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Editor:
Vicki Tracy

Thursday, September 30, 1999

Roller Coaster Tycoon in Top Charts for 3 Months
The PC computer game Roller Coaster Tycoon has spent three months on the top 10 sales chart. In the game, players are given an empty plot of land and are invited to construct the ultimate amusement park. Players then choose what goes where, from the rides and attractions to shops and stalls; how much to charge for admission and souvenirs; the number of maintenance workers to hire; and, how to landscape the area. Players can build their own unique rollercoasters using different track styles, colors and effects, or buy pre-made attractions like ferris wheels and bumper-car arcades to round out their parks. It's up to the player to satisfy virtual patrons' appetites for park food and drink and, at the same time, ensure the lines aren't too long at the park restrooms!

The object of RollerCoaster Tycoon is to entice and satisfy guests - so they keep coming back - and turn a profit to keep the park running smoothly for seasons to come. The entire park is animated with rides moving, people walking, and staff carrying out their duties.

Speed Racer Car has Become a Reality
Remember the Mach 5 car in the animated cartoon series Speed Racer? That car has just become a reality. For the first time a full-size, running Speed Racer Mach 5 has been created. The legendary car is being built to promote a nation-wide safety tour conducted by The Child Safety Network (CSN) called CHILD SAFETY DAY AT THE RACES. The Mach 5 will privately debut at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show * ITE '99, November 2-5, 1999, in Las Vegas.

The Mach 5 will include much of the specialty "equipment" found on the animated Mach 5; including the saw blade cutters stationed out front, the ability to jump through a special hydraulics system and even such animatronics as interactive voice responses to steering wheel mounted buttons. Naturally the on-board sound system will be able to broadcast the famous theme song of Speed Racer.

"We are having a lot of fun building the car," said Ron Kasumi, owner of Focus of Cars. "When you have a car that is supposed to have 50,000 horse power fly through the air, drive under water and jump over great distances, you have to use a lot of imagination."

The Mach 5 body will be formed from hand-laid fiberglass and fitted to a specially constructed chassis. The engine and many of the specifics concerning the other installed equipment and details of how the special effects -- such as the saw blades cutters are to be created -- have yet to be disclosed to the public. Total cost to build the Mach 5 is estimated to be between $175,000 and $200,000.


Wednesday, September 29, 1999

Cartoon Network Sets Records
The Cartoon Network had a record third quarter, increasing its ratings amon 6-11 year olds by 27% over third quarter last year!  "Johnny Bravo" was Cartoon Network's highest-rated program for the quarter, averaging a 2.1 household rating and a 4.4 kids 6-11 rating on Friday nights at 9:30 p.m. As a whole, the network's "Cartoon Cartoon Fridays" originals block (7:30-11 p.m.) showed tremendous growth over the same time period in Third Quarter 1998. Ratings for the block grew 50 percent in households and 89 percent among kids 6-11. "Cartoon Cartoon Weekend," a 53-hour marathon of original programming airing Aug. 20-22, was watched by more than 23 million different people, making it the most-watched programming marathon in Cartoon Network's history

Airing of The Princess Mononoke in Los Angeles!
Tomorrow night (Thursday) at 7:00PM there will be a sneak preview of The Princess Mononoke at the James Bridges Theater on the UCLA campus. The showing is courtesy of the UCLA Film and Archive. Tickets will go on sale one hour    Admission to the film is $6. Parking is $5. For more information, call (310) 206-FILM. Arrive early!


Tuesday, September 28, 1999

Production in Full Swing for Rugrats II Movie
Production is underway on the animated film "Rugrats in Paris - The Movie," the second feature film based on Nickelodeon's award-winning series. Rugrats is about life from a babies' point of view and is the highest rated show on television for kids aged 2-11.

"Rugrats in Paris - The Movie" is produced by Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo through their company, Klasky Csupo Inc., at their production headquarters in Los Angeles. The movie is co-directed by Paul Demeyer and Stig Bergqvist and written by David Weiss & J. David Stem and Jill Gorey & Barbara Herndon and Kate Boutilier. Celebrity voices will include Susan Sarandon, John Lithgow and Debbie Reynolds. The film will continue to feature voice talent from the series and "The Rugrats Movie" including E.G. Daily, Christine Cavanaugh, Cheryl Chase and Kath Soucie. The animated feature is slated for a Holiday 2000 theatrical release and will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.

Wishes come true in "Rugrats in Paris - The Movie," and love makes its way into the hearts of those young, old, and overseas. Chuckie's dad Chas starts dating again, and it's Chuckie's wish to find a new mom. When Stu Pickles is summoned to Reptarland, an amazing new amusement park in Paris, to work on his Reptar invention, Tommy, Chuckie, Angelica, Lil, Phil, Baby Dil, Didi and the whole gang tag along to the city of romance.

But the Rugrats' big adventure turns out to be more than glamour, fashion and smelly cheese. Chuckie learns that when it comes to princesses and potential mommies, things are not always what they seem, and for Chas, finding the right woman can be difficult in any language. As the Rugrats' travels take them from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame and everywhere in between, the world's favorite babies learn new lessons about courage, loyalty, trust and above all, true love.

