Geographical Region: Australia
4Kids Entertainment Inc. has set MIPCOM 2003 for the launch of 26 episodes of the new TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and 47 new episodes of the Japanese sensation, YU-GI-OH!
At long last, Disney's mega hit, THE LION KING, arrives on DVD Oct. 7, 2003 (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $29.99) in a special edition worthy of the phenomenon. For starters, the two-disc set contains gorgeous transfers of both the theatrical release and the extended edition featuring the Elton John/Tim Rice song from the play, "Morning Report," digitally cleaned and enhanced in painstaking fashion by the original filmmakers from Feature Animation.
Elastic Rights is looking to secure strategic, local partners at MIPCOM, including theatrical, TV, home entertainment, licensing, publishing and Internet companies for its portfolio of projects. The aim is to add value, by developing an integrated brand management strategy for each property.
The Indigo Group will venture to Cannes with four new projects in tow for MIPCOM. The new projects include TOBY THE PRINCE OF WHALES, TINGUARO, BRADYS BEASTS and FREDDIE THE FROG.
In further belt-tightening, the Walt Disney Co. plans to shut down Walt Disney Animation (Japan) in Tokyo. Part of DisneyToon Studios that specializes in DVD-premieres (101 DALMATIANS II: PATCH'S LONDON ADVENTURE) and smaller-budgeted theatrical releases (PIGLET'S BIG MOVIE, THE TIGGER MOVIE), the Japanese facility employs about 100 animators and will cease operations after completing the WINNIE THE POOH spin-off, THE HEFFALUMP MOVIE. Work for 2004 and beyond will quickly segue over to Walt Disney Animation (Australia), which recently made JUNGLE BOOK II.
STAR WARS: EPISODE III wrapped principal photography at Fox Studios Australia on Sept. 17, 2003, five days ahead of schedule, according to a Lucasfilm announcement.
"It's almost unheard of for a major motion picture to come in under-schedule," boasted producer Rick McCallum of the shoot that was originally scheduled for 12 weeks.
Carlton International has struck multiple feature, TV and home entertainment deals for its childrens animated classic, THE LAST UNICORN. First, Carlton has signed a deal with movie production company Continent Film Ltd for a live-action re-make. In addition, the film has been licensed for broadcast to Roadshow Television in Australia. Video deals have been signed with NVC Felix Film in Poland and Goldvision in France and French-speaking territories.
Universal Home Video has announced that the October 28, 2003 DVD release of THE HULK will feature the Xbox demo version of THE HULK game. The DVD will contain one playable level.
The film follows the origin of The Hulk when gammarays transform scientist Bruce Banner into the raging green beast. With visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic and directed by Ang Lee (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON), the film stars Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas and Nick Nolte.
Flickerfest 2004Sydney, AustraliaJanuary 3 11, 2004 Deadline: September 12, 2003
Now in its 13th year Flickerfest 2004, Australia's premier international short film festival will consist of a main competitive program, a short documentary competition, Australian competition. The event will also include a number of workshops, programs and forums. For more information contact tel: +61 (0)2 9365 6877; fax: +61 (0)2 9365 6899; e-mail: email@example.com; or Web: www.flickerfest.com.au.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the "Popeye the Sailor Man" franchise in 2004, King Features Syndicate has christened production of a brand-new 3D computer-animated POPEYE TV and home entertainment special. Mainframe Entertainment will not only animate but, according to DAILY VARIETY, has secured international distribution rights in several markets, including TV rights in Canada and TV/DVD/VHS rights in the U.K. and Australia.
Acclaim Entertainment Inc. has announced the formation of Acclaim Connected, which will be dedicated to developing and licensing interactive entertainment content for global mobile gaming platforms. In July of 2003, Acclaim entered the mobile gaming market with an exclusive agreement with Vodafone Live!, offering content based on Acclaim's forthcoming console release, FREESTYLE STREET SOCCER, in Vodafone countries.
Commercial film and design company Hornet Inc. recently completed INSTRUCTOART for MTV, a series of eight promos that will premier during the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2003.
To create the spots, Hornet creative director Eng San Kho worked in close collaboration with the INSTRUCTOART creator Matt Vescovo. "The biggest challenge was figuring out how to best animate the spots and still stay true to its humor," said Kho.
