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Vicki Tracy

Saturday, July 31, 1999

Live Coverage of The Iron Giant This Afternoon
on Animation Artist Magazine's Home Page!
This afternoon at 4:15PM Pacific Standard Time, the Animation Artist Magazine home page will change to reflect live coverage of Warner Bros. special 10-minute section screening of The Iron Giant. Be sure to check back here at 4:15PM PST where you will also be provided with live links to the screening so that you don't miss a single minute of the coverage.

The Making of The Iron Giant This Sunday!
The Warner Bros. Network will be airing a special "The Making of The Iron Giant" this Sunday evening at 7PM PST. Check your local listings (Warner Bros. stations) for specific times in your area.

Friday, July 30, 1999

10 Minutes of The Iron Giant to Air Tomorrow on the Web!
On Saturday night at 5PM Pacific Standard Time, Warner Bros. will air, via the Web, 10 minutes of continuous footage from The Iron Giant "as a way to thank the core group of fans on the Web who began the overwhelming buzz about the film early in the year." The 10-minute scene that will be shown is the director's [Brad Bird] favorite scene.

Animation Artist will cover this event live beginning at 4:45 PM PST Saturday night. You will be able to access the direct links from here.

The Iron Giant Sneak Previews This Sunday!
Check your weekend local newspaper movie listings because this Sunday sneak previews of The Iron Giant will be shown nationwide!

FilmWorld Announces Animated Production
FilmWorld Inc. Chairman Menahem Golan and President John Daly Thursday announced the first of many films they will jointly produce for their new company, FilmWorld Inc., a publicly quoted Bulletin Board NASDAQ company.

The first feature to be produced by FilmWorld is Gunga Din, which will be an epic animated adventure film telling Rudyard Kipling's famous story about a young Indian boy's adventures in the British Army in India. The screenplay is by James Silke and Joseph Goldman. The film will feature many famous voices from the film-and-music industry and will be ready for a winter/holiday-season 2000 release in theaters throughout the world. Merchandising tie-ins and promotion are being lined up in support of the release.

Thursday, July 29, 1999

The Iron Giant to Get Hollywood Footprint
On Saturday, July 31, at the Mann's Chinese Theater, the Iron Giant will have his footprint cast presented in a special ceremony. Joining the ranks of such Hollywood legends as Clint Eastwood and Mel Gibson, the Iron Giant will be immortalized with a supersized footprint (12' by 6') that will be presented by the filmmakers and stars in the forecourt of the historic theater. (Because of prior commitments, the Giant will be unable to attend.) Johny Grant, the honorary mayor of Hollywood, will emcee the event. Following the event there will be a special screening of The Iron Giant for cast and crew. This is not an open showing of the movie for the public. It is only for cast, crew, and press. The event officially mark's the movie's world premiere, which has already received strong reviews from top critics.

So who will be in attendance at the world premiere? Celebrities lending their voices to the upcoming Warner Bros. animated adventure, The Iron Giant (including Vin Diesel, Eli Marienthal and others), plus the film's director, noted animation auteur Brad Bird, and producer Allison Abbate. Joining the cast and filmmakers will be celebrities including Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman; Wallace Langham ( Veronica's Closet); brothers Andy, Joey and Matt Lawrence; Jonathan Penner (Rude Awakening); and Antonio Sabato Jr.

The Iron Giant is expected to be one of the major surprise hits of the summer.

Wednesday, July 28, 1999

3D Studio MAX Release 3 is Released
Discreet, a division of Autodesk, Inc., today announced the worldwide availability of 3D Studio MAX Release 3 software, the latest release of its award-winning, professional, 3D modeling and animation solution designed specifically for Intel architecture and Microsoft Windows NT. Shipping with the 3D Studio MAX R3 software is a free update to Character Studio Release 2.2. With an enhanced collaborative workflow environment and powerful new renderer, 3D Studio MAX supports hundreds of third-party commercial and free plug-ins, many of which will be available for 3D Studio MAX R3 software today.

3D Studio MAX R3 software is designed to enable numerous creative professionals to work on specific aspects of the same project while easily combining discrete elements into complex shots, animations or game levels. 3D Studio MAX R3 software also boasts a redesigned renderer that retains the speed of its predecessor while delivering superior results and simplifying the process of creating stunningly realistic images, scenes and special effects. Other key enhancements include nestable external references, applicationwide scripting, macro recording, a customizable work environment, powerful organic modeling capabilities and a host of other new features that accelerate the creation of digital content.

"3D Studio MAX R3 blows away the competition on price and power," said Matt Merkovich, senior digital artist at Los Angeles-based Digital Muse. Some of Merkovich's credits include 3D work on the motion pictures Spawn, Event Horizon, The Truman Show and Pleasantville, and the TV series Space: Above and Beyond, Star Trek Voyager and Deep Space 9. "3D Studio MAX R3's incredible modeler is much easier to use than others, and my tests show that the new renderer is much faster than Maya's. Discreet is keeping 3D Studio MAX several steps ahead of the rest."

