With so many mobile games coming to market, it’s no small challenge to get droves of gamers to discover any one in particular.
But L.A. company Moonshark thinks it can get games to stand out by attaching celebrities to the apps. The company acts as a liaison between the stars and game developers.
The company’s next release is “Verticus,” in which a player steers a jetpack-wearing character through outer space, avoiding hazards and collecting points by flying through rings. The action is narrated by Spiderman creator Stan Lee, who also contributed creatively to the game.
“A lot of Hollywood talent is finding (mobile gaming) an interesting medium for creative exploration,” said Matt Kozlov, chief executive at Moonshark. “Our goal is to try to make some mobile magic happen.”
The game was developed by Controlled Chaos Media in Dallas and will be released to Apple’s app store sometime this fall. Lee consulted on topics such as character design.
Pricing for the app is not yet set, but Kozlov said there will be options to purchase in-game items such as special suits, weapons or power-ups. Revenue from the game will be split between Moonshark, Lee’s Beverly Hills company Pow Entertainment and the Dallas game developer.
How did Stan Lee get involved with a mobile game? MoonShark has some name recognition of its own. The company was launched by Century City talent agency CAA and San Diego tech company Qualcomm Inc.
The company scored a hit earlier this year with its first game, Dance Pad, in which players use their fingers to dance to songs from bands such as the Whigs on their iPad.
Moonshark has announced that’s its also working on other mobile games that will feature the likes of former “Daily Show” correspondent Demetri Martin and movie produer John Woo.
Part of the plan is to ultimately exploit “Verticus” and other original intellectual property in other mediums, such as TV and film.
RealD in Russia
RealD Inc. already has installed its 3-D technology for about 80 percent of all 3-D theater screens in the United States.
But with domestic growth cooling down, the Beverly Hills company is increasingly looking overseas, where new theaters are being built and many screens are left to be converted.
Meanwhile, overseas audiences have continued to lap up three-dimensional Hollywood blockbusters even as the format has its ups and down at home.
In just the latest example last week, RealD announced that it’s opening an office in Russia, now the third largest cinema market in the world. The company’s Moscow outpost will handle sales, customer service, exhibitor relations and operations for the country.
James Goss, an analyst at Barrington Research Associates in New York, said international territories are wide open for competition among the various 3-D firms, and will continue to be a significant source of growth for RealD.
“Internationally, they don’t have that vastly dominant position. There is a lot of room to take share from established participants or get a larger than average share of the new construction,” he said.”
Russia has about 1,400 3-D screens: double the number from just two years ago. The market leaders in the country are Dolby Laboratories Inc. of San Francisco and XPand of Hollywood. Only a small fraction of screens use technology from RealD.
The acquisition of Chatsworth independent film distributor Image Entertainment Inc. was approved by the company’s shareholders last week, paving the way for the deal to close early next month.
The acquirer is RLJ Acquisition Inc., a blank check company run by BET founder Robert “Bob” Johnson. The deal was first announced in April, when RLJ announced that it would buy the beleaguered film distribution company along with another distributor, Acorn Media Group of Silver Spring, Md. The deal was valued at $127 million.
The idea is to create a larger company that will license its home video library to digital outlets. The plan also calls for the company to list on the Nasdaq.
Image, which trades on the Pink Sheets, narrowed its loss by 72 percent to $495,000 for the fiscal first quarter ended June 30.
Staff reporter Jonathan Polakoff can be reached at email@example.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 226.
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