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Home Headline News

PorchLight Ent. Starts Up Home Ent. Division

PorchLight Ent. is forming a domestic home entertainment division launching under the label of "PorchLight Home Entertainment," with Gary Jones, svp of PorchLight Home Ent. overseeing acquisitions and sales. The new division will distribute kids and family programming acquired from leading producers worldwide in addition to releasing the company's new productions, as well as programs from its substantial library.

Studios Headline News

DisneyToon Studios to be Restructured

The Walt Disney Co. confirmed reports yesterday that DisneyToon Studios (DTS) president Sharon Morrill had stepped down from her post with an announcement that DisneyToon Studios (DTS) is being restructured and will now operate as a separate unit under the supervision of Walt Disney Animation Studios. The studio will pursue original DVD productions and has curtailed making sequels to its features.

Home Headline News

Sony Home Ent. Takes Over Sony Wonder

Sony Pictures Home Ent. will be taking over control of Sony Wonder from its sister company, Sony BMG Music Ent., reports VARIETY. Sony Wonder vp of development Steve Okin will have the title of vp of family entertainment. His duties will be to develop and acquire non-feature family programming.

Moving from SONY BMG, Olga Economou will become exec director of Sony Wonder sales.

Disney Headline News

Walt Disney Co. Forms Integrated Global TV Distribution Division

The Walt Disney Co. announced today it has formed an integrated Global Television Distribution unit, following the announcement that Laurie Younger, president, Disney-ABC Worldwide Television, will retire at the end of her contract in January 2008.

Headline News

AMPAS Invites 115 to Become Members

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited115 artists and executives to join its ranks. Those who accept the invitation will be the only additions in 2007 to the Academy's roster of voting members.

In addition to Yair Landau, president of Sony Pictures Digital and vice chairman of Sony Pictures Ent., other invitees include:

Animators* Sharon Calahan* George Griffin* John Kahrs* Torill Kove* Marcy Page* Troy Saliba

Visual Effects* John Andrew Berton Jr.* Al DiSarro

Headline News

Antonio Banderas Seeks Animated Alliance in Spain

Antonio Banderas' production company Green Moon Producciones is exploring the possibility of partnering with Spanish animation studio Kandor Graphics, according to VARIETY. The partnership would not be for a single film, but a longer-term production relationship, according to Antonio Meliveo, producer at Green Moon, who also added that they hoped to close a deal by the fall. Green Moon Producciones is based out of Malaga, while Kandor is located in Granada.

Music Headline News

Sony Music and Nickelodeon Partner for TV, Music Ventures

Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids owned by Viacom, Sony Music Label Group and Sony BMG Commercial Music Group announced a global partnership today for co-developing and co-financing a range of television and music projects over a four-year period. The deal calls for developing and producing projects such as original movies and television series to be aired on Nickelodeon, and multiple record releases, with potential to unlock additional business opportunities in consumer products.

Films Headline News

Disney Makes Animation Pact with Yash Raj Films Studios

The Walt Disney Studios has entered into an agreement with Yash Raj Films (YRF) Studios, a premier studio in India, to create a series of original and exclusive computer-animated feature films. The collaboration marks the first time for both companies to enter in a co-production to produce films in India.

Walt Disney Studios and YRF will work exclusively to co-produce a series of animation films in the Indian language. Both companies will be equal partners in the venture and will contribute creative, technical and financial support to the project.

Animation Headline News

AWN & Thomson Course Technology Officially Announce Book Imprint

Thomson Course Technology and Animation World Network are proud to announce the formation of AWN Press, which will produce a series of books published by Thomson Course Technology covering major facets of the animation industry and offering a one-of-a-kind look into the careers of industry icons.

Disney Headline News

Walt Disney Studios Signs Exclusive Deal With Stan Lee

The Walt Disney Studios has entered into an exclusive multi-year first look deal with Spider-Man creator/producer Stan Lee and his production company POW! Ent. The terms cover Lee and his production company developing and producing all forms of entertainment.

Million Headline News

Marathon Purchase Race Heating Up

A sale of France-based TV production and distribution firm Marathon is in the works, insiders told VARIETY. Valued at 300 million euros, Marathon has several suitors, including Endemol France head Stephane Courbit, who is backed by Italian industrial group de Agostini.

An insider at Bridgepoint, which purchased Marathon and combined it with Tele Images two years ago, said that the deal will probably be sealed by July.

The annual revenue of Marathon Group is approximately 120 million euros ($162 million).

Animation Headline News

India's Paprikaas Adds 150 Animation Jobs

Bangalore, India-based Paprikaas Animation Studios announced that it would be doubling its staff, adding 150 new jobs, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The computer animation studio provides services for feature films, television, commercials and videogames.

Earlier in the year, Thomson, via its Technicolor Content Services, invested in the firm. That deal made Thomson the majority owner of Paprikaas.

Company Headline News

Besson Takes Film House Public

Luc Besson's film production company, EuropaCorp, is going public, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The company has filed for a listing in the Euronext Paris market.

