On Monday, September 11, 2000, the family that owns the rights to Alvin and the Chipmunks filed a US$105 million lawsuit against Universal Studios, claiming it failed to license products adequately based on the cartoon characters. According to the lawsuit filed in State Superior Court in Los Angeles, members of Chipmunks creator Ross Bagdasarian Sr.'s family claim that Universal executives told them that the studio would make Alvin, Theodore and Simon "a cornerstone" of the company's licensing efforts.
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The Conseil Superieur de lAudiovisuel (CSA), a French broadcasting watchdog, has approved the three-way merger between Vivendi, Canal + and Seagram, the parent of Universal Pictures. The okay came on the heels of Vivendi chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Messiers decision not to fold Canal +s subscriber base into Vivendi Universal, thus avoiding French television ownership laws prohibiting a single shareholder from owning 49% or more of a TV network.
Alias|Wavefront announced this week that the fifth major release of their Maya next-generation animation software will feature a universal rendering policy that enables Maya Complete and Maya Unlimited to "float" the Maya Batch Renderer across any number of machines. This new announcement furthers Alias|Wavefront's aim at synergy between all of Maya's tools throughout the production and post-production process and Alias|Wavefront's earlier announcement that Maya 3 will feature a new Trax compositing system further backs up this position.
Rick DeMott traveled to the Universal Studios Hollywood Terminator 2 3D attraction and reveals that the thrill factor is high.
Production has started up on NUTTY II: THE KLUMPS, the sequel to the $270million hit THE NUTTY PROFESSOR. Eddie Murphy will return to the role ofProfessor Sherman Klump in the Universal Pictures' and ImagineEntertainment flick. Singer and actress Janet Jackson co-stars in the film,which is produced by Brian Grazer (LIAR LIAR, BOWFINGER) and directed byPeter Segal (TOMMY BOY). Tom Shadyac, Murphy, Karen Kehela and James D.Brubaker are the executive producers, and the screenplay is scribed by
STUART OKEN has been promoted to the position of senior vice president ofcreative affairs for WALT DISNEY THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS. Oken joined WaltDisney Theatrical Productions in 1995, and has been closely involved withthe Tony Award-winning stage show, THE LION KING, and Elton John and TimRice's new musical, AIDA, set to premiere in Chicago in December 1999. . .TOM WILLIAMS, a 29-year company veteran and former president and chiefexecutive officer of Universal Studios Escape in Orlando, Florida, has been
Universal Studios Home Video is releasing ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS MEET FRANKENSTEIN. Produced anddirected by Kathi Castillo and animated at Universal Cartoon Studios inUniversal City, California, the direct-to-video shows what happens when thehavoc wrecking chipmunks encounter Dr. Frankenstein and his creation at aUniversal Studios-type amusement park. The chipmunks were created by RossBagadasarian (aka David Seville) in 1958 for the hit novelty record, "TheChipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)." Seville's earlier hit, "Witch
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD has appointed BRIAN COMPTON Senior VicePresident, Chief Financial Officer. Compton will be responsible forfinancial reporting and budgeting, planning and implementation of operatingbudgets, and direction of the financial management organizations of bothUniversal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios CityWalk. Previously, Mr.Compton served as Director of Operations, Finance for Coach Leatherware, adivision of Sara Lee Corporation. He has held key financial posts with
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS has appointed WILLIAM A. SUTMAN as senior vice presidentand chief financial officer. Sutman will be responsible for overseeing allworldwide financial activities for the Universal Studios Group. Sutman mostrecently served as chief financial officer for Universal Pictures. Sutmanjoined Universal in January 1997 from Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, where heserved for three years as vice president of auditing.
Beginning July 2, star characters from Nickelodeon's popular BLUE'S CLUESand RUGRATS shows, "character breakfasts" featuring Woody Woodpecker,Spiderman, and other world-famous cartoon stars are part of the fun plannedfor kids this summer at Universal Studios Hollywood. "Blue's Clues Live"follows the format of the children's television show. Guided by cluessupplied by "Blue," kids solve puzzles, play games, and sing songs alongwith Blue. "Woody Woodpecker's Clubhouse" features a themed playground
Universal Studios has appointed Kenton Low senior vice president of corporate marketing and Universal Studios Online. In the newly created position, Low reports to Hellene Runtagh, Executive Vice President, and is responsible for developing and executing corporate strategic marketing programs globally. This includes brand management, leveraging Universal's global franchises, and expansion of the company's corporate partnerships program. Low will also oversee Universal Studios Online, the business unit responsible for web site development and e-commerce initiatives.
Jeff Kleiser and Diana Walczak talk about how they took on the challenges of bringing Spider-Man to life in the brand-new ride-film The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.
Universal Pictures chairman Casey Silver was forced to resign after a year of consistent box office flops such as "Primary Colors," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Out of Sight," "Meet Joe Black," and this weekend's disastrous opening of the expensive sequel "Babe: Pig in the City," which was slaughtered by two other family-oriented features, Disney's "A Bug's Life'" and Paramount's "The Rugrats Movie." Silver had been head of Universal's movie production, marketing and distribution since November 1995.
At the 1997 Convention and Conference of the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE), our reporter on the scene, asked animation distributors: "What are some of the considerations involved in developing, producing, and ultimately distributing animation to the international market?" Herein are a selection of answers followed by some comments drawn from a panel discussion "Animation: The Universal Language," moderated by Cartoon Network President Betty Cohen , which discussed the realities of the much-hyped global marketplace for animation.Joel Andryc, Saban's Senior Vice...