U.S. producer of anime and manga Viz Communications, Inc. has partnered with manga publisher Shueisha Inc. to launch a new mass-market boys' magazine. Viz currently produces Japanese animation and comics in English with over 20 monthly titles. The new monthly magazine, to be launched in November 2002, will be patterned after Shueisha's magazine SHONEN JUMP and will feature the manga from which many of the world's most popular anime properties such as DRAGON BALL Z and YU-GI-OH were derived. "U.S. kids know all about anime due to exposure on television," said Yamaji.
Children's videogame publisher NewKidCo International Inc. has announced that the company's first quarter 2002 results were in line with its budget. The net loss of $1.8 million versus net income of $.3 million for the same period last year was a result of increased selling and marketing expenditures as part of the overall plan by NewKidCo to support its broad product rollout for the year (selling and marketing costs have been expensed as incurred).
Nicktoons TV, the newly launched 24-hour network devoted to Nickelodeon animation, will be available on AT&T Digital Cable beginning July 1, 2002. The channel offers an ongoing mix of current and past Nicktoons such as SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, THE WILD THORNBERRYS, THE REN AND STIMPY SHOW, DOUG, RUGRATS and AHHH! REAL MONSTERS. In addition, Nicktoons TV will feature acquired Warner Bros. contemporary classics such as PINKY AND THE BRAIN, TINY TOON ADVENTURES and ANIMANIACS.
Film Roman, Inc. has announced an agreement with Portland, Oregon-based animation house Mongadillo Studios to develop the original web cartoon SHAWKS into a television series. SHAWKS details the struggle of four eight year olds to rid the world of its most evil foe -- sharks masquerading as people.
ABC Cable Networks Group will be launching its Disney Channel Asia service in Korea on June 1, 2002. Korea Digital Satellite Broadcasting (KDB), Korea's first direct-to-home service provider, will carry Disney Channel's Asia service on channel 654 under its Skylife brand name. The Korean Broadcasting Commission granted Disney Channel approval as a foreign re-transmission channel early in 2002. Negotiations between KDB and Disney began in the middle of 2001 and culminated in the recent agreement.
Sunbow Entertainment and The N, Noggin's new network for tweens, have signed a co-development deal for the anime comedy KAPPA MIKEY. Targeted at 9 14 year old kids, the series mixes comedy and action in a satire of anime-style animation and American cluelessness about foreign culture. The series was created by Larry Schwarz, founder of the kids entertainment company Rumpus. Sunbows parent company, TV-Loonland, holds the worldwide television and video distribution rights to KAPPA MIKEY.
60,000 interactive entertainment professionals from more than 70 countries converged on the Los Angeles Convention Center for the eighth annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3Expo). According to the show's owner, the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA), approximately 400 exhibitors showcased thousands of new computer and video games and products, including more than 1,000 never-before-seen titles.
The editors of The Little Black Book of Visual Effects have partnered with entertainment consulting company Razorview, Inc. to launch lbbvfx.com, an online resource for the visual effects community. The print version of The Little Black Book of Visual Effects currently lists approximately 4,900 qualified visual effects professionals, all of whom are now part of the online resource. All new applicants to lbbvfx.com are provided with a basic listing for free as long as they have verifiable credits and references.
Canadian-based media company Corus Entertainment Inc. has acquired a 50% interest in pay television network Locomotion, an animation channel available in over 7 million homes throughout Latin America and Iberia. Corus announced it purchased the interest in Locomotion from the Claxson Interactive Group, Inc., for a maximum consideration of US$10.5 million and a holdback in the event of certain economic changes that may impact revenue projections. The remaining 50% interest in Locomotion is held by U.S.-based communications giant the Hearst Corporation.
Pixar Animation Studios had a "monster" first quarter as the success of MONSTERS, INC. gave the company higher than expected revenues. For the quarter ended March 30, 2002, Pixar earned $15.6 million or $0.30 per diluted share. These results compare to earnings of $8.3 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, achieved in the year-ago quarter.
Formalizing an existing three year relationship, London-based animation producer Nexus Productions has entered into a representation deal for commercials and music promos with Swedish animation studio FilmTecknarna. Over the past three years the two companies have worked together on various projects including the award-winning Boddington's campaign. Nexus will exclusively represent FilmTecknarna for the UK and France.
In addition to the recently announced deal with Nickelodeon, DIC Entertainment is undertaking a major expansion into Europe with the opening of a European operations headquarters in Paris. Leslie Nelson, former managing director of international sales for BKN, has been appointed managing director of European operations for DIC and will be responsible for sales, marketing, licensing, co-productions and all other ancillary businesses in the major European territories.