"Rugrats in Paris - The Movie," is the next big-screen adventure that began with "The Rugrats Movie," which was released in November 1998 and became the first non-Disney animated film to gross $100 million in North America. Both movies are based on Nickelodeon's critically acclaimed series, which is broadcast in over 100 countries and 30 different languages. "Rugrats in Paris - The Movie," is the second animated collaboration between Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies.


Monday, September 27, 1999

Netter Digital Wins Visual Effects Contract
Netter Digital Entertainment Inc. announced today that it has won a contract from Destination Films to produce the visual effects for Bats, a new theatrical film to be released for the Halloween season on Oct. 22 to theaters throughout the country. Work under the contract has already begun.

"This is a particularly significant contract win for our Company as it represents the first time that Netter Digital will produce all of the visual effects for a theatrical film," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Douglas Netter. "We expect our work on Bats to open up a new revenue stream with additional work on other theatrical films. This exciting contract reflects our continuing efforts to position Netter Digital as the premier producer of high-quality, low-cost computer-generated animation and special effects for television and movies," he said.

Bats is produced by Brad Jenkel and Lousie Rosner and directed by Louis Morneau. Executive producers for Destination Films were Brent Baum and Steve Stabler.


Sunday, September 26, 1999

Walking With Dinosaurs to Air October 4!
Last week - on Sunday, September 19 - Animation Artist relayed news about a new series to air on BBC One called Walking With Dinosaurs. The UK series, which  cost £6m  to create, includes a strong focus on bringing the dinosaurs to life through the use of computers. The series has now been given an air date of October 4. BBC News has even posted an intro to the series that you can see by clicking here.

According to BBC News, "the computer animation helped create finishing touches to the realism of the creatures, from fluttering trailing edges on the wings of flying reptiles, to dinosaur bodies sagging and skin wrinkling as the creatures move."


Saturday, September 25, 1999

DNA Productions Gets Christmas Special
DNA Productions, Inc. of Dallas is at work on a 1999 Christmas animated special, "Oliver and the Other Reindeer." It is being produced by The Curiosity Company, whose owner is Matt Groening of "The Simpsons."

DNA is providing the animation based on the illustrations of J. Otto Siebold who co-authored the book, that the special is based on, with Vivian Walsh. FOX will air the one-hour program during the 1999 holiday season. This is DNA's first Christmas special since the 1997 "Santa vs. the Snowman," which aired on ABC.

In addition to the Christmas special, DNA is continuing work on the "Jingaroo" 3D animated video series for children ages 5-8. "Jigaroo" is the story of an adventurous kangaroo and his outback friends. DNA is also in development on a feature-length film and TV series based on the award winning cartoon "Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius". It is being produced by Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures, in association with O Entertainment.


Friday, September 24, 1999

Voices in Animation Back Up
After being down yesterday for maintenance, Voices in Animation has returned. Slight revisions have been made to the forum, including the addition of seven easy steps for registering. Voices in Animation is where fans of animation and animators can discuss various animation topics. Because the forum just opened, many prime animation user names are available (i.e. Snow White, Renderman, Mr 3D, Animator, etc. - note that some of these may be taken by the time you register). Once a user is registered, he/she is free to post throughout the forum. Once an individual has posted over 50 messages, he/she is promoted from "fan" to "artist," meaning that he/she is a veteran of the forum. Every day a new quote will be pulled from a post and placed on the front page of Animation Artist Magazine. 

Paul Bryant to Speak at Space Frontier Banquet
The Space Frontier Foundation today
announced that super animator Paul Bryant, Co-Founder of Foundation Imaging Inc., will be the host of the Space Frontier Foundation's Gala tomorrow (Saturday) evening at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Los Angeles.  Space and science fiction fans know Bryant for his work in creating the look of the popular "Babylon 5" television series.

At the banquet, Bryant will present the first publicly viewed clips of the "Starship Troopers,

"We are very excited that Paul will host our annual gala, where space meets Hollywood," said Rick Tumlinson, President of the Space Frontier Foundation.  "Many people envision life in space and what the future will be like by viewing the work of companies like Foundation Imaging.  The Foundation's banquet is a chance for the business industry to meet and work with the creators that present the images of life in space every week to millions of people."

Bryant and his partner, Ron Thornton, are considered among the pioneers of modern digital animation for science fiction themes.


Thursday, September 23, 1999

The Prince of Egypt Takes Third in Rentals
In its first weekend on the rental circuit, DreamWorks The Prince of Egypt placed third in rentals. The total rental earnings for The Prince of Egypt was $2.92 million. The two films that came in ahead of it were Analyze This and Forces of Nature .

Voices in Animation Offline for the Day
Animation Artist Magazine's Voices in Animation will be down for the day in order to resolve a couple of maintenance issues and to make some changes to the divisions. All registrations for the automated forum will not be affected by the changes. The automated forum should be back up by midnight.

