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Vicki Tracy

Monday, July 31, 2000

Joseph Becomes DreamWorks First Animated Video
According to Variety:

"Just seven weeks after Disney introduces the made-for-video sequel to The Little Mermaid on Sept. 19, the voice of Ariel will be singing a different tune on DreamWorks' first video premiere.

Jodi Benson joins David Campbell and Maureen McGovern in singing five of the songs in DreamWorks' made-for-video musical animated film Joseph: King of Dreams. The 75-minute movie, three years in the works -- even before ``The Prince of Egypt'' -- was completed in April and is being released on Nov. 7.

Ben Affleck, Mark Hamill, Steven Weber and Judith Light are among the voice talent in the project, which the studio hopes will generate the kind of success that Disney and Universal have enjoyed with video premieres of sequels to The Lion King, Aladdin and The Land Before Time among others..."

Click here for the full story.

To discuss this in the Voices in Animation forums, click here.

Caligari Announces trueSpace 5
Caligari Corporation has announced trueSpace 5, a new version of its 3D modeling and animation program. In trueSpace 5 Caligari adds a full complement of NURBS-based modeling tools, physically realistic rendering, and advanced surfacing features. In addition, new support for industry standard IGES, SAT and STL formats streamlines trueSpace 5 compatibility with traditional CAD/CAM applications, providing a real-time authoring tool for designers that delivers the high-end modeling, rendering and animation power they require, at a mid- range price below competing solutions.

"There are a lot of talented designers out there who are simply intimidated or unwilling to put up with awkward user interfaces in leading 3D authoring tools. trueSpace 5 is changing that, while still providing every ounce of needed design power," said Roman Ormandy, President and CEO of Caligari Corp. "And iSpace, our new web delivery platform, is an ideal way to bring trueSpace 5 models to the web."

New Features - User Interface
trueSpace's widely recognized and often emulated 3D user interface allows for real-time direct manipulation in a hardware accelerated, integrated, 3D perspective work space where designers can interact intuitively with 3D objects and environments. The DX7/OpenGL-based rendering engine coupled with Intel SSE and AMD 3Dnow! CPU optimization provides real time feedback on all operations.

Other interface enhancements include:

  • context-based direct manipulation editing
  • Magic Ring for interactive manipulation of primitive shapes
  • Draw Panel for performing 2D operations directly in the 3D workspace
  • Tri-View Panel extends the Draw Panel into the 3rd dimension for skinning and sweeps
  • fully integrated visual asset libraries with universal drag-and-drop
  • floating toolbars and individual tools to customize your workspace

NURBS based Modeling
trueSpace 5 expands the modeling toolset with a full implementation of NURBS-based modeling tools including all Sweeps, Rails, Lofts, Skinning, and Cross-sections. NURBS can be combined with stitching, blending, filleting and cut with trimming curves -- all in real-time, full 3D perspective. NURBS Geometry Paint provides users with a paint brush to modify NURBS surface geometry in real time.

Other new modeling features include:

  • Real-time subdivision surfaces for easier texturing and animation
  • traditional CAD-like layers, improved dimensioning, and advanced 2D drawing tools
  • fully-parameterized 2D and 3D primitives with Magic Ring visual control
  • enhanced snapping tools
  • MetaMuscles

Advanced Surfacing
A completely redesigned Materials Editor and new IIR (incremental image rendering) technology allow designers to move the resizable material editor windows over any scene object and edit surface materials directly with near real-time feedback.

3D paint tools can now paint on textured surfaces with real-time feedback using arbitrary bitmap as a brush. With real-time UV mapping in trueSpace5, users can precisely position and apply any texture projection, using a 3D widget, and get immediate feedback in solid textured mode.

Physically Accurate Rendering
New physically accurate lights and image-based rendering technology allow for an unparalleled level of realism. trueSpace 5 offers faster rendering with better image quality and lower memory use, and new non-linear tone mapping capabilities to generate even more realistic images. Ten new advanced shaders include mapped reflectance, shadow catchers, new fog, wood, leather, and curvature visualization shaders.

More Precise Animation Controls
For detailed character animation, NURBS and subdivision surfaces can now be animated at the control vertex level, and trueSpace 5 continues to offers linear key-framed animation, and non-linear physics-based animation with properties such as wind, gravity, and collision detection. Now, with DX7 hardware geometry acceleration, trueSpace 5 lets users compute the radiosity solution interactively, while navigating in real-time through a scene.

System Requirements
trueSpace5 requires a Pentium II CPU (Pentium III recommended), Windows 95/98/2000/NT, 64MB RAM, and 50MB of free hard disk space. For optimum performance, 128MB RAM and a 3D accelerator are recommended.

trueSpace 5 for Windows will be available in the Fall directly from Caligari and from Caligari authorized resellers. For more information contact Caligari by telephone at 800-351-7620 or 650-390-9600.

Sunday, July 30, 2000

Chicken Run Nears $100 Million
The DreamWorks distributed Chicken Run movie is nearing the $100 million mark and is edging closer to becoming the most successful non-Disney animated movie of all time. Estimates for the weekend place Chicken Run 10th at the Box Office with a total to date of $92.9 million. It could pass the $100 million mark within the next 10-12 days. 

Pixar Stocks Up on SGI Systems
Pixar Animation Studios, has made a significant purchase of more than 250 new Silicon Graphics Octane2 visual workstations for production of its fourth animated feature film, Disney/Pixar's "Monsters, Inc.", targeted for a Holiday 2001 release. The Silicon Graphics Octane2 visual workstation, introduced by SGI last month, is a new desktop line with strong visualization power.

Pixar is providing these workstations to its entire digital content creation team, who will use the workstations for 3D modeling, painting and animation.

"We've always looked to SGI to provide the most advanced visualization technology," said Greg Brandeau, vice president of Computer Operations for Pixar Animation Studios. "We chose Octane2 for its unmatched speed, power and features that enable us to produce a more visually-rich film. These important tools will help our animators manipulate complex models and images, as well as complete the film on time and within budget."

Saturday, July 29, 2000

Pokemon 2000 Suffers Huge Drop
Like last year's Pokemon: The First Movie, the sequel has suffered a massive drop off at the Box Office in its second weekend. Pokemon 2000 is on track to make just under $9 million this weekend, which would be a big 60% drop. This is despite heavy competition like Pokemon: The First Movie had last year when Toy Story 2 came out a week after its release.

