News Bytes: ‘Sonic’ Redesign Causes Delay, ‘Shrek’ vs. ‘Thrones,’ Sony Launches PlayStation Productions & More

Mattel & Warner Bros. CP Extend DC Global Toy Partnership
Mattel will continue to be the toy licensee for DC Universe characters and brands in the girls, preschool, vehicles, games and novelty categories, supporting and growing both existing franchises as well as new content from the DC Super Hero Girls brand.

“Mattel has been our partner on DC for over 15 years and really knows our characters and understands the special connection they have with our fans. Their leadership in the preschool, vehicle and girls categories will help us bring great toys and experiences to DC fans of all ages.” — Stephen Teglas, SVP for North America, WBCP

CALL FOR ENTRIES: animago 2019
The 23rd competition for 3D animation, vfx and design will be held Nov. 2-5 in Munich. Submissions are invited to enter for a shot at 10 competition categories, including the new Best In-Game Graphics award, Best Visual Effects, Best Game Cinematic, Best Short Film, Best Advertising Production, Best Character, Best Young Production, Jury’s Prize, Best Motion Design, and Best Still (public vote). Deadline: June 30, 2019.

Sony Interactive Launches Unit to Adapt Games for Film, TV
The new banner headed by Asad Qizilbash and overseen by Sony Interactive chairman of worldwide studios Shawn Layden will mine the PlayStation games property library for filmed entertainment hits. Titles like Tomb Raider and Ratchet & Clank have previously received live-action and animated movie adaptations.

“We looked at what Marvel has done in taking the world of comic books and making it into the biggest thing in the film world. It would be a lofty goal to say we’re following in their footsteps, but certainly we’re taking inspiration from that … We want to create an opportunity for fans of our games to have more touch points with our franchises. When fans beat a 40-50 hour game and have to wait three-four years for a sequel, we want to give them places they can go and still have more of that experience and see the characters they love evolve in different ways.” — Shawn Layden, SIE Chairman – Worldwide Studios.

Let Us Not Overlook ‘Shrek’s Contributions to ‘Game of Thrones’
One seemingly absurdTwitter thread has outshone every long-gestated fan theory about the show, tbh.

’Game of Thrones’ Alum Bryan Cogman Joins ‘Lord of the Rings’ Amazon Series
Speaking of fantasy epics! Cogman joined GoT as an assistant to creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and went on to write many key episodes (including season 8 tearjerker “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”) and wrap the show as a co-executive producer. The move to LotR is part of his overall deal with Amazon Studios. The new series will further explore Middle-earth outside the familiar book trilogy tale.

Jeff Fowler: ‘Sonic’ Date Pushed Back for Redesign
After the debut trailer for live-action/CG event feature Sonic the Hedgehog gave the entire collective internet a conniption and caused director Fowler to announce a redesign of the lead character, the helmer posted to Twitter Friday that the release is being delayed to accommodate the makeover. “Taking a little more time to make Sonic just right. #novfxartistswereharmedinthemakingofthismovie,” Fowler tweeted, with a sketch of Sonic’s gloved hand (are they turning his furry white hands back into gloves?!) holding a sign with the date February 14, 2020. The new date means Sonic debuts the same day as comic-book movie Kingsman 3 and a week after hybrid family flick Peter Rabbit 2.

Animago

Animago

DC Universe toys

DC Universe toys

Animation Magazine

Studio 100 Takes Over Emmy-Winning Little Airplane Productions

Fun Town Wheels

Fun Town Wheels

European powerhouse Studio 100 has taken another step in its international expansion by acquiring New York-based animation studio Little Airplane Productions. Known for bringing hit preschool series such as Wonder Pets, Small Potatoes, Super Wings and P. King Duckling to life, Little Airplane was founded by president Josh Selig in 1999 and has since earned numerous accolades, include 21 Emmy Awards.

“I am thrilled that Little Airplane has joined forces with our friends at Studio 100 and all of their amazing companies,” commented Selig. “There is a great synergy between our businesses and our teams, and we look forward to creating and producing new content together that will resonate with children around the world.”

Little Airplane has created original animated concepts as well as working on many international co-productions. The company has worked closely with major US broadcasters such as Disney, Nickelodeon and Sprout, and established strong links with European players KiKA, CBeebies and Canal+. Notably, Little Airplane has broken new ground in the Chinese market, working with local partners to develop content which has also sold outside China such as Super Wings.

“I have greatly admired the work of Little Airplane for years,” said Hans Bourlon, co-founder/CEO of Studio 100 with Gert Verhulst. “It’s a unique company. It has amazing creative strength and has produced the most fantastic series and songs. My absolute favourite is ‘The Potato Train’ from Small Potatoes.”

Selig will be working closely with Bourlon and with Hans Ulrich Stoef, CEO of Studio 100 Media and m4e. Little Airplane will continue to focus on developing and producing new projects, in close cooperation with Studio 100’s animation studios, Studio 100 Animation in Paris and Flying Bark Productions in Sydney, and will also continue developing for its third party clients. Studio 100 Media (Munich) takes care of international content sales, the exploitation of licences and merchandising, as well as the worldwide distribution of new brands and productions.