Dreamcast Sells Over 500,000 Units
Sales of Sega of America, Inc.'s 128-bit, Internet-ready Sega Dreamcast videogame system have topped 500,000 in just two weeks. The advanced videogame console has sold through a total of 514,000 units since it launched on 9.9.99. In contrast, Sony PlayStation(TM) reached the half million mark in four months in 1995 and Nintendo(R) 64 reached the same number after two months at retail when it launched in 1996, according to the NPD Group of Port Washington, NY.

Sega Dreamcast's record-breaking launch also beat sales milestones set by other high-profile consumer products. The Apple iMac personal computer took six weeks to sell 278,000 units. And, DVD in its first year only sold 430,000 units.

Today's announced sales figures for Sega Dreamcast well surpass the company's previous projections of hitting 400,000 in the system's first month of availability at retail.


Wednesday, September 22, 1999

Animation Artist Expands Services for Readers!
Animation Artist Magazine has expanded its service to readers by opening up four new areas and by enhancing one area. Animation Artist also introduced a new logo, slogan, and Mission Statement. Click on the below links to visit new areas!

Animation Artist Playland - NEW!
Animation Artist Columns - NEW!
Screening Room - NEW!
Send a Postcard - NEW!
Voices in Animation - GREATLY ENHANCED!

Read the current Animation Artist newsletter for full details and look for an official press release tomorrow. Look for enhancements over the next several days to the above areas, plus some more cool stuff coming on October 5, 1999 - the one year anniversary of Animation Artist Magazine!  Enjoy and thank you for your regular visits to Animation Artist Magazine - "The Spirit of Animation."


Tuesday, September 21, 1999

Nickelodeon to Open New Animation Facility!
Nickelodeon announced on Monday that it is opening up a new animation facility in October 1999 in New York. The digital facility cost $10 million. The first project for the studio will be Little Bill, produced by Bill Cosby. Also, the New York facility will take over the animated series Blues Clues which has been produced through the California facility.

New Additions Coming to Animation Artist
Animation Artist Magazine will introduce some new additions to its Website at midnight EST and 9:00PM PST tonight. Subscribers to the Animation Artist Newsletter will be emailed notice of the changes at 7:00PM PST, including links to the new sections for early exploration.


Monday, September 20, 1999

Pixar Names New CFO
Pixar Animation Studios today announced that Ann Mather has joined the company as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Mather, 39, will report to Steve Jobs, Pixar's Chairman and CEO.

"Ann is a perfect match for Pixar -- she has strong financial skills and leadership talent, combined with a deep understanding of our industry," said Steve Jobs. "We are thrilled to welcome Ann to Pixar's executive management team."

Ms. Mather has more than 18 years of financial operations experience, including seven years with The Walt Disney Company, most recently as the Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration of its Buena Vista International Theatrical Division. In that position, she was responsible for all strategic planning, budgeting, forecasting and reporting for the division's European, Asian and Latin American operations. Ms. Mather has also held senior financial management positions at Paramount Pictures Corporation and Village Roadshow Pictures. She is a graduate of Cambridge University in England, and is a Chartered Public Accountant.

"I've always been a Pixar fan, and I'm delighted to be joining this very talented team," said Ms. Mather. "Pixar has an impressive track record and an efficient business model, and I look forward to helping lead the studio into its next phase of growth," she said.

Pixar Animation Studios combines creative and technical artistry to create original characters and stories in the new medium of computer animation. Pixar created and produced the first computer-animated feature film, the Academy Award winning Toy Story, and in 1997 entered into a partnership with The Walt Disney Company to finance, produce and distribute five computer-animated feature films and related products. A Bug's Life was the first of these films and was the highest grossing animated feature film released in 1998. Toy Story 2 is scheduled for release this Thanksgiving, and Pixar's fourth film, Monsters, Inc., is currently targeted for a 2001 release.


Sunday, September 19, 1999

New BBC Series, Walking with Dinosaurs, to Air
The BBC is preparing to release a six part TV series in the UK called Walking with Dinosaurs, that uses extensive computer animation to bring the dinosaurs to life. The series, which is expected to air soon in the UK, took three years to create. The series is aimed at giving an accurate portrayal of true dinosaur life, something that has been portrayed inaccurately by movies like Jurassic Park , according to the makers.

Initial release of press information on the film makes numerous references to the computerized special effects in the film, but fails to mention what software program was used to create it.

The locations used in the filming of Walking with Dinosaurs includes Chile, New Zealand, and California. Everything, down to the sounds the dinosaurs make, was custom-created specifically for the TV series. BBC ONE is calling the series one of the most ambitious undertakings ever by the BBC.

"Walking with Dinosaurs deploys the very latest computer animation to bring the mysterious world of the T-Rex, Stegosaurus and Diplodicus back to life," Says BBC Ones Peter Salmon. "For the first time in 65 million years, dinosaurs walk the earth again, as this landmark science series places computer images of them against a background of their real habitats... Series producer Tim Haines has led a dedicated team of committed palaeontologists, animatronics experts, computer animators and programme makers to painstakingly recreate every movement, every life cycle of dinosaurs. It's the closest we will ever get to a window on a lost world. It filled me with the same wonder and excitement as when I worked with a young animator called Nick Park on an amazing project about two characters called Wallace and Gromit from Aardman. Both projects have a precision and dedication to detail that accumulates to tell an epic, unique story."


