The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) today condemned the controversial videogame MANHUNT2, calling its portrayal of mental illness irresponsible and stereotyped. "NAMI asks Rockstar Games to recall or further modify the videogame MANHUNT2 due to its irresponsible, stereotyped portrayal of mental illness," NAMI executive director Mike Fitzpatrick said in a statement. "We also ask retailers to be responsible in responding to public health concerns."
Sony Pictures Ent. confirmed that it is pondering an equity partnership for Sony Pictures Imageworks & Sony Pictures Animation, as reported in THE NEW YORK TIMES.
The studio is considering selling up to half of Sony Animation, according to THE TIMES, and has hired the investment bank Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin to assess the value of the two divisions, which is estimated at around $500 million.
BeanstockTV ApS has announced that it is shutting down. Since August 2007, it has been looking for further investment to keep BeanstockTV afloat. Now, having spent its initial investment, the company is filing for bankruptcy.
As of today, BeanstockTV's VOD animation website will go offline. Users who have prepaid money into their account will not receive a refund.
Prominent members of the U.K. children's sector have criticized the recently announced staff and budget cuts at BBC Children's, calling the decisions "disappointing" and "a betrayal," C21 MEDIA reports. The reductions, which include the loss of 88 jobs and the equivalent of a US$201 million cut in programming budgets by 2012/13, will likely have repercussions throughout the industry.
Troll Company, the Danish owner of the rights to the iconic Good Luck Troll doll, has filed a $20 million lawsuit against brand management company DIC Ent. In a lawsuit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, Troll Company charged that DIC fraudulently obtained licensing rights to the Troll by hiding its true financial condition and then conducted such a disastrously underfunded roll-out that the Troll was transformed from a "multi-billion dollar renowned property" into one that was unmarketable.
Cookie Jar Ent. has secured an expanded $40 million line of credit and has added Bank of America to its strategic lending relationships, led by RBC Capital Markets.
The extra capital will be used to finance an ever-growing lineup of new production in support of hit show THE DOODLEBOPS, evergreen classics such as CAILLOU, ARTHUR, and JOHNNY TEST, the newly launched HURRAY FOR HUCKLE and MAGI-NATION, and an extensive development slate for 2008 and 2009.
Antonio Banderas' Green Moon Producciones and Spanish animation studio Kandor Graphics have come together to form an as yet unnamed feature animation company, reports VARIETY. The 50/50 joint venture plans to produce five features in the next 10 years.
The first film, which has already started production, is THE MISSING LYNX. Kandor partners Manuel Sicilia and Raul Garcia are directing. Enrique Posner's YaYa! Films and Manuel Cristobal's Perro Verde are producing. 6 Sales is handling international sales.
SHREK THE THIRD was once again the largest driver of the quarter for DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., contributing approximately $92.1 million in revenue, primarily from its significant international box office receipts in the period. To date, the film has reached approximately $793 million in box office on a worldwide basis, making it the third-highest-grossing animated film of all time.
Canada's Corus Ent. Inc., parent company of Nelvana and its YTV and Treehouse channels, has announced its fourth-quarter and year-end financial results, led by continued revenue growth from its broadcasting businesses.
Los Angeles-based Grasshorse Technologies, Inc. announced its decision today to relocate and expand its services to the state of Iowa. The production company's decision comes in response to recent legislation providing tax incentives to attract the film industry, job diversity, and talent to the state.
"The Iowa Film, Television and Video Project Promotion Program (IFTVP) has created fertile ground for companies to relocate to Iowa. It lays the foundation for a very exciting and burgeoning industry," stated Stephen Jennings, co-president and founder of Grasshorse.
At Nintendo's request, the Hong Kong High Court has intervened to help stop a global distribution operation involving game-copying devices and modification chips that violate its copyrights and trademarks in the Nintendo DS and Wii systems.
Several of the world's leading Internet and media companies have announced their joint support for a set of collaborative principles that enable the continued growth and development of user-generated content online and respect the intellectual property of content owners.
Toronto-based independent production houses Rocket Science Visual Effects and Screen Door have joined forces to create Fandango Animation, reports KIDSCREEN. Former Nelvana exec and industry veteran Heather Walker will be Fandango's lead production executive, charged with shepherding the company's first slate of projects into production in both traditional and new media platforms. With a number of shows already in development, Fandango is currently looking for co-production partners.
