Atlanta-based Mindjaz, one of the worlds fastest growing media companies, announced it is developing an animation division that will produce full length animated features and short films, as well as develop animated characters and features for advertisers and others. This announcement comes on the heels of the studio announcing that it will release its first feature in 2005.
The American Stock Exchange (Amex) will launch trading in options on Nov. 5, 2004 on DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. Class A. The stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DWA.
DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. Class A options will open with strike prices of 30-35-40-45 and position limits of 3,150,000 shares. The options will trade on the March expiration cycle with initial expirations in November, December March and June. The specialist will be Stuyvesant Trading Group.
Three months after suing The Walt Disney Co. in a dispute over royalties, Marvel Enterprises Inc. wants to take the copyrights to Marvel superheroes away from the Mouse House, reports REUTERS. In a suit filed on Oct. 29, 2004 in Los Angeles federal court, Marvel requests a judge to declare that Disney never legally assumed copyrights to Marvel characters when it bought the original licensee, Fox Family Worldwide, in 2001.
Post Logic Studios will relocate its visual effects boutique creocollective from Santa Monica to the Hollywood facility, which was recently renovated with a digital intermediate theater.
With this move, creocollective feature film and commercial clients will be able to take advantage of on-site DI, restoration, audio post-production and HD mastering services to complement creocollectives slate of high-end visual effects, 3D and compositing capabilities.
Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and the Walt Disney Co. are in early talks to form a joint venture to install digital cinema systems, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. No details are set, but the trio of studios has issued offer letters to financial institutions, including JPMorgan Securities, for prospective bids for managing and financing. The studios should hear back from the investors by Nov. 5, 2004. As part of the new firm, the three studios would use the savings on prints and shipping to help fund the venture. The financial institution would secure the theaters.
DreamWorks Animations IPO is expected to raise $812 million besting expectations. Wall Street analysts thought the stock would price between $23 to $25 per share, but it started the day at $28 a share for 29 million shares. In its New York Stock Exchange debut, the stock reached a height of $39.50.
The Visual Effects Society (VES) is the recipient of a $46,000 donation from founder Tom Atkins family to honor pioneers in the field of visual effects. Five funds will be established to finance awards and scholarships and be known as the:
* Peter Ellenshaw Fund, in the amount of $10,000* Albert Whitlock Fund, in the amount of $10,000* Linwood Dunn Fund, in the amount of $10,000* Douglas Trumbull Fund, in the amount of $10,000* Tom Atkin Founders Award Fund, in the amount of $6,000
Bandai Ent. announced the distribution of its anime DVD homevideo properties for the Canadian market. With numerous Japanese animated properties such as MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM SEED and WITCH HUNTER ROBIN on air through Canadian youth broadcaster, YTV Bandai looks to expand to DVD homevideo sales in Canada.
Canadian Retailers and distributors are encouraged to contact representatives for Bandai Ent. Canada sales at:
Bandai Entertainment Canada2000 Argentia Road
Crest Communication Ltd. (CCL) has been granted permission by the Indian government to change its name officially to Crest Animation Studios Limited (CASL). Crest decided to adopt the new identity as its business has seen a strategic shift from all non-animation related business vfx, post-production, studio, live-action film production and dubbing to concentrate solely on the computer animation.
Mirage Animation, a new animation firm headquartered in Montreal, with offices in Los Angeles and New Delhi, is offering a new alternative to the rising costs of animation and game art production. Coming out of its first MIPCOM, Mirage Animation will defer all production related expenses (layout, ink-and-paint, backgrounds, compositing and effects) against broadcast contracts.
Producers would be responsible for pre-production and post costs and would be required to provide Mirage with signed broadcast agreements and evidence that they can finish the post-production.
Starz Encore Group Llc. (Starz) plans to roll out a new corporate name, a new channel lineup and a new logo with updated on-air graphics and marketing materials in first quarter 2005. The purpose of the changes, the first comprehensive revision of the Starz family of channels since the company was founded in 1991, is, "to emphasize more clearly the array of popular programming genres available to Starz subscribers," said Starz president/coo Robert B. Clasen.
In an unprecedented move for both companies, producer and distributor Harmony Gold and Slamdance Film Festival offshoot Slamdance Media Group have signed an exclusive three-year output deal and created a new alliance whereby Harmony Gold will become the exclusive international distribution arm of Slamdance Media Group. Under the agreement, Harmony Gold will hold all rights, including theatrical, broadcast (free and pay) and DVD distribution rights, and will have access to a minimum of 12 new films a year. Slamdance will maintain North American distribution rights.
