Geographical Region: North America
Embassy Suites Hotels and Warner Home Video have announced a licensing promotion entitled, "Fall Family Suite Retreat," featuring a plush toy of Scooby-Doo. The promotional toy is available with advance reservations on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights now through December 7, 2003, at more than 165 participating hotels.
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.
Following the demise of Egmont Imagination earlier this year, the company's former U.K. managing director, Tatiana Kober, has launched Bejuba! Entertainment, based in Toronto with an office in Los Angeles. The company will specialize in financing, exploitation and distribution of intellectual property rights across all key markets and platforms.
Newark, New Jersey-based Digital Production Solutions (DPS), the animation unit of IDT Media, continues its buying spree, having signed a letter of intent to acquire a controlling interest in Mainframe Entertainment, Inc., a leading Canadian creator of computer animation for TV and direct-to-video products.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, Robert Rodriguez's homage to Sergio Leone, topped the box office chart for the weekend ended Sept. 14, 2003. The Sony movie (with vfx by Hybride Technologies) scored with $23.4M. Ridley Scott's MATCHSTICK MEN, debuted in second (with vfx by Sony Pictures Imageworks), picking up a more modest $13M for Warner Bros. In third place, was another debut, the indie horror film CABIN FEVER (with vfx by K.N.B. EFX Group).
In a further sign of its aggressive commitment to computer animation, Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios are prepping a feature based on the laidback children's book THE IGUANA BROTHERS: A TALE OF TWO LIZARDS, the trades reported and the studio confirmed. Written by Tony Johnson and illustrated by Mark Teague, IGUANA concerns two brothers in Mexico (Dom and Tom) that will try almost anything, including going vegetarian and acting like dinosaurs.
MILLENNIUM ACTRESS, the first film to be released under Go Fish Pictures, DreamWorks new distribution arm, opened Sept. 12, 2003 in a limited run. The Japanese production by MAD HOUSE (PERFECT BLUE, VAMPIRE HUNTER D and METROPOLIS) reunites director Satoshi Kon and screenwriter Sadayuki Murai, who first collaborated together on Kons award-winning debut feature PERFECT BLUE. Taro Maki (TENCHI FOREVER) served as the exec producer. Susumu Hirasawa composed the score, and Takeshi Honda was the editor and director of animation.
The National Post Design Exchange AwardsToronto, Ontario, CanadaNovember 27, 2003Deadline: September 30, 2003
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.
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) continues to expand its global cable and satellite networks portfolio with the launch next month of AXN in six European countries -- Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. As part of that expansion, Tom Davidson has been named new network's gm, based in Budapest, according to Darren Childs, svp of international networks, Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI).
Jaclyn Linetsky, the English voice of Caillou in the animated series produced by CINAR, died at the age of 17 on September 8, 2003, in a fatal automobile crash in Montreal.
"Jaclyn's voice enchanted thousands of children and viewers and she brought her own special personality and character to Caillou, said CINAR president/ceo Stuart Snyder. She was a very talented performer and will be deeply missed by us all."
Greenworks Xfrog organic modeling system has been rewritten from scratch for the release of Xfrog 4. With the new version, all parameters in Xfrog 4 can be animated and combined with the objects in MAXON's CINEMA 4D, allowing artists to create trees or other plants, which grow and follow the sun as well as leaves and branches, which move in the wind. Additionally CINEMA 4D XPresso diagrams can be combined with Xfrog to create photoreal parameter-driven organic effects.
Method recently collaborated with Fredrik Bond/MJZ, renowned character designer company Stan Winston Prods. and Goodby Silverstein San Francisco to create the visual effects in a new spot for HP and the United States Postal Service, IL POSTINO.
Toy Play LLC has signed a deal making it the master toy licensee for MR. BEAN. Created by comedian Rowan Atkinson, MR. BEAN, THE ANIMATED SERIES follows the day-to-day mishaps of the quiet and clumsy Mr. Bean. The toy line is set to hit the U.S. and Canada, beginning fall 2004. This announcement comes on the heals of The Sharpe Company being granted the merchandising rights for the MR. BEAN character throughout North America.
Big Idea Prods has announced an agreement with Classic Media LLC to purchase the companys assets. As required by the deal, Big Idea has filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Beginning Commercial Voice-Over ClassBurbank, California, USASeptember 22 - October 20, 2003Deadline: September 15, 2003
A jazz musician blows a note, the horn extends and his body language projects the coolness of the moment. A man and woman sit listening. He pulls out a package of Dentyne Fire and pops a piece into his mouth. Suddenly the club, the music and the mood transition from Cool Blue Jazz to Red Hot Salsa. The transformation is subtle. The crowd is not shocked or surprised. In fact, perhaps this happens every time they chew Dentyne Fire.
CODENAME: KIDS NEXT DOOR, an original Cartoon Network animated action-comedy series will premiere on Cartoon Network Latin America on Sept. 5, 2003 at 7:00 pm CODENAME: KIDS NEXT DOOR follows the escapades of five eager, yet bumbling, 10-year-olds as they fight against the forces of tyrannical adults.
Walt Disney Television Int'l (WDTV-I) has acquired broadcast rights to Mainframe Entertainment Inc.'s animated Halloween special SCARY GODMOTHER HALLOWEEN SPOOKTAKULAR for its channels in Asia, Latin America, Italy and Germany.
Discreet has announced one of its largest desktop software sales to date with long-time partner The Art Institutes. The schools will distribute more than 4,000 licenses of 3ds max, character studio, combustion 3D and cleaner software to its 29 locations in the United States and Canada. Last autumn the Arts Institute purchased more than 2,000 licenses.
Square Enix U.S.A. Inc. has announced that FINAL FANTASY X-2 will ship in early December 2003. The company also announced that FINAL FANTASY X has been added to Sony Computer Entertainment America's "Greatest Hits" series.
"We are very pleased with success that FINAL FANTASY X has achieved, both in sales and industry recognition, and excited to continue the journey in FINAL FANTASY X-2," said Jun Iwasaki, ceo and president of Square Enix USA. "While FINAL FANTASY X-2 is a sequel, it is in many ways a new game and the first in the series led by an all-female cast."
Whamo Ents partners Joseph Szew, Fernando Szew and Mar Gaya, along with PorchLight Ents Michael Jacobs and Anchor Bay Ents George Port, have formed Mar Vista Entertainment, reported DAILY VARIETY. The new company will produce and distribute family and children's productions. Joseph Szew will serve as president/ceo and his brother will be managing director. Based in Barcelona, Gaya will be the director of European operations. Jacobs, former svp of worldwide sales for PorchLight, will serve as president of production and distribution.