As a result of the dollars unfavorable exchange rate and a lack of concrete tax incentives in the U.K. production market, The Jim Henson Co. will no longer have a full time staff at its London location of Jim Hensons Creature Shop, the companys visual effects and animatronics division. However, the companys own television and film projects are not affected and the Creature Shop will continue to service third party clients out of its Los Angeles and New York locations, as well as hiring freelance crews in London on a project-by-project basis.
Pixar Animation Studios announced an update to its fiscal second quarter 2005 guidance, following a review of the most current domestic and international home video sales data for THE INCREDIBLES. The company is updating its second quarter home video projections to increase its reserves for returns. As a result, Pixar is modifying its earlier projection of roughly $0.15 per diluted share for the quarter ending July 2, 2005, to approximately $0.10 per diluted share, which equates to around a $6 million difference in net income.
Contender Entertainment Group (CEG) in the U.K. has split its operations into two separate divisions -- Contender Home Entertainment (CHE) and Rubber Duck Entertainment (RDE). The group contends that the new structure will help to capitalize on growth plans ambitions to double its size in the next three years.
Award-winning digital artist Greg Shultz has launched Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Gasket to serve the commercial, music video and feature markets with a creative collective offering design, visual effects and 2D/3D animation.
Boris FX will acquire Final Effects Complete from Optibase. Boris FX will acquire all associated trademarks, including Studio Effects, Next Effects and Ice FX. The products will continue to be offered with Boris FX providing maintenance, support and future development.
In-game advertising provider Massive Inc. will start offering 10-second spots through its network next month, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The ads will play on natural elements in the game like TV sets and computers. Massive will charge higher rates than for its static ad displays within games. Ad partners and games using the new spots will be announced later.
On June 29, 2005, the SAG board voted to send its gaming contract to the 1,900 members who regularly work in game as well as any other active member who requests a ballot for a final vote, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. To accommodate the new vote, gaming publishers, including Electronic Arts and Activision, have extended the contract offer to July 31. Ballots will go out July 13 and are due back July 28.
Sister acting guild AFTRA has already agreed to the 3 1/2 year contract.
Music video production vets Patrick Holtkamp and Phil Tidy are the forces behind the newly established production company, Draw Pictures, based in London with a post-production arm, Draw Edit, on site.
Within three months, Draw Pictures has been the creative influence behind 20 stunning promos, including PRODIGY, MCFLY and Oasis new video, LYLA.
On June 28, 2005, Japans Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that ordered Japan's largest animation production company to pay royalties to voice actors on video and DVD sales, reports MAINICHI DAILY NEWS.
The dismissal of Tokyo-based Nippon Animation Co.s appeal will force the company and an affiliate to pay nearly 87 million yen to about 360 voice artists, which includes Masako Nozawa (GALAXY EXPRESS 999 and DRAGON BALL) and Ichiro Nagai (TVs SAZAE-SAN).
The jury in the 15-week Los Angeles Superior Court trial pitting ROGER RABBIT creator Gary Wolf against the Walt Disney Co. has ruled that Disney must pay Wolf at least $180,000 in underreported royalties, but ruled against Wolfs claim that he deserved a share of gross receipts on non-cash promotional deals, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The ruling will award Wolf nearly $400,000 in damages, but not the $8 million he had sought by alleging his 5% royalty should include tie-ins with McDonald's and other outlets.
Corner Stone Pictures and OBX Capital Group have formed a new joint venture, Corner Stone Animation. The new company will operate as a subsidiary of Corner Stone Pictures in Sherman Oaks, California.
The Letterman Digital Arts Center (LDAC), the new home of Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic and LucasArts, located in the beautiful 23-acre campus in San Franciscos Presidio, had its grand opening on June 25.
A special SAG board meeting will be held next Wednesday (June 29, 2005) to further address the national executive committees rejection of the contract hammered out with the gaming industry, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. NEC turned down the offer despite the support on negotiators.
