AtomShockwave Corp. announced it has officially changed its corporate name to Atom Ent. Inc. The change was spurred by recent acquisitions, a newly created video directory and an advertising network that greatly expand the company's brand lineup and advertising opportunities. Atom Ent. now operates as the corporate umbrella for game sites Shockwave.com and AddictingGames and video sites AtomFilms and AddictingClips.
Autodesk Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of Alias for $197 million in cash. This acquisition extends Autodesk's 3D software leadership in the manufacturing and media and entertainment industries.
Manu Ittina, who has worked on such films as SHREK 2 and MADAGASCAR, has set up his Ittina Studios in Bangalore, India, with the hopes of bringing high-quality animation to India.
However, he knows the feat will be difficult, because 95% of the work being done in India is outsourced work. Under quick deadlines, studios are forced to produce up to 12 seconds of animation per day, compared to major U.S. studios like Pixar and DreamWorks that produce three to five seconds per week.
Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Books Ltd. announced a new entertainment partnership with world-renowned author Deepak Chopra, acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and South Asia's leading publisher of comic magazines, Gotham Ent. Group Llc. The partnership will launch two new Virgin branded companies, Virgin Comics Llc., based in New York City and Virgin Animation Private Ltd., based in Bangalore, India, focused on creating original comic books and character properties for a global audience.
Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games) has acquired leading independent developer, High Moon Studios. Under terms of the agreement, VU Games will retain High Moons team of more than 100 development professionals, as well as rights to the studios intellectual properties. John Rowe, president/ceo of High Moon, will continue to manage the studio from its state-of-the-art facility located in Carlsbad, California.
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES Booth # 14200), Sony will be focusing on four "pillars" or categories of entertainment to highlight its moves into the future of entertainment. The company will announce new products and strategies as it pertains to high definition, digital cinema, videogaming and e-entertainment, during the conference in Las Vegas, running Jan. 4-7, 2006.
Bangalore, India-based Ittina Studios boasts that its employees are producing 12 seconds of animation a day, reports THE BUSINESS STANDARD. U.S.-based studios like Pixar and DreamWorks expect their animation artists to produce no more than 3-5 seconds per day.
The Visual Effects Society (VES), which has grown to nearly 1,350 members in 16 countries, has adopted a new logo to update its look. "The goal was to create a dynamic and classic logo that shows the Visual Effects Society as continuously projecting new ideas out into the world, said exec director Eric Roth.
Viacom Inc. has completed the transaction to separate into two publicly traded entities: CBS Corp. and "New" Viacom Inc. Shares of the two new companies commenced trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Jan. 3, 2006, under the symbols: "CBS.A" (CBS Corp. Class A Common Stock) and "CBS" (CBS Corp. Class B Common Stock) and "VIA" (Viacom Inc. Class A Common Stock) and "VIA.B" (Viacom Inc. Class B Common Stock).
The move to separate Viacom's businesses was announced in June 2005.
Catapult Animation Studio has opened in Malaysia, looking to execute projects on a "work for hire" basis. Capabilities include 3D animation, modeling, background and set designing, as well as 2D and Flash-based projects.
Catapult also can provide full optical motion-capture services with a 16-camera setup operating in its sister studio. "We look forward gaming, animation and filming companies to look ASEAN region as their point for cost effective execution," according to Kavitha Jaganathan, one of the heads at Catapultas, which oversees the new animation studio.
The Computer Animation Studios of Ontario (CASO) has been formed to address the issues and opportunities of computer animation studios in Ontario. There are an estimated 50 studios in the Canadian province that produce computer animation and visual effects for feature films, television programs and television commercials. These studios employ anywhere from a few to hundreds of employees who use the latest in computer equipment and software to create world leading animation and digital visual effects.
Jupitermedia Corp. announced that its Jupiterimages division has acquired the assets of Animation Factory Inc., which includes the MediaBuilder Network of websites, (www.animationfactory.com) and (www.mediabuilder.com), from VA Software Corp. for $9.35 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities.
The French postal service, La Poste, has honored THE SIMS franchise with an official postage stamp. Published in limited edition of three million units, Les Sims is one of 10 stamps in the Heroes of Videogames collection featuring the industrys most beloved icons.
