. (EST/PST). The series will officially premiere on the Kids WB! with a special one-hour debut on Saturday morning, January 16 (time to be announced). "Batman Beyond" will move to its regular Saturday 9:30 a.m. timeslot on January 23. The show is set in the early part of the 21st century where an older and "retired" Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego, becomes the mentor to young teenager Terry McGinnis, a young crimefighter in training.
* Sunday, December 13. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Hollywood Shorts, a monthly film festival dedicated to independent short films and videos, will take place 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at The Joint (8771 West Pico Boulevard in West LA). The screening includes the animated film "Call Me Fishmael." A holiday party follows the screening. If you don't live in L.A. and would still like to still see the films, they can be seen through the Internet at http://www.lalive.com.
* Friday, December 11. New York, New York, U.S.A.
Join the Animazing Gallery (415 West Broadway, 2nd Fl) in celebrating the Disney and Warner Bros. 75th Anniversay from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. The gallery has some holiday offers as well that may interest animation art collectors. To RSVP or for more information call (212)226-7374 or e-mail Animazing@worldnet.att.net.
The largest worldwide licensing event is set to take place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, New York on June 8-10, 1999. The convention has moved to the main exhibit hall, the premiere space in the Convention Center, to better accommodate the many companies that will exhibit there, including Universal, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, MTV, Harvey, Jim Henson, Mattel, Hasbro, and Polygram, among others.
After four months of judging and over two hundred entries, the winners have been chosen for MTV's 1998 Character Screen Test competition. The contest was designed by the MTV animation development department as a way to discover new talented artists and voice actors. MTV is now in the process of assessing the various potential development possibilities of the winning entries. The winners are as follows:
1st place - $2000:Mitch Greenblatt (New York City, New York)
2nd Place - $1500:Thomas Schmid (New York City, New York)
Savage Steve Holland, co-creator of "Eek! the Cat," has signed on with the William Morris Agency for representation in all fields. He will be repped by Rob Wolken, Spencer Baumgarten and Greg Lipstone. He is currently creating, writing and directing DIC's "Sabrina, the Animated Series." In addition, he's also written and directed live-action films including "Better Off Dead" (1985) and "One Crazy Summer" (1986).
A.D.V. Films has announced the acquisition of "Queen Emeraldas," a new film from Leiji Matsumoto (creator of the '70s animated series "Space Cruiser Yamato," a.k.a. "Starblazers"). The film features Matsumoto's unique sense of character design utilizing traditional and computer animation. The story takes place in the far future when humanity has expanded into space and colonized the stars. Since pirates ply the space routes preying on the weak and helpless, the rebel Emeraldas sails the Sea of Stars fighting evil using her array of futuristic weapons.
Sony Signatures' Film and Television division has named Hasbro, Inc. as the master toy licensee for the holiday '99 Columbia Pictures live-action/visual effects film, "Stuart Little." Hasbro will produce everything from plush toys to interactive software. The film is based on the classic E.B. White book of the same name about a mouse who is raised by the Littles, a human family who learns to dream big and live large when they think little.
Twenty-five-year-old Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the upcoming Fox TV primetime animated series Family Guy, has signed a five-year, multi-million dollar development deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television. Under the deal, MacFarlane will develop new programming and remain the executive producer and principal voice actor on his series Family Guy. Fox has guaranteed MacFarlane $2 million to $2.5 million for the first three years and if the show continues to air after that time, he will receive large increases the final two years.
St. Louis, Missouri-based Unity Motion, the first company to offer 24-hour high-definition television (HDTV) programming via satellite, has acquired the rights to air six original animated films by independent animator Sally Cruikshank. The films in the package include Face Like a Frog and her cult hit, Quasi at the Quackadero. Through the year 2000, Unity Motion has made a commitment to spend more than $250 million on movie acquisitions. Cruikshanks work will air in regular rotation on the channel.
