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Films Headline News

HBO & New Line Acquire Newmarket

Time Warner sister companies HBO and New Line Cinema have acquired independent distributor Newmarket Films and hired its chief, Bob Berney, to run a new venture, reports REUTERS. Newmarket is best know for taking the risk in releasing Mel Gibsons THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, which earned more than $350 million at domestic box offices via grass-roots marketing aimed at religious groups. Other big releases for Newmarket included WHALE RIDER and MONSTER.

Headline News

Pixar Declares Two-for-One Split

Pixar Animation Studios announced today that its board of directors has approved a two-for-one split of the company's common stock and the number of outstanding shares will jump from 100 million to 200 million.

At the close of trading on April 4, 2005, shareholders of record will receive one additional share of Pixar for every outstanding share held on the record date. Trading will begin on a split-adjusted basis on April 19.

Million Headline News

Apax to Buy HIT Entertainment for $934 Million

On March 21, 2005, HIT Entertainment Plc. agreed, to take a £489.4 million ($934 million) cash takeover offer from U.K. venture capitalists Apax Partners.

HIT, the kids entertainment company behind such characters at BOB THE BUILDER, THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE and BARNEY THEPURPLE DINOSAUR, made the announcement as it revealed disappointing financial results for the six months ending Jan. 31.

Avid Headline News

Avid Technology to Acquire Pinnacle Systems

Avid Technology Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Pinnacle Systems Inc. in a cash and stock transaction of about $462 million. The combination will provide Avid with immediate presence in consumer video and expand its professional broadcast offerings. The acquisition is subject to satisfying a number of closing conditions, including shareholder and regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2005.

Company Headline News

Viacom Explores Dividing Into Separate Publicly Traded Companies

Sumner M. Redstone, chairman/ceo of Viacom Inc. is exploring the possibility of dividing the corporations businesses into separate publicly-traded companies, to achieve important corporate objectives and to better deliver value to shareholders in a tax-efficient manner, a company statement read. Viacom expects to announce further details regarding the possible separation in the second quarter of 2005.

Disney Headline News

Jury Selected in Roger Rabbit Lawsuit

On March 15, 2005, the trial began in the lawsuit between Roger Rabbit creator Gary Wolf and the Walt Disney Co., reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Wolf alleges the 5% royalty he received from revenue for movies, merchandise and other goods should also include the estimated value of promotional tie-ins with McDonalds, Burger King and others -- even though Disney was not paid for those deals. In Wolfs 1983 agreement, he is entitled to a percentage of gross receipt, which he claims should include cash and "all other considerations.

Digital Headline News

Lucas and Cameron to Showcase Digital 3D at ShoWest

Texas Instruments will unveil a glimpse of its future plans for digital cinema and 3D movies at ShoWest, the annual convention for movie exhibitors, March 14 -17, 2005, in Las Vegas. TI has planned what it considers a landmark demonstration with STAR WARS creator George Lucas and TITANIC director James Cameron on March 17 at 11:30 am to showcase 3D theatrical entertainment with TIs DLP Cinema technology. TI will for the fourth consecutive year serve as the corporate sponsor of ShoWest.

Animation Headline News

Animation Academy Moves to Church/Office Due to Condo Project

Due to a new condominium project, the Animation Academy, which was operating at 3407 W. Olive Ave., will now hold classes at the Burbank Association of Realtors offices and Trinity Foursquare Church, reports the DAILY NEWS. The location were the school use to be is now part of a 3.8-acre Media District site designated for a Platt Cos. project that will include 220 condo units, 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a church and a child-care facility.

Game Headline News

Sony Computer Ent. America Stages Biggest Presence Ever at GDC

Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. (SCEA) is staging its biggest presence ever at the 2005 Game Developers Conference, held March 7-11, 2005, in San Francisco to feature the newest PlayStation platform, PSP (PlayStation Portable), innovations for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system and EyeToy, as well as tools and technologies designed to encourage game development on all platforms.

Sony experts in game development, programming and technology have been scheduled to speak at numerous sessions during the 19th annual conference.

Headline News

Australian Developers Target U.S. Talent At GDC 2005

The Game Developers Association of Australia (GDAA), the governing body for the Australian Videogame Industry, announced that Australian videogame companies are planning ahead and looking for talent at this years GDC to help fuel the booming games industry Downunder in years to come. During GDC 2005 in San Francisco, California (March 7-11, 2005), interested parties wishing to learn more are asked to stop by and visit the BigWorld Booth # 827 or Auran Booth # CP160 and talk with the GDAA executives.

Game Headline News

BioWare Unveils Recruitment Efforts For GDC & Beyond

BioWare Corp. announced its plans to continue the expansion of its development teams for its future videogame projects. The Edmonton-based company is actively recruiting for a variety of positions across numerous disciplines and will be taking those recruitment efforts across North America in the upcoming months.

Film Headline News

Malaysia Setting Eyes on International Film Market

On March 7, 2005, National Film Development Corp. Malaysia (Finas) Chairman Datuk Abdul Aziz Rahman urged Malaysian feature, documentary and animation filmmakers to look toward making films that appeal to an international market, reports BERNAMA. The Malaysian tends to make films that appeal to specific local tastes, which make quick profits.

