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Wednesday - September 19, 2001
- Cinderella and Hunchback Sequels
- Cambridge Animation Systems Acquired
- Jackie Chan Almost at WTC on September 11
- News Link of the Day - Disney: The Man Behind the Mouse

Cinderella and Hunchback Sequels
(by The release dates for Disney's direct to video sequels of Cinderella and The Hunchback of Notre Dame have been set. On February 26, 2002, Disney will release Cinderella II: Dreams Come True followed a few weeks later, March 19, with The Hunchback of Notre Dame II. The Hunchback sequel was originally scheduled to be released this year, but ended up being delayed.

In related news Disney has announced that Atlantis: The Lost Empire will be released to video and DVD on January 29, 2002. There will also be a 2-disc special edition (details forthcoming).

Disney has found its direct to video sequels to be very profitable which is why it keeps dipping into its "classics" to create new revenue sources.

Click here to view a trailer for Hunchback 2.

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Cambridge Animation Systems Acquired
(company press release) Cambridge Animation Systems, developer of Animo 2D software used by more than 3,000 animators worldwide, has been purchased from Japanese investment bank Nomura by a digital media consortium that includes an original founder of the company. The new owners are moving the company to a new and larger facility in Cambridge.

Over the past 18 months a new management team placed in the company by Nomura has completely reorganized Cambridge Animation Systems. The new management expanded Cambridge’s line of products and set up a growing reseller network worldwide. The restructuring of the business and the promise of growth made the company an attractive investment, according to Peter Florence, leader of the purchasing consortium and a founder of Cambridge Animation Systems in 1990.

“The company has dramatically accelerated its product pipeline to meet customers’ needs,” says Florence. “Our focus is on delivering great products such as Animo for Mac on time and bringing new products to market as quickly as possible. As a founder of this company, I know the product, people and market. I feel strongly that we are on the right path to guarantee that Cambridge Animation Systems will continue to be the leader in the 2D animation market.”

Moving to new facilities in Cambridge Research Park will enable the company to continue its aggressive new product development. This year Cambridge has released a new version of its Inkworks 3D cartoon rendering program, new software called Swiffworks that delivers Macromedia Flash output to 3D animators, and Animo 4, a major upgrade of the company’s flagship software.

“With Animo 4.0 for Mac OS X due out next month, and a number of other products scheduled for release by early 2002, it was imperative that we move the company to larger, superior facilities,” says Florence. “This will allow us to expand quickly once the market recovers from this period of consolidation.”

About the Consortium Members
Peter Florence was the original co-founder of Cambridge Animation Systems. He served as CEO and head of U.S. operations before leaving in 1996 to establish RadioScape, a digital broadcast and communications company based in London. Before Cambridge Animation, he was a producer at The Moving Picture Company and cofounder of Digital Pictures, one of the first companies in Europe producing computer graphics for the entertainment industry.

Dr. Gavin Ferris is CTO and cofounder of RadioScape. Before returning to the UK to join Peter Florence in setting up RadioScape, he was based in Los Angeles at DreamWorks SKG, where he headed a team developing the studio’s production and asset management system for animation and film production. Dr. Ferris was one of the key developers of Cambridge Animation Systems’ Animo software.

Chris Briscoe is creative and technical director at Primal Pictures, which he established in the 1990s. He has a wealth of experience in computer graphics, including founding one of the world’s first 3D graphics curricula at the Slade School of Art in London. Briscoe also co-founded Digital Pictures with Peter Florence.

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Jackie Chan Almost at WTC on September 11, 2001
(by Last week, word was released that several Hollywood films were undergoing revisions (due to the WTC attack) including Jackie Chan's next action adventure (with limited visual effects), Nosebleed. One of the scenes in the script was to take place on top of one of the World Trade Center towers. Chan has told the Oriental Daily News that shooting of the World Trade Center scenes were to begin on Tuesday, September 11, including many early morning scenes being shot on the roof of the World Trade Center. A late script revision delayed the shooting. Chan says, "I would probably have died if the shooting had gone ahead as planned."

Many scenes of Nosebleed are now being reedited and shot, particularly since the movie was about a World Trade Center window washer and a terrorist plot to blow up the Statue of Liberty.

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News Link of the Day - Disney: The Man Behind the Mouse

According to the Los Angeles Daily News:

"...Walt felt betrayed by his animators - he thought he was running a big, happy family. But apparently not - look closely at the cap interviewee Bill Littlejohn, a union leader, wears: It sports what looks suspiciously like a Warner Bros. logo..."

Click here for the full story. (note: the show this article refers to aired last Sunday night)

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