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Hollywood Studios

February 15, 2013 | By Richard Verrier
DreamWorks Animation SKG is licensing its movie characters for various theme parks being developed in Russia, an increasingly important market for the Glendale-based studio. The creator of the "Shrek," "Madagascar" and "Kung Fu Panda" franchises said it had signed a licensing agreement with Regions Group of Companies, which is developing what is billed as Europe's largest indoor theme parks. Regions says it's the fourth-largest retail property owner in Russia. The parks, scheduled to open in 2015, would be located in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Yekaterinburg and include various attractions based on DreamWorks characters.
February 11, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Starz has struck a new agreement that will keep theatrical movies from Sony Pictures on the pay-TV channel through 2021. The deal comes just over two months after Netflix outbid Starz for the right to movies from Walt Disney Co. Netflix had also made no secret of its desire to land Sony Pictures as well. That made keeping Sony crucial for Starz, which was recently spun off into a public company by Liberty Media. While terms of the agreement were not disclosed, a person familiar with the matter said the pact is typical of most pay-TV output contracts.
February 11, 2013 | By Richard Verrier
The award-winning visual-effects company Rhythm & Hues, considered one of the industry's leaders, is laying off 200 employees as it files for bankruptcy protection, sources close to the studio said. The layoffs come as the L.A. company, which worked on Ang Lee's "Life of Pi,"   nominated for a visual-effects Oscar, is preparing to seek bankruptcy protection from creditors later Monday in the wake of mounting financial difficulties, the studio said. The studio told some employees not to report to work Monday and said the studio was have difficulty meeting its payroll obligations, said sources, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
February 8, 2013 | By Daniel Miller, Los Angeles Times
Universal Pictures is getting back into the toy business - led by a swarm of small, yellow creatures with a penchant for mischief. The Hollywood studio plans to unveil an array of new toys and games for its upcoming 3-D computer-animated sequel "Despicable Me 2" at this weekend's Toy Fair trade show in New York, signaling a willingness to reenter the competitive consumer products market with some of its bigger movie franchises. Much of the product line, to be launched ahead of "Despicable Me 2's" theatrical release July 3, focuses on the signature pill-shaped, jabbering creatures called minions that were featured prominently in the original 2010 film.
January 28, 2013 | By Meg James and Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
In a bold bet on the digital future of entertainment, Time Warner Inc. has named Kevin Tsujihara as chief executive of its Warner Bros. studio - ending a fiercely fought battle for one of the most powerful jobs in Hollywood. Tsujihara has been president of Warner Bros.' home entertainment unit, which is responsible for home video, online distribution and video games. In winning the top spot, he edged out rivals overseeing the larger and more prestigious film and television divisions.
January 17, 2013 | By Richard Verrier
Hollywood studios aren't known as easy places to work. But DreamWorks Animation once again has made Fortune magazine's list of the 100 best employers. The Glendale studio behind the "Shrek," "Kung Fu Panda" and "Madagascar" movies ranked 12th in the 2013 list, just above Quicken Loans (which ranked 13th) and semiconductor company Qualcomm (11th). Google once again was ranked No. 1. DreamWorks, with 2,350 employees, was the only Hollywood studio to make the list, which will be released Thursday.
January 11, 2013 | By Jacob Silverman
Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See A Novel Juliann Garey Soho Press: 30 pp, $25 Gird yourself: Greyson Todd, the narrator of Juliann Garey's "Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See," is a bipolar studio executive, and sharing his head space can be a fascinating, grueling trip down the path of mental illness. Greyson shades toward the antihero, asking you to hate him nearly as much as he hates himself. He offers little quarter for the timid. Still, I could not help emerging from Garey's first novel with a deep sympathy for Greyson and admiration for his creator.
January 8, 2013 | By Joe Flint
After the coffee. Before figuring out why I'm not at CES. The Skinny: I think 7 a.m. is a little too early for Viagra commercials. Will someone please tell the NBC Sports Network that? Tuesday's headlines include good news for Hollywood on the home entertainment front, lots of news coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and an appreciation of California TV personality Huell Howser. Daily Dose: Joe Waz, one of the most respected lobbyists on Capitol Hill, is returning to Comcast Corp.
January 8, 2013 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski and Jessica Guynn,
Los Angeles Times
Hollywood's friendship with Facebook is showing signs of strain. The entertainment industry was among the first to embrace the Silicon Valley phenomenon. Studio executives thought the giant social network held great promise in reaching moviegoers for less money than traditional advertising such as trailers and TV ads. Facebook's origins even became fodder for the 2010 Academy Award-winning movie "The Social Network. " These days, major studios are taking a hard look at the cost of winning friends on Facebook.
January 2, 2013 | By Joseph Tanfani and Matea Gold, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - In the last-minute dealmaking to stop the nation from tumbling over the so-called fiscal cliff, Congress and the White House decided not to spare most people from a hike in Social Security payroll taxes. But they did find room for billions in special tax breaks for rum makers, racetrack owners, railroads - and Hollywood studios. Riding along on the compromise bill were dozens of provisions that renewed existing tax breaks. All told, the business tax breaks will cost more than $63 billion next year, according to an analysis by Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation.
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