London-based Pearson launched their independent theatrical animated feature, A MONKEY'S TALE, at the American Film Market which ended last week in Santa Monica, California. The film, which is Pearson's first foray into the theatrical feature arena, is directed by Jean-Francois Laguionie. The $14 million family entry features the voice talents of John Hurt, Michael York, Rik Mayall and Michael Gambon, as well as the hit Irish group BOYZONE, who performs the end title song. The film took nearly eight years to complete and utilized the talents of 400 animators.
Steve Oedekerk has stepped down as the director of Warner Bros. big-budgeted live-action/animated remake of THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET after months of bickering between him and the studio. The script is currently being reworked by MULAN writer Rita Hsaio. Jim Carrey, the film's lead, will wait to see the new script before making any decisions on his involvement with the film. The film is being produced by Barry Levinson, Paula Weinstein and Bill Gerber.
Disney/Pixar's A BUG'S LIFE has passed $150 million in the overseas box office and $310 million worldwide making it the 11th highest-grossing animated feature of all time. The top ten spots are all held by Disney films. The film has been released in 26 countries so far and has been in the top ten consistently in most countries including Germany ($15 million), Italy ($5.5 million), Spain ($10.2 million), Sweden ($3.5 million), and Taiwan ($3 million). In the United Kingdom, the film set a new record for the highest animated opening, and the eighth largest opening ever.
Burbank, California-based Rich Animation's upcoming animated feature THE KING AND I, slated for release March 19, utilized a unique production process by transferring animation scenes via the Internet between artists located in California, Europe, China, India, Korea and Canada. By avoiding the massive overhead costs associated with typical feature animation studios, Rich was able to compete with the big boys by delivering a theatrical quality feature on a budget.
The duos more wholesome festival, SPIKE & MIKES 1999 CLASSIC FESTIVAL OF ANIMATION, opens Friday, March 12 at the Ridge Theatre in Vancouver, B.C. (running through April 4).
Manga Entertainment has informed Animation World Magazine that they still have a shorts department and are actively looking for animated short films to market and distribute. Since their San Diego animated shorts operation closed down last year, submissions are now being accepted through their central Chicago division. While it is still unclear as to how the shorts will be packaged, films may be sent to:
Attn: Animated Shorts Division
727 N. Hudson #100
Chicago, IL 60610
Disney's Chinese-themed MULAN finally opened in China today on 13 screens in Shanghai. Chinese officials had originally declined to import MULAN when it was released last year because of their dissatisfaction with Disneys release of KUNDUN, a live-action film about Chinese rule in Tibet, two years ago. The timing for MULANs debut was less than favorable, falling on the last day of school childrens winter vacation period. MULAN is scheduled to screen in other parts of China including Beijing, although dates havent been announced yet.
Comedian and former SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE cast member Adam Sandler (THE WATERBOY, THE WEDDING SINGER) has signed with Columbia TriStar (a division of Sony Pictures) to develop a full-length animated musical comedy featuring a character based on him. Sandler, who is producing the film with his partner, Jack Giarraputo, will also voice the title character.
Disney is going all out for their release of FANTASIA 2000 by launching anexclusive four-month run of the film in IMAX theaters around the world fromJanuary 1 through April 30, 2000. The updated version will debut with afive-city, London Philharmonic Orchestra-accompanied tour starting inDecember 1999. The tour, which will pass through Los Angeles, London, Paris andTokyo, will have its world premiere December 17 at Carnegie Hall in NewYork City with a concert by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition,
For the first time since the October 2 release of "Antz," there were no animated films in the box office top ten. DreamWorks' THE PRINCE OF EGYPT is still the top animated film placing 11th with $1.9M and a grand total of $93.3M domestically. The film's total worldwide gross to date is $197.8M. Disney/Pixar's A BUG'S LIFE placed 15th with $1.4M bringing its spectacular sum to $155.9M in North America. Worldwide, the insect film has brought in a total of $213.1M and is still going strong. The film's opening in the U.K.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced the Academy Award/Oscar nominees for films made in 1998. The nominees in the Best Animated Short Film category are:
JOLLY ROGER, an Astley Baker production directed by Mark Baker.
THE CANTERBURY TALES, an S4C production written and executive directed by Jonathan Myerson.
BUNNY, a Blue Sky Studios production written and directed by Chris Wedge.
WHEN LIFE DEPARTS, an A Films Aps production directed by Karsten Killerich and Stefan Fjeldmark.
DreamWorks' "The Prince of Egypt" was the top animated film on Super Bowl football weekend placing 10th with $2.6M, making a grand total of $90.8M. Disney/Pixar's "A Bug's Life" followed closely at 12th taking in $1.9M for a dazzling cume of $154.1M. "Bug's Life" has already outgrossed Disney's "Pocohontas" ($141.6M) but won't reach Pixar's blockbuster first effort "Toy Story" which accumulated $191.8M. Disney's live-action/CGI "Mighty Joe Young" moved up a slot to 13th with $1.6M amassing $45.5M in 6 weeks.
