DreamWorks Pictures and PDI's computer animated feature film, "Antz" grossed just over $8 million this past week, bringing its totals to date to just under $62 million. The third place finish represented a drop of 27% from last week, but was less than a million dollars behind first place finisher "Pleasantville". The film is currently running in 2929 theatres nationwide. If its current pace continues, by next week, the film will surpass Paramount's "Beavis and Butthead" to become the top U.S. grossing non-Disney animated film.
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CINAR Films Inc. (Nasdaq: CINRF; Toronto and Montreal Exchanges; CIF.A, CIF.B) reported record financial results for the third quarter and past nine months ending August 31, 1998.
On October 27, Walt Disney Home Video releases "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride," a direct-to-video animated feature sequel to the 1995 blockbuster theatrical feature, "The Lion King." Disney hopes to achieve similar success to that of the film's predecessor, which has made history as both the number one animated movie and best-selling video of all time.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization devoted to fighting anti-Semitism, has taken issue with the depiction of a character in Nickelodeons Rugrats newspaper comic strip. The comic in question, which ran in newspapers nationwide during the week of Rosh Hashanah--the Jewish New Year--featured a character named Granpa Boris in a synagogue reciting the Mourners Kaddish, a holy Jewish prayer.
The Castelli Animati (Animated Castles) International Animated Film Festival held its second edition, October 15 - 17, 1998 in Rome, Italy. The prize winners were selected by an international jury: painter Carla Accardi (Italy), cartoonist and director Oscar Grillo (Argentina), director Daniele Luchetti (Italy), cartoonist and director Sergio Staino and director Pal Toth (Hungary).
Grand Prize and Audience Prize: Geris Game by Jan Pinkava (U.S.A.)
First Film Prize: Sientje by Christa Moesker (Netherlands).
San Francisco-based animation studio (Colossal) Pictures has signed two new directors to its roster: Jim Matison and Flavio (Kampah). Matison, based in San Francisco, has been a freelance director for the past five years, working with SGI, Mondo Media, Protozoa, Wild Brain and Nickelodeon. He previously worked with (Colossal) starting in 1989 as a staff production artist, and went on to direct Crazy Daisy Ed, a stop-motion segment on Liquid TV, as well as several music videos and commercials.
* Monday, October 26. San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
The Ideas in Animation series continues at Minna Street Gallery with two performances at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Nik Phelps and the Sprocket Ensemble, with guest musician Jana Herzen will perform live music to animated films by Meredith Root, Martha Colburn and Michael Rudnik. Admission is $10.00 general, $7.00 for students. For information and reservations call (415) 681-3189.
* Tuesday, October 27 - Saturday, October 31. Leipzig, Germany.
The 41st annual Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animated Film will showcase a retrospective of German animation since 1945, as well as 119 animated films in other programs including competition. For information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAURA STONE WALSTONE has joined DIC ENTERTAINMENT as director of international licensing. Her previous positions include vice president of OH! NO!, Inc., director of licensing at Just Toys, and director of licensing at Extreme Studios.
THE VISUAL EFFECTS SOCIETY (VES) has hired MICHELE SMITH as director of operations. The Los Angeles-based non-profit organization was founded in 1997 by former marketing consultant Tom Atkin, now executive director. He said, "We look forward to her active participation and contribution as the society continues to grow worldwide." Smith previously worked in the accounting department at Polygram Filmed Entertainment, and has an MBA from Pepperdine University.
New York-based LEE HUNT ASSOCIATES has hired JANE FRIESEN as head of production. She was previously executive producer and general manager at Click 3X, and supervising producer at Sony Music Studios.
MILIA, the International Content Market for Interactive Media Conference will take place in Cannes, France, February 9-12, 1999. Entries for the fifth Milia d'Or Awards and the New Talent Pavilion are still being accepted. The event is organized by the Reed Midem Organization, the same company that puts on MIPCOM and MIP TV. For the second year, MILIA will present a conference called "Towards the Convergence of Animation and Video Games," the objective of which is to bring together publishers, producers and developers of interactive products to promote partnerships.
* Thursday, October 22 - Sunday, October 25. Brisbane, Australia.
The Brisbane Animation Festival, a biennial event, features a new international competition. Categories include Grand Prize, People's Prize, Best Use of New Technology and Best Student/Debut Film. For information, contact email@example.com.
