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Effects Headline News

Deluxe Entertainment Divides Rainmaker

Rainmaker postproduction and visual effects will be split into two divisions by its new parent company Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Mark Atkinson will lead the new Deluxe Vancouver, directing the unit's motion picture laboratory, telecine, editorial and media management operations.

Marianne O'Reilly will continue to manage the visual effects division as president of the new CIS Vancouver.

CIS Vancouver as well as the new CIS London (formerly Rainmaker U.K.) make up part of CIS Visual Effects Group.

Animation Headline News

Indian Animation Firms Team Up

DQ Entertainment and Percept Picture Company have signed a memorandum of understanding to co-produce three animation films in 2009-2010.

Two of the three will be in the mythology genre and the third is planned as a Bollywood masala flick.

Tapaas Chakravarti, Chairman and CEO of DQ Entertainment Limited said, "Bollywood's foray into animated Indian feature films with HANUMAN has triggered many announcements of animated features by Bollywood houses."

Mobile Headline News

Paramount Pictures Creates Mobile Entertainment Unit

Sandi Isaacs, SVP, Mobile & Interactive, has announced the creation of Paramount Mobile Ent. (PME), a new business unit under the umbrella of the studio's digital division, Paramount Pictures Digital Ent. The new global unit will focus on developing mobile entertainment and alternative distribution models for the studio. Isaacs announced PME's senior management team, as well as key partnerships and content deals.

Headline News

Yahoo Board Rejects Microsoft $44.6 Billion Offer

Yahoo rejected a $44.6 billion takeover bid from Microsoft on Monday, its board of directors saying it undervalued the company, according to HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Microsoft and Yahoo have been in discussions for a year and a half, and though Yahoo has struggled in recent years in competition with Google, Microsoft still sees value in its large audience.

Work Headline News

Writers Heading Back to Work

An end to the three-month long writers strike seems to be on the horizon. The trades are reporting that the WGA ruling boards unanimously approved the tentative deal with the studios. The move will send showrunners back to work on Monday. Members will vote to end the strike on Tuesday evening, which could send scribes back to work as soon as Wednesday.

Headline News

Habbo Partners with William Morris Agency

Habbo announced it has partnered with William Morris Agency. Habbo is the first online virtual world the agency will represent.

To expand the virtual world's reach into the entertainment industry, the William Morris Agency will help Habbo facilitate new strategic partnerships to generate cross-marketing and promotional opportunities. Additionally, William Morris will provide popular Hollywood and music celebrities for in-game interview appearances within the Habbo community.

Creative Headline News

John A. Marley Launches Indie Prod Co

BBC, Disney UK and Cartoon Network veteran John A. Marley is launching Archie Productions, an independent production company that will develop and produce creative intellectual property for both broadcast and digital media. As creative director, Marley will originate and produce his own shows while actively seeking innovative partnerships with other creative talent. Archie Productions currently has an active development slate of properties across kids, entertainment and factual entertainment.

Headline News

WGA Saturday Meeting Could End Strike

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, February 6, 2008 at 12:00am

The entire industry is holding their breath awaiting the results of meetings in NYC and L.A. where the WGA top brass will pitch the new contract to the members, hopefully ending the three-month-old strike, reports the trades. Members will meet in L.A. at 7:00 pm at the Shrine Auditorium, while WGA East will hold their meeting at the Crowne Plaza at 2:00 pm.

Focus Headline News

Warner Bros. MPI and Prime Focus Form Strategic Alliance

Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging and Prime Focus have entered into a strategic alliance that will allow both companies to expand their abilities to offer their state-of-the-art digital post-production capabilities to filmmakers on a global scale. It also allows both companies to manage their workflows more efficiently between Warner Bros. MPI in Burbank and Prime Focus' facilities throughout multiple locations in India and London as well as in New York, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Los Angeles.

Mattel Headline News

Mattel Signs with CAA

Mattel has signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the world's leading entertainment and sports agency, to develop entertainment-based marketing programs that build upon the company's toy brands, including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, Masters of the Universe, Max Steel, UNO, and Polly Pocket. CAA Marketing will identify and create opportunities across a variety of platforms, from movies, digital media, and music, to videogames, television, and beyond, and will help further build brand relevance for Mattel's extensive library of rich intellectual properties.

Headline News

NVIDIA To Acquire AGEIA Technologies

After recently acquiring mental images to bolster its arsenal with the addition of mental ray rendering software, NVIDIA has signed a definitive agreement to acquire gaming physics technology leader AGEIA Technologies Inc. Now PhysX on GeForce will bring enhanced physics dynamics to gamers, as AGEIA's software is widely adopted on the next-gen consoles.

Disney Headline News

Disney Reports Revenue Rise in Second Quarter

The Walt Disney Co. exceeded expectations for the second quarter ended Dec. 29, 2007, with a 9.1% revenue gain and double-digit increases in consumer products, media networks and parks and resorts.

However, studio entertainment operating income decreased 15% to $514 million while revenues were flat at $2.6 billion. This was due to a decrease in domestic home entertainment partially offset by increases in worldwide theatrical and music distribution. The strong international theatrical performance of RATATOUILLE was a plus.

Headline News

Microsoft Places Bid To Buy Yahoo!

