Commodore Gaming, a leader in high-performance PC gaming solutions, announced that it has opened a new North American headquarters and hired a veteran from the videogames industry to run it. The new offices are in Stamford, Connecticut in one of Stamford's best known business complexes, One Stamford Plaza. Joining the company to run the Stamford headquarters is Bill Sims as VP of North American Sales.
ADV Films and Geneon Ent. (USA) announced a new distribution agreement. Beginning Oct. 1st, ADV Films will be Geneon Ent. USA's sole distributor. ADV Films will handle all sales and distribution duties for the combined catalog as well as certain marketing functions.
PopCap Games, the leading developer and publisher of casual games, today unveiled the results of the largest survey of players of "casual" computer/videogames ever conducted. Among the nearly 7,500 adult respondents who took part in the survey, nearly a third (31%) indicated they had children or grandchildren under 18 who played these family-friendly puzzle, word and simple action games in their home. And of these 2,298 "family gamers," 80% said they played casual games with their children or grandchildren.
The Chinese government announced today that it would use animated beat cops to patrol 13 of China's top Web portals in an effort to steer users away from illegal content, reports THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Starting Sept. 1, 2007, the cartoon cops will walk, bike and drive across Web surfers' screens every half hour, warning them to stay clear of material "the Communist Party finds politically or morally threatening." By the end of the year, the animated warning will appear on all websites registered with Beijing servers.
Walt Disney Co. is being sued by comedy writer Buddy Sheffield, who alleges he was never paid for coming up with the idea for the teen TV series, HANNAH MONTANA, reports VARIETY. In a suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Aug. 23, 2007, Sheffield is claiming breach of contract, breach of confidence, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.
In signing their latest deal with Comedy Central, SOUTH PARK creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have secured a precedent making agreement to share online ad revenues 50-50 with the network. The overall deal worth $75 million will see Stone and Parker overseeing the new online incubator SouthParkStudios.com, which will develop new ways to exploit SOUTH PARK characters as well as develop original IPs. Additionally, the deal reups the TV series through 2011. The demented duo will see big salaries increases as well as advances against back-end profits.
TV-Loonland will sell its majority stake in Metrodome, the U.K. film and DVD company, reports C21 Media. Metrodome confirmed that the board of TV-Loonland asked the company to "initiate a formal tender process for the sale of TV-Loonland's 61.3% stake in the issued share capital of Metrodome."
The tendering process is expected to be concluded by the end of September, subject to approval at TV-Loonland's annual general meeting in October. Several parties have already expressed interest in the company.
On Aug. 21, 2007, the recent strong release of the shooter game BIOSHOCK helped surge Take-Two Interactive Software shares 8.6%. Take-Two's stock has been plummeting of late due to accounting scandals under the previous management and the delay of its highly anticipated title GRAND THEFT AUTO IV. During the course of the day shares peaked at $15, finally closing at $14.55. In the past year, the stock has climbed as high as $24.80 per share.
With award-winning Zoic Studios celebrating its fifth anniversary this month on the heels of receiving an Emmy nomination for EUREKA, the company has also recently completed high-profile spots for BK/Simpsons, Toyota and Sprite.
Launched by exec producer Steve Schofield, and creative directors Chris Jones and Loni Peristere, Zoic Studios is a leader in visual effects and CG animation in the commercials, feature film and episodic television arenas.
Epic Games announced that it has acquired a majority interest in Warsaw, Poland-based game developer People Can Fly, which is best known for creating the hit PC game, PAINKILLER. Most recently PCF has been collaborating with Epic on the PC version of GEARS OF WAR. In addition, the two companies are collaborating on a new intellectual property, which Epic will be previewing privately to publishers at Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany this week.
Mexican authorities conducted raids against 12 alleged distributors of counterfeit Nintendo products in a major "fayuca" (contraband) market in Guadalajara, confiscating 15,000 imitation products, including 4,500 counterfeit Wii game discs.
Within 72 hours of its Australian release, THE SIMPSONS MOVIE ended up online. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER reports the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft arrested the 21-year-old pirate in Sydney on Aug. 17, 2007. If he is convicted of copyright theft, he could spend up to five years in jail.