Meanwhile, the animated and live action Thomas and the Magic Railroad is expected to bring in under $3 million this weekend. The poor showing isn't expected to place in the Top 10.

Friday, July 28, 2000

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

Pokemon 2000
$19.6 Million ($7,113 per screen average - opening weekend)
3rd at the Box Office
Total to Date: $19.6 Million

Chicken Run
$4.6 Million ($1,786 per screen average - 42% drop)
9th at the Box Office (down from #6 last weekend)
Total to Date: $86 Million

$176,839 ($514 per screen average - massive 62% decrease)
23rd at the Box Office (down from #15 last weekend)
Total to Date: $133.2 Million

Titan A.E.
$131,231 ($464 per screen average - 24% drop)
31st at the Box Office (down from #26 last weekend)
Total to Date: $22.1 Million

Toy Story 2
No Longer in Theaters
U.S. Total: $245.8 Million

The Tigger Movie
No Longer in Theaters
U.S. Total: $45.5 Million

Titan A.E. Director Talks to Ireland Newspaper
According to The Irish Times:

"Back in Dublin for the first time in several years to promote his new movie, Titan A.E., Gary Goldman claims he fondly remembers the nine years he spent in Ireland with co-director Don Bluth, although he admits that the animation company the pair founded here had its fair share of difficulties.

'We thought when we came here in the mid-1980s that it would be easy to raise money to make independent movies, because of the tax advantages. And we'd no sooner got here than they repealed that law, I think because there'd been a lot of abuse going on.'

In the 1980s, Sullivan Bluth (as it was called at first) was held out as the great white hope for a burgeoning Irish animation industry, which would train and employ hundreds of skilled young people in producing quality feature films..."

Click here for the full story.

Henson Produces Digital Puppets
According to the Daily Radar:

"Blending puppetry and digital technology, Jim Henson Interactive has developed a new way of creating digital characters. Called Henson Digital Performance Studio, HDPS, the product will reportedly allow a greater range of direction and improvisation for digital presentation.

'We have combined the traditional skills of the Henson puppeteers with our proprietary system for realtime performance of computer-generated characters, thereby creating a whole new level of performance in the digital realm. This new art form allows for a more theatrical approach to direction and improvisation, and has a visibly different texture from conventional key-frame animation,' says David Barrington-Holt, creative supervisor for Jim Henson's Creature Shop in Los Angeles..."

Click here for the full story.

SIGGRAPH Wrap-Up Tomorrow
Tomorrow Animation Artist Magazine will publish a newsletter wrap up of SIGGRAPH 2000 along with more pictures to its SIGGRAPH 2000 update area. In order to receive the wrap-up, you must be subscribed to the Animation Artist Newsletter.
Click here to join.

Thursday, July 27, 2000

Live Update From SIGGRAPH 2000

Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Live Update From SIGGRAPH 2000

Tuesday, July 25, 2000

Live Update From SIGGRAPH 2000

Monday, July 24, 2000

Four Animators Gain Emmys in Juried (non-nominated) Category
Two animation art directors, an animation color stylist, and an animation production designer won Emmy awards in the category of "Individual Achievement in Animation," which is determined by a special panel versus nominations.

The four winners are:

Bari Kumar for work on "Futurama"

Nelson Lowry for work on "The PJs"

Maciek Albrecht for work on "Goodnight Moon and Other Sleepy Time Tales"

Don Shank for work on "The Powerpuff Girls"

Congratulation to these animation artists!

Tuesday Begins Live Show Floor Coverage of SIGGRAPH
Tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, July 25, Animation Artist Magazine will post its first SIGGRAPH update live from the show floor at SIGRAPH 2000 being held in New Orleans. The special updates will occur 1-2 times a day on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. You will be able to access the updates from the front page of Animation Artist Magazine.

Sunday, July 23, 2000

Pokemon Falters After Huge Opening
After opening huge on Friday with $9.6 million, Pokemon 2000 took a drastic drop on Saturday, bringing in only $6.8 million and propelling it to third place at the Box Office under What Lies Beneath and X-Men, which is now in its second week. The news is a stark contrast to the performance of Pokemon: The First Movie last year where it made $9 million on Friday and shot up to over $13 million on Saturday. Warner Brothers anticipated a very strong opening weekend, making sure it had "more than enough" Pokemon cards to be distributed at theaters. It looks like the WB may now be left with thousands of extra cards as Pokemon 2000 is slated to make more than $10 million less than the first film's opening weekend last year.

Pokemon Toy Craze is Fading
According to Reuters:

Pikachu and his friends may fill some theaters as Pokemon The Movie 2000 opens this weekend, but their ability to attract kids to the nation's toy stores appears to be waning.

After fascinating millions of children and many of their parents for a year or more, the cuddly yellow Pikachu and his Pokemon pals may have lost some of their allure, as retailers report that some of their Pokemon-related merchandise is no longer flying out of their stores.

Last year Pokemon was virtually unchallenged in its position at the top of every child's wish list, and trading cards featuring the colorful cartoon creatures became a near-obsession in playgrounds.

This year the characters -- whose images have appeared on everything from afghans and balloons, to lunch boxes and baseball caps -- have lost momentum and sales in the United States, though they remain hot commodities in other countries..."

Click here for the full story .

DreamWorks Hires Writer for new Animated Film
DreamWorks has hired writer Ron Bass to pen a new animated screenplay with a working title of The Circus.  The story is set in the early 1900s in France. Bass is best known for the Academy Award winning screenplay Rain Man.


Saturday, July 22, 2000

Former Walt Disney Home Denied Historical Status
According to the LA Times:

"A Los Feliz home once owned by Walt Disney was ruled to have 'no architectural or cultural significance' and was denied a designation as a historic cultural monument by city officials this week..The home fell one vote shy Wednesday of winning the designation as a cultural monument..."

Click here for the full story.

Pokemon 2000 Opens Huge
Pokemon 2000 had a huge opening on Friday, bringing in $9.64 million, more than the opening day of Toy Story 2 last year (which brought in $9.5 million when it opened on a Wednesday). The $9.64 million is a few hundred thousand dollars short of the opening of Pokemon: The First Movie last year which brought in $10 million. The opening of Pokemon 2000 had a big effect on Chicken Run, which dropped nearly 50% from last Friday (it's biggest drop to date), sending it to ninth place. The success of the Pokemon sequel is good news for Warner Brothers because of a report issued last week of diminishing toy sales and interest in the Pokemon franchise. Pokemon 2000 even opened on nearly 200 fewer screens than the first film and in many cases, smaller theaters (i.e. Santa Barbara's huge Arlington theater showed the first movie there, but bypassed the second one, which is only showing on one screen, in a much small theater, in the entire Santa Barbara county).

