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Editor:
Vicki Tracy

Tuesday, February 29, 2000

Box Office Results
Here are the Box Office results for last weekend's animated films:

The Tigger Movie
$6.3 Million ($2,238 per screen average)
6th at the Box Office (down from #5 last weekend)
Total to Date: $30.6 Million

Fantasia 2000
$1.6 Million ($29,545 per screen average)
14th at the Box Office (down from #13 last weekend)
Total to Date: $26.7 Million

Toy Story 2
$504,392 ($868 per screen average)
21st at the Box Office (down from #19 last weekend)
Total to Date: $240.6 Million

Pokemon: The First Movie
Ended theatrical run at $85.8 Million
Pokemon: The First Movie is being released to video on March 21, 2000.

Leap Year Celebration Concludes Today
Animation Artist Magazine concludes its Leap Year Celebration today, in which every day in February there was a major update or new section open. During this time, many new areas were open to the public including the
Writers Workshop, Events Calendar, Tigger Movie Site, Free Email, FAQ, and the new Animation History Website. Animation Artist will continue to be updated on a daily basis (including holidays) as it has been for over a year.


Monday, February 28, 2000

10th Kingdom Fails to Draw Viewers
NBC's special-effects filled mini-series, "The 10th Kingdom," failed to draw a large audience last night, possibly spelling trouble with four more nights of the mini-series left. Last night "The 10th Kingdom" placed last in its time slot, behind ABC, CBS, and FOX, according to overnight Nielson ratings.

Team Talks About Stuart Little Visual Effects
Stuart Little is a film from producer Douglas Wick's Red Wagon Productions, which combines live-action with  visual effects by the artists and innovators at Sony Pictures Imageworks, who have taken digital character creation to a bold new level with the birth of Stuart. The creation of the film's title character and some of his friends and adversaries represents one of the most ambitious ventures to date into photo-real, performance-based digital character creation. Indeed the goal was to create a totally believable character whose performance would be able to carry the story.

"Let's face it, without Stuart you don't have a movie," notes John Dykstra, the film's senior visual effects supervisor. "The interesting thing is that three minutes into the movie you forget that you are watching a visual effect."

Until Stuart Little, visual effects have pretty much played the supporting role in the films where they are employed. Even this year, they are used more often to set the stage or make a point ... usually an exclamation point. The difference in Stuart Little is that he is the heart and soul of the story. The visual effect takes center stage as he is held to the careful scrutiny of the audience throughout the entire length of the film.

The challenge of Stuart Little was to create a photorealistic, computer generated, furry, talking, leading man or rather, mouse with a greatly varied and stylish wardrobe. In addition, supporting characters, in the form of two mice who pose as Stuart's parents and a band of cats that play key roles to the leading Stuart character, were all accomplished completely or complimented with digital characterization. All of this was carefully integrated into the live action film with all of the subtlety and nuance that entailed.

 "Stuart Little is a refreshing application of visual effects. The talent and technology at Imageworks was poured into the creation of characters and storytelling, with all of the emotional responses that come with a fully developed character. I could not be prouder of the artists or the work," said Ken Ralston, the president of Imageworks and a five-time Academy Award(R)-winner.

In mid-February, Stuart Little was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Achievement in Visual Effects.

"There is nothing little about this nomination," said Tim Sarnoff, executive vice-president and general manager of Sony Pictures Imageworks. "The work really speaks for itself. Not only did we have to create something visually stunning but it also had to act! To have the Academy membership recognize this is deeply gratifying to us all."

"We were fortunate on Stuart Little to work with a director, Rob Minkoff, who comes from an animation background," said Henry Anderson, the film's animation supervisor. "Since Rob understands what an animator brings to a performance, he worked with us in much the same way that he worked with his actors ... he gave us room to explore the character and expected us to know Stuart better than anyone else."

Sony Pictures Imageworks lead the project with Rhythm&Hues and Centropolis Effects supporting the cat work. Eric Allard and his All-FX team were responsible for all of the physical effects during production. The individuals named on the Academy Award nomination are senior visual effects supervisor John Dykstra, visual effects supervisor Jerome Chen, Digital Animation Supervisor Henry Anderson, and special effects supervisor Eric Allard.


Sunday, February 27, 2000

Alias/Wavefront Announces Maya 3.0
Alias|Wavefront, an SGI company, announces Maya 3, the upcoming fifth major release of its award winning 3D animation and visual effects software for film, broadcast, video and game development. With this release, Alias|Wavefront introduces Trax, an advanced nonlinear animation tool especially beneficial to games artists who often need to edit large amounts of motion capture data or mix together multiple animation sequences of the same character in a non-destructive, hierarchical and time-independent manner.

Maya 3 software is slated to ship this summer. The new Trax feature in Maya(R) 3 is particularly significant for the games industry since developers need to manipulate extensive amounts of animation and blend them in a way that can be reproduced in the final game play. The ability to make subtle changes to motion capture data while leaving the original data intact will enable animators to adjust the moves of motion captured actors to more precisely fit their environments.

"The benefits of Maya 3 software with nonlinear animation are equally relevant to both film and video and games users," said Chris Ford, Maya Product Manager for Alias|Wavefront. "It will greatly simplify the production of complex animation sequences in the broader community of digital content creators."

Along with Trax, Maya 3 includes a large number of additional features. Maya's subdivision surface modeling tools with unique hierarchical editing capability will be fully integrated within Maya's animation and rendering pipeline. Maya 3 also introduces a completely new polygonal architecture that is highly efficient in terms of speed and memory, and capable of supporting a much wider variety of polygonal topologies.

Multiple UV per-vertex support plus new UV auto-projection and relaxation tools provide greater flexibility in applying multiple textures. A new Bezier surface editor provides full access to an essential curved surface representation much desired for use in next generation games.

Finally, major performance and usability improvements are consolidated by Alias|Wavefront's long-standing focus on feature synergy, which by degree is unique to Maya software and allows unparalleled flexibility in one integrated environment.

"Maya's games related features allow our artists and programmers to work cooperatively and flexibly within one unified architecture to create and deliver the cinematic quality required for today's content rich game titles," said Adrian Smith, Operations Director for Core Design. "With this release, Maya has achieved best of class status as the tool for next generation game development -- we consider it the most powerful solution for digital content creation on the market."

