Time Warner Inc. withdrew its bid for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on Monday and Sony Corp. rushed in to buy the studio for nearly $5 billion, VARIETY reported. The deal provides Sony with the largest library in Hollywood (nearly 8,000 films) along with valuable assets to set up TV distribution deals, and the chance to own such mega franchises as the James Bond film series.
Radar Pictures of Los Angeles (THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK and THE LAST SAMURAI) has agreed to a minority interest in the Canadian visual effects group of companies that includes C.O.R.E. Feature Animation and C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures of Toronto.
Said Bob Munroe, president/co-founder of C.O.R.E.: "Partnering with one of Hollywood's most successful independent production companies will give us greater access to the resources required to bring major animated feature films to market.
Hunt Valley, Maryland-based computer game company BreakAway Ltd. has announced the opening of a new development studio in Austin, Texas. With growth in its government and entertainment divisions over the past year, BreakAway has seen revenues jump 50% since the start of 2004, while the company has added more than 20 new employees during the past six months.
Walt Disney Co.s ceo Michael Eisner has announced that he is stepping down from his post when his contract expires in Sept. 2006, reports the WALL STREET JOURNAL. This move ends Eisners two-decade reign at the mega-corporation and comes six months after former board members Stanley Gold and Roy Disney tried to oust him from the firm. Gold and Disneys efforts did lead to Eisner being removed as chairman. Disney president Robert Iger is Eisners "preferred choice" to succeed him.
The Motion Picture Sound Editors board of directors has voted to create a new category of membership for foley artists. The MPSE is dedicated to improving recognition of its members by educating the entertainment community as to the artistic merit of sound editing and related arts.
"I consider this to be a huge step forward for our organization, said MPSE president David Bondelevitch. This decision will allow us to grow not only in size and stature, but in the scope of what we hope to accomplish."
On Sept. 1, 2004, TV-Loonland filed to have its 7,156,969 shares listed on the British AIM market as a second listing. The shares are expected to be admitted and start trading on September 30, 2004, subject to the LSEs approval. The filing used a fast track route process an abbreviated admission procedure for companies already listed on other selected stock exchanges.
Video game publisher Acclaim Ent. Inc. filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation on Sept. 2, 2004 upon its failure to secure new financing, reports REUTERS. The move is a result of the companys recent lack of hit games and faced lawsuits from some of its licensees, including teen superstars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and BMX biking star Dave Mirra.
The SwordStaff.com booth at the Canadian National Expo, a comic, sci-fi and horror, convention, was raided by police after the authorities were tipped off that the company was selling illegal weapons. The online company sells replica swords, daggers, maces and war hammers from movies and television series. Four Americans and two Canadians were arrested on multiple counts of possessing and selling prohibited weapons.
SEGA Corp. has announced plans to enter the Chinese market for online gaming. In preparation for full-scale business operations in China, the company has established a branch office in Shanghai -- SEGA (Shanghai) Software Co. SEGA views the Chinese a strategic market for growth in multiplayer online gaming market with more than 10 million online gamers. The company plans to establish the regional business through its local branch offices, with content designed to appeal to market-specific tastes and demand.
Ludlow Music has withdrawn its demands that JibJab Media stop using Woody Guthrie's THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND tune in the Web short, THIS LAND, because it was discovered that Ludlow does not own the copyright, reports WIRED. JibJab's lawyers discovered that anyone can record their own version of the song, because the copyright has expired.
Discovery Communications has acquired the Charles W. Clark Co. Inc., doing business as Rainbow Educational Media an award-winning publisher and distributor of high-quality core-curriculum educational videos, CD-ROMs and DVDs for children and young people in kindergarten through eighth grade. This acquisition further expands the vast digital library of Discovery's newly formed Discovery Education business unit, providing video content to enhance the classroom learning environment.
Los Angeles-based family entertainment company PorchLight Entertainment has been acquired by its senior management and Beringea through Global Rights II, a media, brand and intellectual property rights fund.
In an effort to grow the animation industry in the country, China has announced that it will encourage private investors developing and creating animated films and TV series, reports CHINA DAILY. In terms with the Opinions Regarding Development of Animation and Comic Industry for Film and TV Programs in China, the State Broadcasting and Radio Administration promised that trustworthy, privately-financed cartoon making agencies would be treated equally with state-backed animation and comic production organizations.
Toon Boom Animation Inc. has appointed two new resellers in China and Korea. As part of its new distribution strategy in Asia, Dison Computer Graphics & Image Company Ltd. will now take care of Toon Boom's products throughout Mainland China, while CS M&C Technology Inc. will do the same in Korea. Both Dison and CS M&C will also provide first-line support to Toon Boom's local customers within the same time zone and language.
As part of the release of YU-GI-OH! THE MOVIE, Warner Bros. Pictures handed out one of four new YU-GI-OH! trading cards to people who attended the film. Like the same type of promotion for the original POKEMON movie, fans were hot to get their hands on the collectibles. However, two fans in Chino, California took it to a criminal extent. The two posed as Warner Bros.
Taffy Entertainment, the new business unit of Mike Young Productions (MYP) has launched its brand new licensing division to be headed by veteran licensing specialist Eric Stein as vp of licensing.
Stein is a former licensing exec with Lucasfilm and MGM/United Artists and the founder of consulting firm Eric Stein Entertainment (ESE). Topping on his agenda is to develop and implement the licensing strategy and program for the companys groundbreaking 3D, CGI-animated character-comedy PET ALIEN.
According to TrendWatch, previsualization is rapidly gaining acceptance among producers and directors, with 39% of all studios/facilities currently doing previs tasks along with eight out of 10 vfx studios.
This TrendWatch Fast Fact is good news in terms of shrinking budgets and shorter production cycles.
TrendWatch Inc. (www.trendwatch.com) is a market research firm located in Mill Valley, California.
For the next step in JibJab Media's potential legal problems over its use of Woody Guthrie's song "This Land Is Your Land" in its newest political satire, the company has asked a California district court to declare that it did not violate the copyrights of Ludlow Music, the owner of the tune, reports WIRED.
The family of THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT composer Solomon "Mbube" Linda has filed a suit against The Walt Disney Co. for the use of the song in the film, THE LION KING, reports VARIETY. The copyright infringement suit, filed in South Africa's Pretoria High Court, is for $1.6 million. Disney has until Aug. 12, 2004 to respond to the claims or be ruled against by default.
Lucasfilm Ltd. has announced that it has established Lucasfilm Animation Singapore, a digital animation studio designed to produce digital animated content, including films, television and games for global audiences. Gail Currey, vp/gm of Lucasfilm Animation, will lead the Singapore-based creative team. The other investors in the venture include EDB Investments Pte Ltd. and Creative Technology Ltd.
EM.TV AG and DeAPlaneta have expanded their joint venture, Planeta Junior from Spain and Portugal, into Italy, through the Italian media group DeAgostini, which holds a 50% share in DeAPlaneta, together with the Planeta Group. With the marketing expertise of DeAgostini in Italy, the partners intend to make Planeta Junior one of the leading players in the Italian market.
Evan and Gregg Spiridellis have been making political cartoons since the inception of their of JibJab Media, but their newest short set to the tune of Woody Guthrie's classic song, "This Land Is Your Land" has garnered them worldwide fame and legal troubles. The film, which has President George W. Bush and his opponent Senator John Kerry exchanging insults, has spurred legal action against JibJab from Ludlow Music, who owns the copyright to Guthrie's tune.