Avid Technology, Inc. has announced the acquisition of Fremont, California-based Motion Factory, Inc., an applications company specializing in interactive 3D software for character-driven games and the Web. Along with the deal, Avid named Motion Factorys former president and CEO, David Pritchard, as the new general manager of Softimage Co., Avids graphics and effects arm.
Geographical Region: Europe
British audience flocked to theatres to catch the first Aardman Animation feature CHICKEN RUN. In its British premiere, the clay character cavalcade racked up an amazing US$5.8 million. The fearless free-rangers knocked seven-week champion GLADITOR into second in the U.K. The Roman romp tallied up an additional $38.8 million in its international showings. The box office blood bath has brought in $165.8 million outside the U.S. Slipping for the U.S. top ten, Disneys DINOSAUR, however, stomped over the competition in Brazil to the tune of $1.6 million.
In the international box office, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2 remained #1 in Australia by holding off newcomer DINOSAUR, while GLADIATOR gained the top spot in its debut in Japan. DreamWorks GLADIATOR claimed new territories in Japan, making $982,911 in its Japanese debut. Elsewhere, GLADIATOR remained at the top in Spain, the U.K., Brazil, Italy and Sweden. The Maximus money-maker grossed $1.89 million in Spain, advancing its three-week cume to $10.05 million.
The Zagreb Animation Festival was held in the Croatian capital on June 21 25, 2000 for the fourteenth time. The atmosphere was literally hot; the sun shined more than enough during the whole festival, raising the daily temperatures easily to 35 centigrade (approximately 90+° F). No wonder the daily festival newspaper reported about the festival picnic with the headline "A hell-hot picnic". On the positive side, however, is that an effective air conditioned inside drew a large audience for the films. The four competition-screenings were very popular among the local audience.
The Castle Museum and the organizers of the Annecy Festival have begun to gather a collection of animation artifacts. The museum is calling for filmmakers to contribute documents, drawings, artwork etc. from their productions to be preserved. The collection has many optical machines and toys from the early days of cinema. The museum started gathering objects of importance in the 1960s and wishes the continued support of filmmakers to protect and honor the rich heritage of the medium.
The Oscar winner for best short animated film, "The Old Man And The
Sea," has won the coveted grand prize at the International Festival
of Animated Film at Annecy. In a lively ceremony held on Saturday,
June 10, 2000, the awards were handed out by the festival's artistic
director, Serge Bromberg. The short and feature film jury, comprised
of Meral Erez (Turkey), Aida Ndiaye (Senegal), Georges Schwizgebel
(Switzerland), John Lasseter (U.S.A.) and Jimmy T. Murakami
Folioscope's catalog, "L'Equipée de Folimage Studio de Films
d'Animation," now includes an English insert for non-French speakers!
The catalog is a companion for the exhibition on Folimage, the
creators of the 1999 Cartoon d'Or winner, "L'Enfant Au Grelot"
(Charlie's Christmas), among other award winning productions. The
Folimage exhibition will be presented at the Annecy Museum, Annecy
France, June 3-October 31, 2000.
The deadline for entries at this year's Ottawa 00 International
Animation Festival is July 1, 2000. The festival will accept entries
as late as July 5, 2000. There are three competitions: independent
films, commissioned films and animation for the Internet. Categories
include: films for children, graduate films, independent films under
50 minutes, first professional film, TV series, TV special,
commercials, music videos, educational or industrial, ids, trailers
The next Holland Animation Film Festival will take place in Utrecht,
the Netherlands, November 15-19, 2000. Since 1985 this biennial
festival has aimed to be an intermediary between animators and the
business world, in addition to including film screenings,
retrospectives and theater programs. In the competition for applied
animation, films can be entered in the following categories:
publicity and promotional films; music videos; educational and
DreamWorks GLADIATOR is still the golden boy in many international box offices. In the most recent reports, the Roman revenge romp finished atop the charts in Brazil with US$1.18 million, Germany with US$1.06 million, Italy with $303,200, Sweden with $336,708 and the U.K. with $926,371. The Russell Crowe-starrer has grossed a total of $4.6 million in Brazil, $14.67 million in Germany, $7.2 million in Italy, $2.78 million in Sweden and $34.36 million in the U.K. Like it did in the U.K., the box office blood bath held off the debut of BATTLEFIELD EARTH.
Seagram Co.-owned Universal Studios, producer of the LAND BEFORE TIME series, will now be housed under the Canal Plus roof. The move is a result of French media mogul Vivendis recently board-approved acquisition of Seagram. The stock for stock deal values Seagram at US$34 billion. Vivendi shareholders will own 60% of the new firm, Seagram shareholders will hold 29% and the minority shareholders in Vivendi-owned Canal Plus will hold the remaining 11%. The new motion picture division of Vivendi will be entitled Canal Plus and will be lead by Canal Plus chairman and CEO Pierre Lescure.
