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Category: Business

Film Headline News

Iron Man Propels Marvel To Q3 Gain

For Q3 2008, Marvel reported net sales of $182.5 million and net income of $50.6 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, compared to net sales of $123.6 million and net income of $36.3 million, or $0.45 per diluted share, in Q3 2007. The year-over-year improvement reflects an earlier-than-expected recognition of approximately $60 million in film revenues associated with the box office performance of Marvel's IRON MAN feature film.

However, with the lack of a new film scheduled for 2009, Marvel Chairman Morton Handel expects next year to be more modest.

Media Headline News

Chorion Signs Development Deal With Chinese Media Group

Family entertainment producer and distributor Chorion and Shanghai Media Group (SMG), the largest media group in China, have struck a landmark accord to jointly develop new animation programs for children.

Headline News

Entertainment Rights Hits $169M Loss

Media rights group Entertainment Rights, which owns TRANSFORMERS, HE-MAN, CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST, WHERE'S WALDO and VEGGIETALES, posted a loss of $169 million over the last eight months, per KIDSCREEN.

Under new CFO Edward Knighton, the company will embark on a debt reduction program. Deals with DVD distributor Genius Products and extensions with U.S. broadcasters could create a cash flow of more than $20 million, but the final touches on those agreements may not come this year.

Million Headline News

DreamWorks Co-Founder Geffen Exits Animation Board

DreamWorks Animation, in announcing their third quarter financial results Tuesday, also revealed that David Geffen is exiting the studio's board, per VARIETY. He remains a 22 percent voting power as a major shareholder, but it was unclear how much he will retain after leaving.

Geffen has announced he is retiring from show business, and declined to join the new DreamWorks Studios after the departure from Paramount. Company rules dictate that Geffen's take, combined with CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg's 47 percent, retain majority control.

Company Headline News

Company 3, Method Studios Enter Into Partnership

Company 3 and Method Studios have announced a unique, collaborative partnership to provide clients around the world with a full spectrum of state-of-the-art post production services. Company 3 Co-Founder/Colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld and Method Co-Founder/VFX Supervisor Alex Frisch saw a need for combined, solutions-based services ranging from color correction for commercials/music videos, digital camera capture, feature VFX to feature film digital intermediate (DI), which led them to form this innovative partnership.

Film Headline News

Legendary in Epic Negotiations

Film financier Legendary Pictures is in discussions to acquire Epic Games, the developer of GEARS OF WAR, among others, per VARIETY.

Execs at both companies declined late last week to comment to VARIETY.

If the deal goes through, it would make Legendary the first film financing company to invest directly in videogames. Studios like Warner Bros. (where Legendary is based) have recently started putting their own money into games.

Film Headline News

Danish Animation Studio Comes Stateside

Danish animation studio A. Film has established its new permanent U.S. presence in Southern California.

The studio handles all types of animation, CG and hand-drawn, from the highest possible standards to the "just above low budget" TV series, said Hans Perk, President and CEO of A. Film L.A. and co-founder of A. Film A/S Denmark.

Headline News

Survey Says: Animators Are Happy!, an online character animation school created by animators for animators, has unveiled key findings from an animation industry survey that shows a vibrant and healthy workforce with a bright future. Animation Mentor commissioned independent research firm Knowledge Wave International to conduct the survey to gain insight into an insider's view on industry trends, job titles, job satisfaction and salaries.

Game Headline News

EA Opens New Studio In Austin, Texas For Game Development

Electronic Arts is opening a new studio, Pogo Austin, who have come together to build new games as part of the team. The Pogo Austin team will be joining EA's Bioware studio in Austin, Texas, USA.

The new studio will focus on creating family-friendly titles based on Hasbro properties. The initial team of 12 features a strong foundation of Austin natives who boast more than 108 years of collective game experience and have shipped titles at companies such as LucasArts, Aspyr Media, Acclaim, Amaze Ent., Human Code, Origin Systems and Family Time Interactive.

Headline News

Autodesk Releases Stereoscopic Filmmaking Whitepaper

Autodesk released a Stereoscopic Filmmaking Whitepaper delivering a comprehensive understanding of the state of the industry and its current barriers. The whitepaper provides valuable knowledge for anyone curious about the future of stereoscopic 3-D (S3D) and highlights current industry challenges from technical production complexities to studio considerations and theatrical acceptance.

The whitepaper is available for download here.

Work Headline News

Introducing The New Loose Moose

Loose Moose Productions, the new incarnation of the London based, stop-motion, puppet and CG animation company, was created following Ken Lidster's departure to work on a feature film at Laika in Portland, Oregon. The new company was launched with an array of established and young talent, including four new directors.

Referring to the new line up, Executive Producer Glenn Holberton said, "The injection of new directors and designers has created a real buzz and sense of purpose, galvanizing the whole team."