Disney Releases Atlantis Trailer!
Disney has released the first movie trailer for it's summer 2001 animated film, Atlantis: The Lost Empire. View it by
clicking here.

Friday, July 21, 2000

The Grandad Behind the Mouse
According to the Kansas City Star:

"Leslie Iwerks was only a year old in 1971 when her grandfather, Ub Iwerks, died.

'I only have a photo of me sitting on his lap,' Iwerks, 30, said of her grandpa, the pioneering Walt Disney animator. 'I don't really have any personal recollections of him.'

But growing up in Los Angeles, she could hardly avoid hearing the Iwerks legend -- how the Kansas City-born Ub (rhymes with "hub") met a fellow named Disney and went on to design and animate Mickey Mouse. What's more, Ub played a major role in developing Disneyland and won two Academy Awards for technical achievement.

Still, at first it was hard for young Leslie to really appreciate her forebear's accomplishments. As a Disney brat -- her father, Don Iwerks, was then head of Disney's technical engineering department -- she quickly developed the tough-to-impress attitude of a show-biz insider..."

Click here for the full story.

Animation Artist Magazine to Cover SIGGRAPH
The staff of Animation Artist Magazine will be flying to New Orleans next week to report on SIGGRAPH, the largest annual graphics and animation tradeshow in the U.S.. Among the big events, Square is expected to show more scenes from its upcoming Final Fantasy movie.
Click here to go to the Final Fantasy Website where they released 50 seconds of new footage to the Web.

Beginning Tuesday afternoon, Animation Artist Magazine will publish live reports including what's hot at the show (besides the weather). The updates from SIGGRAPH will continue through Thursday. Because of the live updates from the show floor, the schedule for Tuesday through Thursday will be different from the regular news update schedules.

Thursday, July 20, 2000

Kids Give Pokemon Movie Thumbs Up
According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Too bad movie critic Roger Ebert just found himself a permanent TV sidekick. Giovanni Padilla might have filled the role nicely, particularly reviewing kids' movies.

He's a 9-year-old from Daly City who caught Sunday's sneak preview of the new Pokemon flick, the sequel to last winter's smash Japanese animated movie.

Unlike most kids, whose capsule reviews ranged from 'It's fun' to 'I just like it,' Giovanni offered an articulate appraisal of the latest cinematic adventure of the odd little fighting pocket monsters, or Pokemon, and the cartoon kids who train them.

'It was really interesting,' Giovanni said in the lobby of San Francisco's United Artists Galaxy theater. 'I liked all the action and the cool new Pokemon. It had better graphics than the last one, and it was very exciting'..."

Click here for the full story.

New Final Fantasy Footage
Tomorrow the
Final Fantasy Website will unveil new footage from its much anticipated realistic Final Fantasy animated film. The film, being developed by Square Pictures with assistance from The Agency at Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment and distribution by Columbia Pictures. Tomorrow Square is releasing a 50 second peak into the Final Fantasy Movie that is currently scheduled for release on July 20, 2001.

Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Dinosaur Still Bringing in the Bucks
Dinosaur continues to be a huge hit overseas, breaking many overseas animation records. While U.S. Box Office reciepts add up to an impressive $132.8 million, overseas the numbers are still adding up. In Hong Kong, Dinosaur opened to $1.8 million, 15% better than the animation record holder Toy Story 2 there. In fact its the best opening of any Disney film in Hong Kong and the second biggest opening this year in Hong Kong, being beat by Mission Impossible 2. The film also broke animation records in Taiwan and South Korea, where Tarzan had reigned king of the jungle until Dinosaur arrived, performing 50% better in South Korea (bringing in $1 million) and 15% better in Taiwan (bringing in $605,000).

Mechanic Goes from Zero (Titan A.E.) to Hero (X-Men)
According to the Los Angeles Times:

"It's one of those classic Hollywood ironies: A movie chief gets fired, and, bam, his next release is a smash hit.

Sure, Bill Mechanic had his share of wrong bets during his nearly seven-year tenure as head of 20th Century Fox, including the recent costly animated flop Titan A.E. But, as with other studio honchos who were fired and left lucrative movie franchises in their wake, Fox has Mechanic to thank for its latest: X-Men.

Just three weeks after Fox booted its widely beloved movie chairman and before it has even named a successor, the studio had its second-biggest movie opening in history after last year's Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.

'It's a little bittersweet, but that's cool,' said the plain-spoken Mechanic when reached Monday morning at his home office, where he was fielding congratulatory calls on two ringing phones from his Hollywood friends.

Far surpassing all industry expectations, X-Men took in $54.4 million during its debut this past weekend--nearly as much as Star Wars $64.8 million..."

Click here for the full story .

Newsletter Tonight
A new edition of the Animation Artist Newsletter is being emailed tonight with the latest in animation news. The newsletter is a free service of Animation Artist Magazine, so make sure you're signed up.
Click here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2000

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

Chicken Run
$7.9 Million ($2,680 per screen average - 20% drop)
6th at the Box Office (down from #5 last weekend)
Total to Date: $77 Million

$462,243 ($657 per screen average - 30% decrease)
15th at the Box Office (down from #13 last weekend)
Total to Date: $132.7 Million

Fantasia 2000
No longer in theaters - limited run has concluded
Total to Date: $58.4 Million

Titan A.E.
$173,753 ($455 per screen average - big 54% drop)
26th at the Box Office (down from #17 last weekend)
Total to Date: $21.9 Million

Toy Story 2
$19,909 ($390 per screen average - 26% decrease)
66th at the Box Office (down from #65 last weekend)
Total to Date: $245.8 Million

The Tigger Movie
$19,890 ($255 per screen average - 30% drop)
67th at the Box Office (down from number #64 last weekend)
Total to Date: $45.5 Million

Pokemon Seeks Potter-Like Power
According to the Philadelphia Daily News:

"Parents, get ready for Pokemania II.

When Pokemon the First Movie became a hit in the United States last fall, it was inevitable that a sequel or two would follow. Why, the title alone was a tip-off.

Now, coinciding with a fresh shipment of Pokemon merchandise to the shelves of your nearest toy store, Ash Ketchum, Pikachu and friends are returning to the big screen July 21 for more adventures.

