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Headline News Iwerks Entertainment And SimEx Announce Merger Agreement

Iwerks Entertainment Inc. and SimEx Inc. announced that both companies have signed an agreement and plan of merger. The agreement provides that SimEx will acquire Iwerks in exchange for cash consideration of approximately US $0.63 per share of Iwerks common stock. The transaction is subject to shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions. If the two companies combine, it is expected that Iwerks will retain its brand name and identity and will continue operations in Burbank, California under the existing Iwerks management team.

Headline News Digital Ink Illustration Opens In Pasadena

Industry professionals Maurice Kimball and Briar Lee Mitchell have co-founded Pasadena, California-based Digital Ink Illustration (Dii), a digital background paintings company. Services will include conceptual design and layout for animation or live-action, digital color comps/color keys and fully rendered digital files for animation and live-action backgrounds, overlays, underlays, flattened or layered files. Cedric Tomacruz has been named art director for the new firm.

Headline News First EM.TV Shareholder Suit Dismissed

A Munich court has dismissed one of the first lawsuits seeking damages from German mega-firm EM.TV. The case, filed by private shareholders, demanded compensation for losses after EM.TV dramatically revised its projected figures in December, revealing debts of DM2.6 billion (US$1.21 billion). Upon the news EM.TV's shares dropped over 90%. The suit claimed that EM.TV withheld relevant financial information from shareholders and did not provide a fair warning about the state of the firm.

Headline News Microsoft Delays Xbox's Japanese Debut

Microsoft has announced that it will delay the launch of its next-generation console Xbox in Japan until 2002. Xbox will still release 800,000 units in North America on November 8. The Japan launch will now coincide with the launch in Europe. Japan represents one third of the US$20 billion videogame market. Insiders say the delay is due to difficulties in developing games for the Japanese market, which favors simulation and role-playing games, as well as problems ensuring that all tech components work together correctly. Xbox will sell for US$299 in North America.

Headline News WGA Writers Rally Against Nickelodeon - Picket Scheduled

The Writers Guild of America, west (WGAw), representing theatrical and television writers, has filed its third unfair labor practice charge in two months against Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Inc. (a Viacom subsidiary) for allegedly retaliating against employees of animated series who are seeking union representation and coverage by the guild's contract (MBA). The latest charge asserts that Nickelodeon illegally reduced the benefits of writers on the television show JIMMY NEUTRON, BOY GENIUS in retaliation for their activities in seeking WGAw representation.

Headline News Nintendo Delays GameCube Launch

Nintendo has announced that it plans to delay the launch of its next-generation console GameCube, which gives Microsoft's Xbox a two-week leg-up on the highly coveted holiday buying season. GameCube will be released on November 18, where as Xbox is scheduled to launch on November 8, 2000. Nintendo says the move is to meet consumer demand and avoid glitches like Sony had with PlayStation 2 last year. "The change really was to make sure we avoided somebody else's misstep," said Peter Main, vice president of sales and marketing for Nintendo of America.

Headline News Studio B Launches New Commercial Department

Studio B Productions has launched a new television commercial production department. The Vancouver-based animation firm specializes in traditional 2D and 3D animation techniques. Michael van den Bos will serve as the head of the new commercial department. Prior to working with Studio B, van den Bos was producer at International Rocketship and worked with clients such as Levis, Nintendo and Nickelodeon. In addition to in-house directors, Marv Newland and Dieter Mueller of International Rocketship will be working as freelancers for the Studio B commercial department.

Headline News International Museum Of Cartoon Art To Leave Florida

Due to its increasing debt, the International Museum of Cartoon Art will be leaving Mizner Park in Boca Raton, Florida. Its US$3.8 million building will be put up for sale to pay off the museum's $2 million debt and preserve its collection of more than 200,000 pieces of comic strips, editorial cartoons and other works. The museum is looking into several locations for a new home, including New York and Connecticut, where it was originally founded in 1972 by BEETLE BAILEY creator Mort Walker.

