Time Warner Inc. has announced the election of Jeffrey L. Bewkes as CEO of Time Warner Inc., effective January 1, 2008. Bewkes, who currently serves as president and COO, will retain the title of president. He will succeed Richard D. Parsons, who will remain as chairman of the board.
Geographical Region: South America
Leading Chinese online game developer Perfect World Co., Ltd. today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Indonesia's PT. Lyto Datarindo Fortuna ("LYTO") to license the company's PERFECT WORLD II game in Indonesia.
PERFECT WORLD II is a large-scale 3D MMORPG that was first launched in China in November, 2006. Since then the game has been licensed to companies in eleven countries and regions, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Brazil and the Philippines.
From Argentina to Mexico, and everywhere in between, Sesame Workshop content, through the PLAZA SESAMO (Spanish) and VILA SESAMO (Portuguese) brands, now covers 100% of Latin America on pay and terrestrial television.
Entity FX seamlessly leverages digital vfx to support a young man's journey away from civilization in search of himself in INTO THE WILD (Paramount Vantage), directed by Sean Penn.
ZODIAC screenwriter James Vanderbilt has been hired to write the script for SPIDER-MAN 4, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Laura Ziskin is returning to produce the Columbia Pictures film. No deals have been made with director Sam Raimi and stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.
Though the plot is being kept secret, word is that this installment will include fewer villains and plotlines than SPIDER-MAN 3, which many critics complained was bloated.
France's Marathon Media has concluded several new deals for its leading kids shows MONSTER BUSTER CLUB, FAMOUS FIVE ON THE CASE and TOTALLY SPIES, reports C21 MEDIA.
MONSTER BUSTER CLUB (52x56), which was pre-sold to Super RTL in Germany, has been picked up by RTVE (Spain), RTV (Slovenia), RTE (Ireland), LNK (Lithuania), Arabic network MBC, Radio Canada and Denmark's TV2. Additional negotiations are in progress in the U.S., Italy, Turkey, Singapore, South Africa and Brazil.
VFX artist/director Toby Wilkins has been hired to helm THE GRUDGE 3, VARIETY reports. Ghost House Pictures hopes to begin production in January.
Wilkins is making his feature film debut on ContentFilm's horror film SPLINTER. He previously worked with Ghost House on a series of shorts called TALES OF THE GRUDGE, which were made to promote THE GRUDGE 2, and were directed by Takashi Shimizu, creator of the original JU-ON series on which THE GRUDGE franchise is based.
Illusion Studios, one of the leading entertainment companies in Argentina, has adopted Storyboard Pro and Harmony from Toon Boom Animation to produce its animation projects digitally.
Imagi Animation Studios has appointed Ken Tsumura to the newly created position of EVP of Production, Hong Kong. Tsumura will assume oversight of all production and studio operations at Imagi headquarters in Chai Wan (Hong Kong) and will report jointly to Francis Kao, Co-CEO & Chief Creative Officer and Douglas Glen, Co-CEO.
300 screenwriter Michael Gordon has been hired by Sony to pen a screen adaptation of the popular online game EVERQUEST, according to VARIETY. Avi Arad, the former head of Marvel Studios, is the producer. Columbia Pictures has had the project in development for years, however Gordon is the first writer tapped to put his spin on the material.
Breakthrough Animation and 2-D Lab's children's animated series MY BIG BIG FRIEND (52x11) has won The Licensing Challenge, sponsored by License Global! at this year's MIPCOM Jr.
The Licensing Challenge is a pitching session that showcases the TV property with the highest licensing potential. The international jury included Leigh Anne Brodsky (Nickelodeon), Stan Clutton (Fisher Price), Anna Hewitt (BBC), Andrew Lane (Hasbro), John Lee (World World), and Richard Woolf (Jetix). The panelist of judges selected MY BIG BIG FRIEND from a short list of five entrants based on:
EM.Entertainment GmbH has acquired the European distribution rights to the new 26x30 comedy series ZEKE'S PAD. Created by Liz Scully and co-produced by Canada's Bardel Entertainment Inc., together with Leaping Lizard Productions Inc. and Avrill Stark Entertainment PTY. Ltd. (Australia), the CGI animated show targeted at 8- to 12-year-olds is financially backed by the Canadian Television Fund, Telefilm Canada, COGECO Program Development Fund and British Columbia Film. EM.Ent.