TV-Loonland announced that it has signed an agreement with its bankers in regards to the restructuring of the company's debt. The main elements of that package are that the 20 million euros debt due to the banks will be reduced to 6 million euros and a minimum capital increase of 2 million euros will be carried out.
Subsequently to this capital increase the 14 million euros waived by the banks will be converted into a maximum of a 10% shareholding in the companyÂ´s new capital, following a second capital increase as a debt for equity swap for this 10%.
As part of MTV Networks' (MTVN) niche programming strategy to super-serve targeted audiences, the award-winning NOGGIN and The N, the two Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group brands that currently share space on a single channel, will be separated into two 24-hour services beginning Dec. 31, 2007. NOGGIN will become a commercial-free preschool service, while The N will be a tween/teen channel, featuring TEENick programming during the day and The N's content at night. NOGGIN and The N will be carried by all cable operators, DirecTV, AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS.
The new motion-capture company, Mobility Art Studios, has launched in Hyderabad, India, says THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The two-stage facility will use Vicon MX-F40 motion-capture cameras on projects for the film, TV, commercial and game industries.
As part of its business plan, the company will also offer cleanup services. In the future, it hopes to open a separate cleanup division and an online performance library.
In its second quarter report, Marvel Ent. announced the production of a new animated direct-to-DVD feature entitled HULK SMASH. No plot details were announced, but it will be released via Lionsgate in Oct. 2008.
DreamWorks Animation announced today (Aug. 6, 2007) that DW Investment II Inc. ("DWI II"), an entity controlled by Paul Allen, will sell approximately 10 million shares of the company's Class A common stock in a registered public offering underwritten by Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. Allen is also resigning from the animation company's board of directors.
Rainbow, the co-producer of the WINX CLUB feature, has filed for an IPO on Milan's Italian Stock Exchange, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. An initial public offering date can be set once Italian stock market regulator Consob approves the application. The money earned will go into expanding the company, allowing them to produce one CG feature per year.
The Walt Disney Co. reports an improved profits of $1.2 billion, a 4.7% gain, on revenues of $9 billion, for the third quarter and nine months ended June 30, 2007, a 6.7% rise on the same period last year. The company credited strong TV program sales and higher theme park attendance for the gain.
Operating income in its Media Networks group jumped 23% to $1.358 billion.
Japan's Media Development Research Institute announced that the Japanese anime market grew to 241.5 billion yen (about $2.026 billion) in 2006, reports ANIME NEWS NETWORK. This is the highest level since the institute started surveying in 1990, and represents the third year of continuous growth.
The William Morris Agency (WMA) has signed TOKYOPOP, the leading publisher of manga graphic novels in North America and largest supplier of manga entertainment in the world. WMA will represent TOKYOPOP's original intellectual properties for film, television, digital, merchandising and game development.
ZeniMax Media Inc., parent company of Bethesda Softworks, has created ZeniMax Online Studios. The division, to be headed by online gaming expert Matt Firor, will focus on the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) market segment. ZeniMax Online Studios is located in Hunt Valley, Maryland.
The Walt Disney Co. has acquired Club Penguin, one of the fastest-growing online virtual worlds for kids. Since its launch in October 2005, award-winning Club Penguin has grown to more than 700,000 paid subscribers, achieving this subscriber and user growth with very limited marketing efforts, relying mostly on strong product and word-of-mouth awareness among kids. The site has more than 12 million activated users, primarily in the U.S. and Canada
Whiskytree Inc., a new boutique started by a group of former ILM digital artists, has launched in San Rafael, California, under the leadership of ceo/creative director Jonathan Harb. The award-winning digital matte artist and vfx supervisor founded the boutique to provide concept art, character design, production design, digital environment creation, matte painting and visual effects consultation services for work in the film, games, television, animation and emerging media industries.
DreamWorks Animation today (July 31, 2007) posted a sharply higher second-quarter profit, propelled by SHREK THE THIRD, which has reached global box office grosses of $720 million since mid-May.
The Glendale, California-based studio reported total revenue was $222.5 million and net income was $61.8 million, or 60 cents per share, compared with $74.9 million and net $13.7 million, or 13 cents per share, for the same period in 2006.