Via Kidscreen: On the heels of announcing an extension of its home entertainment license with Lionsgate, American Greetings Properties has confirmed the sale of its CARE BEARS, STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE and SUSHI PACK properties to Toronto's Cookie Jar Entertainment will not go through.
Time Warner Cable and Viacom jointly announced January 1 that they have reached an agreement in principle to renew carriage for Viacom's MTV Networks. The companies expect to finalize the details of the agreement over the next several days.
Glenn Britt, President and CEO of Time Warner Cable said in a statement, "We are pleased that our customers will continue to be able to watch the programming they enjoy on MTV Networks. We are sorry they had to endure a day of public disagreement as we worked through this negotiation."
From C21Media: Entertainment Rights (ER) has confirmed it is in early takeover talks, while shareholders at the debt-laden Postman Pat firm try to raise GBP 30M (US$43.6M) in an attempt to rescue the business.
ER put a statement out to the London Stock Exchange over the Christmas period confirming it was "in early stage discussions, which may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company."
Hong Kong- and Los Angeles-based animation studio Imagi International is still experiencing financial problems, reports VARIETY ASIA (via Cartoon Brew).
Auditors gave the company a "going concern" qualification to the half-year results of the firm, which is currently in production on CG feature ASTRO BOY and who animated TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES for Warner Bros. and Weinstein Co. last year.
Heatwave Interactive, Inc., a cross-media entertainment development studios for games, film and television, announces the completion of the staffing of its Austin-based Central Studio.
Electronic Arts has announced further details on a restructuring plan which will include consolidating facilities and reducing the work force.
EA expects the restructuring plan will result in annual cost savings of approximately $120 million and restructuring charges of approximately $55-$65 million over the next several quarters.
Red Rocket Games was officially launched this week as a new game developer focused on creating bite-size digital entertainment and casual games for the PC, Internet, handheld and iPhone markets.
Take-Two Interactive Software has established a new incentive compensation program for the Rockstar Games label that is primarily based on a profit sharing arrangement, and at the same time has entered into new long-term employment agreements with members of the creative team of its wholly-owned Rockstar Games publishing label. The new employment agreements have an initial term ending on January 31, 2012.
Image Metrics, a leading provider of facial animation solutions for the entertainment industry, has completed a $6.5 million Series B round of funding led by Saffron Hill Ventures, the company's original investor. The funds will be used to enable the development of new technologies and service offerings that will result in more cost-effective, high-quality facial animation for Image Metrics' customers. It will also be used to execute industry-focused plans for Image Metrics' recently announced video game and film divisions.
4Kids Ent. will cut its workforce by 15 percent across all subsidiaries and divisions in an attempt to better align its organization and overall cost structure in the current challenging economic environment.
As a result of the staff cuts, 4Kids will be incurring severance costs of approximately $375,000 in the fourth quarter of 2008. The company has also completed a comprehensive review of its operations and will be taking steps intended to reduce operating expenses by an additional $4 to $5 million in 2009.
The trial to determine whether rights to WATCHMEN are controlled by Twentieth Century Fox or Warner Bros. has been delayed by a Los Angeles federal judge to January 20, reports VARIETY.
The two-week delay was set by Judge Gary Allen Feess on Monday, who noted that he is required to handle a criminal matter on January 6, the original trial date. Feess refused a pre-trial summary judgment that was requested by both sides because the contracts between Fox and WATCHMEN producer Larry Gordon are so open to interpretation that a trial is required.
Midway Games has to lay off 25 percent of its staff and has canceled several projects in early development in order to cut costs as a $150 million debt payment looms, reports VARIETY.
The January deadline for Midway's outstanding notes was triggered when Sumner Redstone sold the videogame publisher to a private investor, Mark Thomas, several weeks ago. Midway is working with advisory firm Lazard to find a way to pay off or renegotiate debt, as it is lacking the cash to pay it off.
Portland-based animation studio Laika has laid off 65 people and shelved its second CG film JACK AND BEN'S ANIMATED ADVENTURE, according to THE OREGONIAN.
Laika is owned by Nike founder Phil Knight, and is releasing their first film, 3-D stop-motion feature CORALINE on February 6.
JACK AND BEN was slated to come out after CORALINE, but the film's writer, former Pixar animator Jorgen Klubien left the studio over "creative differences" last year. Laika hired MULAN director Barry Cook to direct JACK AND BEN, and was moving forward with the project.
Sony Pictures Animation has set a first look producing deal with The Gotham Group to supply four-quadrant family films -- the first SPA has made.
DreamWorks Animation is set for three big 3-D releases in 2010, and in the meantime is working on TV series with Nickelodeon and expanding their SHREK, MADAGASCAR and KUNG FU PANDA franchises well into the future.
The studio's CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg, made the announcements at an investor's conference on Thursday.
U.K. vfx company Double Negative will open an office in Singapore by March of 2009, according to Singapore newspaper THE STRAITS TIMES.
Animators and designers in the Singapore studio will work on projects like HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRICE, and start with a staff of about a dozen. Double Negative's recent credits include THE DARK KNIGHT, QUANTUM OF SOLACE and HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY.
Renowned for a rich culture dating back thousands of years, India is building a new cultural legacy-the movie business. Popularly known as Bollywood, the Indian film industry annually releases 1,000 films, approximately 10 times what Hollywood produces each year.
Starting April 1, 2009, Bradley J. Wechsler, currently co-Chairman and co-CEO of IMAX, will become the sole Chairman of the Board.
Little Airplane Productions has launched Little Airplane Books, a new division that will create and produce original books for preschoolers and early readers. Little Airplane Books will be headed by writer, director and producer, Tone Thyne.
Bully Bros. Post, a new full-service post and visual effects facility in Santa Monica, California has been opened by Creative Director/Lead Effects Artist Kiki Chansamone and Exec Producer Jason Forest.
Konami Digital Ent. is taking over all operational and business aspects of the YU-GI-OH! TRADING CARD GAME, effective immediately.
KDE will take over distribution and customer support for the YU-GI-OH! TRADING CARD GAME from Upper Deck Ent., KDE's former exclusive distributor of the trading card game.
From Kidscreen: It looks like Canadian conglom Entertainment One's deal to purchase fellow Canuck producer and distributor DHX Media, parent company of Decode Entertainment, Halifax Films and Studio B Productions, is off.
th1ng, the mixed media and animation house, has expanded with the opening of th2ng, a new dedicated live action production company concentrating on advertising.
th2ng (pronounced "th2ng two") will be headed by long-standing SoHo producer Hannah Cooper, and anchored by the talents of experienced live action directors including Dan Lumb and only-just signed Simon Cracknell and Stuart Fryer complimenting the roster of eight directors.
A subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company has entered into agreements to acquire outstanding shares of Jetix Europe for EUR 11 per share, which will bring Disney's ownership of the pan-European kids entertainment company to approximately 96 percent.
Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG), one of Europe's oldest independent licensing agencies, is expanding to North America. Kelly Elwood, will head up the Toronto office and report to Katarina Dietrich, CPLG CEO.
CPLG Canada is the Canadian affiliate of the CPLG group of companies, recently acquired by Cookie Jar Ent.