Nickelodeon made a major announcement Tuesday, December 8 regarding their 1999 lineup. 259 original episodes of returning shows, both live-action and animated, are scheduled for the 1999 TV season. The animated shows that will have new episodes are Rugrats, featuring the addition of new family member Baby Dil Pickles, Hey Arnold!, The Wild Thornberrys, CatDog, Oh Yeah!
The Burger King tie-in with Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies The Rugrats Movie has done wonders for the fast-food chain by boosting sales and increasing traffic to near record levels in U.S. Burger Kings. In the first week of sales, Rugrats-themed Kids Meals and watches topped some of the companys greatest promotions ever, including The Lion King and Pocahontas, which ended up selling 50 and 55 million premiums respectively.
Disney/Pixars A Bugs Life led the way at the box office for a second straight weekend beating out Universals shot-by-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcocks classic Psycho. The computer-animated film dropped a respectable 48%, earning $17.4M for a total cume of $68.7M. In fourth place, Paramounts The Rugrats Movie had a heavier drop of 64% from Thanksgiving weekend adding $7.6M for a grand total of $67.5M in 17 days.
The WB networks prime-time animated sitcom, Baby Blues, will be produced at the Hungary-based Varga Studio. Varga has been contracted to animate the pilot episode (which they recently finished), as well as an additional seven episodes of the shows thirteen episode first season order. It should be noted that Warner Bros. is still handling the pre- and post-production on these first eight episodes while Rough Draft is picking up the remaining five episodes.
Richard Morss has joined UK-based digital production company, Peppers Ghost Productions (PGP) as Executive Creative Director. Morss had been Controller of Childrens Programs at United Film and Television Production prior to his appointment at PGP. This follows the hiring of Alan Marques, who joined PGP last month as head of production. PGP Managing Director Paul Michael stated that this represents a shift of focus for the company.
* Friday, December 4. North Hollywood, California, U.S.A.
The Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists, Local 839 IATSE, will be holding a holiday party on December 4 from 6 p.m. to midnight and everybody is invited. The soiree is at the Grand Ballroom of the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn, 4222 Vineland (just south of the 101). Admission, food and drinks are all free. For more details, click here.
* Thursday, December 10. Stockholm, Sweden.
The Swedish Association for Animated Film (FFAF) will screen all the Swedish animated films made in 1998 from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. at the Film House in Stockholm. Before the screening, the association will have its yearly meeting and a party afterwards. For more information, call 46-8 615 0882 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dream Quest Images, the feature film visual effects division of the Walt Disney Company, has hired Price Pethel in the newly created post of Vice President/Creative Director. Pethels role includes contributing to the overall direction and debate of such digital studio issues as imaging, compositing methodology, rendering and software development. Pethel joins the company from a five year tenure as VP/Creative Director at Digital Domain.
San Francisco-based (Colossal) Pictures collaborated with Blockbuster Video to create two Christmas-themed spots promoting the new Holiday GiftCards at the national U.S. video chain. The 15- and 30-second spots update Santa Claus for the 21st century utilizing an "anime" style complete with a "super heroic" Santa, ultra-modern cybor-reindeer and a futuristic cityscape. The ad's talented crew consisted of creative director/designer Mike Smith, director George Evelyn, animation director Chuck Gammage, and was created by the Doner agency in Detroit.
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.
CLASS-KEY CHEW-PO COMMERCIALS, the newly expanded ad division of Klasky-Csupo, recently completed the first in a series of ads for Burger King Kids Club. The 30-second spot, "Sketchbook," which aired nationally in November on Spanish-speaking television networks features an artistic Latin boy, "Lingo," who is a member of the Burger King Kids Club. The spot was directed by Bonita Versh, executive produced by John Andrews and Liz Seidman and developed by San Antonio, Texas-based ad agency Bromley, Aguilar and Associates.
New York-based The Attik produced a pair of 30-second spots, "Save Chef," to promote the new Comedy Central "South Park" musical offering "Chef Aid: The South Park Album" on American Recordings (Los Angeles)/Columbia Records (New York). The CD, which was released on November 24, is an extension of the "Chef Aid" episode, where Chef gets sent to prison and the community sponsors a "Chef Aid" concert to raise money and bail him out.