Tuesday, July 27, 1999

Pixar Announces Second Quarter Earnings
Pixar Animation Studios announced, yesterday, its financial results for the second quarter of 1999 and for the six months ended July 3, 1999. Revenues for the second quarter of 1999 were $13.5 million compared with $3.8 million in the second quarter of 1998. Net income for the second quarter of 1999 was $6.4 million compared with $2.1 million for the second quarter of 1998. Diluted earnings per share for the second quarter of 1999 were $0.13 compared with $0.04 for the second quarter of 1998. Pixar is driven by its 3D animated features, the next one being Toy Story II, which is being released this Thanksgiving.

Disney's Tarzan to Move Higher on All Time List
This afternoon, when Monday's Box Office results are announced, Tarzan is expected to pass 101 Dalmations on the
Top 10 Animated Movies of All Time. This will put Tarzan in the #6 slot with just over $153 million. The next movie it has to overtake is A Bug's Life, which brought in $162.6 million at the Box Office.

Monday, July 26, 1999

The Iron Giant Receives Strong Variety Review
The Daily Variety has given The Iron Giant a strong review, calling it "A visually appealing, well-crafted film." The Iron Giant, which hits theaters August 6, has received nearly unanimous positive reviews from press who have already reviewed it, including Animation Artist magazine (see short non-spoiler review below).

Animation Artist Non Spoiler Review of The Iron Giant
The Iron Giant is one of the most unique animated films you will ever see because it breaks many of the traditional "rules" applied to animations — and does so successfully. You won't find singing in The Iron Giant , nor will you find cute talking animal sidekicks. The characters in The Iron Giant are intelligent, creating humor from situations instead of from stupidity (i.e. you won't see any clumsy and stupid characters like Professor Porter in Tarzan). While some aspects of The Iron Giant are predictable, many aren't, leaving room for quite a few surprises. We think at least one surprise is in store for Warner Bros., who may have underestimated the potential this film will have at the Box Office. Word of mouth will definitely play its role in the success of The Iron Giant.

The animators that worked on The Iron Giant did an excellent job with perspectives throughout the film. The giant truly comes off as huge and intimidating.

The background music score in The Iron Giant is excellent, creating a tense atmosphere right from the beginning as The Iron Giant immediately launches into an action sequence (like Disney's Tarzan did).

Even though The Iron Giant is rated PG (for intensity), it comes through with some great morals, particularly those of choosing your destiny of goodness.

So does The Iron Giant have some weaknesses? Yes, but those weaknesses are very minor. There are some very rough transitions at the beginning (like going from Hogarth in the cafe to him suddenly at home) and a side romance being developed was rather quick and unconvincing. But these are minor when compared to the big picture.

The Iron Giant should thrive with repeat business. The film successfully reaches both adults and children. When leaving the press screening, we overheard two adults talking about the film, one saying "I can see that movie over and over again." That tells us that kids won't have to tug to hard to get the parents to go back. It's a rare feat when an animated film can reach both children and adults without insulting the intelligence of the adults. The Iron Giant has conquered that feat.

Look for a very detailed spoiler review on Friday, August 6, 1999 on the Animation Artist Iron Giant Movie Pages.

Sunday, July 25, 1999

"Star Trek: Voyager" Receives Three 1999 Emmy Award Visual Effects Nominations
UPN's #1 rated adult program, "Star Trek: Voyager," has received three visual effects Emmy nominations. All three nominations were in the same category, "Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series." The three episodes nominated were:

1) Dark Frontier
2) Thirty Days
3) Timeless

"Star Trek: Voyager" is in its fifth season. In its five seasons, "Star Trek: Voyager" has won three Emmy Awards and has been nominated for 19 Emmy Awards. The show first premiered in January 1995. Also nominated in the category of "Outstanding Special Visual Effects" were Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (What You Leave Behind) and "Totat Recall 2070" (Machine Dreams).

Outstanding Animation Emmy Nominations
In the category of "Outstanding Animated Program," the following TV shows were nominated:

1) Futurama - "A Big Piece of Garbage"
2) King of the Hill - "And They Call It Bobby Love"
3) The PJs - "He's Gotta Have It"
4) The Powerpuff Girls - "Bubble-Vicious Bare Facts"
5) The Simpsons - "Viva Ned Flanders"

The Emmy Awards will be given out on September 12.

Saturday, July 24, 1999

Real Time Motion Capture at SIGGRAPH '99
Vicon today announced the latest in motion capture technology -- Vicon 8Rt will be demonstrated at Booth #1939 at SIGGRAPH '99 in Los Angeles, August 10-13. The final reduction in the production pipeline has been achieved with the Vicon 8 system, producing accurate optical motion capture in real-time. This marks a significant breakthrough in motion capture technology as Vicon 8Rt is not a previewer, but actually produces full body motion capture data without the wait. This system provides the high standards of accuracy, and will render live characters in popular commercial animation packages including Avid's(R) Softimage(R), Discreet's(R) 3D Studio Max(R), Alias|Wavefront's(R) Maya(TM) and Kaydara's FilmBox(TM). This leap in technology optimizes the production pipeline for traditional motion capture use in film, episodic animation and gaming -- and now offers broadcast professionals a viable mo-cap solution for virtual sets and live broadcast entertainment.

Friday, July 23, 1999

The Iron Giant is a Winner!
The staff of Animation Artist Magazine viewed a press screening of Warner Bros. The Iron Giant Thursday night and the verdict is in — The Iron Giant is a winner. While this movie successfully breaks many of the animation "rules" (i.e. no singing, no talking animal sidekicks, etc.), it actually invents some new ones. It shows that an animation company can produce a great animated film that has no singing and draws its humors from situations versus stupid or clumsy characters. Look for a non-spoiler review to appear Monday in the Animation Artist movie site for The Iron Giant. The spoiler review won't appear until August 6 — the day The Iron Giant opens.

Thursday, July 22, 1999

Katzenberg Denies Warner Bros. Rumor
Jeffrey Katzenberg has publicly denied a rumor that he is giving consideration to leaving DreamWorks in order to take over as head of Warner Bros. He stated yesterday to Liz Smith (syndicated columnist appearing in many newspapers), "No, no, a thousand times no! I am firmly and happily set here at DreamWorks. I wouldn't make such a move."

Tarzan Continues its Climb - Now Number Seven!
Disney's Tarzan has now passed Disney's Beauty and the Beast in the
Top 10 Animated Films of All Time list. Box Office receipts, through Tuesday, show the film's total U.S. gross at $145.32 million, which has moved it to seventh place in the Top 10 Animated Films of All Time list.

Upcoming Animations Undergoes Transformation
Upcoming Animated Theatrical Releases pages of Animation Artist magazine have been redesigned as part of a continuing effort to improve the Web site. Check out the new look (and new updates) by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 21, 1999

Imax Invests in Mainframe - New Film Announced!
Imax Corporation yesterday announced the closing of its previously announced strategic investment in Mainframe Entertainment Inc., one of the world's leading producers of 3D computer-generated animation. Under the terms of the agreement, Imax invested CDN$8 million to acquire a 19% equity stake in Mainframe and CDN$8 million to acquire convertible senior debt which, if converted, could bring Imax's ownership to up to 30% of the Company. Simultaneously, Mainframe announced that two leading Canadian financial institutions, Royal Bank Capital Corporation and Working Opportunity Fund, have made a combined CDN$9 million investment to acquire convertible notes in the Company.

Imax and Mainframe have also established a joint venture to co-produce 3D animated films for release to IMAX Theatres and other markets. Their first film, Gulliver's Travels, is currently in production and is scheduled to be released to IMAX Theatres by summer 2001. Other animated projects currently in development include films based on classics The Pied Piper and Pandora's Box.

"We are convinced more than ever that 3D animation will play a significant role in Imax's future," said Imax co-Chief Executive Officers Brad Wechsler and Rich Gelfond. "Our relationship with Mainframe allows us to create, produce and distribute our own large-format 3D animation content cost-effectively and to then cross-platform that content into other markets. We're delighted to be partnered with Ian Pearson and the team at Mainframe in this significant venture."

MPAA Chief: "South Park Should Have Been NC-17"
Yesterday's USA Today quotes MPAA chief, Jack Valenti, as saying that the controversial South Park animated film should have received an "NC-17" rating instead of the "R" rating that the MPAA ratings board gave it. "We probably made a mistake on South Park," he told USA Today.

Tarzan Climbs to Eighth on All Time List
Disney's Tarzan continues to reign as king of the jungle. Box Office receipts, through Monday, show the film's total U.S. gross at $144.15 million, which has shot it to eighth place in the
Top 10 Animated Films of All Time list.

Tuesday, July 20, 1999

Disney Sets to Launch "Disney's One Too"
"Disney's One Too" is the new banner name for the  two hours of Disney-branded children's programming airing Sundays

Disney's 1 too
through Fridays and premiering Monday, September 6, 1999, on UPN and in syndication, it was announced today by Buena Vista Television and Walt Disney Television Animation.

The new name, previously announced as "Whomptastic," extends the very successful ABC children's programming franchise, "Disney's One Saturday Morning."

"The naming of our new animation block ties together with the enormously successful 'Disney's One Saturday Morning,' which has become the number one broadcast destination for kids on the weekends," said Mort Marcus, President, Buena Vista Television. "We are now creating a broadcast destination for kids 7-days-a-week where they can find quality and entertaining Disney animation; to market it that way is a win for all -- especially the kids. Since the new block includes several hit series from the Saturday lineup, it makes sense to brand them with the 'One' umbrella and create a stronger brand for both lineups."

"Disney's One Too" is a unique, Sunday through Friday, six-days-a-week kids' destination that will host the world premiere of "Sabrina, the Animated Series," as well as more episodes of the popular series "Disney's Recess," "Disney's Doug" and "Disney's Hercules." In addition, "Disney's One Too" also features original, new interstitial character sketches, starring favorite characters from the shows programmed throughout the two-hour block. Over 720 animated interstitials are now in production, signifying an unprecedented commitment to creating a unique and lively environment for "Disney's One Too."