Maya 3 Trax features include:
1. New and highly intuitive Trax editing window.
2. Reusable time independent motion clips containing hierarchical animation for characters.
3. Blending and transitions between clips for smoother motion.
4. Expansion and compression of animation clips, (e.g. to easily change timing).
5. Clip and pose browser interface with full drag and drop workflow throughout.
6. Blending of hand animation (motion warping) with motion capture data.
7. Data filtering and processing of motion curves.
8. User extensible plug-in filters that allow game developers to match the same blends in Maya software as they use in their games.

Further information about Maya Complete 3 will be available this summer for Windows NT and Silicon Graphics IRIX. Maya Complete has a SRP of $7,500 and includes modeling, rendering, animation, dynamics, Maya Artisan, MEL (an embedded scripting language) and a well-documented API that provides an open interface for programming in Maya.

Maya Unlimited 3, available this summer for Windows NT and Silicon Graphics IRIX, has a SRP of $16,000 and includes Maya Complete, Maya Live, Maya Fur, Maya Cloth, Advanced Modeling and additional batch rendering capability. Maya Builder 3 for game programmers and level designers will be available on Windows NT and Silicon Graphics IRIX this summer, and includes Trax and all benefits of the new polygon architecture. Maya Builder has a SRP of $ 2,995. SRPs are domestic US prices and will vary outside of the US. Prices are subject to change without notice.


Saturday, February 26, 2000

DreamWorks to Recruit at Animation Expo
At least five animation production companies have announced plans to recruit for a range of positions at ASIFA-Hollywood's Animation Expo 2000, Friday & Saturday, March 3 - 4, at the Glendale Civic Auditorium  (1401 N. Verdugo Rd.).

DreamWorks Animation, Mainframe Entertainment, Inc., Digital Chameleon, Ltd., StarToons International LLC., and International Game Technology are among the companies exhibiting and recruiting at Animation Expo 2000. Exhibit hours are Friday, 9 - 5 pm; Saturday 9 - 4 pm. A one-day Expo floor pass is $10 (ASIFA-Hollywood members free). Workshops and seminars require additional fees.

Sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter, Animation Expo 2000 is a 2-day trade show and interactive educational event with exhibitors including studios, animation schools, industry suppliers, digital technology companies, and independent members of the creative community, as well as a full schedule of workshops and seminars. Quality animation art and collectibles will also be available for purchase.

Animation Artist Opens Animation History Site
Yesterday Animation Artist Magazine opened up a new Website, called Animation History, at
www.animationhistory.com. The focus of the site, which is still in its early stages, is on the history of animation. The site includes the winning essay from last year's big "History of Animation" competition, which was won by Michael Crandol. He won a limited first edition, signed copy of The Illusion of Life book. To visit the Animation History site, click here.


Friday, February 25, 2000

Softimage Brought BCC Dinosaurs to Life
Nearly nine years after Softimage first helped dinosaurs walk the earth in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park, it did it again, this time for "Walking With Dinosaurs," a series of educational programs produced by the UK's BBC network and created by FrameStore, a computer design and visual effects facility in London, England.

The series, which aired previously in the UK, Germany and Japan, consists of six weekly episodes, and is now being broadcasted in French (as "Sur la terre des dinosaures") on Radio Canada at 19:30 every Sunday night until April 2nd. The series uses amazingly realistic computer animation to display and explain recent scientific discoveries and theories concerning the long-ago life of dinosaurs. The series will also be broadcasted in the US in April on the Discovery Channel.

Making heavy use of 3-D animation, "Walking With Dinosaurs" relies entirely on Softimager 3D, the Montreal company's flagship system, for creating the oversized lizards in all their scaly glory. With approximately three hours of top-quality animation and feature film quality realism, the system proved instrumental in helping the animators achieve their high aims for this project.

"It was the program that the animators and I all wanted to use. Softimage was the one package that we knew would fit in with the project. The system made our job much easier," said Mike Milne, Director of Computer Animation at FrameStore.

Tim Haines, who produced the project for BBC Horizon, singled out FrameStore to handle the animation, effects and post production for "Walking With Dinosaurs," mainly due to the company's past work on such projects as the Emmyr Award winning mini-series "Gulliver's Travels."

FrameStore's so-called Dino Group, comprising a total of thirteen animators who worked for the better part of 18 months on the project, created all the dinosaurs and made them move using the Softimage 3D system. For enhanced authenticity and believability, a team of six paleontologists lectured the Dino Group on precise characteristics and movements of the extinct creatures; additional realism was obtained through the assistance of three sculptors who created over 30 dinosaur models for reference.

Softimage first made international headlines in 1992, when the company's revolutionary visual effects system was used to create the dinosaurs for Spielberg's Jurassic Park, which quickly became the most successful film of all times, setting a then box-office record and garnering numerous awards, mostly for its innovative filmmaking techniques and spectacular visual effects.

Animation Artist Opens Free Email Service
Yesterday afternoon, Animation Artist Magazine opened up a new Website and free email service at
www.animationartist.net. Those registering get a free [email protected] email service with many features not found on other Web-based email services. Since the program was just launched yesterday, prime names (i.e. [email protected], [email protected], etc.) are still available. Click here for more information.


Thursday, February 24, 2000

Mainframe Starts Work on New Animated Series
Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. announced today that it has been contracted by the Hasbro Properties Group, a division of Hasbro, Inc., for 26 all-CGI Action Man half-hour television series episodes that will premiere the U.S. later this year. Before Action Man begins regularly scheduled broadcasts on Fox Kids in September, a one-hour Action Man special will air on Fox Kids Network in May 2000. SABAN International N.V. is handling international distribution for the series.

"Action Man will demonstrate a new level of achievement in computer animation," said Ian Pearson, President & CEO of Mainframe. "We're combining the best of several technologies through use of motion capture for the action sequences and accomplishing our trademark high standard of facial movements with key frame animation. This allows us to combine the best qualities of Mainframe's signature lip-synching and character animation with very convincing physical action."

The new television series is based on Hasbro's Action Man brand, the number one boy's action brand in Europe. The Action Man television launch will also be accompanied in the U.S. by the introduction of Action Man toys and games, licensed merchandise and high-profile marketing programs.

Bob Skir and Marty Isenberg will write for the series, following up on their success with the highly rated Transformers: Beast Machines series produced by Mainframe and currently seen on Fox Kids Network and YTV.

