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March 2000

'Mononoke' DVD and delay
Posted Friday, March 31, 2000, 6:11PM CST by Franklin Harris
The DVD of "Princess Mononoke" has been delayed again. At present, it has no set release date, but it is still expected to arrive in video stores sometime this summer.

Braga is back... for now
Posted Wednesday, March 29, 2000, 7:35PM CST by Franklin Harris
According to The Sci-Fi Wire, "Star Trek: Voyager's" producer, Brannon Braga, will not be leaving the show at the beginning of its seventh and final season. He will, however, leave during the season as more of his time is required by the next "Star Trek" series.

Columbus to direct 'Harry Potter'
Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2000, 1:54PM CST by Franklin Harris
Chris ("Bicentennial Man") Columbus has made it official: he'll direct the upcoming "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" film for Warner Bros., based on the first book of the seven-book series by J.K. Rowling.

Warner Bros. has yet to commit to a release date, but a summer 2001 release is likely. WB has indicated a desire to get the film production underway as soon as possible and recently pressured Steven Spielberg to decide on whether or not he would direct the film.

Source: AnotherUniverse.com

Straczynski starts new comic imprint
Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2000, 6:15AM CST by Franklin Harris
"Babylon 5" creator J. Michael Straczynski has entered into a deal with Top Cow Comics, which publishes his "Rising Stars" series, to create a new imprint called Joe's Comics. Joe's Comics will feature "writer-driven" comics both by Straczynski and others. The line's first comic, "Midnight Nation," will debut in September.

Source: AnotherUniverse.com

More Miyazaki news from Anchor Bay
Posted Monday, March 27, 2000, 5:03PM CST by Franklin Harris
This was posted on Anchor Bay Entertainment's Web site today regarding their upcoming DVD release of "Nausicaš of the Valley of Wind":

[T]o the fans of Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaš of the Valley of Wind (a.k.a. Warriors of the Wind) we are currently in neogtiations with a company to provide the DVD community with the original uncut version of the film under the original name. There will be additional postings once some final details are worked out.

Bradbury brings stage show to Alabama
Posted Monday, March 27, 2000, 9:45AM CST by Franklin Harris
Ray Bradbury, best known as the creator of such science fiction classics as "The Martian Chronicles" and "Fahrenheit 451," is putting the final polish on his first theater project, "The World of Ray Bradbury." Showcasing seven different works by the author, "World" will run from May 19 to May 21 at the Ritz Theater in Sheffield, Ala.

"I love the immediacy of the theater," the 79-year-old writer told the Florence TimesDaily. "It's incredibly rewarding to have flesh-and-blood actors act out characters you've had in your head for years."

Source: The Associated Press

Anchor Bay news release on anime releases
Posted Sunday, March 26, 2000, 11:27AM CST by Franklin Harris
Here is Anchor Bay Entertainment's official statement on its upcoming anime releases, including Miyazaki's "Nausicaš of the Valley of Wind":

Hello, this message is being sent out to those of you who have sent in one of many enthusiastic responses to our scheduled December DVD releases of 1982's "Angel's Egg" and 1984's "Warriors of the Wind" (a.k.a. "Nausicaš of the Valley of Wind"). Many of you have had questions regarding the potential content of these releases, (i.e. uncut versions, subtitling, etc.) and I wanted to let you know what I can at this point.

Both films are tentatively scheduled for a December release. For those of you who are not familiar with Anchor Bay Entertainment, it is our intention to always release the longest, most representative version of the director's original cut. This means that any release of "Angel's Egg" or "Warriors of the Wind" would NOT be the versions released previously in the United States, which are well known to have been heavily cut and/or altered for stateside release. Anchor Bay Entertainment would just as soon not release the films at all if we are unable to provide the most accurate representation of the filmmakers' original vision(s).

As to the rights issue which has been brought forth by several of you regarding these titles, all I can say is that Anchor Bay Entertainment has a contract to release these two films on video for the United States via an existing long-term home video contract from the films' original release here via New World Pictures. In the case of Hayao Miyazaki's "Warriors of the Wind," many have stated that the rights were re-purchased elsewhere by another studio as part of a package which included many of the director's previous works. However, Anchor Bay Entertainment does still have a license on this title, and will for quite some time to come. The same is the case with "Angel's Egg."

