The Walt Disney Studios has entered into an exclusive multi-year first look deal with Spider-Man creator/producer Stan Lee and his production company POW! Ent. The terms cover Lee and his production company developing and producing all forms of entertainment.
A sale of France-based TV production and distribution firm Marathon is in the works, insiders told VARIETY. Valued at 300 million euros, Marathon has several suitors, including Endemol France head Stephane Courbit, who is backed by Italian industrial group de Agostini.
An insider at Bridgepoint, which purchased Marathon and combined it with Tele Images two years ago, said that the deal will probably be sealed by July.
The annual revenue of Marathon Group is approximately 120 million euros ($162 million).
Bangalore, India-based Paprikaas Animation Studios announced that it would be doubling its staff, adding 150 new jobs, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The computer animation studio provides services for feature films, television, commercials and videogames.
Earlier in the year, Thomson, via its Technicolor Content Services, invested in the firm. That deal made Thomson the majority owner of Paprikaas.
Luc Besson's film production company, EuropaCorp, is going public, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The company has filed for a listing in the Euronext Paris market.
EuropaCorp's productions include TRANSPORTER 2, UNLEASHED and ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES. The company has eight films in development, including TAKEN, with Liam Neeson, and a third TRANSPORTER film with Jason Statham.
Besson controls EuropaCorp through the holding company Front Line and will mostly likely hold a majority stake in the firm following the IPO.
Former Mainframe Ent. ceo Rick Mischel announced today (May 29, 2007) that he has launched Reach Games a new games company specializing in supplying art, design, modeling, animation and localization services to the videogame industry. Based in Vancouver, Reach plans to service other developers and publishers from around the world. Reach also plans to co-develop casual games and handheld games with other developers.
A Munich regional court has rejected Pumuckl creator Ellis Kaut's request for a temporary injunction, stopping Pumuckl's original illustrator Barbara von Johnson from giving the character a girlfriend, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The goblin Pumuckl is a kids' icon in Germany on the level of Big Bird. The row between Kaut and Johnson started when Johnson okayed a TV broadcaster to sponsor a contest to pick the look of Pumuckl's girlfriend. Kaut claims that the character is asexual, despite various occasions over the years being referred to as a boy.
Industry vet Paul Golden has launched FFAKE, a new production and animation production company in Portland, reports HIGHEND3D. The FFAKE talent roster includes such well-known animation directors as Carl Willat, Nicholas Weigel and the Maverix Art Collective, which includes Ed Bell, Robert Valley, Tom Rubalcava and Charlie Canfield. FFAKE's up-and-coming talents include David Lobser, Peter Richardson and Ben Meinhardt.
Sony Pictures Imageworks officially announced that it is expanding into Albuquerque, New Mexico, "to harness the power of scalable capacity and favorable economics."
According to the LOS ANGELES TIMES, more than 100 jobs will relocate from Culver City to New Mexico, which is providing a combined 25% rebate on taxable production and post-production expenses.
After 10 years in Santa Monica's landmark "graffiti" building, visual effects company Digiscope has moved to a spacious new facility. The new location, a modern glass and brick architectural building across from Digiscope's former home, features a newly constructed digital projection theater in a light-filled, collaborative environment.
The criminal charges have been dropped against the two men who carried out the AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE movie's guerilla marketing campaign, which caused a bomb scare in Boston in January, reports THE BOSTON GLOBE.
Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens had taken a plea deal to save them from a sentence that could have been up to five years in jail. Berdovsky performed 80 hours and Stevens 60 hours of community service at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, where they designed a mural and helped with repairs on the facility's Charles River sailing docks.
Sony Online Ent. today (May 15, 2007) announced that it has completed a transaction to purchase key assets of Sigil Games Online Inc. SOE now owns VANGUARD: SAGA OF HEROES, Sigil's tentpole property, a highly-successful massively multiplayer online game.
20th Century Fox is urging Web media site Broadcaster.com to remove three Webisodes of THE O.J. SIMPSONS, a parody of O.J. Simpson that uses the design style of FOX's THE SIMPSONS, according THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Broadcaster Inc. is reviewing the requests from FOX, but stated that their fair-use policies allow for parodies.
