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Geographical Region: Australia

Headline News Activision Publishing Acquires U.K. Game Developer FreeStyleGames

Activision Publishing has acquired FreeStyleGames, a U.K.-based video game developer specializing in music-based games.

This acquisition represents the latest step in Activision Publishing's strategy to expand its global leadership position in the music-based genre. The company established the genre with the GUITAR HERO franchise, which has sold more than 22 million units worldwide. FreeStyleGames is currently developing localized downloadable content for the GUITAR HERO franchise, as well as a yet to be announced new, intellectual property in the music genre.

Headline News Disney Channels Look To Latin American Growth

Disney is looking at Latin America as a place of possible growth for the Disney Channel, per VARIETY. As it gets harder to earn money in Europe, execs predict that Latin America will be the place to be.

President of Disney Channels Worldwide, Rich Ross, in talking to reporters during a visit to London for the Disney Channel movie premiere of CAMP ROCK, said, "In the next five years Latin America is going to be an economic powerhouse for us. Poland and Australia are other growth markets for us."

Headline News Ricky Sprocket Gears Up For International Stardom

Executive production and distribution company, Bejuba! Ent., has secured Ricky Sprocket's rise to global stardom with sales of the namesake animated comedy series, RICKY SPROCKET -- SHOWBIZ BOY, to 29 new international territories through a deal with Nickelodeon. The series is co-produced by Studio B Productions, a subsidiary of DHX Media Ltd., and Snowden Fine Animation in association with Bejuba! Ent.

Headline News Cartoon Network Reveals Shortlisted Projects From Snaptoons

Cartoon Network continues with its intensive search for the next generation of iconic cartoons with the pioneering batch of developed concepts and ideas.

These ideas were culled from more than 300 entries received for Snaptoons (Short New Asia Pacific Cartoons), the network's pan-Asian original content development initiative. Cartoon Network's in-house Snaptoons team has been working with the shortlisted creators in developing 10 ideas and will produce at least five completed shorts this year, with a view for further development of the most promising concepts.

Headline News DECODE Adds Martha Speaks To MIPCOM Line-up

DECODE Enterprises is bringing a diverse range of programming for all ages to MIPCOM 2008, including debut show MARTHA SPEAKS, from Studio B Productions and WGBH Boston. Also on its market slate are new episodes of established shows alongside brand new programming from DHX Media's production subsidiaries and third party producers.

Headline News Dora The Explorer Live! Coming to 40 U.S. Cities In 2009

Nickelodeon and Broadway Across America are teaming up to bring DORA THE EXPLORER LIVE! SEARCH FOR THE CITY OF LOST TOYS, starring the world's most famous Latina explorer, to cities across the U.S. in 2009. DORA THE EXPLORER LIVE! will be performed in 40 cities including Chicago; Detroit; and New York City at the legendary Radio City Music Hall on April 8-12.

Headline News Under The Sea 3D To Splash Into IMAX February 13

Warner Bros. Pictures and IMAX have confirmed the release date for the next original IMAX 3-D release, UNDER THE SEA 3D, will be February 13, 2009. The film follows the box office hit DEEP SEA 3D, also shot by award-winning Cinematographer/Director Howard Hall, which has grossed more than $72 million to date.

Headline News The Force Unleashed Demo Shatters Download Record

The demo for LucasArts' STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED has crushed download records since its release on August 21 on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

Eager to experience over-the-top Force powers and a brand-new STAR WARS storyline that bridges the events between the two movie trilogies, fans downloaded the STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED demo more than one million times in just eight days, topping the previous record by an entire day.

Headline News Fox's Slow Summer May Mean X-Men Spinoffs, Daredevil Return

VARIETY's piece about Twentieth Century Fox's unremarkable summer, includes speculation that Fox is considering more X-MEN spinoffs, as its superheroes were missed in 2008.

A young X-MEN project is being considered, as well as DEADPOOL, based on a character played by Ryan Reynolds in WOLVERINE. Fox is also thinking about reviving the DAREDEVIL franchise.

Headline News TV-Loonland's RAYMOND Starts His First Term

TV-Loonland has completed the first round of deals for its animated comedy series RAYMOND (26x7). Broadcasters confirmed include ABC Australia, M-NET South Africa, VOOM HD/Animania USA, DR TV Denmark, RTBF Belgium, Noga Communications Israel, PTS Taiwan and Truevisions Kids Thailand.

RAYMOND is also set to take to the skies with Air France (France Vision Service) and Malaysian Airlines (Inflight Productions) onboard for Inflight Entertainment programming.

Headline News Activision Blizzard Two-for-One Stock Split Now Effective

Activision Blizzard, Inc. announced today that its two-for-one stock split is effective and its common stock will begin trading today on a split-adjusted basis. As a result of the stock split, there are approximately 1.3 billion shares of Activision Blizzard's common stock issued and outstanding.

Activision Blizzard maintains operations in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Romania, Australia, Chile, India, Japan China, South Korea and the region of Taiwan.

Headline News AJA KONA 3 Enables Post Production For Las Meninas

AJA Video Systems' KONA 3 video capture and playback cards were used on LAS MENINAS, the first full-length feature film from the Ukraine to employ an all-digital workflow.

