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;
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
Chorion Ltd, the U.K.-based owner and manager of literary-based brands, announced the acquisition of The Copyrights Group Ltd, a leading independent licensing business, for an undisclosed sum.
Through this acquisition, Chorion and Copyrights will together represent such brands as BEATRIX POTTER, PADDINGTON BEAR, Raymond Briggs' THE SNOWMAN, SPOT and HORRIBLE HISTORIES.
Warner Bros. Home Ent. Group announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire TT Games, which encompasses Traveller's Tales, one of the world's largest independent game developers, and TT Games Publishing, the U.K.-based game publisher behind the LEGO STAR WARS videogames and BIONICLE HEROES.
NBC Universal Inc. and Jupiter Telecommunications Co., Ltd. have signed an agreement for NBC Universal to acquire Jupiter Telecommunications' subsidiary company JSBC2, and launch Sci Fi Channel on J:COM.
Under the terms of the agreement, NBC Universal will acquire 100% of the equity of Jupiter Telecommunications' subsidiary company JSBC2, which currently holds the broadcasting license for Reality TV on the SkyperfecTV platform in Japan. The deal is expected to close in April 2008.
The Walt Disney Co.'s operating income for its studio entertainment segment surged 65% to $1.2 billion for the year ended Sept. 29, 2007, even though revenues were flat at $7.5 billion. For the quarter, segment operating income decreased 21% to $170 million and revenues decreased 24% to $1.5 billion.
Marvel Ent. today reported operating results for the third quarter and nine months ended Sept. 30, 2007. Marvel also raised its 2007 financial guidance for net sales, net income and diluted EPS and initiated financial guidance for 2008.
The West Bengal government plans to build an animation park in Kalkotta, ANIMATION EXPRESS reports. The park, which will contain animation studios and IT companies, will be under the Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) today condemned the controversial videogame MANHUNT2, calling its portrayal of mental illness irresponsible and stereotyped. "NAMI asks Rockstar Games to recall or further modify the videogame MANHUNT2 due to its irresponsible, stereotyped portrayal of mental illness," NAMI executive director Mike Fitzpatrick said in a statement. "We also ask retailers to be responsible in responding to public health concerns."
Prominent members of the U.K. children's sector have criticized the recently announced staff and budget cuts at BBC Children's, calling the decisions "disappointing" and "a betrayal," C21 MEDIA reports. The reductions, which include the loss of 88 jobs and the equivalent of a US$201 million cut in programming budgets by 2012/13, will likely have repercussions throughout the industry.