September 18, 2000
Year for Disney Animation
According to the Orlando Weekly:
been a bad year for Disney Feature Animation. Dinosaur underperformed
at the box office. Fantasia 2000 had some success in IMAX
theaters, but died a dog's death in regular release. And Eisner
is said to hate the company's problem-plagued Christmas release,
The Emperor's New Groove.
then there's the movie that no one dares talk about: John Henry.
This is a short subject the Mouse has had in the can for more than
a year now. Produced at Disney's Florida animation studio, the film
celebrates an American folk hero, 'that steel-driving man' who wages
an epic battle with a steam engine to prove man's superiority over
machine. Given the quality of the completed cartoon, many within
the company feel it's sure to snag an Oscar nomination.
John Henry remains locked away, its release date uncertain.
here for the full story then click
here to discuss it.
* * *
With It (Jiggy Bug)
do you get when you take a few profession animators from Los Angeles
and New York and team them up on a three minute project? The answer
is "Jiggy Bug," a nine month labor of love that is directed
and produced by David J. Sung and created by Chaiporn Panichrutiwong.
UBO Network's Animation Division, "Jiggy Bug" is making
its rounds at film festivals and will soon be premiering on the
Web. The short already took first place for "Best 3D Animation"
in the "World Internet Animation Competition." Among the
judges for the competition were Stan Lee and Brad Bird.
For the modeling,
the "Jiggy Bug" team used Maya. For the animation and
rendering, the "Jiggy Bug" team used Character Studio
and 3D Studio Max. The project was the first from the newly formed
UBO 3D Department.
here to see an initial concept clip (Quicktime
required) from "Jiggy Bug" that was animated by Chaiporn
Panichrutiwong and Daizo Kinoshita. There's also a "Jiggy Bug"
45 second teaser that will soon be making the rounds online.
Here are some
images from "Jiggy Bug":
September 19, 2000
Nelvana Merger Details Emerge
The merger between Corus and Nelvana, where Nelvana will be acquired,
is going forward. On Monday, both companies announced that a $374
million deal had been reached. In addition, the Board of Directors
of both compananies have officially approved the merger. Once the
acquisition is complete, Corus may turn its eyes towards Cinar.
read past Animation Artist news reports on the Corus and Nelvana
merger, visit the following links:
Stock Raises on Buyout Speculation (Tuesday, September 5, 2000)
May be Target of Acquisition Attempt (Monday, September 11,
* * *
Results for Animated Movies
Here are the Box Office results for last weekend's animated
$276,101 ($465 per screen average - 19% drop)
28th at the Box Office (also #28 last weekend)
Total to Date: $104.9 Million
$135,907 ($256 per screen average - 25% drop)
39th at the Box Office (down from #37 last weekend)
Total to Date: $43.5 Million
$107,012 ($572 per screen average - 58% decrease)
40th at the Box Office (down from #30 last weekend)
Total to Date: $136.3 Million
* * *
New to DVD
The following animated movies and shows were released to DVD
Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea
Suit Gundam Wing - Operation 3
- The Po-Ke Corral (Vol. 21)
Slayers - DVD Collection (Vols. 1-8)
September 20, 2000
Run DVD and VHS Details Emerge
Chicken Run will be released to DVD
on November 21, 2000. The first full-length feature film from Aardman,
the Academy Award-winning creators of "Wallace & Gromit," Chicken
Run brought in nearly $105 million in the U.S. Box Office to
become the number 1 grossing non-Disney animated film of all time.
the Chicken Run VHS will only contain the movie, DreamWorks
is putting a lot of effort into the Chicken Run DVD with numerous
is a list of the DVD features:
Commentary by directors Nick Park and Peter Lord
NBC's "Making Of Chicken Run"
HBO's "Hatching of Chicken Run"
Screaming Chicken Panic Button
Cast and Crew Bios
"Escape the Pie Machine" Game
"Whack a Tweedy" Game
play the games you'll need to run the DVD on a PC or on Sony's new
upcoming Playstation 2 consoles.
the Chicken Run DVD at Amazon.com by clicking here.
* * *
Creates The New Bremen Musicians
Russian-based Tema has finished work on The New Bremen Musicals
52-minute animated feature. Considered a sequel from a 2D Bremen
Musicals animation in the 70's, centers around Troubadour Jr., the
son of Troubadour and Princess, characters from the earlier story.
Troubadour Jr. is a troublemaker whose devil-may-care attitude has
earned the disapproval of his grandfather, the King. But the King
has bigger problems to worry about a deviant gang leader is plotting
to trick the elderly, decrepit King into marrying her. She will
stop at nothing to get her hands on his power and the kingdom, even
kidnapping Troubadour Jr., the King’s grandson.