Saturday, September 18, 1999

World Premiere Peanuts Exhibit Opens Oct. 2
On October 2, the International Museum of Cartoon Art (IMCA) opens a world premiere exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 2internationally renowned comic strip PEANUTS, held in tribute to the significant contributions its creator, the legendary Charles M. Schulz makes to culture, literature and art.

Visitors will stroll through a timeline at the entrance to the "PEANUTS GALLERY" that illustrates PEANUTS' 50-year history. Showcase displays of artifacts, photos, magazine covers, Broadway and movie posters, toys, dolls, blow-ups of historic strips and more will trace the decade-by-decade evolution of Schulz's creation in the context of American history. Major milestones will be marked, from the first strip in 1950, to the moon landing in 1969, to the 1999 revival of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" that won two TONY Awards.

Sections displaying art and artifacts using the various recurring PEANUTS themes, including the kite-eating tree, the football episodes, the great pumpkin, etc. will surround a centrally located, three-dimensional re-creation of Charlie Brown's neighborhood. Colorful, life-size characters and other props such as a trees, grass, fences, a swing, the baseball mound, and the side of the house will allow visitors to step into the imaginary world that Schulz created.

Other features within the PEANUTS GALLERY will include an international section with video monitors playing previously recorded PEANUTS television specials and Schulz documentaries.


Friday, September 17, 1999

Doug's First Movie Coming September 21
Disney's Doug's First Movie animated film will be released on VHS on September 21, 1999. In the movie, Doug realizes that in order to help his friend Skeeter with a serious problem, Doug may have to risk his relationship with Patti Mayonnaise, who Doug has a near-legendary crush on. The movie made just over $21 million at the Box Office earlier this year.

DreamWorks Promotes Animated Films on DVD
DreamWorks is giving a sneak peek into two of its new animated projects to people who purchase The Prince of Egypt DVD. On the DVD is a glimpse at The Road to Eldorado and Chicken Run, two animated films from DreamWorks.

Four Days and Counting...
Curious about the countdown clock on the Animation Artist Magazine home page? Animation Artist Magazine has been busy the past month, along with a select group of beta testers, in preparing some new and cool things for Animation Artist readers. At midnight, Eastern Standard Time, on September 22, those will be revealed on the Animation Artist Magazine home page. Subscribers to the
Animation Artist Mailing List will be given a sneak peek two-three hours before the new areas officially open.


Thursday, September 16, 1999

Howard Stern to Voice UPN Animated Series
Howard Stern will star as lead voice and executive producer of "Doomsday," an animated science-fiction comedy series for UPN for the fall 2000-2001 television season.

UPN has committed to 13 episodes of the animated show. The announcement was made Wednesday by Tom Nunan, entertainment president, UPN.

Stern will provide the voice for Orinthal, the family dog, in "Doomsday." The series follows the Bradley family, who travel in their motor home across a post-apocalyptic America in search of traditional family values and a new home.

Throughout their travels, they encounter a world turned upside down as a result of a mysterious, cataclysmic burst of radiation, which destroyed much of the civilized world. Mutated humans, a band of barbaric road warriors, 50-foot hillbillies and IRS agents (the only branch of the government to survive) plague the Bradleys, who must also cope with limited food, water and gasoline amid sporadic reports from two Emergency Broadcasting System deejays and their drifter sidekick. "Doomsday" will also feature celebrities from all walks of life as guest voice characters on the series.

"Doomsday", which was created and developed by Tracy Torme, will be produced by Film Roman ("The Simpsons," "King of the Hill") in association with Artists Television Group. Three-time Emmy Award winner Eric Radomski will serve as supervising director.

"Being in business with Howard Stern is another bulls-eye for UPN in attracting young male viewers," said Nunan, in making the announcement. "Howard and his creative partners have created a hilarious futuristic landscape which will be wild, uncharted territory for an animated show."

The Land Before Time Game Coming to Playstation
Sound Source Interactive Inc. (Nasdaq:SSII) Wednesday announced that it has begun product development for the Sony PlayStation(tm) console format.

The Company will produce a complete line of PlayStation video games designed for children in the 5-to-8-year-old age category, leading off with two titles based on the dinosaur characters and adventures from Steven Spielberg's ever-popular animated video franchise "The Land Before Time"(tm).

"Sony has recognized the potential of the under-12 market for PlayStation and we are now in a position to capitalize on that potential, using the quality licenses we have in place," said Vincent J. Bitetti, chairman and CEO of Sound Source Interactive.

"Our 'The Land Before Time' CD-ROM series has sold in excess of 600,000 units and has been translated into 10 foreign languages to date. Additional CD-ROM titles based on the series will ship worldwide in seven languages this fall. We believe sales of the PlayStation format will far exceed the CD-ROM numbers and will garner a higher retail price point.

