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Headline News

Trial Date For Watchmen Set

A federal judge in Los Angeles has set January 6 as the start date for the trial for 20th Century Fox's lawsuit over Warner Bros.' right to their upcoming WATCHMEN film, per VARIETY.

WB has not changed the March 6 release date for the film, based on the graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons.

Judge Gary Allen Feess set the date Tuesday morning in a meeting between attorneys, setting up discovery and deposition proceedings for the rest of the year.

Studio Headline News

Rushes Studio Moves In With Itch Film

Rushes, in partnership with Itch Film, will soon reopen their fully equipped, newly refurbished and re-branded studio. This new venture will combine a state of the art studio space with Rushes' long-standing knowledge of pack shots and motion control studio shoots.

Itch Film is a boutique production company, founded by Charlie Paul, an experienced food shoot specialist.

The studio has undergone a complete transformation, with a larger stage area and a stylish, contemporary client area, WiFi Internet access and a roof terrace.

Headline News

Delayed Cinar Suit Gets Day In Court

After 13 years of procedural delays, the lawsuit that author Claude Robinson filed against Cinar accusing them of plagiarizing his work has begun in the palace of justice of Montreal, according to LA PRESSE CANADIENNE.

Robinson claims that Cinar, its founders Ronald Weinberg and Micheline Charest, France Animation, the BBC and Ravensburger, a German game producer, illegally used the characters that he created.

Digital Headline News

Theater Owners, RealD Team On Digital Projector Conversion

The National Associaation of Theater Owners' Cinema Buying Group has made a deal with RealD to install 3-D capability onto the group's digital projectors, which haven't been bought yet, per VARIETY.

CGB has tapped AccessIT to provide digital projectors for its theaters -- more than 8,000 screens -- but the deal is not yet final. A strong interest in 3-D films, coupled with the expansive 3-D film slate coming in 2009 has made the conversion finally go forward.

Headline News

Aardman Creates New Division -- Aardman Rights

Aardman Animations, the Bristol-based Academy Award-winning animation studio has restructured its Marketing, Licensing and International TV Distribution departments, merging them all into a newly formed division called Aardman Rights. The new division is set up to market and sell Aardman content across all media and it will seek to expand its IP portfolio by representing third-party properties.

Licensing Headline News

Staff Cuts At Cookie Jar Finalized

KIDSCREEN Magazine reports that 80 full-time employees of the newly merged DIC Ent./Cookie Jar Group have been let go. Plans to restructure the company came earlier in August, following the July acquisition.

Most positions were eliminated effectively immediately, according to Cookie Jar CEO Michael Hirsh. Some departures will occur as far away as six months from now to finish up current projects. The company now employs between 230 and 240 people, including staff at CPLG the European licensing agency that was part of the DIC acquisition.

Headline News

EA, Take-Two Talk Privately, FTC Clears Potential Deal

According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive are speaking privately, just a week after EA let the deadline for its $2 billion tender offer expire.

EA has offered $25.74 per share for Take-Two, publisher of the successful GRAND THEFT AUTO franchise, but Take-Two said the offer was too low. On Monday, the two companies signed confidentiality agreements, and the Federal Trade Commission last week cleared EA's old offer.

Comics Headline News

Virgin Comics Closes Doors

Just two years since the founding of Virgins Comics, the joint venture between Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Indian comics publisher Gotham Ent., the company has closed its doors and laid off its New York-based eight-member staff, per PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.

Attempts to confirm the closing with Virgin Comics CEO and co-founder and President of Gotham Ent. Sharad Deverajan were not successful, but sources tell PW the unit has been closed and an official statement is likely coming soon.

Headline News

Copyright Law And The Mouse That Started It All

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES has an in-depth article on a 1908 copyright law that may technically give Mickey Mouse (the STEAMBOAT WILLIE-era Mickey, that is) up to the public domain.

Disney's team of lawyers are calling the idea "frivolous," but Roy E. Disney acknowledges during the 1920s, "Nobody knew what they were doing," in regards to often-convoluted copyright law.

Digital Headline News

EA Sports Testing Center To Open In Louisiana

Electronic Arts, Louisiana State University and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development have formed a partnership that will lead to the creation of a new global quality assurance (QA) center in Baton Rouge. The facility will be the first of its kind in the United States and will serve primarily as a test center for EA Sports' software titles.

Mainframe Headline News

Mainframe London Invests In New Property

Mainframe's London headquarters is investing more than 1.2 million pounds as part of a continuing expansion project that has necessitated a move to a larger studio.

Hot on the heels of opening Mainframe North in Manchester, the London studio will be moving in mid-September to the top floor of a beautiful old Clerkenwell warehouse, situated next to the Guardian's offices, in order to secure extra space for current and future expansion. Mainframe has bought the property outright for just under 1 million pounds.

