Viacoms MTV Networks (MTVN) has acquired Atom Ent. Inc., a portfolio of four leading online destinations for casual games, short films and video, for $200 million. The deal advances the company's multiplatform strategy of building an engaging universe of music, gaming, entertainment, news and interactivity for targeted audiences.
Lucasfilm Ent. Co. Ltd. plans to create a single IT platform for all of its worldwide digital assets, reports TECHWEB TECHNOLOGY NEWS. The system will consolidate everything from California to the Singapore animation studio.
Gradient Effects, a new visual effects studio with international expertise specializing in feature work, has set up shop in Venice, California, founded by vfx supervisor/producer Thomas Tannenberger. He will be joined by Olcun Tan as head of R&D, a former lead effects developer at DreamWorks.
Sony Pictures Ent. has surpassed the $1 billion mark in box office receipts for calendar year 2006, making it the fifth year in a row the studio has reached that milestone at the box office, a feat matched only by Warner Bros.
Award-winning visual effects house Zoic Studios has opened Zoic BC. The Canadian-based company is being launched to service Zoic Studios' ever-diversifying client base, and has proven to be a natural step in the company's evolution. Zoic BC has already completed the feature film PATHFINDER for Twentieth Century Fox and is working on two episodics: EUREKA for SCI-FI Channel and BLADE for Spike TV, both of which have proved to be successful for their respective networks.
For the second quarter of 2006, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. reported total revenue of $74.9 million and net income of $13.7 million, or $0.13 per share on a fully diluted basis. This compares to revenue of $35.4 million and a net loss of $3.7 million, or ($.04) per share on a fully diluted basis, for the same period in 2005. The company ended the period with $526.9 million of cash and cash equivalents.
DQ Ent. Ltd., a leading animation, gaming and vfx company based in Hyderabad, South India, announced a joint venture with French production company Onyx Films to produce CG-animated feature films, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
Additionally, DQE announced it will take a 20% equity stake worth about $3.2 million in Paris-based TV production company Method Films.
VFX powerhouse studio Digital Domain has received a $31 million investment from Falcon Investment Advisors and GunnAllen Financial.Rafael Fogel, a principal at Falcon, will join the Digital Domain board of directors, which is led by Digital Domain co-chairmen John Textor and director Michael Bay.
THQ Inc. has formed its new development team, Incinerator Games, the latest addition to THQ's growing internal studio system. Based in Carlsbad, California, Incinerator is comprised of veterans of the TWISTED METAL, NFL GAMEDAY and MLB 2006, the show projects from Sony's 989 studios, as well as the Midnight Club franchise from ROCKSTAR. Incinerator is primarily focused on development for next generation consoles.
The Walt Disney Co. plans to acquire Hungama TV, a leading Indian children's television channel, and take an equity interest in media company UTV Software Communications Ltd. as the media giant strengthens its presence in a rapidly growing media market, where local content production is key. Both transactions are subject to certain conditions and regulatory approval.
Hungama TV coo Zarina Mehta will work with the Disney team on the organizational and operational integration of Hungama TV into Disney's portfolio of kids' channels.
Bauhaus Software, a leading provider of 2D animation and vfx tools, has received a strategic investment from the State of Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF). This funding will be used to expand Bauhaus development team, invest in more research, develop new products, and augment marketing. Bauhaus is also focused on furthering relationships with South Texas colleges & universities, through both R&D exchange programs and internships.
In a new Chinese government regulation, the censoring process of domestic animation will be sped up to aid the development of the industry, reports XINHUA.
Starting in August 2006, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) will decide whether or not to approve animated productions every month. Previously, regulators only authorize productions twice a year in January and July.
Rainmaker has agreed to purchase 62% worth of outstanding shares of Mainframe Ent. Inc. from IDT Ent. Inc. and its affiliates. The acquisition is expected to close on July 31.
Following the closing of the acquisition from IDT, Rainmaker intends to acquire the balance of the shares of Mainframe. If Rainmaker acquires all the remaining shares of Mainframe at the intended price, the aggregate acquisition purchase price to Rainmaker for all shares of Mainframe will be approximately $13.8 million.
