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Headline News SAG Reaches Game, Toon Deals & Warns About Tutenstein

Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members voted by a margin of 81.2% to 18.8% to overwhelmingly approve the proposed Interactive Media Agreement recently negotiated with videogame producers. In accordance with a national board decision on June 29, the referendum was sent to Screen Actors Guild performers with earnings under the previous three-year agreement with the videogame industry as well as any eligible, paid-up SAG member in good standing who requested a ballot. The new contract will go into effect on Friday July 29, 2005 and run through December 31, 2008.

Headline News Chinese Toon Fair Highlights Growing Industry

Speaking at the First Chinese International Animation, Cartoon and Game Fair, which opened yesterday in Shanghai, head of the animation department at Nanjing Normal University Wu Yue said that after decades of slumber, Chinese animators have begun developing new products, reports CHINA VIEW.

Since 2000, more than 100 university animation programs have formed and graduates have gone on to start their own businesses, mostly in the Yangtze River Delta.

"There are many small studios," Wu said. "They are clustered in East China."

Headline News Shark Tale Director Sets Up Studio in Marseilles, France

SHARK TALE co-director Eric Bibo Bergeron has set up a new animation studio in Marseilles, France. After spending eight years at DreamWorks, where he also made THE ROAD TO EL DORADO, Bergeron is returning to France to produce and direct his latest projects.

The first 3D film, A MONSTER IN PARIS, will be co-written by Bergeron and Ramzy, the two French comedians on whom the designs for the main characters are based and who will provide the French voiceovers. The film will be entirely produced in France at the new European studio.

Headline News NBC Universal Talks DreamWorks Purchase

NBC Universal is in talks to buy DreamWorks SKG, in what could be a deal worth $1 billion, according to the trades. Universal Studios already distributes DreamWorks' videos and DVDs via Universal Studios Home Video, and its films internationally through United Pictures International, the foreign distributor jointly owned by Universal and Paramount. Additionally, the two studios have co-financed films such as the 2000 Oscar-winner GLADIATOR and Steven Spielberg's upcoming MUNICH, which Universal will release in December.

Headline News German Theaters Want to Curb Herbie

Major theater chains in Germany have threatened to not carry Buena Vista Internationals release of HERBIE: FULLY LOADED, because the company intends to release the DVD in December, reports VARIETY. Greater Union Filmpalast and Cinemaxx have both said they will not screen the film, because the Aug. 4 theatrical debut is only four not the typical six months away from the home entertainment release.

Headline News Disney to Close Down Australian Animation Studio

After producing an ambitious slate of direct-to-video movies, The Walt Disney Co. has decided to close its animation studio in Sydney, Australia and notified its 250 employees there this will take effect next year.

Headline News Amended Class Action Suit Filed Against DreamWorks Animation

The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP announces that an amended class action lawsuit was filed on July 21, 2005, on behalf of purchasers of the securities of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. that extends the Class Period. The previous Class Period was from October 28, 2004, to May 10, 2005. The new Class Period is from October 28, 2004, to July 11, 2005.

Headline News Korea's Toon Biz Growing

Korea's animation industry is seeing increased growth as it moves from a subcontractor to a source of original productions, reports ARIRANG NEWS. For years, Korean producers had a hard time even garnering an audience in their own country, always being overshadowed by products from Walt Disney and Studio Ghibli.

Headline News Vinton Studios Absorbed Into Feature Film and Media Venture LAIKA

Businessman/entrepreneur Phil Knight announced today (July 19, 2005) that he has absorbed animation company Vinton Studios, which Knight acquired in September 2003, into a new entertainment and media venture called LAIKA.

LAIKAs first film offering is CG animated short film, MOONGIRL, director Henry Selicks (NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH) a charming fable which re-imagines lunar mythology. Footage of MOONGIRL is available now for viewing at www.laika.com.

Headline News Sagarika Music Forms Culture Company for Toon Series

Mumbai-based music company, Sagarika Music Pvt. Ltd., has launched its children's entertainment brand, The Culture Company, and an animation VCD series targeting children, reports THE HINDU.

"The Culture Company is a brand under which Sagarika will produce and market educational and entertainment products for children of the target age group, 2-12," Sagarika Bam, president, Sagarika Music.

Headline News DVD Sales Spur DreamWorks Animation to Withdrawal Secondary Offering

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. confirmed that it has been informed by its principal shareholders that they will not proceed at this time with the secondary offering of $500 million of Class A common stock which was filed in a preliminary registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 28, 2005.