"Mainframe Entertainment is a terrific creative force with a proven track record in creating cutting-edge computer animation programming," said Willa Perlman, General Manager of HPG. "We're confident that The Action Man T.V. series will be a huge hit with kids."

The new series follows the adventures of a young, incredibly athletic thrill-seeker who one day discovers that he possesses the unique ability known as the AMP (Alternative Motor & Physical) Factor. The AMP Factor gives Action Man a split second advantage, enabling him to anticipate and react to danger that other people don't see coming. Together with his support team of young adventurers, Action Man travels the globe participating in heart pounding sport competitions. When the evil Dr. X presents a seemingly unstoppable threat, only Action man can save the world by combining his athletic abilities with the AMP Factor. Dr. X will stop at nothing to capture Action man and find a way to duplicate the AMP Factor for his evil purposes of global domination.

Production on the series began in January at Mainframe's Vancouver studio. Mainframe Entertainment employs over 270 artists, animators, technicians and production personnel, and has won many prestigious awards for its creative and technical innovations.


Wednesday, February 23, 2000

Box Office Results for Animated Films
Here are the Box Office results for last weekend's (four day holiday weekend) animated films:

The Tigger Movie
$8.1 Million ($2,956 per screen average)
5th at the Box Office (down from #4 last weekend)
Total to Date: $22.3 Million

Fantasia 2000
$2.3 Million ($43,273 per screen average)
13th at the Box Office (down from #11 last weekend)
Total to Date: $24.4 Million

Toy Story 2
$675,812  ($885 per screen average)
19th at the Box Office (down from #16 last weekend)
Total to Date: $240 Million

Pokemon: The First Movie
$50,034 ($167 per screen average)
60th at the Box Office (down from #52 last weekend)
Total to Date: $85.7 Million

Animated ElfQuest Gets Line of Toys
Wolfmill Entertainment announced today that it has signed a worldwide licensing agreement with Living Toyz for a line of action figures based on Wolfmill's forthcoming CG animated feature film Elfquest.

ElfQuestDescribed as both "a fantasy with teeth" and "an action soap opera," Elfquest tells a dynamic fantasy adventure with a richness and depth provided by the large cast of characters whose emotional stories are expertly woven in and out of the action.  Cutter, young chief of the Wolfriders, must lead his tribe of warrior elves across a hostile world to find safety.  Through his adventures he finds evil, magic, and romance.

Prior to the release of Elfquest , Los Angeles-based Living Toyz will produce several sets of action figures based on the original comic book designs as featured in the "Elfquest" comics published by Warp Graphics. 

With the premiere of the film, Living Toyz will release a double-sized set of figures based on the character designs from the film.
 

Tuesday, February 22, 2000

Here Comes Pinocchio!
Animation Artist Magazine today unveiled its second animation history Website, this one dedicated to Disney's classic movie, Pinocchio . To visit the Pinocchio movie site, click here. Last week, Animation Artist Magazine unvelied a Snow White animation history Website, that you can access by clicking here.

Nickelodeon Adding New Animated Series
Nickelodeon is preparing to air some new animated series and we have a sneak peek for you:

Invader Zim -- Created by comic book writer/artist Jhonen Vasquez, and executive produced by Mary Harrington, this original Nicktoon tells the silly, twisted tale of an alien named Zim who's spying on earth by attending an elementary school; a kid named Dib who's onto Zim and dead set on exposing him; and Dib's kid sister, Gaz, who thinks they're both idiots. Like Superman, Zim has a secret identity to protect. Unlike the famed super hero, however, his disguise leaves a lot to be desired. He goes to school wearing an Elvis-style pompadour wig and colored contact lenses. (He also seems to have forgotten about his green skin.).

As Told By Ginger -- New from Klasky-Csupo, the creators of Rugrats, The Wild Thornberrys and Rocket Power, comes this animated series about a former misfit named Ginger Foutley, a sixth grade girl who has one foot in the world of her childhood friends and the other in the scary but exciting realm of popularity, crushes, gossip, and boy-girl parties. She's totally loyal to her friends but intrigued by the wider world out there. This show is the story of her never-ending struggle to leave her dorky old self behind and become, once and for all, cool. Emily Kapnek is the creator of the series.

Chalk Zone -- In the tradition of "Through the Looking Glass" and "The Wizard of Oz," Chalk Zone follows the adventures of Rudy Tabootie, a 10-year-old boy who discovers a magic piece of chalk that allows him to enter a world beyond the chalkboard. In Chalk Zone, everything that has ever been drawn in chalk, and then erased, reappears and lives forever. Originally a segment within Nickelodeon's Oh Yeah! Cartoons!, the series is co-created by Larry Huber and Bill Burnett and executive produced by Fred Seibert.

The Fairly Oddparents -- This series poses the question, what if the magic of childhood could exist beyond the borders of kids' imagination? Timmy is a 10-year-old boy who has the benefit of two magical beings who -- POOF -- come to his aid when he needs help. Whether it's an overbearing babysitter, a tough homework assignment, wanting only ice-cream for dinner, or just a plain old rainy day, "The Fairly Oddparents" fly to the rescue to magically make it better.... until they screw it up, that is. Originally a segment within Nickelodeon's Oh Yeah! Cartoons!, six episodes have been ordered of this animated series created by Butch Hartman.

Dora The Explorer -- An interactive, adventure series featuring a seven-year-old Latina girl who lives inside a computer, Dora is the first Nick Jr. series to make its debut on- line. The series is designed to actively engage preschoolers in a play-along, CD ROM style quest. In every episode, Dora and her best friend, a monkey named Boots, invite the viewer to participate in an exciting adventure. Each step on the journey presents some kind of problem or puzzle, and Dora and the viewers must think their way through to the solution. Dora is also bilingual, and uses her ability to speak Spanish to communicate with her friends and forge ahead. She demonstrates that speaking Spanish is not only a valuable tool, but also a source of pride. The series is executive produced by Brown Johnson, Chris Gifford and Valerie Walsh for Nick Jr.


Monday, February 21, 2000

A Look at Old Man and The Sea
"The Old Man and the Sea," an animated film based on Ernest Hemingway's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and directed by the award-winning Russian animator, Alexander Petrov, has been nominated for this year's Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Director Alexander Petrov brought Ernest Hemingway's classic story to life with over 29,000 individual hand-painted frames. Utilizing a highly sophisticated technique mastered only by a rare few of the world's foremost animation artists, Petrov literally used his fingertips to create each spectacular scene, with slow-drying oil paints on glass.