TriMedia Ent. Group Inc., a developer, producer and distributor of youth-oriented content for music and film entertainment products, announced that Gerry Anderson Prods. Plc creators of THE THUNDERBIRDS, has invested $1 million in TriMedia in exchange for 1.54 million shares of restricted stock. TriMedia intends to use the proceeds to fund its production schedule.
Comcast Corp., HIT Entertainment Plc., PBS and Sesame Workshop today (Oct. 20, 2004) announced plans to launch a 24-hour digital cable television channel for preschool children and a companion video-on-demand (VOD) service. The channel will bring together some of the best-known classic and contemporary childrens shows and is expected to launch in fall 2005.
The New York vfx scene has just got more competitive with the formation of Massive Industries, a division of creative design collective PSYOP that is co-founded by former Method Studios vfx artist Chris Staves and exec producer Justin Lane. Massive brings to New York expertise for ultra-progressive vfx along with high-end design.
Award-winning French animation and digital effects company, Sparx, is opening an office in Los Angeles, it was announced today (Oct. 19, 2004) by Sparx new ceo, Jean-Philippe Agati. The L.A. office will be managed by Laddie Ervin, new vp of business development for North America.
Award-winning animator Cleber Redondo has launched Wimze Studios, a full-service animation house specializing in 3D character animation for the TV programming, home video, commercial, Web and game markets. Redondo will head the new turnkey flagship studio in Fairview, New Jersey, which has brought together a highly qualified team of animators able to take an animation project from concept through completion.
Corel Corp. acquired Jasc Software Inc., the award-winning developer of the Paint Shop family of digital-photography and image-editing software. A critical milestone in Corel's ongoing growth strategy, this acquisition follows four consecutive quarters of profitability and a successfully completed turnaround since Corel was taken private in August 2003.
Japan's oldest film studio, Shochiku Co., is launching an animation division, reports VARIETY. The new arm plans to make five animated films and TV projects per year. Shochiku gm of filmed entertainment Ichiro Seki will head up the division. The unit will do commissioned works in both CG and 2D.
Shochiku will unveil its first animated productions in the next few months and hopes to release its first film in 2005. The company has had success previously distributing such animated fare as GENSOMADEN SAIYUKI -- THE MOVIE and the ULTRAMAN series.
Warner Bros. Pictures, the China Film Group and the Hengdian Group have partnered on a joint venture, Warner China Film HG Corp., to create films and television programs for the Chinese market, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The venture is the first with the People's Republic of China and a U.S. company to create filmed entertainment.
IDT Ent. announced the launch of New Arc Ent., a film production company producing live-action feature films and animated movies in the supernatural/thriller/action genre. New Arc is committed to producing multiple live-action features, several animated films and one animated series within its first 15 months of operation. John W. Hyde, coo of IDT Ent., will manage the new company.
If Disneys decade long battle over the merchandising rights to WINNIE THE POOH wasnt enough, Walt Disney Co. is now in a legal wrangling with a U.K. children's hospital over the copyright to J. M. Barrie's classic novel, PETER PAN, reports THE LONDON TELEGRAPH.
On Oct. 12, 2004, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. set its planned initial public offering at 29 million shares that could raise up to $725 million. DreamWorks Animation, a unit of the DreamWorks movie studio formed by Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen, said in a regulatory filing that it set an estimated offering price of $23 to $25 per share for the sale of 29 million Class A shares. Under the IPO, DreamWorks will offer 25 million shares and selling shareholders will sell an additional 4 million shares, according to an amended offering document filed with the U.S.
The Writers Guild of America, west has formed a New Media Writers Caucus to address the professional needs of writers working in this area of entertainment.
"There are now three major categories of screen-based entertainment: TV, movies, and games," said WGAw secretary-treasurer Patric Verrone. "We feel that new media writers and writer/designers deserve the same support and recognition that the guild offers other professional screenwriters."
New York-based visual effects studio Quiet Man launched Grasshopper, its artist-run, design-savvy sister unit. Grasshopper is located adjacent to the Quiet Man studios, and specializes in original design and visual effects. Combining design skills with technical know how, the artists of Grasshopper seamlessly bring together animation and compositing to create design-driven visual effects.