* Saturday, October 24. New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Animazing Gallery hosts a "Nightmare Before Christmas" party, featuring the debut of a Jack Skellington lithograph signed by Tim Burton. Animazing is located at 415 West Broadway. For information, call (212) 226-7374.
* Saturday, October 24. New York City, New York, U.S.A.
The American Museum of the Moving Image hosts a talk and demonstration by Blue Sky|VIFX about the animated effects the studio produced for the new 3D Imax film, "T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous." The event begins at 12 noon, and is suitable for children ages nine and up. As a special treat, Chris Wedge will give a sneak preview from his soon-to-be-released animated short. For information, call (718) 784-4520.
* Saturday, October 24. Thousand Oaks, California, U.S.A.
Learning Tree University offers a class, "How to Get Hired in the Animation Industry," taught by industry recruiter Pamela Thompson, from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. For information and registration call (805) 497-2292.
* Sunday, October 25. Hollywood, California, U.S.A.
The AFI Film Festival presents "Suspended Animation," a 90-minute program of stop-motion and computer-animated shorts, curated by Sojourn Pictures. Films include "Geri's Game," "Bingo" and "1001 Nights." The show takes place at Mann's Chinese Theater, 6925 Hollywood Blvd., starting at 2:30 p.m. For information and tickets, call (213) 520-2000.
DreamWorks Pictures and PDI's computer animated feature film, "Antz" grossed $11.2 million last weekend, dropping to third place in the box office charts, following its first two weeks in the number one spot. The total cumulative box office gross to date is $51.5 million, and the film is currently running in 2903 theaters nationwide. "Antz" will make its international debut starting in New Zealand and Australia on October 29.
On October 13, Columbia TriStar Home Video released "Buster & Chauncey's Silent Night," a direct-to-video animated musical based on the true story of "Silent Night." The 48-minute film was produced by Buzz Potamkin and is Columbia TriStar's first in-house direct-to-video animated feature. Voice talent, directed by Susan Blu, includes the late Phil Hartman, Tom Arnold and Marie Osmond.
The Sitges Fantasy Film Festival wrapped up on October 16 in Barcelona, Spain. The international jury for the "Anima't" animation festival within a festival was comprised of Jerry Beck (U.S.A.), Mercedes Gaspar (Spain) and Giorgio Valentini (Italy). They selected "Un Jour" by Marie Paccou (France) as Best Film, and gave an Honorable Mention to "Glassy Ocean" by Shigeru Tamura (Japan). In the main festival, Bill Plympton's film, "More Sex & Violence" won the "Best Short Film" award.
Berlin, Germany-based animation studio, Hahn Film is launching production studios in Taiwan and Vietnam. Each studio will employ about 150 people, and will be devoted to digital ink and paint services, initially for Hahn projects, but may branch out to service other studios in the future. The first studio, called Saigon Graphics Enterprises, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is already up and running, working on the production of the animated series "Wild Life," which is being distributed by Hit Entertainment and is pre-sold to the Fox Family Channel (U.S.), the BBC and Nickelodeon (U.K.).
THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (USC) has hired Internet developer MARK PESCE to head up a new department in the School of Cinema-Television devoted to interactive media. Pesce is cited as being the person who developed Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), the programming code that enables real-time interactivity on the web. He is also co-founder, with Jan Mallis, of an Internet content company called blitcom. Pesce designed the certificate program in 3D Arts at San Francisco State University's College of Extended Learning, and has been teaching at the college level since 1995.
Paris, France-based Gaumont Multimedia and Hamburg, Germany-based IGEL Media have reached a multi-year, multi-million dollar first-look distribution agreement giving IGEL all television and home video rights on future Gaumont Multimedia animated series for Germany, Scandinavia, Japan and Korea. The deal, sealed at MIPCOM, reflects both companies' need to address the increased competition and decreased number of broadcast slots available in Germany and Asia.
Buzz Potamkin has been named to the board of directors of Visionary Media LLC, a New York-based company that develops online content. Potamkin is president of an independent animation consulting firm, Project X, through which he will now explore opportunities for Visionary Medias web properties, such as WhirlGirl, to reach additional media including film and television animation. Since founding Project X in 1996, Potamkin has just completed production of the direct-to-video title Buster & Chauncey's Silent Night for Columbia Tri-Star Home Video.