Ernest Hemingway once said: "This is what an artist must do. On canvas or on printed page he must capture the thing so truly that its magnification will endure." On the 100th anniversary of the birth of this most American of writers, Petrov's painterly images challenge the scope of animation in the way that Hemingway's prose challenged the style of 20th century American fiction.

Speaking immediately following the Oscar nomination, co-producer Bernard Lajoie of Productions Pascal Blais said, "We're honored by this nomination, and we're so pleased for Alexander (Petrov). It is very gratifying that this film, with its ambitious and unique approach to animation, has been so well received by both our peers at the Academy and the public."

"The Old Man and the Sea" has already won seven awards at film festivals internationally. They include the Grand Prize at the Krok International Animated Film Festival in Kiev; Grand Prize, RTP Prize (special recognition by television broadcaster), and Best Soundtrack (three awards in total), Cinanima 1999, Espinho, Portugal and the Special Jury Award, from the Flagstaff International Film Festival/2nd Annual WorldFest Arizona.

Starship Troopers Technical Director Joins New Gaming Company
Tim Hoffman, the technical director for the Starship Troopers animated series has left Foundation Imaging to join a new game company formed by Check Six Studios. Also joining the venture is Jack Mamais and Jean-Marc Morel, both formerly of Activision. The announcement came on the same day that Sony named Check Six as an official developer for Playstation 2 games. Check Six is working with Alias/Wavefront to create the Maya Real-Time SDK, a next-generation game engine, and game-development tools for the PC and PSX2.

LA Times Attacked Academy Awards
An article in the February 13 edition of the Los Angeles Times attacked the Academy Awards for its shortsightedness in ignoring two of the best films of 1999 - The Iron Giant and Toy Story 2. The article was titled "At Awards, Animation Gets the Brush-Off."
 

Sunday, February 20, 2000

New Animated Videos Released
Ready for another sequel to An American Tale? The 14-year old franchise just released "An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island" straight to video.

According to the Seattle Times, "Fievel and his friends discover a secret civilization of Native American mice - and a mouse princess, Cholena. A treasure map leads them to underground New York City, where the local mice have built a series of tunnels. The cast of voices includes Dom DeLuise, who has been with the series from the beginning, as well as David Carradine and Lacey Chabert."

Another video release is an animated musical titled "Lapitch the Little Shoemaker".

Coming on March 14 is another Scooby Doo adventure in "Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers."

Anime Fans Form Organization at Penn State
Uwire is reporting that anime fans have formed a new organization at Penn State. According to the article:

"The Penn State Anime Organization is a brand new organization concerned with the art form known as 'anime,' or Japanese animation. The group's main goal is to expand students' interest in the popular animation style.

In fact, since anime is designed with more than just kids in mind, there are brands of anime that contain levels of violence and sexual references that just wouldn't be found in the usual Saturday morning cartoons.

Currently comprised of about 30 members, PSAO offers an outlet for fans of the genre and also hopes to introduce other to anime. President Shawn Handyside (junior-integrative arts), who was inspired to start PSAO from a foreign film club he was in, said with a few dedicated people, the organization could help expose students to a different, sophisticated type of animation."


Saturday, February 19, 2000

Square and Disney Join Forces on Game
Square Co., Ltd. and Disney Interactive announced they will join forces to develop a game for the PlayStation® 2 computer entertainment system, helmed by world-renowned director and character designer Tetsuya Nomura, the creative powerhouse behind Square's record-breaking Final Fantasy franchise.

The Square/Disney interactive title is scheduled to be released in Japan by end-of-year 2001 and in North America and Europe in 2002.

Square and Disney will work together to leverage their combined industry strength, including creative-content development, production and design, manufacturing and distribution, as well as state-of-the-art 3D technology to deliver an unsurpassed gaming experience to consumers worldwide.

"We believe Square's leadership in game development and Disney's unparalleled expertise in content creation will result in a leading-edge title for PlayStation 2," said Tomoyuki Takechi, president of Square Co., Ltd. "We fully expect this product to appeal not only to the existing fans of Square and Disney games, but to cultivate new and broader audiences for both companies."

Neither company has released details on what the game will be about.

"Disney is delighted to be collaborating with Square on this project, which will truly integrate the magic of Disney content with Square's design innovation and technology," said Jan Smith, president, Disney Interactive. "We are also extremely proud to be working with Nomura. We know his talent and that of the creative team at Disney will complement each other and result in a unique, compelling gaming experience that will appeal to a global marketplace."

Writer's Workshop Undergoes Major Update
On February 5, Animation Artist Magazine introduced a new section called Writer's Workshop. Today a major update has taken place to that section, including the addition of "Interactive Stories," another interview, and the screenplay Anastasia. To go to the Writer's Workshop main page,
click here . To go to the new Interactive Stories section (i.e. animation adventure stories that let you determine the path you take in the story), click here.


Friday, February 18, 2000

Out of Nowhere Comes Gana
A lot of focus has been put on upcoming 3D animation action films like Final Fantasy, Blue Planet, and Vortex. Yet during this time, deep in the studios of French animation company Chaman Productions, an 85-minute animated adventure was being crafted.

Gaina

Called Gana, the film follows the destiny of Gaina, a young female, as she defies her people in a quest to save her planet from destruction.

The movie is a sci-fi action/adventure that targets teenagers as its main audience.

"It is not a matter of the bad guys versus the good guys, but Gana lives in a more realistic world where the good can be sometimes bad and the bad can be good," says Denis Friedman, president of Chaman Productions. "Gana 's graphic environment is different than what you see in Disney or Warner Brothers. We are very specific and strong in terms of a graphic look. While Disney and Warner are very recognizable in their style, Gana cannot be confused with any other style of animation movie."

Gana is not a small production. There are 90 producers and computer animators who have been crafting the film for awhile now. The film is being completely produced using 3D Studio Max and 57 Intergraph Computer Systems, using Windows NT.

Gana was originally being designed as a 52-minute TV special. However, the strong feedback regarding the initial work showed the team that it had something much bigger on its hands. So big, in fact, that the film already has distribution channels, for a theatrical release, in the United States and Japan. Best of all, the film is being released next year.

Stay tuned to Animation Artist Magazine for more details on Gana.