Tema used Cambridge
Animation Systems’ Animo software as its central animation tool
for the production.
September 21, 2000
Fever Spreads at Major Toy Launch
Japanese sci-fi animation property, Gundam Wing, was officially
launched in Canada on September 16, by Bandai America Incorporated.
Gundam anime series, which follows five teenage pilots who each
operate Gundam mobile suits (robot-like machines) to save the universe
from the evil OZ empire, is a cultural phenomenon that has achieved
legacy status in Japan. It has entertained audiences for two decades
with seven television series, eight feature films, novels, comics,
videos and toys. It has grossed over $5 billion in retail sales
and one year after its introduction to the U.S. market, sales are
reaching unprecedented levels.
a celebration event at a downtown-Toronto Toys "R" US store, Canadians
lined up for the official unveiling of Gundam Wing action figure
and model kit toy line as well as the television series. A dramatic
confrontation between main character Heero Yuy and the evil Oz commander
Treize Khushrenada, was staged and gave audiences a glimpse of what
the popular series is all about.
the same afternoon, Canadians cheered on the top local university
anime clubs at a Gundam Wing model kit building challenge. In less
than three hours, anime clubs Anime Extreme (University of Toronto,
YAMA (York University), URanime (Ryerson) and UTARPA (University
of Toronto) created masterpieces with incredible attention to detail.
After a tough decision, University of Toronto's Anime Extreme took
first prize, which included a donation from Bandai and an exclusive
Gundam Wing prize pack.
Gundam Wing, Bandai hopes to expand the growing anime category.
Anime, the distinctive style of Japanese animation, goes beyond
the mere realm of entertainment as it can bring up philosophical
questions and deals with thought-provoking themes. Typically, a
series provides a lesson or moral that challenges the viewer to
think about life. Anime was first introduced to North American audiences
in the late 1960s with Speed Racer and Astro Boy. However, the popular
hits Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Pokémon and Digimon have adopted
a much wider and mainstream audience than their predecessors.
years, Gundam has been a favourite among kids and adults in Japan
and we are proud to bring this popular phenomenon to Canada," says
Shin Ueno, vice president of marketing, Bandai America Incorporated.
"We are especially excited that YTV is airing the series this fall."
Wing premiered on YTV on September 11, 2000 and can be seen Monday
through Thursday at 11:30 p.m. Since its debut on the U.S. Cartoon
Network this past March, the series has consistently placed first
or second in the popular Toonami block.
* * *
Lets 19 Go to Outsource Animation Work
Stan Lee Media has fired 19 employees as a result of outsourcing
animation work to companies overseas. Stan Lee Media says the move
will reduce overhead costs.
"This is an
opportunity to maintain the highest quality animation, while reducing
internal overhead costs. Outsourcing portions of the production
process to overseas animation production companies will also allow
us to direct added creative resources and focus more attention on
creating additional branded content and developing the type of strategic
partnerships and licensing agreements that will culminate in revenue
generation. Our slate of current production, as well as our moving
into production on our recently announced franchises such as `Conan
the Barbarian' and Gene Roddenberry's `Starship,' gives us the critical
volume necessary to establish international production partnerships,"
stated Kenneth Williams, Stan Lee Media President and CEO.
* * *
Image Now Independent From Play, Inc.
Play Incorporated has announced its 3D animation subsidiary, Electric
Image, completed an amicable management buyout agreement and is
now an independent corporation. The new company will focus on developing
and marketing advanced digital animation solutions.
Electric Image in April 1998 with the stated goal of merging Electric
Image's powerful 3D technology with Play's real-time video technologies.
With the completion of Trinity 2.0 and Personal FX 2.0, the resulting
integration of Electric Image's rendering technology now allows
video professionals to create fully customizable real-time 3D video
effects unlike any other system on the market. The Play acquisition
of Electric Image also resulted in the release of Amorphium and
supported development efforts for the upcoming Electric Image: Universe
3D animation system.
will continue to reap the benefits of EI's advanced 3D engine under
a licensing agreement between the two companies. Play will also
continue to sell and support Amorphium 1.0 during a transitional
will lead the newly independent Electric Image as Chairman and CEO.
Mr. Parscale led Play's 3D subsidiary since he joined Electric Image
in November 1998. Original Electric Image founders Jay Roth and
Markus Huoy will also remain with the company.
