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Million Headline News

Nintendo's Global Sales Up, Profits Down

Despite nearly unprecedented strength of the yen against major foreign currencies, Nintendo Co., Ltd. on Thursday reported nine-month (April to December 2008) global sales of 1,536 billion yen, an increase of nearly 17% over the same period in 2007, along with 501 billion yen of operating profits, up 27% from a year ago.

Headline News

Digimation Opens New Office in Florida

Digimation, a provider of 3D content and related services to the entertainment and defense industries, has opened its new office in Orlando, Florida, and the addition of two key employees.

"After careful consideration, Orlando was the obvious choice for us," said David Avgikos, president of Digimation. "Not only is it the center of the military simulation community, it also offers an extensive talent pool from which to draw, which is of critical importance as we grow our business."

Marvel Headline News

Stan Lee, Marvel Sued for $750 Million by Ex-Shareholders

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS reports that shareholders from an old Stan Lee venture are looking for a settlement amounting to $750 million in profits from films and other works based on Marvel comic characters like SPIDER-MAN, X-MEN and IRON MAN.

Company Headline News

Entertainment Rights Fined by U.K. Regulators

C21 MEDIA is reporting that U.K. children's branding firm Entertainment Rights has been fined a 245,000 GBP by the Financial Services Authority for failing to disclose an anticipated $14 million reduction to its profit to the stock exchange.

The company owns rights to properties like VEGGIETALES, WHERE'S WALDO?, CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST, THE LONE RANGER, HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE and RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, among others.

Headline News

Microsoft to Lay off Workers En Masse for First Time

In the first time in the company's history, Microsoft will perform broad layoffs, according to THE NEW YORK TIMES. Based in Redmond, Washington, the world's largest software company will let go 5,000 of its 94,000 workers over the next 18 months, including 1,400 people this week.

The company reported the cuts as part of its second-quarter results, an 11 percent drop in net income to $4.17 billion from $4.71 billion in the same period a year ago. A sharp drop in sales for personal computers is blamed for the cuts in personnel.

Entertainment Headline News

Disney/ABC Television Group Announces Organizational Restructure

Responding to the changing realities of the entertainment landscape, and addressing an opportunity to streamline the creative process, ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios will be operated as a coordinated business unit entitled ABC Entertainment Group.

International Headline News

Imagi Gets Listing on Int'l OTCQX

Imagi International Holdings Limited has obtained an American Depositary Receipt (ADR) program and began listing on the International OTCQX for greater access to the U.S. capital markets.

Imagi International Holdings Limited ADR began trading Thursday on International PrimeQX, under the ticker IINHY. Investors can find real-time quotes, disclosure and financial information about at www.otcqx.com.

Games Headline News

Capcom Signs Development Deal With Monumental Games

Videogame developer and publisher Capcom has signed a development agreement with U.K.-based Monumental Games. Under the terms of the agreement Monumental Games will develop an as yet unannounced multi-platform title scheduled for release and published by Capcom later this year.

Monumental Games was founded in 2005 by Rik Alexander and Rocco Loscalzo and has two U.K. offices in Nottingham and Manchester as well as an operation in Pune, India and currently employs more than 100 people.

Autodesk Headline News

Autodesk to Cut 10 Percent of Work Force

Autodesk has announced they will cut 750 jobs, or about 10 percent of their staff, according to wire reports.

A release on iStockAnalyst said Autodesk will "consolidate certain facilities as part of a plan to reduce operating expenses."

The initiatives are in addition to the ongoing actions previously announced that include a hiring freeze, business travel restrictions, and other reductions in its operating expenses.

Headline News

GenArts Buys SpeedSix Software, Adds Monsters and Raptors to Repertoire

GenArts Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SpeedSix Software Limited. As of today, all SpeedSix employees will join the GenArts team and remain in the U.K. In addition, SpeedSix's renowned Monsters and Raptors visual effects will be sold and supported in their current form alongside GenArts Sapphire, creating a family of state-of-the-art image processing and synthesis effects software.

Animation Headline News

Animation Co-op Closes Down

After five years, The Animation Co-op has been forced to close its doors. Co-founders Kevin Geiger and Moon Seun wrote this open letter:

When we founded The Animation Co-op in the summer of 2003, it was to fill a need that we saw for an interactive community of independent animation artists, brought together by their love of this remarkable art form and a desire to share their experiences, creations and dreams with one another.

Animation Headline News

Toei Animation Exchanges Venture for Subsidiary

Japan's largest animation studio, Toei Animation, will turn its Hong Kong joint venture into a wholly-owned subsidiary, per VARIETY.

