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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
With more than two years of R&D under its belt, xRez Studio has launched a visual effects division based on the studio's work employing gigapixel panoramic photography.
Founded by Eric Hanson and Greg Downing, both veterans in advanced photography and movie vfx, xRez has perfected the highest resolution photography currently available. Using digital techniques derived from feature film visual effects, images can be created at resolutions of up to 150,000 pixels wide, arguably surpassing any large format film standards used in photography and well beyond IMAX.
Imagi Studios U.S.A. and the Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE signed a contract on July 20, 2007, covering animation writers, storyboard artists and designers. Imagi Studios U.S.A. also signed onto the Animation Guild's 401(k) Plan, and employees will be covered under the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan.
Growing production costs in India have forced Japan's billion-dollar animation industry to look elsewhere for outsourcing cartoons, including Thailand, reports THE ECONOMIC TIMES.
Shuzo Shiota, ceo of Polygo Pictures, one of Japan's largest computer-animation studios, was in Bangkok last week to brief Thai entrepreneurs on the outsourcing opportunities awaiting them in Japan's 3D cartoon industry, which reported revenues of 1.4 billion yen (around $2 billion) in 2005, according to THE NATION.
Mobile service provider Amp'd Mobile will shut down at the end of July following its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last month, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
On Monday, July 23, 2007, Amp'd sent a text message to its customers saying it would disconnect their services the next day. Later, on its website, the company said it would be "potentially suspending U.S. operations on July 31."
Amp'd grew quickly with a youthful customer base, however in its bankruptcy filling it stated that nearly 46% of its 175,000 subscribers were not paying their bills.
IDT Internet Mobile Group (IMG), a division of IDT Corp., has formed Zedge Studios to develop and license digital content for distribution through web and mobile platforms. IMG has also acquired a controlling interest in IDW Publishing (www.idwpublishing.com), an independent comics publisher known for the horror, action and sci-fi genres, boasting such high-profile titles as THE TRANSFORMERS, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, CSI, STAR TREK, 24 and SCARFACE.
VFX house CafeFX is branching out into character animation, which will be headed up by Academy Award-nominated animation supervisor James Straus. The move is a reaction to an increased demand for the company's character animation work following its participation on PAN'S LABYRINTH.
Oscar-nominated producer of short film GIVE UP YER AUL SINS, Brown Bag Films, has opened a new animation studio at Smithfield Market in Dublin, Ireland.
The studio was founded in 1994 by Cathal Gaffney and Darragh O'Connell. Now with the new Smithfield office, the company will employ 53 people.
The new office is Ireland's first hi-def animation and post house.
The company is working on production of its first animated TV series, I'M AN ANIMAL, which has already sold to 140 countries.
TERMINATOR franchise rights owner, Halcyon Co. have filed a lawsuit against MGM in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that MGM is getting in the way of the right to set up distribution deals for T4, reports VARIETY.
Halcyon principals Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson purchased the rights to the franchise rights in May, which included sequel rights as well as a screenplay for the fourth installment from T3 writers John Brancato and Michael Ferris.
Ubisoft, one of the world's largest videogame publishers, announced that on July 12, 2007 it sold the 13,367,923 shares it owned in Gameloft (representing 18.89% of the company's capital) to Calyon, Credit Agricole Group's Corporate and Investment Bank. The sale price was 6.08 euros, based on Gameloft's closing share price on July 12, 2007.