News hit today that Microsoft is making a play to buy Yahoo Inc. for $44.6 billion in cash and stocks. The unsolicited bid, in the words of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, would make the firm a "comfortable" #2 next to leader Google. The deal works out to $31 per share, which is 62% greater than Yahoo's current stock price.

Headline News

Passion Launches Strange Beast

Passion Pictures has announced the launch of Strange Beast, a company that will represent an international roster of emerging new talent, including Encyclopedia Pictura, Amautalab, Lorenzo Fonda, The Blackheart Gang, Takeo, and James Price. The company is committed to developing creative opportunities for these artists across all media platforms, including commercials, Web-based media, music videos, short films and art exhibitions.

Headline News

WGA Responds to DGA Deal, AMPTP Wants To Talk

With the AMPTP reaching a deal with the director's guild, new light may be shining on the writers strike. In a joint announcement from the AMPTP and the DGA, the producers stated, "We hope that this agreement with DGA will signal the beginning of the end of this extremely difficult period for our industry. Today, we invite the Writers Guild of America to engage with us in a series of informal discussions similar to the productive process that led us to a deal with the DGA to determine whether there is a reasonable basis for returning to formal bargaining.

Software Headline News

cdv Software Ent. Enters French Game Market

Leading full-service interactive entertainment industry service provider cdv Software Ent. AG announced the acquisition of a 75% majority share of cdv Madrics Media S.A.S, a newly-founded firm, with options to acquire additional shares. Effective Dec. 31, 2007, French-based cdv Madrics Media S.A.S. has successfully acquired all business operations of the highly successful Madrics Media France. As part of the cdv Group, this newly acquired firm will be responsible for the marketing and distribution of games-related software and hardware, as well as accessories for France and the Benelux.

Headline News

Online Community Blocks Golden Compass

Knoxville-based, family-friendly site has banned Philip Pullman's fantasy novel THE GOLDEN COMPASS in response to customer demand.

"THE GOLDEN COMPASS was our most frequently blocked book in December," says CEO Adam Slack. "We feel compelled to honor the wishes of our community."

Internet Headline News

DGA and AMPTP Reach Tentative Agreement

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) announced today that it has concluded a tentative agreement on the terms of a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

Highlights of the new agreement include:

* Increases both wages and residual bases for each year of the contract.* Establishes DGA jurisdiction over programs produced for distribution on the Internet.

Game Headline News

Ultizen Games Acquires Mo-Star Mobile Game Developer

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 12:00am

Ultizen Games Ltd., a leading game development and outsourcing company, announced they recently completed an acquisition of Mo-Star, a mobile game development company based in Beijing that owns an extensive and growing catalog of over 200 mobile games.

Game Headline News

Game Development Outsourcing Leader Virtuos Opens New Center in Chengdu

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 12:00am

Virtuos, one of the world's largest game development outsourcing providers, announced that it has opened a new development center in Chengdu. Located in Western China, Chengdu is the fourth largest city in the country, with a strong reputation as an academic center for Art and Engineering.

Games Headline News

THQ Acquires Big Huge Games

THQ Inc. today announced plans to acquire Big Huge Games, a leading development studio focused on the role-playing-game genre, a multi-billion-dollar market segment.

Big Huge Games was founded in 2000 by four veteran game developers, Brian Reynolds, Jason Coleman, Dave Inscore and Tim Train, who together have brought strategy gamers such titles as RISE OF NATIONS, ALPHA CENTAURI, and CIVILIZATION II. Key studio members also include Ken Rolston, a 25-year RPG design veteran whose most recent designs include ELDER SCROLLS IV: OBLIVION and ELDER SCROLLS III: MORROWIND.

Studio Headline News

Blue Sky Moving to Connecticut

Blue Sky Studios has announced that it is relocating its studio from White Plains, New York to Greenwich, Connecticut. The studio plans to have its 300 employees moved by the end of 2008. Additionally, thanks to the film-industry tax credits passed recently by the General Assembly, Blue Sky is eligible to receive up to 30% of their expenses exempted.

Million Headline News

TV-Loonland Implements Restructuring Agreement

TV-Loonland has announced the implementation of the restructuring agreement signed with the banking syndicate in August 2007, leaving the company with a new, reduced debt of EUR 5 million.

In accordance with the restructuring agreement, which was approved by the shareholders on Nov. 2, 2007, the original loan worth EUR 20 million has been reduced by 15 million, both by means of cash repayment and a debt-to-equity swap.

Headline News

Weinsteins Seal Deal with WGA

Following in the footsteps of United Artists, The Weinstein Co. has signed an interim deal with the Writers Guild of America, report the trades. The agreement also covers Dimension Films, the company's genre arm. Though details of the deal were not released, insiders say it closely mirrors the one with UA. If this is true, then animation writers working on Weinstein projects would now be covered under the guild's rules.

Kids Headline News

Entara Ltd. Becomes Parthenon Ent.

U.K. rights company Entara Ltd. has adopted the Parthenon Ent. Group name, as of January 2008. All Entara's properties, including MAGIC ROUNDABOUT, DOMO, the PUPPY IN MY POCKET toy brands, HABBO, JAKERS! and THOSE SCURVY RASCALS, will be managed within a Parthenon Ent. Group structure, which includes both a factual and children's IP portfolio.