Thursday, February 17, 2000

Animation Artist Takes A Step Back in Time
Animation Artist Magazine is proud to present its first "Animation History Movie Site." Today, Animation Artist Magazine unveiled its Animation History Snow White Movie Site, which deals with Disney's first animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs . To access this new site, click here.

Dinosaur Receives a PG Rating
As reported in last night's Animation Artist Newsletter (
click here to sign up), Dinosaur has received a PG rating from the Motion Picture Association of America for "intense images." Dreamwork's animated The Road to El Dorado has also received a PG rating for "mild thematic material and language." Click here to access the Animation Artist Dinosaur Movie Site.

DreamWorks SKG Acquires PDI
As reported in last night's Animation Artist Newsletter (
click here to sign up), PDI, the makers of ANTZ, have been acquired by DreamWorks.

"Carl Rosendahl built PDI from the ground up into one of the leading computer animation and visual effects houses in the industry," said DreamWorks principal Jeffrey Katzenberg. "DreamWorks is committed to the successful future of PDI and is excited about the limitless possibilities this acquisition offers."


Wednesday, February 16, 2000

FOX Animation Layoff Numbers Changed!
News from FOX on Monday was that it had laid off 100 of its 320 animators from its Phoenix Animation Studios. That number has now changed to "two-thirds" of the staff of 320.

According to Fox News, "The studio said the layoffs aren't a sign that production of animated films will be cut back. Fox Animation president Chris Meledandri said Fox is likely to announce two new animated pictures going into pre-production in the near future...The Phoenix operation, started five years ago at a cost of $100 million, produced the massively hyped fall 1997 release Anastasia and is currently finishing work on Titan A.E., which bows June 16."

There was an apparent confusion over the original numbers, which press worldwide stated as 100 people being laid off when, in fact, less than 100 people will remain.

FOX owns Blue Sky Animation, which works out of New York with about 100 employees. Blue Sky Animation is currently working on an animated film called Ice Age.

Disney's Canada Animation Being Closed Down
Disney announced this week that it will close down Walt Disney Animation Canada Inc. in April. Most of the team has already been dismantled, however. Disney claimed the studio was originally opened because of an accelerated animation schedule that is no longer necessary. The studio lasted only three years.

Stephen Brain Goes to Stan Lee Media
It was announced today that Stephen L. Brain, recognized for establishing Fox Animation Studios the digital feature animation studio that produced the award-winning animated film Anastasia has become the Executive Vice President of Production for Stan Lee Media, Inc.

At SLM, Brain will take the skills he honed in pioneering digital animation at Fox in order to oversee the creation of the world's first digital animation studio dedicated to developing Internet entertainment.

Brain will supervise the production team, comprised of traditional storyboard artists, digital artists and flash animators and ramp up Stan Lee's existing team of 50 artists to 100 artists within the next 90 days. He will break new ground in the industry by creatively directing the convergence of these diverse media talents from both the digital and analog creative and technical communities.

Newsletter Tonight
Animation Artist Magazine will release its 17th newsletter tonight, reporting fresh animation news not yet featured in Daily News. Make sure you're signed up.
Click here.


Tuesday, February 15, 2000

Box Office Results for Animated Films
Here are the Box Office results for last weekend's animated films.

The Tigger Movie
$9.4 Million ($3,462 per screen average)
4th at the Box Office (opening weekend)
Total to Date: $9.4 Million

Toy Story 2
$1.15 Million ($884 per screen average)
16th at the Box Office (down from #11 last weekend)
Total to Date: $238.6 Million

Fantasia 2000
$1.7 Million ($31,360 per screen average)
11th at the Box Office (up from #13 last weekend)
Total to Date: $21.2 Million

Pokemon: The First Movie
$86,173 ($230 per screen average)
52nd at the Box Office (down from #42 last weekend)
Total to Date: $85.6 Million

Oscar Nominations Announced
Oscar nominations were announced early this morning and here are the results for animated films:

Best Original Song
Tarzan - "You'll be in My Heart"
Toy Story 2 - "When She Loved Me"
South Park - "Blame Canada"

Short Film: Animated
Humdrum
My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts
The Old Man and the Sea
3 Misses
When the Day Breaks

In addition, here are the nominations for the category of Best Visual Effects:
The Matrix
Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace
Stuart Little

The winners will be announced on March 26, 2000.

Animation Artist Upgrades Contests Section
Animation Artist Magazine did a major upgrade to the Contests section, including the addition of a new contest called "Mystery Character." Every week a clue will be given as to who the week's mystery character is. The first person to email the correct answer will win that week's prize. A new mystery character will be introduced every Monday.
Click here.


Monday, February 14, 2000

Layoffs at FOX Animation
The Associated Press is reporting this morning that Fox Animation Studios is laying of nearly 100 of its 320 animators in Phoenix. The AP states:

"Florence Grace, a spokeswoman for Fox Animation parent 20th Century Fox, said the studio is the only traditional animation studio the company owns.

'We've kept the core creative team, and we plan to continue to produce animated films,' she said. 'We are not closing the studio. We are restructuring our Phoenix production unit to be more streamlined, flexible and efficient.'

Grace said there was no problem with the company's major project in progress, Titan A.E. , expected to be released this summer.

The cutbacks are a result of competitive pressures, and much of the production work will be contracted out to studios throughout the world, she said."

Interview with Lance Falk
Animation Artist Magazine has published an interview it conducted with Lance Falk, an animation screenwriter, production assistant, model designer, clean-up artist, producer, and design coordinator for Hanna-Barbera films. Click
here to go to the Interviews page or here to go directly to the interview.

Animation Artist Redesigns Iron Giant Site
Animation Artist Magazine has redesigned its movie site for The Iron Giant, giving the site a brand new look and adding a production feature story. In addition, the news section has been updated. The major update reflects Animation Artist Magazine's "Leap Year Celebration" campaign where every day in February a new section is unveiled or a current section (i.e. The Iron Giant Movie Site) undergoes a major update. To visit The Iron Giant Movie Site,
click here.


Sunday, February 13, 2000

Peanuts Creator Charles Schulz Dies at Age 77
The creator of the Peanuts gang, Charles Schulz, passed away from a heart attack last night at the age of 77. His death came one day before his final Peanuts strip ran in Sunday newspapers (today).

"Why do musicians compose symphonies and poets write poems?" Schulz once asked. "They do it because life wouldn't have any meaning for them if they didn't. That's why I draw cartoons. It's my life."

