Electronic Arts has announced the development an interactive TV show, allowing viewers to control the characters like in THE SIMS, and a change in the deal to acquire 50% of Digital Illusions (DICE), reports REUTERS. The company is in early talks with production companies and might use a voting system to allow viewers to determine the actions of the characters.
The Spanish-language cast of THE SIMPSONS have been on strike since October and are threatening protest marches over a contract between their union and privately-owned dubbing studio, Grabaciones y Doblajes Internacionales, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Represented by Mexico's National Actors Assn., the voice actors claim that their former employer broke an exclusivity agreement when it hired non-members of the association. Grabaciones does not deny using nonunion actors, but argues that it never signed an exclusivity contract.
Navarre Corp., a leading publisher and distributor of a broad range of home entertainment and multimedia software products, is in the process of acquiring 100% of the general and limited partnership interests in FUNimation Productions Ltd. and The FUNimation Store Ltd., a transaction anticipated to close before May 15, 2005.
At the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conference in India that began Jan. 6, 2005, Indian animation firms stressed the ownership of intellectual property rights (IPR) as the key way for the industry to stretch out into the global marketplace, reports INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE.
"India and China are the two places where the action is going to be," Vishal Gondal, founder and director of Indiagames Ltd. "There is a great potential for Indian animation and gaming companies to create own IPR and then hit the global market in a big way.
Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games) and Electronic Arts have joined the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA). Having these two leaders in multi-platform interactive entertainment strengthens support for the Blu-ray Disc high-definition optical-disc format among the world's leading gaming, consumer electronics, PC and entertainment companies.
Walt Disney Co's board announced it has made permanent the policy to separate the roles of ceo and chairman, responding to criticism and requests from shareholders. The corporate governance guidelines now read, "the chairman of the board shall be an independent director unless the board concludes that the best interests of shareholders would otherwise be better served," and to require a written explanation in proxy materials if the two jobs were held by a single person.
Thailand's fledgling animation industry is flying high in the hope that foreign animation companies will invest between one and two billion baht in the industry after taking part in the second Thailand Animation and Multimedia 2005 fair.
The investment may come in the form of outsourcing and joint production and ventures with local companies, according to Manoo Ordeedolchest, the president of the Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa). Sipa will act as a matchmaker and the investment would be spent over the next few years.
Canadian comics publisher Dreamwaye Prods. has stopped operations and is shutting its doors. Dreamwaves line of licensed comics included TRANSFORMERS, DUEL MASTERS, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and MEGAMAN. President Pat Lee cited market conditions as the reason for the closing, including "...the shrinking comicbook market combined with a weak U.S. dollar and unsustainable monetary commitments." The company was founded in 1996 by brothers Pat and Roger Lee.
The Global Gaming League (GGL), the leader in competitive videogaming entertainment, announced a strategic partnership with ClanBase.com, Europe's leading competition organizer for online gamers. The partnership will see the two companies working together to take competitive online videogaming to the next level by combining their respective communities and talents. Together, they form the world's largest online gaming community with more than a million players from 190 countries around the world.
Chinese Internet cartoonist Zhu Zhiqiang has won a court battle against the U.S. footwear and apparel maker Nike Inc. over the company's use of his "Little Match Man" illustration, reports the ASSOCIATED PRESS. Zhu had sought $240,000 in compensation, but a Beijing court only granted him $36,000 in compensation and forced Nike to issue a public apology to Zhu, the CHINA DAILY newspaper said.
"I got what I wanted - confirmation on my copyright over my stickman," Zhu said.
A 5,000-year-old animated piece on an earthen goblet was found in Burnt City in Sistan-Baluchistan province, southeastern Iran, reports IRANIAN.WS. On this ancient piece, the artist portrayed a goat jumping toward a tree to eat leaves.
The earthenware found in Burnt City, one of the most developed of ancient civilizations, show the images of goat and fish more than any other subject.
The devastating tsunami caused by an earthquake Dec. 26, 2004, off Sumatra, 1,620 kilometers northwest of Jakarta, traveled at an average speed of 700 kph across the Indian Ocean as fast as a jetliner according to the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, it was reported by THE DAILY YOMIURI.