Pokemon the Movie 2000 combines the animated feature, "The Power of One," along with a 22-minute short, Pikachu's Rescue Adventure, which follows the popular yellow pocket monster through a magical underground forest.

The Warner Bros. feature introduces six new Pokemon characters and four new Pokemon trading cards, bringing the total to 161, if you're counting. As with the previous movie, a card will be given out with each admission..."

Click here for the full story.


Monday, July 17, 2000

New DreamWorks Toon in the Works
Leslie Dixon, who wrote The Thomas Crown Affair, has been hired by DreamWorks to write an animated adventure that has the working title of Chakulan . According to the Daily Variety, Chakulan is "inspired by the fact that male Bengal tigers have a biological animosity toward female tigers and their cubs." DreamWorks is being very secretive about any aspects of the story itself.

X-Men has Fourth Largest Opening Ever
The special effects filled X-Men movie ran away with the Box Office this weekend, bringing in an estimated $57.5 million. This was well beyond the wildest expectations of FOX, which believed the most it could make would be $35 million. The extraordinary opening is making up for Fox's disastrous Titan A.E. which failed to deliver at the Box Office. Next weekend, Pokemon 2000 opens in theaters and is expected to take much of the family crowd from DreamWorks Chicken Run (at least for a week or two), which is still performing solidly at the Box Office. Last year, Pokemon: The Movie opened huge only to see some of the most drastic drop-offs in Box Office history.

Sunday, July 16, 2000

X-Men Opens Huge
X-Men, the special effects filled sci-fi adventure from FOX, had the third biggest opening ever on Friday, bringing in $21.4 million. The only two movies to do better on a Friday opening were Star Wars: Episode 1 and The Lost World. Meanwhile, Chicken Run brought in nearly $2 million on Friday to bring its total to $71 million. In the UK, Chicken Run is performing very strong, dropping only 8% from its opening weekend.

Animators Settle on Internet Contract
The Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists, Local 839 IATSE, has announced a special agreement for studios producing animation for the Internet.

The Screen Cartoonists is offering a newer, simpler contract without the traditional animation classifications and rates.

The contract is designed to offer Internet start-ups a maximum of flexibility while still providing animation employees with the pension and health coverage they have become accustomed to.

"Many of our members have started working in this new industry, and have shared their desire to continue union health and pension benefits," said business representative Steve Hulett.

"They understand that the terms of a new contract are not going to be the same as the ones they have worked under at traditional animation studios like Disney, Warners or DreamWorks."

Local 839's contract will provide health and pension benefits under the same multi-employer plan as that of other union shops. These benefits are available to employers at a fraction of the cost of non-union coverage, with employees enjoying the advantages of multi-employer health and pension without coverage lapses.

There is an option for an employee-funded 401(k) plan with virtually no administrative expense to the employer.

Local 839 is offering these companies the unlimited services of the finest animation artists and techs that Hollywood has to offer. 839 members are veteran specialists, trained in the finest traditions that have made Hollywood animation the world hallmark of quality and efficiency.

These skills are available nowhere else. With a membership of almost 3,000, Local 839 represents more traditional animators and digital artists and techs than any other organization in the world. entrepreneurs have seen the advantages of investing their seed money in a trained and experienced work staff rather than beginners learning on the job at company expense.

Companies have already started to respond to the union's outreach efforts.

The union acknowledged that this was a new direction for them, but a road well worth travelling. Local 839 President Tom Sito, currently directing the Warner Bros. feature "Osmosis Jones," said that new animation technologies require new approaches by the union.

"We've been a pencil-and-paper organization for almost half a century," said Sito. "But more and more, we're becoming an organization of artists working in digital technologies. This seems like a natural step."

Saturday, July 15, 2000

Chicken Run Passes $70 Million Mark
On Friday, Chicken Run passed the $70 million mark, remaining strong at the Box Office. Over the weekend, Chicken Run's Box Office total is expected to surpass Me, Myself, and Irene, which opened against Chicken Run three weeks ago, beating it at the Box Office. Chicken Run continues to have strong weekday showings, averaging over $1.2 million a day. In comparing Box Office numbers to DreamWorks Prince of Egypt (which made over $100 million), Chicken Run is about $1 million ahead at the same point (21 days). For the last two weekends, Chicken Run has had the lowest decline of any film in the Top 10.

Ready for an Animated R&B Diva?
According to Billboard:

"Mary J. Blige and Stan Lee Media have partnered to create an animated version of the R&B diva. The franchise will launch this fall with the debut of a series of animated "webisodes" voiced by Blige that will feature the streetwise star battling crime. Lee has previously partnered with the Backstreet Boys to create a similar superhero franchise.

'Mary's super heroine alter ego, a cross between Cleopatra Jones and Barbarella, is an inspirational character and self-described 'Protector of the Hood,' ' Stan Lee said in a statement. 'I'm delighted to co-create a new Internet based global franchise with Mary J. Blige, whose international stardom has reached super hero proportions...'

Click here for the full story.

Friday, July 14, 2000

Toon Disney to Start Cartoon Marathons
Toon Disney, Disney/ABC Cable Networks' all-animation network for kids, presents a whole series of stunts and special events taking place on weekends and holidays throughout the fall.

Each marathon, varying in running times from 12-24 hours, highlights one of the many animated stars that make Toon Disney their home.

Get yourself into a jam -- a "Jumbo Genie Jam," that is. Join the ever-popular Genie of the Lamp for a 12-hour "Aladdin" marathon featuring the popular animated series on Sunday, July 23, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. ET/PT.

Based on the popular motion picture, this series takes viewers on a magic carpet ride to adventure with the brave and resourceful Aladdin (voiced by Scott Weinger), his spirited fiancee Jasmine (Linda Larkin), the obnoxious parrot Iago (Gilbert Gottfried) and, of course, Genie (Dan Castellaneta, who also voices Homer Simpson).

Aug. 1 is "Pooh Friendship Day!" Find out first hand that "it's so much friendlier with Pooh" during this 16-hour marathon celebrating the joy of friendship, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. ET/PT.

Join Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Christopher Robin and the rest of the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood for a full day of episodes from "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," the Emmy Award-winning series based on the children's books by A.A. Milne, as well as the classic Disney animated features "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" and "Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin."