Toei will buy the shares of Toei Animation Enterprises from its local partner, Animation Intl., a content production company based in Hong Kong.

Last week, Tokyo-based animation house GHD also announced plans to expand into China, with a specialty channel that will broadcast cartoons into China via the Internet and TV. Dedicated to anime, the channel is called Gonzo and will be on a demand service provided by Chunghwa Telecom Co.

Headline News

Watchmen Release Confirmed for March -- Studios Settle

Fox and Warner Bros. have reached a deal at long last to let superhero flick WATCHMEN go forward as planned on March, according to news reports. The two sides have been battling for almost a year on the rights to the film, directed by Zack Snyder and based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Alan Moore.

Headline News

Watchmen Settlement Announcement Coming Friday

A "Notice Of Settlement Status And Request For Further Hearing" form was filed January 14 in the WATCHMEN case, according to news reports.

A hearing was requested for January 15 at 3:30 p.m. to report the final resolution between Fox and Warner Bros. or alternatively discuss how to proceed on the already-announced January 20 court date with U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess.

A PDF of the court document is available at IESB.net: http://iesb.net/images/stories/Settlement_Status_Report.pdf.

Music Headline News

Swedish VFX Firm Opens in Gothenburg

haymaker fx, located in the heart of Gothenburg, Sweden and founded by Alex Hansson and Daniel Tegeland, has officially open its doors to the international commercial, broadcast, music video and film industries.

With its small but creative and efficient team of talented artists who work in a broad range of applications, haymaker fx is looking to take the next step up the ladder. Working together for the past 10 years, Hansson and Tegeland have been involved in creating some of the more memorable music videos, game intros, brand logos and launch films produced in Sweden.

Headline News

WB, Fox Working on Watchmen Settlement, Producers Weigh In

Warner Bros. and Fox are actively working toward a settlement over the WATCHMEN distribution rights case, according to news reports.

The attorneys for both studios agreed Friday to delay a federal court hearing until Monday so that settlement discussions can continue over the weekend. U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess had been scheduled to rule on WB's request for an expedited hearing on the main issue: whether to block WATCHMEN from theatrical release on March 6, as Fox is requesting.

Company Headline News

Industry Mainstay Version2 To Close Shop In 2009

Version2, the renowned New York-based editorial and visual effects/motion design house plans on closing its doors by February 1, 2009, after completing all open projects and meeting its financial obligations. Although the Version2 companies saw an overall growth in billings in 2008, DeSario has felt for some time that the boutique style-editing company model he created in 1988 is no longer viable for him personally or professionally in today's economy.

Entertainment Headline News

ER Tussles with U.S. Distributor

From VARIETY: Struggling U.K. tyke specialist Entertainment Rights, whose properties include POSTMAN PAT and THE LONE RANGER, is taking legal action against its primary U.S. DVD distributor, Genius Products, over alleged unpaid fees.

In a trading statement to the London Stock Exchange published Wednesday, the company said it was "pursuing all available legal remedies" to obtain the unspecified amount of coin owed.

Headline News

AG, Cookie Jar Deal Called Off, AG Seeks New Buyers

Via Kidscreen: On the heels of announcing an extension of its home entertainment license with Lionsgate, American Greetings Properties has confirmed the sale of its CARE BEARS, STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE and SUSHI PACK properties to Toronto's Cookie Jar Entertainment will not go through.

Time Headline News

Time Warner Cable, Viacom Reach Agreement

Time Warner Cable and Viacom jointly announced January 1 that they have reached an agreement in principle to renew carriage for Viacom's MTV Networks. The companies expect to finalize the details of the agreement over the next several days.

Glenn Britt, President and CEO of Time Warner Cable said in a statement, "We are pleased that our customers will continue to be able to watch the programming they enjoy on MTV Networks. We are sorry they had to endure a day of public disagreement as we worked through this negotiation."

Headline News

ER Confirms Takeover Talks, Shareholder Rescue Plan

From C21Media: Entertainment Rights (ER) has confirmed it is in early takeover talks, while shareholders at the debt-laden Postman Pat firm try to raise GBP 30M (US$43.6M) in an attempt to rescue the business.

ER put a statement out to the London Stock Exchange over the Christmas period confirming it was "in early stage discussions, which may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company."

Million Headline News

Imagi Still Plagued by Financial Concerns

Hong Kong- and Los Angeles-based animation studio Imagi International is still experiencing financial problems, reports VARIETY ASIA (via Cartoon Brew).

Auditors gave the company a "going concern" qualification to the half-year results of the firm, which is currently in production on CG feature ASTRO BOY and who animated TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES for Warner Bros. and Weinstein Co. last year.

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