Vivendi Games announced today (Sept. 28, 2006) it has purchased two development studios, Secret Lair Studios, located in Issaquah, Washington, and Studio Ch'in in Shanghai, China. The Studio Ch'in purchase is subject to the approval the People's Republic of China under Chinese Law, and Vivendi Games is in the process of obtaining such required approval. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
News Corp. and VeriSign announced a joint venture to form the worlds largest provider of mobile entertainment. News Corp. will pay approximately $188 million for a controlling interest in VeriSigns wholly-owned Jamba subsidiary and will combine it with Fox Mobile Ent. assets.
The new company will serve 30 territories with a potential reach of more than a billion mobile subscribers. The new firm intends to retain the Jamster brand in the U.S. and the Jamba brand worldwide.
New Line Cinema has signed a two-year, first-look production deal with Samuel L. Jackson.
Jackson most recently starred in NEW LINES SNAKES ON A PLANE, which debuted at #1 in its Aug. 18 opening weekend. He has appeared in more than 100 films, which have collectively grossed approximately $6 billion at the box office more than any other actor in the history of filmmaking. Jackson has starred in such recent hits as COACH CARTER and George Lucas trio of STAR WARS prequels.
In accordance with the Philippines growing Cyber Services Corridor, Filipino president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, during a roundtable discussion, applauded the Filipino animators for their talents and creativity, which, she said has made the animation industry in the country boom.
Arroyo cited THE INCREDIBLES as her favorite film, because it was partly made in the Philippines and one of its main characters Violet was designed by Filipina 3D animator Virginia "Gini" Cruz.
Corus Ent. Inc. announced a new organizational structure for its television and content divisions. Corus Ent.s will focus on its kids portfolio highlighted by the integration of Nelvana Studios into the television division and the creation of Nelvana Enterprises, a separate business unit that will focus on leveraging Corus intellectual property internationally.
HIT Ent. is expanding with a new office servicing the Asia Pacific region in Hong Kong. HITs Asia Pacific licensing, TV sales and distribution will be handled out of Hong Kong, enabling the company to work more closely with its broadcasting partners, licensees and licensing agents.
The Hong Kong office will service Australia, Korea, South East Asia and India. HIT already operates an office in Japan.
The Warner Bros. Television Group is establishing a new digital production venture, dubbed Studio 2.0, which will work with creative talent and advertisers to create original live-action and animated short-form programming for broadband and wireless devices. WBTVG has tapped multi-award-winning producer and senior advertising exec Rich Rosenthal to head Studio 2.0.
Antitrust conditions and preliminary approvals of AMDs proposed acquisition of ATI have been cleared, and the transaction is expected to be completed during ATIs first quarter of fiscal 2007, which ends Nov. 30, 2006. The proposed acquisition remains subject to the approval of ATI shareholders, court approval of the plan of arrangement and certain other regulatory approvals.
DAGNABIT! animation studio is relocating in September to Two Midtown Plaza in the heart of Atlanta (sharing space with The LvngRm and TOYBOX). It will celebrate its five year anniversary at its new location this coming November.
This change of venue will better position DAGNABIT! to interact with Atlanta's bustling ad agency and post-production communities, and puts them within striking distance of The High Museum of Art. Directors John Ryan and Robert Pope will return to the city as well.
DE Shaw group has invested in a 14.99% stake in Mumbai-based Crest Animation Studios and another 26% in its U.S. subsidiary Rich Crest Holdings for an aggregate infusion of up to $40 million.
RichCrest Animation Inc., located in Burbank, California, has entered into an agreement with Lions Gate Inc. for the production of three full-length, 3D feature films.
The first movie, SYLVESTER AND THE MAGIC PEBBLE, is scheduled for release in 2008. The second movie project titled, ALPHA & OMEGA, is in the development and is planned for release in 2009.
Rainmaker Animation & Visual Effects has entered into an agreement to acquire all of Mainframe Ent., with the new corporate name to be Rainmaker Ent. Inc. (REI).
This was the result of Rainmaker acquiring the balance of the 38% of the outstanding shares of Mainframe not owned by Rainmakers majority owned subsidiary, RNK Capital Ltd. Partnership (RNK Capital LP), by way of an amalgamation, resulting in a cash purchase price of $0.24 per share.
Rachelle Lewis, a long-time professional recruiter in the entertainment industry, has started her own recruiting company, Rachelle Lewis Recruiting and Talent, which specializes in placing animation and vfx artists for studios worldwide.
"My company specializes in placing animation and vfx artists for feature, TV and gaming," Lewis told AWN/VFXWORLD. We also represent artists who have television or feature treatments and help them in developing and pitching their ideas to major studios."
