Michael Garner and Laura Lockwood have been named producers at PDI/DreamWorks commercial division, transitioning from the companys feature animation division after their completion of work on SHREK. Immediately following his work as production supervisor for the SHREK character development department, Garner began work for the commercial division, jumping directly onto the production of a Kool-Aid spot shooting in Australia.
Geographical Region: Australia
Creating what is arguably both the biggest project and greatest success in its eight years of operation, New York's The Diecks Group recently delivered a complete redesign of Discovery Kids Network, a three-hour block of programming aired on weekends on the Discovery Channel. Creative director Brian Diecks and The Diecks Group team were the exclusive creators of 122 on-air design elements, including block opens, next-ons, bumpers, interstitials and promo elements. The project required extensive live-action, 3D animation, effects compositing and 2D graphics.
Episodes of BOB AND MARGARET and GARY & MIKE have been nominated for the prestigious Rose DOr, an annual international television festival and competition held in Montreux, Switzerland, open to more than 2000 producers and broadcasters from around the world. This years festival will be held April 26 May 1, 2001.
DIRECTV Latin America announced on Friday, April 6, 2001 the official debut of the Disney Channel to all DIRECTV subscribers in Brazil. The Disney Channel is a new, 24-hour Portuguese television network with entertainment for kids and families created specially for the Brazilian market. The Disney programming block includes exclusive and original productions, a two-hour live, daily show, movies, animated and live-action series, concerts and special events.
George Port has joined Whamo as their new head of business development, the company recently reported. With the recent rapid expansion of Whamo, which includes the opening of an office in Spain as well as the establishment of partnerships with Canada's Cambium Entertainment and Australia's Burbank Animation Studios, company president Joseph Szew opted to bring in Port. According to Szew, "We need someone who will be able to help us manage the company's aggressive strategy and growth.
Sesame Workshop's TINY PLANETS is in final negotiations to be aired on Italy's largest commercial broadcaster Mediatrade's channels. TINY PLANETS is a CGI animated educational comic adventure series for 3 to 5 year olds. A co-production with Pepper's Ghost Productions, the show follows Bing and Bong as they explore the worlds of their solar system such as the planets of light and color, sound, technology, stuff, self and nature through a space aged couch.
Nickelodeon, one of the leading entertainment brands for kids worldwide, is expanding its reach into China as of May 1, 2001. After visiting Beijing for four days and meeting with China's president Jiang Zemin and other industry officials, Bill Roedy, president MTV Networks International, and Frank Brown, president MTV Networks Asia, made the announcement.
HANNIBAL held strong at the international box office with debuts of TRAFFIC topping charts in Australia and Italy. In France, however, HANNIBAL fended off the premiere of TRAFFIC, taking the top slot with a gross of US$3.17 million and raising its cume to $9.4 million. In second, TRAFFIC smuggled in $2.48 million. VERTICAL LIMIT climbed into the sixth spot, grossing $807,368, thus lifting its French total to $5.15 million. In the U.K., HANNIBAL hatched another $2.52 million in first, elevating its cume to $26.1 million.
In a battle for first, THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE and HANNIBAL went toe to toe in Sweden and the U.K., with the cannibalistic cringer taking a good chunk out of the rest of the international box office. In Sweden, HANNIBAL knocked GROOVE out of the top spot with a gross of $1.02 million. GROOVE grabbed second, grossing $456,488, thereby lifting its Swedish cume to $1.44 million. Jumping up a spot to #7, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON floated $107,750, pushing its Swedish cume to $1.23 million. In ninth, CAST AWAY rescued another $90,711, raising its Swedish cume to $2.36 million.
While HANNIBAL took a strong hold around the international box office, Disney's THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE danced its way to number one in Sweden. In Italy, HANNIBAL reclaimed the top spot with a gross of $3.47 million, elevating its cume to $9.12 million. At #5 in Italy, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON floated another $820,649, pushing its total to $1.97 million. In Australia, HANNIBAL retained the #1 slot, grossing $3.29 million, thus escalating its cume to $3.54 million. At #2, CAST AWAY foraged $755,639, lifting its Australian cume to $10.39 million.
Gillian Samuels has joined Digital Pictures as marketing director and executive producer. In the new role, Samuels will oversee the development of the firm's brand, capitalize on new and existing markets and help expand their design and high-end visual effects capabilities in both television and film. Previously, as director of marketing and client services at Garner MacLennan Design, Samuels was responsible for the marketing and developing of the Broadcast Design division.
With it already grossing out audiences in the States, HANNIBAL has begun to take a slice out of the international box office. In Italy, the blood-thirsty thriller claimed the top spot with a gross of $5.65 million. In fifth, CAST AWAY floated an additional $679,996, raising its Italian cume to $12.78 million. CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON descended into sixth with a ticket-take of $529,624, lifting its Italian total to $1.14 million. In eighth, 102 DALMATIANS barked up another $284,555, bringing its Italian cume to $4.48 million.
