Dan Weiss has been named evp of worldwide marketing for Universal's domestic and international television divisions. In his newly created post, Weiss will oversee all marketing functions for both the domestic and international TV markets, including worldwide pay-per-view and video-on-demand with campaigns for universal's sales of network and first-run series, off-network programming and motion pictures. Departments under worldwide marketing reporting to Weiss include affiliate relations and advertising, communications, promotions-partnerships and creative services.
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Now kids can blast off on a neutronic trip as they board their own rocket and follow Jimmy, his best friend Carl and faithful robotic dog, Goddard, via the new Neutron's Nicktoon Blast Ride at Universal Studios in Orlando. The simulator ride takes riders with the Jimmy Neutron characters on a wild chase through favorite Nicktoons, including SpongeBob SquarePants, the Fairly OddParents, Hey Arnold and Rugrats. The ride replaces the Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera attraction.
Barry Diller has resigned as co-chairman/CEO of Vivendi Universal Entertainment to end investors' concerns about him also being head of USA Interactive. USA Interactive just unveiled plans to buy control of online service Expedia.com in a deal valued at $3.3 billion. Most of Diller's investments rest with USA Interactive where he is CEO/chairman. "My executive role was never intended to be permanent," Diller said in a statement.
Universal Pictures has promoted Andrew Fenady to vice president, production. Fenady has been with Universal since 2000, when he came on board as director of production. In his new position he will continue to work with filmmakers on all aspects of physical production, including budgeting, scheduling, hiring crews and managing the daily workings within the production. Fenady is currently overseeing physical production on the films DR. SEUSS' THE CAT IN THE HAT, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 2 and HONEY.
First Universal teamed with Marvel to bring THE HULK to life for moviegoers in summer 2003. Now Marvel Studios has entered into an agreement with Universal Pictures to bring two more super heroes to the big screen: Sub-Mariner and Prime. First up is SUB-MARINER, currently in development. The film will follow the adventures of the troubled Prince Namor, a half-man/half-amphibian creature from Atlantis. David Self, best known for his adaptation of the graphic novel ROAD TO PERDITION for DreamWorks, will write the screenplay.
Under the terms of a recently announced worldwide licensing, Vivendi Universal Publishing's Knowledge Adventure studio will develop and publish BUTT-UGLY MARTIANS interactive entertainment products for the PC/Mac, console, handheld, PDA, wireless and Internet platforms beginning in fall 2002. The products will be distributed worldwide by Vivendi Universal Games.
As part of Vivendi Universal Publishing's long-term deal with Tolkien Enterprises, Universal Interactive will publish games based on J.R.R. Tolkien's best-selling saga THE LORD OF THE RINGS. The company acquired the exclusive rights to develop interactive entertainment based on selected Tolkien literary works. Universal Interactive will create games for multiple next-generation and PC platforms with content derived from Tolkien's novels THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, THE TWO TOWERS and THE RETURN OF THE KING.
Universal Studios is using the 20th anniversary re-release of Steven Spielbergs classic film E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL to launch a 13-month long branding initiative that includes a new Universal logo featuring E.T. According to the studio, the image of E.T. will be an integral part of Universal's identity and business activities, and will be featured in all film, television, home entertainment, theme parks, music, consumer products, publishing and online products. This corporate identity program will complement the March 2002 worldwide release of E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL.
Universal Studios, Just Group, Mike Young Productions and DCDC have entered into a broad arrangement for BUTT-UGLY MARTIANS, the new CGI-animated action-adventure-comedy TV series, which debuted on the U.K. channel CITV in February 2001. The series, backed by a list of licensees including Hasbro and Scholastic, will premiere on Nickelodeon in the U.S. in early 2002 and has begun debuting on other children's outlets around the world.
Universal Studios Hollywood has launched a live, interactive musical and comedy adventure, based on the new DreamWorks computer-animated feature SHREK. Shrek Live is scheduled for weekend performances through June 16, 2001, followed by daily performances through Labor Day weekend. Set on a renaissance faire-themed stage, the 20-minute live performance, which includes elaborately costumed SHREK characters, invites guests to participate as one of many popular fairy tale characters, including the THREE LITTLE PIGS and SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES.
Havas Interactive, a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal Publishing, has changed its name to Vivendi Universal Interactive Publishing (VU Interactive Publishing). The company is comprised of two operating divisions, Vivendi Universal Interactive Publishing North America (VU Interactive Publishing NA) and Vivendi Universal Interactive Publishing International, each of which is charged with directing the sales, distribution and operating activities in its respective region.
On Wednesday, March 28, Nickelodeon and Universal Studios Recreation Groupannounced the signing of a strategic alliance for the development of newNickelodeon-branded attractions at various Universal theme parks. Under thenew agreement, the two companies will develop two major attractions, createco-branded promotions, sell merchandise and increase marketing andadvertising on the Nickelodeon cable channel. As part of the agreement,Universal will get rights to use Nickelodeon characters such as THE RUGRATS,
Alleged plans by Universal to release as many as 65 episodes of the original X-MEN animated series on video has landed them in court. Saban Entertainment Inc. and Fox Childrens Network have filed suit against Universal Studios Home Video in an attempt to block the release of the videos and DVDs. The suit claims that, Universal has the right to produce one video containing three episodes of the X-MEN series per broadcast season in the U.S. and holds only international rights to the entire 65-episode library.
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.
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.