JoeCartoon, who was recently acquired by Endemol USA, announced the re-launch of its new 'humor portal' JoeCartoon.com. The revamped website offers an enhanced user-friendly interface.
Geographical Region: South America
The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) announced its roster of films in competition, including the controversial feature PERSEPOLIS. Included among the final contenders are 26 films from the U.S. and 20 films from the U.K. Other countries competing include Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Russian Federation, Serbia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan.
Each year the Hollywood studios increase their presence at Comic-Con in San Diego. Below are some of the vfx and animation feature and shorts highlights.
Thursday, July 26
IDT Internet Mobile Group (IMG), a division of IDT Corp., has formed Zedge Studios to develop and license digital content for distribution through web and mobile platforms. IMG has also acquired a controlling interest in IDW Publishing (www.idwpublishing.com), an independent comics publisher known for the horror, action and sci-fi genres, boasting such high-profile titles as THE TRANSFORMERS, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, CSI, STAR TREK, 24 and SCARFACE.
Seth Rogen, star of KNOCKED UP, is in final talks to write, and possibly star in, Columbia's GREEN HORNET feature, reports VARIETY. In addition, he would exec produce with his co-writer Evan Goldberg.
He would take on the role of millionaire publisher-turned-masked crusader Brit Reid. The heavy-set actor is a far different choice for the part than previous contenders George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Sony Pictures Ent. has relaunched Grouper as Crackle, a streaming entertainment network. Crackle's comprehensive approach includes a unique programming and editorial strategy, wide-reaching global distribution platforms and collaboration with Sony Pictures Ent., the IMPROV Comedy franchise and other leading media companies.
Former Warner Bros. Animation president Sander Schwartz returns to familiar territory, but in a bigger capacity as president, international production of Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI), and becomes head of SPTIï¿½s global production group. Before WBA, Schwartz was Sony Pictures Entï¿½s family entertainment group first president from 1999 to 2001. Schwartz will relocate from Los Angeles to SPTIï¿½s European headquarters in London, England, and will report to SPTIï¿½s president, Michael Grindon.
DreamWorks Animation's SHREK THE THIRD's cumulative worldwide gross now surpasses the $600 million mark. The historic U.S. opening of SHREK THE THIRD -- the largest domestic debut ever for an animated film -- was duplicated in many key territories around the world, with #1 animated openings of all time in such countries as the U.K. (where it remains at the top of the box office charts for the second week of release), Russia, Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Singapore and others.
MIFFY AND FRIENDS will debut on public television stations around the U.S. beginning July 7, 2007, led by the series' distributor, WLIW New York Public Television. The stop-motion animated series featuring the iconic bunny will air on WLIW21 in the New York metropolitan area Saturdays and Sundays at 8:00 am as part of a lineup that includes BOB THE BUILDER and THOMAS & FRIENDS. Based on the children's classic book series by Dutch author/illustrator Dick Bruna, MIFFY AND FRIENDS explores the everyday lessons and discoveries of a preschooler.
Monster Distributes has just picked up the distribution rights to the new animated series, LIFEBOAT LUKE (52x5). The search and rescue adventure for kids 4-7 features Lifeboat Luke and his friends in the mad, magical seaside town of Donaghadoo. The stories use narration, effects and music and are easily re-versioned for different languages.
Barcelona-based Icon Animation has signed a raft of international television, home video and publishing deals for its animated healthy-eating series, VITAMINIX, and a range of series from its third party distribution library.
In Greece, 06TV now has television and home video rights for several properties, including three Icon Animation-produced shows VITAMINIX (104x2), LOLA & VIRGINIA (52x12) and MIMI & MR.BOBO (33x26).
Universal's Noah-influenced comedy, EVAN ALMIGHTY (with vfx from ILM and Rhythm & Hues), lead the box office with $31.1M in its debut for the weekend June 24, 2007. Another newcomer, the chilling 1408 from MGM/Weinstein Co., followed in second place with $20.6M. Last weekâs leader, FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER (with vfx by Weta Digital, SOHO VFX, Hydraulx, Giant Killer Robots, Hammerhead, The Orphanage, Frantic Films, Lola Visual Effects, Digiscope and Image Engine), finished third for Fox with $20M and a cume of $97.4M.
Signaling a continuation of the character-driven approach introduced by last year's phenomenally successful CASINO ROYALE, Marc Forster (THE KITE RUNNER, FINDING NEVERLAND, MONSTER'S BALL) will direct BOND 22, it was announced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers of the James Bond films, Sony Pictures Ent. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.
Forster will commence work shortly with screenwriter Paul Haggis on a draft of the screenplay by Neil Purvis and Robert Wade.