Decode Ent. has inked a number of new licensing deals for its hit preschool property FRANNY'S FEET, including a deal with Allumination Filmworks for U.S. home entertainment and a further home entertainment agreement with Mediaway in Poland. Decode has also signed up a number of international licensing sub-agents through its representative, The Sharpe Company, including CPLG (Copyright Promotions) in France and Italy, Scandinavia's Alicom Licensing, IMC (International Merchandising Consultants) in Argentina and Korea's Asiana Licensing.
Warner Bros. Pictures is bringing Michael Bond's children's classic, PADDINGTON BEAR, to the screen in a live-action family comedy format for the first time. David Heyman, producer of the HARRY POTTER film franchise, will produce through his Heyday Films. Writer Hamish McColl (MR. BEAN'S HOLIDAY) is attached to adapt.
"We're eager to collaborate once again with David, as well as with our London creative team, on this ageless classic," said Jeff Robinov, President, Production, Warner Bros. Pictures.
Icon Animation, Spain's leading production and distribution company specialising in youth programming, has scored a multi-territory deal with leading collectible stickers and trading card company Panini for its popular girl-skewed animated show LOLA & VIRGINIA. Panini will launch a series of products across Spain, Portugal, Italy and Brazil, including a sticker stack book, story albums, and puzzle and coloring books. The roll out will begin in Italy, where the series airs on the Disney Channel.
Entity FX created vfx for RUSH HOUR 3, including 3D backdrops, digital matte paintings and screen composites that helped back up the action in several different interior and outdoor locations.
One challenge involved digitally adding a moving elevator to enhance suspense in an interior chase scene. Elevator elements as well as the character of Soo Young (actress Jingchu Zhang) were tracked in to seamlessly integrate live-shot material with digital matte painting elements.
Veteran entertainment publicist Anne Stavola has been named vice president, East Coast Publicity for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. She will report directly to Jasmine Madatian, senior vice president, publicity for WDSMP, and will be responsible for overseeing Disney's newly reorganized New York publicity office. In her new role, Stavola will work directly with Madatian in developing and implementing publicity strategies and campaigns for all motion pictures released under the Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures banners.
Sid Ganis was re-elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by the organization's board of governors. This will be his third consecutive term in the office.
In addition, Robert Rehme, an executives branch governor and past Academy president, was re-elected first VP; Actors Branch governor Tom Hanks and Music Branch governor Charles Bernstein were elected to VP posts; producers branch governor Hawk Koch was elected treasurer and short films and feature animation branch governor Jon Bloom was elected secretary.
Duiker Research Corp., a California-based innovator in imaging and color tools for motion pictures, has launched Color Symmetry, a suite of plug-ins that for the first time allows film "looks" to be easily emulated and previewed within a wide array of animation, graphics and effects packages. Color Symmetry lets companies handle color accurately and consistently across mediums, applications, platforms and even facilities. Color Symmetry additionally helps companies build robust color pipelines to support complex feature film projects right out of the box.
Autodesk Inc. has announced the recipients of this year's Autodesk Masters awards. Through this annual program, Autodesk recognizes exceptional Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya software artists and technical specialists whose work and dedication have significantly contributed to the advancement of computer graphics. The 2007 Autodesk Masters were announced yesterday at Autodesk's SIGGRAPH User Group meeting.
The 3ds Max and Maya users honored as this year's Autodesk Masters were:
Autodesk 3ds Max
Chilean filmmaker Nicolas Lopez will write and direct an untitled comedy thriller about a young woman who is sent to the past to prevent World War III, under Salma Hayek and partner Jose Tamez's new MGM-based production shingle Ventanazul, reports VARIETY.
Ventanazul is scouting hot young talent from Mexico, Chile and the U.S. for this and its other first few projects.
The Walt Disney Co. has acquired Club Penguin, one of the fastest-growing online virtual worlds for kids. Since its launch in October 2005, award-winning Club Penguin has grown to more than 700,000 paid subscribers, achieving this subscriber and user growth with very limited marketing efforts, relying mostly on strong product and word-of-mouth awareness among kids. The site has more than 12 million activated users, primarily in the U.S. and Canada
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.
The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) announced its roster of films in competition, including the controversial feature PERSEPOLIS. Included among the final contenders are 26 films from the U.S. and 20 films from the U.K. Other countries competing include Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Russian Federation, Serbia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan.