London-based Impossible Pictures has acquired Manchester animation company Firestep, enabling the company to explore new ways to approach factual and drama, as well as tapping opportunities in the children's market. Co-founded by Steve Maher and Jonathan Doyle, Firestep is best known for its work on "The Infinite Quest," an animated DR. WHO adventure for the BBC.
The Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF), North America's oldest film festival showcasing independent and experimental films, announced today that it has settled a federal lawsuit, filed by the ACLU on its behalf, against the State of Michigan. In exchange for the state legislature repealing unconstitutional restrictions on arts funding, the AAFF and ACLU agreed to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit.
Atari, Inc. has announced the completion of several restructuring initiatives focused on repositioning the company as a publisher and distributor of interactive gaming software, transitioning it out of the video game production business and potentially improving its financial position.
Imagi International Holdings Ltd. announced the placement of HK$406 million in convertible bonds to finance production of its future films, including ASTRO BOY and GATCHAMAN, both scheduled for release in 2009. The lead investor is Singapore-based Oxley Capital Group, with other investors including CQS Capital (London) and Winnington Capital (Hong Kong). The films will be distributed globally by Warner Bros. and The Weinstein Co.
Tigar Hare Studios, founded by Michael Tigar and David Hare, has announced a series of recently completed high-profile projects, as well as two new growth directions for the full-service animation and fx studio.
IMAX has signed a deal to install 100 digital projection systems at AMC locations in 33 major U.S. markets, including 12 L.A. locations.
MindArk PE, owner of the ENTROPIA UNIVERSE online game, plans an initial public offering (IPO). MindArk is in the process of preparing for its upcoming IPO, which will likely include an offering of newly issued registered shares, as well as existing shares. MindArk intends to use the proceeds from the newly issued shares to implement its growth strategy, in particular the expansion of its market position and pursuit of potential acquisition opportunities.
DHX Media Ltd, parent company of distributor DECODE Enterprises and production houses DECODE Ent. and Halifax Film, has acquired Vancouver-based Studio B Prods. Inc.
The deal sees DECODE Enterprises handling international sales of Studio B's productions. To date, Studio B has amassed a library of 400 half-hours of children's programming. DECODE Enterprises currently handles distribution for DHX subsidiaries DECODE Ent. and Halifax Film, as well as third-party producers.
Members of Britain's House of Commons will meet today to debate the preservation of locally produced children's TV for the first time, reports C21 MEDIA. The debate was organized by Performer's Alliance Parliamentary Group, a cross-party group of MPs supported by Pact, the TV trade group, as part of the ongoing campaign to protect British kids TV.
4Kids Ent. Inc., a global provider of children's entertainment and merchandise licensing, today announced that its Board of Directors authorized the company to purchase, from time to time through Dec. 31, 2008, up to 1,000,000 shares of the company's common stock in the open market or through negotiated transactions.
Deluxe has entered into an agreement with Rainmaker Income Fund to acquire Vancouver-based Rainmaker Visual Effects and Rainmaker Post, along with Rainmaker's London vfx facility. It will not include the Rainmaker Animation division based in Vancouver, which will continue to belong to Rainmaker Ent.
The total purchase consideration will be payable as follows:
* $14 million in cash on closing;* $2.5 million by way of a promissory note due one year after closing;* $6 million earn-out based on revenue targets;
Indian tech company TATA Elxsi, whose Visual Computing Labs has a major presence in 3D animation and VFX, is entering the game business, reports ANIMATION EXPRESS. Having already worked on core gaming technology projects for international clients, the company has assembled a 30-member team that includes a group for development of mobile games in Pune and a second team in Bangalore for console and PC gaming. The games division is currently working on several international projects and also has plans for developing IP.
In the first week of the 2007 holiday shopping season, Nintendo of America has sold more Nintendo products than at any other time in its history. This includes more than 653,000 Nintendo DS systems, 350,000 Wii consoles and millions of games and accessories throughout the United States.