Distributed by Buena Vista Television and premiering September 6, 1999, "Disney's One Too" programming block will air on UPN and in syndication Sundays through Fridays.

Monday, July 19, 1999

Alias Wavefront Announces SIGGRAPH Plans
At SIGGRAPH '99 Alias|Wavefront will be celebrating the momentum of Maya with the release of Maya 2 — the third major release of Maya featuring advancements in rendering, character animation, particles and dynamics, modeling, and targeted new features for game developers.

Alias|Wavefront will also be showcasing the newest technology addition to the Maya Family, Paint Effects, a revolutionary new paint technology which simplifies the creation of realistic special effects. Paint Effects will dramatically alter how artists approach the creation of synthetic environments, realistic texturing and animated dynamics.

At SIGGRAPH '99, over 3,500 Alias|Wavefront users will gather for their largest user group meeting in history, on Sunday, August 8, at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Habib Zarganpour, senior technical director at ILM, will give the keynote speech on the use of Maya in the creation of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

Tarzan a "Great Movie"
The results of last week's Tarzan opinion poll are in (see graph below), with 39% (171 of the 436 votes) saying it was a "Great Movie." Coming in second place, with 28% (121 out of 436 votes) was "Some parts were great and others not so great - mixed feelings." Thank you to everyone who participated in the voting. A new poll has started today.
Click here to participate!

Sunday, July 18, 1999

Tarzan Closes in on #6 All Time Spot
Through Friday, Disney's animated Tarzan movie had earned $137.6 million at the Box Office, placing it 10th in the Top 10 Animated Films of All Time (based on US Box Office gross). By the end of Sunday, Tarzan will have moved up to the #7 position and by the end of Monday it should be at #6.

Animated "Sabrina" To Hit TV This Fall
An animated version of the series "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" is coming to TV this fall, courtesy of DIC Entertainment, which will reach a milestone of 3,000 episodes of its animated and live action TV shows once "Sabrina the Animated Series" begins to air. The series will air on both ABC and UPN. According to Daily Variety, the series is a prequel to the ABC series. In the animated series, Sabrina is only 12 years old, having trouble dealing with her magic abilities. ABC will air the series on Saturday mornings as part of its "Disney's One Saturday Morning" and UPN will air it Sunday through Friday.

Saturday, July 17, 1999

Alias Wavefront Lays Off Workers
Alias Wavefront, the makers of Maya animation software, have laid off a "handful" of workers at their Santa Barbara offices, according to the Santa Barbara News-Press. According to the News-Press, "Alias Wavefront employed about 80 people in Santa Barbara until Thursday's layoffs. The division has about 600 workers at its three offices. Alias Wavefront is part of Silicon Graphics, which has had losses in recent years making workstations for sophisticated computer graphics." A company spokesperson for Alias Wavefront stated that the layoffs were a result of Hollywood studios failing to reap big rewards on recent productions, according to the News-Press.

Film Roman Expands from Animation to Live Action
Continuing its march into the live action arena, Film Roman Inc., best known for its animation work on such hit network programs as FOX's "The Simpsons" and "King of The Hill" as well as the WB's "Mission Hill," has announced and is offering for first run syndication three new projects for fall 2000 under the banner of MAX DEGREE TV.

The announcement was made Friday by Mark Lieber, president of Television Programming at Film Roman.
Targeting the coveted teen and young adult audiences, Film Roman has also secured the participation of such award-winning producers as Steve Tisch ("Forrest Gump," "Risky Business") and Wes Archer ("The Simpsons," "King of the Hill") as well as special effects master Steve Wang ("Men In Black," "Batman Returns," "Godzilla") to launch the new block of programming.

In making the announcement, Lieber said, "The development and launch of these shows confirms again our commitment to live action television, and to the first run syndication market that we believe has been underserved over the last few years. MAX DEGREE TV is an innovative new television programming brand that we believe will work effectively as a young adult alternative to the older skewing talk, game shows and off-network programs that currently dominate early fringe."

MAX DEGREE TV's multi-million dollar production slate includes three distinct series for young adult viewers that combine extreme action, high-value special effects and the hottest music and fashions in two dramatic live-action series and one irreverent animation series. Recognizing that packaging, positioning and distribution are equally as important as good stories and strong characters, Film Roman combined the programs under its new MAX DEGREE TV banner.

Weekdays, MAX DEGREE TV is composed of two 30 minute dramas -- "MISSION EXTREME" and "SIRENS OF THE DEEP," while weekends are reserved for extending the brand into MAXIMATION (a new breakthrough animation technique) featuring "VICTOR," the first original young adult animated program to be sold into the first run market.

Friday, July 16, 1999

Tarzan to be Screened Digitally!
Walt Disney Pictures' new animated feature, Tarzan, will have the distinction of being the first-ever all-digital major feature release -- produced, mastered and exhibited digitally -- when it makes its digital debut on July 23, it was announced Thursday by Bob Lambert, senior vice president of new technology and new media for The Walt Disney Co., and Phil Barlow, executive vice president of The Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group.