Today marked the final ever Peanuts cartoon for what was the most popular syndicated cartoon series ever. Schulz reach was so strong and wide that he won many prestigious awards like "International Cartoonist of the Year." In 1990 he was given one of the highest art awards in France by being dubbed "Commander of Arts and Letters."

Schulz contract stipulates that no one but him could ever write the Peanuts comic strip.

CNN quoted "For Better or Worse" cartoonist Lynn Johnston as saying, "It's amazing that he dies just before his last strip is published, as if he had written it that way."

Animation Artist Publishes Detailed FAQ
Today Animation Artist Magazine unveiled a detailed FAQ to answer many reader questions. The new FAQ can be accessed by
clicking here.


Saturday, February 12, 2000

Utah Clay Animators Find Niche
The Desert News has published a story about Utah clay animators finding their niche. The story begins:

"Chris and Nathan Smith, both in their 20s, still like to play with clay. And if you think their parents are somehow derelict for not encouraging their sons to grow up and get jobs, you'd be mistaken: playing with clay is their job.

As owners of Ageless Animation in Lehi, the Smith brothers spend long hours recording thousands of miniscule movements of clay figures on film. It's called stop-motion animation, and it's the cinematic process by which an armatured, poseable figure is brought to life on screen.

It's accomplished by breaking the figure's motion into increments and filming one frame of film per increment. When the final film is projected, the figure appears to move of its own volition...

Currently, they're working on a short film titled The Minister for Bristone Films..."

Click here for the rest of the story.

Press Room Undergoes Major Update
Animation Artist Magazine has done a redesign and major update to the Animation Artist Press Room.
Click here.


Friday, February 11, 2000

Jim Varney Dies
As reported in last night's Animation Artist Newsletter, actor Jim Varney passed away early yesterday morning at the age of 50, apparently due to lung cancer. He died shortly before dawn. Varney just recently reprised his voice role as Slinky Dog in the hit animated film, Toy Story 2. He was also cast in the role of a cook named Cookie in Disney's upcoming Atlantis.

Animation Classifieds Unveiled
Animation Artist Magazine today unveiled a new service for its readers called "Animation Classifieds." In the Animation Classifieds section, readers can post ads to sell (or buy) animation products.
Click here to go to Animation Classifieds, register, then you're on your way! You even have your own picture gallery so that you can upload pictures of your various items then easily place those pictures in your ads. Since this section is brand new, it needs some ads. So post yours today!

The Tigger Movie Opens
Walt Disney's The Tigger Movie opened in theaters across the U.S. today and is getting mixed, but mostly positive reviews. Here's a sample:

Positive - Chicago Tribune - "...With this new story and state-of-the-art animation, Disney has reinvigorated the Milne series while staying true both to his and illustrator E.H. Shepherd's original artistic visions. While each character retains his Milne-created personality, the writing is fresh and clever enough to keep kids and parents entertained..."

Negative - USA Today - "...the story isn't a grabber. In fact, when Pooh calms a hive of bees with a lullaby, people over the age of 4 may find themselves catching a few Z's, too - especially since it's obvious long before Tigger and his pals realize that the manic feline already has a clan to call his own..."

The Animation Artist review of The Tigger Movie will be posted tonight at The Tigger Movie Site. Readers are welcome to submit their reviews, for publishing on The Tigger Movie Site, by clicking here .

New Voices Section Opens
Today Animation Artist Magazine opened a new section in
Voices of Animation, where people can post their opinions and questions about video game animation. Click here to go directly to the new forum.


Thursday, February 10, 2000

Stuart Little Gets a Sequel
Stuart Little has performed so well in theaters that a sequel is now in the works that may begin filming as soon as this summer. Columbia Pictures, which distributed the first film, is hoping to release the sequel at Christmas 2001. Stuart Little is a mixture of live action with 3D special effects mainly the lead character, a mouse named Stuart. Because Stuart Little 2 will rely heavily again on computer animation, it is expected to cost over $100 million.

Animation Artist Introduces "Inside Animation"
Animation Artist Magazine opened up a new section today called Inside Animation, which features columns on a variety of animation subjects. To go to Inside Animation,
click here.

Animation Newsletter Being Delivered Tonight
A new edition of the Animation Artist newsletter is being emailed tonight. To get on the newsletter list,
click here.
 

Wednesday, February 9, 2000

Box Office Results for Animated Films
Here are the Box Office results for last weekend's animated films.

Toy Story 2
$2.25 Million ($1,394 per screen average)
11th at the Box Office (down from #10 last weekend)
Total to Date: $237.1 Million

Fantasia 2000
$1.8 Million ($34,093 per screen average)
13th at the Box Office (down from #11 last weekend)
Total to Date: $18.9 Million

Pokemon: The First Movie
$134,623 ($283 per screen average)
42nd at the Box Office (down from #40 last weekend)
Total to Date: $85.5 Million

Animation Artist Opens Tigger Movie Site
Animation Artist Magazine has opened a movie site for Disney's The Tigger Movie. You can access the site by
clicking here. This is the fifth new section that Animation Artist Magazine has opened in the last six days as part of the magazine's "Leap Year Celebration," where every day in the month of February a new section is added or a major update is conducted with a current section. Also today, Animation Artist Magazine opened the "Final Cut" area of the Screening Room.


Tuesday, February 8, 2000

Tarzan Score The Art Institute of Los Angeles Obtains Approval for Bachelor of Science Degrees in Computer Animation and Graphic Design
The Art Institute of Los Angeles, located in Santa Monica, has received approval from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT) to offer Bachelor of Science degrees in computer animation, graphic design and on-line media and marketing. The school, which was established in 1997 as a branch of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, received state approval to offer baccalaureate-level programs in September, 1999. With more than 850 students enrolled, The Art Institute of Los Angeles also offers Associate of Science degrees in computer animation and graphic design, as well as in video production, multimedia and web design, and culinary arts.

"We are very pleased to have been granted this approval by ACCSCT," said Greg Strick, president of The Art Institute of Los Angeles. "It is a solid validation of our institution's continued commitment to educational and administrative excellence. Most important, it allows us to meet the growing needs of our dynamic West Coast marketplace and of The Art Institute students, who will be vital players in their respective industries."

Animation Artist Inroduces "Daily Dose"
Today Animation Artist Magazine unveiled a new section called "Animation Artist Daily Dose." Updated 365 days a year, Daily Dose provides a new animation quote and a new animation fact daily. The new section is the fourth new section in five days introduced by Animation Artist Magazine. It is part of Animation Artist Magazine's "Leap Year Celebration," where a new section or major update is being introduced every single day in the month of February.
Click here to access Daily Dose.


