The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) has released an updated report on the status of the Japanese animation industry. Surprisingly, the anime market sales in Japan declined from a high of 213.5 billion yen in 2002, to 191.2 billion yen in 2003 (a 10.4% drop). There are about 430 anime production studios in Japan, with 264 of them concentrated in greater Tokyo and 70 of those are in the Suginami district.
In announcing its second quarter results, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. announced revenue totaled $35.4 million resulting in a net loss of $3.7 million or $.04 per share on a fully diluted basis. This compares to revenue of $300.3 million and a net income of $146.1 million, or $1.89 per diluted share for the same period in 2004. The company ended the period with $430 million of cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments.
The producers of the 1979 flick PARTS: THE CLONUS HORROR filed suit Aug. 8, 2005, in federal court in New York claiming DreamWorks and Warner Bros. THE ISLAND lifted sections of their film, reports VARIETY. Outside of the usual request for unspecified damages and part of the proceeds, the lawsuit demands the court to order the studios to withdraw the film from theaters and bar further release.
Investors must be glad they got in the game with THQ Inc. which today (Aug. 9, 2005) declared a three-for-two stock split of the company's outstanding shares of common stock to be dolled out as a 50% stock dividend.
On or about September 1, stockholders will receive one additional share of common stock for every two shares owned on the record date of August 19 with cash to be paid in lieu of any fractional shares.
After the split, THQ will have approximately 62 million shares of common stock outstanding.
Midway Games Inc. announced that it has acquired Ratbag Holdings Pty Ltd., a game development studio based in Adelaide, South Australia. Midway acquired the privately-held developer in a primarily stock transaction for 418,570 Midway shares. The studio is currently working on several unannounced Midway products for both current- and next-generation systems. The studio will be renamed Midway Studios - Australia.
Noodlesoup Prods. has moved into a new facility in New York City at 489 5th Ave., 26th Floor as of Aug. 1, 2005.
Our new, state-of-the-art facility brings together our extraordinary and diverse team of animation professionals and client-devoted project managers with stunning views of Bryant Park. Its a great place to practice the delicate business of creativity, said Noodlesoup ceo Nathan Graf.
Bakers Man, an industry leader in Internet based technology, marketing communications and digital information management for the entertainment industry, has formed a new production company, TrueLight Entertainment, to provide a wide range of animation production, innovative marketing and e-learning services based on proprietary processes and tools. Industry veteran Kevin ODonnell is president of new media company.
Time-Warner (www.timewarner.com) announced a tentative settlement with a group of shareholders who claimed the company had put forth inflated revenue figures and had accounted improperly when it merged its operations with those of AOL in 2000. The company is setting aside $3 billion to settle shareholder lawsuits. It also authorized a program to buy back $5 billion of its shares over two years.
Axel Springer Verlag, the largest German publishing company, has purchased a majority stake in ProSiebenSat.1, Germanys largest commercial broadcasting network, from Haim Saban and an investment group including Quadrangle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Bain Capital and Providence Equity Partners, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
One-year-old digital animation studio SciClone Motion Graphics (www.sciclonefx.com) has been adding experience in high-end 3D graphics as of late, reports Anand Gurnani in ANIMATION XPRESS. Focusing mostly on television commercials, SciClones recent clients have included Underground Music Movement, for which it created a high-end TV ad featuring a 3D ant, fluid simulations and a lot of compositing. Other brand clients include Colgate SciClone has animated a dozen commercials for this brand alone as well as Tide, Fair & Lovely, Samsung, Nutrine and ABN Amro Bank.
Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members voted by a margin of 81.2% to 18.8% to overwhelmingly approve the proposed Interactive Media Agreement recently negotiated with videogame producers. In accordance with a national board decision on June 29, the referendum was sent to Screen Actors Guild performers with earnings under the previous three-year agreement with the videogame industry as well as any eligible, paid-up SAG member in good standing who requested a ballot. The new contract will go into effect on Friday July 29, 2005 and run through December 31, 2008.
Speaking at the First Chinese International Animation, Cartoon and Game Fair, which opened yesterday in Shanghai, head of the animation department at Nanjing Normal University Wu Yue said that after decades of slumber, Chinese animators have begun developing new products, reports CHINA VIEW.
Since 2000, more than 100 university animation programs have formed and graduates have gone on to start their own businesses, mostly in the Yangtze River Delta.