Universal Headline News

DreamWorks, Universal Sign Distribution Deal

Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg today announced a seven-year worldwide distribution deal between their new motion picture company and Universal Studios, which is expected to begin in 2009 and include approximately six films per year. (via

Snider and Spielberg recently departed Paramount Pictures to partner with Reliance Big Entertainment on a new motion picture company. Reliance Big will distribute the new company's projects in India.

Headline News

Ralph Scaglione Launches FLYfx At SoundHound/thePound

Veteran compositor, visual effects artist and editor Ralph Scaglione has launched FLYfx, the effects and finishing company housed in the award-winning editorial/post house thePound @ SoundHound, the editorial arm of SoundHound, New York.

Prior to opening FLYfx, Scaglione worked for top finishing houses like Berwyn, RIOTManhattan, Version2, Napoleon Group, Technicolor, Cut & Run and Madhouse, working on spots for such brands as Jaguar, Coke Zero, Dell Computers, Samsung, Dos Equis, Pantene and Lee Jeans.

Studio Headline News

Digital Animation Studio Plastic Wax Goes Global

Sydney, Australia-based Digital animation studio Plastic Wax, who specialize in videogame production, are implementing global expansion plans that include extensive talent acquisition, investments in new technology and the opening of an office in San Francisco focused on business development.

Dreamworks Headline News

DreamWorks, Paramount Agree On Settlement Details

Over the weekend, the divorce proceedings between DreamWorks and Paramount were worked out, with a settlement reached for about 40 projects in development, per VARIETY.

DreamWorks will take the lead on 15 to 20 films, and Paramount will retain the option of co-finance and co-distribute. Paramount will lead on another 15-20 films with DreamWorks retaining its option to co-finance.

Headline News

Take-Two Wants To Go At It Alone

Following detailed discussions with various interested parties over the last five months, Take-Two Software's board of directors has determined that it is in the best interests of stockholders to conclude its review of strategic alternatives and to continue operating and building Take-Two as an independent company.

Film Headline News

Fox Walden Absorbs Into Fox

Walden Media and Fox Filmed Ent. are restructuring and streamlining the companies' Fox Walden joint venture to consolidate Fox film marketing resources. The two companies will partner on the upcoming films TOOTH FAIRY and RAMONA, but VARIETY reported that about a dozen Fox Walden staffers will be laid off.

Headline News

Former Manga Ent. CEO Launches New Animation Licensing Company

Marvin Gleicher, co-founder and former CEO of Worldwide Operations for Manga Ent., has launched Marvin Media to develop, produce and license animated films to the international marketplace.

Gleicher joins Japanese animation director Keiichi Sato (KARAS, WOLF’S RAIN, THE BIG-O, GIANT ROBO), screenwriter: Manabu Ishikawa (FULL METAL ALCHEMIST, MO NO NO KE), Hisashi Oguchi (Bells & Whistles/ Tokyo) as producer for FLOATING MOON, an original environmentally-aware sci-fi feature based on Paul Kanter's story, due early 2010.

Design Headline News

Saffron Case And Mikon Van Gastel Launch Offspring

Co-Founder/EP Saffron Case and Co-Founder/Director Mikon van Gastel of New York-based production house A Very Small Office (AVSO) have opened design and animation company Offspring. Case and van Gastel, who have spent many years with both the Los Angeles and New York offices of Imaginary Forces are taking their vision and years of design-based production experience into a new realm.

Entertainment Headline News

DHX Combines With Entertainment One

DHX Media has entered into an agreement to combine its business operations with those of Entertainment One Limited. The deal has been recommended unanimously by the boards of directors of both DHX and E1 and values the total issued share capital of DHX at approximately $68 million Canadian representing $1.59 Canadian per share. The combined company will be listed on both AIM and the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Headline News

Judge Bars Punitive Damages In Rings Suit

The estate of THE LORD OF THE RINGS author J.R.R. Tolkien lost a round in its ongoing dispute with New Line Cinema, per VARIETY (via THE ASSOCIATED PRESS). A judge has barred the estate from seeking punitive damages against the studio who brought the highly-profitable trilogy to the big screen.

Tolkien's heirs content that New Line did not pay them any royalties from the estimated $6 billion the films have grossed worldwide. The lawsuit seeks more than $150 million in compensatory damages based on breach of contract, fraud and other claims.

Visual Headline News

Visual Effects Society Welcomes Australia

The Visual Effects Society (VES) has welcomed Australia on board as an official section to the society that represents more than 1,700 visual effects and computer graphics professionals internationally.

Australia joins San Francisco, London and Vancouver to become the fourth VES section, cementing its status as a significant hub of business and professional excellence in visual effects, computer graphics and digital production for the entertainment industry.

Media Headline News

Relativity, Universal Extend Financing Deal

Relativity Media and Universal Pictures recently extended and expanded their co-finance partnership through 2015, which will cover the majority of Universal's slate up until that time. Building on their already-established equity partnership, which has funded recent films such as MAMMA MIA!, THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR, and HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY, the expanded partnership is expected to fund 10-15 films per year and will provide billions of dollars of financing during the term.