Headline News Roy Disney & Stanley Gold Put Aside Disney Differences

The Walt Disney Company, Roy E. Disney and Stanley P. Gold announced today (July 8, 2005) that they have agreed to put aside the differences of late and has brought Roy Disney back to the company board as a diorector emeritus. Disney and Gold will not to run a rival slate of directors, submit shareholder resolutions for the next five years and have also agreed to dismiss all their pending lawsuits against the Disney Co.

Headline News Y Tu Mama Tambien Writer Launches Toon House

Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN writer Carlos Cuaron has formed an animation production company, reports VARIETY. His partner in the firm will be Mexican animator Rene Castillo. Cuaron will continue to write live-action scripts.

Castillo is bets known for his award-winning clay-animation shorts, NO SUPPORT (SIN SOSTEN) and DOWN TO THE BONE (HASTA LOS HUESOS).

The unnamed companys first project could be an adaptation of a childrens play, which Cuaron wrote several years ago.

Headline News Henson’s Creature Shop Closes in London

As a result of the dollars unfavorable exchange rate and a lack of concrete tax incentives in the U.K. production market, The Jim Henson Co. will no longer have a full time staff at its London location of Jim Hensons Creature Shop, the companys visual effects and animatronics division. However, the companys own television and film projects are not affected and the Creature Shop will continue to service third party clients out of its Los Angeles and New York locations, as well as hiring freelance crews in London on a project-by-project basis.

Headline News Pixar Updates 2nd Quarter Via Incredible Sales Slip

Pixar Animation Studios announced an update to its fiscal second quarter 2005 guidance, following a review of the most current domestic and international home video sales data for THE INCREDIBLES. The company is updating its second quarter home video projections to increase its reserves for returns. As a result, Pixar is modifying its earlier projection of roughly $0.15 per diluted share for the quarter ending July 2, 2005, to approximately $0.10 per diluted share, which equates to around a $6 million difference in net income.

Headline News Contender Ent. Group Forms Two Separate Operating Divisions

Contender Entertainment Group (CEG) in the U.K. has split its operations into two separate divisions -- Contender Home Entertainment (CHE) and Rubber Duck Entertainment (RDE). The group contends that the new structure will help to capitalize on growth plans ambitions to double its size in the next three years.

Headline News Boris FX to Acquire Final Effects Complete from Optibase

Boris FX will acquire Final Effects Complete from Optibase. Boris FX will acquire all associated trademarks, including Studio Effects, Next Effects and Ice FX. The products will continue to be offered with Boris FX providing maintenance, support and future development.

Headline News Massive Brings 10-Second Spots Into Games

In-game advertising provider Massive Inc. will start offering 10-second spots through its network next month, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The ads will play on natural elements in the game like TV sets and computers. Massive will charge higher rates than for its static ad displays within games. Ad partners and games using the new spots will be announced later.

Headline News SAG Gaming Contract Goes Back to the Actors

On June 29, 2005, the SAG board voted to send its gaming contract to the 1,900 members who regularly work in game as well as any other active member who requests a ballot for a final vote, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. To accommodate the new vote, gaming publishers, including Electronic Arts and Activision, have extended the contract offer to July 31. Ballots will go out July 13 and are due back July 28.

Sister acting guild AFTRA has already agreed to the 3 1/2 year contract.

Headline News Draw Pictures and Draw Edit Open in London

Music video production vets Patrick Holtkamp and Phil Tidy are the forces behind the newly established production company, Draw Pictures, based in London with a post-production arm, Draw Edit, on site.

Within three months, Draw Pictures has been the creative influence behind 20 stunning promos, including PRODIGY, MCFLY and Oasis new video, LYLA.

Headline News Japan High Court Rules in Favor of VO Actors Over Anime Houses

On June 28, 2005, Japans Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that ordered Japan's largest animation production company to pay royalties to voice actors on video and DVD sales, reports MAINICHI DAILY NEWS.

The dismissal of Tokyo-based Nippon Animation Co.s appeal will force the company and an affiliate to pay nearly 87 million yen to about 360 voice artists, which includes Masako Nozawa (GALAXY EXPRESS 999 and DRAGON BALL) and Ichiro Nagai (TVs SAZAE-SAN).

Headline News Disney Escapes Roger Rabbit Suit with Minor Damage

The jury in the 15-week Los Angeles Superior Court trial pitting ROGER RABBIT creator Gary Wolf against the Walt Disney Co. has ruled that Disney must pay Wolf at least $180,000 in underreported royalties, but ruled against Wolfs claim that he deserved a share of gross receipts on non-cash promotional deals, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The ruling will award Wolf nearly $400,000 in damages, but not the $8 million he had sought by alleging his 5% royalty should include tie-ins with McDonald's and other outlets.

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