With the holidays behind and the children back in school, this winter's animated films are slowly starting to head out and make way for spring's batch of films. DreamWorks' "The Prince of Egypt" held eighth place with $3.6M after 6 weeks of release for a grand total of $87.3M. Disney/Pixar's "A Bug's Life" passed the $150M mark placing twelfth with a grand cume of $151.7M. The family-targeted Disney remake of "Mighty Joe Young," featuring extensive CGI work took fourteenth amassing $2.5M and a 5-week sum of $43.4M.
The four-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend created a healthy box office with DreamWorks The Prince of Egypt continuing to edge its way towards $100 million. The religious epic, which was banned this week in Indian Ocean-located The Maldives for its offensive portrayal of Moses, came in eighth with $6.2M after 32 days of release for a grand total of $82.5M. At its current pace, the film is poised to pass The Rugrats Movie as the highest gross non-Disney animated feature of all-time.
Originally intended as a direct-to-video film, Walt Disney Pictures hasannounced that "Doug's 1st Movie," based on the ABC series "Disney's Doug,"will be released to theaters on March 26 in time for the spring break andEaster holidays. Both the TV series and film are produced by New York-basedJumbo Pictures Inc., a subsidiary of Disney acquired in 1996. "Doug's 1stMovie" follows the misadventures of 12-year old Doug Funnie as he findshimself caught between saving the endangered "monster" of Lucky Duck Lake
Wanting to get a piece of the lucrative animated feature pie, Miramax Filmshas announced their acquisition of worldwide distribution rights to theanimated musical fairy tale, "The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina."The film is being produced at Hyperion Studios, known for other animatedworks such as "Life with Louie," "Bebe's Kids" and HBO's "Happily EverAfter: Fairy Tales for Every Child." The film features the voices of ElijahWood as Tom Thumb and Jennifer Love Hewitt as Thumbelina.The story
The post-New Years box office was quiet as usual with DreamWorks The Prince of Egypt on top of the animation heap grossing 6.1M for fifth place. To date, the high-budgeted religious flic has grossed nearly $75M domestically and $83.7M internationally. Disneys live-action/CGI Mighty Joe Young stayed put in sixth place with $5M for a 17-day total of $34.9M. Disney/Pixars A Bugs Life fell from fifth to seventh with $4.7M and a 52-day cume of $143M.
The top animated film of this week was DreamWorks' "Prince of Egypt," holding steady in fourth place with $11.2M for a 17-day total of $66.4M. Disney/Pixar's "A Bug's Life" continued to appeal to families with children on Christmas vacation climbing up two notches to fifth place for a weekend tally of $8.8M and a grand total of $136.4M. Disney's special-effects packed remake of the RKO ape flick, "Mighty Joe Young," continued its stay in sixth place taking in $8.1M for a two week cume of $28.1M.
"Kirikou et la Sorciere" ("Kirikou and the Witch") is a new 70-minute classically animated film by Michel Ocelot released in France on December 9, 1998. The film is about Kirikou, a tiny little boy, who's born in a small African village which has been put under a spell by the flagitious witch, Karaba. Kirikou is determined to set his languishing village free from the clutches of Karaba. The film features music composed by famous African singer/composer Youssou N'Dour.
The box office was bustling this Christmas holiday weekend with DreamWorks' "The Prince of Egypt" and Disney/Pixar's "A Bug's Life" holding their own against many new live-action releases including "Patch Adams," "The Faculty" and "Stepmom." "Prince of Egypt" dropped two places from second to fourth; however, the film saw a 5% rise in business grossing $15.3M for a grand total of a little over $40M. "A Bug's Life" saw a 1% jump in totals despite being taken off more than 300 screens. The film finished seventh with $10.1M and has now grossed $114.6M in six weeks.
Chris Wedge, one of the founders of Blue Sky Studios (now Blue Sky | VIFX), has released his personal film, "Bunny." The seven-minute computer-animated film utilizes "radiosity," an advanced computer rendering technique, a relative of the ray-tracing technology, that mimics subtle properties of natural light. The three-year project was written and directed by Chris Wedge, produced by Nina Rappaport, with music by singer/songwriter Tom Waits.
This year's final and quite possibly, most anticipated, animated feature, DreamWorks' "The Prince of Egypt" debuted this past weekend at number two with a respectable but not stellar $14.5M. While DreamWorks reps blame the impeachment proceedings, the White House affair didn't seem to have much effect on the strong $18.4M number one opening for the live-action Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film, "You've Got Mail." It is too early to make any guesses on the success of DreamWorks' 'Prince' and the next few holiday weeks will be integral in determining the film's profitability.
San Francisco-based Wild Brain has completed an in-house seven-minute short film called A Dog Cartoon, featuring a highly-energetic dog who faces many perils as he attempts to recover his coveted bone.
Coming off their successful animated feature, Antz, Pacific Data Images (PDI) and DreamWorks have announced that their next collaboration will be Tusker, directed by Tim Johnson (co-director of Antz) and Brad Lewis (producer of Antz). The film will be PDI/DreamWorks third project and will follow the release of Shrek, which is currently in production. Tusker follows a herd of elephants as they make a perilous trek across Southeast Asia confronting numerous dangers including a malevolent group of poachers.
Disney may not have an animated film to put up against DreamWorks Prince of Egypt, but theyve come up with an ingenious way of profiting from the November release of A Bugs Life. The company announced that starting December 18th, a completely new set of animated bloopers will accompany the closing credits of the film.