"Over the last
two years, Play redefined the sophistication of real-time visual
effects by integrating Electric Image technology into Trinity,"
explains Mr. Parscale. "Now the 3D team is looking forward to focusing
its energies on newly emerging opportunities in the 3D marketplace.
We have expended a large amount of time and effort developing a
new architecture that will greatly enhance our development process
and speed to market with new features on all platforms for the Universe
product. In addition to putting the finishing touches on Universe
we will continue to develop, sell and support future versions of
our award-winning and highly regarded Amorphium product."
September 22, 2000
Given PG Rating! Emperor Gets a "G"
According to both Variety and Reuters, Digimon: The Movie
has been given a PG rating by the Motion Picture Association of
America. As a film aimed at younger children the PG rating could
sink Digimon at the Box Office. The reason for the rating
is "for action violence". FOX, which is distributing the
film, will have the opportunity to edit the film for a "G"
rating, if desired. But that will have to be done before October
6, 2000, when it is scheduled to hit theaters. Earlier this year,
FOX released another PG animated film, Titan A.E., which
bombed at the Box Office, leading to the downfall of Fox Film's
other ratings news, Disney's The Emperor's New Groove has
been given a G rating by the Motion Picture Association of America.
* * *
Ships Poser 4.03
Curious Labs, Inc. today announced it has begun shipping Poser(R)
v 4.0.3, the award-winning 3D-character animation and design tool
for digital artists and animators. Poser 4.0.3 is the latest version
of the former MetaCreations, Corp. software, purchased by egi.sys
AG in March 2000. Upgrades to Poser v 4.0.3 are available as free
for current Poser 4 customers. Owners of earlier versions of Poser
(formerly Fractal Design and MetaCreations) can upgrade to Poser
4.0.3 for US $99.00--valid serial number required.
represents the next generation of Poser under its new corporate
name and brand--Curious Labs," said Steve Cooper, president of Curious
Labs. "When we announced Poser's return to the market at SIGGRAPH
2000 this past July in New Orleans, we were overwhelmed by e-mail
requests from new and existing Poser enthusiasts. We are now proud
to be shipping Poser 4 again, continuing the legacy of this powerful
3D-character posing and animation tool," said Cooper.
Larry Weinberg, CEO of Curious Labs--and many of the original engineering,
marketing, research and development and sales team from MetaCreations,
Inc. joined together to form Curious Labs in Santa Cruz, California
in April 2000 with equity partner egi.sys AG in Germany
September 23, 2000
Revamped for 21st Century
According to BBC News:
children's favourite Noddy is to make a £10m TV comeback in a brand-new
contrast to the familiar puppet-based animated programmes made in
the 1960s and 1970s, the new series of 100 episodes will feature
hi-tech computer graphics.
21st century version of the mischievous rosy-cheeked character,
created by children's author Enid Blyton in 1949, may appear on
British TV screens as early as June next year…"
here for the full story.
* * *
Prepares for Gatecrasher
Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. and Black Bull Entertainment,
L.L.C. have signed a development agreement to bring the new monthly
comic series Gatecrasher to television.
calls for Mainframe Entertainment to develop a computer animated
half-hour television series for the youth market from the sci-fi
comic series. Gatecrasher is designed and written by the team of
Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Connor and Mark Waid.
is the story of Alec Wagner, a college student who is half-human,
half-alien and a full-time member of the Split-Second Squad, a secret
alien army that protects Earth from alien attacks through interdimensional
`gates.' Using its liquid supercomputer ThinkTank, the Squad was
able to locate these gates before damage could be done -- until
it was destroyed and its contents splashed all over Alec's body.
Although the youngest and least experienced of the team, Alec is
the only Squadder with the power to sense when and where the invaders
will strike, so he is always on call.
September 24, 2000
Lacewood Group Acquired
Sheldon S. Wiseman, President of Amberwood Entertainment Corporation,
and actor Leslie Nielsen have announced that an Agreement has been
entered into with PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. to acquire a number
of the assets of the Lacewood Group, subject to Court approval.
The assets being
acquired include over 85 half-hours of animated television production,
including 39 episodes of "Katie & Orbie", an extremely successful
pre-school series, narrated by Leslie Nielsen and based upon characters
created by Ben Wicks and Susan Wicks. Amberwood has commenced production
on 26 new half-hour episodes of "Katie & Orbie" for Family Channel
in Canada and will immediately begin worldwide marketing of the
will be given rights to develop spin-off and sequel productions
based upon the various underlying properties being acquired. Worldwide
distribution will be handled by Amberwood International.
a film and television production company engaged primarily in the
production and distribution of animated programming.
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