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February 2001

Marvel still losing money
Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2001, 5:50PM CST by Franklin Harris
Marvel Entertainment, the parent company of Marvel Comics, released its financial statement today, and the news is bad, according to Newsarama:

Marvel today released its financial earnings statement for the fourth quarter of 2000, as well as the year ending December 31st, 2000. While Marvel`s net sales for the quarter were down $29.0 million to $64.0 compared to net sales of $93.0 for the fourth quarter of 1999, Marvel`s publishing sales increased 12.7% in the fourth quarter (the first full quarter under the Quesada/Jemas regieme), from $11 million in 1999 to $12.4 million in Q4 2000.

Likewise, Marvel`s net sales for the 2000 year decreased approximately 27.5% from $319.6 million in 1999 to $231.7 million in 2000 (attributed to a sales decline in Toy Biz as well as decreased licensing activity - see below), however, Marvel`s publishing sales for 2000 increased mildly (5.1%) to $45.2 million from 1999`s $43 million.

For more, see Fandom's Comics Newsarama.

Fat Albert: The Movie (not a joke)
Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2001, 5:45PM CST by Franklin Harris
Bill Cosby is producing a live-action movie based on his '70s cartoon series "Fat Albert." I am not kidding. See for yourself: HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Comedian Bill Cosby, whose popularity never stretched to the big screen, will resurrect his ``Fat Albert'' personality for a live-action feature.

The Twentieth Century Fox project will be based on Cosby's standup comedy monologues about his childhood in Philadelphia. It will blend hip-hop music, humor and topical social and personal issues.

``Bill Cosby and Fat Albert are national treasures, though Bill's the thinner of the two,'' mused Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman Tom Rothman.

Cosby, who co-wrote the script with Charles Kipps, and will executive produce with his wife, Camille Cosby, has been pursued for feature rights for years by a bevy of studios, but only now decided to proceed.

Chaykin not 'Cable' ready
Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2001, 5:41PM CST by Franklin Harris
It looks like writer/artist Howard Chaykin ("American Flagg") won't be doing "Cable" for Marvel Comics after all, according to Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada. A new writer is yet to be announced.

Miramax close to deal on Chinese 'Legend'
Posted Thursday, February 22, 2001, 8:29PM CST by Franklin Harris
From Variety: Miramax Films is in final talks to acquire North American rights to a Chinese-language adventure film starring Zhang Ziyi, the young heroine of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

"Legend of Zu" is directed by Tsui Hark ("Once Upon a Time in China") and stars Zhang as a warrior princess who, with fellow soldiers, fights against an evil lord and his army. It also features Sammo Hung ("Martial Law") and fights choreographed by Wuen Wo Ping, who choreographed the fight scenes in "The Matrix" and "Crouching Tiger."

Singer to do 'Galactica' TV revival
Posted Thursday, February 22, 2001, 7:20AM CST by Franklin Harris
Variety reports that Bryan Singer ("X-Men") is working on a revival of the '70s TV series "Battlestar Galactica" for Studios USA. Ain't It Cool News reprints the full story.

Cartoon Network Announces New Programming and Online Initiatives For 2001-2002 Television Season
Posted Wednesday, February 21, 2001, 7:44PM CST by Franklin Harris
ATLANTA--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--Feb. 21, 2001--Cartoon Network executives held a press conference this morning in New York City to unveil new original programming and online activities that will be launched this summer and throughout the 2001-2002 television season.

Speakers at the event included Cartoon Network Worldwide President Betty Cohen, Cartoon Network Online General Manager Jim Samples and animators Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter's Laboratory) and Dave Wasson (Max and His Special Problem).

Major announcements included:

Animated Television Programming:

-- Time Squad, a new, original half-hour comedy series to launch
in June 2001

-- Samurai Jack, a new, original half-hour action-adventure
series to launch in August 2001

-- Justice League, a new one-hour action-adventure series based
on the popular DC Comics series to launch in November 2001

-- Grim & Evil, a new, original half-hour comedy series to launch
in October 2001

-- More than 110 new episodes of renewed original programs for
2001-2002, including 13 new episodes of top-rated Dexter's
Laboratory (not in production since 1999)

