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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.

Headline News Letterman Digital Arts Center Unveiled in San Francisco

The Letterman Digital Arts Center (LDAC), the new home of Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic and LucasArts, located in the beautiful 23-acre campus in San Franciscos Presidio, had its grand opening on June 25.

Headline News SAG Board Takes Up Rejection of Gaming Contract

A special SAG board meeting will be held next Wednesday (June 29, 2005) to further address the national executive committees rejection of the contract hammered out with the gaming industry, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. NEC turned down the offer despite the support on negotiators.

Headline News Ziff Davis Media Game Group Announces Pocket Games Research Study Results

According to a recent POCKET GAMES readership research study conducted by videogame magazine publisher Ziff Davis Media Game Group, portable gamers are shifting to an older and more diverse demographic segment than it has been historically. POCKET GAMES readers are now 20 years old on average, and 13% of the readership is female compared to 9% in 2003.

Headline News Vicon Forms Feature Unit

Vicon, developer of Academy Award-winning motion capture technology, the Vicon Feature Unit (VFU), a new Los Angeles-based entity devoted to on-site consulting, custom service, development and pipeline building for its film, videogame and TV clientele. VFU will be able to provide everything from purchasing and setup advice, pre-production, capture and post-production services through to custom hardware and software to rapidly deliver on unique studio requirements and project demands.

Headline News Banjax Opens Digital Animation Studio in Belfast

Banjax has opened a new digital animation studio based in Belfast's Titanic Quarter, to produce province's first major animated feature film and breathe life into the creative industries in Northern Ireland.

Banjax founders Darryl Collins, formerly of Blackstar, and award-winning director and writer Richard Morss and director/animator Alastair McIlwain, are focusing on the export potential of two major projects in a global industry sector that is expected to grow 10-fold over the next five years. Their efforts are being supported by Northern Ireland agencies.

Headline News Marvel/Fox Zoom Lawsuit Against Sony/ Revolution

Marvel Enterprises and 20th Century Fox have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Revolution Studios and Sony Pictures Ent. over the production of sci-fi comedy ZOOM, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The case claims that the film, which stars Tim Allen and Chevy Chase and is based on Jason Lethcoe's graphic novel ZOOM'S ACADEMY FOR THE SUPER GIFTED, copies too much of the X-MEN mythology.

The lawsuit filed June 20, 2005, in U.S. District Court, Central District of California is seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages.

Headline News Vivendi Universal Games Acquires Game Developer Swordfish Studios

Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games) has acquired independent game developer Swordfish Studios. Under terms of the agreement, VU Games will retain Swordfish Studios' team of 45 development professionals, leaving the studio basically intact in its current office in Birmingham, England. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Headline News MTV Networks Acquires NeoPets

MTV Networks has acquired NeoPets Inc. the owner and operator of Neopets.com, the world's largest and fastest growing youth community on the Internet. Neopets is a global online entertainment network whose members create and care for "virtual pets" that inhabit a mythical land called "Neopia." To date, more than 25 million members worldwide have created Neopets accounts in 10 different languages, generating more than five billion pageviews per month. Both Nielsen//NetRatings and comScore Media Metrix consistently rank Neopets.com as one of the top-10 "stickiest" sites on the Web.

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