The big-screen version of S.W.A.T., starring Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell and Michelle Rodriguez, comes to DVD on Dec. 30, 2003 (Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, $28.95) with enough gunfire and other explosions (with vfx help from Pixel Magic) to satisfy action-movie junkies as well as fans of the '70s TV series.
Category: Visual Effects
The Richards Group hired Janimation to bring the dynamic Cow Superheroes to life for Chick-fil-A's latest calendar advertising campaign.
Worldwide sales of the direct-to-video BARBIE OF SWAN LAKE have topped more than two million units through Entertainment Rights (excluding North America), via its home entertainment division, Rights Ent. This includes more than 400,000 units in the U.K., where the title has remained at number five on the children's chart after debuting at number one.
These figures follow the trend that began with Barbie's first direct-to-video feature, BARBIE IN THE NUTCRACKER and continued with BARBIE AS RAPUNZEL, which were also distributed through Entertainment Rights.
Peter D. Parks, one of the industry's foremost microphotographers, has been voted the Gordon E. Sawyer Award by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The Oscar statuette will be presented at the Scientific and Technical Awards Dinner on Feb. 14, 2004 at The Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.
Alias' Maya software played a central role in the development of Gollum, Shelob, the Battle of Pelennor Fields and the Witch King's death in THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING. In fact, Maya has been the core 3D animation software used in all three RINGS films created by Weta Digital and distributed by New Line Cinema.
When PWLC London was looking to create a rapping robin for its new Fox's biscuits campaign, it brought the script to Toronto's guru animation studio. Armed with only a sketch and a Snoop Dog reference, cd Frank Falcone and his team went to work on developing a 3D character that was not only hip hop fabulous, but kid (parent) friendly.
Kaydara and Mexico's EuNoia Animation School announced the successful completion of the facility's first 10-month course specifically dedicated to teaching professional animation software. Driven by MOTIONBUILDER, Kaydara's award-winning character animation software, EuNoia is Mexico's only certified training center to offer artistic and technical courses on the industry's leading animation and effects software.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING continued its record-breaking assault on the box office, grabbing $72.6M domestically over the weekend ended Dec. 21, 2003, and $125.1M for its first five days. Overseas, the final RINGS movie took in $125M in 28 territories, breaking all-time opening records in the U.K., Austria, Germany, Scandinavia, Spain, Switzerland and New Zealand. That's more than $250M on more than 14,000 screens worldwide (7,205 domestically), shattering the previous five-day record of THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS ($202.8M) and eclipsing THE TWO TOWERS ($201.8M). Domestically, the five-day opener puts RETURN OF THE KING in third place behind THE MATRIX RELOADED ($144.4M) and SPIDER-MAN ($135.8M). Still, it ranks as the best December weekend opening ever, beating THE TWO TOWERS ($62M). Overall, it stands as the seventh best opening ever, and the third best of the year, behind MATRIX RELOADED ($91.8M) and X2 ($85.6M). It appears to be a triumph in every way for New Line, director Peter Jackson and his crew and Weta Digital, which did most of the vfx and improved upon its previous work.
Producer Donald De Line has been appointed vice chairman, Motion Picture Group and president, Paramount Pictures, effective Jan. 5, 2004. De Line replaces John Goldwyn, who is stepping down to become a producer at the studio in the wake of criticism that the feature slate has not only performed below expectation at the box office (including the disappointing LARA CROFT sequel), but also lacks Oscar prestige. Reporting to Sherry Lansing, chairman, Paramount Pictures, De Line is expected to pump up and diversify the studio's feature production slate during this three-year stint.
da Vinci Systems launched its first annual Master Colorist Awards competition. The company is now accepting submissions in four categories and will feature the winning show reels at the NAB2004 exhibition, April 19-22, in Las Vegas. In addition, winning colorists in the TV and long form, theatrical release, commercial and music video categories will receive a trophy and three days of all-expenses-paid training with Kevin Shaw, the company's director of training, at da Vinci's facilities in Coral Springs, Fla.
