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Headline News Gaming Expected to Reach $46B by 2010

By 2010, the worldwide videogame market is expected to reach $46.5 billion, at an average 11.4% compound annual rate, global consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts in an article by THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

PwC estimates the filmed entertainment business will grow at a 5.3% compound annual rate, to become a $104 billion market by then and the television business is targeted to grow at a 6.6% rate to $227 billion.

Headline News EA to Transform Mythic Ent. Into EA Mythic

Electronic Arts Inc. announced today (June 20, 2006) it has entered into an agreement to acquire Mythic Ent. Upon completion of the acquisition, Mythic Ent. will become EA Mythic, a wholly-owned studio dedicated to developing Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). Mythic has revolutionized the online gaming space with the award-winning DARK AGE OF CAMELOT and is currently developing WARHAMMER ONLINE: AGE OF RECKONING, under license agreement with Games Workshop.

Headline News Apple Wants to Bite into Feature Film Downloads

After conquering the digital music business, Apple is now in talks with the movie studios to make feature films available through its iTunes Music Store, reports various news outlets.

However, the main issue is price. Apple ceo Steve Jobs, who is personally involved in the talks, proposed selling all films at a flat price of $9.99, which the studios flatly rejected.

Headline News Netflix Plans To Enter Digital Download Biz

Speaking at an Independent Film & Television Alliance production conference in Beverly Hills, Netflix vp of original programming Eric Besner said on Friday his company plans to launch a proprietary set-top box with an Internet connection that can download movies overnight.

Besner said the business model is still being worked out, but the download service would work much like the monthly subscription fee for its conventional DVD rentals. Service could launch as early as this year.

Headline News Qi Commercials & Golden Square Post Launch Digital Production Operation

Baggy Shorts, a dedicated portfolio of directors with digital production skills and a satellite of Qi Commercials, and Disqo, a division of Golden Square Post Prod., have formed an affiliation with the aim of offering creative and production expertise in the digital arena.

Headline News ILM To Sell Physical Production Unit

Industrial Light & Magic is in discussions to sell its physical production unit, the legendary unit that works with models, miniatures and stage work, VARIETY reports. The sale would mark the end of an erabeginning as the unit that produced the effects for George Lucas' original STAR WARS moviesand solidify ILM's status as a digital effects house.

Headline News LAIKA Building State-Of-The-Art Feature Film Animation Campus In Portland

LAIKA Inc. will build a state-of-the-art feature film animation campus to house its burgeoning entertainment division. LAIKA owner/chairman of the board Philip H. Knight has purchased 30 acres of land in Tualatin, Oregon, just 12 miles south of Portland, as the future site of LAIKAs world-class animation facility, scheduled to open in 2008.

With its expanding film production schedule, LAIKA anticipates its employee roster to soar to more than 400 within the next two years.

Headline News All News Corp. Units on Go for Simpsons Film

Leading up to the 20th Century Fox launch its feature version of THE SIMPSONS next year, parent company News Corp. will synergize all units throughout its empire promote the film, president/coo Peter Chernin said today (June 14, 2006), according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Headline News Toon Boom Animation Acquires Pegs

Emmy award-winning Toon Boom Animation Inc. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement with Pegsn Co, a privately held developer of 2D bitmap animation technology.

"Toon Booms software solutions are recognized as the market leading technology in the animation industry and the integration of Pegs technology in Toon Booms portfolio will enable the company to continue delivering quality, efficiency and reliability to the animation community - for all animation styles, formats and users," said Joan Vogelesang, president/ceo at Toon Boom.

Headline News Crest Animation Studios Moves to Bigger Facility & Lands $18 Million Contract

Mumbai-based Crest Animation Studios Ltd., one of Indias leading animation studios has moved to a new state-of-the-art digital studio in Ghatkopar and has landed a big series deal with French producer Marathon.

The shift to this spacious 45,000-square-foot studio will accommodate the companys expansion plans to moves up from work for hire into production of its own full-length 3D animation feature films for a global audience.

Headline News Crest Animation Studios Moves to Bigger Facility & Lands $18 Million Contract

Mumbai-based Crest Animation Studios Ltd., one of Indias leading animation studios has moved to a new state-of-the-art digital studio in Ghatkopar and has landed a big series deal with French producer Marathon.

The shift to this spacious 45,000-square-foot studio will accommodate the companys expansion plans to moves up from work for hire into production of its own full-length 3D animation feature films for a global audience.

Headline News Vicon, House of Moves Open New L.A. MoCap Studio

Vicon and House of Moves, the company's motion capture service division, announced the opening of a new 25,000-square foot facility in Los Angeles. The studio brings together House of Moves' motion capture production services with Vicons world-leading hardware and software development, product support and consulting to uniquely provide film, games and television customers end-to-end motion capture resources and services under one roof.