The BBC has confirmed that 88 of the 426 jobs in its children's department will be eliminated as part of the corporation's downsizing, C21 MEDIA reports. The news follows the earlier announcement that 1,800 total jobs will be cut as part of the "Delivering Creative Futures" strategy. While a spokesman confirmed that the jobs would be cut over the next three years, it wasn't clear which sub-divisions would be most affected, as the BBC intends to first ask employees to take voluntary redundancy.
India's Maverick Productions, which recently joined with the DNS Network to distribute mobile content, is gearing up to enter the animation world, reports ANIMATION XPRESS. Maverick COO Yash Chavan revealed that the company is in talks with potential international partners and is looking at a popular comic strip as source material for an animated feature for the international market. Currently budgeted at US $1.5 to 2 million, the two-hour feature is expected to be released in late 2009 or early 2010.
Director-General Mark Thompson has announced that the BBC will eliminate 1,800 positions as part of a six-year strategy to "re-prioritize resources," reports C21 MEDIA. The company will also sell its West London headquarters and will reduce its production output by 10% by 2012-13. The reorganization is being undertaken to compensate for a $4.1 billion funding shortfall caused by a lower-than-expected license fee settlement. The "Delivering Creative Futures" strategy will be presented to the BBC's employees today following a meeting with unions.
IMAX has moved up the launch date of its digital projection system in development to the second quarter of 2008 from its previously announced time frame of the end of 2008 to mid-2009. The IMAX digital projection system will further enhance The IMAX Experience and help to drive profitability for studios, exhibitors and IMAX theaters by virtually eliminating the need for film prints, increasing program flexibility and ultimately increasing the number of movies shown on IMAX screens.
Full Circle Studio, a state-of-the-art design studio based in Trinidad, has equipped its facility with Toon Boom Digital Pro, reports the software maker. Full Circle aims at becoming a major animation studio in the Caribbean and catering its professional animation services to North American and European studios.
Foundation 9 Ent. announced that it will combine its two existing Southern California studios, The Collective and Shiny Ent., into one larger entity. The merge will enable greater capacity to create large-scale games based on big licensed properties. Both studios have already relocated to F9E's new 60,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in Irvine, California.
Electronic Arts Inc. announced an agreement with Elevation Partners to acquire VG Holding Corp. -- the owner of both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios. This acquisition gives EA a strong competitive position in key genres in interactive entertainment: action, adventure and role-playing games.
Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) announced today the signing of Animation Collective to an exclusive worldwide publishing administration agreement.
Through the agreement, UMPG will administer Animation Collective's entire catalogue of original music created for its popular animated and live-action children's programming, including ELLEN'S ACRES and KAPPA MIKEY. The deal encompasses worldwide administration rights, as well as synchronization rights worldwide.
Nelvana Ent. is expanding its digital sell-through network with the announcement of an agreement to sell its animated content through the online stores powered by HP Video Merchant Services.
Episodes from Nelvana's extensive kids content library, including BEYBLADE, BRACEFACE, BRIAN JACQUES' REDWALL and TALES FROM THE CRYPTKEEPER will be available as DVD-on-demand and/or via electronic sell-through in the U.S. through HP's network of retailers.
Seth MacFarlane, FAMILY GUY composer Walter Murphy, Fuzzy Door Prods. and Cartoon Network have been sued by Bourne, the publishing company that holds the copyright to the song "When You Wish Upon a Star," says THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. In a lawsuit filed Oct. 4, 2007, Bourne alleges that the show violated its copyright to the song in the episode "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein," which features character Peter Griffin singing a song titled "I Need a Jew."
Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the U.K. communications industries, today published the U.K.'s first comprehensive review of the children's television market. The review assesses the current state of children's programming and the prospects for the future delivery of a wide range of high-quality and original content for children.
Ofcom's study reveals significant changes in the children's media market, including:
A recent survey of 1,000 Americans revealed that respondents were more familiar with the ingredients of a McDonald's hamburger than they were with the 10 Commandments.
The survey, which was commissioned by the Ten Commandments Commission and conducted by Kelton Research, was undertaken in conjunction with the upcoming nationwide theatrical release of Promenade Pictures' CGI animated feature film THE TEN COMMANDMENTS on Oct. 19.