-- 11 series pilots scheduled to premiere in summer 2001


-- Cartoon Network becomes the television home to DC Comic
characters Batman and Superman, showcasing such popular Warner
Bros.'s action series as Batman: The Animated Series, The
Adventures of Batman & Robin, The New Batman/Superman
Adventures and Superman. Series to roll-out throughout

-- 96 new episodes of Dragonball Z, exclusive to Cartoon
Network's afternoon action-adventure block, Toonami, debuting
in summer 2001

-- Six new anime series to premiere in 2001--Mobile Suit Gundam,
Pilot Candidate, Gundam 8s, Outlaw Star, Big O and Dragonball

-- Celebrating its exclusive rights to the immortal Looney Tunes
franchise, Cartoon Network will air every Bugs Bunny cartoon
ever created across the three-day "June Bugs" marathon in June

Online Initiatives:

-- Four new "Total Immersion Cartoon" events (interactive on-air
and online programming) to take place starting fall 2001

-- Powerpuff Popularity Contest, a week-long on-air and
online marathon for viewers to voice their opinion via
computer or by phone to select their favorite Powerpuff
Girl: Blossom, Bubbles or Buttercup

-- The Big Pick II, where viewers are able to select the next
new original series from 11 Cartoon Cartoon pilots

-- Toonami: Lockdown, a weeklong serialized story throughout
Toonami that invites on-air and online participation,
games and giveaways

-- Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, an online and on-air
'man'-hunt for America's favorite canine who is discovered
missing just weeks before Halloween

-- Cartoon Orbit, an all-new online community where kids collect
and trade cToons (digital trading cards) and build their own
personalized pages to share/display for friends and family

-- 40 new Web Premiere Toons for 2001, signature interactive
cartoons developed exclusively for the Web

Singer ready for 'X-Men' 2
Posted Tuesday, February 20, 2001, 8:41PM CST by Franklin Harris
From Empire Online: After endless prompting and speculation, Bryan Singer has finally confirmed that he will in fact be climbing aboard to direct "X-Men 2." Among the many guests at last night's Empire Awards (19 February), Singer told Empire Online of his immediate plans, “I am doing the sequel to 'X-Men.' I think its going to be called something like 'X-Men 2.'”

Filming is expected to begin late this year and run through early 2002, according to Empire.

With his other project, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind." now put on hold until after the strike, Singer will be focusing entirely on X-Men 2, “I’m already working on the script for X-Men 2 now so that’s going to take most of my time and energy until I start shooting.”

Trek series 5 a go on UPN?
Posted Friday, February 16, 2001, 4:45PM CST by Franklin Harris
By way of Cinescape Online: In a follow-up to recent comments made by Rick Berman, word has it that the fifth Star Trek TV series is now locked into the UPN TV network's fall 2001 season.

According to financial network On24's media analyst Rick Ellis, Viacom announced the fifth series status while discussing their fourth-quarter earnings. Ellis reports, "They did officially say, yes, there was going to be a next Star Trek series in the fall. They were a little vague on what it is going to be, but one of the things that came out in the press conference this morning was that there was going to be a next Star Trek."

In addition, Viacom also addressed any concerns that UPN might be going belly up any time soon, reporting that "they were generally happy about [UPN]. They seemed to think it was going to be around for a while. There were some questions about it, but it looks like they've managed to secure enough deals [that] UPN is going to be around for a couple more years."

WB revives 'Electra Woman and Dyna Girl'
Posted Thursday, February 15, 2001, 6:24PM CST by Franklin Harris
Confirming an earlier story, Variety now reports that the WB is reviving the '70s Saturday-morning TV series "Electra Woman and Dyna Girl." The original live-action ABC series starred Deidra Hall and Judy Strangis as two magazine reporters turned spandex–clad superheroines.

The WB will update the series to center on a young college student who goes to Las Vegas, where she finds Electra Woman and becomes her sidekick, Dyna Girl, according to Variety.

Hamill to duel 'Jay and Silent Bob'
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2001, 6:56PM CST by Franklin Harris
Empire Online reports that Mark Hamill, forever better known as Luke Skywalker, will have a lightsaber duel with the title characters of writer/director Kevin Smith's "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." Snootchie bootchies!

Sci-Fi to repeat JMS's 'Crusade'
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2001, 6:52PM CST by Franklin Harris
The SCI FI Channel has acquired the rights to air reruns of "Crusade," TNT's spinoff series of J. Michael Straczynski's "Babylon 5," a spokesman for The SCI FI Channel told SCI FI Wire. SCI FI will begin airing all 13 produced episodes of the show in April. There are no plans to make new episodes of the show.