"The Land Before Time" PlayStation titles will feature complete prehistoric worlds. Current product designs remain confidential, but the products will be marketed under the new Stealth Learning(tm) umbrella which has been created specifically for game console formats.
A compelling, immersive 3D environment will promote extended educational play as children have fun with their favorite "The Land Before Time" characters.


Wednesday, September 15, 1999

The Iron Giant Coming to Video and DVD Nov. 23!
Warner Bros. is preparing a huge (and revised) marketing campaign for The Iron Giant, which will come out on video and DVD on Nov. 23. Acclaimed as the year's best movie, The Iron Giant flopped at the Box Office, only bringing in just over $21 million. Many have blamed the lack of marketing of The Iron Giant as the reason. Now, Warner Bros. plans a huge marketing campaign for the video and DVD release.

According to the Daily Variety, Warner Bros. is hooking up with the Cartoon Network, Cheerios, Best Western, and Act II Popcorn to help promote the film. In regards to the DVD the Daily Variety reports that, "the DVD will feature a 22-minute making-of docu, musicvid by Eddie Platt, trailer and biographies, as well as posters, puzzles, screen savers and links to chat rooms and bulletin boards on the Web."

Warner Bros. is introducing entire new art for the campaign, bypassing any theatrical art it used to promote the movie. Its strategy is to form a broad appeal to kids, teens, and adults.

The VHS for The Iron Giant will sell at a suggested retail price of $22.95 while the DVD will sell at a suggested retail price of $24.98.


Tuesday, September 14, 1999

And The Emmy Goes To...
Fox's King of the Hill won the Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for animated programs under an hour in the recent Emmy Awards. For an hour and over, the award went to HBO's "Todd McFarland's Spawn." The animated show "Dilbert" also got into the act, winning an Emmy for "Outstanding Main Title Design."

Sega Dreamcast Breaks Sales Records
Sega's new Dreamcast machine is flying off shelves at retailers. In just the first four days of release, Dreamcast has sold over 372,000 units, breaking the sales record that had been held by Nintendo 64. In 1996, Nintendo 64 sold 350,000 units in six days.

"There is simply no comparison to the launch of Sega Dreamcast," said Daniel DeMatteo, president, Babbage's, Etc. "This launch easily surpassed our expectations and we expect consumer demand to get even stronger as we head into the important holiday shopping months."

The Prince of Egypt Released to VHS and DVD!
Today's the day! The Prince of Egypt was released to VHS and DVD today, including a special version
dubbed in Spanish. The DVD version of The Prince of Egypt which includes a 30-minute "making of" special, a commentary track, artistic design show, and a breakdown of the chariot race.


Monday, September 13, 1999

Sony Releases Pictures of Playstation II!
In an apparent bid to draw some excitement away from Sega's new Dreamcast machine, which launched last week, Sony has released to pictures of its upcoming Playstation II system:

 

46 North American publishers have already agreed to make games for the Sony Playstation II. The unit will hit Japan on March 4, 2000 and will arrive at the US later that year.

Jay Fukuto Joins Netter Digital
Netter Digital Entertainment Inc. announced today that Jay Fukuto has been named to the new position of senior vice president-animation. Fukuto, 45 years old, had been senior vice president at MGM Animation since 1997, where he oversaw the development and production of MGM's animated theatrical features; direct-to-video movies, including "The Secret of NIMH II," "An All Dogs Christmas Carol" and "Tom Sawyer"; and television series including "All Dogs Go To Heaven: The Series," "Robocop: Alpha Commando," and "The Lionhearts."

From 1992 to 1996, he served as director, current programming and vice president, current programming (1995-1996) for Walt Disney Television Animation, with responsibility for all creative aspects of such animated series as "Disney's Mighty Ducks," "Jungle Cubs," "Nightmare Ned," and "The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa."

Previously, Fukuto served in several positions of increasing responsibility with UBU Productions/Paramount Pictures Network Television, most recently as vice president, television, where he developed and supervised production of live-action programs including "American Dreamer" for NBC and "His and Hers" for CBS.

Douglas Netter, chairman and chief executive officer, said, "With the appointment of Jay Fukuto as senior vice president-animation, Netter Digital has added a top industry executive with an impressive record of success to head up our core animation business. Working with our existing team of skilled animators and creative artists, we expect Jay to make a significant contribution to our growth and profitability. His years of directly relevant industry experience and his distinguished background in animation and live-action production will be invaluable assets for Netter Digital as we implement our strategy to take full advantage of the enormous growth opportunities in the animation market. This is a significant step forward for Netter Digital."


Sunday, September 12, 1999

Chariot Races to Bring in Release of The Prince of Egypt to Video and DVD
One of the most renowned streets in the world, Hollywood Boulevard, will be shut down to make way for chariot races for charity in celebration of the home video and DVD release of DreamWorks' The Prince of Egypt. Replicating the chariot race from the Academy Award(R)-winning animated hit movie, Egyptian chariots will charge through two blocks of the famed boulevard to raise more than $50,000 for The Eastside Boys and Girls' Club of America, Children's Action Network, LA's Best and AIDS Project Los Angeles. The event will be hosted by Hollywood's Honorary Mayor, Johnny Grant, and Hollywood Councilmember Jackie Goldberg will briefly address the crowd. Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of DreamWorks SKG and executive producer of The Prince of Egypt, also will attend the event, which will take place at 7:50AM on Tuesday morning.