Abdul Aziz said, "Most of them (movie producers) never think that messages conveyed to the audience should be given priority".

Universal Headline News

Universal Pictures Forms New Family Home Entertainment Label

In a restructuring move to dedicate new efforts in the family arena, Universal Pictures has established Universal Studios Home Entertainment Family Productions and will step up efforts to produce product for the made-for-DVD arena.

(USHEFP), it was announced today by Mary Parent and Scott Stuber, respectively vice chairman, Worldwide production, Universal Pictures.

Headline News

Atari and Spark Unlimited Strike Partnership

Atari Inc. it has entered into an exclusive, long-term agreement with Spark Unlimited, developer of CALL OF DUTY: FINEST HOUR, for worldwide publishing rights across all media to all future titles developed by the award-winning creative team at Spark Unlimited. The first joint project is in development at Spark for the next generation of consoles, and will be unveiled in greater detail in the spring, with an anticipated launch during the holiday 2006 season.

Games Headline News

E10+ Rating Added to ESRB System

A new videogame rating category, E10+ (Everyone 10 and older), was introduced by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), to help consumers more easily differentiate between games that have content appropriate for the whole family and games that are suitable for ages 10 and older.

Effects Headline News

Switch VFX Celebrates One-Year Anniversary

Toronto-based Switch VFX, a visual effects studio specializing in photorealistic effects and CG character creation for feature films and television, marked its first anniversary in February. Switch VFX recently completed visual effects work on the Fox/Sci Fi Channel series pilot ANONYMOUS REX and on the GalaFilm Prods. TV movie TRIPPING THE WIRE, as well as title design for the CBC miniseries WHISKEY ECHO.

Headline News

Peter Jackson Sues New Line Over Lord of the Rings

Like a typical Hollywood marriage, it seems that Peter Jacksons made in heaven collaboration with New Line has come upon irreconcilable differences. On Feb. 28, 2005, Jacksons Wingnut Films filled suit in Los Angeles claiming New Line and its subsidiary Katja Motion Pictures failed to properly calculate revenue from LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, reports the AP.

Game Headline News

Game Accessory to Launch RedOctane Software Business

RedOctane has established a new division of the company dedicated to publishing software with its first title for PlayStation2 to be announced in spring 2005.

"Launching into a new business segment with the publishing of videogames is a natural evolution for us," said Kai Huang, president of RedOctane. "We are committed to delivering the same high quality and fun found in our peripherals with the upcoming RedOctane software line."

The game will join a prestigious line of award-winning RedOctane videogame accessories.

Animation Headline News

USA Index Corp. Gets U.S. Rep

The Honig Co. Inc., a leading boutique public relations agency, announced it is representing USA Index Corp., the U.S. subsidiary of Index Corp., a $20 billion diversified technology and media company based in Japan.

The Honig Co. will initially be undertaking a campaign aimed at raising awareness of Sega Animanium, a software product for the animation industry, and working to increase sales within North America.

Animation Headline News

Noodlesoup Forms Film/TV Production Division

New York City-based Noodlesoup Productions, Inc. is expanding to form a new original content creation division - Noodlesoup Entertainment that will solely focus on the development and production of high quality original animated feature films and television programming.

Noodlesoup Prods. is best known for its breakout Cartoon Network hit series, THE VENTURE BROTHERS, as well as for the work of its commercial divisions campaigns for MSN and Earthlink. Noodlesoup Ent. is already beginning development on several new programs with major U.S. distributors.

Union Headline News

Spanish-lingo Simpsons Cast Goes On Strike

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, February 24, 2005 at 12:00am

On Feb. 23, 2005, negotiations broke down in the ongoing dispute between the Spanish-language voices of THE SIMPSONS union and a Mexico City-based dubbing studio, spurring the cast to go on an official strike, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

The cast alleges that its employer, formerly known as Grabaciones y Doblajes, breached its contract with their union, the National Actors' Assn. Union, by hiring union-member actors. The company claims that the contract was made void when its administration and company name changed to Grabaciones y Doblajes Internacionales (GDI).

Film Headline News

Sheer Force of Will Pictures Opens

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, February 24, 2005 at 12:00am

Sheer Force of Will Pictures Llc, a new feature film production company, has opened in Glendale, California. The new company is owned by co-founders Kevin Kutchaver, a visual effects veteran who concurrently remains head of visual effects design and production company HimAnI Prods. and feature film producer Linda Drake. Sheer Force of Will Pictures plans to produce two-three original feature films a year. The duo also announced the start of production on the companys first feature film, RESCUE ROCKET X-5, which begins in late February 2005 in Los Angeles.

Creative Headline News

Furious FX Blazes Through First Year

Burbank-based Furious FX enters its sophomore year with a wide assortment of their first years work erupting into theaters and onto DVD shelves. Currently in production are MR. AND MRS. SMITH and FEVER PITCH.

The newly ignited facility has completed nearly 500 shots in the last 12 months. Their work is featured in more than 15 high profile films, including THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, SPIDER-MAN 2, SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, the upcoming UNDERCLASSMAN, as well as Sundance indie CHRYSTAL starring Billy Bob Thornton.