Sunday, October 1, 2000
"The Lost World" Animated Series in the
Publivision Inc. announced the conclusion of an $11.5 million co-production
agreement between its animation subsidiary, Vivatoon Ltée, and Neuroplanet
France, to produce a new animated series entitled "The Lost
World." Inspired by the novel "The Lost World" by
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the father of Sherlock Holmes and the Jules
Verne of early 20th-century English literature, this science fiction
series consisting of 26 episodes of 26 minutes each targets young
people ages 9 to 12.
In a work originally written for adults, Vivatoon
and Neuroplanet France have introduced characters who are 10 and
12 years old. The co-producers thereby hope to introduce the young
public to one of the great classics of modern literature, bringing
to the screen the adventures of Lord John Roxton, in a world where
science, adventure and tolerance stimulate the characters.
Moreover, "The Lost World" animated series
will provide young people with "captivating role models they
can identify with, while promoting values that include loyalty,
friendship, self-confidence, going beyond one's limitations, a taste
for adventure, openness to others and non-violence," according
to the producers.
Monday, October 2, 2000
New Animated DVD Releases for Tomorrow
The following animated and anime DVDs will be released tomorrow:
Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) - Disney
Black Cauldron (1985) - Disney
Crazys: Comic Book Heroes
Crazy's Spooky Toons
- Dragons and Destiny (Vol. 1 - 1996)
and the Giant Peach - Special Edition (1996)
the Ninja Girl Vol 02
Nightmare Before Christmas - Special Edition (1993)
Nightmare Before Christmas/James and the Giant Peach (2 Pack)
Doo & Alien Invaders (2000)
* * *
BBC News Discusses Animation Oscar Category
According to BBC News:
"An Oscar for feature-length animations is to be established
for the first time, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The new category, the first for almost 20 years, will cover animated
features of more than 70 minutes, giving Disney films and the feature
film work of Nick Park, who made Chicken Run, the chance
of Oscar success.
The first Oscar for animation is likely to be presented at the
Academy Awards ceremony in March 2002. But the award will only be
handed out when eight or more eligible films are released a year,
which could be mean the statuette for animation is seen rarely..."
here for the full story.
Tuesday, October 3, 2000
Box Office Results for Animated Films
Here are the Box Office results for last weekend's animated
$200,996 ($388 per screen average - 31% drop)
32nd at the Box Office (down from #28 last weekend)
Total to Date: $105.5 Million
$64,496 ($223 per screen average - 43% drop)
50th at the Box Office (down from #40 last weekend)
Total to Date: $43.7 Million
$61,092 ($407 per screen average - 45% decrease)
51st at the Box Office (down from #42 last weekend)
Total to Date: $136.5 Million
* * *
Cartoon Girl Plays Influencial Role
According to The Times:
"She is eight and speaks more than a dozen languages, yet
the world's most powerful child welfare agency is about to turn
her into a domestic labourer.
Meena, a cartoon character, is a key weapon in the battle against
female and social inequality across the Indian subcontinent.
For the past two years children in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan
and Sri Lanka have followed the 13 video and storybook adventures
of South Asia's longest-suffering pre-teen as she and her best friend,
Mithu, a talking parrot, tackle social issues such as child marriage,
illegal dowry demands and parents refusing to send daughters to
school. Even Aids has touched Meena's carefully anonymised "Everytown"
life, where the names are neither Hindu nor Muslim.
Now the United Nations children's agency Unicef, which created
Meena, has decided it is time for her to meet stiffer challenges..."
here for the full story.
Wednesday, October 4, 2000
CyberWorld 3D Opens Friday!
The highly anticipated IMAX 3D animated film, CyberWorld
3D, opens this Friday in IMAX theaters across the nation. The
adventure lasts for 45-minutes and requires that audience members
wear special 3D glasses.
The 84-page CyberWorld 3D Teachers Guide recommends
seven sites for students to learn more about animation, with Animation
Artist Magazine being one of the seven sites featured (others
include Warner Brothers site and the official site for SIGGRAPH).
Also opening this Friday is Digimon: The Movie,
which may have trouble finding its audience because of its PG rating.
Parents have largely ignored PG rated animated features in the past
two years, including the highly acclaimed The Iron Giant.
Fox is copying Warner Brothers marketing efforts by offering free
trading cards to those who see Digimon in its opening weekend.
* * *
Spriggan Goes on Tour
ADV Films is has announced the fourth-quarter film festival run
of their latest animated movie, Spriggan.
On a fragment of a message plate, a warning from an ancient civilization
that was ruined by over-development was written. It says, "Protect
our legacy from evil." Arcam is an organization, which takes this
message seriously and plays an active part in trying to seal the
secret of the ancient civilization whose remains are scattered around
the world. The agents in the organization are called SPRIGGAN.
Due for wide release in 2001, Spriggan will be playing,
with English subtitles, at the following places:
October 8, 2000 - Spriggan will be shown at the Director's
Guild of America Theatre, during the New York Anime Film Festival.