Tarzan , which has already grossed more than $130 million, will be exhibited digitally in three theatrical venues — AMC's Pleasure Island multiplex at Walt Disney World in Florida, the AMC Media Center North 6 in Burbank, and the Edwards Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine.

Texas Instruments' highly regarded DLP Cinema(tm) prototype projection technology will be used for these special engagements. These digital projection systems are the first of a variety of new exhibition technologies being developed for future theater installations.

Commenting on the announcement, Thomas Schumacher, president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, said: "The digital projection demonstrations that I have seen for Tarzan give an extraordinarily brilliant presentation of our film," says Thomas Schumacher, president of Walt Disney Feature Animation. "It's exciting to see the visual richness of the film in its clearest, sharpest form."

Lambert notes that Disney has been aggressively exploring digital production and distribution for many years. "Tarzan was the ideal choice for these historic engagements; the film is unique in that it was produced digitally from start to finish, and is being distributed digitally, as well," he says. "The resulting image quality is exceptional. We look forward to more filmmakers and exhibitors embracing these techniques."

For more information about Disney's Tarzan , visit the Animation Artist Tarzan Movie Site by clicking here.

Thursday, July 15, 1999

Companies Wooing DreamWorks
DreamWorks is being wooed by a number of parties for a new location to build its headquarters after its PlayVista deal went sour.  According to the Daily Variety, "In the wake of DreamWorks' decision not to build a studio at Playa Vista, two Los Angeles City Council members are determined to help the studio move to North Hollywood. The proposed site is a 30-acre parcel set for development as a studio lot by J. Allen Radford, who initially approached DreamWorks last summer when the Playa Vista deal first showed signs of fraying." DreamWorks may simply expand its current animation facility versus looking for a new area to build on even though some of those areas are being offered for free.

ICE Releases "On Ice: Version 2.0"
ICE, a leader in desktop special effects, finishing and distribution solutions, is now shipping Version 2.0 of its `On ICE(tm)' program, complete solutions for digital graphics and finishing from within the popular After Effects compositing application and Avid nonlinear editing systems. Both After Effects `On ICE' version 2.0 and Avid `On ICE' 2.0 feature new accelerated effects, plus further enhancements for creating exceptional special effects and visual treatments on affordable desktop systems. By working `On ICE,' digital artists gain time for greater creative experimentation, offload work formerly earmarked for costly high-end systems, and win work they otherwise might not have earned using the over 130 cool visual treatments and more in the `On ICE' solutions. AE `On ICE' is priced at $7,995, and Avid `On ICE' is priced at $12,995, including ICE's PCI-based hardware card.

Wednesday, July 14, 1999

Robin Hood and Alice in Wonderland Re-released
Two Disney animated films, Robin Hood and Alice in Wonderland have been rereleased on video with new covers. Alice in Wonderland, Disney's 13th Animated Masterpiece, is the retelling of the famous Lewis Carroll tale. Alice's chase of the White Rabbit leads her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole, into a fantasy land filled with memorable characters including the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the outlandish Queen of Hearts. The film features classic storytelling from Walt Disney's famous "nine old men" team of studio artists, during the "golden age" of animation.

Robin Hood , Disney's 21st Animated Masterpiece, is Disney's rousing version of the centuries-old medieval tale, updated with the special Disney touch. In mythical Sherwood Forest, Robin and his merry gang out-fox Greedy Prince John and his slithering sidekick, Sir Hiss, in a rollicking adventure that's full of thrills and laughs. Robin Hood is one of the few Disney animated features to have an all-animal cast (the others being Bambi, The Great Mouse Detective and The Lion King).

Alice in Wonderland and Robin Hood are both rated "G" by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Alice in Wonderland has a running time of 75 minutes; Robin Hood has a running time of 83 minutes. Both films are close-captioned for the hearing impaired, in color, digitally mastered with Hi-Fi sound.

Tuesday, July 13, 1999

The Iron Giant to Get its Own Toy Line!
Some companies are starting to see the potential of Warner Bros. The Iron Giant. After rave reviews from Sunday's showing of The Iron Giant in LA, a toy manufacturer has announced its intention to produce a product line for the animated film. Trendmasters, a St. Louis-based toy designer and manufacturer, is the master toy licensee for Warner Bros. highly anticipated animated feature film, The Iron Giant. The Iron Giant is the heartwarming story of the extraordinary friendship that develops between a young boy, Hogarth Hughes, and a fifty-foot robot that has fallen to Earth. Hogarth and the giant have many adventures while Hogarth teaches the Iron Giant about heroes and that we are what we choose to be in life.

The toy line will include everything from an Iron Giant bank (where the giant eats your coins) to action figures and talking characters. Expect to see the toys appearing in stores everywhere in late July and early August.

Monday, July 12, 1999

Tarzan Holds Steady While South Park Falls
The battle of good versus evil continued this weekend at the Box Office and Tarzan was once again the clear winner. Tarzan had one of the strongest hold over performances from last weekend to place fourth with estimates for the weekend standing at an impressive $11.9 million. Meanwhile, South Park nose-dived to eighth place with one of the weakest hold over performances from last weekend, bringing in an estimated $7.1 million in its second weekend.

