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Friday - November 23, 2001
- Monsters vs. Shrek - And the Winner is...
- Monsters, Inc. Makes $4.2 Million on Thanksgiving Day
- American Companies Want CINAR Board Gone
- News Link of the Day - Cal State Launches Centers in Oakland

Monsters vs. Shrek - And the Winner is...
(by DreamWorks and Disney are in full promotional mode for the upcoming Academy Award battle between Monsters, Inc. and Shrek for Best Animated Feature.

According to the New York Times, "You may remember that before DreamWorks, Mr. Katzenberg had been running Walt Disney Studios during the renaissance of its animation division in the 1980's and 90's. But he had a very public falling out with his former mentor Michael Eisner, chairman of Disney, that ended in an ugly court case.

That the two were facing off in a new Oscar category might have been drama enough. Add to that the Disney-DreamWorks rivalry, and the Hollywood gossip mills have been working overtime."

The newspaper also reveals that part of Disney's strategy was to not submit Atlantis: The Lost Empire for Oscar consideration, but rather to put its entire effort behind Monsters, Inc. It is expected that when final nominations are announced, all the movies will be 100% CGI (Final Fantasy and Jimmy Neutron could be outside contenders), with the possible exception of Waking Life, if it is found eligible for a nomination.

If PDI/DreamWorks wins the award, it will send PDI's Aron Warner to the stage to accept the award versus Jeffrey Katzenberg. While there's no official word on who Disney/Pixar will send, it will likely be John Lasseter and Pete Docter.

Both studios want this first ever Oscar award very badly and are positioning themselves behind the scenes to influence votes via strategic promotions to Academy members. There's little doubt that the competition is between Shrek and Monsters, Inc. and that the competition will be close (in which both movies received 8.5 - out of 10 - ratings from Digital Media FX).

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Monsters, Inc. Makes $4.2 Million on Thanksgiving Day
(by Monsters, Inc. made $4.2 million yesterday (Thanksgiving Day) to bring its box office total to $168 million. That's enough to move it above A Bug's Life into the #8 spot of the Top 10 Animated Movies of All Time (box office results, not adjusted for inflation). By the end of the weekend, the movie is expected to climb above Tarzan and Snow White into the #6 position.

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American Companies Want CINAR Board Gone
(by According to the National Post, "American corporate raiders have sent a letter to Cinar Corp., the Montreal animation company, demanding a special meeting of shareholders to throw out the board of directors." CINAR has been through years of controversy and tax fraud allegations causing its stock to plummet and resulted in CINAR being delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange. Companies holding just over 5% of CINAR stock called for the meeting, which is allowed under the Canada Business Corporations Act.

Earlier this year, CINAR filed a lawsuit against the ousted company founders, Ronald Weinberg and Micheline Charest, over the problems the children's animation company has faced and actions the founders took against the company. The lawsuit prompted the following response from Weinberg and Charest:

"We are surprised and extremely disappointed that the Company and it's advisors would react to the results of our work by taking legal proceedings against us. This is especially so when the details of the Company's lawsuit essentially confirms the results of our work... Notwithstanding that the Company has now chosen to take an adversarial position in response to our claims against it, we remain committed to doing everything we can to help the shareholders of the Company by working to find a transaction that will be in the best interest of all the shareholders."

When a special committee voted to oust the founders in August 2000, Weinberg said the following while strongly disagreeing with the decision:

"CINAR is a world recognized industry leader with tremendous people and assets. Our goal has always been to improve the business that we founded over 20 years ago. Our whole working lives and hearts are invested in CINAR. We will do whatever we can to co-operate with the company and our fellow shareholders.

The American companies who have members seeking the shareholder meeting to replace the board include Chapman Capital, Palestra Capital and Highland Capital Holdings. A recent attempt to sell CINAR fell apart at the last minute.

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News Link of the Day - Cal State Launches Centers in Oakland

According to the East Bay Business Times:

"...The SFSU Oakland Multimedia Center, celebrated its opening Nov. 13 in 22,000 square feet of remodeled classrooms, meeting rooms and state-of-the-art Macintosh computer labs at 2201 Broadway. Located in the art deco-style Breuner Building two blocks east of the Paramount Theatre, the program is part of the university's College of Extended Learning and will feature classes starting Nov. 19 in Web design and production, Flash, information design, graphic design, digital video, three-dimensional modeling and animation, among other subjects..."

Click here for the full story.

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