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.
With no staff and no senior management, it seems as though Vancouver-based Sextant Entertainment Group Inc., co-producers of THE MR. HELL SHOW!, is no longer in business. A press release issued by Sextant announced that the company has been put into receivership after it was unable to come to an arrangement with creditors pursuant to the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) that Sextant had been granted in early June.
Internet animation provider Mondo Media has entered into a contentagreement with cable network Comedy Central for "Cartoon of the Day,"featuring the best of Mondo Mini Shows on comedycentral.com. Theshows will be culled from Mondo Media's library of over 3,000 minutesof original animation, including series such as THE GOD & DEVIL SHOW,HAPPY TREE FRIENDS and HEAVY METAL GUY. As part of the agreement,Mondo will also supply Comedy Central with the best material fromother third-party Internet animation creators, including several
Lucasfilm Ltd. has spun off itsTHX digital cinema division as an independent company, THX Ltd.Lucasfilm remains an investor in the newly formed, privately heldcompany, along with other corporate and private investors. Theformation of THX Ltd. will allow the company the opportunity toexpand into markets outside of Lucasfilm's core areas. THX Ltd. willreorganize its programs and services into five key areas: THXStudio, THX Cinema, THX Home, THX Mobile and THX Games. In the
Digital Production Management(DPM) systems provider NXN Software has expanded its Japaneseoperations by opening a new subsidiary in Tokyo and appointingindustry veteran Shigemitsu Ejiri as vice president of sales, Japan.Ejiri comes to NXN Software from Borland, Japan, where he served asthe vice president of sales. Prior to Borland, Ejiri spent 16 yearsat Nichimen Corporation, holding the position of executive directorand head of sales for four years. NXN DPM solutions are used to
Thinking about a career inthe game development industry? Well, pick up a copy of GAME DEVELOPERmagazine's July 2002 issue to read the results of its annual gamedeveloper salary survey. The survey indicates that the gamedevelopment industry has remained healthy despite the downturn in theoverall U.S. economy. According to GAME DEVELOPER, the average gameprogrammer's salary is $66,000 and a technical director with six ormore years experience earns an average of $104,000. On average, game
German children's television producer RTV Family Entertainment has received a temporary reprieve from its financial woes in the form of a bridge credit line issued by a banking syndicate. The funds are backed by a letter of credit from RTV's majority shareholder Ravensburger AG, and will enable the floundering company to cover all current and past due liabilities. RTV still needs approximately 4 million Euro (US$3.7M) to continue operations through the end of the year.
The 2003edition of The Brussels Cartoon and Animation Festival will have anew look, with a poster created by Spanish artist Carles Porta, and anew name -- Anima 2003. Since 1982, Brussels has hosted the annualevent devoted to animation and welcomed such animation luminaries asTim Burton, Paul Grimault, Kihachiro Kawamoto, John Lasseter, RenéLaloux, Peter Lord, Moebius, Yuri Norstein and Nick Park. Over thepast five years the festival organizers have initiated a
German animation producer RTV FamilyEntertainment has announced that the recent collapse of Kirch Mediaand co-production partner Phenomedia, as well as losses from baddebts with foreign partners, has led to a rapid deterioration of thecompany's financial situation. A May 2002 cancellation of a 5 millionEuro (approximately US$4.7M) credit line from a major Austrian bankhas added to the company's dire financial straits. According to apress release issued by RTV, the company needs between 6 and 7
JustAction Group, international distributors for BUTT UGLY MARTIANS, hasrecently merged with rights management and distribution companyTarget. Just Group, which collapsed last year after CEO WilfShorrocks and commercial director Paula Shorrock were dismissed, duein part to a revision of expected revenue from BUTT UGLY MARTIANSplus a less than successful purchase of publishers MediaKey, has hada recent cash infusion of 1.85M pounds (US$2.7M) from itsshareholders, who have agreed to acquire a majority shareholding in
U.S. producer of anime and manga Viz Communications, Inc. has partnered with manga publisher Shueisha Inc. to launch a new mass-market boys' magazine. Viz currently produces Japanese animation and comics in English with over 20 monthly titles. The new monthly magazine, to be launched in November 2002, will be patterned after Shueisha's magazine SHONEN JUMP and will feature the manga from which many of the world's most popular anime properties such as DRAGON BALL Z and YU-GI-OH were derived. "U.S. kids know all about anime due to exposure on television," said Yamaji.
Children's videogame publisher NewKidCo International Inc. has announced that the company's first quarter 2002 results were in line with its budget. The net loss of $1.8 million versus net income of $.3 million for the same period last year was a result of increased selling and marketing expenditures as part of the overall plan by NewKidCo to support its broad product rollout for the year (selling and marketing costs have been expensed as incurred).
Nicktoons TV, the newly launched 24-hour network devoted to Nickelodeon animation, will be available on AT&T Digital Cable beginning July 1, 2002. The channel offers an ongoing mix of current and past Nicktoons such as SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, THE WILD THORNBERRYS, THE REN AND STIMPY SHOW, DOUG, RUGRATS and AHHH! REAL MONSTERS. In addition, Nicktoons TV will feature acquired Warner Bros. contemporary classics such as PINKY AND THE BRAIN, TINY TOON ADVENTURES and ANIMANIACS.
Film Roman, Inc. has announced an agreement with Portland, Oregon-based animation house Mongadillo Studios to develop the original web cartoon SHAWKS into a television series. SHAWKS details the struggle of four eight year olds to rid the world of its most evil foe -- sharks masquerading as people.
ABC Cable Networks Group will be launching its Disney Channel Asia service in Korea on June 1, 2002. Korea Digital Satellite Broadcasting (KDB), Korea's first direct-to-home service provider, will carry Disney Channel's Asia service on channel 654 under its Skylife brand name. The Korean Broadcasting Commission granted Disney Channel approval as a foreign re-transmission channel early in 2002. Negotiations between KDB and Disney began in the middle of 2001 and culminated in the recent agreement.
60,000 interactive entertainment professionals from more than 70 countries converged on the Los Angeles Convention Center for the eighth annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3Expo). According to the show's owner, the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA), approximately 400 exhibitors showcased thousands of new computer and video games and products, including more than 1,000 never-before-seen titles.
Sunbow Entertainment and The N, Noggin's new network for tweens, have signed a co-development deal for the anime comedy KAPPA MIKEY. Targeted at 9 14 year old kids, the series mixes comedy and action in a satire of anime-style animation and American cluelessness about foreign culture. The series was created by Larry Schwarz, founder of the kids entertainment company Rumpus. Sunbows parent company, TV-Loonland, holds the worldwide television and video distribution rights to KAPPA MIKEY.
The editors of The Little Black Book of Visual Effects have partnered with entertainment consulting company Razorview, Inc. to launch lbbvfx.com, an online resource for the visual effects community. The print version of The Little Black Book of Visual Effects currently lists approximately 4,900 qualified visual effects professionals, all of whom are now part of the online resource. All new applicants to lbbvfx.com are provided with a basic listing for free as long as they have verifiable credits and references.
Canadian-based media company Corus Entertainment Inc. has acquired a 50% interest in pay television network Locomotion, an animation channel available in over 7 million homes throughout Latin America and Iberia. Corus announced it purchased the interest in Locomotion from the Claxson Interactive Group, Inc., for a maximum consideration of US$10.5 million and a holdback in the event of certain economic changes that may impact revenue projections. The remaining 50% interest in Locomotion is held by U.S.-based communications giant the Hearst Corporation.