Saturday, September 11, 1999

Tarzan Passes The Iron Giant at Box Office
Warner Bros. The Iron Giant came out six weeks after Disney's Tarzan. The Iron Giant won nearly unanimous critical acclaim, higher than Disney's Tarzan. When The Iron Giant opened in theaters, Tarzan was no longer in the top 10 at the Box Office. Now, five weeks after the disappointing opening of The Iron Giant , Disney's Tarzan is outperforming it on a daily basis at The Box Office, including Friday when Tarzan came in 20th at the Box Office and The Iron Giant placed lower. Through last Wednesday, The Iron Giant had made $20.8 million at the U.S. Box Office. Tarzan has brought in $168 million.

Rerelease of Beauty and the Beast Delayed
Animation Artist Magazine has confirmed with Disney that the rerelease of Beauty and the Beast is not coming out anytime soon. Disney says that there is no scheduled release date and that it most likely won't be rereleased until the year 2001 or beyond.


Friday, September 10, 1999

Sandra Bullock's Fortris Films Dives into Animation
Sandra Bullock's Fortris Films is diving into the animation arena after reaching an production deal with Warner Bros. According to Daily Variety, the two new animated films are titled Nicholas Cricket, "an animated adaptation of the William Joyce children's book" and Jingle, which "starts on Christmas Eve, when the world's most sarcastic elf is left behind at the home of the world's naughtiest little girl. The elf has a few months to get the girl to be good enough for Santa Claus to return and take the elf home."

Pixar Selects Maya Software for Projects
Alias|Wavefront, an SGI
company, announced today that Pixar Animation Studios has selected Maya Unlimited for use in geometric modeling on upcoming feature film production projects.

"Alias|Wavefront's Maya software offers the best geometric modeling capabilities of any commercially available package," says Darwyn Peachey, Pixar's Vice President of R & D. "Maya brings us the latest in geometric modeling technology, including Artisan and improved tools for polygonal modeling."

Pixar continues to set new standards in computer animation, with its groundbreaking technology and Award-winning character animation. Pixar's first two feature films, Toy Story and A Bug's Life , have been box office blockbusters. The studio's third feature film, Toy Story 2, is set for release in the U.S. November 24, 1999.

"Pixar's films inspire artists and animators all over the world," says Richard Kerris, Industry Manager for the Entertainment Business Unit at Alias|Wavefront. "We are extremely pleased with Pixar's decision to use Maya for their modeling."

Maya's new Advanced Modeling features include the integration of NURBS tools and subdivision surface technology, a modeling refinement tool for the creation and editing of seamless organic shapes. New workflow improvements in Maya include support for polygons in Maya Artisan, Maya software's unique brush sculpting tool.

Neither Pixar or Alias/Wavefront said which Pixar projects Maya would be used in.


Thursday, September 9, 1999

Walt Disney Family Museum Opens Online!
The Walt Disney Family Foundation Thursday unveiled the Walt Disney Family Museum Web site at the Disneyana convention in Florida.

This online virtual museum is dedicated to honoring Walt Disney, the creative visionary and founder of The Walt Disney Co. The Website serves as a noncommercial, educational, interactive resource for those interested in learning about the history and legacy of the man behind the most beloved entertainment company in the world.

Championed by Diane Disney Miller, daughter of Walt Disney, this site is the realization of a longtime dream.

"The extensive reach of the Web allows us to share special memories of my father with people everywhere," said Miller.

"Those who visit the site will see that, in addition to being a visionary businessman, Walt Disney was a hard-working family man who brought magic to the masses through entertainment and animation."

The Walt Disney Family Museum site will be hosted on Disney.com, which is led by Ken Goldstein, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Online.

According to Goldstein, "Since the day Diane mentioned her plans for this tribute, we have been eager to help bring the site to life."


The Walt Disney Family museum site offers a deeper understanding of Walt Disney through exclusive exhibits representing the various stages of his life, along with fascinating interactive collections that are updated each month.
Click here to visit the museum!
 


Wednesday, September 8, 1999

Rugrats Sequel in Production!
Production is underway on the animated film Rugrats in Paris -- The Movie, the second feature film based on Nickelodeon's award-winning series.

"Rugrats" is about life from a baby's point of view and is the highest-rated show on television for kids aged 2-11. Rugrats in Paris -- The Movie is produced by Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo through their company, Klasky Csupo Inc., at their production headquarters in Los Angeles. The movie is co-directed by Paul Demeyer and Stig Bergqvist and written by David Weiss & J. David Stem, Jill Gorey & Barbara Herndon, and Kate Boutilier.
Celebrity voices will include Susan Sarandon, John Lithgow and Debbie Reynolds. The film will continue to feature voice talent from the series and The Rugrats Movie, including E.G. Daily, Christine Cavanaugh, Cheryl Chase and Kath Soucie. The animated feature is slated for a Holiday 2000 theatrical release and will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.

