Starz Encore Entertainment's STARZ! Pictures will present the premiere of the sci-fi animated feature film HEAVY METAL 2000. The eagerly-awaited follow-up to the 1981 cult classic HEAVY METAL will bypass theatres in the States and debut on STARZ!, Friday, July 14, 2000 at midnight. "STARZ! Pictures is pleased to offer the many rabid fans of cult classic HEAVY METAL the never-before-seen premiere of HEAVY METAL 2000, the eagerly awaited and already much talked about follow up -- chat rooms have been buzzing about it for months," said Robert Leighton, president of Starz Encore Entertainment. "But HEAVY METAL 2000 should not only enthrall its passionate dedicated fan base and science fiction enthusiasts, but also attract all viewers with an appetite for more unique and daring programming. The movie will further establish STARZ! Pictures as a destination for provocative, cutting edge films that can not be seen anywhere else." The voice cast includes Julie Strain (BEVERLY HILLS COP III), Michael Ironside (STARSHIP TROOPERS), Eighties rock icon Billy Idol, Rick Jones (ANASTASIA) and Arthur Holden (THE BONE COLLECTOR). Acclaimed comic book writer Kevin Eastman, co-creator of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and publisher and editor-in-chief of HEAVY METAL magazine, co-created the HEAVY METAL sequel with legendary illustrator Simon Bisley (LOBO, BATMAN, JUDGE DREDD). Eastman also served as part of the writing team that included R. Payne Cabeen and Carl Macek. Michael Coldewey (THE FEARLESS FOUR) and Michel Lemire directed HEAVY METAL 2000. The US$15 million film, based upon Eastman's story THE MELTING POT, tells the tale of heroine Julie (Strain), a steel-eyed huntress and expert warrior, tracking a group of ruthless space pirates, led by the evil villain Lord Tyler (Ironside). "I always wanted to do an epic heroic adventure with a strong female lead," said Eastman. "One that is thriving in a backdrop that combines the desperation of ROAD WARRIOR, the intensity of ALIENS, the visual feel of BLADE RUNNER and the magnitude of Akira Kurosawa's RAN, HEAVY METAL 2000 captures all that and more. The film combines classic 2D-cel animation with advanced 3D-computer animation, and an extraordinary original soundtrack featuring some of the biggest names in hard rock. It's intense, full of action and very fast paced."