Monday, February 7, 2000

Tarzan Score Gets a Chance
When Disney's Tarzan soundtrack hit store shelves last summer, there was something missing all the movie scores by Mark Mancina. Disney saw fit to only include four of his numbers on the main soundtrack for the film. But now the full score to Tarzan is being made public, even though the CD will be hard to find. The CD contains 26 tracks that equals 40 minutes of background music.

Blender 2.0 Being Shown at LinuxWorld
Dutch company Not a Number (NaN) announced it will be showcasing the current line of its multi-platform 3D modeling and animation software known as Blender during LinuxWorld Expo in New York, Feb. 2-4.

NaN will also offer a sneak preview of Blender 2.0, the next generation of its popular 3D graphics modeling and animation package. NaN can be found in the VA Linux Systems booth, No. 719.

Build a Story Forum Unveiled
Today Animation Artist Magazine unveiled a new "Build a Story" forum on
Voices in Animation as part of the month of February "Leap Year Celebration". The new forum allows users to introduce a new animated story adventure and other users to contribute to that adventure. There's just one catch each time a person adds to a story, he/she must also submit an image! Click here to go directly to the forum.


Sunday, February 6, 2000

Elton John, Tim Rice and Hans Zimmer Reunite for 'Elton John's The Road To El Dorado'
"Elton John's The Road To El Dorado" (due March 14, 2000, on DreamWorks Records) is the latest collaboration from the team of Elton John, Tim Rice and Hans Zimmer. The three previously worked together on the music for the animated hit The Lion King (John and Rice were songwriters; Zimmer was composer). The project earned them two Academy Awards, three Grammy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards collectively. Moreover, the soundtrack to The Lion King has sold more than 10 million copies, having spent nine weeks at #1 on Billboard's pop album chart.

John, Rice and Zimmer's current collaboration stems from DreamWorks Pictures' upcoming animated adventure The Road To El Dorado (in theaters March 31). "Elton John's The Road To El Dorado ," however, promises more than the traditional soundtrack. Spanning four years of filmmaking and song writing, it is a collection of songs almost wholly written for the film but entitled to stand on their own.

"Instead of just having the usual five songs on a soundtrack album and the rest of it being score," John explains, "I said, 'Let's make an album out of this and include songs we wrote that didn't make the movie.'"

He says of the project's evolution aside the film's development, "The plot changes, the jokes change, the songs change scenes, but that's par for the course."

The Road To El Dorado features the original, full-length versions of the five songs John performs in the film: "El Dorado," "Without Question," "Friends Never Say Goodbye," "The Trail We Blaze" and "Someday Out Of The Blue (Theme From El Dorado)," which features music co-written with Patrick Leonard, who produced the 11 Elton John songs on the record. These songs, in particular, propel the story of this classic buddy-movie adventure.

Rounding out the record are the Elton John and Randy Newman duet "It's Tough To Be A God" (sung onscreen by Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh); "16th Century Man," "Trust Me" and "Queen Of Cities" (all written for but not included in the film); and "The Panic In Me" and "My Heart Dances" (written specifically for the album). The first single from El Dorado, "Someday Out Of The Blue (Theme from El Dorado)," arrives at radio Feb. 7 and retail April 4.

"Elton John's The Road To El Dorado" also presents excerpts from the score to The Road To El Dorado: "Cheldorado" and "The Brig," both composed by Zimmer, and "Wonders Of The New World," composed by John Powell. Zimmer and Gavin Greenaway produced the film's score.

Will Bilton Interviewed by Animation Artist
Animation Artist Magazine has posted an interview with Will Bilton, a leading digital software graphics expert for The Iron Giant. In addition, the Interviews section of Animation Artist Magazine has been upgraded. This is part of Animation Artist Magazine's "Leap Year Celebration" where every day in February a major upgrade or new section is opened.
Click here to be transferred to the Interviews section.


Saturday, February 5, 2000

Animation Bids Now Being Accepted
Phoenix Media Group Ltd. is currently soliciting bids to animate a Manfred Moose short cartoon.

The first project calls for a two-dimensional, full-color animation to run approximately three minutes. All sound will be added in post production.

The company expects to use this first project to demonstrate the viability of the Manfred Moose character in an animated cartoon format.

All parties interested in offering bids to animate this project should contact Phoenix Media Group Ltd. at (818) 563-3900.

Character Names Backbone of New Workshop
As part of its "Leap Year Celebration," Animation Artist introduced a new section for screenwriters titled the
Screenwriter Workshop. Still in its beginning stages, the main tool in the Screenwriters Workshop is the Animation Artist Character Names generator. This tool allows screenwriters or story writers to obtain character name ideas. Users can search for names by personality traits, origins, gender, first letters, last letters, and so on. To visit the new Screenwriter Workshop, click here.


Friday, February 4, 2000

"The Simpsons" Comic Strip to Honor Peanuts
On Sunday, Feb. 13, Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons" comic strip, will present a farewell to "Peanuts," whose last (new) Sunday comic appears that day in newspapers nationwide. Groening joins a host of other cartoonists from syndicates throughout the country who have dedicated daily and weekly strips to retiring cartoonist Charles Schulz. Other Universal Press Syndicate cartoonists planning February mentions of the retiring "Peanuts" include Cathy Guisewite of "Cathy," Tom Wilson of "Ziggy," Wiley Miller of "Non Sequitur" and Lennie Peterson of "The Big Picture."
Since "The Simpsons" appears only on Sundays, and in color, it was an easy decision to use Feb. 13 as the date for the tribute, Groening says. "Peanuts" will continue in reruns.

"We wanted to mark the retirement of a great cartoonist whose character, Charlie Brown, has been a personal hero to me for many years," says Groening. Groening's cartoon strip, "The Simpsons," appears in almost 50 newspapers in North America with a readership of more than 10 million fans. The strip is produced by Groening's comic book company, Bongo Comics, and is distributed by Universal Press Syndicate.

"Charlie Brown appeals to me as a lovable underachiever who is always a little depressed about his shortcomings. Bart Simpson, on the other hand, is too brainless to be depressed about himself," Groening says.