Wishes come true in Rugrats in Paris -- The Movie , and love makes its way into the hearts of those young, old and overseas. Chuckie's dad Chas starts dating again, and it's Chuckie's wish to find a new mom. When Stu Pickles is summoned to Reptarland, an amazing new amusement park in Paris, to work on his Reptar invention, Tommy, Chuckie, Angelica, Lil, Phil, Baby Dil, Didi and the whole gang tag along to the city of romance.

But the Rugrats' big adventure turns out to be more than glamour, fashion and smelly cheese. Chuckie learns that when it comes to princesses and potential mommies, things are not always what they seem, and for Chas, finding the right woman can be difficult in any language. As the Rugrats' travels take them from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame and everywhere in between, the world's favorite babies learn new lessons about courage, loyalty, trust and above all, true love.

Rugrats in Paris -- The Movie is the next big-screen adventure that began with The Rugrats Movie, which was released in November 1998 and became the first non-Disney animated film to gross $100 million in North America. Both movies are based on Nickelodeon's critically acclaimed series, which is broadcast in more than 100 countries and 30 different languages. Rugrats in Paris -- The Movie is the second animated collaboration between Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies.

The "Rugrats" series, on Nickelodeon, was created by Klasky, Csupo and Paul Germain and premiered in the United States in August 1991. It began airing internationally in 1992. The series, which is a three-time Emmy Award winner and a current Emmy nominee for Outstanding Children's Program as well as a 1993 CableACE award winner, has grown into a billion-dollar evergreen franchise property for Nickelodeon.


Tuesday, September 7, 1999

Squaresoft Releases Final Fantasy VIII
Squaresoft has released Final Fantasy VIII in the U.S. market, the newest sequel to its Final Fantasy series. The game was released on Playstation.

"It is always a thrill for Square to bring a new Final Fantasy game to market," said Jun Iwasaki, president of Square Electronic Arts. "Our highly talented development team continues to raise the bar in terms of graphics and gameplay in the Final Fantasy series. The technological advancements in Final Fantasy VIII particularly in the areas of character facial expressions and the seamless transition from gameplay to full motion video and back to gameplay are absolutely stunning."

The makers of Final Fantasy have recently gained worldwide attention with their photorealisitic renderings for the upcoming Final Fantasy movie.

The Prince of Egypt Hits Video on September 14
In just one week The Prince of Egypt will hit both video and DVD. The VHS version will sell for $26.99 and the DVD, with lots of extra goodies (including a director's commentary) will sell for $34.99.


Monday, September 6, 1999

Happy Labor Day
To our regulars and visitors from the US, we wish you a very happy and safe Labor Day!

Look Out - Here Comes the Yellow Submarine
If you're familiar with the Beatles, you're familiar with the Yellow Submarine. In 1968, a Beatles cartoon called "Yellow Submarine" was released to the public. On September 14, it will be released again, this time with digital enhancements and never-before-seen animated footage. In addition, the US Postal Services has released a 33 cent stamp with a picture of the yellow submarine on it.

Sega Releases Dreamcast This Week!
Sega will release its new Dreamcast game console this week in the United States. Over 350,000 units have already been presold. Sega boasts the machines ability to generate 3 million polygons (the "building blocks" for 3D animation) per second as the main advantage over both Playstation and Nintendo 64, which can only generate 300,000 polygons per second. This will apparently allow Sega to demonstrate the same resolution (and game play) as its arcade games.


Sunday, September 5, 1999

"Todd McFarlane's Spawn" Wins Second Emmy
"Todd McFarlane's Spawn" animated series received the Emmy Award for "Outstanding Animated Program" (for programming more than one hour). This is the second Emmy Award for "Todd McFarlane's Spawn," now in its third season and currently airing on HBO. The award was presented to Todd McFarlane, executive producer of the series, by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony held on Saturday evening, August 28, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

"Our intention was to create an animated adult drama, the type that has been so popular in other countries. It is gratifying that such a large audience is following the series," said McFarlane. "Thanks to HBO for recognizing the value of this type of animated drama program, and hopefully this will open the door for more series like this."

 The HBO show is based on the best-selling comic book of the same name created by McFarlane. In 1998, the series won one of two Emmys offered in the field of Animation. Under McFarlane's control, "Todd McFarlane's Spawn" began its legacy in May 1997 with six half-hour episodes. Another six original episodes aired in May 1998, with the third season airing this year. Released on video in August 1997, "Todd McFarlane's Spawn," Season 1, became the best selling HBO Home Video Original Production in history.


Saturday, September 4, 1999

ABC Snags Welsh Animated Film for TV
ABC has purchased a Welsh animation film on the story of Jesus Christ that it plans to air Easter Weekend of the year 2000. According to BBC News, "The production cost $10m and took four years to put together as part of a Welsh-Russian joint project." It is the first time in 20 years that a US TV network has purchased a British feature. The animated film is called "Miracle Maker."