Finally, as far as special features are concerned, it is simply too early to tell. Production on these titles will begin in the early summer of this year, and your suggestions and comments will definately be taken into account. Again it is Anchor Bay Entertainment's full intention to release as definitive a release of these films as can be done. Any features such as language tracks, screen formats, and release names (i.e. Nausicaš for Warriors) will be determined at a later time.

Please keep checking the site for any potential updates on these and many other highly anticipated Asian titles such as "A Better Tomorrow" and the "Mad Mission" films over the months to come.

'Star Trek' news roundup
Posted Friday, March 24, 2000, 5:17PM CST by Franklin Harris
News about the future of "Star Trek" is pouring in. First, Brannon Braga is stepping down as producer of "Star Trek: Voyager" for that series' seventh and final season. He will be replaced by Ken Biller. Second, Executive Producer Rick Berman has confirmed that a 10th "Trek" feature film is in the works, and it will feature the "Next Generation" cast. Third, Berman has stated that any fifth "Trek" TV series will be quite different from anything we've seen before, seemingly throwing cold water on the efforts of some fans to promote a series featuring Capt. Sulu and the U.S.S. Excelcior. For details on all these stories, see The Sci-Fi Wire and Cinescape Online.

Next 'Voyager' season to be last
Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2000, 6:20PM CST by Franklin Harris
Confirming fan speculation, UPN officials announced Monday that the next season of "Star Trek: Voyager" will be the series' last. "Voyager" is currently in its sixth season. Tom Noonan of UPN's programming division stated that there would be "a surprising conclusion" to "Voyager" as well as a "smashing finale."

Source: Reuters

'Forbidden Planet' remake on the way
Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2000, 6:16PM CST by Franklin Harris
New Line Cinema has acquired the rights to remake the science fiction classic "Forbidden Planet." The 1956 original starred Leslie Nielsen, Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Robby the Robot and was loosely based on William Shakespeare's "The Tempest."

Source: Variety

Dracula: The 'true' story
Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2000, 6:14PM CST by Franklin Harris
Rudolf Martin will portray Vlad the Impaler, the real-life inspiration for Dracula, in the upcoming thriller "Passions of Dracula: A True Story." The film, which begins filming April 3 in Bucharest, Romania, also stars Roger Daltrey (The Who), Peter Weller, and Jane March.

Source: Variety

Larry Niven joins Space.com
Posted Monday, March 20, 2000, 4:38PM CST by Franklin Harris
Science fiction author Larry Niven ("Ringworld") is joining Space.com as a columnist, Space.com Chairman and CEO Lou Dobbs announced today. Niven will contribute a monthly column.

Anime goes mainstream; the fallout begins
Posted Saturday, March 18, 2000, 10:17PM CST by Franklin Harris
"Escaflowne" on Fox... "Gundam Wing" on Cartoon Network... "Princess Mononoke" in theaters... and even "Pokemon"... it's all proof that anime has gone mainstream (even if some of it, like "Pokemon," is very BAD anime). There is a nice editorial on the subject at Anime News Network. (I predicted the mainstreaming of anime in 1998, but I thought Disney would be playing a bigger role.)

New Fox Kids line-up includes 'Escaflowne,' 'Diabolik'
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2000, 5:19PM CST by Franklin Harris
Fox Kids announced today its new Saturday morning line-up. Joining "NASCAR Racers," "BeastMachines," "Digimon," "Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue" and "The Magic School Bus" will be "Action Man," "CyberSix," "Diabolik," "Dinozaurs," "Escaflowne," "Los Luchadores," "The Ripping Friends" and "Xarandor: The Wizards' Academy."

Cancelled series include: "The Avengers," "Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot" and "Spider-Man Unlimited."

"Escaflowne" is a fan-favorite anime currently on video from AnimeVillage.com. "Diabolik" is based on the Italian comic book of the same name.

Source: AnotherUniverse.com

'Close Encounters' DVD news
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2000, 1:29PM CST by Franklin Harris
The DVD File reports that Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" will be released on DVD later this year. From DVD File: "Though Columbia is remaining mum on specifics, we've finally heard from both them and a Spielberg representative at Amblin that the film is a go and in production for DVD this year."

