A state appeals court in California reinstated WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? novelist Gary K. Wolf's lawsuit against Walt Disney Co., claiming that Disney owes Wolf millions of dollars in merchandising royalties, reported the ASSOCIATED PRESS. This lawsuit is very similar to the one brought against Disney by the Slesinger family, owners of the WINNIE THE POOH copyright.
Using 165 seats of primarily Maya Unlimited, Maya proved invaluable as the core 3D animation software utilized in the production of THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has denied an appeal by Clare Milne and Disney to recapture the rights under copyright to Winnie the Pooh from the Slesinger family, originally granted in an agreement with author A. A. Milne in the '30s.
In November of 2002, Disney said Clare Milne had initiated complex copyright-law maneuvers in an effort to reclaim the rights to Pooh. In May, a Federal District court ruled in favor of the Slesingers, leading to Milne's appeal, which Disney joined.
Raven Moon Entertainment Inc. has formed a new animation company called Raven Animation Inc., with plans to target former Disney/MGM animators that recently lost their jobs on Jan. 12 because of the closing of Disney's animation operations at Disney/MGM studios in Orlando, Florida.
Stargate Digital, the visual effects studio based in Pasadena, Californa, has opened a new facility, Stargate Digital UK, at London's historic Pinewood Studios.
The new high-speed, deep storage digital facility is modeled after Stargate's growing and groundbreaking Los Angeles and Vancouver studios. All three studios will be linked via a state-of-the art high-speed, high-resolution digital network and will be able to quickly and efficiently work on projects and pool talent.
Paramount Home Ent. will be PBS Home Video's new video distribution partner for the U.S. and Canada. Beginning April 5, 2004, Paramount will bring PBS DVD and VHS releases to retailers across the country. The PBS Home Video library features award-winning titles such as THE CIVIL WAR, BASEBALL, JAZZ and many other acclaimed films from Ken Burns, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE's portrait of SEABISCUIT and the popular children's franchises, CAILLOU, SAGWA THE CHINESE SIAMESE CAT and TELETUBBIES, among others.
ABC Cable Networks, Fox Kids Europe and Fox Kids Latin America have teamed up to launch Jetix, a joint kids programming worldwide alliance that will feature original, acquired and library action/adventure series for kids to reach a combined 137 million television households in 77 countries and in 18 languages.
Featuring such popular action programs such as POWER RANGERS, Jetix programming blocks will debut in the U.S. in February 2004, with morning programming on ABC Family and primetime shows on Toon Disney.
Walt Disney Feature Animation has officially closed its animation unit in Orlando, Florida that was responsible for BROTHER BEAR ($83.6M), LILO & STITCH ($146M) and MULAN ($121M) as a cost-cutting measure. In November, Disney cancelled production of A FEW GOOD GHOSTS, leaving little doubt about the fate of its 258 employees based in Florida.
A group of former Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida animators have banded together to open Legacy Animation Studios, a new animation production studio in Winter Garden, Florida, close to Orlando in late January 2004. The studio will offer a full-range of traditional hand-drawn (or 2D) animation services for film, television and commercials. Legacy will also be dedicated to developing original properties for television and film as well as produce its own feature film project.
Vancouver Canada-based Global Mechanic has expanded its operations to the United States in order to serve its increased business in commercial, television production, and independent film work.
Infinium Labs, Inc., formerly Global Business Resources Inc., has completed the acquisition of Infinium Labs Operating Corp., and in the mix now owns Phantom Game Service. The Phantom Game Service is a next-generation gaming system that supports games on-demand, game rentals, game demos, seamless upgrades and patch management.
Franck Le Calvez, a French children's author and aquarium buff, has sued Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios, claiming FINDING NEMO bears an uncanny resemblance to his illustrated book, PIERROT LE POISSON CLOWN, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
Telefilm Canada has made a number of changes to its management structure to reflect its commitment to an asymmetrical approach to the film and television industries, based on the particular characteristics and levels of maturity of the English- and French-language markets; to its efforts to increase the synergy between core programs and international activities to ensure Canadas competitiveness in the global market; and to offer improved client service through closer ties with the industry.
