Beginning January 1, 2009, two of Ascent Media Group's boutique visual effects studios, Riot and Method, will unite operations under the Method name, to offer clients unmatched services for the delivery of high-end visual effects for commercials, music videos and feature films.
Per C21MEDIA: Nick Philips is leaving troubled U.K. kids company Entertainment Rights after just nine months as its chief executive.
The news was announced to the London stock exchange this morning and followed the news, revealed by C21 last week, that the firm is axing around 22 jobs in an effort to reduce debt and dispose of non-core assets.
Martian Labs is opening a branch of its award-winning vfx division in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In order to expand and adapt to the increasing demands of their clients, Martian Labs is launching this new office to help support the emerging Hollywood-in-the-north industry.
Japanese artist Takashi Murakami will be opening an animation studio in Los Angeles next summer, according to the LOS ANGELES TIMES.
Called Japan's Andy Warhol, and based in Tokyo, Murakami is known for his oversized anime style and already has a studio in New York. The new studio will operate under Kaikai Kiki, his production and artist-management company. Murakami works in painting and sculpture, film and mass-produced goods all under one company.
Prosecutors in Quebec are evaluating the possibility of carrying out criminal charges against the founder of Cinar, Ronald Weinberg, and the former senior exec VP Hasanain Panju, according to Radio Canada. This comes after the conclusion of the investigation by the Safety of the Quebec, the national police of Quebec, that lasted five years, who were looking into how $100 million disappeared from the accounts of Cinar.
iThentic shareholders, Barna-Alper Productions and iThentic LLC, have announced a strategic partnership and restructuring of the online and mobile video company, which transfers the management of its operations to Web and animation company, Smiley Guy Studios.
Autodesk has completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Softimage -- a developer of 3D technology for the film, television and games markets -- for approximately $35 million. On October 23, 2008, Autodesk announced it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Softimage from Avid Technology.
French animation and vfx house Sparx will be closing their Paris-based Sparx Animation Studios, per VARIETY. All future projects will be created at its sister animation site in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
"We've been hit by the shockwaves of the U.S. financial crisis," said Sparx head of production, Thomas Schober. "Since our industry relies heavily on private financing, the crisis has made it extremely difficult for us to get work on long features."
Joseph Olin is the President of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Just like that Other Academy, on which it's modeled, the AIAS exists to recognize and reward outstanding accomplishments in video games. The Academy is 12 years old, has 15,000 members, and acknowledges the best of the gaming best every year through the Interactive Achievement Awards.
AnimfxNZ 2008 began with a song. A contingent of Maori gathered to perform a 'powhiri', or New Zealand traditional welcome. The foreign visitors and speakers lined up so the kaumatua could determine if they were friends or foes. Thankfully, there were no enemies among them, and the conference was able to proceed.
Monster Distributes Ltd. has recently launched a new division for its inspirational programming. The brand, which will be known as Inspire, will feature inspirational programs for children.
4Kids Ent.'s revenue in the third quarter 2008 was up about 46 percent, largely due to sales of the CHAOTIC trading cards. The global children's entertainment and merchandising licensing organization also announced a litigation settlement with Fox.
The new settlement agreement means that 4Kids' block of Saturday morning television on the network will end on December 31, 2008, rather than at the end of the 2008-2009 broadcast season in September 2009.
Former Goodby, Silverstein and Partners' Creative Director Randy Sotwell has merged with One Man Crime Wave's Jeff Linnell and Exec Producer Julia Scahill to launch a creative production company in San Francisco's Potrero Hill.
Autofuss will officially open on November 20.
The Walt Disney Company's revenue for fourth quarter 2008 was up 6 percent to $8.9 billion, but posted a 13 percent loss in net income to $760 million from a bad debt charge for a receivable from Lehman Bros.
Earnings per share for the prior year included gains on the sales of Disney's interests in E! Entertainment and US WEEKLY, favorable adjustments related to prior-year income tax matters, income from the discontinued operations of the ABC Radio business, and an equity-based compensation plan modification charge.
For Q3 2008, Marvel reported net sales of $182.5 million and net income of $50.6 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, compared to net sales of $123.6 million and net income of $36.3 million, or $0.45 per diluted share, in Q3 2007. The year-over-year improvement reflects an earlier-than-expected recognition of approximately $60 million in film revenues associated with the box office performance of Marvel's IRON MAN feature film.
However, with the lack of a new film scheduled for 2009, Marvel Chairman Morton Handel expects next year to be more modest.
Family entertainment producer and distributor Chorion and Shanghai Media Group (SMG), the largest media group in China, have struck a landmark accord to jointly develop new animation programs for children.
Media rights group Entertainment Rights, which owns TRANSFORMERS, HE-MAN, CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST, WHERE'S WALDO and VEGGIETALES, posted a loss of $169 million over the last eight months, per KIDSCREEN.
Under new CFO Edward Knighton, the company will embark on a debt reduction program. Deals with DVD distributor Genius Products and extensions with U.S. broadcasters could create a cash flow of more than $20 million, but the final touches on those agreements may not come this year.
DreamWorks Animation, in announcing their third quarter financial results Tuesday, also revealed that David Geffen is exiting the studio's board, per VARIETY. He remains a 22 percent voting power as a major shareholder, but it was unclear how much he will retain after leaving.
Geffen has announced he is retiring from show business, and declined to join the new DreamWorks Studios after the departure from Paramount. Company rules dictate that Geffen's take, combined with CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg's 47 percent, retain majority control.
Company 3 and Method Studios have announced a unique, collaborative partnership to provide clients around the world with a full spectrum of state-of-the-art post production services. Company 3 Co-Founder/Colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld and Method Co-Founder/VFX Supervisor Alex Frisch saw a need for combined, solutions-based services ranging from color correction for commercials/music videos, digital camera capture, feature VFX to feature film digital intermediate (DI), which led them to form this innovative partnership.
Film financier Legendary Pictures is in discussions to acquire Epic Games, the developer of GEARS OF WAR, among others, per VARIETY.
Execs at both companies declined late last week to comment to VARIETY.
If the deal goes through, it would make Legendary the first film financing company to invest directly in videogames. Studios like Warner Bros. (where Legendary is based) have recently started putting their own money into games.
Danish animation studio A. Film has established its new permanent U.S. presence in Southern California.
The studio handles all types of animation, CG and hand-drawn, from the highest possible standards to the "just above low budget" TV series, said Hans Perk, President and CEO of A. Film L.A. and co-founder of A. Film A/S Denmark.
The Creative Talent Network is holding an online fundraiser to "Help Corny Cole" on PayPal.com.
More than $1,000 has been raised to help Cole, legendary animator and CalArts faculty, whose home was destroyed in the recent Southern California wildfires.
AnimationMentor.com, an online character animation school created by animators for animators, has unveiled key findings from an animation industry survey that shows a vibrant and healthy workforce with a bright future. Animation Mentor commissioned independent research firm Knowledge Wave International to conduct the survey to gain insight into an insider's view on industry trends, job titles, job satisfaction and salaries.
Electronic Arts is opening a new studio, Pogo Austin, who have come together to build new games as part of the Pogo.com team. The Pogo Austin team will be joining EA's Bioware studio in Austin, Texas, USA.
The new studio will focus on creating family-friendly titles based on Hasbro properties. The initial team of 12 features a strong foundation of Austin natives who boast more than 108 years of collective game experience and have shipped titles at companies such as LucasArts, Aspyr Media, Acclaim, Amaze Ent., Human Code, Origin Systems and Family Time Interactive.