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Work Headline News

Data Design Interactive Open Office In Florida

Video game developer and publisher Data Design Interactive has opened a U.S. office in Sarasota, Florida.

The purpose of opening this new studio is to help provide the correct creative atmosphere required to work effectively on today's projects. The emphasis has been placed on providing both a natural and open work environment with sunshine 320 days of the year, a central location, a ten minute walk to the ocean and a two-hour drive to Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Wild Headline News

Wild Canary Media Opens Its Doors In Burbank

Richard Marlis, the former exec VP of Hollywood-based ka-chew/Klasky-Csupo, and Carmen Italia, an advertising and marketing exec and founder of Italia Partners, announced the opening of Wild Canary Media today, based in Burbank, California, USA.

Joining Marlis and Italia at Wild Canary are executive producer of animation Liz Seidman, directors Paul DeMeyer and Gary Johns and producer Chris Hutchison. Heading up the CG animation team are CGI supervisor Bryan Blevins and lead TD artist James Parks. Spearheading the broadcast entertainment business is Mark Pinsker.

Effects Headline News

VES Publishes First VFX Industry Credit Guidelines

The Visual Effects Society (VES) has published the first ever set of VES guidelines for titles in the visual effects industry. The list has been vetted by VES members and ratified by the VES Board of Directors. Major studios have reviewed the list as well and are encouraged to utilize it.

Kitty Headline News

Hello Kitty To Help Promote Japanese Tourism Industry

Hello Kitty has been an international "ambassador of cute" for years, and can now claim "official government envoy" to that list, according to the ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Japan's tourism ministry on Monday named Hello Kitty as its choice to represent the country in China and Hong Kong, two places where she is hugely popular among kids and young women. Officials hope to tap that fan base to lead a larger flow of tourists to Japan and get the country closer to its goal of 10 million overseas visitors a year, the "Visit Japan" campaign.

Headline News

TV-Loonland Out Of Debt, Chairman To Step Down

TV-Loonland has successfully concluded the sale process of its shareholding in Metrodome Group, its U.K. subsidiary, making them debt-free for the first time in seven years. Their CEO, Simon Flamank, also announced he will be stepping down as chairman of the company after the sale is complete.

Media Headline News

HarperCollins And Walden Media Launch Walden Pond Press

HarperCollins Children's Books and Walden Media, the film studio behind THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA, have formed a strategic partnership to establish a new children's book imprint called Walden Pond Press.

The announcement was made by Susan Katz, President and Publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books and Micheal Flaherty, Co-Founder and President of Walden Media.

Headline News

TV-Loonland Sells Part of Film Library To Hasbro

TV-Loonland has entered into an agreement with Hasbro to sell all its rights in the "Hasbro Classics Library." Under the agreement, Hasbro. will pay $7 million to TV-Loonland.

The "Hasbro Classics Library" includes renowned titles such as TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY and G.I. JOE. These programs were acquired by the TV-Loonland from Sony BMG in December 2000.

Animation Headline News

Fox TV Opens Two Animation Arms

Fox Broadcasting Co. and 20th Century Fox TV have announced the formation of two units dedicated to animation development and production, reports VARIETY. Fox Inkubator will bring the studio together with animators and writers to develop two- to three-minute animated shorts, which could serve as the basis of a series.

Headline News

Bill Would Mandate ID Checks for Mature Videogames

Legislators are using the whirlwind surrounding GRAND THEFT AUTO IV to present a bill that would require ID checks for the purchase of mature-rated videogames, reports VARIETY. House representatives Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) presented the Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act on May 7th.

Autodesk Headline News

Autodesk Acquires Assets of REALVIZ

Autodesk Inc. today announced that it has completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of REALVIZ S.A., the privately held developer of image-based content creation software. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Imax Headline News

IMAX Gets Financing Deals For Digital Rollout

IMAX Corporation has entered into two significant financing transactions, one with Wachovia Capital Finance Corporation and one with the Douglas family, IMAX's largest shareholder.

The deal with Wachovia will be to increase future availability and modify other terms under the company's existing credit facility

The deal with the Douglas family is for the sale of approximately 2.73 million common shares in a private placement at an aggregate purchase price of $18 million.

Headline News

Disney Reports Second Quarter Earnings

Disney had "an outstanding quarter financially and creatively," according to CEO Robert Iger. Net income for the second quarter in 2008 increased 22 percent to $1.1 billion.