Dutch producer John De Mol is resurrecting the legendary British horror studio Hammer Film Prods. Mol's private equity company Cyrte Investments has bought the rights to the approximately 300 Hammer library titles for $50 million. Former Liberty Global execs Simon Oakes and Marc Schipper have been hired to run the new Hammer Studios.
Toei Animation Inc. has established an in-house consumer products licensing division under the supervision of Coy Edmunds, the unit's newly appointed director of business development and licensing. Headquartered in Toei's Los Angeles offices, the licensing operation will focus on the U.S. market and launch with the licensing representation of the company's popular Digimon brand.
Toei's new licensing operation will make its official debut at the New York International Licensing Show to be held to be held June 19-21, 2007, at the Javitz Convention Center.
ARTVPS, a leading developer of 3D rendering solutions, has expanded its operations in the U.S.
ARTVPS will initially employ a business development manager and a 3D specialist, who will start the operation from a new base in Los Angeles, but plans are already in place to extend operations to New York City and Chicago to address the scale of market and geography involved. ARTVPS is also looking to integrate into the U.S. Channel, forging new partnerships with resellers focused on selling both hardware and software rendering solutions.
Marvel Ent. Inc.reported operating results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2007. For Q1 2007, Marvel reported that net sales rose to $151.4 million and net income increased to $46.8 million, or $0.56 per diluted share, compared to net sales of $90.1 million and net income of $17.5 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, in Q1 2006.
Digieffects, a developer of popular software plug-ins for Adobe After Effects and Apple Final Cut Pro, has agreed to be acquired by Robert Sharp, a veteran of the digital media industry. Sharp, formerly of Terran Interactive and Canopus, has agreed to acquire Digieffects and take over management of the company immediately.
Throughout the next few months, Digieffects will focus on working with users to update products in the short-term as well as define a long-term product roadmap.
DreamWorks Animation reported an unexpectedly higher first-quarter profit due to higher-than-expected DVD sales for OVER THE HEDGE and other library titles. The company reported total revenue of $93.7 million and net income of $15.4 million, or 15 cents per share on May 1, 2007, compared to revenue of $60.1 million and net income of $12.3 million or 12 cents per share, for the same period in 2006, which is an increase of nearly 55%.
In April, the first 24/7 animated cartoon TV channel "2o2" has started broadcasting in Russia, reports russia-ic.com.The new 2o2 is airing cartoons from England, France, Italy, Czechia and Japan, but the majority of air-time is given to American animated cartoons. Russian films comprise two hours per day.Targeted at an audience, 11-34, the site reports that about $15 million will be spent on the TV channel's content and promotion this year.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is objecting to the Department of Health and Human Services choice of Shrek as the spokesman for an anti-obesity campaign, reports MSNBC. The group argues that the character is involved in too many unhealthy foods promotional tie-ins for him to be an effective role model.
Flying Bark Prods. Pty. Ltd. in Autralia has joined forces with A Stark Production to establish a new company -- A Stark Ent. A Stark Ent., which comes under the umbrella of Flying Bark Prods. and will be responsible for creating and developing independent projects in children's entertainment programming.
Big Screen Ent. Group has announced it has begun the process of bringing its video and computer gaming and animation division public.
Mumbai-based entertainment powerhouse UTV Software Communications announced that its is moving its film activities to an overseas subsidiary, UTV Motion Pictures, which will be listed on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
UTV has recently dipped into co-productions on English languaged productions, including THE NAMESAKE, I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE and M. Night Shyamalan's forthcoming thriller, THE HAPPENING.
DIC Ent. has formed a Global Brand Management division to create a dynamic synergy among the company's key divisions -- Television, Home Ent. and Consumer Products. Nancy Fowler, head of global Sales, will oversee Brand Management, as well as continue to head the domestic and international Consumer Products, Television, Home Ent. and Marketing divisions at DIC. Fowler reports to Jeffrey Edell, president of DIC.
Gary Friedrich, the creator of GHOST RIDER, has filed suit against Marvel Enterprises, Sony Pictures Ent., Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, Relativity Media, Crystal Sky Pictures, Michael De Luca Prods., Hasbro Inc. and Take-Two Interactive, alleging an illegal "joint venture and conspiracy to exploit, profit from and utilize" his copyrights to the Ghost Rider character.