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Wednesday - March 21, 2001
- Warner Bros. Drops the Ball on Superman Rerelease
- New President of Warner Bros. Animation Announced
- SGI: "We Power Best Visual Effects Nominees"
- News Link of the Day - Animated Characters' Life-Changing Applications

Warner Bros. Drops the Ball on Superman Rerelease
Superman - The Movie, Special Edition DVD
(by digitalmediafx.com) Note: This article has been removed after determining that some of the information contained in the original article was in conflict with other facts.

The original article asserted that Warner Bros. had killed a wide rerelease of Superman and was only planning on showing it on seven screens all in one city -- San Antonio.

Sources very close to the project, however, insist that Superman may still get a wide screen release and that San Antonio is only a "preview screening."

"Based on theatrical response [in San Antonio], Warner Bros. will decide if they want to go a little wider and wider and therefore don't blow huge amounts of national TV money," says a source very close to the project

The WB source also states that this is no different from the pattern used to take the rerelease of The Exorcist into a wide release.

While only the wide release aspect of the article was disputed, Digital Media FX was also told that the May 1 DVD release date referred to was not set in stone and doesn't officially appear on any WB release schedules (although unofficially it may appear on some documents). The DVD date can change depending on how well Superman performs in San Antonio this weekend, determining if it will open "a little wider".

Other article material not disputed includes:

"Superman was originally released to theaters on December 15, 1978 and became a huge hit, racking in over $134 million at the U.S. box office. Adjusted for inflation and today's ticket prices, Superman would be the equivalent of a $270 million movie today. In addition, Superman has grossed over $81 million in the rental marketplace."

One source close to the WB Superman project has added that the original release made over $110 million outside the U.S.. Regarding WB's method of determining a wider release, the source stated that it is a "very intelligent release pattern to see if an older movie works in today's environment."

Click here for an official statement from the publisher regarding the article dispute.

Click here to see the movie trailer.

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New President for Warner Bros. Animation Announced
(by digitalmediafx.com) A change is coming to the top animation position at Warner Bros. Yesterday, Warner Bros. announced that Sander Schwartz will assume the position of president of Warner Bros. Animation on April 16, 2001. The current president, Jean MacCurdy, is stepping down to become a creative consultant for Warner Bros. Animation.

As the new president, Schwartz takes over responsibility for the studio's physical production of theatrical, television, direct-to-video and classic animation, as well as oversight of creative development for television and direct-to-video animated programming.

Schwartz will also work closely with Lorenzo di Bonaventura, president, Worldwide Production, Warner Bros. Pictures, who is responsible for the creative development and production of all theatrical films for the studio, including animated films based on new characters, as well as the studio's classic Looney Tunes, DC Comics and Hanna-Barbera characters.

Schwartz comes to Warner Bros. from Sony Pictures Family Entertainment (SPFE), where for the past two years he served as the division's first president, responsible for creating character-based entertainment targeted to the all-family audience, overseeing the development, production, marketing and worldwide distribution of the division's television and direct-to-video titles.

Under Schwartz, SPFE produced traditional cel animation, 3D CGI animation and live-action properties, including such current hits as "Jackie Chan Adventures," "Max Steel" and "Men in Black: The Series" for "Kids' WB!"; "Dragon Tales" (co-produced with Sesame Workshop) on PBS' "Ready to Learn" block; "Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles," "Jumanji" and "Extreme Ghostbusters" airing in syndication.

"My years at Sony Pictures Entertainment and Columbia Pictures Television have been terrific, but I couldn't pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with and extend so many of the most important brands and characters in animation history," said Schwartz. "I grew up watching Warner Bros. Animation, I have always loved it and the chance to work with Warner Bros. Animation is a dream come true. Jean has set the bar high and I am committed to continuing her legacy."

MacCurdy's leaving is said to be her desire and not a forced exit. In 1992, MacCurdy became the first president of Warner Bros. Television Animation followed by becoming president of Warner Bros. Animation when the two were consolidated in 1999.

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SGI: "We Power Best Visual Effects Nominees"
(by digitalmediafx.com) SGI announced yesterday that for the seventh consecutive year, every Academy Award finalist in the area of visual effects has relied on the power of SGI systems to create the award winning effects.

"Our entertainment customers are a lighthouse for our business - always striving to create imagery that's never been done before and push the envelope of what is possible with technology. They continue to deliver even more astounding images year after year, and we're excited that our graphics and server systems consistently play a key role," said Greg Estes, vice president and general manager, Telecommunications and Media, SGI. "We believe the entertainment industry is the heart and soul of what we do. Our customers' commitment to our technology tells us that they are counting on us to provide the products and services to help make their vision possible."

The Best Visual Effects nominations for this year's Academy Awards are Gladiator, Hollow Man, and The Perfect Storm.

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News Link of the Day - Animated Characters' Life-Changing Applications

According to ABC News:

"Despite being profoundly deaf, 11-year-old Veronica and 8-year-old Zach are learning to speak, thanks in part to a computer-animated guide named Baldi.

Baldi is a revolutionary tutor whose 3D lips, tongue and jaw movements are a near-perfect copy of human speech movements, known as phenomes. ..."

Click here for the full story.

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