'Sleepy Hollow' dominates Saturn nominations
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2000, 10:13AM CST by Franklin Harris
Scaring away potential rivals, Paramount Pictures' "Sleepy Hollow" has racked up the most nominations for the 26th annual Saturn Awards, which honor TV and film in the science fiction/horror genre. "Sleepy Hollow" scored 11 nominations from the Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Films -- including top horror picture; best actor, Johnny Depp; actress, Christina Ricci; director, Tim Burton; supporting actor, Christopher Walken; and supporting actress, Miranda Richardson.

Source: Variety

Spielberg to direct Kubrick's 'A.I.'
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2000, 10:11AM CST by Franklin Harris
Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg's next movie will be a science fiction epic about artificial intelligence that Stanley Kubrick was working on before his death, Spielberg said in a statement on Tuesday. Spielberg, whose last movie, "Saving Private Ryan," won him an Oscar for best director, begins work on "A.I." in July for summer release in 2001.

Source: Reuters

'Satan's School for Girls' DVD news
Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2000, 8:27PM CST by Franklin Harris
"Satan's School for Girls," a made for TV movie starring Shannen Doherty, is being prepared to be released onto DVD. It will be ABC's first DVD release. No word yet on any extras, but it will include the full screen presentation and 2 of the commercials that were made for the movie. Expect to see this one sometime around August of this year.
(Unless this DVD has extra nude scenes cut from the TV broadcast, I can't think of any reason why anyone should want this. This movie was bad in an unfunny way. Deeeeep Huuuuurting.)

Source: DVD Nightmare

'Evangelion' and 'Monster Rancher' DVD dates
Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2000, 6:04PM CST by Franklin Harris
David Williams of A.D.Vision announced the official street date for the "Neon Genesis Evangelion Collection 0:1" DVD. This highly anticipated DVD will be available in stores on May 23rd. It will contain episodes 1-4 with English, Japanese, Spanish and French language tracks and English subtitles. The disc will retail for $29.98 SRP.

Also, the first Monster Rancher DVD will be released April 25th, 2000. The disc will contain episodes 1-3 and retail for $24.98 SRP.

Source: Anime News Network

'Mars' tops weekend box office
Posted Monday, March 13, 2000, 12:08AM CST by Franklin Harris
Despite taking a critical drubbing, the first major sci-fi flick of the year opened strong. "Mission to Mars" took in $23.1 million in its debut weekend, more than the next four films grossed combined. Meanwhile, Roman Polanski's supernatual thiller, "The Ninth Gate," opened a distant second, taking in $6.7 million. "Gate," which stars Johnny Depp, was also a victim of bad reviews, which are credited with keeping away Polanski's core audience of 30-and-older viewers.

Source: Rueters

ToyFare's hot toy picks for 2000
Posted Sunday, March 12, 2000, 8:08PM CST by Franklin Harris
ToyFare magazine has announced its list of what its editors think will be the hot toys for 2000. (Note that my own pick for No. 1 ranks pretty high: Gundam Wing at No. 8.)

Here is the Top 25:

The Hottest Toy Lines in 2000

1) Simpsons (Playmates)
3) South Park (McFarlane Toys)
4) Elite Forces (BBI-Blue Box)
5) Sports Picks (McFarlane Toys)
6) 3D Animation (McFarlane Toys)
7) Harry Potter (Mattel)
8) Gundam Wing (Bandai)
9) Croc Hunter (N2 Toys)
10) Pokemon (Hasbro)
11) Ultima Online (McFarlane Toys)
12) Dark Side Developer Kit (LEGO)
13) Spawn Interlink (McFarlane Toys)
14) VIP (Play Along)
15) SNL (X Toys)
16) Macross Plus (ToyCom)
17) Jackie Chan (Dragon-imported by Marco Polo Imports)
18) WCW Talk Back (Toy Biz)
19) Resident Evil (ToyCom importing; Moby Dick manufacturing)
20) Jek Porkins from Star Wars: Power of the Force (Hasbro)
21) Beatles (McFarlane Toys)
22) The Matrix (N2 Toys)
23) Britney Spears (Play Along/Yaboom)
24) Donkey Kong (Toy Site)
25) Rocky Horror Picture Show (Vital Toys)

For more, see http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/000310/ny_toyfare_1.html.

Gundam Wing boosts Cartoon Network ratings
Posted Saturday, March 11, 2000, 1:17PM CST by Franklin Harris
Prelimenary television ratings from Cartoon Network's premiere of "Gundam Wing" earlier this week rank it as the highest rated airing ever in a "Toonami" slot. Midnight Run airings of "Toonami" are also seeing a significant boost by "Gundam Wing's" addition.

