FILM DEAL: Walt Disney Co.’s studio unit has signed a deal with Imax Corp. to release three more 3-D movies for Imax theaters in 2011. Walt Disney Studios and Imax said the first film will be “Mars Needs Moms,” scheduled to be released in March. It will be followed by “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” in May and “Cars 2” in June. The 3-D version of “Toy Story 3” opened last weekend in 180 Imax theaters and those screens contributed $8.4 million to the film’s overall gross of $110 million.
JOBS REPORT: Los Angeles County’s job picture was mixed in May. State figures showed the unemployment rate edged up to 12.3 percent from 12.2 percent in April even as 6,500 payroll jobs were added. The unemployment rate is a full percentage point higher than May 2009. The county’s two largest cities, Los Angeles and Long Beach, continued to post higher unemployment rates than the countywide average, at 13.4 percent and 13.3 percent, respectively. Federal government hiring of temporary census workers was a major factor in the payroll jobs increase, but there were also increases in food services and the information sector, which includes motion picture production.
SUIT SETTLED: Northrop Grumman Corp. has agreed to pay the federal government $12.5 million to resolve a civil suit alleging that the company failed to test electronic components for military and space navigation systems to ensure they work in extreme temperatures. The false-claims lawsuit, which stemmed from a whistleblower complaint, alleged that the L.A. defense contractor knowingly submitted false claims to a number of military branches and government agencies. The company said it fully cooperated with the government’s investigation and is pleased that the matter is now behind it.
ON THE BALLOT: A controversial initiative that would postpone implementation of the state’s greenhouse gas reduction law for several years has qualified for the November ballot. AB 32, which passed in 2006, requires businesses to reduce carbon emissions by as much as 20 percent by 2020. The ballot measure would suspend AB 32 until the state’s unemployment rate goes below 5.5 percent for a year. It now stands above 12 percent, and the last time it was below 5.5 percent was in 2007.
NEW LIFE: Sam Nazarian’s hospitality company SBE has entered into a joint venture to take over an unfinished boutique hotel at 1717 Vine St. in Hollywood. The property was developed by Avi Brosch, who lost control of it during the downturn. CIM Group, Hollywood’s largest commercial landlord, bought the property for less than $16 million earlier this year. Under the joint venture with CIM, SBE will operate the five-story hotel. The distinctive red building originally was intended as an extended-stay hotel called Palihouse Hollywood.
CLOSING DOORS: Ken Crane’s, a big-screen television retailer based in Hawthorne, is going out of business, closing six stores and laying off 75 people. The 62-year old company had carved out a niche as an upscale television and home theater retailer, growing to 10 stores and 175 employees across Southern California. But the recent recession and competition from national electronics chains such as Best Buy proved too much for the family-owned business.
MERGER TALKS? Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. was reported to be in merger discussions with the management of struggling Century City studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The Santa Monica independent studio, with corporate headquarters in Canada, may have difficulty obtaining consent for any deal from dissident investor Carl Icahn, who recently grew his Lions Gate stake to one-third and has threatened a proxy battle. Icahn opposed an earlier $1.4 billion offer by Lions Gate to acquire MGM.
SECONDARY OFFERING: Arrowhead Research Corp. has closed a direct offering of 6.6 million common shares and 3.3 million warrants, which raised $8.65 million. The Pasadena nanotechnology company said the offering strengthened its balance sheet, enabling it to invest in its current businesses and take advantage of acquisition opportunities. The company develops drugs and carbon nanotube technology for electronic applications.
NEW INVESTOR: L.A. billionaire Ron Burkle has purchased enough shares to gain a 6 percent stake in American Apparel Inc., making him the second-largest individual shareholder after the L.A. company’s founder, Dov Charney. Burkle bought 4.3 million shares for $5.9 million earlier this month, according to a regulatory filing.
RESORT HOMES: Walt Disney Co. hopes to buck a slumping residential market in Florida with the launch of a gated community at Walt Disney World. About 30 properties, listing for between $1.5 million to $8 million, will be available for purchase this year at the 980-acre Golden Oak resort community. The company expects to build 450 homes there.
EARNINGS: CKE Restaurants Inc. reported a second quarter net loss of $3.1 million compared with net income of $14.4 million a year earlier. Revenue fell 2.6 percent to $435 million. … Ameron International Corp. reported second quarter net income of $9.5 million, 1 percent more than a year earlier. Revenue rose 2.7 percent to more than $136 million.
The article headlined “Film Producer’s Royalty Suit a Shock to Studio System?” in the June 14 issue did not accurately summarize the court rulings in the dispute between Ladd Co. and Warner Bros. The article should have said that Ladd Co. won the key counts of a state court case in 2007. Warner Bros. appealed those counts, and the appeal was rejected in May.
• • •
In an article headlined “Trades Take Aim at Union Deals” in the June 21 edition, Kevin Korenthal’s title was incorrect. Korenthal is the executive director of the Cooperation Committee for the Associated Builders and Contractors of California.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.