The set retails for 2.65 euros (approximately $3.09 USD) and is available now in French post offices and through La Poste's website at www.timbres.laposte.fr/eng.
Animazoo UK has opened a new motion capture studio on the south coast city of Brighton, in the U.K.
Already attracting a stream of international visitors, the studio offers users the latest motion capture technology with expert operators to ensure projects run smoothly. Using state of the art Gypsy systems, the studio can handle applications that are impossible with traditional studio based optical systems.
Carmike Cinemas Inc., the third largest national movie theater chain, has signed a deal with Christie/AIX for the installation of up to 2,300 Digital Cinema projection systems throughout the U.S. With this agreement, Carmike and Christie/AIX will begin installing 2K DCI-compliant DLP Cinema projectors. The rollout is scheduled to begin in January 2006 and to be completed by Oct. 31, 2007.
More than 39 million American adults would go to the movies more often if Hollywood offered more feature-length films in 3-D, according to a new survey by Opinion Dynamics Corp. (ODC).
Results from a nationwide survey of 900 adults show that 12% of Americans roughly 26 million adults would go to the movies more often to see 3-D movies. Another 6% 13 million adults would go more often depending on the types of films offered in 3-D.
On Dec. 16, 2005, Ezell Elester Channel, a convicted sex offender, was arrested on the suspicion of molesting a 14-year-old boy at Nickelodeon Animation Studios while he served as a production assistant on the film, ADAM SANDLER'S EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS, reports the BURBANK LEADER.
In a stunt to bring attention to her legal battles with the studio, publicist/cartoonist/fashion designer Ivy Supersonic chartered a plane to fly a 100-foot banner emblazed with her topless image over the 20th Century Fox headquarters in Los Angeles for eight hours on Dec. 19, 2005.
Supersonic commented, "Fox wants the shirt off my back so badly I've decided to give it to them. This woman warrior doesn't scare so easily."
Saucer Attack! (SA!), a new design and visual effects company, recently landed in New York City, captained by award-winning owner/creative director, Steve Marino.
NVIDIA Corp. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire ULi Electronics Inc. (ULi), one of the PC industry's most highly-regarded core logic developers. Headquartered in Taipei, ULi also has offices in Hsinchu; Shanghai; Shenzhen; and San Jose, California.
Walt Disney TV, EMEA and Asia Pacific are reorganising in an expansion drive, both into new technology and into new business areas, which take effect on Jan. 1, 2006. Leading off the new structure is Robert Gilby who joins Disney Channel UK and Disney Channel Scandinavia and the Middle East as vp/md.
Gilby most recently was vp, network development and strategic marketing for Turner Ent. Networks Asia in Hong Kong.
Electronic Arts has launched a studio in Singapore to localize and customize popular EA games into at least five different languages for distribution throughout the Asia region. Based in the heart of the city at No 1, Fifth Ave #04-07 Guthrie House, the studio is poised to evolve into an online game development facility. A development team is already in place and the first localized projects have already started to be shipped.
Paramount Pictures has signed a definitive agreement to acquire DreamWorks SKG for $1.6 billion in cash and assumption of debt. The deal brings Paramount key assets, including:
* All of DreamWorks' current projects in development* An ongoing production partnership with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen* An exclusive, worldwide distribution agreement with DreamWorks Animation beginning in 2006* DreamWorks' live-action library* DreamWorks' television division and its properties
Disney is marking Winnie the Pooh's 80th anniversary in 2005/2006 with an 18-month celebration to be commemorated with new Winnie the Pooh entertainment from Disney Live!, Buena Vista Home Ent. and Walt Disney Records; special edition product from Disney Consumer Products; and international support in all major regions leading to the 2007 premiere of Disney Channel's learning-focused 3D-animated series for preschoolers, MY FRIENDS TIGGER AND POOH. Winnie the Pooh's 80th Anniversary kicked off this week with the New York premiere of DISNEY LIVE!
The government of the U.K. announced a new tax credit system this week designed to support the British film industry, which was applauded by the UK Film Council. In the Pre-Budget report, the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed the new rate of tax relief for low budget films (films budgeted up to £20 million) would be a net 20%. For big budget films (£20 million and above), the rate will be a net 16%. Both rates apply to the U.K. spend of a films budget, capped at 80%.