Can't get enough of Disney's loveable superstar, Goofy? To solve the problem, Toon Disney's scheduled a 12-hour "Goofathon" on Sunday, Aug. 13, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. ET/PT featuring the network's popular animated series, "Goof Troop," a variety of classic Disney animated shorts starring Goofy, and two presentations of the animated feature "A Goofy Movie" at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Head under the sea with Ariel and her pals for a 24-hour marathon featuring the animated series, "The Little Mermaid," from Saturday, Aug. 26, 6 a.m. ET/PT - Sunday, Aug. 27, 6 a.m. ET/PT.

Based on Disney's blockbuster, Academy Award-winning animated film, this series serves as a "prequel" to the movie following the escapades of Ariel, the rambunctious daughter of King Triton, as a mermaid teen on a mission.

Rescue an Amazon princess? Piece of cake. Match muscles with the mother of all monsters? Easy breezy. Cram for an exam ... and find a date for the dance? Athens, we've got a problem. Such are the labors ahead for "Disney's Hercules" as the hero brings his popular animated show from ABC's No. 1-rated Saturday Morning Lineup to Toon Disney for the first time.

"Disney's Hercules" is an outgrowth of Disney's 1997 animated feature film, which chronicled the lifelong exploits of the mythical hero. The series expands upon the Greek demigod's feats during his formative, hero-in-training, "high school" years.

Toon Disney celebrates the addition of this hit animated series to the network's schedule with a 24-hour Labor Day "Disney's Hercules" marathon on Monday, Sept. 4, 6 a.m. ET/PT - Tuesday, Sept. 5, 6 a.m. ET/PT.

As summer draws to a close and it's time for kids to head back to the classroom once again, Toon Disney has the answer to the end-of-summer blues with "Toon Disney A-Z," a 13-hour back-to-school marathon Sunday, Sept. 17, 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET/PT, which will take viewers through the Toon Disney lineup from Aladdin to Zazu!

Toon Disney is Disney/ABC Cable Networks' 24-hour all-animation basic cable network

Pokemon Returns to Burger King
POKeMON(TM) is powering its way back to BURGER KING(R) restaurants nationwide beginning July 17, 2000, with 24 unique collectible trading cards that feature 3-D POKeMON characters bursting from the center of the card. The six-week promotion will premiere in restaurants just days before the new Warner Bros. Pictures release, Kids' WB! Presents POKeMON The Movie 2000, the latest animated adventure from Nintendo's POKeMON(TM) universe, opens in theaters. The promotion builds on the ongoing popularity of POKeMON(TM) trainer Ash Ketchum and the appealing array of POKeMON(TM) characters.

We're thrilled to be partnering once again with Nintendo's POKeMON, a property that literally has changed the landscape of family entertainment," said Richard Taylor, vice president of USA marketing for Burger King Corporation. "Our great-tasting food served up with collectible 3-D trading cards from one of the hottest movies of the summer is sure to be a powerful combination."

POKeMON The Movie 2000 is a sequel to last fall's hit movie and is an exciting adventure that introduces six new POKeMON(TM), including Lugia, guardian of the legend, to moviegoers. Young Ash sets out to prove that one person can make a difference when he embarks on the greatest POKeMON(TM) adventure yet -- saving the world. This challenge will take all Ash's courage and strength and the collaboration of Lugia, who helps the young hero restore balance on Earth. The movie pays tribute to a  universal theme -- "the power of one."

BURGER KING restaurants will offer one of 24 unique POKeMON 2000 Power Cards, based on the movie's characters, with each BURGER KING BIG KIDS MEAL and Kids Meal purchase at participating restaurants, or while supplies last. These collectible cards fit into a molded activator base that represents the element type of each individual POKeMON, and perform one or more special power actions such as lighting up, talking, squirting, glowing in the dark, or moving one or more parts of the character. To reveal the Power Card's action, simply press the button on the card or push the card down into the base.

X-Men Opens
The special effects filled  X-Men movie opened in theaters nationwide today and is the clear favorite to take the weekend Box Office race. It is playing in over 3,000 theaters with many analysts predicting it will make over $35 million in its opening weekend. The film is receiving mixed, but mostly positive reviews.

"X-Men is a multimillion-dollar superhero comic book movie with a script so feeble it might have been written with crayons," says Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune.

"While X-Men doesn't take your breath away wire-to-wire the way The Matrix did, it's an accomplished piece of work with considerable pulp watchability to it," says Kenneth Turan of the LA Times.

"X-Men, directed by Bryan 'The Usual Suspects' Singer, works best when you watch it with lighthearted abandon. It's great fun to watch the X-Men and their awesome powers, thanks to tremendous visual and digitally animated effects by Digital Domain," says Desson Howe of the Washington Post.

Thursday, July 13, 2000

Animated Fear with a Full Effect
According to the Bergen Record:

"Pokemon to porn, animation rules in Japan.

The national obsession with animation helps explain Japan's profound influence on -- and dominance of -- the video-game business. Japan's animators are the world's trendsetters in producing both kiddie fare and violent and nightmarish interactive animated adventures such as Fear Effect.

The Japanese public has a seemingly insatiable appetite for -- and tolerance of -- the entire spectrum of animated entertainment.

On the bright side, there's the Pokemon phenomenon. On the dark side, there's the monsters-from-the-id genre -- ultraviolent and explicitly erotic animated films, often featuring rapacious demons and teenage girls, popular with a huge segment of adult Japanese males..."

Click here for the full story.


Disney's Hercules Moves to Toon Disney
Rescue an Amazon princess? Piece of cake! Match muscles with the Mother of all Monsters? Easy Breezy! Cram for an Exam...and find a date for the Prom? ATHENS...we've got a problem!!! These are but a few of the labors in store when "Disney's Hercules" makes its debut on TOON DISNEY this September. The animated television series is based on the 1997 Disney animated feature film, which chronicled the life of the mythical hero. The series expands upon the Greek demigod's feats during his formative high school years.

"Disney's Hercules" takes place during Hercules' adolescent "hero-in-training" years. Instead of just honing his physical skills, Zeus insisted that his son received a balanced education, so Hercules was enrolled in the Prometheus Academy--the high school of choice among the Greek elite. While attending Prometheus, the gawky teen with superhuman strength learns many lessons, and issues and themes in the series include the need to fit in, earning a driver's license, narrowing the generation gap, overcoming lack of confidence, preserving endangered species, and much more.