The Votes Are In and The Winner Is...
The results of the first Animation Artist "Question of the Week" are in and the most anticipated animated film this year, according to Animation Artist readers, is... Toy Story II. There were 490 votes cast between the six choices. Coming in at a very close second was The Iron Giant with 121 votes to Toy Story II's 126 votes. The Princess Mononoke came in a strong third. Coming in last place, well behind the rest of the choices, was Heavy Metal F.A.A.K. 2 with only seven votes.
Click here for today's new Question of the Week.

Sunday, July 11, 1999

Tarzan Breaks into Top 10 Animated Films List
Tarzan has been in theaters for only a month and it has already broken into the Top 10 Animated Films of All Time list, knocking off Mulan from the 10th spot. Through Friday, Tarzan had earned 121.4 million, beating out Mulan's 121 million. By the end of next weekend, Tarzan may have the power to reach #8. Slots #8 and #9 are currently held by The Jungle Book and Pocahontas, both which brought in $142 million.

How Much Did Katzenberg Win in Disney Settlement?
Neither side is talking about the settlement in the Katzenberg versus Disney trial, but sources apparently "in the know" are placing the award in the $250 - $300 million range, an amount that could have easily been settled on before the trial started. The battle was over a 2% bonus in Jeffrey Katzenberg's contract that Disney didn't pay him when he left before his contract had expired.

Saturday, July 10, 1999

DreamWorks Prepares The Prince of Egypt
DreamWorks is preparing a detailed marketing campaign for The Prince of Egypt , which comes out on September 14. A DVD version of The Prince of Egypt will be released day and date with the video. Millions of dollars is going into the advertising of DreamWorks first traditional animated feature. DreamWorks expects The Prince of Egypt to sell better than their ANTZ video, which sold well. In US theaters, The Prince of Egypt became the highest-grossing non-Disney animated film of all time by making over $101 million at the Box Office.

Friday, July 9, 1999

Warner Bros. DVD of The King and I Contains Special Features
Warner Bros. has released a DVD version of its animated film, The King and I , complete with special features. The DVD, which came out Tuesday, includes sing-along lyrics; Creative Room detailing the evolution of the animation and music; Sizzle Reel exploring the making of the movie and its stage/screen history; DVD-ROM games; karaoke menu; documentary featurette with commentary from the stars; and theatrical trailers for this and four other Morgan Creek movies.

Mexican TV to Bring Alive Toon-like Soap Opera
In early September, Mexican TV will begin showing a new "kid-themed soap" titled "Serafin" that is a live action kids show mixed with 11 specially created animated characters. According to the Daily Variety, "Televisa [who merchandises the show] worked closely with Hasbro marketing execs on the look of the title character, an animated angel. The cast also features a talking Tonka truck, a Hasboro product." The initial run of the show will be four months to test its success.

Thursday, July 8, 1999

Katzenberg and Disney Settle Lawsuit!
Jeffrey Katzenberg and Disney have settled their court battle, bringing to conclusion their highly publicized trial which was already nearing completion. According to Daily Variety, "Although terms of the deal announced Wednesday were not disclosed, insiders estimated that Jeffrey Katzenberg will receive about $275 million, including $117 million that Disney paid him before the trial began. Both Katzenberg and Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner declared themselves pleased with the deal." 

Katzenberg told Daily Variety, "It is good to have this resolved and to get back to DreamWorks. This case was mostly about putting closure on a chapter in my life. We would all have been better off to have resolved this without spending months in a courtroom." 

The Hollywood Reporter states that "not all of the $250 million settlement will be going into Katzenberg's pocket. Taxes will take a huge bite, and sources familiar with the case said he will have to pay out at least $15 million in attorneys fees and expert witness fees."

ABC News Internet Ventures recaps what the trial was about, saying, "In court papers Katzenberg alleged he suffered over $500 million in damages after Disney failed to pay a bonus for several feature films the studio made while he was in charge. The main point of contention was a lump-sump payment based on future income of all movies, TV shows and merchandise sold during his tenure."

In a separate article titled "Deal Right for Disney and Eisner," Daily Variety says, "By settling, Disney avoided having Disney chairman-CEO Michael Eisner testify again and putting on a case where its own experts would make gloomy predictions about the future." Disney stock has dropped 20% since the high profile trial began.

Wednesday, July 7, 1999

National Institute on Media and the Family
Rates South Park
The National Institute on Media and the Family has rated South Park using its KidScore method that rates movies based on content instead of entertainment value. The issuing of its South Park rating presented "Stop" results (meaning "not appropriate for kids") in all areas except for "Fear," which received a "Caution." Click here to see the results. On Monday, South Park plummeted to sixth place at the Box Office. Tarzan, in its fourth week, placed third.