The opening week failure of TITAN A.E. may have been the final straw that has pushed Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman and CEO, Bill Mechanic, to resign. Mechanic has decided to leave Fox and form his own production company much like former Disney chairman Joe Roths Revolution Studios. However, insiders say the abrupt exit was a result of pressure from parent News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch over financial losses and questionable movie greenlights.
On Wednesday, June 21, 2000, Italian animation studio Mondo TV, owner of the country's largest library of domestic and imported TV cartoons, will go public on the Milan stock exchange. Currently, the Rome-based company is owned by Orlando and Matteo Corradi. For the first-quarter, the TV toon maker saw revenue of 6.5 billion Italian lira (US$3.25 million) and net earnings of 1.3 billion ($650,000).
Palo Alto, California's Pacific Data Images (PDI) is looking for
EFFECTS ANIMATORS AND DEVELOPERS and CG LIGHTERS. . .Lombard,
Illinois-based Big Idea Productions, Inc. is looking for a 3D
MODELING SUPERVISOR. . .South River, New Jersey-based Big Brad's South
River Tattoo Studio is looking for an ARTIST/TATTOOIST to draw Flash
and tattoo pictures for customers. . .WPRI/WNAC TV of East Providence,
Rhode Island wants to find an AVID EDITOR to edit commercials,
Spain's Terra Networks have announced that their shareholders have approved the company's US$12.5 billion purchase of U.S. Internet portal Lycos. The shareholders also okayed $17.7 billion in capital increases to pump up liquidity in the new arm. "The acquisition of Lycos is the big leap that will allow us to position ourselves as a truly global company," Terra president Juan Villalonga said at the company's shareholders meeting. The Spanish-language Internet server and provider announced last month its intention to purchase Lycos as an inroad to the U.S. market.
DreamWorks' GLADIATOR continues to plunder the pockets of moviegoers around the globe. Complete box numbers from Germany, France, Australia and a number of other countries were not available due to local holidays, however GLADIATOR looks like it is still slaying the competition. The bloody blockbuster is still topping the charts after five weeks in release in both the U.K. and Australia, regaining the top spot from MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 in the later. In its four weeks in release, the Roman revenge tale took the #1 spot in both Italy and Spain.
With the new actioner from Nicolas Cage racing in to the #1 spot at the U.S. box office, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 fell to #2 in its third weekend in theatres. Disneys GONE IN 60 SECONDS grossed US$25.33 million on its way to receiving the checkered flag. MISSION, with primary visual effects by Pacific Data Images, Double Negative Ltd. and CFC, grossed another $17.23 million, raising its exploding cume to $158.1 million and is on a pace to beat the finishing cume of the original MISSION installment. Disneys DINOSAUR has slipped to fourth grossing another $8.82 million.
The Oscar winner for best short animated film, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, has won the coveted grand prize at the International Festival of Animated Film at Annecy. In a lively ceremony held on Saturday, June 10, 2000, the awards were handed out by the festivals artistic director, Serge Bromberg. The short and feature film jury, comprised of Meral Erez (Turkey), Aida Ndiaye (Senegal), Georges Schwizgebel (Switzerland), John Lasseter (U.S.A.) and Jimmy T. Murakami (Ireland), bestowed the top honor to the adaptation of Ernest Hemmingways novella.
Former Disney chairman Joe Roths Revolution Studios, a film and television production company, has released the details regarding the roles that its investors will serve. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Starz! Encore Group and Fox Entertainment Groups were among the investors that have sunk US$3 billion into the five-month old production house. Additionally, Revolution has gained a controlling stake in the on-line entertainment channel MediaTrip.com.
BKN International, a childrens animated series production, distribution and marketing company, announced their acquisition of France-based Arles Animation. Arles has worked on series such as WACKY WORLD OF TEX AVERY, SABRINA and SONIC UNDERGROUND. Arles credits itself as being the only studio in France with experience in managing and executing a two-episode per week schedule. The French firm has created work for DIC, TF1, Canal +, RTL and La Cinquieme.
Opening this past weekend in Australia, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 uncovered US$3.7 million in 3 days on 366 screens. The total is the highest weekend take of all time for foreign distributor UIP, which also released GLADIATOR and PHANTOM MENACE Down Under. The spy sensation also racked up $893,000 on 39 screens in Singapore and $488,000 on 38 screens in Malaysia. GLADIATOR still scored big receipts raising its international cume to $97 million. The period-piece pit-fight landed atop the German, British and Italian box office.
France-based Alphanim Digital Corp. and Magelis - Pôle Image Angoulême have partnered to create verysmallcity.com. Magelis is an organization set up in Angoulême to help support and develop animation and technology in the city. The image center (Pôle Image) will hold shares in the new Net firm and help provide human and technical resources when Alphanim opens this new production division in Angoulême in July 2000. The new site will be targeted toward the 18 to 25 age group. Verysmallcity will feature short animation series and interactive fiction and games.