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Category: Business

Production 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.

Animation 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.

Animation 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.

Animation 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.

Animation 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.

Motion 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.

Animation 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.

Home 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.

Effects 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.

Game 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.

Studios 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.

Media 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.

Effects 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.

International 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.

Digital 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.

Headline News

Liberty Media Buying IDT Ent. to Propel Starz Ent. Group Programming

Liberty Media Corp. is buying IDT Ent. from parent company IDT Corp. it was announced today, May 16, 2006. Liberty will give up its holdings in IDT Corp. to add this diversified production/distribution group of companies to its holdings, which includes Starz Ent. Group that will have the capability to create a wide array of CG-animated and live-action programming for domestic and international distribution in all major channels, including broadcast syndication, premium television, theatrical and home video/DVD.

Dreamworks Headline News

Activision to Open Facility on DreamWorks Animation Campus

Activision will be opening a dedicated studio facility on the DreamWorks Animation campus in Glendale, California, following on the heels of their strategic alliance. The move, which establishes an unprecedented level of collaboration between a Hollywood studio and a videogame company, will facilitate simultaneous co-development between DreamWorks' 3D-animated features and Activision games based on those films.

Headline News

Silicon Graphics Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

Silicon Graphics Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 on May 8, 2006, after a round of restructuring measures failed, and signed an agreement with its lenders to reduce the companys debt by about $250 million, according to SGI officials.

In court papers, SGI said it had been challenged by delays in introducing new technology, a focus on more specialized markets and more intense competition from larger rivals.

Headline News

Feds Drop Shrek 2 Probe

The Securities and Exchange Commission's L.A. office recommended on May 4, 2006, that a probe into DreamWorks Animation cease with no enforcement action, according to various business reports.

With the recommendation, the SEC will most likely rule not to sanction DWA for failing to warn investors, before first-quarter earnings were announced last year, that returns on the SHREK 2 DVD were running much higher than anticipated, causing the company to miss guidance.

However, there are still several shareholder lawsuits still pending over the matter.

Disney Headline News

Disney Completes Pixar Acquisition

Disney has completed its acquisition of Pixar animation Studios as Pixar shareholders approved the takeover of the company today (May 5, 2006) in an all-stock deal valued at more than $7.4 billion as 2.3 Disney shares will be issued for each Pixar share. The vote was taken at a special meeting of shareholders in San Francisco presided over by Pixar cfo Simon Bax.