MTV Networks (MTVN), a unit of Viacom, scored high across several of its gaming properties in June and July, as the company recorded growth, set traffic records, and showcased new initiatives throughout its diverse portfolio of casual games, games media, and console-based and handheld games. As these milestones signal the continued emergence of gaming as a key pillar in MTVN's global vertical entertainment strategy, the company will invest more than $500 million over the next two years in the development and distribution of its gaming business across its global portfolio.
Japanese animation producer GDH is teaming with Shanghai-based Internet netcaster Wang You Media, according to VARIETY. The deal will see GDH invest $500,000 into Wang You, which will distribute GDH's Gonzo brand cartoons on its website, 8850.com. Additionally, GDH will provide shows from other houses on a regular basis to 8850.com.
Publishing, animation and licensing company VIZ Media has secured the download rights to the hit supernatural action anime series BLEACH from TV Tokyo and Shueisha. Twenty episodes of both the dubbed and subtitled versions of the series will be made available for download in the United States beginning on Aug. 31, 2007, on direct2drive.com and totalvid.
Rosario Dawson has signed on to produce and star in the online live-action/motion-capture animation series, THE GEMINI DIVISION, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Electric Farm Ent.'s Jeff Sagansky is producing 100 episodes of the three-minute sci-fi series along with LIZZIE MCGUIRE producer Stan Rogow and game writer Brent Friedman.
Dawson will star as a New York cop who, while investigating the murder of her husband, discovers a worldwide conspiracy involving simulated life forms replacing real life forms.
After making the visually innovative thriller THE CELL in 2000, Tarsem Singh has not made a film for a major studio since. Now the director has signed on to make the sci-fi thriller, THE UNFORGETTABLE, for Warner Bros., according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Basil Iwanyk, David Goyer and Jason Hall are producing.
Based on the Warner Bros. Interactive Ent. videogame THE CONDEMNED: CRIMINAL ORIGINS, the script, which was first titled SPECIES X, follows a cop who discovers that he is an alien and that there is a war going on between two species of extraterrestrials on Earth.
Alvin and the Chipmunks, the #1 kids musical act of all time, rock their way into the world of interactive games this holiday with ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, the videogame, from Brash Ent. Scheduled to ship Dec. 4, 2007, preceding the release on Dec. 14, of the new live-action/CGI film ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS from 20th Century Fox, the game will be available for the PlayStation 2, the Wii, Nintendo DS and PC.
Nickelodeon is set to debut TAK AND THE POWER OF JUJU, Nicktoon's first CG-animated series produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studios. Based on the THQ videogame, two back-to-back half-hour episodes will launch on Friday, Aug. 31, 2007, from 8:00 - 9:00 pm. In support of the launch, Nicktoons Network, Nick's 24-hour animation network, will air the premiere episodes the following day, Saturday, Sept. 1, at 11:00 am. The series will air regularly on Saturdays at 10:00 am on Nickelodeon.
Sierra Ent. announced the development of a PSP exclusive, based on the new ALIENS VS. PREDATOR film, which 20th Century Fox releases nationwide on Dec. 25, 2007. Designed solely for the PSP, players will become the ultimate Predator, hunting down and eliminating the Alien species in the authentic universe of the ALIENS VS. PREDATOR movie. The game is being developed by Rebellion, creator of the original ALIENS VS. PREDATOR PC game.
Electronic Arts Inc. and Hasbro Inc. announced a strategic licensing agreement that grants EA the exclusive worldwide rights to create digital games based upon a huge array of Hasbro's intellectual properties, including Monopoly, Scrabble, Yahtzee, Nerf, Tonka and Littlest Pet Shop, to name a few. Inspired by these classic board games and toys, EA will develop interactive experiences for a mass audience to play across key platforms including mobile, online, handheld, PC and consoles. The first games are scheduled to launch in calendar year 2008.
Sony Online Ent. (SOE) is teaming up with Sir Richard Branson and Deepak Chopra's Virgin Comics to bring the India-based RAMAYAN 3392 A.D. comicbook universe to PCs via an MMO videogame.
Sierra Ent. announced development of THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES, a videogame based on the upcoming 2008 theatrical release of the same name by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Films. The game, which will recreate the fantastical world of the film and bestselling book series, is in development at Stormfront Studios and will be available for Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS and PC in February 2008.
The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA), a graduate videogame development program, is debuting its latest student game, MASTER PLAN, at SIGGRAPH 2007 in booth #243 in San Diego.