Shari Weisenberg joins SCI FI Channel in the newly created position of vp, strategic marketing, to lead all sales marketing initiatives for the SCI FI brand. Her appointment signals the Channel's commitment to leveraging its multimedia assets to maximize the reach and impact of all sponsor messaging.
Fox's FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER (with vfx by Weta Digital, SOHO VFX, Hydraulx, Giant Killer Robots, Hammerhead, The Orphanage, Frantic Films, Lola Visual Effects, Digiscope and Image Engine) crested the box office to the No. 1 position taking in $58.4M for the weekend ended June 17, 2007. Warner Bros.' OCEAN'S 13 dropped to the second position with $19.7M and a cume of $70.4M.
The Annecy international animation market MIFA opened its doors this morning to sunshine and a marked growth in, as well as a greater variety of participants, while the festival, which started on Monday, dealt with rain and less U.S.-based company sponsors.
While the absence of a big presence from Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network is quite noticable, the French broadcasters and other Europeans have filled the gap for what is the premiere animation festival in the world.
Warner Bros.' OCEAN'S 13, the latest all-star heist escapade from Steven Soderbergh, seized the number one spot at the box office with $36.1M for the weekend ended June 10, 2007. Dropping to second place with $21.1M was PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END (with more cutting edge vfx from ILM). After its third weekend, AT WORLD'S END has captured $253.4M for Buena Vista. Universal's romantic comedy, KNOCKED UP, scored the third spot with $19.6M and $65.8M. Debuting in fourth with $17.6M was SURF'S UP from Sony Pictures Animation and Columbia Pictures.
Veteran Warner Bros. Ent. business operations exec Andy Lewis has been named evp/general administrative manager at Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution (WBDTD), overseeing all business operations, including finance, administration, planning and analysis for WBDTD, one of the leading distributors of first-run and off-network programming in the domestic television marketplace. Lewis comes to WBDTD after a decade at Warner Bros. Animation (WBA).
Sony Pictures Studios announced that beginning June 14, 2007, visitors will be able to take Twilight Tours of the historic studio every Thursday through September 28.
"From THE WIZARD OF OZ to SPIDER-MAN 3, this is the lot where dreams are made," said Pam Byrne, director of Studio Services. "Now people can enjoy warm summer evenings by experiencing the glamour and history of Sony Pictures Studios. Our Twilight Tours offer the perfect opportunity to treat family, friends and out-of-town guests to a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable Hollywood experience."
Columbia Pictures' SPIDER-MAN 3: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE has grossed more than $20 million worldwide since premiering on May 3, 2007. The picture continued its heroic box office performance by reaching the $20 million milestone faster than any other 2-D digitally re-mastered IMAX release, between its opening on May 3 and June 3. SPIDER-MAN 3 is currently playing on 84 domestic IMAX screens and 34 international IMAX screens, the largest opening in IMAX's 40-year history.
The ninth annual Leo Awards took place on June 1-2, 2007, at the Westin Bayshore Vancouver, celebrating the best in film and television programs in British Columbia.
BARBIE FAIRYTOPIA: MAGIC OF THE RAINBOW was awarded in the category, Best Animation Program or Series. The program also won for Best Overall Sound in an Animation Program or Series. Peter Eliuk, Pat Haskill, Christine McLeod, Maureen Murphy and Gordon Sproule received the award.
Ubisoft has shipped the SURF'S UP videogame to store shelves, in anticipation of the June 8, 2007, release of the Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation theatrical release of SURF'S UP.
SURF'S UP for the PSP, consoles and PC are rated E10+ and have a MSRP of $49.99 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii; a MSRP of $39.99 for the PlayStation 2, PSP and GameCube; and a MSRP of $19.99 for the PC. SURF'S UP for the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance is rated E and has a MSRP of $29.99.
Teri Meyer has been promoted to the newly created position of evp of worldwide publicity for Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Marketing. She will be responsible for formulating and executing worldwide publicity campaigns for all live-action and animated features released under The Walt Disney Pictures (live action and animation), Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures banners.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END (with more cutting edge vfx from ILM) continued to chart new waters and rewrite the record books at the global box office with its unprecedented six-day opening tally of $404M. The film easily surpassed the previous opening record of $382 million set by SPIDER-MAN 3 just a few weeks ago.
Former Mainframe Ent. ceo Rick Mischel announced today (May 29, 2007) that he has launched Reach Games a new games company specializing in supplying art, design, modeling, animation and localization services to the videogame industry. Based in Vancouver, Reach plans to service other developers and publishers from around the world. Reach also plans to co-develop casual games and handheld games with other developers.