Kerner Optical Llc., the new production company based in San Rafael, California, has officially opened for business. The company recently completed a deal finalizing its purchase from Industrial Light & Magic.
China, which recently banned the telecast of foreign cartoons during primetime viewing, plans to produce 70,000 minutes of animation this year, state media reported. Already the country has produced 50,000 minutes, exceeding last year's total output of 47,200 minutes.
"The rapid development of China's cartoon industry is attracting more and more international attention," an official with the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), Jin Delong said.
Sony Online Ent. has acquired key assets of Worlds Apart Prods., a premier independent developer of online trading card games. Key employees of Worlds Apart will form the core of the new SOE-Denver, integrating into SOE's worldwide group of studios stretching from San Diego to Seattle and Austin to Taiwan. The acquisition will strengthen SOE's position as a leader in the online gaming space by extending the depth of its gaming offerings.
Picture Bug Prods., based in Ballaugh on the Isle of Man, has just celebrated its first anniversary, reports IOMOnline.co.im. The firm is run by Adrian Bell and Anthony Rea from their base at Iceman's Cottage where it creates animation, digital videos and moving graphics for commercials.
They have already worked with Manx Telecom, Sleepwell Hotels, Isle of Man Post Office and several other Island businesses and charities. They put together the Manx Telecom electronic Christmas card last year and have designed a video promoting Sleepwell Hotels.
Viacom Inc. announced Aug. 21, 2006, that MTV and Nickelodeon will become full labels under the Paramount Motion Picture Group (PMPG) as part of a new structure designed to deepen their already successful track record with their core target audiences. The two former production companies, which had operated as on-lot producers, will now join several other labels under PMPG's umbrella, including Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Paramount Vantage and Paramount Classics.
Under pressure from regulators and the U.K. anti-smoking lobby, Turner Broadcasting will edit out scenes of cartoon characters smoking in U.K. versions of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, including THE FLINTSTONES, TOM AND JERRY and SCOOBY-DOO, according to various news outlets.
In all, more than 1,700 episodes will be re-edited after the Office of Communications (Ofcom) received a complaint about two TOM AND JERRY toons "Texas Tom" and "Tennis Chumps" which aired on Turner-owned Boomerang.
Newspeak has started up in New York City as a young design boutique specializing in motion design, art direction and identity development. Founded by Erik Montovano, its creative director, he is joined at Newspeak by Andreea Prichea as exec producer. The companys initial projects are a major show package for mtvU MTVs 24-hour college network, and show packages for three Vh1Classic series.
The Irish animation industry has had an excellent year and the most recent success has been the selection of the Irish animated feature film THE UGLY DUCKLING AND ME, for the Toronto International Film Festival, which takes place next month. It will screen as part of the Sprockets Family Zone, which is dedicated to featuring films that represent the best in contemporary international childrens cinema.
E-Saan Software Park, a Thai software development agency in this northeastern province, and Singapore-based 3 View Group will jointly develop an animation and multi-media business to penetrate overseas markets, reports ETNA.MCOT.Net.
E-Saan Software Park director Panupong Wanjantuk said that the Animation and Multimedia Innovation Centre (AMIC) under the supervision of Khon Kaen University is coordinating with 3 View Group under a business plan to create job opportunities and generate income.
Cartoons are twice as effective as mothers at soothing the pain felt by children, a study has shown, reports THE TIMES ONLINE.
The research team at the University of Siena that carried out the study said that many techniques had been tried to distract children during medical procedures, like having a blood sample taken. They included hypnosis, relaxation and desensitisation, as well as toys such as kaleidoscopes, puppets and even virtual reality glasses.
After a one and a half of construction, the Changzhou National Hi-tech District, based in Jiangsu province, China, has been finished. Participation includes more than 40 animation companies from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and cooperative agreements from eight overseas entities from Korea, India, Canada, Malaysia and Singapore. Based on the status of their working agenda, by the end of this year, 12 animated productions should be completed, totaling 6,251 minutes.
NaturalMotion Ltd. announced that it has closed a major financing round with Benchmark Capital Europe, the top-tier venture capitalist behind eBay, Betfair, Setanta and bebo.com. The additional capital will help NaturalMotion extend its lead in the development of innovative and interactive 3D entertainment technologies such as euphoria, a groundbreaking motion synthesis technology for next-generation videogame consoles.
RealNetworks Inc., the leading developer, publisher and distributor of casual games, announced research findings that demonstrate U.S. adults who play computer games play casual games for a quick mental break. Sixty-four precent of respondents cited gameplay as a way to unwind and relax, while 53% play for stress relief.