Nintendo DS set a new all-time sales record for Thanksgiving week, eclipsing the previous mark of 600,000 Game Boy Advance systems sold during the same period in the U.S. in 2005. Nintendo DS remains on track to be the top-selling videogame system of 2007.
India-based Prime Focus Group has expanded its reach into North America with the acquisitions of Post Logic Studios and Frantic Films VFX. Terms were not disclosed and the structure of these acquisitions is yet to be finalized.
Frantic Films also operates live-action production/post-production facilities and a television commercial division that will not be a part of this acquisition, and will continue to operate independently out of Winnipeg and Toronto, Canada.
United Arab Emirates-based investment firm Dubai Int'l Capital has purchased an undisclosed stake in Sony Corp., reports VARIETY. Though specifics were not released, the company, which is owned by United Arab Emirates leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, stated on its website that the investment was substantial.
Eidos Interactive announced the official opening of Eidos-Montreal, its brand new development studio in the heart of downtown Montreal. Executives from the new studio announced during a news conference the first project that will be driven by the new studio: the development of DEUS EX 3.
Cinemax Pictures & Production Co., Intl., Inc. has signed a letter of intent for the purchase of Waggaworld Ent. International Inc., owner of the animated series WAGGAWORLD and the development, storyline, hardware and software technology associated with the project. The terms of the deal, which may include cash, shares, exchange of shares or a combination thereof. are still to be determined,
New York VFX house Rhinofx is opening a longform division in Stamford, Connecticut. The new office will employ 10 people, who will conduct 2D and 3D work.
Writers from around the world -- including Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, English and French Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico and France -- will take part in an International Day of Solidarity on November 28 in support of their striking WGA counterparts. The action was announced at the annual International Affiliation of Writers Guilds' meeting in Montreal, Canada.
Indian animation company DQ Ent. (DQE) is planning to raise $60 million with an IPO on the London Stock Exchange, C21 MEDIA reports.
The company, whose customers include the BBC, Disney, Nickelodeon and NBC Universal, was recently commissioned by the U.K.'s CBBC and France 3 to coproduce with Method Films the kids series PINKY AND PERKY. DQE has also signed a deal this year for TWISTED WHISKERS, a series being developed with Mike Young Prods. for American Greetings.
Paul Allen has unloaded another 2.4 million shares of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. stock worth approximately $75 million. The sale leaves the billionaire with 4.2 million shares, which are owned by his DW Investment II Inc. Back in August, he sold 10 million shares. The effective sale date was Nov. 8th, when the stock was valued at $31.06 per share.
Animation industry veteran Kevin Geiger has founded Animation Options, a company specializing in computer animation production supervision, pipeline and workflow consultation, technical direction and instruction.The new company leverages on Geiger's unique combination of experience with major studio production, the indie scene, academia and the international lecture circuit.
Jetix Europe N.V. today announced that negotiations with Canalsat over carriage of its French channel on the platform have resumed. As part of the discussions, both parties have agreed to extend carriage from Dec. 15, 2007 to March 31, 2008, ensuring the channel will continue to air on Canalsat while a new deal is negotiated.
Film producer and Weinstein company board member Tarak Ben Ammar has bought a 2% stake in WINX CLUB creator Rainbow. Ben Ammar will also join the board of Rainbow.
Rainbow will release its first feature film, WINX CLUB: THE SECRET OF THE LOST KINGDOM, on 500 screens in Italy later this month.
Iginio Straffi, who directed the WINX CLUB feature, founded Rainbow in 1995. The CG studio has also produced the TV series TOMMY & OSCAR, MONSTER ALLERGY and PREZZY.
Private investment and business management group Arkaga has picked up Parthenon Ent., reports C21 MEDIA. The U.K. producer and distributor of kids and factual programming will join entertainment rights company Entara in Arkagas holdings. Together the two companies will enable Arkaga to become "a new force in family entertainment production and rights management" with a presence in the U.K., the U.S. and Germany.