"There are many small studios," Wu said. "They are clustered in East China."
SHARK TALE co-director Eric Bibo Bergeron has set up a new animation studio in Marseilles, France. After spending eight years at DreamWorks, where he also made THE ROAD TO EL DORADO, Bergeron is returning to France to produce and direct his latest projects.
The first 3D film, A MONSTER IN PARIS, will be co-written by Bergeron and Ramzy, the two French comedians on whom the designs for the main characters are based and who will provide the French voiceovers. The film will be entirely produced in France at the new European studio.
NBC Universal is in talks to buy DreamWorks SKG, in what could be a deal worth $1 billion, according to the trades. Universal Studios already distributes DreamWorks' videos and DVDs via Universal Studios Home Video, and its films internationally through United Pictures International, the foreign distributor jointly owned by Universal and Paramount. Additionally, the two studios have co-financed films such as the 2000 Oscar-winner GLADIATOR and Steven Spielberg's upcoming MUNICH, which Universal will release in December.
Gaiam Inc., a lifestyle-media company catering to people who value personal development, natural health and inspirational entertainment, announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of GoodTimes Ent.
Major theater chains in Germany have threatened to not carry Buena Vista Internationals release of HERBIE: FULLY LOADED, because the company intends to release the DVD in December, reports VARIETY. Greater Union Filmpalast and Cinemaxx have both said they will not screen the film, because the Aug. 4 theatrical debut is only four not the typical six months away from the home entertainment release.
After producing an ambitious slate of direct-to-video movies, The Walt Disney Co. has decided to close its animation studio in Sydney, Australia and notified its 250 employees there this will take effect next year.
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP announces that an amended class action lawsuit was filed on July 21, 2005, on behalf of purchasers of the securities of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. that extends the Class Period. The previous Class Period was from October 28, 2004, to May 10, 2005. The new Class Period is from October 28, 2004, to July 11, 2005.
Korea's animation industry is seeing increased growth as it moves from a subcontractor to a source of original productions, reports ARIRANG NEWS. For years, Korean producers had a hard time even garnering an audience in their own country, always being overshadowed by products from Walt Disney and Studio Ghibli.
Businessman/entrepreneur Phil Knight announced today (July 19, 2005) that he has absorbed animation company Vinton Studios, which Knight acquired in September 2003, into a new entertainment and media venture called LAIKA.
LAIKAs first film offering is CG animated short film, MOONGIRL, director Henry Selicks (NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH) a charming fable which re-imagines lunar mythology. Footage of MOONGIRL is available now for viewing at www.laika.com.
Mumbai-based music company, Sagarika Music Pvt. Ltd., has launched its children's entertainment brand, The Culture Company, and an animation VCD series targeting children, reports THE HINDU.
"The Culture Company is a brand under which Sagarika will produce and market educational and entertainment products for children of the target age group, 2-12," Sagarika Bam, president, Sagarika Music.
DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. confirmed that it has been informed by its principal shareholders that they will not proceed at this time with the secondary offering of $500 million of Class A common stock which was filed in a preliminary registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 28, 2005.
The Walt Disney Company, Roy E. Disney and Stanley P. Gold announced today (July 8, 2005) that they have agreed to put aside the differences of late and has brought Roy Disney back to the company board as a diorector emeritus. Disney and Gold will not to run a rival slate of directors, submit shareholder resolutions for the next five years and have also agreed to dismiss all their pending lawsuits against the Disney Co.
Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN writer Carlos Cuaron has formed an animation production company, reports VARIETY. His partner in the firm will be Mexican animator Rene Castillo. Cuaron will continue to write live-action scripts.
Castillo is bets known for his award-winning clay-animation shorts, NO SUPPORT (SIN SOSTEN) and DOWN TO THE BONE (HASTA LOS HUESOS).
The unnamed companys first project could be an adaptation of a childrens play, which Cuaron wrote several years ago.
As a result of the dollars unfavorable exchange rate and a lack of concrete tax incentives in the U.K. production market, The Jim Henson Co. will no longer have a full time staff at its London location of Jim Hensons Creature Shop, the companys visual effects and animatronics division. However, the companys own television and film projects are not affected and the Creature Shop will continue to service third party clients out of its Los Angeles and New York locations, as well as hiring freelance crews in London on a project-by-project basis.