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Category: Business

Business Headline News

Sony Slashes 10,000 Jobs

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 22, 2005 at 12:00am

On Sept. 20, 2005, Sony Corp. announced it would cut about 7% of its global work force, sell more than $1 billion in assets and post a loss this year, reports REUTERS. The company hopes to gain 210 billion yen ($1.9 billion) in restructuring charges in next the two business years through March 2007 as it closes plants and slashes 10,000 jobs. With the move, Sony hopes to catch up with Matsushita Electric Industrial and Sharp Corp. in the flat TV market as well as Apple Computer in the portable music industry.

Media Headline News

Triple Take Marches with CowParade

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 22, 2005 at 12:00am

Triple Take Media and CowParade Holdings Corp., a world-renowned organization whose cow motif art and collectible figurines have spawned a multimillion dollar franchise, have established a joint venture designed to expand the beloved COWPARADE brand into all areas of media and merchandising.

Headline News

WGA Elects Toon Writer as President

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 21, 2005 at 12:00am

Taking 69% of the ballots cast, animation writer Patric Verrone was elected president of the Writers Guild of America West, reports VARIETY. Verrone, a co-producer of THE SIMPSONS and a screenwriter for several other animated series, ran on the platform of following through on the efforts by the guild to organize animation, cable and the reality TV arena. Previously, he served two terms as the WGA West's secretary-treasurer.

Production Headline News

Bridgepoint to Merge with Marathon

European private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital has signed a merger deal with Marathon, which will create a major new production and distribution group in France, reports C21 and was confirmed by Bridgepoint Capital (which also owns production giant All3Media).

Bridgepoint's French division, Financière Héra (Finhera), has been pursuing Marathon. Finhera is lead by Eric Licoy, previously a top executive at Vivendi Universal when Jean-Marie Messier was ceo.

Film Headline News

Chomets' Studio Draws Animators to Scotland

French-born Sylvain Chomet and his producer wife Sallys studio in Edinburgh, Scotland is creating an influx of animators to the city, reports SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY. Django Films is set to hire up to 250 artists to work on the two feature projects.

The first film is THE ILLUSIONIST, a £10m animated being funded by Pathé Pictures. A second project is in the works with Universal for a computer-animated feature titled, THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX.

Studios Headline News

Hollywood Center Studios Debuts New VFX Shooting Stage

Addressing the needs of commercial producers and others involved in high-end visual effects production, Hollywood Center Studios has unveiled a new 4,500-square-foot shooting stage with a three-wall, hard cove cyc. Dubbed Stage 12, the new space can accommodate the popular motorized Fisher Light rigs, making it ideal for car shoots, as well as bluescreen or greenscreen work.

Headline News

ASIFA-Hollywood Opens Animation Archive

The Board of Directors of ASIFA-Hollywood has announced that the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive will be opening to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm beginning Sept. 20, 2005. The Board of Directors of ASIFA-Hollywood has announced that the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive will be opening to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm beginning Sept. 20, 2005.

Design Headline News

Mr. Wonderful Design and VFX Studio Launches in New York

Industry veterans David Gioiella and Mark Littman have launched Mr. Wonderful, a new design and vfx company. The entity is an offshoot of their Northern Lights Post boutique and will cater to high-end broadcast design, feature film and television projects.

Digital Headline News

Disney Embraces Christie Digital Projection System

The Walt Disney Studios' distribution arm, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution (BVPD), and Access Integrated Technologies' (AccessIT) Christie/AIX unit have entered into a groundbreaking non-exclusive agreement to supply feature films from Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures to DCI-compliant digital projection systems to be deployed by Christie/AIX. Christie/AIX will install between 2,500 and 4,000 systems throughout the United States and Canada over the next two years.

Shorts Headline News

Soup2Nuts Creates New Shorts Division

Animation production company Soup2Nuts, is launching a new state-of-the-art division, Condensed Soup, dedicated to producing commercials, animated shorts, webisodes and network branding.

Best known for cable hits HOME MOVIES (Adult Swim), OGRADY (Noggin/ The N) and DR. KATZ: PROFESSIONAL THERAPIST (Comedy Central), Soup2Nuts decided it was timely to take the studios unique humor and animation style into the world of animated shorts and commercials.

Company Headline News

New York’s Quiet Man Celebrates 10 Years of VFX

In many respects, Quiet Man functions much as it sounds. The New York visual effects company is decidedly low-key and casual, reflecting the comfortable confidence with which they ply their craft. However, Since opening their doors a decade ago, the creative studio has enjoyed a, for the most part uninterrupted, growth in status and reputation in the advertising industry, in which they are renowned for the high level of aesthetic and technical finesse they bring to their visual effects work.

Headline News

Art Supplies Needed for Katrina Survivors

By Rick DeMott | Tuesday, September 13, 2005 at 12:00am

The School of Art at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, through the offices of NASAD The National Association of Schools of Art and Design, an organization that accredits art and design programs, has issued a call for art supplies to help the children and artists affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Animation Headline News

Hangzhou Designing to Become Animation Capital

Following the first China International Animation Festival held this past June in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang province, the government has released 15 new measures to help build the area into an "animation capital," reports PEOPLE'S DAILY ONLINE. The incentives call for developing animation industry in Hangzhou over a five-year plan period.