The festival will be held in New York City, from October 6th though
October 22, 2000 - Spriggan will be shown at the AFI (American
Film Institute) Festival, in Los Angeles, California, during the
Asian Cinema Series Gala.
12th Annual International Film Festival of Wales going on from
November 29, 2000 to December 9, 2000 in Europe at Wales' capital
The original Spriggan story was created by Chu Takasige
and Ryoji Minagawa, part of the "Post-Otomo Generation." Spriggan
appeared serially in the monthly magazine "Zokan Shonen Sunday"
from 1989 to 1996. Paperback copies also sold 6 million copies.
Thursday, October 5, 2000
China Tries to Become a Cartoon Making Power
According to the Star Telegram and AP:
"In the struggle for the hearts and minds of
China's children, Han Fengfang is a warrior with a fountain pen.
Han's post is at a drafting table at the Shanghai
Animation Studio. In slow, sure strokes on clear plastic, the 25-year
veteran artist draws one more frame of a new cartoon. Then she starts
the next, inching the studio closer to its goal: a place alongside
Walt Disney Co. and other leaders of the global animation industry.
Cartoons are serious business for China -- both a
promising export and a tool to turn back a flood of imported children's
pop culture that stirs deep unease among communist leaders who look
on entertainment as an ideological tool..."
here to read the full story.
* * *
Teacher's Pet Premieres Tonight on Disney Channel
The premiere episode of "Disney's Teacher's Pet" animated
series will air tonight on Disney Channel at 8:45 p.m. ET/PT. On
Friday, October 6, Toon Disney will spotlight "Disney's Teacher's
Pet" with a four-episode "marathon" from 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Produced by Walt Disney Television Animation, "Disney's Teacher's
Pet" is the tale of a boy and his dog, "Spot" -- a talking canine
that yearns for the education afforded his master. As voiced by
Tony Award-winning actor Nathan Lane, Spot disguises himself as
a boy in order to attend school and, as the title suggests, becomes
the teacher's pet. "Teacher's Pet" is designated as children's educational
and informational programming.
"Teacher's Pet" is a production of Walt Disney Television Animation.
Gary Baseman is creator and executive producer. Bill & Cheri Steinkellner
are creators and executive producers. Michael Price is co-executive
producer. Timothy Bjorklund is director.
Friday, October 6, 2000
Wild Life Takes Wild Ride
Disney's Wild Life animated feature has apparently been
canned according to an Inside Magazine article, which states the
film was canceled because it was "not appropriate for Disney."
According to Inside Magazine, "Animators familiar
with the project said Roy Disney had declared that the film was
not appropriate for Disney. The project was killed after the studio
spent about $20 million, according to animation sources."
In a separate article, Inside Magazine claimed, "The
shelving of Disney's computer-generated Wild Life has sent
big ripples through the animation community, as it apparently signals
at least a temporary end to the studio's expensive attempt to launch
an in-house answer to Pixar, the creator of the fantastically successfully
Toy Story and A Bug's Life."
Parental groups may applaud the decision to cancel
the film over its apparent use of several sexual innuendoes and
gay friendly themes deemed inappropriate for children movies. Still,
others point out that if the film went too far, it could have been
released by one of Disney's subsidiary movie companies as was the
case with Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas.
* * *
Is FOX Giving Up on Digimon Before it Starts?
20th Century Fox is doing little to promote the new Digimon
film to the press. The official Digimon press kit, sent to
various media to promote the film, only contained two picture sheets
and a three page description of the movie. Most press kits contain
up to a dozen photos/slides and dozens of pages of behind the scenes
Heavily marketed with Saturday morning cartoon trailers, Digimon
opens today in 1,850 theaters across the U.S. with a trading card
promotion. But it starts with two and a half strikes against it.
The first strike is that many will view Digimon as a Pokemon
wannabee, a fast disappearing "fad" as shown by the Pokemon
sequel (released this summer) which barely made half the money of
the original release. The second strike is the PG rating. Parents
with small children have largely abandoned PG rated animated films.
Titan A.E. was abandoned, The Iron Giant was abandoned,
The Road to El Dorado was abandoned, and even the demographics
for the successful PG-rated Dinosaur showed a mostly older
So what is the half of a strike? The reviews. While most parents
seem to ignore reviews (otherwise, The Iron Giant would have
been a hit), some do give credence to reviewers who are being highly
critical of Digimon:
According to Variety: "It's a shame that a saga full of amusing
pop culture messages (for those able and willing to find them) is
ultimately so marred by the kind of animation that can only be the
product of an assembly line operation. While there are flashes of
imagination in the repeated spurts of action as the Digimons leap
into the fray, the stiff movement and bland color schemes remain
a constant, and finally prove extremely hard to watch for the sustained
length of a feature."