"Disney's Hercules" features a voice cast including the animated feature's Tate Donavan (Hercules) and James Woods (Hades). New co-stars include French Stewart ("3rd Rock from the Sun"), Sandra Bernhard ("Without You I'm Nothing") and Diedrich Bader ("The Drew Carey Show"). And the series' roster of guest stars reads like the invite list to a Mount Olympus party: Jason Alexander, Jennifer Anniston, Kathie Lee Gifford, Lou Gossett Jr., Merv Griffin, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lisa Kudrow, Heather Locklear, Wayne Newton and William Shatner are just a sampling of the 160+ entertainers from primetime television and major motion pictures who lent their talents to this series.

"Disney's Hercules" is a production of Walt Disney Television Animation. Tad Stones is Executive Producer, and Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley are the Producers and Executive Story Editors.

TOON DISNEY, Disney's 24-hour all-animation basic cable network, showcases Disney's vast library of animation from seven decades of magic with series and specials to shorts and movies.

Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Tooning Into Reality
According to the Kansas City Star:

"With television, each new trend bursts into view like last week's fireworks. Then it subsides, overtaken by the next dazzling trend.

Example: prime-time animation. The toon trend swept the broadcast networks a couple of years ago after "King of the Hill" scored as only the third prime-time animated hit in TV history.

"The Flintstones," "The Simpsons," "King of the Hill." That's it. But the networks didn't care about the odds. Animation was going to be the next craze.

As of last week, consider it stone-cold dead..."

Click here for the full story.

Station X Studios Acquired
Kumar Chadalavada, director and board member of publicly traded, India-based Sriven Multi-Tech Limited, announced that the company has acquired Santa Monica-based visual effects house Station X Studios. The multi-million dollar bulk sale agreement involved cash and stock, the details of which were undisclosed.

Sriven has renamed Station X Studios as Station X Entertainment. About the Deal Sriven, a global company which develops Information Technology solutions based on multimedia and animation was originally attracted to Station X Studios because of its creative reputation. Station X is especially known for its photo-realistic computer-generated animation and digital effects work in commercials, TV and feature films and for its roster of multiple award-winning animators and digital artists.

Sriven also saw global marketing potential in Station X's proprietary rendering management and optimization software program, "Spider." Station X's deep expertise in 3D animation will complement one of Sriven's other holdings, Webtoons Media Inc., a 2D animation studio based in Burbank, California.

Combining both 2D and 3D capabilities will enable Sriven to offer a more complete solution and capture a larger share of the animation market. Station X will now have the opportunity to add a visual dimension to Sriven's global web-based Information Technology projects and participate in the developing media convergence market.

"We are very proud to add such a high-end digital effects studio like Station X Entertainment to our family of companies," commented Kumar Chadalavada, Station X Entertainment's new CEO. "Acquiring Station X not only complements our existing 2D animation capabilities in the U.S. with high-end 3D CGI, it also opens up exciting new markets and opportunities for us in India, Australia and Japan."

Tuesday, July 11, 2000

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

Chicken Run
$9.9 Million ($3,426 per screen average - 25% drop)
5th at the Box Office (down from #4 last weekend)
Total to Date: $63.6 Million

$664,371 ($783 per screen average - big 53% decrease)
13th at the Box Office (down from #11 last weekend)
Total to Date: $131.9 Million

Fantasia 2000
$388,474 ($304 per screen average - 44% drop)
16th at the Box Office (same ranking last weekend)
Total to Date: $58.3 Million

Titan A.E.
$380,776 ($523 per screen average - huge 69% drop)
17th at the Box Office (down from #13 last weekend)
Total to Date: $21.5 Million

The Tigger Movie
$28,221 ($261 per screen average - 39% drop)
64th at the Box Office (down from number #52 last weekend)
Total to Date: $45.5 Million

Toy Story 2
$26,982 ($467 per screen average - 15% decrease)
65th at the Box Office (down from #61 last weekend)
Total to Date: $245.7 Million

Making Extras See an Invisible Squirrel
According to the Bergen Record:

"Movies are supposed to be about make-believe, but this was ridiculous: At one point in the filming of the new feature The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Des McAnuff, megaphone in hand like some silent-screen director from the 1920s, was trying to get 500 extras to follow the dizzying flight path -- the swooping, diving, head-skimming trajectory -- of a flying squirrel. A non-existent flying squirrel.

'There was nothing there, there were just a bunch of shouted instructions. That was unique,' recalled McAnuff, a Tony-winning stage director whose experiences manning such complex theatrical efforts as The Who's Tommy and Big River never quite prepared him for that D.W. Griffith moment as director of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

But such were the demands of the film, which combines live action and animation...

Click here for the full story

Monday, July 10, 2000

Disney to Buy Pixar?
Controversial self-proclaimed journalist Matt Drudge is reporting that Disney is in talks with both Pixar and Apple to buy them out. Drudge, who runs the controversial Drudge Report Website, says that an inside source claims that Apple and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs may use the merger to try and become chairman of Disney. Meanwhile Disney is calling the report "wild speculation."

Burger King Being Sued over Chicken Run Ads
A chicken company is trying to stop Burger King from running its "Save the Chickens" ads featuring characters from the movie Chicken Run.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

"Burger King may be advertising to save the chickens, but Tyson Foods Inc. is ensuring chicken sales in the process.

As part of the promotion for the recently released G-rated movie Chicken Run, Burger King is airing a commercial promoting two Whoppers for $2.

The TV spot is a takeoff on the clay animation tale starring Mel Gibson about chickens escaping certain death on a Yorkshire chicken farm in 1950s England.

But the advertisement is reminiscent of Chick-fil-A's award-winning billboard campaign with the black and white cows caught with a paintbrush painting signs to read, 'Eat Mor Chikin'..."

Click here for the full story

Sunday, July 9, 2000

Disney Heirs Save Walt's Early Animation Studio
According to the Kansas City Star:

"Walt Disney's heirs have pledged $450,000 to stabilize the long-vacant Kansas City building in which the entertainment giant operated his first animation studio.

The gift from the Walt and Lily Disney Foundation is contingent upon the raising of an equal amount by the organizers of Thank You, Walt Disney, a nonprofit group that has been working for most of a decade to create a Disney museum here..."

Click here for the full story.  

Saturday, July 8, 2000

Animated Lord of the Rings Devestated Director
According to Fox News:

"Ralph Bakshi knows it's not easy to translate Lord of the Rings to the big screen. He tried.

Now, 22 years after the release of his ill-received animated version, the director recalls the movie-making experience as filled with 'terror.'