Bendis to write 'Electra' for Marvel
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2001, 6:44PM CST by Franklin Harris
According to Newsarama, Brian Michael Bendis ("Powers") is writing a new ongoing Elektra series, based on Frank Miller's female assassin character from "Daredevil," for Marvel.

X-Men team line-ups announced
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2001, 6:41PM CST by Franklin Harris
Thanks to Newsarama, we now know the line-ups for the two core X-Men books. On Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's "New X-Men" (the new title for what is now adjectiveless "X-Men") will be: Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Wolverine and the White Queen -- plus two new members, one male and one female. Morrison says Emma Frost, a.k.a. the White Queen, will have new mutant abilities so that the team won't have two female telepaths (i.e., Frost and Grey). Meanwhile, on Joe Casey and Ian Churchill's team will be: Iceman, Archangel, Nightcrawler, Wolverine (again!) and Chamber (formerlly of "Generation X").

As previously announced, Beast will also be a part of Chris Claremont's new team ("X-Treme X-Men" is the latest title floating around) along with Storm, Rogue, Bishop, Thunderbird and Psylock. (It seems there was method to Claremont's madness of breaking up Archangel and Psylock and setting up Psylock and Thunderbird as a possible item.)

Clive Barker and Todd McFarlane to launch 'Clive Barker's Tortured Souls' action figure line
Posted Tuesday, February 6, 2001, 6:43PM CST by Franklin Harris
What: Photo Op/Presentation with Clive Barker and Todd McFarlane and Barker's Tortured Souls, the first-ever toy line created by Barker. This is a first-glimpse of these original figures.

Who: Two veritable masters in horror and fantasy, Clive Barker, famed British author, illustrator, director and playwright; and Grammy- and Emmy-winning Producer/Director Todd McFarlane, founder of McFarlane Toys and Spawn creator.

Time: 11 AM

Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2001

Place: McFarlane Toys Showroom
1115 Broadway at 25th Street, Suite 402

Tortured Souls, the first-ever toy line created by the famed British author, illustrator, director and playwright, is made up of six newly created characters, each accompanied by a 1,000-2,000-word storyline. The individual storylines, when combined with the other five, will create a novella outlining the Tortured Souls origin.

Prepare to be shocked at the audacious realism of these figures, scheduled for release in summer 2001:

-- "The Fix," surgery gone horribly wrong
-- "Lucidique," nine articulation points and weaponry
-- "The Scythe Meister," 6 3/4 inches tall
-- "Agonistes," eight joints with hooks and chains
-- "Mongroid," nine joints with hooks and chains
-- "Venal Anatomica," nine articulation points and weaponry

Weaver denies 'Alien 5' reports
Posted Tuesday, February 6, 2001, 6:27PM CST by Franklin Harris
A spokesman for Sigourney Weaver has denied the widespread rumor that Weaver is going to be paid $22 million to reprise the role of Ellen Ripley in a fifth Alien film, reports Variety columnist Michael Fleming. The Alien story broke in the British Sunday Express and was picked up by the Reuters news service.

Bandai to launch anime action figures
Posted Friday, February 2, 2001, 10:17PM CST by Franklin Harris
Kid Screen is reporting that Bandai is launching new toys based on "Cowboy Bebop," "Pilot Candidate," "Big O," "Outlaw Star," "Escaflowne" and "Blue Submarine No. 6." Due later this spring, each action-figure set is will retail for about $15 and will include one 7" and two 4.5" figures.

Darabont to remake 'Fahrenheit 451'
Posted Thursday, February 1, 2001, 7:09PM CST by Franklin Harris
Frank Darabont, director of "The Green Mile," is in negotiations to write and direct a movie based on Ray Bradbury's novel "Fahrenheit 451."

Source: E! Online

Fox to broadcast 'Slayers'
Posted Thursday, February 1, 2001, 7:07PM CST by Franklin Harris
According to Anime News Network, Fox has picked up the broadcast rights to the anime series "Slayers." Expect the series to appear Saturday mornings some time this month. But considering Fox's treatment of "Escaflowne" (drastic edits followed by prompt cancellation), some anime fans aren't necessarily happy about this development.


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