Headline News Random House, Classic Media Buy Bankrupt Golden Books

Random House Inc. and Classic Media Inc. have purchased, through a bankruptcy court auction, the assets of children's book publisher Golden Books Family Entertainment Inc. for US$84.4 million and the assumption of most of its debt. Industry sources estimate Golden Books' debt is close to $50 million. The Golden Books portfolio features over 500,000 titles including characters like Pat the Bunny and Poky Little Puppy, a vast comic book collection and 3,000 movies, television specials and cartoons.

Headline News Digital Element Opens Up Closed City In Russia

Oakland, California-based technology company Digital Element, with the help of NewTek and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under the auspices of the Department of Energy's Nuclear Cities Initiative, has been working to open up "Closed Cities" in Russia. These cities do not appear on maps and up to now have been strictly military R&D and production sites. Digital Element trainers and engineers have helped form new Russian software development teams in Snezhinsk and other closed cities to help the towns integrate into the Western market.

Headline News Film Roman Announces 39% Increase In Revenues

Film Roman Inc. has reported that revenue increased by 19% to $9.4 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2001, over $7.9 million for the same period last year. Net loss attributable to common stock for the second quarter of 2001 was $1,293,641, or $0.15 per share, compared with a net loss attributable to common stock of $800,260, or $0.09 per share, for the second quarter of 2000.

Headline News Brilliant Digital Reports 162% Increase In Net Revenues

Brilliant Digital Entertainment Inc., a leading developer of 3D technologies for the Internet, reported their financial statement for the second quarter ended June 30, 2001. The firm posted that their net revenues rose 162% to US$652,000 over $249,000 from last year. Revenues for the six months ended June 30, 2001 were $1,042,000 compared to $436,000 for the same six-month period in 2000. Brilliant Digital reported a net loss of $1,219,000, or $0.08 per share, for the second quarter ended June 30, 2001, compared to a net loss of $4,452,000, or $0.30 per share for the second quarter of 2000.

Headline News Pixar Announces 2nd Quarter Results

Pixar Animation Studios announced their financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2001. For the quarter, Pixar posted earnings of US$8.8 million, or $0.17 per diluted share. These results compare to earnings of $8 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenues for the quarter were $16.7 million, compared to $18.3 million in the year-ago quarter. Pixar also announced that it is raising projections for 2001 from the previous range of $0.40 to $0.55, to a new range of $0.50 to $0.58.

Headline News Cinar Releases Six Month Financial Report

Cinar Corporation has released a letter to shareholders providing its financial information for the six-month period ended May 31, 2001. President and chief executive officer Barrie Usher stressed in the opening of the letter that the report is unaudited because "current senior management cannot presently provide the required assurances with respect to financial periods prior to its appointment." The troubled firm had some positive developments in the past six months, including the okay by Telefilm Canada, a Canadian government funding organization, to develop official co-productions.

Headline News Fox Sues Marvel Over Use Of Mutant X

A court issued an injunction in favor of 20th Century Fox against Marvel, Tribune and Fireworks, preventing them from violating Fox's rights in its X-MEN movie. Moreover, the court also held that Fox can go to trial to recover monetary damages from Marvel and Tribune's use of MUTANT X as the title of their new television series, as well as a permanent injunction on the title of the series.

Headline News Ubi Soft Entertainment Posts Strong First-Quarter Growth

Ubi Soft Entertainment generated consolidated sales of US$53.2 million (60.39 million euros), up 162.5% for the first quarter of 2000/2001 ended June 30. Without taking into account the acquisition of 3D Planet (Italy), Sinister Games (U.S.), Red Storm (U.S.), and Blue Byte (Germany), and the assets of TLC's Entertainment division, consolidated sales for the quarter were $32.44 million dollars (36.81 million euros), up 60%. Highlights of the quarter were the release of MYST III: EXILE, launched in the U.S. and Australia in May.