"Our hope was to develop an homage that was warm and humorous, but definitely had that 'Simpson-esque' quality to it. Out of courtesy, we ran the idea by Charles Schulz's syndicate and they gave us their support," Groening adds.

"The Simpsons'" color tribute to "Peanuts" features Homer Simpson going out to his neighborhood bar, which is managed by bartender Moe. Every frame that shows Homer walking through the neighborhood has a little remembrance of "Peanuts."

For example, Bart misses a football, yanked away by Nelson, and makes the classic gasp, "Aaugh." Homer passes a booth where Lisa Simpson is dishing out blues music for a few cents. As Homer reaches Moe's place, an overwhelming urge for peanuts takes control of his temperament, but he is shocked to learn that Moe is no longer serving peanuts. "How will we survive without peanuts?" Homer laments. Moe's words of wisdom to savor the last few peanuts in the jar is lost on Homer, who stuffs his mouth full immediately.

The finishing line on the strip is a personal farewell to Schulz from Matt Groening and the entire staff of Bongo Comics.

"The Simpsons" comic strip started Sept. 5, 1999, and has steadily built a fan base among newspaper comic readers who also love the Fox television show.

Animation Artist Opens Animation Events Calendar
As part of the "Leap Year Celebration," Animation Artist Magazine has opened a new section -
Animation Events Calendar. The Animation Events Calendar tracks upcoming events (i.e. animated movie openings, special events, etc.). If you know of an event that should be listed, please send a description, the date, and any further information to [email protected].


Thursday, February 3, 2000

China Kicks Out The Cartoon Network
China has banned The Cartoon Network from airing in China for reasons not disclosed.

According to Reuters, "Chinese authorities are not saying why, and Turner Broadcasting officials say they are mystified. It is the latest chapter in a bumpy relationship between Time Warner Inc, which owns Turner, and the Chinese government.

An edition of Time magazine was barred last year, apparently for carrying articles by prominent Chinese political exiles. And CNN was blocked for a while around the 10th anniversary last year of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Now Scooby Doo and Snagglepuss appear to be on the Communist Party's hit list."

Screening Room Undergoes Major Update
As part of the Animation Artist "Leap Year Celebration," the
Screening Room has a new design and new images in every room, waiting to be evaluated by Animation Artist readers. Every day in February, Animation Artist Magazine is introducing a major section update or a whole new area (first new area arrives tomorrow). The Screening Room allows animators and artists to submit their images for constructive criticism from other animators and artists. Click here to go to the Screening Room.

Buzz Lightyear Coming to TV
Empire magazine, from Britain, is reporting that Disney is planning a TV show based on Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story movies. According to Empire, Buzz Lightyear will be a real space hero in the movie, versus just a play toy. His arch enemy will be the same as Toy Story 2 Emperor Zorg.


Wednesday, February 2, 2000

Hasbro Teams with Saban over Nascar Racers
Hasbro Interactive announced today that it is teaming with Saban Entertainment to bring the new animated Fox television series NASCAR RACERS to interactive games for the Sony PlayStation(R) and the PC. NASCAR RACERS, debuting in February, creates a world of futuristic NASCAR racing, where kids can become supersonic speed stars by participating in the adventures of their favorite characters from the show.

"Saban Entertainment has envisioned the future of NASCAR racing and is introducing children to it with this new TV series," said Tom Dusenberry, president of Hasbro Interactive. "This property lends itself well to interactive games, because of its fast-paced NASCAR action."

NASCAR RACERS for the Sony PlayStation and PC is based on the animated television series by the same name, which will begin airing weekly on February 5, 2000, on the Fox Kids Network. Featuring high-speed action and cutting edge animation, NASCAR RACERS introduces four young heroes for a new generation

The NASCAR RACERS interactive games will allow players to participate in the television show's NASCAR Unlimited Racing Division and features three modes of play (Adventure Mode, Single Player Mode and Two Player Challenge Mode), eight of the show's futuristic tracks, and eight different cars (four from each of the two teams featured in the TV series).

Look for the game this fall.

Animation Artist Newsletter - New News
The weekly Animation Artist Newsletter contains animation news that is not posted on the Animation Artist Website. For example, last night's Animation Artist newsletter contained a warning about the Tarzan DVD, information on a character dying on "The Simpsons," an announcement of a new Cartoon Network show, and information on an "Arthur" Christmas special. To sign up for the newsletter,
click here. To view the archives, including last nights newsletter, click here .

Leap Year Celebration: February 2, 2000
Today's "Leap Year Celebration" update is to
Upcoming Animated Films, which received a facelift and a major update. Every day in February a new major update will be announced or a new section will be opened.
 

Tuesday, February 1, 2000

Animation Artist Begins "Leap Year Celebration"
Animation Artist Magazine is celebrating leap year, in which February has 29 days versus 28 days. To celebrate, Animation Artist Magazine will be unveiling a major update or new section every single day of the month. To start the Leap Year Celebration, Animation Artist Magazine has redesigned and upgraded its Dinosaur Movie Site at www.dinosaurmovie.com. Tomorrow, Animation Artist will announce another major update to a popular section. This will happen every day from now until February 29.

Tarzan Released to Video and DVD
Disney's Tarzan was released today on both
video and DVD . A special limited edition DVD for Tarzan is being released on April 18, 2000.

Final Weekend Box Office Results
Here are the final weekend Box Office numbers for animated films still in the theater. The big surprise is an 11th place finish for Disney's Fantasia 2000, which is only playing on IMAX screens. Also, Toy Story 2 rose to 10th after finishing 11th the previous weekend.:

Toy Story 2
$2.3 Million ($1,304 per screen average)
10th at the Box Office (up from #11 last weekend)
Total to Date: $234.3 Million

Fantasia 2000
$1.8 Million ($34,353 per screen average)
11th at the Box Office (up from #16 last weekend)
Total to Date: $16.4 Million

Pokemon: The First Movie
$163,007 ($426 per screen average)
40th at the Box Office (down from #32 last weekend)
Total to Date: $85.3 Million

Microsoft Gives Animation Grant to University
Microsoft has given an $80,000 grant to the University of Wisconsin Madison's School of Education in order to establish an animation lab. The computer animation laboratory will run Maya as its main animation program. Maya is widely used in the animation industry in animated movies like Toy Story and ANTZ . It also apparently assisted in the creation of Disney's upcoming Dinosaur. There will be 35 computers in the animation lab with plans on leaving it open 24 hours a day.

 

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