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Headline News Version2 Partners With VFX-Animation Shop Special Branch

New York-based editorial and vfx/motion design shop Version2 will partner with CG animation and vfx shop, Special Branch, forming Special Branch@V2 (SB@V2).

The partnership expands V2's current presence, ability, and scope allowing them to deliver a wider range of services and talent depth to its clients. Special Branch is run by Partners/Artists Fran Roberts and Ed Manning. The SB@V2 deal provides an additional dimension to the growing resources available at the vfx /motion design division of V2.

Headline News Digital Domain IPO Hits Snag

Venice-based vfx studio Digital Domain, which intended to launch its initial public stock offering this week, has apparently run into difficulty closing the deal at its asking price of 6 million shares at $12 to $14 apiece, reports THE LOS ANGELES TIMES. The pricing of the deal is now "day to day," according to Digital Domain's underwriter, San Francisco-based investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners.

The price could be cut or Digital Domain could raise capital through private equity, the newspaper speculates.

Headline News PorchLight Launches New Faith-Based Label

PorchLight Home Entertainment will launch a new label under the PHE umbrella, PorchLight Inspire, it was announced by Gary Jones, president of PHE, and Bruce Johnson, CEO and co-president of PorchLight Entertainment.

Jones said, "Since our launch last summer, PorchLight Home Entertainment has already established a reputation for releasing the best in children's and family programming on DVD. The PorchLight Inspire label will highlight programming that is inspirational, faith based and family friendly, with a prominent spiritual message."

Headline News Softimage - PipelineFX Sign Global Distribution Agreement

Softimage, a subsidiary of Avid Technology, announced that it has signed a global distribution agreement with PipelineFX, makers of Qube! software, the leading render farm management software for film production, game development, and digital media education around the world.

Headline News Viacom, Paramount, MGM And Lionsgate Form New Joint Venture

Viacom, its Paramount Pictures unit, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Lionsgate have formed a joint venture that creates a next- generation premium television channel and video on demand service that combines new and classic feature film output and original television series of five leading studios.

Headline News Codemasters And RTT Announce Strategic Technology Alliance

Codemasters, developer and publisher of award-winning video games, and Realtime Technology, a leading provider of 3D realtime rendering and visualization technologies and services for the automobile, aircraft and consumer goods industries, today announced a strategic partnership of technology and knowledge cooperation.

Headline News EU Gives Vivendi-Activision Deal The Thumbs Up

EU's regulatory body the European Commission gave their approval for the merger of Vivendi's games unit with California-based game developer Activision, according to VARIETY.

The nod came on Wednesday, creating a complex $9.85 billion deal that gives Vivendi a 52 percent stake in the new entity, to be named Activision Blizzard. The companies announced their intent to merge in December.

Headline News Blockbuster Tries For Circuit City

Blockbuster has offered to acquire Circuit City for at about $1 billion, they announced Monday.

The offer was made in a letter sent to Circuit City Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Philip Schoonover on February 17 on behalf of the Blockbuster Board of Directors, which fully supports the offer.

Circuit City has not responded to the offer, prompting Blockbuster to make the proposal public.

Headline News India Ok's Disney-UTV Deal

Thursday, India's government approved Disney's plan to invest $233 million into media group UTV, per THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Disney's investment further establishes its entry into the Indian market through UTV and complements its fast-growing Disney-branded businesses and long-held joint venture in ESPN STAR Sports.

With the approval of India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board, Disney will be increasing its stake in UTV to 32.1 percent on a fully diluted share capital basis.

Headline News Horror Genre On DVD Gets Boost With Ghost House

Ghost House Pictures will launch a new film acquisitions company this fall to extend the Ghost House brand to home entertainment, per THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Ghost House Underground will release 12 to 20 films a year, mostly through Lionsgate -- owner of the SAW franchise and AFTER DARK series on DVD.

Ghost House Pictures is a horror genre company led by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Mandate Pictures president Nathan Kahane. The new venture will team with Grindstone, a major distributor of direct-to-DVD films.

Headline News New Digital Studio For Imageworks India In Chennai

Imageworks India launched a new digital production studio in Chennai, India today, according to THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE.

Imageworks is part of Sony Pictures Imageworks, and will have more than 90 employees at the full production studio working with their counterparts in Culver City and Novato, California and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

"We plan to integrate the workforce in different centers as a single unit," said Tim Sarnoff, President of Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Headline News Fight Over Stormtroopers Creation Continues

George Lucas and British prop designer Andrew Ainsworth continued their copyright battle in the U.K. this week over the white molded Stormtrooper uniform made famous in Lucas' STAR WARS saga, the ASSOCIATED PRESS reports.

