Marvel Enterprises has secured a $60 million credit line from Citibank. This lends credence to rumors that it is interested in taking over Harvey Entertainment which owns the rights to many animated and comic book characters such as Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich. Three years ago, Marvel Entertainment Group filed for bankruptcy. Toy Biz, which had been a subsidiary, acquired the bankrupt Marvel Entertainment Group, then created Marvel Enterprises as the umbrella company.
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Atom Corp., a new entertainment company aiming to distribute short animated and live-action films, has opened shop. The start-up firm has already established alliances with cable networks such as HBO and Sundance Channel, online services including Disney's Go Network/Infoseek, Mr. Showbiz, Reel.com, Warner Bros. Online and Film.com, the high-speed broadband service @Home, as well as airlines such as Air New Zealand, Air Canada and Continental Airlines.
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has formed a new division (unnamed as of publication) to develop character-based entertainment primarily targeted to the kids market in live action, CGI, cel animation and other media. This is in addition to the family films, which will continue to be developed and produced by Columbia Pictures. Sander Schwartz has been named president of this new entertainment group, in addition to his current responsibilities as head of SPE's Columbia TriStar Television Children's Programming, which will fold into this new division.
Fox Entertainment Group president Peter Roth resigned last week after adisappointing season for Fox Network's television shows. Comedy Centralchief executive officer Doug Herzog was announced as the replacement wherehe'll head Fox's development, scheduling, marketing and promotion. Herzogis responsible for bringing "South Park" to Comedy Central and it is hisintention to push the envelope content-wise at Fox as well. Certainly, agood deal of Fox's future rides on animated shows with three major
Gribouille, a CGI production company based in Europe and North America, has begun production on two new computer-animated television series. Xcalibur, designed by French artist Philippe Druillet and directed by Didier Pourcel, is being produced in association with Canal +, Ellipsanime, France 2 and Cactus Animation for a targeted late 1999 delivery. Micronauts, based on an existing line of action-figures and Marvel comics, is being produced with Abrams/Gentile Entertainment, Kaleidoscope Media Group and Annex Entertainment, and may be ready as early as fall 1999.
World Entertainment Events is introducing a new animated series to the international market. "Voltron: The Third Dimension" debuted in September in over 180 U.S. markets. The 3D computer-animated show is based on the original "Voltron" cartoon made in the 1980s. The first 26 episodes of the new series were produced by Mike Young Productions ("Prince of Atlantis") and Netter Digital Entertainment ("Babylon 5").
Disney-owned DIC Entertainment will provide fivehours of animation programming a week to Paxson Communications' new U.S.family entertainment network, Pax Net. An exclusive, two year agreementreached between the two companies names DIC as the sole provider ofchildren's programming for the television network group, which will launchon August 31, 1998. Much of the programming will be from DIC's existinganimation library, packaged as an educational program block called"Freddy's Firehouse," which will air for three hours on Saturday and two
What can we do to gain some much needed perspective on the dizzying worlds of digital entertainment? For starters, there's a book we need to read, says Dan Sarto.