Lost Dreams Studios producer/director Jeremy Evans found his dream when he decided to move his small, hometown production company from Iowa to New York City.
Comcast is expected to acquire Paul Allen's computer-info channel TechTV for about $300 million, to merge it with Comcast's fledgling G4 channel, reports VARIETY, in an effort to boost its programming assets and subscriber reach.
The merger of G4 and TechTV, would combine the best original programming of each into a videogame-focused, computer and technology-based network, reaching around 45 million subs, targeted to the highly desirable male 18-34 demo.
Global Entertainment Media Group, LLC (GEM Group), has acquired the film library of BMG, the worldwide music division of Bertelsmann AG. This includes all residual rights to the BMG film library that has been in existence since 1995, including free television, DVD, home video and other ancillary rights to the films.
CINAR Corp. has rescheduled a special meeting of shareholders to approve the arrangements for the acquisition of the company by Michael Hirsh, Toper Taylor and TD Capital Canadian Private Equity Partners. The meeting, previously scheduled for Jan. 15, 2004, will now be held on Feb. 5, 2004. It was rescheduled in order to provide time to resolve certain withholding tax issues for CINAR shareholders.
Marvel Enterprises Inc. has acquired the business and certain assets of New York City-based Cover Concepts, a small company specializing in the distribution of free, sponsored materials to public schools across the U.S. Cover Concepts sells advertising space on those materials, which include book covers, bookmarks, locker posters, teaching guides, health & beauty samples, calendars, stickers, notepads, folders, coloring sheets, incentive programs and growth charts. Major advertising customers have included Gatorade, McDonalds and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Durfee Foundation has announced the deadlines for the 2004 ARC grant program. ARC grants are awarded on a quarterly basis to approximately 10 Los Angeles artists. The artists can be working with any medium. Grant requests may be for up to $2,500. Applications must be postmarked on or before the following deadlines:
First Quarter: February 3, 2004For presentations between March 4 and August 4, 2004
Second Quarter: May 4, 2004For presentations between June 3 and November 3, 2004
Third Quarter: August 3, 2004
Delivering on its promise to expand in the arena of entertainment distribution, IDT Ent. agreed on Dec. 11, 2003, with NorthStar Entertainment Group, Inc., a subsidiary of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc. (CBN) to create a joint venture that will develop, produce and distribute family friendly entertainment programming.
This came on the heels of IDTs acquisition of DVD, home video distributor, Anchor Bay Ent. on Dec. 3 for $60 million, which became final on Dec. 11.
While NBC awaits final approval of its bid to buy Universal, the studio has promoted Mary Parent and Scott Stuber from production president to vice chairman, worldwide production, for Universal Pictures. In their newly-created positions Parent and Stuber will continue to oversee the worldwide acquisition, creative development and production of all Universal Pictures feature films, and will also oversee Universal's original made-for-video productions as well as the creative development and production of its original animation properties.
Toronto-based Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. announced Dec. 10, 2003 that it is essentially stopping TV and movie production with the departure of entertainment group ceo Peter Sussman and Seaton McLean, the group's president, production. The company will hone its activities down to primarily specialty channel broadcasting and TV/film distribution.
Metal rocker-turned-film director Rob Zombie and author-cartoonist Steve Niles have formed a new production company, Creep Entertainment Intl, reported VARIETY. The firm already has lined-up three comicbook inspired projects -- THE NAIL with Dark Horse Comics, BIGFOOT with IDW Comics and LORDS OF SALEM. Zombie and Niles have co-written the scripts for all three films.
IDT Entertainment plans to wrap up the holidays by acquiring yet another entertainment company, buying home video distributor, Anchor Bay Entertainment Group, from Handleman Co. for about $60 million. With this purchase, expected to clear in late December 2003, IDT adds an important a vital distribution component to its rapidly, escalading entertainment empire.
e frontier and Curious Labs have merged in an effort to "create greater synergy of products and business models." "e frontier has the reputation as one of the top selling 3D tools in Asia," said Curious Labs' ceo Marc Keohane. "Curious Labs has the well established Poser product. Combined, we will now offer a worldwide solution for the creative 3D artist community."
The new company will retain the separate names of each entity making e frontier the parent company of Curious Labs in the U.S.