“We have been working successfully with Josh and his team for many years and currently develop Fun Town Wheels and Rock, Tacco, Balloon with him. So we are very excited about having this opportunity to join forces on a broader level,” said Stoef. “After m4e and I linked up with Studio 100 at the beginning of this year, the next logical step in the international expansion was to go into partnership with Little Airplane Productions. We have been impressed by the accomplishments of Little Airplane Productions and their great expertise in children’s and family entertainment. We are very much looking forward to producing world-class creations together.”

Fun Town Wheels

Fun Town Wheels

Ulrich Stoef

Ulrich Stoef

Little Airplane Productions

Little Airplane Productions

Josh Selig

Josh Selig

Hans Bourlon

Hans Bourlon

Animation Magazine

Toronto’s Arc Productions Shutters

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Toronto animation studio Arc Productions, formerly Starz Animation up until 2011, has halted operations and locked up its offices. CEO Tom Murray stated in a written note to employees that the company had been facing “significant financial difficulties and a liquidity crisis.”

Murray added that an application has been filed to have professional services firm Deloitte take control of Arc as an interim receiver. Deloitte is expected to take the reigns August 4, and Arc’s 500 some employees have been encouraged to contact the firm for further information.

According to the note, Arc is “working diligently to find a solution that will allow us to pay outstanding wages.” Murray goes on to say that if these efforts fail, the Canadian government’s Wage Earner Protection Program can pay up to $ 3,900 per individual. Employees reportedly were first aware of trouble at the company when Arc failed to make payroll last week.

Arc Productions had been working on the indie CG feature Blazing Samurai for AMC Entertainment and Open Road Films. Under its former Starz banner, the studio delivered animation for Gnomeo & Juliet and Dolphin Tale. Recent TV projects included the Thomas & Friends: The Great Race TV movie for Mattel Creations, Kody Kapow for Zodiak Kids (coming to Sprout next year) and the Amazon Studios pilot Lost in Oz.

Arc Productions

Arc Productions

Animation Magazine

Weiss-led Universal Kids Productions Announced

universal-150

Universal Pictures has launched a new children’s entertainment division, which will be overseen by former Nickelodeon executive Teri Weiss.

Dubbed Universal Kids Productions, the division will focus on generating content from existing IP as well as develop original properties.

Among the studios’ kid-friendly properties the division could tap into: Despicable Me, the Fast and the Furious movie series, Jurassic World and legacy properties like The Land Before Time, Curious George and Woody Woodpecker.

Weiss worked at Nick for 16 years, most notably as an executive VP of production and development for its preschool division.

Universal Kids Productions

Universal Kids Productions

Animation Magazine

Mike Young Productions Sues Moonscoop U.S. Holdings

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L.A.-based studio Mike Young Productions is taking legal action against Moonscoop U.S. Holdings, alleging that it blocked the company’s attempt to take over the U.S. arm of the troubled French animation outfit Moonscoop.

“We are saddened by the financial events at Moonscoop France which have lead them to file a petition for court protection from their creditors,” studio founder and president Mike Young told Animation Magazine. “Our position was, and is, that we want to buy back the shares of our U.S. company. We have made several attempts to buy back our company, however this process is being controlled by a Receiver (“Trustee”) out of France which has made the process very difficult. The lawsuit is a byproduct of our frustration where we believe that our rights under the operating agreement are being ignored and we will take all steps to protect our U.S.-based company. We are continuing with bids to buy back the shareholding that is under the control of the Receiver.”

Moonscoop U.S. Holdings owns 51 percent of the Los Angeles-based Moonscoop LLC, while Mike Young Productions holds the remaining 49 percent. Moonscoop U.S. Holdings is a subsidiary of the Paris-based Moonscoop SA, which filed bankruptcy earlier this year.

According to the lawsuit, Mike Young Productions had tried to buy out Moonscoop U.S. Holding’s 51 percent of Moonscoop LLC before French Moonscoop entered into administration earlier this year, and the offer was turned down. The French Moonscoop instead offered for sale the holding company’s assets to satisfy its creditors, while blocking Young’s attempts to buy the holding company’s assets.

Mike Young Productions is asking the court to prevent Moonscoop U.S. Holdings from interfering with its rights under the operating agreement. It is seeking $ 5 million in damages for breach of contract, breach of faith, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and violation of business and professions codes.

Moonscoop

Moonscoop

Animation Magazine

Myst Film to Be Produced by Roserock, Gran Via Productions




The feature film version of the classic adventure game Myst, one of the first purveyors of the “multimedia experience” in videogames, has been picked up by Roserock Films and Gran Via Productions (via Variety).

They companies are partnering with Adrian Vanderbosch and Isaac Testerman of the Mysteria Film Group, who are fans of the series. This is a major milestone for Testerman and Vanderbosch, who originally pitched the idea for a film via DVD to developer Cyan Worlds in 2006. 1UP first ” target=_blank>interviewed the pair about their film back in 2008.

“Our aim with this project is to stretch the genres it operates within, much like the source material did,” Vanderbosch told Variety. “It is such an innovative property and the best service we can do to it is to maintain that spirit. By utilizing the novels as our primary source, we have the opportunity to offer audiences the essence of Myst without being limited only to the famous island of the first game.”

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dick clark productions (dcp LLC) Reports Fiscal Year End Conference Call

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