Brooklyn, New York is the home of a newly formed animation studio called Dancing Diablo. The studio set up shop in January 2002, and has already taken on some high profile projects, including work on Fox Kids' upcoming series TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. Founded by director / illustrator / motion designer Beatriz Helena Ramos, who at age 22 founded Caracas Comics Studio in her native Venezuela and has worked on such projects as MTV DOWNTOWN and John R.
According to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, DreamWorks is in the process of enhancing its animation production capabilities and hopes these enhancements will cut the production time for CG animated features in half. This would allow DreamWorks to release two to three animated features per year. DreamWorks just closed two major financing transactions totaling $1.5 billion. The new financing consists of a $1 billion film securitization, which DreamWorks is labeling the first of its kind in the film industry, as well as a $500 million revolving credit facility.
Independent animation company Film Roman has reported that revenue increased by 18% or $1.7 million, to $11.1 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2002 compared to $9.4 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2001. The revenue increase is attributed to the delivery of more fee-for-services television episodes. Net loss attributable to common stock for the second quarter of 2002 was ($169,756) or ($0.02) per share compared to a net loss attributable to common stock of ($1,293,641) or ($0.15) per share for the second quarter of 2001.
Egmont Imagination, the international animation arm of Danish production and distribution company Egmont Entertainment, will be closed, according to a report in VARIETY. The announcement comes on the heels of Egmont joining forces with Danish film and television producer Nordisk Film in mid-August 2002. The new company will now be known as Nordisk Film.
The law firm of Weiss & Yourman has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of securities of the Walt Disney Company between August 15, 1997 and May 15, 2002. The complaint alleges that Disney and some of its officers and directors violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by failing to disclose to the investing public the existence, details and potential effects of a pending lawsuit over merchandising rights concerning WINNIE THE POOH.
UK-based distributor HIT Entertainment has announced the opening of HIT Entertainment Canada, Inc. Officially launched on August 1, 2002, the Toronto-based office will function under the leadership of vice president Pam Westman, and is comprised of an entirely Canadian staff who are responsible for video, DVD and audio sales and distribution, as well as marketing, consumer products, licensing and broadcast sales for HIT's brands in Canada. "HIT recognizes the importance of having a corporate office in Canada," said Rob Lawes, CEO, HIT Entertainment.
The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE (formerly Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists) has signed a contract with Spaff Animation for work on Disney's upcoming theatrical release JUNGLE BOOK 2, as well as the direct-to-video release LION KING 1 1/2. Long-time animation vet Dave Spafford, who was a lead animator on WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT, THE SECRET OF NIMH, OLIVER AND COMPANY, THE FOX AND THE HOUND and many others, runs Spaff Animation, which has provided animation for a wide variety of projects for the past 15 years.
Vancouver-based independent producer Samantha Daley has launched Nudge Productions to provide strategic production consulting, product marketing strategy, production management and sales and marketing. Her current clients include Atomic Cartoons, Pork and Beans Productions Inc. and MX Solutions. "Current market trends show production work moving from large conglomerate studios to smaller boutique studios.
It probably comes as no surprise that the incredible success of Columbia Pictures/Marvel Studios feature film release SPIDER-MAN ($800 million worldwide) has led the company into strong second quarter revenues. Revenue in this quarter rose to $71 million from $45.9 million a year ago. For its quarter ended June 30, Marvel reported a net profit of $4.2 million after provisions for preferred dividends, or 10 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $11.4 million, or 33 cents a share, a year before.
Citing the success of MONSTERS, INC. and strong sales of its Renderman animation software among other factors, Pixar Animation Studios announced higher than expected earnings for its fiscal second quarter ended June 29, 2002. For the quarter, Pixar earned $10.4 million or $0.20 per diluted share. These results compare to earnings of $8.8 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, achieved in the year-ago quarter. Revenues for the quarter were $22.8 million, as compared to $16.7 million in the year-ago quarter.
Family entertainment producer TV-Loonland AG continues to expand operations in its home entertainment unit by increasing its stake in the UK-based DVD and video distributor Metrodome Group plc, London. The deal, worth some £1.25 million (US$1.92 million), will be paid with 7.36 million Metrodome shares, increasing TV-Loonland's share in the company from 29.9% to a majority stake of 54.18%. Metrodome will subsequently assume Loonland's home entertainment rights for such series as PONGWIFFY, LITTLE GHOSTS, YVON OF THE YUKON and THE CRAMP TWINS.
Nickelodeon has bought out the other 50 percent of educational network Noggin from joint venture partner Sesame Workshop, pending customary regulatory approvals. Financial details of the buyout were not disclosed. The channel will be operated and managed by Nickelodeon, with Noggin general manager Tom Ascheim continuing to oversee the networks day-to-day operations. Ascheim will report to Herb Scannell, president, Nickelodeon, TV Land and The New TNN.
