Sony Online Ent. today (May 15, 2007) announced that it has completed a transaction to purchase key assets of Sigil Games Online Inc. SOE now owns VANGUARD: SAGA OF HEROES, Sigil's tentpole property, a highly-successful massively multiplayer online game.
20th Century Fox is urging Web media site Broadcaster.com 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Digieffects, a developer of popular software plug-ins for Adobe After Effects and Apple Final Cut Pro, has agreed to be acquired by Robert Sharp, a veteran of the digital media industry. Sharp, formerly of Terran Interactive and Canopus, has agreed to acquire Digieffects and take over management of the company immediately.
Throughout the next few months, Digieffects will focus on working with users to update products in the short-term as well as define a long-term product roadmap.
DreamWorks Animation reported an unexpectedly higher first-quarter profit due to higher-than-expected DVD sales for OVER THE HEDGE and other library titles. The company reported total revenue of $93.7 million and net income of $15.4 million, or 15 cents per share on May 1, 2007, compared to revenue of $60.1 million and net income of $12.3 million or 12 cents per share, for the same period in 2006, which is an increase of nearly 55%.
In April, the first 24/7 animated cartoon TV channel "2o2" has started broadcasting in Russia, reports russia-ic.com.The new 2o2 is airing cartoons from England, France, Italy, Czechia and Japan, but the majority of air-time is given to American animated cartoons. Russian films comprise two hours per day.Targeted at an audience, 11-34, the site reports that about $15 million will be spent on the TV channel's content and promotion this year.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is objecting to the Department of Health and Human Services choice of Shrek as the spokesman for an anti-obesity campaign, reports MSNBC. The group argues that the character is involved in too many unhealthy foods promotional tie-ins for him to be an effective role model.
Flying Bark Prods. Pty. Ltd. in Autralia has joined forces with A Stark Production to establish a new company -- A Stark Ent. A Stark Ent., which comes under the umbrella of Flying Bark Prods. and will be responsible for creating and developing independent projects in children's entertainment programming.
Big Screen Ent. Group has announced it has begun the process of bringing its video and computer gaming and animation division public.
Mumbai-based entertainment powerhouse UTV Software Communications announced that its is moving its film activities to an overseas subsidiary, UTV Motion Pictures, which will be listed on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
UTV has recently dipped into co-productions on English languaged productions, including THE NAMESAKE, I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE and M. Night Shyamalan's forthcoming thriller, THE HAPPENING.
DIC Ent. has formed a Global Brand Management division to create a dynamic synergy among the company's key divisions -- Television, Home Ent. and Consumer Products. Nancy Fowler, head of global Sales, will oversee Brand Management, as well as continue to head the domestic and international Consumer Products, Television, Home Ent. and Marketing divisions at DIC. Fowler reports to Jeffrey Edell, president of DIC.
Gary Friedrich, the creator of GHOST RIDER, has filed suit against Marvel Enterprises, Sony Pictures Ent., Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, Relativity Media, Crystal Sky Pictures, Michael De Luca Prods., Hasbro Inc. and Take-Two Interactive, alleging an illegal "joint venture and conspiracy to exploit, profit from and utilize" his copyrights to the Ghost Rider character.
Colorland Animation Ltd. has entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement to acquire Singapore-based Evanton Pte. Ltd., which manufactures pharmaceuticals for animals, for $158.5 million in shares, reports BAYSTREET.CA. Colorland will issue nearly 2.2 billion shares to the vendors. The transaction is pending upon all necessary approvals and that Colorland company remains on the Singapore stock exchange.
This will allow Colorland Animation to branch out into a new business, animal pharmaceuticals.
Malaysia-based animation firm Centraline Animation Sdn Bhd has announced that it plans to expand into merchandising and publishing Q3 2007, reports BUSINESS TIMES. With an estimated revenue of RM6.8 million for 2007, the production house projects that 20% will come from merchandising. The products to be sold in Malaysia and China will include action figures, DVDs and apparel.
Sparrowhawk Media, DIC Ent. and Corus Ent. Inc.s Nelvana Enterprises have created a strategic joint venture to launch KidsCo, a multi-platform global television channel for children and families. The first launch of KidsCo is anticipated this fall in central and eastern Europe with subsequent premieres throughout 2008 and 2009 in approximately 40 territories across Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific.
Production house Paradox Ent. has started its own genre division called Grey Matter, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The new arm will make $5 million-budgeted features for video and limited theatrical release. Daniel Wagner will serve as vp production and Thommy Wojciechowskicq, former manager of creative affairs at Paradox, will serve as vp development for the new entity.
Aardman Features is in final negotiations to enter into a three-year, first-look deal with Sony Pictures Ent.
DreamWorks Animation SKG ceo Jeffrey Katzenberg was paid $1 in total compensation in 2006 upon waiving a stock grant that was to have been valued at $5 million, reports the ASSOCIATED PRESS.
Katzenberg, along with David Geffen and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, controls a majority stake in the company. Geffen and Katzenberg together control 79% of the voting power.
Japanese animation firm Think Corp. has set up a limited liability partnership fund to raise money for animation production and equity finance, reports VARIETY. The Y2 billion ($17 million) fund will hold an investment period of seven to nine years. Think will put in $854,700 with the Japanese government pitching in $8.54 million and the rest coming from private investors.
Point.360, a leading provider of integrated media management services, has acquired Hollywood-based vfx studio Eden FX (THE LAST MIMZY, SUPERMAN RETURNS, HELLBOY, LOST, 24, GHOST WHISPERER, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE, THE OFFICE).
In yet another chapter in the lengthy court case pitting Slesinger family against the Walt Disney Co. over WINNIE THE POOH licensing rights, a federal judge on March 27, 2007, dismissed three claims against Disney, reports THE LA TIMES.
However, U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper set aside nine other claims, pending the Slesinger's appeal of a related state court case.
"We're pleased with the court's decision," said Daniel Petrocelli, Disney's attorney.
Starz Ent. Llc. filed suit today (Mar. 22, 2007), in Los Angles against Buena Vista Television (BVT), a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Co., for copyright infringement and breach of contract because Disney recently began to sell for transmission over the Internet the same movies that Disney licensed exclusively to Starz. Starz filed the suit in the US District Court for the Central District of California.