Headline News MGM Reorganizes Distribution for DVD and TV

After reinventing itself and launching a New Media division, MGM will now reestablish its worldwide TV distribution in-house and consolidate its DVD business with Twentieth Century Fox rather than splitting home entertainment releases between Sony Pictures Ent. and Fox. It should be noted that both Sony and Fox are aligned with the Blu-ray format for high-def DVD. Additionally, MGM and Fox will continue their successful international theatrical distribution relationship.

Headline News Tokyo Banks Help Animation Biz

Banks in Japan are underwriting a new scheme for animation content development, backed by the Tokyo city government, reports VARIETY. Development Bank of Japan will kick in $460,000 and New Bank Tokyo is giving $640,000 for the initiative.

Last year, the Tokyo city government announced an official policy of supporting the local animation industry through financial and other measures.

Headline News Lightborne Launches New CG Division

Motion design and production company Lightborne has expanded its offerings with a new CG division, headed by digital effects supervisor David Lombardi. Lombardi, who has worked extensively in commercials, videogames, feature films, episodics and music videos, will be responsible for new business development, maintaining client relations, overseeing all visual effects work and building the CG department. He is currently working on a CG-driven spot for Hasbro Tooth Tunes via ad agency Wonder Group.

Headline News The Weinstein Co. Builds a Dragon Dynasty

Bob and Harvey Weinstein have announced the unveiling of Dragon Dynasty, the new label under which all The Weinstein Co.'s Asian titles will be released, including ONG BAK 2, THE PROTECTOR (aka TOM YUM GOONG), BORN TO FIGHT, SPL, SEVEN SWORDS and DRAGON SQUAD, as well as a package of high profile titles, which was licensed from Fortune Star Ent. the distribution division of News Corp.'s STAR Group which owns the world's largest contemporary Chinese language feature film library.

Headline News MK2, Onyx Films Join Forces on New Game Firm

French independent film group MK2 has joined forces with animation studio Onyx Films to form a videogame publishing joint venture, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The 50-50 venture, MKO Games, will develop and publish high-end, cross-platform games for PC, consoles and mobile devices.

"The idea is to bring together the movie industry and the game industry in France, which have until now just been eyeing each other up," said Nathanael Karmitz, who recently took over MK2 from his father and company founder Marin Karmitz.

Headline News THQ Acquires Vigil Games

Interactive entertainment software publisher/developer THQ Inc. has acquired Austin, Texas-based, game developer Vigil Games. The Virgil team will be led by David Adams, previously creator/director of several projects for NCSoft and famed comic artist Joe Madureira, best known for his work on Marvel Comic's Uncanny X-Men and his creator-owned comic series, BATTLE CHASERS. Vigil is currently working on new content for next-gen scheduled for release in 2008.

Headline News DECODE and Halifax Film Go Public as DHX Media

Leading kids and family entertainment specialist DECODE Ent. and Canadian independent The Halifax Film Co. have joined forces to create DHX Media.

The new entertainment ventures shares launched on both the AIM in London and the Toronto stock exchange, the TSX, with trading starting on May 19. 2006.

Headline News Rainmaker Announces New Animation and VFX Facility in London

Rainmaker has established a new facility in the Soho district of London: Rainmaker Animation and Visual Effects UK Ltd. In fact, all the visual effects in the St. Sulpice sequence of THE DA VINCI CODE were completed there. Led by Rainmaker visual effects supervisor Mark Breakspear and visual effects producer Nick Drew, the crew produced the longest visual effects sequence in the film.

Headline News Aardman Launches International TV Distribution Division

Aardman Animations, the Academy Award-winning stop-motion animation studio, is making its foray into distribution, launching its own dedicated sales arm, Aardman International, to exploit its growing catalogue of properties.

Miles Bullough, Aardmans head of broadcast and development, will oversee the new division.

Headline News Dygra Grows Int'l Sales Arm

Animation studio Dygra Films has opened an in-house international sales arm, headed by Tania Pinto Da Cunha, VARIETY reports.

The new arm will focus on Dygra productions, starting with its CG toon, THE SPIRIT OF THE FOREST, set to delivery in early 2007. Next up will be the family comedy, HOLLY NIGHT!, due for Christmas 2007.

Dygra's A MIDSUMMER'S DREAM, which opened last summer, will continue to be handled by Lumina Films.

Headline News Digital Domain Acquired By Investment Group Led by Michael Bay

Digital Domain, the Oscar-winning vfx studio and production company based in Venice, California, has been acquired for a reported $35 million by South Florida-based Wyndcrest Holdings Llc., a group led by director Michael Bay, former NFL quarterback Dan Marino and investor John Textor.