Source: Anime News Service

'The Darkness' optioned for film
Posted Friday, March 10, 2000, 9:55AM CST by Franklin Harris
Columbia Pictures has optioned the feature film rights to Top Cow Comics’s "The Darkness." Chris Morgan is writing the script. Top Cow's "Witchblade" is currenetly in production as a TV movie pilot for TNT.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Johnny Depp In 'Hell?'
Posted Friday, March 10, 2000, 7:29AM CST by Franklin Harris
Johnny Depp ("Sleepy Hollow," "The Ninth Gate") is talking to 20th Century Fox about appearing in the big screen adaptation of Allan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s "From Hell" graphic novel. Albert and Allen Hughes of "Dead Presidents" are in line to direct the Jack the Ripper tale.

Source: Variety

Creature features (and more) on DVD for 2000 and 2001
Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2000, 8:43PM CST by Franklin Harris
From DVD Nightmare:

"A few more interesting titles to look forward to in 2000. Look for 'Pumpkinhead' to be released in May. Also coming in 2000: 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2,' 'King Kong' (1933), 'Citizen Kane' and 'North By Northwest.' Also, look for the original version of 'The Thing' sometime in early 2001."

Gentry Lee joins Space.com
Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2000, 12:53PM CST by Franklin Harris
Space.com Chairman and CEO Lou Dobbs announced today that science fiction author Gentry Lee is joining the Web site's editorial team. Lee will contribute a regular column to the site, which features a mix of science fact and science fiction news. Lee is co-author with Sir Arthur C. Clarke of "Cradle," "Rama II," "Rama Revealed" and "The Garden of Rama." He has also written two solo novels and has a new novel due out in November.

Charles Gray dies at 71
Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2000, 12:00PM CST by Franklin Harris
Charles Gray, who was Ernst Stavro Blofeld to Sean Connery's James Bond in "Diamonds Are Forever," died Tuesday. The 71-year-old British actor also starred in "The Mirror Crack'd" and "Night of the Generals." Genre fans may also remember him from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "The Devil Rides Out."

Source: Reuters

'Incredible Shrinking' Eddie
Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2000, 4:28PM CST by Franklin Harris
Eddie Murphy is remaking another classic film. He has signed with Universal/Imagine for the upcoming remake of "The Incredible Shrinking Man." The original 1957 film, based on the novel by Richard Matheson ("Hell House," "I Am Legend"), starred Grant Williams

Source: Cinescape

Syndicated fantasy shows get renewed
Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2000, 4:24PM CST by Franklin Harris
Fans of "Beastmaster," "Relic Hunter," and "The Lost World" rejoice. All three shows will return for a second season, says Variety. "Relic Hunter" has been signed in 80 percent of the American market while "Beastmaster" scored 87 percent and "The Lost World" 86 percent. Still undecided are the fates of "Peter Benchley's Amazon" and the "Back2Back Action Hour" featuring "Cleopatra 2525" and "Jack of All Trades." "Back2Back" is doing well in the ratings and is contracted to run through next January.

Source: Cinescape and Variety

'Galactica's' Baltar dies at 71
Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2000, 4:19PM CST by Franklin Harris
John Colicos, best known for his recurring role as Baltar on "Battlestar Galactica" and for his portrayal of Klingon Commander Kor on "Star Trek," passed away Monday at 71. Colicos' family announced that a memorial service for the actor will be later this spring in Stratford, Ontario.

Source: AnotherUniverse.com and the CBC

'Gundam Wing' is here at last!
Posted Monday, March 6, 2000, 6:17AM CST by Franklin Harris
Today is the day! "Gundam Wing" joins Cartoon Network's "Toonami" anime programming this afternoon at 5:30PM EST/4:30PM CST. Plan to get home early or else set your VCR. This marks the first time any "Mobile Suit Gundam" program has ever been broadcast on American television.

'Tenchi' on Cartoon Network details
Posted Sunday, March 5, 2000, 7:31PM CST by Franklin Harris
"Tenchi Universe" will join Cartoon Network's "Toonami" lineup on June 5. It will be in the 4:30PM Central time slot that "Gundam Wing" moves into tomorrow. But don't worry about "Gundam Wing." There will be plenty of room for it in the "Toonami" lineup. Cartoon Network plans to expand "Toonami" to three hours.