Channel Headline News

Indian and Malaysian Studios to Launch Two Kids Channels

UTV Software Communications Ltd. of India has announced a joint venture with the Malaysia-based Astro, a DTH and pay TV operator, to create two new channels in the region, reports the BUSINESS STANDARD. UTV will handle the content, marketing and brand building with the capital investment coming entirely from Astro. UTV will receive nearly $1 million a year as well as an option to invest up to 20% equity in the channel at par over three years.

Entertainment Headline News

War of the Worlds Helps Paramount Post Record Summer

Paramount Pictures has delivered the biggest summer at the domestic box office in the studio's history, with $503,031,989, besting the previous record of $412M, set in 1994, when the studio released FORREST GUMP.

Series Headline News

Global Mechanic Launches New TV Series Division

Vancouver and Boston-based production company Global has created a new TV series division anchored by three new animation projects: 20 episodes of a new series for PBS and WGBH called FETCH!; three childrens books for the next season of the award-winning PBS series, BETWEEN THE LIONS, produced by WGBH Boston, Sirius Thinking Ltd. and Mississippi Public Broadcasting; and a five-episode original series created by Lincoln Pierce for a new programming block on Cartoon Network.

Media Headline News

News Corp. to Acquire IGN Ent.

News Corp. announced today that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire IGN Ent. Inc, a leading community-based Internet media and services company for videogames and other forms of digital entertainment, for approximately $650 million in cash. IGN and its network of sites would then be folded into News Corp.s Fox Interactive Media unit.

Marvel Headline News

Marvel Launches Independently Financed Film Slate

Marvel Enterprises Inc. announced the completion of a $525 million non-recourse debt facility, which will finance Marvel's production of up to 10 films based on characters from its stable of comicbook characters, including Captain America, Nick Fury and The Avengers. Paramount will distribute the film slate, with the first theatrical release expected for summer 2008. This arrangement gives Marvel complete creative control, the ability to build a film library and greater profit potential than it has received from films licensed to other studios.

Turbo Headline News

Turbo Squid Weathers Hurricane Katrina

We at AWN were relieved to hear at last from Beau Perschall, vp of publishing for Turbo Squid, who reports the New Orleans-based 3D software company has weathered hurricane Katrina. He shared that the company is slowly reconnecting its many tentacles while the site has remained alive through the ordeal.

He was able to evacuate his family to stay with friends in North Carolina and is hearing that his house and others are intact for the most part.

Effects Headline News

Zoic Adds New Stage and Pyro Backlot

Zoic Studios recently added a 5,000 square-foot stage to its facilities. The stage, located adjacent to the NOHO Arts District in North Hollywood, California, features a motion control rig with camera, a full grip and lighting package, greenscreen stage, green room and hair and make up room. It also has a parking lot and an outdoor area for pyrotechnical shoots.

To date, Zoic has utilized the stage for commercial projects for HP and Samsung, as well as shoots for the television episodic CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION.

Online Headline News

Li Ka-shing Invests in Online Game Animation

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 1, 2005 at 12:00am

Li Ka-shing, one of the worlds richest men, will invest more than RMB 2 billion to create a company for online games animation, reports CHINA KNOWLEDGE. Experts believe that the main investors of the development project will be Li Ka-shings Cheung Kong Holdings, and Hutchison Whampoa (60% stake) as well as some local enterprises in Guangzhou (40% stake). The facility will be located near the Guangzhou International Toy and Gift Centre.

Mainframe Headline News

Mainframe Launches Expanded Creative Services Division

Mainframe Ent. Inc. has launched a full service Creative Services division that will specialize in all areas of graphic design, motion graphics, titling, opening sequences and branding. The first project of the newly-expanded division will be an alliance with McLean Mashingaidze-Greaves to design the new website for the popular TV Series PINK PLANET, which airs on CityTV, Vancouver. will feature e-commerce, video blogs and wi-fi based social networking. In addition, the division is working with IDT Ent.

Film Headline News

Zaentz & New Line Reach Deal for Rings Royalties

Earlier this month, Saul Zaentz and New Line reached a settlement on a $20 million lawsuit in regards to royalties on the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, reports VARIETY. Zaentzs company, who purchased the rights to the books in 1976, has made nearly $168 million from the film series without having actually served as a producer on the film. The additional money earned via the suit was not released by either party. The case was set to go to trial on July 19, but the two parties went into negotiations instead.

Japan Headline News

Japanese Book Distributor Buys American Stone Bridge Press

Yohan Inc. of Tokyo has purchased Stone Bridge Press, an English-language publisher based in Berkeley, California, specializing in books about Japan and Asia. Founded in 1989 by publisher and editor-in-chief Peter Goodman, the company has more than 85 titles in print and has received numerous awards for publishing excellence.

Interactive Headline News

Atari Sells off Humongous Ent. for $10.3 Million

Atari Inc., a leader in interactive entertainment, has sold its Humongous Entertainment studio to Infogrames Ent. SA, the company's majority stockholder, for approximately $10.3 million.

About $2 million of the purchase price represents pre-payment of future costs Atari will incur related to platform royalty advances, manufacturing costs and milestone payments. Atari will have exclusive distribution rights for Humongous products in the U.S., Canada and Mexico through at least March 31, 2006.