Headline News Digital Video Arts Moves Into New Studio

Post-production house Digital Video Arts has moved into their new 15,000 square foot facility in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

The new studio is state-of-the-art for the company's work in broadcast film production, post-production, still photography and music composition.

It houses a HD screening room with seating for 24, a bistro-style bar and lounge, two art gallery halls and a patio overlooking a pond and wildlife preserve.

Headline News Echo Bridge Acquires Alliance Atlantis Int'l

Echo Bridge Entertainment has today signed an agreement to acquire, through a share purchase, Alliance Atlantis International Distribution from Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.

As a result of this transaction, Echo Bridge Entertainment would distribute rights to first run and catalog programming from Alliance Atlantis International Distribution worldwide, excluding Canada.

Headline News MPC Coming To Los Angeles

The Moving Picture Company, announced plans to open a Santa Monica-based visual effects facility in late 2008.

MPC LA will initially focus on the U.S. commercials visual effects (VFX) market, and it will also provide a front-end presence to MPC's Los Angeles-based studios features VFX business.

Headline News Google Shedding 300 DoubleClick Employees

THE NEW YORK TIMES is reporting that Google will cut about 300 jobs from the American operations of DoubleClick, the ad tech company it acquired last month for $3.1 billion.

DoubleClick has about 1,500 employees worldwide, and an American force of around 1,200. Google's CEO Eric E. Schmidt has suggested there might be job cuts overseas at a later date.

Headline News Video Game Vets Start TimeFly Studios

Three longtime video game industry veterans have started TimeFly Studios, an independent video game development company.

Brad Ruminer, Dennis Booth, and Glenn O'Bannon, former employees of Rainbow Studios, will be developing games based on licensed property as well as original game concepts from action/adventure to rhythm games to puzzle games.

Headline News TV-Loonland Releases 2007 Report

The management of TV-Loonland has released its annual accounts for the year 2007. Due to the restructuring agreement closed with the company´s bankers, the overall situation of the business has been stabilized.

In particular, the loss for the year has been significantly reduced and a positive net operating cash flow generated.

Headline News Maxon Spring Special - Save Up To 24 Percent

Spring is in the air. Temperatures are warming, flowers are blooming and Maxon is unleashing an unbeatable special for anyone who is ready to enhance their productivity and awaken their creativity by adding CINEMA 4D to their digital design pipeline.

Widely recognized as easiest-to-use, professional 3D application for film, broadcast and visualization worldwide, new users can now get their hands on this multi-award-winning animation package with up to 24 percent savings.

Headline News Staffing News From Radium

Digital studio Radium, San Francisco/Santa Monica/Dallas, announces the addition of Executive Producer Stacy McClain to head up their San Francisco studio and Meghan Lang as Head of Sales, based out of Radium's Santa Monica office.

Also joining the creative team is designer Angela Ko, working out of the Santa Monica studio.

Headline News Superman Not Steely Enough To Avoid Legal Problems

Warner Bros. lost a potentially costly SUPERMAN battle against attorney Marc Toberoff for co-creator Jerome Siegel's heirs, VARIETY reports.

The federal ruling gives the heirs a stake in the rights, which were sold more than 70 years ago, and could put a wrinkle in Warners' plans to make more movies. Compounding the problem, co-creator Joe Shuster's heirs are eligible to also sue in five years.

Headline News EA/Take-Two Battle Continues

Electronic Arts is not giving up their battle for GRAND THEFT AUTO publisher Take-Two, per VARIETY.

They're keeping the heat on Take-Two's shareholders despite the board's recommendation that a hostile $2 billion acquisition offer be rejected.

EA pushed back the expiration date to April 18, to counter Take-Two's decision to move their annual meeting back to April 17, a week after the bid was set to run out.

The offer now can be discussed at the meeting and gives shareholders one last opportunity to sell.

Headline News The Brits and French Get Edgy With Nice One Studio

The UK's edgiest indie, Channel X, and the enfant terrible of French production companies Moi j'aime la television (I love television) are to launch a new joint venture - Nice One Studio - at MIP TV 2008.

Created by Channel X's Alan Marke and Jim Reid and Moi j'aime la television's Phil Ox, Nice One's aim is to produce long running scripted series -- both live action and animation -- for the 15 to 34 year old audience.

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