CAST AWAY is still holding strong at the international box office. In Germany, the desert island adventure rounded up another $3.73 million, escalating its cume to $21.46 million. VERTICAL LIMIT climbed into second with a gross of $1.84 million, raising its German cume to $4.34 million. In third, BEDAZZLED seduced $1.4 million, bringing its German cume to $4.49 million. THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE made its German nod in fourth with a gross of $663,408. At #8, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON collected $477,415, pushing its German cume to $2.35 million.
TV-Loonland AG and AAC KIDS, Canadian media giant Alliance Atlantis kids label, have announced their acquisition of Neptuno Films new animated preschool series, CONNIE THE COW. The three firms will partner to transform the property into a global franchise, complete with TV, home video, DVD, merchandising, publishing and Internet projects. Created and directed by Josep Viciana, this series follows restless and curious Connie who lives on a farm with her nurturing mother, who always has now handy advice, and her father, a very strong yet tranquil bull.
Around the globe, CAST AWAY remains at the top of the international box office. In Germany, CAST AWAY claimed the top spot with a gross of $4.99 million, lifting its three-week total to $17.74 million. In second, VERTICAL LIMIT made its German debut with a gross of $2.51 million. BEDAZZLED bewitched third place, grossing $1.88 million, raising its German cume to $3.09 million. In fifth, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON amazed audiences to the tune of $624,096, elevating its German cume to $1.88 million. At #6, UNBREAKABLE secured another $570,085, bringing its German cume to $12.52 million.
The Brussels Animation and Cartoon Festival (February 21-March 3, 2001) has concocted an exceptional program for its 20th anniversary. 575 films were submitted for selection, a record number of entries. 113 of them have been selected, representing 19 countries. Belgium is well represented, with 24 entries. The complete list of selected films is now available on the festival Website.
CAST AWAY continues to sail atop the international box office, with VERTICAL LIMIT making a climb upward. In Germany, CAST AWAY maintained its #1 finish with a gross of US$5.74 million, escalating its cume to $12.74 million. In second, BEDAZZLED bounced in $1.2 million in its German debut. UNBREAKABLE crash-landed in third with a gross of $954,843, pushing its German cume to $11.95 million. In seventh, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON collected $561,558, raising its German cume to $1.25 million. POKEMON 2000 grabbed another $420,338, lifting its German cume to $6.65 million.
With high-grossing nods around the globe, Tom Hanks' CAST AWAY easily floated to the top of the international box office. In Germany, CAST AWAY unseated UNBREAKABLE with an amazing ticket take of US$7.01 million. UNBREAKABLE crashed to second with a gross of $1.84 million, lifting its German cume to $11 million. In fourth, URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT slashed in another $837,915, raising its German cume to $2.6 million. At #6, POKEMON 2000 collected $700,338, growing its German cume to $6.23 million.
Government officials in Australia are threatening a lawsuit against WebWank.net for posting a political satire Web game, which pokes fun at the country's treatment of its aboriginal people. Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Herron feels that the use of his likeness in the game, JOHN HERRON'S STOLEN CHILDREN GAME, is a defamation of character. In the game, players must capture all ten of John Herron's children then place them in non-white families.
In light of its recent acquisitions of Sony Wonder/Sunbow Entertainment and Paris-based Salsa Distribution, German kids' production house TV Loonland has added key components to its sales staff. Marzenna Czubowicz was hired to head up sales for TV Loonland. Besides overseeing the company's sales offices in London, Paris and New York, she will direct distribution of the company's content in the U.K., Germany, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Israel and South Africa. Previously, Czubowicz served as director of sales at Alliance Atlantis Television International.
The Brussels Animation and Cartoon Festival has concocted an exceptional program for its 20th anniversary (February 28 - March 3, 2001). 575 films were submitted for selection, a record number of entries. To date, 113 of them have been selected. The complete list of selected films will be available in January. The feature film program includes: "The Emperor's New Groove" by Mark Dindall (USA); "Heavy Metal 2000" by Michaël Coldewey and Michel Lemire (Canada/Germany); "My Neighbours The Yamadas" by Isao Takahata (Japan) (TBC); and "Otesanek" by Jan Svankmajer (Czech Republic).
This week's updates to the Calendar of Events includes the Noam Markus Mime Workshop in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, January 6, 2001; the Australian Effects & Animation Festival in Sydney, Australia, February 26-28, 2001; Culture2Culture at the "Tricky Women" event Vienna, Austria, March 2-8, 2001; and BroadCast WorldWide Market and Conference in Busan, Korea, June 5-8, 2001.