Katzenberg Bonus Revisited
In the ongoing Katzenberg versus Disney trial, a key witness for Jeffrey Katzenberg's team was back on the stand after being discredited by Disney with his original estimation that Katzenberg's bonus was worth $580 million. Now the witness says the bonus is worth only $390 million. Daily Variety reports that "
In coming up with the new number, [Dennis] Soter testified that his revised model accepts Disney's contention that shortfall payments — extra payments by Disney to the partnerships — had already been subtracted from the annual income figures for Silver Screen. His new annual income calculation for Silver Screen was $30.3 million...During a devastating cross-examination by Disney attorneys, Soter previously testified that he had apparently subtracted nonrecurring income twice."

Tuesday, July 6, 1999

Tarzan Easily Outperforms South Park
In the battle of good versus evil (Tarzan versus South Park), Tarzan easily outperformed South Park at the Box Office even though it is Tarzan's third weekend at the Box Office and South Park's first. For the holiday weekend, Tarzan brought in an estimated $19.2 million to place third while South Park brought in an estimated $14.8 million to place fourth. The live action films Wild, Wild, West and Big Daddy took first and second place.

Tarzan Becomes Blockbuster
Tarzan became a blockbuster over the weekend, surging to a total gross of $110 million. By next weekend, Tarzan is expected to start challenging the
Top 10 Animated Films of All Time.

Animation Artist Magazine Has Active Weekend
If you haven't checked the Animation Artist Magazine Web site since last Thursday, there's a lot of new things for you to explore. On Friday, Animation Artist Magazine
opened a new Tarzan section . On Monday, a new section dedicated to The Iron Giant was opened along with a new Question of the Week program on the home page and a redesign of Reader Opinions, now called Voices . Also, yesterday, Animation Artist posted a scoop on how you can see The Iron Giant nearly a month early if you live in the LA area. See the July Archives or The Iron Giant site for details. The news was first reported in the Animation Artist Newsletter , which was published on Sunday.

Monday, July 5, 1999

The Iron Giant to be Screened at Comic Convention!
Warner Bros. much anticipated animated film, The Iron Giant , is going to be screened this coming Sunday, July 11, at the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention. This is nearly a month in advance of its release in US theaters. The tickets are being given away at the Shrine Auditorium Expo Center (where the convention is being held) beginning at 1PM. The movie will then be shown at the USC Norriss Theater at 5PM. You are required to have a ticket to get in. The address for the Shrine Auditorium Expo Center is 700 West 32nd Street in Los Angeles. Admission to the convention is $5. Animation Artist magazine predicts that these tickets will go very fast, so if you are serious about seeing The Iron Giant , arrive early! If you need more information on the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention, call 818-954-8432 .

Animation Artist Opens Movie Site for The Iron Giant
Animation Artist Magazine has opened up a movie site for Warner Bros. The Iron Giant (
click here), which hits theaters on August 6. The opening is part of Animation Artist Magazine's new "Movie Sites" section. On Friday, Animation Artist Magazine opened a movie site for Tarzan (click here ).

Sunday, July 4, 1999

FOX Animation Prepares Anastasia Spin-off
FOX Animation has been in production for over a year on straight to video spin-off of Anastasia that focuses on the Bartok the bat from the movie. The spin-off is called "Bartok The Magnificent." Stephen Flaherty, who helped with the Anastasia soundtrack, has been brought on to do the soundtrack for the spinoff. Who is providing the voices for "Bartok The Magnificent?" Andrea Martin, Hank Azaria, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Tilly, and Catherine O'Hara. Voice recordings, which took place last year, were done in New York.

Anastasia made $58 million when it was released in the U.S. in 1997, a very respectable amount for a non-Disney animated film. This was despite strong objections from a surviving member of the Romanov dynasty (Marina Beadleston) who called Anastasia, "a new level of historical nonsense." Anastasia opened to mixed, but mostly positive reviews and has done well with home video sales.

Jim Carrey Leaves "The Incredible Mr. Limpet"
Jim Carrey has left the problem-filled animation, "The Incredible Mr. Limpet," just a few months after his friend and colleague, writer/director Steve Oedekerk, left the project. This leaves Warner Bros. in a scramble to find a new lead for the film. Some media outlets are reporting that Warner Bros. will go after Robin Williams or Mike Myers to try and fill the role.

Saturday, July 3, 1999

Looney Tunes Sportswear Coming
Fotoball USA Inc. announced that it has signed an agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to be a Looney Tunes sporting goods licensee. The license will be for a three-year term commencing June 1999 and will allow Fotoball to utilize the Looney Tunes characters to create a line of sporting goods. The line of sporting goods will encompass the following sports: baseball, basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, as well as children's sports. The product lines will include balls, bats, gloves and respective combination sets. All products are to be sold through mass merchants, sporting good stores and specialty shops that span all regions of the country. Fotoball expects to start shipping products during the fourth quarter.

Katzenberg Vs. Disney Trial Continues Over Disney Profits
The trial of Katzenberg vs. Disney is starting to show more life than the Energizer Bunny. For weeks, both sides have been disputing how much money Disney has and will make on projects connected to Jeffrey Katzenberg, who use to lead the Disney Animation division, overseeing such hits as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. Katzenberg, in his contract with Disney, was guaranteed a 2% bonus on all profits from projects he was connected with. Disney originally disputed the 2% clause, saying it was void because Katzenberg left Disney before his contract ended. A judge sided with Katzenberg, forcing the trial to change its focus to exactly how much Katzenberg is owed. Katzenberg's team says Disney owes him $500 million, while Disney says it only owes $100 million. Who makes the final determination on how much Katzenberg is owed?  The judge... once the trial concludes.

