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Fiennes to cross over to ‘Borders’

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“The English Patient” will become the English doctor: Ralph Fiennes will replace Kevin Costner in Mandalay Pictures’ “Beyond Borders.” Costner’s other project, the MGM pic “Dragonfly,” will preclude his involvement in “Borders” because Mandalay brass was unwilling to postpone production and risk losing pic’s other creative elements given the possible writers’ and actors’ guilds strikes next spring.

Fireworks buys Cox pic

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Fireworks Pictures has acquired U.S. rights to Paul Cox’s “Innocence” from Cinemavault Releasing.

2001: A toon odyssey

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From Disney to Warner Bros., next year’s crop of films vary from live action/stop-motion mix to computer animated comedy.

Italy’s RAI plugs into RTL TV

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RAI Cinema has inked a two-year output agreement with German broadcaster RTL, acquiring free-TV rights to RTL TV movies, series and other productions.

Urban development

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While most dot-coms are scaling back and staffing down, Urban Entertainment has stepped up operations and attached some big names. The Netco has inked deals to produce five original animated series with helmers John Singleton (“Shaft”), George Tillman Jr. (“Soul Food”), Malcolm Lee (“The Best Man”) and writers Chris Mack and Cheo Hodari Coker.

‘Parents,’ ‘Titans’ rule as U takes Oct. B.O.

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“Meet the Parents” taught the competish a lesson in the midst of a lackluster month, delivering to Universal its first No. 1 spot at the October box office in the past decade. Pic managed to hit $100 million on less than 3,000 engagements, and did it in 24 days — the third fastest trip to the century mark ever for a fall pic.

Underdogs to be feted at Annies kudosfest

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Although it was announced earlier this year that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences will finally be awarding an Oscar in the feature animation category in 2002 (if eight or more titles are eligible to be nominated next year), industry animators will always have a special fondness for the annual Annie Awards, presented to toon players by ASIFA-Hollywood.