'The pressure doing the Rings for me was enormous. It nearly killed me,' Bakshi told 'At the time I did it, I thought I failed.'

Walt Disney, Stanley Kubrick and John Boorman reportedly all had visions of bringing the long and winding trilogy to the screen. But it was Bakshi, best known for 1972's X-rated Fritz the Cat, who took the plunge..."

Click here for the full story.  

Disney Tries Animation Formula on Live Action Films
According to the Kansas City Star:

"Walt Disney Co. is betting that Bruce Willis and Denzel Washington can do what Dean Jones never could: lure a broad audience to live-action films released under the Disney banner... new Walt Disney Studios Chairman Peter Schneider has made expanding the Disney label's appeal a big part of his strategy for the studio. Schneider, the former head of Disney's animation unit, took over leadership of the entire studio in January after the departure of Joe Roth...

Coming from the world of animation, Schneider is largely an unknown in Hollywood, as are the kinds of movies he will choose to reverse the studio's fortunes. He now says the answer is simple: Regardless of whether the genre is family, action or dumb comedy, he wants the "emotional, thematic stories" that were the backbone of his 15-year tenure in animation..."

Click here for the full story.

Friday, July 7, 2000

The Mummy Returns
Principal photography has begun on Universal Pictures' and Alphaville Productions' The Mummy Returns, the sequel to special effects filled box office hit, The Mummy. The Mummy Returns, which will be released in theaters on May 11, 2000 will also rely heavily on animation and special effects to wow the audience while telling its story. Industrial Light and Magic, which did the effects for The Mummy, will also be doing the effects for The Mummy Returns.

The Mummy Returns is set in 1935, 10 years after the events of the first film. Rick O'Connell is now married to Evelyn, and the couple have settled in London, where they are raising their 9-year-old son Alex (played by screen newcomer Freddie Boath). When a chain of events finds the corpse of Imhotep resurrected in the British Museum, the mummy Imhotep walks the earth once more, determined to fulfill his quest for immortality. But another force has also been set loose in the world ... one born of the darkest rituals of ancient Egyptian mysticism, and even more powerful than Imhotep. When these two forces clash, the fate of the world will hang in the balance, sending the O'Connells on a desperate race to save the world from unspeakable evil, and rescue their son before it is too late.

Chicken Run Passes $50 Million Mark
Chicken Run passed the $50 million mark for U.S. Box Office receipts on Wednesday, July 5. It reached $50 million in only 13 days. Weekday viewings remain strong. On Wednesday, Chicken Run brought in $1.94 million. Today Chicken Run faces new competition for family audiences from Disney's The Kid.

Thursday, July 6, 2000

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

Chicken Run
$13.2 Million ($4,627 per screen average - 25% drop)
4th at the Box Office (down from #2 last weekend)
Total to Date: $49.7 Million

$1.4 Million ($1,011 per screen average - big 57% decrease)
11th at the Box Office (down from #9 last weekend)
Total to Date: $130.8 Million

Titan A.E.
$1.2 Million ($639 per screen average - huge 67% drop)
13th at the Box Office (down from #8 last weekend)
Total to Date: $20.7 Million

Fantasia 2000
$692,841 ($528 per screen average - big 53% drop)
16th at the Box Office (down from #13 last weekend)
Total to Date: $57.7 Million

The Tigger Movie
$45,988 ($338 per screen average - 38% drop)
52nd at the Box Office (down from number #42 last weekend)
Total to Date: $45.4 Million

Toy Story 2
$31,736 ($467 per screen average - 11% decrease)
61st at the Box Office (down from #58 last weekend)
Total to Date: $245.7 Million

The Road to El Dorado
No longer in theaters
Final Total: $50.8 Million

Wednesday, July 5, 2000

The Tigger Movie Headed to Video
On August 22, Disney will release The Tigger Movie to both VHS and DVD . The DVD version will include many additional extras, including the music video "Your Heart Will Lead You Home," a DVD storybook, a matching game, sing-a-long, and the ability to create a "family tree."

Animation Techniques Bring Cartoon Characters to Real World
According to Fox News:

"When Jay Ward, creator of the beloved 1960s animated TV characters Rocky and Bullwinkle, died in 1989, his daughter decided she had to keep his moose and flying squirrel alive.

'It was a tribute to my father after he died: Maybe I should take these characters into a realm he hadn't taken them and my primary thing was new production in the motion picture arena,' said his daughter, Tiffany Ward, executive producer of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, which opened this weekend after an eight-year journey to the big screen..."

Click here for the full story.

Tuesday, July 4, 2000

Chicken Run Has Huge UK Opening
Chicken Run opened big in the UK over the weekend, making £4m in UK's Box Office, becoming the 14th biggest opening ever in the UK. In addition, Chicken Run continues to perform strong in the U.S. Box Office, bringing in $12.8 million from Friday-Sunday. The U.S. Box Office is being calculated this week on a five day holiday schedule, so look for final numbers (which will include Monday and Tuesday results) on Thursday's Animation Artist Update. Chicken Run has made $41.1 million in only 10 days.

Documentary on Ub Iwerks Completed
According to the Kansas City Star:

"A documentary about Ub Iwerks, the Kansas City native who designed Mickey Mouse and became a low-profile giant of the entertainment industry, will be screened July 21 at Union Station's Iwerks Extreme Screen Theatre (a facility designed by Iwerks' son, Don Iwerks).

The screening of "The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story" is a benefit to raise funds for Thank You, Walt Disney, the nonprofit group seeking to create a Walt Disney museum here and to restore the crumbling building at Forest Avenue and 31st Street where Iwerks worked at Disney's Laugh-O-Gram Studio..."

Click here for the full story.

Titan A.E. Devours Fox Profit
According to the Sydney Morning News:

"News Corp's earnings outlook has been savaged by Wall Street analysts after its latest movie extravaganza about the destruction of Earth proved a flop that would destroy profits instead.

Merrill Lynch, generally the US broker most effusive about Mr Rupert Murdoch's global media giant, is predicting News Corp will be forced to take a writedown of as much as $US120 million ($200 million) in its fourth quarter on Titan AE, on which it is thought to have spent $US85 million, excluding marketing expenses.

As a result, Merrill analyst Ms Jessica Reif Cohen has cut her operating income and earnings per share estimates for News Corp..."

Click here for the full story.

