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Saturday - July 28, 2001
- Planet of the Apes Opens with $25 Million on Friday!
- Osmosis Jones Animation Contains Lots of Improv
- Fox Press Release on Disney Buyout of Fox Family
- News Link of the Day - Disney Losing Magic?

Planet of the Apes Opens with $25 Million on Friday!
(by Tim Burton's version of Planet of the Apes had one of the biggest single day openings ever, bringing in $25 million on Friday alone. The remake by Tim Burton opened to widely negative reviews which had absolutely no effect on the movie. If the numbers hold, Planet of the Apes will easily beat the largest July opening ever.

Meanwhile Jurassic Park 3 made $6.65 million at the box office on Friday and has grossed over $108 million since opening 10 days ago. Shrek also remained in the top 10 (but not Tomb Raider or Atlantis) as it made nearly $500,000 on Friday, bringing its total to $254 million.

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Osmosis Jones Animation Contains Lots of Improv
(by The actors hired to voice the animated characters in Warner Bros. Osmosis Jones were given a lot of room to create their own lines and jokes.

"As a director," says Bobby Farrelly, "you usually hope that the actors will stick to the script. Maybe you hope they’ll just add a little of their personal inflection here and there. When you work with Bill Murray, Chris Elliot and Molly Shannon, you just cut them loose. They all have tremendous instincts, and they’re all extremely good at improvisation."

Osmosis Jones

"No one’s gonna pay me this much to stick to the script," jokes Chris Rock (who voices Osmosis), another Saturnday Night Live alum who previously loaned his vocal talents to the feature film Dr. Doolittle, as well as to his Nike commercial character, Little Penny. "I had the freedom to add my own improv ideas along the way."

According to Warner Bros., the voice actors behind the animated characters not only brought their acting and improvisational talents to the production – their individual personalities influenced the looks and behavior of their characters. It’s no accident, for example, that Osmosis Jones, actually took on Chris Rock’s mannerisms. In making an animated movie, the voice actors are filmed while delivering dialogue and that footage is then used in the drawing process. The animators pick up on an actor’s nuances and ultimately the character moves the way the actor moves.

"Chris Rock’s expressions, the way he carries himself – all of his mannerisms are in the film," says animation director Piet Kroon.

Osmosis Jones opens in theaters domestically on August 10, 2001.

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Fox Press Release on Disney Buyout of Fox Family
(unedited press release) Here is the official press release from Fox on its agreement with Saban to sell Fox Family to Disney:

News Corporation and Haim Saban, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fox Family Worldwide Inc., announced that they have reached a definitive agreement to sell Fox Family Worldwide to Walt Disney Co. in a cash transaction valued at approximately $5.3 billion, including the assumption of approximately $2.3 billion in debt. News Corp., through its majority-owned subsidiary Fox Entertainment Group, and Haim Saban each own 49.5% of Fox Family Worldwide; Allen & Company Inc. owns the remaining 1%.

As part of the transaction, Disney will acquire the Fox Family Channel, a fully distributed cable channel reaching 81 million U.S. homes; Saban Entertainment Inc., a production, distribution and merchandising company with one of the world’s largest libraries of children’s programs at over 6,500 half hours; a 76% interest in Fox Kids Europe (Amsterdam Exchange: FKE), which has dedicated cable and satellite channels reaching 25 million subscribers in 54 countries and 15 languages; and Fox Kids Latin America, the second most widely distributed satellite/cable network in the region.

Excluded from the transaction is the Fox Kids Network, a leading children's broadcast television network in the U.S. News Corp. will separately acquire Haim Saban’s interest in this asset. Terms were not disclosed.

Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corporation said: “Together with Haim, we have established Fox Family as one of the world’s premier family entertainment groups. We’ve enjoyed a close and profitable relationship that has delivered quality programming to children and families around the world. Disney has purchased a first-class collection of assets and I wish them great success.”

Saban said: “Working in a highly productive partnership with News Corp. and Fox Broadcasting over the last six years, we have realized our original goal of building Fox Family Worldwide into one of the world’s leading fully integrated family and children's entertainment companies. The talented management team and employees of Fox Family have done a tremendous job in building this company into a powerful global franchise. I have the utmost confidence that going forward, Disney will build on this solid foundation to allow millions of viewers throughout the world to continue to enjoy quality family entertainment while enabling the employees of Fox Family to benefit from new opportunities as part of Disney.”

The transaction, which is expected to close in the 2001 calendar fourth quarter, is subject to customary closing conditions. Bear Stearns acted as financial advisor to News Corp. and Squadron Ellenoff Plesent & Sheinfeld LLP provided legal advice. Morgan Stanley and Alpine Capital acted as financial advisors to Haim Saban and O’Melveny & Myers and Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. provided legal advice.

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News Link of the Day - Disney Losing Magic?

According to CNN Financial:

"Vultures may be circling Walt Disney Co. as a slumping economy continues to take its toll on the House of Mickey, analysts said.

Walt Disney, the second largest media conglomerate behind AOL Time Warner Co., is facing a troubling time. Fresh off the heels of its $3 billion buy of Fox Family Worldwide, analysts are wondering what is in store for the magic kingdom..."

Click here for the full story.

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