Headline News

EA Withdraws Bid On Take-Two

Electronic Arts has withdrawn its $2 billion tender offer for Take-Two Interactive, publisher of GRAND THEFT AUTO, to enter into private negotiations, per VARIETY. This move comes six months after the public battle started.

EA received little interest in its bid of $25.74 per share, which due to the success of the latest GTA title, has been lower than Take-Two's trading price some days this summer. EA let the offer expire at 12 a.m. Monday.

Film Headline News

Watching The Watchmen Lawsuit

Fox has won a round in the ongoing battle over the rights to graphic novel WATCHMEN, which is being turned into a feature film by Warner Bros., according to VARIETY. A judge has denied a motion filed by Warner Bros. to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Fox in February over their right to make the film.

Fox could end up as a profit participant in the film, costing WB millions in box office cash. Fox's legal team says it is looking to prevent the film from being released altogether.

Headline News

Activision Blizzard Announces Preliminary Results of Self-Tender Offer

Activision Blizzard announced the preliminary results of its tender offer to purchase up to 146,500,000 shares of its outstanding common stock at a price of $27.50 per share, net to the tendering stockholders in cash, less any applicable withholding taxes and without interest. The tender offer expired at 5 p.m., New York time, on Wednesday, August 13, 2008.

Headline News

Sid Ganis Re-Elected President Of Academy

Sid Ganis was re-elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Tuesday night by the organization's Board of Governors. This will be his fourth consecutive term in the office.

In addition, Robert Rehme, an Executives Branch governor and past Academy president, was re-elected first vice president; Producers Branch governors Kathleen Kennedy and Hawk Koch were elected to vice president posts; Executives Branch governor Tom Sherak was elected treasurer and Public Relations Branch governor Cheryl Boone Isaacs was elected secretary.

Disney Headline News

Disney Launches Global R&D Labs With Carnegie Mellon University

Disney announced a major Research and Development initiative to engage top technology universities to conduct research and development for its Parks & Resorts division, Disney Media Networks, ESPN, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney Interactive Media Group and Pixar Animation Studios.

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), known for their leading-edge work in computer science and technology, are to establish collaborative labs with Disney in Pittsburgh and Zurich.

Headline News

Rock Paper Scissors And a52 Launch Elastic

The principals behind Los Angeles-based editorial company Rock Paper Scissors (RPS) (www.rockpaperscissors.com) and visual effects company a52 (www.a52.com) announced the launch of a new, full-service, design-driven company named Elastic.

To support their new venture, RPS and a52 co-founders Angus Wall and Linda Carlson have hired Alex Gorodetzki as Elastic's executive producer and Trevor Shepard as its creative director of design.

Headline News

Aguru Images Partners With XYZ-RGB

Aguru Images, a provider of innovative image capture devices, has formed a strategic partnership with XYZ-RGB, a developer of 3D scanning solutions. The two companies have complementary technologies and plan to jointly produce a unified 3D capture solution for the entertainment market.

Imax Headline News

IMAX Records Q2 Loss, Looks To Future

IMAX Corporation today reported that it recorded a net loss per diluted share of $0.29 for the second quarter of fiscal 2008, compared to a net loss of $0.11 per diluted share for the second quarter of fiscal 2007.

At the same time, the company announced that the roll out of its IMAX Digital system technology launched as scheduled, with the successful delivery and installation of its first three digital projection systems at three AMC Entertainment theatres located in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, during the second quarter.

Production Headline News

Korean Province Launches Hollywood Investment Fund

South Korean province Gyeonggi is launching an investment fund and comprehensive production support program to promote joint ventures between the Hollywood and Korean entertainment communities. The announcement was made by Byung Heon Kim, President of Gyeonggi Digital Content Agency (GDCA).

Digital Headline News

Red Giant Software Acquires Digital Anarchy Plug-Ins

Red Giant Software, with products Magic Bullet, Knoll Light Factory, and Trapcode, has acquired the video plug-in portfolio of Digital Anarchy, a San Francisco-based plug-in developer.

Digital Anarchy is known for its high-quality creative software for broadcast designers and 2D animators. The acquisition will add six new products to Red Giant Software's roster, which will be repackaged under Red Giant Software's own product names.

Million Headline News

Marvel's Income Jumps More Than 50 Percent In Q2 2008

Marvel Ent. reported operating results for its second quarter and six months ended June 30, 2008.

For Q2 2008, Marvel reported net sales of $156.9 million and net income of $46.7 million, or $0.59 per diluted share, compared to net sales of $101.5 million and net income of $29.1 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, in Q2 2007.

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