EuropaCorp's productions include TRANSPORTER 2, UNLEASHED and ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES. The company has eight films in development, including TAKEN, with Liam Neeson, and a third TRANSPORTER film with Jason Statham.

Besson controls EuropaCorp through the holding company Front Line and will mostly likely hold a majority stake in the firm following the IPO.

Games Headline News

Mischel Launches Vancouver-Based Reach Games

Former Mainframe Ent. ceo Rick Mischel announced today (May 29, 2007) that he has launched Reach Games a new games company specializing in supplying art, design, modeling, animation and localization services to the videogame industry. Based in Vancouver, Reach plans to service other developers and publishers from around the world. Reach also plans to co-develop casual games and handheld games with other developers.

Headline News

Pumuckl Girlfriend Injunction Rejected

A Munich regional court has rejected Pumuckl creator Ellis Kaut's request for a temporary injunction, stopping Pumuckl's original illustrator Barbara von Johnson from giving the character a girlfriend, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The goblin Pumuckl is a kids' icon in Germany on the level of Big Bird. The row between Kaut and Johnson started when Johnson okayed a TV broadcaster to sponsor a contest to pick the look of Pumuckl's girlfriend. Kaut claims that the character is asexual, despite various occasions over the years being referred to as a boy.

Animation Headline News

Golden Launches New Production/Animation Label FFAKE

Industry vet Paul Golden has launched FFAKE, a new production and animation production company in Portland, reports HIGHEND3D. The FFAKE talent roster includes such well-known animation directors as Carl Willat, Nicholas Weigel and the Maverix Art Collective, which includes Ed Bell, Robert Valley, Tom Rubalcava and Charlie Canfield. FFAKE's up-and-coming talents include David Lobser, Peter Richardson and Ben Meinhardt.

Headline News

Imageworks Expands into New Mexico

Sony Pictures Imageworks officially announced that it is expanding into Albuquerque, New Mexico, "to harness the power of scalable capacity and favorable economics."

According to the LOS ANGELES TIMES, more than 100 jobs will relocate from Culver City to New Mexico, which is providing a combined 25% rebate on taxable production and post-production expenses.

Digital Headline News

Digiscope Moves and Announces VFX Slate

After 10 years in Santa Monica's landmark "graffiti" building, visual effects company Digiscope has moved to a spacious new facility. The new location, a modern glass and brick architectural building across from Digiscope's former home, features a newly constructed digital projection theater in a light-filled, collaborative environment.

People Headline News

Criminal Charges Dropped Against Aqua Teen Duo

The criminal charges have been dropped against the two men who carried out the AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE movie's guerilla marketing campaign, which caused a bomb scare in Boston in January, reports THE BOSTON GLOBE.

Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens had taken a plea deal to save them from a sentence that could have been up to five years in jail. Berdovsky performed 80 hours and Stevens 60 hours of community service at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, where they designed a mural and helped with repairs on the facility's Charles River sailing docks.

Headline News

Simpsons Parody Not Funny for FOX

20th Century Fox is urging Web media site to remove three Webisodes of THE O.J. SIMPSONS, a parody of O.J. Simpson that uses the design style of FOX's THE SIMPSONS, according THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Broadcaster Inc. is reviewing the requests from FOX, but stated that their fair-use policies allow for parodies.

Licensing Headline News

Toei Animation Creates In-House Licensing Division for U.S. Market

Toei Animation Inc. has established an in-house consumer products licensing division under the supervision of Coy Edmunds, the unit's newly appointed director of business development and licensing. Headquartered in Toei's Los Angeles offices, the licensing operation will focus on the U.S. market and launch with the licensing representation of the company's popular Digimon brand.

Toei's new licensing operation will make its official debut at the New York International Licensing Show to be held to be held June 19-21, 2007, at the Javitz Convention Center.

Films Headline News

Hammer Films Resurrected

Dutch producer John De Mol is resurrecting the legendary British horror studio Hammer Film Prods. Mol's private equity company Cyrte Investments has bought the rights to the approximately 300 Hammer library titles for $50 million. Former Liberty Global execs Simon Oakes and Marc Schipper have been hired to run the new Hammer Studios.

Design Headline News

ARTVPS to Open U.S. Branch

ARTVPS, a leading developer of 3D rendering solutions, has expanded its operations in the U.S.

ARTVPS will initially employ a business development manager and a 3D specialist, who will start the operation from a new base in Los Angeles, but plans are already in place to extend operations to New York City and Chicago to address the scale of market and geography involved. ARTVPS is also looking to integrate into the U.S. Channel, forging new partnerships with resellers focused on selling both hardware and software rendering solutions.

Marvel Headline News

Marvel's Licensing Deals Boost Q1

Marvel Ent. Inc.reported operating results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2007. For Q1 2007, Marvel reported that net sales rose to $151.4 million and net income increased to $46.8 million, or $0.56 per diluted share, compared to net sales of $90.1 million and net income of $17.5 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, in Q1 2006.