"This competition is designed to showcase the innovation, creativity, and skill with which our clients have put da Vinci products to work," said da Vinci vp of marketing and product management Matthew Straeb. "Post houses and other creative firms are continually finding new ways to use our film enhancement and restoration tools. We look forward to highlighting these achievements on the worldwide stage provided by NAB2004."
It's fitting that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has named its newest theater, a 286-seat state-of-the-art screening room at the Pickford Center in Hollywood, in honor of optical, vfx pioneer Linwood Dunn.
"Linwood Dunn was a giant in the motion picture field, a gifted artist and scientist who made enormous contributions to our art form throughout most of the 20th century," said Academy president Frank Pierson. "Naming the theater in Lin's honor made eminent sense to the board of governors."
Veteran animator Becky Bristow has been named chair of the Digital Arts and Design program in the Software School of Beijing University, China. Bristow reports she is busy creating the curriculum and building the new graduate digital arts program
After successfully IMAXing THE MATRIX trilogy, IMAX and Warner Bros. Pictures will release the third installment of the HARRY POTTER film series, THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN, in IMAX theaters in June 2004. The highly anticipated Alfonso Cuaron-directed feature is scheduled to open June 4 in conventional theaters. HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN will be digitally re-mastered through proprietary IMAX DMR technology.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING came out swinging like Gollum for that box office brass ring on Wednesday, Dec. 17, taking in a glorious $57.6M in theaters around the globe, according to New Line, including a record-breaking domestic gross of $34.1M and $23.5M in 19 territories overseas.
3D Festival 2004, Europe's largest convention and exhibition for the creative 3D industry (May 3-6 at Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark), has announced its executive committee and preliminary speakers. Synergy, meanwhile, will be the theme, encompassing storytelling, modeling, animating, rendering, programming and business strategies.
Turbo Squid, the world's largest collection of royalty-free 3D assets for sale, has formed a custom 3D modeling service, allowing clients to draw from a global pool of more than 6,300 digital artists when a job is needed. The service is designed to give Turbo Squid clients another avenue for content if they cannot fulfill their needs through the Turbo Squid library of more than 80,000 3D models, meshes, textures, audio files and mo-cap data available for download.
Artwork to be considered for EXPOSÉ 2 needs to be submitted before Jan. 29, 2004, four weeks prior to the previous deadline, in order for the book to be shipped in time for SIGGRAPH 2004. EXPOSÉ 2 will go into full production in March 2004, with a release date of July 2004. EXPOSÉ 2 Pre-orders for EXPOSÉ 2 will start in June 2004.
THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, based on the popular book of the same name by C.S. Lewis, will begin production in New Zealand in early 2004, industry development minister Jim Anderton said in a statement. New Zealand-native Andrew Adamson, co-director of the Oscar-winning SHREK, will be directing the live-action film. The production will use stage space and personnel in Auckland.
The Independent Games Festival has announced the finalists in the sixth annual Independent Games Festival (IGF) Competition, which will exhibit their games the Game Developers Conference March 24-26, 2004 in San Jose, California. Selected by a panel of game industry professionals, game development teams will compete for more than $40,000 in cash prizes, double the payout from previous years.
The 10 games selected for the "Open" category are (in alphabetical order):ACMI by Selectparks (Richmond, Victoria, Australia)
Kevin Mullican has been named cto for iO Film, a technologically advanced, full-service digital film finishing facility specializing in film and video projects from every sector of the entertainment industry.
SEABISCUIT, writer/director Gary Ross' acclaimed screen adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's revered bestseller about the legendary race horse and his place in American lore, comes to DVD Dec. 16, 2003 (Universal Home Entertainment, $26.98) with several noteworthy extras: commentary from Ross and director Steven Soderbergh, production notes, three featurettes ("Racing Through History," "Bringing the Legend to Life" and "Anatomy of a Movie Moment: From Script to Screen") and co-star Jeff Bridge's on-set photographs.