Fresh off the record-breaking success of the effects-heavy feature film SPIDER-MAN, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment (SPDE) has announced they will form an all CG feature animation division, to be headed by former DreamWorks executives Sandra Rabins and Penney Finkelman Cox. Rabins and Cox will be responsible for the development and production of all-CG animated features and will report to SPDE president Yair Landau.
After finding a new co-production partner, French animation company Toon Factory has started up production again on two new series. The production of the 52 x 13-minute animated series HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR MONSTER and the 52 x 13-minute series KID CLONES IN SPACE, had been interrupted after the withdrawal of bankrupt co-pro partner Luxembourg's Neuroplanet. HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR MONSTER is now scheduled to broadcast in September 2003 by French partner TF1, while production on KID CLONES IN SPACE will start by the end of 2002.
Film Roman, Inc. continues to expand, this time into the visual effects arena. The company best known for THE SIMPSONS has announced plans to acquire visual effects house VanHook Studios and to form a new visual effects division called Forum Visual Effects, to be based out of Film Roman's North Hollywood studios.
Portland, Oregon-based animation house Vinton Studios has acquired Denver-based Celluloid Studios, which specializes in cel animation. Vinton Studios has announced that the two companies will be combined to create a more diverse style of animation, although each studio will retain their company name. Vinton and Celluloid recently collaborated on a 4-minute advertising short for TBWA/Chiat Days client Nissan and their SE-R automobile launch.
Founders Appoint Trustee. Cinar Corporation has reached an agreement in principle to settle the claims against it and certain other defendants in class actions brought in Canada and the United States. The plaintiffs have agreed to receive an aggregate US$25 million in full settlement of the claims against Cinar and such other defendants. The allocation of the settlement amount among the parties was not disclosed and the settlement is subject to approval by the courts in the United States and Quebec. In other Cinar news, company founders Micheline Charest and Ronald A.
Three months after stepping down as head of Cinar, Peter Moss as been appointed to the newly created position of vice president of programming for Corus Television. Beginning May 1, 2002, Moss will be responsible for enhancing programming across all Corus services by developing strategic approaches to program development, acquisition and partnerships. "Peter has an outstanding track record in both public and private television broadcasting as well as production," said Paul Robertson, president of Corus Television.
Design studio B1 Media has moved its headquarters to a new facility in Studio City, California, more than doubling the size of its previous space, and has added several new staffers to its growing talent base. Previously partnered in multimedia company Barbed Wire, Joshua Hatton has moved to B1 as an animator involved in 2D and 3D animation and motion graphics working on DVD, broadcast design and games. Game producer Jason Friedlander joins B1 from MTV's ROAD RULES where he was responsible for developing and writing game competitions.
Global entertainment company peppermint has signed a deal with DIC Entertainment to distribute their eclectic catalogue throughout Asia. Peppermint will have exclusive distribution rights for 59 different titles, representing 1174 episodes, in Asian territories, including Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea. DIC's catalog of animation and children's entertainment includes the animated series THE HURRICANES, which follows a soccer team as they tour the world, as well as the popular series' INSPECTOR GADGET and SONIC THE HEDGEHOG.
Now under Disney ownership, Fox Kids Europe (FKE) has announced that Buena Vista International Television (BVI-TV), a division of The Walt Disney Company, will service distribution for FKE's Saban library beginning May 1, 2002. The Saban library contains more than 6,300 episodes of children's programming including major franchises such as SPIDER-MAN, POWER RANGERS, X-MEN, DIGIMON, THE INCREDIBLE HULK and INSPECTOR GADGET. FKE owns the television rights in Europe and the Middle East to all children's programming in the Saban library.
Canadian-based media and entertainment company Corus Entertainment Inc. announced that it has successfully completed the sale of Klutz to Scholastic Inc. Klutz was sold for approximately US$43 million in cash plus a three-year earn-out based on revenue. The proceeds of the sale will be used to repay debt. Corus acquired Klutz, a publisher of children's books and related products based in Palo Alto, California, through its acquisition of Nelvana Limited in November 2000. âº
3D animator and visual effects artist Mark Glaser has launched Sway, a 3D animation and digital effects studio serving the commercial and film industries. A two-time Clio Award winner, Glaser was a former CG supervisor at Digital Domain and was co-founder and visual effects supervisor for Station X Studios. Glaser's specialties include photo-real rendering and 3D animation. His credits include spots for Dodge, Nike, Chevy, Sony and Duracell.
French animation studio Xilam has taken over the film and video game rights for the original property KAENA, following the liquidation of Chaman Production by a French court. For nearly 4 years, Chaman Production has been working on the feature-length film and the accompanying video game, but the company was not able to secure a publishing partner and was forced into liquidation. Xilam will take over the CGI production on the film, which is scheduled for release at the end of 2002.