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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.

Framestore Headline News

Northern Lights, Cameras, Action!

Most U.K. companies looking to open a new office away from the din, pollution and brutal cost of living entailed by London might turn to a nice piece of greenbelt real estate, or perhaps one of the nearby provincial towns. Framestore, on the other hand, went to Iceland.

Animation Headline News

Ontario Industry Survey Reveals Picture Of VFX And Animation Economy

Computer Animation Studios of Ontario Association (CASO) President Neil Williamson announced the results of the first animation and vfx industry survey Thursday night at a reception held during the Ottawa International Animation Festival.

Dreamworks Headline News

DreamWorks, Reliance Deal Complete

DreamWorks and Indian media company Reliance have completed their deal to create a $1.2 billion stand-alone studio, reports the WALL STREET JOURNAL.

According to insiders, DreamWorks co-founder Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks CEO Stacey Snider can now leave Paramount Pictures to start their own film company. In the signed agreement, Reliance ADA Group, based in Mumbai, will invest $500 million equity and another $700 million in debt through J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. The venture is expected to produce a slate of around six films per year.

Million Headline News

NVIDIA To Cut 6 Percent Of Workforce

THE NEW YORK TIMES reports that graphic chip maker NVIDIA will lay off about 6.5 percent of their employees, or close to 360 people.

Spokesman Hector Marinez told the TIMES the layoffs will hit all of NVIDIA's global offices and departments and should be complete by October. NVIDIA has plans to take a $7 million to $10 million charge in its third quarter to cover the restructuring.

Headline News

El Capitan Theatre For Sale

The owner of the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood has put the historic building up for sale for $31 million, per THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (via VARIETY).

Disney restored the theater, originally built in 1926 for stage productions, in 1991, and will remain the long-term tenant. Disney showcases one children's film release at a time, with pre-show entertainment.

Owner CUNA Mutual Group, a financial services company, is based in Wisconsin and got the building in 1994 when the previous owner walked away after the Northridge Earthquake.

Headline News

Electronic Arts, Take-Two Won't Merge

Six months later, Electronic Arts has ended its drive to buy Take-Two Interactive, per VARIETY. EA had been in private talks with Take-Two, but declined to make a new offer. It previously had made a $2 billion offer, which was repeatedly turned down by Take-Two execs and later their shareholders.

When asked Sunday why a deal wasn't reached, Take-Two exec chairman Strauss Zelnick said, "They made their tender offer numerous times while we have continued to beat our guidance and put out hit games, so you can draw your own conclusions."

Comics Headline News

Framelight To Illuminate Graphic Novels, Comics

New filmmaking studio Framelight Productions is looking to add to the volume of comic book and graphic novel film adaptations, per THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Launched by producer Jeffrey Erb and entrepreneur Robert Robinson Jr., they have options on properties including Marvel Comics' DR. DETH WITH KIP AND MUFFY from G.I. JOE author Larry Hama. Framelight has plans to make six to eight films in the next five years, all within the $20 to $80 million range.

Headline News

Activision Publishing Acquires U.K. Game Developer FreeStyleGames

Activision Publishing has acquired FreeStyleGames, a U.K.-based video game developer specializing in music-based games.

This acquisition represents the latest step in Activision Publishing's strategy to expand its global leadership position in the music-based genre. The company established the genre with the GUITAR HERO franchise, which has sold more than 22 million units worldwide. FreeStyleGames is currently developing localized downloadable content for the GUITAR HERO franchise, as well as a yet to be announced new, intellectual property in the music genre.

Productions Headline News

BabyFirst Launches In-House Production Unit

BabyFirst has formed BFTV Productions, an in-house unit established to produce original television programming expressly for the preschool market.

Now reaching 100 million home worldwide, BabyFirst is a commercial-free 24/7 channel designed for babies and toddlers and their parents. Arik Kerman, SVP of Programming for BabyFirst and the executive responsible the channel's programming, will serve as General Manager of BFTV Productions. Programming produced by BFTV Productions will be offered to preschool broadcasters worldwide.

Headline News

Rowling Wins Harry Potter Lexicon Suit

HARRY POTTER author J.K. Rowling has won a copyright infringement lawsuit against a fan and Web site operator who wanted to publish a HARRY POTTER encyclopedia, per the ASSOCIATED PRESS (via THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER).

U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson ruled in Rowling's favor on Monday, saying the author had proven Steven Vander Ark's HARRY POTTER LEXICON would cause her "irreparable harm" as a writer. Patterson permanently blocked publication of the reference guide and awarded Rowling and Warner Bros. Ent. $6,750 in statutory damages.

Headline News

Activision Blizzard Two-for-One Stock Split Now Effective

Activision Blizzard, Inc. announced today that its two-for-one stock split is effective and its common stock will begin trading today on a split-adjusted basis. As a result of the stock split, there are approximately 1.3 billion shares of Activision Blizzard's common stock issued and outstanding.

Activision Blizzard maintains operations in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Romania, Australia, Chile, India, Japan China, South Korea and the region of Taiwan.

Dreamworks Headline News

Paramount, DreamWorks Waiting For Reliance

One of the most buzzworthy deals of the year has yet to close -- Indian media company Reliance Ent. still intends to invest $500 million in DreamWorks, but obstacles over small banking details are holding it up, per VARIETY. The deal was supposed to close several weeks ago, but now is weeks away from closing.

The basic deal is intact, insiders say, but the intricate banking details are causing a roadblock, causing problems for both Paramount and DreamWorks' staff as well as the other majors.