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Headline News EA to Reduce Workforce by 10 Percent

Electronic Arts has announced further details on a restructuring plan which will include consolidating facilities and reducing the work force.

EA expects the restructuring plan will result in annual cost savings of approximately $120 million and restructuring charges of approximately $55-$65 million over the next several quarters.

Headline News Chow Won't Direct Green Hornet, Will Still Play Kato

Stephen Chow has dropped out as director of THE GREEN HORNET over "creative differences," per VARIETY. He will still play Kato, however. Columbia Pictures and producer Neal Mortiz are in the process of finding a new director, hopefully before the end of the year, to keep the film on track to begin production in the spring.

Headline News Rory Bruer Named President, Worldwide Distribution at Sony

In a move that consolidates Sony Pictures' worldwide theatrical distribution activities under one roof, Rory Bruer has been promoted to President of Worldwide Distribution.

As part of the consolidation, Mark Zucker has been named president of Sony Pictures Releasing International. The moves finalizes the goal of Jeff Blake, Chairman of Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing & Distribution, to integrate the studio's marketing and distribution divisions on a global basis. Last year, Blake completed the merger of the studio's worldwide marketing operations.

Headline News Slamdance Shorts Competition Lineup Announced

As the Slamdance Film Festival celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2009, 86 short films in four different competition categories -- documentary, narrative/experimental, animation and music video, which is a new classification this year -- will be showcased and be eligible for a Grand Jury Award. All accepted entries have been selected to screen by the Shorts Programming Committee, which is comprised primarily of Slamdance alumni filmmakers.

Headline News Columbia Promotes Gumpert to President of Biz Affairs

Andrew Gumpert has been promoted to President of Business Affairs and Administration for Columbia Pictures.

Gumpert will report jointly to Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Ent. (SPE) and Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of SPE and Chairman, SPE Motion Pictures Group.

Headline News Nickelodeon To Launch New Multiplayer Global Game

Nickelodeon is helping kids get their game on in the name of the environment, beginning Dec. 14 with the launch of THE BIG GREEN HELP GLOBAL CHALLENGE -- the first multiplayer kids' online game with a goal of igniting real-world action for environmental change. Kids will be asked to virtually pledge volunteer hours in the "Global Challenge" that they can translate into actionable steps in their homes, communities and schools.

Headline News American Greetings Expands Licensing Reach Of Care Bears

American Greetings Properties, the intellectual property and outbound licensing division of American Greetings Corporation, continues to expand the international footprint of CARE BEARS across the globe with a slate of new deals in key territories. Through a partnership with Spain-based retail giant Oysho, American Greetings Properties recently launched CARE BEARS classic apparel at all Oysho stores worldwide.

Headline News 4Kids Inks New Deals For Chaotic Series in France, U.K.

On the heels of MIPCOM 2008, 4Kids Ent. has finalized licensing agreements with broadcasters in France and the U.K. for the first season of CHAOTIC.

CHAOTIC (Season One) is scheduled to launch on Gulli TV in France, Rede TV in Brazil and Jetix in the U.K., beginning first quarter 2009.

The property's second season, CHAOTIC: M'ARRILLIAN INVASION, has also been renewed by Teletoon in Canada and Jetix in Latin America. Broadcast sales of the series in Germany, Italy and other markets are expected to close by end of the calendar year.

Headline News Martian Labs Lands In BC

Martian Labs is opening a branch of its award-winning vfx division in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In order to expand and adapt to the increasing demands of their clients, Martian Labs is launching this new office to help support the emerging Hollywood-in-the-north industry.

Headline News Fredrik Callinggard Keeps Things SimplyLite

In agency Cramer-Krasselt/Milwaukee's new national TV campaign introducing CorningWare SimplyLite bakeware, Director/Cameraman Fredrik Callinggard proves that cooking light applies to more than just food. It's a new live action/CG spot done through Marina Del Rey, California-based Bully Pictures, the spot production company headed by Executive Producer Jason Forest.

Headline News Shaun the Sheep Wins International Emmy

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced the winners of the 36th International Emmy Awards Monday night at a gala event held in the New York Hilton, hosted by award-winning stage and screen actor Roger Bart, currently leading in Mel Brooks' new Broadway musical, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN.

Headline News World of Warcraft Expansion Breaks PC Sales Record

Blizzard Ent.'s WORLD OF WARCRAFT’s second expansion, WRATH OF THE LICH KING, has sold more than 2.8 million copies in its first 24 hours of availability, making it the fastest-selling PC game of all time.

Headline News Digital Musings From the Editor:

VFXWorld had the chance recently to speak exclusively with Bob Osher and Hannah Minghella, the two new heads of Sony Pictures Digital Prods., about their artist-centric approach to vfx and animation. Six months ago, Osher was named president of the fledgling division while continuing to serve as COO of Columbia Pictures. Minghella was appointed president of production for Sony Pictures Animation. They tell us how they've already begun making their mark and what their future roadmap is. Meanwhile, J. Paul Peszko takes a look at a fascinating new music video, HEART ATTACK, from Low vs.

Headline News Stop-Motion Pinocchio Pairs Del Toro, Jim Henson Co.