Animation Artist is Updated on Holidays
The Animation Artist Web site is updated on a daily basis. Therefore there will continue to be updates over the holiday weekend, including July 4 and July 5.

Friday, July 2, 1999

Animation Artist Opens Tarzan Site!
Animation Artist magazine has opened up a site about Walt Disney Pictures' Tarzan movie. You can access it by clicking here . Get information on the artists that brought Tarzan to life as well as a look at the production, including Disney's new "Deep Canvas" technique!

DreamWorks Says Good-bye to a Dream
Ending a four-year drama, DreamWorks appears ready to abandon plans to build Hollywood's first new studio in 60 years, Business Week reports. The film company has been unable to get financing for the $250 million studio complex it wanted to build on 47 acres in Playa Vista, Calif. Los Angeles billionaire Gary Winnick and AFL-CIO pension-backed Union Labor Life Insurance had intended to lend DreamWorks $200 million. But negotiations bogged down over lending covenants. DreamWorks, which BW says is likely to formally pull out in the next month, is already planning to expand its current Glendale, Calif. animation studio to accommodate its administrative staff.

Bugs Bunny Video Game Adventure Now Available
What's up Doc? Bugs Bunny, the world's lovable hare, now has a video game adventure for Looney Tunes fans of all ages in "Bugs Bunny Lost in Time," available nationwide now for Sony PlayStation.

Primed to uphold the famed tradition adored by nostalgic fans everywhere and win over a new generation of enthusiasts, the pop culture icon and his legendary cast of cartoon co-stars are at it again, pulling pranks and driving each other "Looney Tunes" in a test of time.
Bugs Bunny's first 3-D interactive game, "Bugs Bunny Lost in Time" begins with the harried hare taking a wrong turn in Albuquerque, where he mistakenly activates a time machine, propelling players on a historical crash course.

Retaining the irresistible wit and charm of the classic cartoons, Bugs encounters old nemeses, including Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam and Marvin the Martian in settings ranging from the Stone Age and Pirate eras all the way forward to Dimension X. With the gamer playing Bugs, the action-adventure title romps through 22 levels of mayhem, boasting traditional "Tunes" favorites including dropping anvils, bull fights and instant Martians.

"Infogrames has stayed true to the Looney Tunes spirit with authentic-looking characters and backdrops, real voices and a slapstick escapade that will hit home with any nostalgic fan," said Michael Harkavy, vice president, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Publishing and Kids' WB! Music.

"Bugs Bunny Lost in Time" is now available at retail outlets nationwide including, but not limited to, Toys 'R' Us, Electronics Boutique, Babbages, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Sears and Kay-Bee Toy Stores, at an estimated retail price of $39.95.

Thursday, July 1, 1999

Animation Artist Prepares New Area
On July 2, the picture of Tarzan on the Animation Artist home page will be linked and two worlds will become one... Stay tuned...

Research Engineers and Acme Animation Reach Deal
Research Engineers has announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Burbank, CA-based Acme Animation in which Research Engineers will provide the digital media services for six animation projects consisting of one television series and five feature films. These projects include "MightyKong," the television series and a possible sequel as well as four feature films entitled "Gulliver's Travels," "The Legend of Moby Dick," "Tico and the Shark," and "White Tiger -- Blood for Blood."

According to Research Engineers chairman and CEO Amrit K. Das, the initial phase of the first project, currently called "MightyKong," consists of 26, thirty-minute television episodes to be distributed by one of the largest media distribution companies in the nation. This company currently controls a significant portion of the North American animation market. Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, the "MightyKong" project is estimated to generate approximately $2.5 million in revenue for Research Engineers over the next two years. The definitive agreement is expected to be signed within 60 days. Further terms regarding the full-length feature films were not disclosed.

"Research Engineers is excited to be working with Acme Animation on this new digital animation projected," commented Research Engineers president and chief operating officer Jyoti Chatterjee. "The series is based on Warner Brothers feature film of the same name -- 'MightyKong.'"

In 1998 the film was released both theatrically and to the home video market where it achieved the 'top 10' rating for children's video sales in the nation for 20 consecutive weeks and achieved the 5th spot for the most popular children's video.

"We worked with Research Engineers digital media group on the promo of the 'MightyKong' television series and found the company's digital media division easy to work with and possessing a great desire to succeed," said Acme Animation president and executive producer of the series, Denis de Vallance. "These projects are very important to us and before selecting Research Engineers to provide their digital media services we visited their Southern California facility as well as their India-based technology services group with series director Jim Simon.

Acme Animation is in pre-production of five full-length animated feature films, including "MightyKong," and will be depending on Research Engineers to provide the 3-D animation and a high level of computer-generated imagery that should attract a larger, more mature viewing audience," added de Vallance.


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