Geographical Region: Europe
UNBREAKABLE was simply unstoppable at the international box office this past week. In France, the UNBREAKABLE premiere grossed an amazing US$7.06 million. Five-week champ, DINOSAUR, slipped to second with a gross of $3.87 million, escalating its French cume to $22.92 million. In third, CHICKEN RUN cooped up another $3.58 million, flying its French cume to $8.84 million. At #6, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS drummed up only $1.67 million in its French debut. In its second week in France, POKEMON 2 collected $1.31 million, pushing its cume to $2.3 million.
Continuing its lucrative path through the international box office, DINOSAUR is still roaring with POKEMON 2000 making strong debuts, including a first place finish in Germany. In Japan, DINOSAUR took the top spot with a gross of US$1.15 million, increasing its cume to $3.62 million. In third, VERTICAL LIMIT collected another $980,996 to raise it Japanese cume to $3.05 million. THE 6TH DAY claimed the fifth slot with a gross of $870,359, advancing its Japanese cume to $1.54 million. In sixth, WHAT LIES BENEATH floated $665,857 more, pushing its Japanese cume to $1.97 million.
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).
Without one Y2K fear we are slipping into 2001 already. This issue we are taking on the big questions that are facing the animation industry on the brink of the new year. For instance, Eric Oldrin discusses everyone's favorite topic, the Internet, and its current identity crisis. Michael Hurwicz is ponders whether or not the Internet is actually helping independent animators. Are there increased distribution outlets in this new age or are our fearless independents still in an unfunded jam? Finally, we take a long hard look at the U.S.
New York's Curious Pictures, a commercial animation and effects studio, is looking for a LEAD AFTEREFFECTS COMPOSITOR for miniseries. . . Kirkland, Washington's KnowWonder, a digital media works company specializing in the production of computer games and "edutainment" for children and young adults, is looking for a CHARACTER ANIMATOR/MODELER. . . Den Haag, The Netherlands' LetsLook, a company providing services for 3D visualization of real estate, is looking for a MODELER/ANIMATOR. . . Rome, Italy's Mamut is looking for a 2D ANIMATOR and a LAYOUT ARTIST for a television series. . .
Asun Gil has been named channel manager of Cartoon Network Spain. Gil joined Cartoon Network Spain as head of research where she played a key role in building 1.2 million subscribers for the network in just over one year on air. "It is very exciting to take on the channel at this stage and my brief is to increase viewers as well as moving further into the area of new media and launching additional services," said Gil.
Children's TV executive Haim Saban has exercised his option for News Corp.'s Fox Broadcasting to buy his 49.5% in the Fox Family Worldwide Inc. cable network. As part of the original agreement, each side will enlist an investment bank to determine the fair market value of the company. If the two numbers come within 10% of each other, the final purchase price will be the average of the two numbers. If they differ by more than 10% than a third bank will be brought in to mediate the settlement. Each parties' bank must determine Fox Family Worldwide's value by January 31, 2001.
The government of Spain's Balearic Islands is organizing a fully paid retreat for animators from around the world to come and hone their craft in Majorca. The attending animators, writers and technicians will have their travel, living and working expenses paid for by the non-profit fund. Moreover, the foundation will invite recognized names in the field to lead seminars and workshops. Projects created during the retreat will screen at Majorca's yearly animation festival ANI.MAR. However, the foundation needs the animation community's support to receive full funding for the project.
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS and DINOSAUR picked up steam at the international box office as former champ CHARLIE'S ANGELS faded a bit. In Mexico, THE GRINCH made its debut in first with a gross of US$2.29 million. BEDAZZLED fell to second with a ticket take of $1.51 million, raising its Mexican cume to $3.51 million. In fourth, CHARLIE'S ANGELS flew in another $645,425, elevating its Mexican cume to $3.91 million. Rounding out the Mexican top ten, THE CELL captured $48,406 to push its cume to $2.36 million.
Milan-based Phoenix Tools announced the release of RealFur 2.0 a major upgrade to their fur rendering technology. The new version introduces renders up to 10 times faster than the previous version. The key to this speed is that the old volumetric technology has been replaced with a new geometry-based system that allows artists to render millions of polygons without having to display them in the 3D authoring application. An optimized cylinder, with the given color, transparency and other global material parameters, replace each hair strand at the rendering stage.
Vancouver, B.C., Canada's a.k.a. Cartoon, Inc., producers of a television series currently airing on Cartoon Network, is looking for a STORYBOARD SUPERVISOR to supervise an in-house staff of storyboard artists. . . Santa Maria, California's BSR Entertainment Group, a movie production company, is looking for EXPERIENCED LIGHTWAVE ANIMATORS with strong character animation skills. . . Fenton, Michigan's Creative Reign has immediate openings for several ANIMATORS and MODELERS to work on a 3D animated children's movie set for release in 2002. . .
December's feature articles are based on the themes of location-based entertainment and anime. Karl Cohen is profiling Imax -- is animation's next frontier in peril? Also, Martin "Dr. Toon" Goodman is discussing the past and future of LBE, specifically VR. On the anime side of things Fred Patten is profiling "Vampire Hunter D," the latest anime release to arrive on U.S. soil. Andrew Osmond is interviewing a number of experts and scholars on the stylistic merits of Japanese animation. Be ready to put on your thinking cap before reading this one.
Shockwave.com and AtomFilms announced they have signed a definitive merger agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, shockwave.com will acquire AtomFilms in a stock-for-stock deal giving Shockwave shareholders 70% of the combined company. In addition, Macromedia, parent of shockwave.com, will now own less than 50% of the new firm. The combined company will announce its new name at the closing of the deal.
Wild Brain, Inc. announced the appointment of John A. Schwallie as the company's new chief financial officer. As CFO, he will oversee all financial and IT, Facilities and HR operations. Previously, he served as CFO of London-based Central European Media Enterprises (CME), a publicly traded company. While there he helped launch and operate NOVA TV, CME's first national broadcast television station in the Czech Republic. "We are very pleased to welcome someone of John's caliber to Wild Brain," said Jeff Ulin, CEO of Wild Brain, Inc.
Jack S. Liebowitz, the comic book publisher who first brought Superman to the page, passed away on Monday, December 11 at his home in Great Neck, New York. He was 100 years old. Liebowitz immigrated to New York in 1910 from his birthplace in Proskurov, Ukraine. He and his partner, former pulp magazine publisher Harry Donenfeld, started publishing the series DETECTIVE COMICS in 1937. This title was the first successful comic centering on one theme. The series later provided the name for the company DC Comics.
CHARLIE'S ANGELS is still kicking at the international box office, but HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS and DINOSAUR are knocking on the door. The premiere of ANGELS in Germany knocked THE GRINCH out of the top spot with a gross of $4.1 million. THE GRINCH fell to second with a ticket take of $1.98 million, elevating its German cume to $4.58 million. In its third week in Germany, DINOSAUR slipped to third with gross of $1.7 million, advancing its cume to $9.52 million. In fourth, THE CELL captured another $1.58 million, pushing its German cume to $4.52 million.
Disney's DINOSAUR was released without any restriction in Italy and is gaining quite a bit of heat over the violent content. The film was released on December 1 with a suitable-for-all-ages rating, spurring complaints from parental associations like Italy's Parents Movement, child psychologists and government agencies like the Special Senate Commission for Infants. Currently, Italy has three rating levels: suitable-for-all-ages; under 14 not admitted; and under 18 not admitted.