Guillermo del Toro and the Jim Henson Co. are working to develop a PINOCCHIO stop-motion feature with a darker tone, per VARIETY.

Henson Co. co-presidents Brian Henson and Lisa Henson will produce with SVP Jason Lust. Del Toro will exec produce. Del Toro revealed his involvement with the project on BLOODYDISGUSTING.com; saying he was working on the screenplay with Gris Grimly, who was the illustrator on 2002's PINOCCHIO. Grimly and Adam Parrish King will co-direct.

Headline News Aaron Eckhart To Battle For L.A.

Aaron Eckhart is now attached to star in sci-fi actioner BATTLE: LOS ANGELES at Columbia from director Jonathan Liebesman, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Neal Moritz' Original Films is producing. Eckhart, who memorably played Harvey Dent/Two Face in this summer's THE DARK KNIGHT, will be the star of a major action film for the first time. He's also had starring roles in IN THE COMPANY OF MEN and THANK YOU FOR SMOKING.

Headline News Terminator Salvation Writers Going XXX?

After sitting out the first sequel, actor Vin Diesel and director Rob Cohen will come back to the XXX story, with writers Michael Ferris and John Brancato (TERMINATOR: SALVATION) in early talks to pen the script, per VARIETY.

XXX: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE represents a trend for studios to bring back branded material. Diesel and Cohen teamed on the 2002 original, then declined the second, XXX: STATE OF THE UNION, which starred Ice Cube and was directed by Lee Tamahori.

Headline News AWN Discussion Forums - What's New? for Nov. 17, 2008

This week in AWN's Forums, a member is working on an independent short film called INVINCIBLE IRON MAN and is looking for feedback on a teaser trailer. Discussion continues on how to put together an animation business plan. With digital animation techniques replacing traditional hand-drawn/film approaches to animation, how is the 12 and 16 field guide being employed? A member is looking for the best animation school in Mexico or Argentina.

Headline News Breakthrough Appoints Nat Abraham Head, Distribution

Toronto-based distribution company, Breakthrough Ent. has promoted Nat Abraham as its Head of Distribution. Abraham will oversee daily operations including worldwide sales, pre-sales and co-production opportunities.

Headline News aniBoom Awards 3 Accepting Submissions Through December 1

The third annual aniBoom Awards are open for submissions from independent animators of all types around the globe through December 1, 2008. More than 850 submissions have been received so far, and are now being viewed and ranked by the community on aniBoom.com and by a select panel of entertainment industry luminaries. At stake is a Grand Prize for the overall winner that includes a $25,000 investment in commercial development and a distribution deal with aniBoom that will enable the winning animator to receive significant career-making exposure through a variety of outlets and channels.

Headline News Four-Time F1 Champion Races into Animated Louis La Chance

Alain Prost, who held the record for most Grand Prix victories from 1987-2001 and received the 1999 World Sports Award of the Century along such greats as Pele and Muhammad Ali, is conquering new heights as he voices the role of race car driver Raymond in the CGI animated feature film LOUIS LA CHANCE, directed by Phillipe LeClerc and Xavier Aliot. Joining LeClerc and Aliot in the director's chair will be Guillaume Ivernel (DRAGON HUNTERS).

Headline News Digital Domain Announces Upcoming Film Slate

Academy Award-winning digital production studio Digital Domain announced a number of major feature films that are currently in production at its studio:

--THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, directed by David Fincher, releasing December 25, 2008 from Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures.--TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, directed by Michael Bay, releasing in June 2009 from DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures.--2012, from director Roland Emmerich, releasing in July 2009 from Columbia Pictures.

Headline News Pulitzer-Prize Winning Playwright To Pen Spider-Man 4

David Lindsay-Abaire, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his play RABBIT HOLE, is in final negotiations to write Columbia's SPIDER-MAN 4, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Sam Raimi is already confirmed to direct, with Tobey Maguire to star. Series producers Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad are also on board, with star Kirsten Dunst expected to also return.

Columbia did not comment on the deal for the fourth installment featuring the Marvel Comics character, and plot details are highly secret.

Headline News Team Latin America Wins Engine Room Challenge

Team Latin America walked away as winner of the ENGINE ROOM, an original, short-form online series in which four teams of digital artists from around the world showcased their cutting-edge digital art skills in a bid to win $400,000, programming control of MTV's high-definition screen in Times Square for a night, HP technology products and global bragging rights.

Headline News World of Warcraft Surpasses 11 Million Subscribers Worldwide

The subscribership for Blizzard Ent.'s WORLD OF WARCRAFT, the award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), now exceeds 11 million players worldwide. This milestone was reached as the beta test for WRATH OF THE LICH KING, WORLD OF WARCRAFT's second expansion, nears completion. WRATH OF THE LICH KING will launch in several regions around the world starting on November 13.

Headline News Sam Mendes To Direct Preacher Adaptation

Director Sam Mendes will direct PREACHER for Columbia, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The studio just picked up the rights to the popular 1990s Vertigo comic series about a down-and-out Texas preacher possessed by Genesis, a supernatural entity born from an angel and a demon.

The preacher travels cross-country with an ex-girlfriend and an alcoholic Irish vampire to find God, who has abandoned his duties in heaven.

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