Monday, July 3, 2000

From Dinosaurs to Rings
The UKs 3D World Magazine is reporting that the lead animator of the successful documentary "Walking with Dinosaurs," Carlos Rosas, is headed to WETA Ltd in order to work on the much anticipated Lord of the Rings trilogy. Rosas, who previously worked for Framestore, will be doing 3D animation and digital special effects.

UK Celebrates Chicken Run Opening
According to the BBC News:

"After four long years - and a seemingly endless supply of plasticine - Chicken Run from the award-winning Aardman Animations is finally here.

No-one is more relieved to see it released than its creators and directors, Nick Park and Peter Lord, who wondered at times if their first full-length feature would ever be hatched.

'To get this film made was so difficult,' Park admits. 'To keep the momentum going and the project on schedule we had to stick to a very tight regime'..."

Click here for the full story.

Sunday, July 2, 2000

More Information on Toy Story 2 Release
The toys are back in town and they're wound up and ready to play in Toy Story 2.

This exciting all-new sequel to the landmark 1995 blockbuster Toy Story makes its highly anticipated video and DVD debut Oct. 17 from Walt Disney Home Video and Pixar Animation Studios.

Bringing back two of the world's greatest stars, Toy Story 2 reunites the voice talents of Academy Award(R)-winning actor Tom Hanks (a) (The Green Mile) as Woody and comedian Tim Allen ( Galaxy Quest, TV's "Home Improvement") as Buzz Lightyear.

Toy Story 2 also marks the return of the original voice cast of Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, R. Lee Ermey, Laurie Metcalf and the late Jim Varney. Joining the original cast is a stellar line-up of new voice talent including Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Wayne Knight, Estelle Harris and Jodi Benson.

The video release of Toy Story 2 includes exciting bonus materials featuring outrageously funny outtakes; Pixar's Academy Award(R)-nominated animated short "Luxo Jr." (1986, Best Animated Short Film); and a sneak peek at Disney/Pixar's upcoming holiday 2001 theatrical release, Monsters, Inc. The VHS is priced at a collectible $26.99 (S.R.P.).

As a celebration for Toy Story fans everywhere, Toy Story 2 and the original Toy Story will make their simultaneous DVD debut with the Toy Story 2 VHS release on Oct. 17. These highly anticipated DVDs will premiere in two special boxed sets, each featuring pristine, THX-Certified presentations of both films, created directly from the digital source.

A specially priced Toy Story and Toy Story 2 DVD double pack (S.R.P. $39.99) will feature both movies and exciting bonus materials. The Toy Story 2 DVD will contain two versions of the film: Full Frame (1.33:1 aspect ratio) and Widescreen (1.77:1 enhanced for 16x9 televisions). The original Toy Story DVD will be presented in 1.77:1 aspect ratio enhanced for 16x9 televisions and will include Pixar's Academy Award(R)-winning animated short "Tin Toy" (1988, Best Animated Short Film) (b).

Also debuting Oct. 17 is a special Collector's Edition DVD 3 Disc box set (S.R.P. $69.99), featuring all the materials from the double DVD pack plus an "ultimate toy box" worth of supplemental materials including extensive audio commentaries from the film's creators; movie-making secrets; on-set interviews; never-before-seen animation; 360 degree rotational tours of 11 different film sets and 15 characters and more (b).

Toy Story 2 picks up as Andy heads off to Cowboy Camp, leaving his toys to their own devices. Things shift into high gear when an obsessive toy collector named Al McWhiggin (owner of Al's Toy Barn) kidnaps Woody. At Al's apartment, Woody discovers that he is a highly valued collectible from a 1950's TV show called "Woody's Roundup," and he meets the other prized toys from that show -- Jessie the cowgirl, Bullseye the horse and Stinky Pete the prospector.

Back at the scene of the crime, Buzz Lightyear and the other toys from Andy's room -- Mr. Potato Head(R), Slinky(R) Dog, Rex and Hamm -- spring into action to rescue their pal from winding up as a museum piece. The toys get into one predicament after another in their daring race to get Woody home before Andy returns.

Toy Story 2 marks the return of the 12-time Academy Award(R)-nominated songwriter/composer Randy Newman (1998 A Bug's Life, Best Original Comedy Score nominee) who wrote the colorful score and two original songs.

Also adding her musical talent to the film is multi-platinum and Grammy Award-winning recording artist Sarah McLachlan who sings "When She Loved Me," (music and lyrics by Randy Newman) which was nominated in 1999 for an Academy Award(R) for Best Original Song. The hit western group Riders in the Sky sings the theme song from the "Woody's Roundup" TV show, and legendary singer Robert Goulet lends his vocal style to a lively big band rendition of "You've Got a Friend in Me."

Toy Story 2 has an approximate running time of 94 minutes, is rated "G" by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and is closed-captioned for the hearing impaired. It is available in English and Spanish.

LA Times Addresses Animation Closure
According to the LA Times:

"20th Century Fox has shuttered its animation studio in Phoenix after a disastrous and costly six-year run that produced only two theatrical features.

Fox's decision to close the unit had been under consideration for several months since layoffs of two-thirds of the operation's 320 employees in February. The remaining 60 staffers were let go Monday.

Recently ousted Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairman Bill Mechanic had come under increased pressure from his bosses, News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and President Peter Chernin, when it became clear that the studio's huge investment wasn't paying off. It was Mechanic who aggressively championed Fox's move six years ago into the animation business.

Fox opened its Phoenix facility in 1994 with a $100-million financial commitment. The director-producer team of Don Bluth and Gary Goldman were recruited to run the operation, which was expected to turn out a full-length feature every 18 months..."

Click here for the full story.

Saturday, July 1, 2000

Voice of Rocky the Squirrel Returns
According to the Associated Press:

"June Foray can be the voice of reason as Rocky the Flying Squirrel, the cartoon companion to lovably dopey Bullwinkle Moose.

Foray can be the voice of childlike bewilderment as Cindy Lou Who asking the Grinch why he is taking away the family Christmas tree.

And Foray can be the voice of menace. Seated in her home surrounded by souvenirs of the dozens of cartoon voices she has done over the decades, Foray launches into the memorably chilling dialogue she once recorded for a 'Twilight Zone' episode about a maniacal talking doll.

'I'm Talky Tina,' Foray utters in a girlish but threatening tone, 'and I'm going to kill you.'

The last survivor of the voice talents who originated ``Rocky and Bullwinkle'' on television in the late 1950s, Foray reprises her role as the can-do squirrel in the big-screen adaptation The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle ... Foray is 74 years old..."

Click here for the full story.


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