Headline News TechnologyHelp Changes Name, Wraps 2nd Round Of Funding

TechnologyHelp, Inc. has completed a second round of funding and officially changed its name to Cinemetrix. The new round of financing came from Vanguard Atlantic, a New York-based venture capital firm. Terms of that transaction were not disclosed. George Gagliardi, president and chief executive officer, said, "We are now positioned to expand the sales and marketing of our technology and know-how to clients who understand the power of professionally produced TV-quality presentations.

Headline News Disney & Digital Domain Vets Form Rebel Arts

Paul Villadolid, a former senior vice president at Walt Disney Television, and Larry Hess, a former software engineer at special effects house Digital Domain, have formed Rebel Arts, a technology and software developer with a proprietary server platform designed to handle massive multiplayer online games. The technology is designed to handle in excess of 100,000 simultaneous users. Strategic partners AMD and Linux NetworX are providing Rebel Arts with critical support, including the AMD-760 MP dual processor chipset and Linux NetworX's Evolocity cluster server system.

Headline News Crave Entertainment Secures $35M In Funding

Crave Entertainment Group, Inc., parent company to videogame publisher Crave Entertainment, Inc. and SVG Distribution, Inc., has announced that it has secured a US$35 million in funding from Heller Financial. This financing is the first step in a multifaceted capital-restructuring plan for the company. "The industry has been extremely supportive throughout our restructuring, and this new credit line ensures financial support for the ongoing growth of our core business," said Nima Taghavi, chief executive officer, Crave Entertainment Group.

Headline News Disney's Revenues Slip

The Walt Disney Company has reported earnings for the quarter ended June 30, 2001. Pro forma revenues and segment operating income for the quarter decreased 1% and 7% to US$6 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively, from the prior-year quarter. "In a soft economy, Disney's overall performance continues to be solid," said Michael D. Eisner, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. "Our studio has added yet another quarter to a year of strong growth.

Headline News Morphe Art Pictures Brings Shorts To US & Latin America

Barcelona-based Morphe Art Pictures, a short film distributor, has launched a campaign to license its shorts in the U.S. and Latin America. Morphe Art Pictures has agreements with such British animation institutions as The Royal College of Art, the National Film and TV School and the French animation studio Lardux Films. Other independent productions represented by the company are the Prix Arts nominee MOVING ILLUSTRATIONS OF MACHINES, as well as BAFTA New Talent Awards nominee THE LONELY WIDOW, REANIMACION and THE GIFT.

Headline News Electronic Arts Releases First Quarter Result

Electronic Arts announced its results for the first fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2001. Consolidated net revenues were US$182 million compared to $154.8 million for the same quarter last year, an increase of 18%. On an as-reported basis, consolidated net loss and diluted loss per share were $45.3 million and $0.33, respectively, compared to a net loss and diluted loss per share of 42.3 million and $0.33, respectively, in the same period of the prior year.

Headline News Activision Announces Record 1st Quarter Results

Activision, Inc. has announced record financial results for the first fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2001. Net revenues were US$110.6 million, 31% higher than last years net revenues of $84.6 million. Net income for the first fiscal quarter was $29,000 or a nominal amount per share, compared with a net loss of $5.2 million, or $0.21 loss per share, reported for the same period last year. The company also announced an increase in its fiscal year 2002 earnings per share forecast from $0.80 to $0.87.

Headline News Animation Committee Formed To Discover Euro Talent

Aardman Animation, Cartoon Network, Nelvana and the National Film and Television School, U.K. film and animation school, have formed the Animation Committee to discover and support European animation talent. The organization will review toon shorts quarterly. The best of those shorts will be aired on Britshorts.com. Some of those shorts will be selected for further development in film and television.

Headline News Entertainment Rights Plc Creates Home Vid Division

Entertainment Rights plc has announced the creation of their home video company Right Entertainment. Along with its recent US$22.5 million acquisition of Link, Right will enable Entertainment Rights to exploit its properties around the globe in all mediums. In turn, Entertainment Rights has signed an exclusive deal with Universal Pictures Video UK to release its properties on video.

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