KONA 3 is AJA's top-of-the-line uncompressed capture card for SD, HD, Dual Link HD and 2K for PCI Express (PCIe) Apple Mac Pro systems, and was an integral part of the Final Cut Pro editing pipeline for the film, which premiered in Tiger Awards Competition at the 37th Rotterdam International Film Festival on January 25, 2008.

Headline News Butcher, Wolf Wins Animation Prize At Portable Film Fest

Director Diego Mauricio Alvarez's THE BUTCHER AND THE WOLF is the winner of the Portable Film Festival 2008 in Australia under the category Get Animated.

The competition was attended by works from Australia, U.K., U.S., Russia and Germany among others. To see the winners list, click on the white arrow at the right side of the frame Film of the Day on www.portablefilmfestival.com. See more animated films that competed at Portable on the site as well.

Headline News Del Toro Adds Projects, Booked Through 2017

Guillermo del Toro has plans for the next decade, including remakes of FRANKENSTEIN, THE HOBBIT two-picture project and an adaptation of DROOD, per VARIETY.

Universal has a three-year first look deal with del Toro they signed a year ago, and have committed to him with four directing projects, including remakes of FRANKENSTEIN, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE and SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE. Project four will be an adaptation of Dan Simmons' novel DROOD that is set for publication by Little, Brown in February.

Headline News Spore Available At Retailers Worldwide This Week From EA And Maxis

How will you create the universe? Gamers around the world can find out this week as the highly anticipated video game SPORE ships to retailers for the PC, Mac and Nintendo DS, mobile phones and the iPhone.

SPORE is rated E10+ by the ESRB, and retails for $49.99. The collectable SPORE GALACTIC EDITION is also available for $79.99, which includes "The Making of Spore" DVD, a hardback art book, fold-out poster, 100-page Galactic Handbook and the National Geographic Channel documentary "How to Build a Better Being" DVD.

Headline News New Live Action Tarzan May Have Director

Stephen Sommers is negotiating to be brought on to direct the next feature version of TARZAN for Warner Bros. and producer Jerry Weintraub, per VARIETY.

Sommers would also co-write the script with Stuart Beattie. TARZAN has been in development at WB and Weintraub since 2003, when John August was hired to write a script. Guillermo del Toro negotiated two years ago to direct.

Headline News FUEL VFX Makes Toyota Camry's Every Bit Brilliant

Publicis Mojo's new campaign for the Toyota Camry in Australia is an unpretentious and inventive tale about finding inspiration and the connectivity of ideas.

The :60 spot features earnest young engineers in lab coats carrying out experiments and exchanging ideas. Above their heads, represented by abstract 3D "widgets," are their ideas and contribution to the whole. We follow the journey of a team member struggling to find his own widget.

Headline News Dive Olly Dive! Expands To Five Days A Week On PBS Sprout

DIVE OLLY DIVE!, the award-winning, environmentally-conscious preschool series from Taffy Ent. and Mike Young Productions, has expanded to five days a week on PBS KIDS Sprout as of Monday, September 1.

PBS KIDS Sprout, the first 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, on demand and online for kids ages 2-5 and their parents and caregivers, has moved the show from its Saturday and Sunday timeslot to Sprout's popular SUNNY SIDE UP SHOW live morning programming block where it now airs at 10:30 a.m. ET Monday-Friday.

Headline News Australia Moves Back A Week

Baz Luhrmann's big budget romance AUSTRALIA will be released in the U.S. on November 26, more fallout from the HARRY POTTER shift to 2009, per VARIETY.

AUSTRALIA was set to be unveiled November 14, just after its Australia premiere on November 13. The film will now open in both countries on November 26.

Starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, the film is the saga of an English woman who comes to the Australian Outback and falls in love with a cattle rancher during World War II. The move by Twentieth Century Fox gives Luhrmann more time to finish.

Headline News Digital Alchemy Working Toward The Big Time

Animation and visual effects studio Digital Alchemy is growing faster than ever, evident from their recent project, ZIGBY.

ZIGBY, a new animated series aimed at preschoolers, is scheduled to air in February 2009. The project is a collaboration with Thunderbird Films, and Australia's Flying Bark Productions. The international project, which also included Singapore's BIG Communications, allowed Digital Alchemy to play a pivotal role in the overall look of the show.

Headline News 4Kids Debuts New Dinosaur King Episodes At MIPCOM

4Kids Ent. has set MIPCOM 2008 for the premiere of 26 all-new half-hour episodes of DINOSAUR KING.

The global broadcast line-up for DINOSAUR KING series includes Mediaset (Italy), RTL2 (Germany), France 3 (France), Canal J (France), TV2 (Denmark), TV4 (Sweden), MTV 3 (Finland), TVI (Portugal), LNK (Lithuania), Neljas (Estonia), Jetix (UK, Scandinavia, Spain and Latin America), MNET (South Africa) and YTV (Canada) among many others. New markets expected to close at MIPCOM include the U.K., Ireland, Australia and a number of central European countries.

Headline News Universal Pictures Int'l Ramps Up Blu-ray -- Hulk First Up

Universal Pictures International Ent. will release THE INCREDIBLE HULK on DVD and Blu-ray on October 13, marking the studio's first international day-and-date wide debut of a Blu-ray new release feature film.

The film will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S. on October 21.

From Marvel Studios, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, starring Edward Norton, Tim Roth and Liv Tyler has earned $250 million in worldwide box office. Bonus features on the Blu-ray will include the U-Control application and interactive features via BD-Live.

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