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.
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.
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.
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.
In an effort to pick up some ground on next-gen leader Nintendo, Microsoft will reduce the price of its Xbox 360 by $50 on Aug. 8, 2007, sources told THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. At this time it is unclear if the price cut will effect all three versions of the system. The core model currently sells for $299, while the pro model is $399 and the elite model is $479.
Ubisoft announced that it will develop and publish the videogame based on 20th Century Fox's AVATAR, the upcoming feature film written and directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Cameron.
AVATAR is the story of an ex-Marine who finds himself thrust into hostilities on an alien planet filled with exotic life forms. As an Avatar, a human mind in an alien body, he finds himself torn between two worlds, in a desperate fight for his own survival and that of the indigenous people.
WizKids Inc. will produce the DISNEY'S PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN POCKETMODEL game, to be released in October 2007.
WizKids will be able to use content from all three PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies. The PocketModel game platform allows players to construct 3D pirate ships from pieces punched out of a styrene card. Players then use movie characters and action scenes on cards to help control the strategy of the game.
An Iranian student group recently unveiled a new videogame that simulates an attempt to rescue two Iranian nuclear experts kidnapped by the U.S. military and then held in Iraq and Israel, reports various news agencies.
The RESCUE THE NUKE SCIENTIST videogame, designed by the Union of Students Islamic Assoc., is a response to a U.S.-based company's ASSAULT ON IRAN game (Kuma Reality Games), which depicts an American attack on an Iranian nuclear facility, says its creators.
Ghostlight has announced the release of DECATHLETES for the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP in spring 2008. Ghostlight has confirmed that development duties will be handled by The Code Monkeys, the studio behind games, such as SHREK TREASURE HUNT and CHARLOTTE'S WEB.
Adrian Hirst, development director at Code Monkeys, said, "Our goal is to create a highly realistic athletics simulator whilst maintaining a compelling pick up and play game style akin to titles, such as TRACK AND FIELD and DALEY THOMPSON'S DECATHLON."
THQ's first videogame title based on the popular Nickelodeon TV series, AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER, has reached a major retail milestone as Sony Computer Ent. America's "Greatest Hits" status for the PlayStation 2 and is now available at retailers throughout North America for the suggested retail price of $19.99. AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER made its videogame debut in October 2006 and finished the year as THQ's top-selling Nick property.
BOXX Technologies announced that open voting has now begun on in its Road to Nirvana Visual Effects Student Contest . In an effort to reinforce its commitment to the community visual effects artists, BOXX teamed with the Gnomon School of Visual Effects to highlight the work of student artists who are pushing the limits of visual effects.
Electronic Arts Inc. announced THE SIMPSONS: MINUTES TO MELTDOWN, an original game developed exclusively for mobile phones starring the world's favorite animated family. Created in conjunction with Fox Mobile Ent. and Gracie Films, MINUTES TO MELTDOWN takes mobile gamers on a fast-paced, action-packed adventure through Springfield. The game, which features Homer and a colorful cast of Springfieldians, can now be downloaded directly from major wireless carriers in North America and Europe and on the web via Jamster (www.jamster.com).
Anistock has launched its animation library, a web destination (www.anistock.com) for stock royalty free 2D and 3D animation. From graphic artists to web designers, art directors to corporate marketing, all can obtain and instantly download, fully customizable stock animations for use in web, broadcast and other new media productions.
Ubisoft, one of the world's largest videogame publishers, announced that on July 12, 2007 it sold the 13,367,923 shares it owned in Gameloft (representing 18.89% of the company's capital) to Calyon, Credit Agricole Group's Corporate and Investment Bank. The sale price was 6.08 euros, based on Gameloft's closing share price on July 12, 2007.
TotalVid.com, the Internet video-on-demand service from Landmark Communications, has announced the availability of five new anime series from FUNimation Ent. downloadable through its subscription platform. TotalVid.com offers consumers unlimited access to thousands of enthusiast, special interest and instructional videos, movies and TV episodes in categories such as anime, action sports, martial arts and travel on a subscription basis for $9.95 per month. Individual anime episodes will also be available on a download-to-own basis for $1.99 each.
Walt Disney Studios Asia Pacific's animated feature THE MAGIC GOURD scored $2 million in its second weekend in China and will now be turned into a videogame, reports VARIETY. Walt Disney Internet Group plans to release 15 Java-based mobile games based on the film later in the year.
The CG film's week two receipts were down only 16% over its June 29, 2007, opening weekend.
Digital 04 Studios is pleased to announce additional speakers to the //ADAPT 2007 Conference schedule. Presenting in the 3D Masters Program are Shawn Kelly and Carlos Baena, renowned artists and two of the three founders of AnimationMentor.com, the leading online animation school.
Sony Computer Ent. Inc. & Sony Computer Ent. America Inc. (SCEA) recently unveiled a new PSP that has a more streamlined for a video-out port and two new PSP Entertainment Packs based on the DAXTER, FAMILY GUY and STAR WARS properties. The new units will be available in North America this fall for $199.99.
AtomFilms (www.atomfilms.com) and Aardman Animations announced the debut of PIB AND POG, an original broadband animated series. The series plays exclusively on AtomFilms.com at pibandpog.atomfilms.com and through the AtomFilms Channel on Verizon Wireless' V CAST service. Later this month, PIB AND POG will also be available for download on the AtomFilms Channel on xBox Live.
Sony Pictures Ent. has relaunched Grouper as Crackle, a streaming entertainment network. Crackle's comprehensive approach includes a unique programming and editorial strategy, wide-reaching global distribution platforms and collaboration with Sony Pictures Ent., the IMPROV Comedy franchise and other leading media companies.
SCIFI.COM announced July 15, 2007, a slate of online programming exclusive to SCI FI Pulse, the channel's popular broadband channel, including a FARSCAPE webisode series.
SCIFI.COM has ordered a 10-part webisode series based on the award-winning FARSCAPE. Exec produced by Brian Henson and Robert Halmi Jr., and produced by The Jim Henson Co., in association with RHI Ent., the series will revive and expand the beloved FARSCAPE universe.
MySpace and TOKYOPOP have partnered up to premiere four exclusive new shows based on TOKYOPOP's hit manga series I LUV HALLOWEEN, A MIDNIGHT OPERA, BIZENGHAST and RIDING SHOTGUN. Featuring music from the latest underground acts and cutting edge digital animation from Menfond Electronic Art, pilot episodes will air the week of July 16, 2007, with subsequent episodes running weekly thereafter. MySpace and TOKYOPOP are strategically launching a TOKYOPOP-branded profile (www.myspace.com/tokyopoptv) to host and deliver the shows to create a unique one-on-one relationship with MySpace users.
Ubisoft announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo its all-new IMAGINE series of videogames targeted at girls 6-14, allowing them to explore their favorite interests and hobbies in an interactive and entertaining way. The IMAGINE series is part of Ubisoft's strategic expansion into the casual videogame market.
The first games in the Imagine line will launch in October 2007 for Nintendo DS: IMAGINE FASHION DESIGNER, IMAGINE ANIMAL DOCTOR, IMAGINE BABYZ and IMAGINE MASTER CHEF. IMAGINE FIGURE SKATER will follow in early 2008.