Segment operating income for the quarter increased 21 percent to $2.1 billion, led by strong growth at Media Networks, Studio Entertainment and Parks and Resorts.

Diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the second quarter increased to $0.58, compared to $0.44 in the prior-year quarter. Earnings per share from continuing operations in the prior-year quarter totaled $0.43.

Million Headline News

Bloodrayne Director Sues Billy Zane

Director Uwe Boll has sued actor Billy Zane in Los Angeles Superior Court for revenue money from the film BLOODRAYNE, per THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Boll says he is owed at least $700,000 from Zane, claiming in the April 30 filing that Zane was the one who suggested Romar Ent. handle distribution of the 2006 box office flop. Zane and Romar head James Schramm reportedly promised the film would open in 2,000 theaters and a $10 million advance from Boll would be used for advertising and promotion.

Macfarlane Headline News

MacFarlane Signs Extension With Fox For $100 Million

FAMILY GUY creator Seth MacFarlane has signed a deal with 20th Century Fox Television that will keep him there until 2012, the studio announced Monday.

The $100 million deal, according to TVGUIDE, makes him the company's highest-paid writer/producer and includes new media, retail projects, FAMILY GUY, AMERICAN DAD and the upcoming FAMILY GUY spinoff THE CLEVELAND SHOW. MacFarlane will also work with FAMILY GUY writer Gary Janetti to produce a sitcom.

Headline News

Microsoft Withdraws Offer, Yahoo Stock Drops

News outlets are reporting Yahoo shares took a tumble Monday, the first trading day since Microsoft said it failed in its attempt to acquire the Internet portal. Shares fell 16.4 percent from Friday's close, per THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Yahoo traded at $19.18 when Microsoft bid $31 a share for the company in January, and some analysts were predicting it would sink that low. The stock, however, fell $15 percent Monday to $24.37.

Analysts were predicting that News Corp. might try to buy Yahoo, and that Google will benefit from this latest move.

Million Headline News

DreamWorks Animation Reports First Quarter Financial Results

For the quarter ended March 31, 2008, DreamWorks Animation reported total revenue of $156.6 million and net income of $26.1 million, or $0.28 per share on a fully diluted basis. This compares to revenue of $93.7 million and net income of $15.4 million, or $0.15 per share on a fully diluted basis, for the same period in 2007.

Digital Headline News

Digital Domain May Stay Private in Raising Capital

After running into difficulty last week trying to launch its initial public stock offering, Venice-based vfx/commercial studio Digital Domain is now considering raising capital through private equity. According to THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, Digital Domain was not able to close the deal at its asking price of 6 million shares at $12 to $14 a piece. The studio was trying to raise $70 million after expenses.

Headline News

Former Pixar CFO Might Face Charges Of Stock Option Abuse

The ASSOCIATED PRESS is reporting former Pixar CFO Ann Mather is facing a possible legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged mishandling of stock options, according to documents filed Monday in San Francisco.

Mather was CFO from 1999 to 2004. Google, where she is a member of the board of directors, disclosed the situation to AP.

Games Headline News

Warner To Purchase Sci Ent.?

Warner Bros. has invested about $30 million in Sci Entertainment, a British video game publisher, in a move that could lead to the eventual purchase of the company, per VARIETY.

As part of the deal, Warners will distribute and market all of Sci's games, which are published under the Eidos brand in the U.S. and Canada. Warners has already provided logistical services to Eidos, best known for their LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER franchise.

Special Headline News

Version2 Partners With VFX-Animation Shop Special Branch

New York-based editorial and vfx/motion design shop Version2 will partner with CG animation and vfx shop, Special Branch, forming Special Branch@V2 (SB@V2).

The partnership expands V2's current presence, ability, and scope allowing them to deliver a wider range of services and talent depth to its clients. Special Branch is run by Partners/Artists Fran Roberts and Ed Manning. The SB@V2 deal provides an additional dimension to the growing resources available at the vfx /motion design division of V2.

Digital Headline News

Digital Domain IPO Hits Snag

Venice-based vfx studio Digital Domain, which intended to launch its initial public stock offering this week, has apparently run into difficulty closing the deal at its asking price of 6 million shares at $12 to $14 apiece, reports THE LOS ANGELES TIMES. The pricing of the deal is now "day to day," according to Digital Domain's underwriter, San Francisco-based investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners.

The price could be cut or Digital Domain could raise capital through private equity, the newspaper speculates.