Source: Kidscreen and Anime Digest

'The Omen' series comes to DVD
Posted Sunday, March 5, 2000, 7:50AM CST by Franklin Harris
"The Omen" series is coming to DVD later this year. The first four "Omen" films will be available from Fox as a boxed set. All will be remastered and anamorphic. While the first three films also will be available separately, you'll have to buy the boxed set to get the only other "Omen" film Fox controls, "Omen IV." There will be some extras on these discs as well, though details are not yet available.

Source: DVD Nightmare and DVD File

'Get your stinking paws off me...!'
Posted Sunday, March 5, 2000, 7:40AM CST by Franklin Harris
Fox has scheduled the release of the six-disc "Planet of the Apes" DVD boxed set for the fourth quarter of 2000. The films will all be presented in anamorphic widescreen format, and the sixth disc is a making-of documentary.

Source: DVD Nightname and DVD File

New anime releases from Manga
Posted Saturday, March 4, 2000, 4:52PM CST by Franklin Harris
Manga Entertainment finally updated its upcoming releases list on its Web site, www.manga.com. So here is the news:


    SRP=$29.95 Approx. 83 mins.
    SRP=$19.95 Approx. 100 mins.
  • CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO (subtitled)
    SRP=$29.95 Approx. 100 mins.
    SRP=$29.95 Approx. 100 mins.
    SRP=$29.95 Approx. 120 mins.

MAY 30

  • LADY NINJA Vol.1 (dubbed)
    SRP=$19.95 Approx. 60 mins.
    SRP=$24.95 Approx. 90 mins.
    SRP=$24.95 Approx. 90 mins.

Stan Lee gets wired
Posted Saturday, March 4, 2000, 4:38PM CST by Franklin Harris
Stan Lee, pappy to such comic creations as Spider-Man and the X-Men, launched his new site, StanLee.net, this week featuring weekly three-five minute episodic superhero adventures. The company hopes these "Webisodes" will be the comic books for the Y2K generation.

Source: E! Online

Lucas tops celebrity earnings list
Posted Saturday, March 4, 2000, 8:46AM CST by Franklin Harris
The Force was with George Lucas, powering the creator of the "Star Wars" franchise to the top of Forbes magazine's list of celebrity money makers. Lucas earned $400 million in 1999 -- more than twice as much as second place Oprah Winfrey, Forbes said Tuesday in releasing its Celebrity 100 rankings. The rankings appear in the financial magazine's March 20th issue. "Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace" grossed more $430 million domestically and is the second-highest grossing movie worldwide after "Titanic."

Source: Associated Press

'South Park' guys: Bleep the Oscars!
Posted Saturday, March 4, 2000, 8:39AM CST by Franklin Harris
Forget Canada -- blame the Academy Awards organizers for wanting to stuff a big bar of soap in the mouths behind "South Park." After taking the title for filthiest movie ever and scoring a coup with the Best Song contender "Blame Canada," Trey Parker and Matt Stone have a (bleeping) problem about how to perform the (bleeping) song from their (bleeping) epic animated gut-buster "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" for the 72nd annual awards show on ABC. (Click here for more of this story.)

Source: E! Online

You will believe a squirrel can fly
Posted Saturday, March 4, 2000, 8:23AM CST by Franklin Harris
Ain't It Cool News has posted a publicity photo from the upcoming film, "The Adventures of Rockey and Bullwinkle." Click here to take a look.

Disney moves up new Jackie Chan film
Posted Friday, March 3, 2000, 9:06AM CST by Franklin Harris
The Walt Disney Co. and Spyglass Entertainment have moved up the release date of "Shanghai Noon," the new Jackie Chan action/comedy. Instead of a July 26 opening, the feature will debut on May 26. In "Shanghai Noon," Chan portrays an imperial guard who visits the Wild West in order to save a Chinese princess.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter and AnotherUniverse.com

Jolie to play Lara Croft???
Posted Friday, March 3, 2000, 9:03AM CST by Franklin Harris
According to Variety, Angelina Jolie is in final negotiations with Paramount Pictures to play Lara Croft in the upcoming Tomb Raider feature film. A Golden Globe winner, Jolie is currently in contention for the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in "Girl, Interrupted."

Source: Variety and AnotherUniverse.com


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