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Saturday - April 21, 2001
- Akira Gets Wider U.S. Theatrical Release
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire Not Opening Wide on June 8, 2001
- Spy Kids Dethroned
- News Link of the Day - Study: Macromedia's Flash Most Popular Plug-In

Akira Gets Wider U.S. Theatrical Release
(by digitalmediafx.com) Warner Bros, which botched a halfhearted attempt at re-releasing a restored Superman to the widescreen, could learn a lot from a company called Pioneer Entertainment, which has been test marketing the restored Japanese anime movie Akira on U.S. shores. On March 30, Pioneer Entertainment began test marketing Akira on one screen in New York and the results were good enough that Pioneer Entertainment is expanding Akira's test market to now include Los Angeles and San Francisco. The movie will only be shown on digital movie screens.

The restoration includes a new film interpositive and high-definition mastering using the latest Digital Vision HD technology. In addition, Akira has been THX certified, and the audio components were re-mixed to Dolby Digital AC3 Surround Sound. A new English dub was also created from a new translation of the original Japanese script.

"Akira is dramatic cel animation at its best, making use of vibrant color, high and low contrast, fine detail and an extreme range of light and dark scenes," said Mark Nakamine, IVC's high definition colorist. "I used the very latest in high definition processing to create the digital master which will convey all the visual nuances intended."

Pioneer Entertainment is working out the dates and detail of the expanded release. It is likely that any potential expansion beyond Los Angeles and San Francisco will be only in theaters with digital screens.

A DVD of Akira is expected from Pioneer Entertainment later this summer.

Last month Warner Bros. was criticized for apparently mishandling a potential wide remastered rerelease of Superman - The Movie, which included new footage. Warner Bros. used an unproven test market of San Antonio, Texas, to make its determination that Superman should not be expanded throughout the U.S.

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AtlantisAtlantis: The Lost Empire Not Opening Wide on June 8, 2001
(by digitalmediafx.com) Yesterday, many media outlets reported that Disney had moved its release date of Atlantis: The Lost Empire from June 15, 2001 to June 8, 2001.

The rumor started with an article in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday titled "Studio Plan: Make Hay While the Sun Shines." In the article, author Richard Natale wrote:

"Disney had planned to roll out its animated Atlantis in mid-June against Paramount's Tomb Raider, based on the video game and starring Angelina Jolie. Though the former is ostensibly a family film, the two will share the hefty teen demographic. At the last minute, Disney blinked and has moved the Atlantis opening to June 8."

Many other news outlets picked up this tidbit and began widely reporting that Disney had moved the release date from June 15 to June 8 so that it would not be competing against Tomb Raider.

Digital Media FX (dFX) avoided publishing this report until confirmation could be made with Disney. Upon reaching Disney's press department on Friday, we were told that there was no truth to the story and that the release date had not been changed. The press representative told dFX that Atlantis was opening at one theater in both New York and Los Angeles (El Capitan) on June 8, but not wide until June 15. This is the same strategy Disney followed with last year's Dinosaur, allowing a week of "word of mouth" to begin building on both the East and West Coast a week before the big opening.

Few are giving Disney's PG-rated animated Atlantis a chance against the PG-rated live action Tomb Raider. Both are targeting the same markets, both are heavily marketing the films, and both are still opening against each other on June 15.

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Spy Kids Dethroned
After four weeks as King of the Box Office, Spy Kids has been dethroned not by Freddie Got Fingered and not by Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, but rather by a movie called Bridget Jones' Diary. On Friday, Spy Kids ($2.8 million on Friday) opened in third place under Bridget Jones' Diary ($3.2 million) and the poorly reviewed Freddie Got Fingered ($3 million). However, since Saturday and Sunday are out of school day for kids, there is a chance that Spy Kids could still overtake both movies for another first place finish. Meanwhile, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles opened fifth with $2.4 million on Friday.

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News Link of the Day - Study: Macromedia's Flash Most Popular Plug-In

According to the NewsFactor Network:

"Macromedia's Flash plug-in is now the most installed plug-in on Netscape browsers worldwide, according to a newly released study.

The study, released Monday by Web analysts WebSideStory Inc., found that use of the animation plug-in on Netscape's browsers doubled between January 1999 and April 2001, going from 45 percent to nearly 90 percent..."

Click here for the full story.

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