MASTER PLAN is a 3D action game where players construct their own doomsday machine to ravage a city. MASTER PLAN was developed by 34 students and has features never seen before in a student-produced game. Students developed all the tools and pipelines from scratch, including a world editor, vehicle editor with tutorial and fully destructible city environment.
Luxology LLC has launched Luxology TV, a new online hub that allows the 3D community to exchange and view high-resolution video clips on Luxology's website. Luxology TV enables anyone to enhance their 3D learning experience by searching, selecting and immediately watching videos on a variety of subjects, such as modeling, rendering, painting and sculpting.
Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.will launch the SPEED RACER videogame based on the upcoming film written and directed by the Wachowski brothers. The game will be available in 2008 on the Wii and Nintendo DS systems as the SPEED RACER film hits theaters. It will be released on the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system with the DVD launch.
In its second quarter report, Marvel Ent. announced the production of a new animated direct-to-DVD feature entitled HULK SMASH. No plot details were announced, but it will be released via Lionsgate in Oct. 2008.
PULP FICTION co-writer Roger Avary has been tapped by producer Samuel Hadida to pen and direct an adaptation of ID Software's videogame, RETURN TO CASTLE WOLFENSTEIN, according to VARIETY.
Set during World War II, the plot of the game centers on a team of U.S. army rangers, lead by B.J. Blazkowicz, that are assigned the mission to infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein and gather information on the Nazis' SS Paranormal Division.
Take Two announced that the release of GRAND THEFT AUTO IV has been moved from Oct. 2007 to March or April of 2008, VARIETY reports. Take Two chairman Strauss Zelnick stated technical issues were to blame for the delay.
The move caused the company to revise its fiscal year estimate from $1.25 billion to $950 million-$1 billion. Previously, the company believed it would break even for the year, but now anticipates a loss of up to $1.35 per share. The disappointing news lead investors to drop Take Two stock, creating a 19% fall in its pricetag.
The fourth season of the Emmy Award-winning original animated broadband series, OFF-MIKES, produced by Animax Ent., has just launched on ESPN.com.
REALVIZ will be showcasing its latest technological advancements at SIGGRAPH 2007 in San Diego (booth 1629) from Aug. 7-9.
The REALVIZ team will demonstrate the REALVIZ HDR Imaging Studio, unveiled in June, and REALVIZ Movimento, a state-of-the-art video-based motion-capture solution, which debuted at SIGGRAPH 2006.
Artists and visual effects supervisors Ed Jones and Mark Breakspear of Rainmaker Ent. Inc. have joined the //ADAPT Conference lineup at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Montreal from Sept. 24-28, 2007. An estimated 2,500 people from around the world are expected to attend the industry's second annual creative event focused on inspiring and teaching advanced digital art production techniques for film, visual effects and videogame development. The program includes more than 40 digital art masters, an Art Expo, a Theatre, a Job Fair and much more.
The Walt Disney Co. reports an improved profits of $1.2 billion, a 4.7% gain, on revenues of $9 billion, for the third quarter and nine months ended June 30, 2007, a 6.7% rise on the same period last year. The company credited strong TV program sales and higher theme park attendance for the gain.
Operating income in its Media Networks group jumped 23% to $1.358 billion.
JoeCartoon, who was recently acquired by Endemol USA, announced the re-launch of its new 'humor portal' JoeCartoon.com. The revamped website offers an enhanced user-friendly interface.
Aardman Animations is expanding its content lineup on mobile. The content will be added to operator 3's ad-supported video service, which is operated by Rhythm NewMedia. Aardman has been successful in this arena with ANGRY KID, which, at its peak, sold more than 10,000 video clips a day over mobile networks. Aardman will be adding onto the ad-supported video service clips from CREATURE COMFORTS, A TOWN CALLED PANIC, PURPLE and BROWN AND MORPH.
Kabillion, the new multi-platform kids' program service, will launch a new preschool-focused block of programming, Kabillion Jr., on Aug. 1, 2007. Kabillion Jr. will offer animated programming for kids 2-5 on both Kabillion On-Demand (on Comcast Cable systems nationwide) and Kabillion's broadband site, www.Kabillion.com.
Debut programming offered on Kabillion Jr. includes the 3D CGI-animated DIVE OLLY DIVE! and the animated series based on everyone's favorite dolphin and his young human friend, FLIPPER & LOPAKA. Shows will be added to the schedule in the coming months.
WebbliWorld Ltd. commissioned Aardman Animations and Enable Interactive to design and develop www.webbliworld.com, a fun, interactive and engaging virtual world for children. The website features animated films starring new characters, as well as interactive games and adventures, and a fun, whimsical world for children to explore.