According to the Boston Globe: "What is particularly unappealing
and troublesome about the feature is that it is a video game barely
disguised as a movie. The uninspired animation and hackneyed dialogue
offer no cleverness, no distinguishable characteristics to any of
the kids or the Digimon (these creatures talk, unlike the gibberish-spouting
Pokemon, but they have nothing interesting to say). All are simply
a collection of names and sketchy traits."
According to Screen It (which screens films for parents): "the
filmmakers - from both the Japanese and American camps -- should
be chastised for their choice of copied material. That's because
if one's going to rip off something else, they should at least make
sure that the original product is good since the quality of the
duplicate rarely matches that of the original. As such, if you copy
an excellent film, you might end up with a good one. However, when
you copy a film or idea that's bad or awful from the start - such
as the Pokémon films - you're likely to end up with nothing more
than useless wreck. That's certainly the case with Digimon: The
Movie that earns a rating of just 1 out of 10."
Even with so much stacked up against it, Digimon does have
one thing going for it that the makers of The Iron Giant
and Titan A.E. may have benefited from - it is coming out
at a time when theaters need "family films". There have
been no kid movies released for months, so the time is ripe for
one and even a bad one could end up with a decent audience.
Monsters, Inc. Trailer Released!
Disney has released the trailer for Pixar's Monsters, Inc.
online, but as of early Friday morning, the Apple servers were technical
difficulties in properly downloading and displaying the trailer.
here to go to the Monsters, Inc. trailer page.
Saturday, October 7, 2000
CINAR Discusses Investigation
According to the CBC:
"Cinar Corp., the troubled children's animation
company struggling to survive a financial scandal and a stock market
plunge, says it expects to reach a tax-fraud settlement with the
federal and provincial governments 'imminently.'
In a letter to shareholders made public Friday, the
company said 'resolution will include the payment of taxes owing
Best known for animated children's TV shows... Cinar
is also being sued by shareholders and subsidiaries while the RCMP
probes allegations the company falsely claimed tax subsidies by
crediting scripts to Canadians that were written by Americans..."
here for the full story.
* * *
"Light Star Fantasy" World Premiere Set
The world premiere of "Light-Star-Fantasy" (new video version with
composition by Yoshi Ichige) will take place on October 25, 2000
in the music-metropolis Vienna, in the Oberlaa Kurhalle. This musical
fantasy embarks on an interstellar voyage and features the cosmic
paintings of Czech artist Zdenek Hajny. In this presentation his
works are transformed into a glittering experience by the latest
video animation techniques.
In contrast to movies like Star Wars with a dramatic, heavily
loaded plot, such as scenes depicting war, Starvoice values inner
peace and harmony, through portraying beautiful songs. Through its
purity "Starvoice" can serve as an energy source, which makes inner
One of the few Japanese female composers whose works can also be
experienced in performance in Europe is Yoshi Ichige. The "wunderkind
composer" (quotation from a daily Austrian newspaper, 1988), has
performed her compositions world wide.
The first presentation of Starvoice "Light-Star-Fantasy" took place
in Prague in 1995. It is a total work of art incorporating music,
painting, literature (poetry and legends), astronomy and technology
(computer video animation, 16:9 cinema-size).
The astrophysics consultant to the production is Prof. Dr. Gerhard
Boerner from Munich. The Prague planetarium has also provided support
by contributing astronomical images and advice on astronomy.
Starvoice "Light-Star-Fantasy" comprises 11 pieces of music (including
"Universe," "In the Distance of Space," "Secret of the Universe,"
"Promenade of Stars," "Kaleidoscope," "Moon Princess," "Milky Way").
The Starvoice Studio has been working on the images for 5 years
using computer-aided processing techniques to transform them into
a highly effective animated format.
In this international charity event the composer Yoshi Ichige will
sing the stars' songs live.
Sunday, October 8, 2000
Batman Beyond DVD Delayed
The release of the new Batman Beyond DVD movie, Return
of the Joker, has been moved from late October to December 12,
2000. Warner Brothers hasn't released an official statement as to
the delay, but speculation has ranged from editing it to be less
violent (due to congress pressure on Hollywood) to simply giving
WB more time to promote it closer to the Christmas holidays (more
The DVD will be packed with many extra features, including
a "Making Of" documentary and deleted footage.
* * *
According to CNN:
"This has happened to me many times. It gets to be 1 o'clock
and I think to myself, 'God, I'm tired - I'd like a nap.' It's 1
p.m. and the question is, do you know where your favorite cartoonist
If he's Scott Adams, creator of the corporate comic strip 'Dilbert,'
try looking on the floor of his home office near San Francisco.
That's right, the floor.
'I've literally gotten out of my chair, lain on the floor and fallen
sound asleep,' Adams says. 'I don't even bother walking to the couch,
because there's nobody going to come in and see me. When I wake
up I ask myself if I feel like working, and if I do, I get back
in the chair and I work. If I don't, I do something else.'
It's a work environment far removed from the character Dilbert's
world of cynical, conniving, cubicle-dwelling engineers reporting
to a dunderhead boss..."
here for the full story.
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