Australian Effects and Animation Festival SydneySydney, Australia December 7 - 10, 2003Deadline: October 24, 2003
The Anime Network has announced a nationwide in-store signage promotion with Waldenbooks, America's largest mall based book retailer. Starting August 1, 2003, Waldenbooks will promote the Anime Network with signs placed in the manga section of its stores. The deal is an extension of the partnership between Waldenbooks and the networks parent company A. D. Vision, Inc., which brings home-entertainment anime products in Waldenbooks locations.
Universal Studios licensing exec Tim Rothwell is headed over to Marvel Enterprises to be president of its worldwide consumer products group. Rothwell will be overseeing Marvels core licensing and merchandising division, the companys principal source of profit and cash flow. His immediate directives from Marvel ceo Allen Lipson are to develop Marvels international licensing business and strengthen retailer relationships, which Marvel sees as underdeveloped areas with huge growth potential for the company.
Weta Digital has landed work on both the KING KONG remake and THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE feature. Head of Weta Peter Jackson has inked a deal with Universal to bring his version of the giant ape tale to the screen, reported DAILY VARIETY. The deal is worth $20 million and 20% of the gross to Jackson for his writing and directing duties, which he will split with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens who also helped the Oscar-nominated director pen the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. Welsh is set to produce the KONG redux.
To further immerse gamers into its gritty, first-person war-torn thriller CALL OF DUTY, Activision Inc. has enlisted Jason Statham and Giovanni Ribisi to provide their trademark voice talent in key roles. Additionally, writer/producer Michael Schiffer (CRIMSON TIDE, COLORS, LEAN OF ME, THE FOUR FEATHERS and THE PEACEMAKER) has added his touch to the game's action-filled script. CALL OF DUTY will be available in fall 2003 for the PC and is rated "RP" (Rating Pending) by the ESRB.
Finn Arnesen has been promoted from programming development chief of Cartoon Network Europe to head program production for Cartoon Network International with responsibility for all areas outside the U.S. The CN exec will be kept exceptionally busy with Cartoon Networks recent commitment of more than $500 million over five years (2003-2007) to produce original animated programming.
U.K.-based Entertainment Rights Plc has signed an exclusive distribution deal with Rhino Home Video for the North American home video and DVD distribution rights to Hasbro's TRANSFORMERS ARMADA animated TV series. Previously, Entertainment Rights secured the international television, and video and DVD rights to the series. The company announced the sale of the show to more than 70 countries, including Sky One and GMTV in the U.K., Teletoon in France, Cartoon Network and Telecinco in Spain, Fox Kids in Italy and Cartoon Network in Australia. The series currently airs in the U.S.
POW! Entertainment and DIC Entertainment have signed a joint venture development deal for a slate of original properties aimed at the kids TV market. DIC will work directly with Stan Lee and POW! to develop and produce the new animated television series. DIC will retain the rights to distribute the programs globally. First in line will be STAN LEES THE SECRET OF THE SUPER SIX -- a superhero-based animated series with a humanitarian spin that will feature Lee as a main character.
Animal Planets top-rated program, THE FUTURE IS WILD, returns with three all-new episodes, which take a look at how natural selection (with some CGI help) will push Earths flora and fauna to some amazing adaptations. The two-hour documentaries made their world premiere on Tuesdays, July 8, 15 and 22, 2003 from 9:00-11:00 pm.
The Oscar-winning creators of the acclaimed animated TV series BOB AND MARGARET, Alison Snowden and David Fine, are set to produce their latest primetime animation series, SIMON SIMPLE, with Vancouver's award-winning Studio B Productions. The 26x22 series is in development for Canadian broadcaster TELETOON.
STAR WARS EPISODE III, the last of the prequels to the legendary George Lucas franchise, began shooting at Fox Studios Australia, June 30, 2003. According to Starwars.com, the first scenes were shot in a new set environment with returning stars Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) and Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi). Also on set was R2-D2. The final installment will see Peter Mayhew reprise his role as Chewbacca, a part he has not played since THE RETURN OF THE JEDI in 1983.