South Park Influence on Kids is Strong
BBC News is reporting that Eric Cartman, the outcast character in the controversial South Park cartoon, has been named the "Favorite Personality" in a poll of British children! "The children polled, aged between eight and nine years old, put the irreverent cartoon rascals on a par with more traditional role models such as soccer ace David Beckham and pop sensation Britney Spears," says BBC News.

South Park Named Most Profane Film Ever
Media Index has named South Park the "Most Profane Film Ever," stating that the "animated" film contains 399 bad words and 128 crude gestures all fit into 80-minutes. The film's producer, Matt Stone, claims that the attraction of his series comes from the 'fact' that "Kids are not nice, innocent, flower-loving little rainbow children. Kids are all little bastards; they don't have any kind of social tact or etiquette."

The staff of Animation Artist magazine made an ethical decision not to view, review, or participate in the promotion of the recent so-called "animated" South Park movie.


Friday, September 3, 1999

Secret Peter Pan Project Suffers Setback!
Daily Variety is reporting today that Disney has been developing a secret Peter Pan animated movie (possibly a sequel). The only problem is that the dream came to an abrupt halt this week when Disney laid off animators working on the project and halted production on the film. "The layoffs of layout artists and background painters happened because of one particular project going back into development," Disney rep Laurel Whitcomb told Daily Variety. "This is a typical occurrence in animation. It's not massive layoffs. Our studio in Canada continues to work on other projects."

Disney's Beauty and the Beast Shelved?
Animation Artist Magazine has been asking a lot of questions lately about the rerelease of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. We've received few answers, but this is what we do know:

1) "The Animation Ranger," one of our reliable tipsters, reports that Beauty and the Beast will not be rereleased this year into theaters.

2) Talks with Disney have been unsuccessful in us getting the plans for the rerelease. It doesn't appear from talking with Disney, however, that it is not coming out anytime soon.

3) Disney recently delayed the rerelease of the video of Beauty and the Beast for "up to two years." This could mean that the theatrical rerelease will be delayed for the same amount of time.

Disney has added a few new scenes to Beauty and the Beast for the rerelease, but it is now unknown when that actual time will occur.


Thursday, September 2, 1999

Virtual Ads Coming to Baseball on September 5
ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Sports, will once again use virtual imaging by Princeton Video Image, Inc. during the nationally televised Sunday Night Baseball game on September 5th when the first place New York Yankees meet the Anaheim Angels.

PVI will create virtual ads for Universal Studio's new movie "For the Love of the Game," Pepsi, Office Depot, and Edison International, an energy company. The game begins at 8:05 PM ET and will be played at Edison Field in Anaheim.

"This is the second time this season that ESPN has featured PVI's virtual advertising in a nationally televised game with the World Champion New York Yankees," said Dennis Wilkinson, PVI President and CEO. "It is clear from the caliber of advertisers that there is an increasing appreciation of the value that virtual advertising can bring to live television events."

By using PVI's virtual imaging system, television networks can insert fixed or animated graphics into telecasts in such a way that the graphics appear as part of the live stadium scene. Its most common use in baseball is to place signs or animated images along the wall behind home plate. The images can be combined with advertising graphics to create dynamic promotions, such as an animated pitch speed indicator that also displays a sponsored message.

Princeton Video Image, Inc. has developed and is marketing a real-time video insertion system that, through patented pattern recognition technology, places computer-generated electronic images into television broadcasts of sporting events as well as other programming. These electronic images range from simple corporate names and logos to sophisticated 3-D images and animated effects. PVI has provided video insertion services for over 1,200 live telecasts worldwide, including broadcasts of Major League Baseball, National League Football, professional soccer, motorsports, and other live events.


Wednesday, September 1, 1999

MetaCreations to Release New Animation Package
MetaCreations has announced that it is releasing a new animation package called Carrara, a complete 3D modeling and animation solution for print, video and the Web. Expected for release later this fall, Carrara evolves from nearly a decade of MetaCreations' 3D development experience with products such as Ray Dream and Infini-D. Carrara will provide a comprehensive, high-end feature set coupled with a blazingly fast rendering engine and revolutionary work-flow approach, SmartFlow™. Carrara will enable the ultimate creative freedom for 3D artists and designers, as well as 2D creative professionals moving into the world of 3D.

Carrara will become a significant component in MetaCreations' family of 3D products that includes Bryce 4 , Poser 4 and Canoma. The MetaCreations' product family contains all the tools necessary to create rich, professional quality 3D objects, environments, human figures and animations. Carrara will contain the most important features found in many high-end 3D packages, such as a hybrid Ray Tracer, advanced shader editors, multiple modelers, real time Metaballs, particle systems, 3D light sources, lens flares, motion blur, key framing, physical effects, deformers and much more.

Carrara will introduce a revolutionary workflow called SmartFlow that will significantly shorten the learning curve for new 3D developers while providing maximum productivity to the power user. SmartFlow provides an intuitive, progressive interface environment that will allow users to "walk" projects through a series of production steps, with each compartmentalized area featuring the tools required to complete any task necessary.

Carrara is expected later this year.
 

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