U.K.-based Shorts International, the short film distribution arm of Britshorts Ltd., has become the exclusive distributor for the entire short film library of American Vantage/Hypnotic. American Vantage/Hypnotic, a subsidiary of American Vantage Media Corp., has one of the largest high-quality short film and animation libraries in the world. The combined entity gives Shorts Intl the largest short film distribution capability across the globe.
Last week, Disney shareholder Frank Wierenga put forth a proposal to the board of directors of the Walt Disney Co. to open a seat on the board to a member of the Disney family. Roy Disney responded with gratitude, but declined the proposal on behalf of the Disneys. Below is Roy Disneys response to the proposal.
Red Star Studio has opened its doors in Sheffield. The new company will produce high-end digital effects and animation aimed at independent film and television. Situated in the burgeoning film community of Sheffield in the north of England and with a base in London, Red Star has been founded by the award-winning duo Benjamin Smith and Jan Rogowski. Their previous credits include Chris Morris' BAFTA award-winning 35mm short film MY WRONGS 8245-8249 AND 117, for which they created all the visual effects.
The recent vote by DPS Film Roman employees to join The Animation Guild made its annual holiday party merrier for all as animators toasted in their many new brethren on Dec. 10, 2004, at the Pickwick Garden Center in Burbank, California.
Thomson has acquired The Moving Picture Co. (MPC) from British broadcaster, ITV, for £52.7 million (76 million). MPC, which is located in the Soho district of London and employs around 400 people, is an industry-leading provider of vfx and post-production services to both the feature film and commercial advertising industries.
In order to increase its network and cable programming portfolio, The Jim Henson Co. has hired Eric Poticha as vp of Television and Halle Stanford as head of children's television. Poticha will develop new comedy and drama series, miniseries and features for television as well as develop future Muppet projects to be produced by Henson for The Walt Disney Co. Stanford will lead development and production of all preschool and children's programming for both television and direct-to-video projects in animated and live-action formats.
The high-def DVD war just got more interesting, as The Walt Disney Co. announced its non-exclusive support of the Blue-ray Disc format embraced by Sony and manufactured by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. This comes on the heels of last weeks announcement that Toshiba Corp. is getting support from Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros. and New Line for its rival next-generation DVD format, HD DVD.
McDonalds has its Hamburglar character, Burger King seems to think it has a rash of its own thieves or spongenappers and is offering a reward of Burger Bucks good for a one-year's supply of original Whopper sandwiches for information leading to the safe return of missing SpongeBob SquarePants inflatables. The gigantic blow-up figures began popping up on tops of Burger King restaurants on Nov. 11, 2004 and have been recently disappearing from their lofty perches.
In a letter sent to the Disney board on Dec. 3, 2004, dissident shareholder leaders Roy Disney and Stanley Gold announced they will not present an alternate slate of directors at Disney's annual meeting next year. This year the pair led a 45% vote of no confidence in Michael Eisner that led to his resignation as chairman. Eisner has since announced he will retire at the end of his contract in 2006. Disney and Gold have threatened to issue an alternate slate of directors, fearing Eisner would be replaced by deputy Robert Iger, who they do not support.
Japanese console giant Nintendo plans to create an internal animation studio focused on animated feature production, according to a report in Japanese business publication NIKKEI JOURNAL.
This follows on the heels of a proposal by former company president Hiroshi Yamauchi, who suggested that the firm should create an animated film based on works from the famous Ogura Hyakunin Isshu collection of classic Japanese poetry. Yamauchi, still an adviser to the company and a significant shareholder, proposed the new venture at Nintendo's management event in Kyodo in October.
Midway Games Inc. announced Nov. 29, 2004, it has acquired privately-held Paradox Development, the studio now developing Midway's upcoming videogame, MORTAL KOMBAT: SHAOLIN MONKS, via an all-stock transaction for 333,334 Midway common shares. This acquisition further strengthens the Midway's internal development capabilities.
Wild Brain Inc., a leading producer of animated entertainment, announced Nov. 29, 2004, its closing of $30 million in funding led by Valence Capital Management as well as the companys existing investors, including Syntek Capital AG. In conjunction with the financing, Wild Brain adds two new members to the company's board of directors, including Roy Thiele-Sardiña, managing director, Valence Capital LLC and James A. Caccavo, managing partner, Valence Capital Management.