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Thursday - March 22, 2001
- Columbia TriStar to Sneak Animated Film into Theaters May 11
- Ohh Nooo!!! Mr. Bill Library Acquired - Coming to Home Video
- Two Disney Animated Movies Make Top 10 in DVD Sales
- News Link of the Day - Disney to Bow Pearl Harbor on Location

The Trumpet of the Swan Book by E.B. WhiteColumbia TriStar to Sneak Animated Film Into Theaters on May 11
(by digitalmediafx.com) In a surprise announcement, Columbia TriStar says that it will release an animated feature titled The Trumpet of the Swan into theaters on May 11, 2001 for a short engagement. The movie is based on E.B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan book, one of only three books ever written by E.B. White (Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web are the other two).

The rights to turn the book into an animated movie were acquired by Columbia Tristar in 1998. The company announced at the time that the movie would be a direct to video release in 2000 and even received a G rating by the Motion Picture Association of America last summer.

According to sources associated with the project, the release was delayed when it was learned that the Motion Picture Association of America was adding a "Best Animated Film" category to its award lineup. The film was readapted for the wide screen to play in theaters long enough to qualify for a possible nomination.

The Trumpet of the Swan is directed by Richard Rich, who also directed The Swan Princess and Warner Bros. animated The King and I. The movie stars the voices of Jason Alexander, Mary Steenburgen, Reese Witherspoon, Joe Mantegna, and Seth Green. The Trumpet of the Swan is the story of Louis, a voiceless trumpeter swan and his adventure in learning new ways to communicate.

The May 11 release date will put The Trumpet of the Swan into theaters one week before DreamWorks release of Shrek. Both are targeting separate audiences, however. The animation was done by Rich Animation Studios, located in Burbank, CA. Rich Animation Studios was acquired last year by Crest Communication of India.

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Ohh Nooo!!! Mr. Bill Library Acquired - Coming to Home Video
(by digitalmediafx.com) Lions Gate Home Entertainment and CinemaNow, have acquired Internet and video rights to the entire Mr. Bill library. CinemaNow is an Internet pay per view streaming site and will make select Mr. Bill episodes available immediately. The first show to be made available for viewing will be "Mr. Bill Goes to Space," featuring Mr. Bill taking an ill-fated trip to the Russian Space Station Mir. This was selected to coincide with the destruction of the Mir space station this Friday.

Lions Gate Home Entertainment is assembling Mr. Bill episodes for release on video and DVD beginning this summer.

"We are thrilled to be in business with Walter Williams, who has done an incredible job of maintaining the Mr. Bill franchise through the years, and we are excited to be chosen as the ones to bring Mr. Bill to a whole new generation of fans," says Jason Constatine, Lions Gate's Director of Acquisitions.

The Mr. Bill Play-Doh character was initially created by Walter Williams as a parody of bad animation. From his humble debut on TV screens nationwide on the first season of "Saturday Night Live" on February 22, 1976, he has grown to occupy the nation's consciousness with his trademark "Ohh nooo!!!" punchline.

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Two Disney Animated Movies Make Top 10 in DVD Sales
(by digitalmediafx.com) Disney's Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure DVD placed #1 in overall DVD sales last week. Coming in #7 on the charts was Disney's Dinosaur in its sixth week of release. After 15 weeks on the charts, Gladiator continues to perform strong in sales, coming in #3. Not to be outdone, The Matrix is still selling like crazy more than a year after its DVD release. After 76 weeks on the market, The Matrix still ranks high on the sales charts at #12.

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News Link of the Day - Disney to Bow Pearl Harbor on Location

According to Yahoo News:

"The real Pearl Harbor will host the premiere of Disney's Pearl Harbor when the film debuts May 21 on the deck of the USS John C. Stennis, a nuclear aircraft carrier. More than 2,000 guests, including the film's stars and survivors of the attack on Dec. 7, 1941, are expected to attend..."

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