According to a recent POCKET GAMES readership research study conducted by videogame magazine publisher Ziff Davis Media Game Group, portable gamers are shifting to an older and more diverse demographic segment than it has been historically. POCKET GAMES readers are now 20 years old on average, and 13% of the readership is female compared to 9% in 2003.
Vicon, developer of Academy Award-winning motion capture technology, the Vicon Feature Unit (VFU), a new Los Angeles-based entity devoted to on-site consulting, custom service, development and pipeline building for its film, videogame and TV clientele. VFU will be able to provide everything from purchasing and setup advice, pre-production, capture and post-production services through to custom hardware and software to rapidly deliver on unique studio requirements and project demands.
Banjax has opened a new digital animation studio based in Belfast's Titanic Quarter, to produce province's first major animated feature film and breathe life into the creative industries in Northern Ireland.
Banjax founders Darryl Collins, formerly of Blackstar, and award-winning director and writer Richard Morss and director/animator Alastair McIlwain, are focusing on the export potential of two major projects in a global industry sector that is expected to grow 10-fold over the next five years. Their efforts are being supported by Northern Ireland agencies.
Marvel Enterprises and 20th Century Fox have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Revolution Studios and Sony Pictures Ent. over the production of sci-fi comedy ZOOM, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The case claims that the film, which stars Tim Allen and Chevy Chase and is based on Jason Lethcoe's graphic novel ZOOM'S ACADEMY FOR THE SUPER GIFTED, copies too much of the X-MEN mythology.
The lawsuit filed June 20, 2005, in U.S. District Court, Central District of California is seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages.
Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games) has acquired independent game developer Swordfish Studios. Under terms of the agreement, VU Games will retain Swordfish Studios' team of 45 development professionals, leaving the studio basically intact in its current office in Birmingham, England. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
MTV Networks has acquired NeoPets Inc. the owner and operator of Neopets.com, the world's largest and fastest growing youth community on the Internet. Neopets is a global online entertainment network whose members create and care for "virtual pets" that inhabit a mythical land called "Neopia." To date, more than 25 million members worldwide have created Neopets accounts in 10 different languages, generating more than five billion pageviews per month. Both Nielsen//NetRatings and comScore Media Metrix consistently rank Neopets.com as one of the top-10 "stickiest" sites on the Web.
Lions Gate Entertainment Toronto has restructured its international operations to reflect continued growth of its feature film and television businesses with Nicolas Meyer, president of Lions Gate International, solely overseeing the international division of Lions Gate Ent. with two newly created executive positions that will report directly to him.
After putting the pieces in place, Sumner M. Redstone, chairman/ceo of Viacom Inc. announced today (June 14, 2005) that the companys board of directors has unanimously approved the creation of two separate publicly traded companies from the companys leading entertainment brands through a spin-off to Viacom stockholders.
Director Arvind Palep and exec producer Serge Patzak have launched 1st Avenue Machine, a new CG boutique in New York City that will integrate what it perceives as a fresh live action and animation hybrid to its design work.
Apple ceo Steve Jobs announcement last week that Macintosh computers will embrace Intel microprocessors next year in an effort to improve speed and efficiency, especially on notebooks, has received mixed reviews.
Some analysts fear a rocky transition ahead and a diluting of the brand. However, others are more optimistic. This move away from IBMs PowerPC would allow the Mac to eventually run Windows at full speed, opening it up to more software choices.
Stopping the potential for a strike, SAG and AFTRA have comes too terms with the videogame publishers, backing down from their demand for residuals from the $7 billion videogame industry, reports VARIETY. Yet, the actors will be a hefty 36% increase in the base rate of $556.20 per session for voiceover work.
The Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) has acquired of Minds Eye Prods., one of the leading interactive TV game developers in Europe. The agreement demonstrates WDIG's commitment to the iTV games market and to developing new growth businesses for The Walt Disney Co.
Disney entered the interactive TV games market in the U.K. in August 2004, with the launch of Disney Channel Play on Sky. This service provides games featuring some of Disney's most popular TV programs, movies and characters, including those from THE LION KING and KIM POSSIBLE.