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Steven Spielberg September 5, 2000

Pop goes "poof" as Pop.com, a much-hyped website of short films and animations, has closed its doors before its official launch.

Some of Hollywood's biggest names, including Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Jeffrey Katzenberg were attached to the Pop.com project which laid off most of its ninety person staff on Tuesday.

"Although the Internet continues to represent an exciting creative opportunity for us, the market has shifted dramatically since our original announcement, resulting in this being a less viable business for us," said a Pop.com spokesman.

Spielberg and Katzenberg's DreamWorks SKG (American Beauty) and Howard's Imagine Entertainment (The Nutty Professor II) teamed for Pop.com with Vulcan Ventures, run by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who invested $50 million last October.

Ron Howard
Katzenberg said in announcing the new company:

"Just as MTV introduced a new entertainment forum for music videos, we think this new enterprise will offer a new form of entertainment for the rapidly growing population of Internet users. POP.com has the capability not only to offer a variety of entertainment options, but to tap into an as-yet-undiscovered talent pool that is as global as the Internet itself."

According to sources close to Pop.com, Katzenberg spent most of last month casting about for a potential merger partner or alternative exit strategy. He contacted more established Web entertainment start-ups, including Icebox, iFilm and AtomFilms.

It's uncertain what will happen to the estimated 1,000 submissions the company received from Popfest, the short film showcase Pop launched earlier this year.

Thanks to Stass for the info...

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