IMotion Picture Screen Cartoonists, Local 839 IATSE will now be known as The Animation Guild. The union, which represents animators, designers, technical crafts and story people in the animation field, has been known by its former name (or the acronym MPSC) for over fifty years. But effective with its approval by the IATSE general executive board on July 23 and the Local 839 membership on July 30, 2002, the union will now official be known as The Animation Guild and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts, Local 839 IATSE.
Strega Imaging, a new visual FX and motion graphics design company, has opened its doors in Universal City, California. Partners and co-creative directors Colin Cheer and Michael Jackson gained their industry experience from their previous work on an eclectic array of projects. Cheer, an illustrator and designer, was involved in the early days of the desktop publishing revolution, and in 1997 he was recruited to head the 3D effects team at 525 Studios, working on effects for the series THE OUTER LIMITS along with other film and video projects.
AtomTelevision, a new joint venture between Internet short film provider AtomFilms and Global Media Holdings, has announced it will launch a digital network in early 2003 using its extensive library of short films and animation titles. As part of AtomTelevision's debut, the company is announcing the launch of its VOD (video-on-demand) initiative, Atom on Demand.
Despite the strong box office performance of recent hits LILO & STITCH and THE ROOKIE, The Walt Disney Company has reported lower than expected earnings for the quarter and nine months ended June 30, 2002. Referencing the downturn in the international and domestic travel and tourism industry as well as the economy as a whole, Disney cited in particular the drop-off of attendance at its domestic theme parks and resorts, and the lack of television advertising dollars at the ABC television network.
Vancouver, Canada's Pork and Beans Productions recently moved to a brand new 5000 square foot studio in the Yaletown district of Vancouver. The company is expanding to accommodate a growing staff as they prepare to start Flash animation production on the series YAKKITY YAK, in association with Studio B Productions. Distributed by MTV Networks International, YAKKITY YAK was created by Australian company Kapow Pictures and follows the life of a yak that longs for his big break into show business. It is scheduled to broadcast on Teletoon and Nickelodeon Australia in 2003.
NorthAmerican anime distributor A.D. Vision, Inc. (ADV), has partneredwith CoMix Wave, Inc., a Japanese anime and manga management andproduction company, to promote and popularize CoMix Wave's creativetalent and holdings. CoMix Wave manages more than 50 of Japan's topmanga artists and illustrators, and works to discover and promote newtalent within the industry. The company also manages production --both in Japan and overseas -- of a variety of anime projects,
Pixar Animation Studios has settled its lawsuit againstsoftware developer Exluna, Inc. The settlement resolves all pendinglitigation and any other disputes between the two companies. Exluna,a privately held software company specializing in softwaredevelopment technology for film quality graphics rendering, wascharged with the misappropriation of trade secrets, copyrightinfringement and patent infringement. In a separate announcement,NVIDIA Corp. announced the acquisition of Exluna, Inc. as part of
Disney has already announced plans to capitalize on the success of its 2D animated summer hit LILO & STITCH with a direct-to-video sequel and a television series. Thomas Schumacher, head of Disney Feature Animation, made the announcement. The video sequel, currently entitled STITCH! -- THE MOVIE, is slated for release in 2003 and will serve as a bridge between the feature film and the television series, currently under development with the working title of STITCH! -- THE TV SERIES, and set to launch on Disney Channel in fall 2003. In STITCH!
On July 9, 2002 children's television producer Nelvana laid off 65 staff in its production department across all positions. According to a Nelvana spokesperson, the move was part of a strategic reorganization of the department to shift towards a team-based production unit with a smaller full-time staff, allowing the incorporation of more contract positions. Some of those laid off were given call-back dates for employment on future Nelvana projects. Nelvana is owned by Corus Entertainment, a Canadian-based media and entertainment company.
Studio City, California-based animation studio Fred Films has signed an agreement with the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees and its Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839 IATSE (Local 839). Fred Films and Local 839 have been in negotiations since the union received representation cards from a majority of the company's staff.
German animation company RTV Family Entertainment has written off 100 million Euros in a bid to keep the company alive, after the collapse of the Kirch Media Group and other precipitating factors led to a near collapse of RTV last month. RTV has returned all shares in Dutch documentary production company Off the Fence to Ellen Windemuth, former owner and previous managing director. In return, Windemuth releases RTV from its financial obligations. In addition, RTV has written off Sydney, Australia-based subsidiary Energee Entertainment in its entirety.
Spanish production companies MSL and Grupo Trimagen have recently signed a joint venture agreement to create animated programming. The new international company, MSL-TRIMAGEN, will develop, produce and market a wide range of animated series and feature films. The company is currently working at the head offices in Madrid and Barcelona on several projects, including BUNNIBAL, a 26 x 13-minute animated series currently in pre-production.
LightWork Design, a supplier of computer graphics software for rendering, simulation and verification solutions, announced the formation of a strategic partnership with graphics hardware developer 3Dlabs. The two companies will work together to enhance the interactive performance of the LightWorks rendering engine when used with 3Dlabs hardware. LightWorks provides a range of rendering and lighting simulation capabilities to any application program dealing with 3D objects or environments.