AMD and ATI will join forces in a transaction valued at approximately $5.4 billion. The combination will create a processing powerhouse by bringing AMDs technology leadership in microprocessors together with ATIs strengths in graphics, chipsets and consumer electronics. The result: A new and more formidable company, determined to drive growth, innovation and choice for its customers, particularly in the commercial and mobile computing segments and in the rapidly growing consumer electronics market.
At a special meeting on July 21, 2006, Genius Products Inc. stockholders approved a deal that will see The Weinstein Co. Llc. control 70% of the company.
Under the terms of the transaction, Genius Products will retain 30% of the firm. The board of directors also increased from four to six members with the addition of two TWC execs, Larry Madden, evp/cfo of TWC, and Irwin Reiter, evp of accounting and financial reporting of TWC.
Nina Jacobson is out and marketing head Oren Aviv is in as president of production, Walt Disney Pictures, as chairman Dick Cook announced the anticipated restructuring and downsizing of The Walt Disney Studios. Aviv will oversee the live-action development and film production slate.
Thus, there will be a strategic shift toward more Disney branded movies aimed at global synergy across all entertainment platforms. The studio will produce and distribute approximately 10 Disney live-action and animated films a year and two to three Touchstone films a year.
Avid Technology Inc. has purchased the intellectual property assets of Character Animation Technologies Ltd. Those assets will be managed by Avid subsidiary, Softimage Co. Softimage will continue to provide the same sales, support and services that were available from CAT in the past and CAT customers will continue to have the same sales and support contacts as they have had in the past. In addition, CATs cto, Philip Taylor, has joined the Softimage team in Montreal, bringing his expertise and knowledge to contribute to our future vision for character animation
Ubisoft has obtained the rights from Atari, Inc. and Reflections Interactive Ltd. to the intellectual property and technology rights to DRIVER, the world acclaimed franchise, as well as most of the assets and all of the personnel of Reflections Interactive Ltd.
The acquisition will be completed for a cash price of approximately $24 million. Subject to customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to close in Ubisofts second quarter of fiscal 2007.
Sharon Tettegah, a professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been studying the use of animation as an outlet for victimized children and for a new research method that tests the empathy of teachers who may deal with them.
Tettegah believes so strongly in the value of animation specifically "animated narrative vignette simulations" that she sought out a computer science professor at Illinois, Brian Bailey, to help develop her concept for a child-friendly program for producing them.
REN & STIMPY creator John Kricfalusi believes "Warner Bros. Cartoons hates their fans, after Warner Bros. Ent. forced YouTube to remove clips of classic Looney Tunes shorts for its website, which were posted by John K, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
On Kricfalusis blog (johnkstuff.blogspot.com), the acclaimed animator posts informative essays about his favorite cartoons, which he has posts clips from to illustrate his point.
Astral Media Inc. and Corus Ent. Inc. announced today (July 13, 2006) they would acquire the remaining 20% of the TELETOON network from the shareholders of The Cookie Jar Group.
Subject to the approval of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), this transaction will give Astral Media and Corus Ent. each an additional 10% ownership of TELETOON, bringing their individual ownership to 50% each. The price for this acquisition is approximately CDN $96 million.
Lionsgate has acquired television distributor Debmar-Mercury Llc., which owns the distribution rights to SOUTH PARK. Debmar-Mercury will continue to operate, still headed by principals Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, under the Debmar-Mercury banner as a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Imagica Holdings Inc. has reorganized its group companies. The parent company has been renamed Imagica Robot Holdings Inc. Imagica Technologies Corp., the engineering solutions division responsible for developing the Imager XE and HSX Film Scanners and the Imager HSR Film Recorder has been spun off as an independent entity.
Animation production company Noodlesoup Prods. has renamed itself World Leaders Ent. with the launch of the new animated series SUPERNORMAL, its first global co-production with U.K. TV leader Granada Television.
SUPERNORMAL is the story of Eric Normal, a special boy with no super powers, who attends Superhero Junior High School and befriends three of the less promising but stand-out members of the student body.