Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lionsgate Launching ‘Hunger Games’ Attractions at Dubai Theme Park

Katniss Everdeen is getting into the theme park business, with Lionsgate set to bring theme park attractions based on “The Hunger Games” franchise to Dubai.
The studio announced Tuesdsay that it has partnered with Dubai Parks and Resorts to bring a Lionsgate zone to Motiongate Dubai, opening in October 2016.
The Lionsgate zone will feature theme park attractions and a retail facility inspired by “The Hunger Games” franchise along with a live stage show based on “Step Up: All In” and “Step Up: Revolution.”
“Our franchises are continuing to drive location-based entertainment opportunities around the world,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. “We’re proud to partner with the team at Dubai Parks and Resorts to create a thrilling total entertainment experience designed to attract millions of new fans and continue the global expansion of our brands.”
Motiongate Dubai is being planned to draw over three million visits a year with 27 rides and attractions that will take attendees on “an immersive cinematic journey through their favorite films.”
The first three “Hunger Games” films — which star Jennifer Lawrence — have grossed more than $2.3 billion at the worldwide box office. The attractions will launch nearly a year after the Nov. 20, 2015, release of the fourth and final film, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.″
Lionsgate announced in late 2013 that it was exploring getting into the theme park business.
Dubai Parks and Resorts CEO Raed Al Nuaimi said, “Lionsgate’s ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Step Up’ and other signature properties are the perfect centerpiece for one of the most visionary new theme parks in the world. Through this partnership we are offering even more for the whole family to enjoy on their visit and are confident that Motiongate Dubai will set a global benchmark as the ultimate movie-themed destination.”
Dubai Parks and Resorts is also building Legoland Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai and Lapita, a Polynesian-themed resort.
Lionsgate announced plans in November for a live stage show based on “The Hunger Games” that would launch in 2016. The studio has teamed with Dutch media company Imagine Nation and U.S. based Triangular Entertainment to bring the show to a new, purpose-built theater next to Wembley Stadium in London.
VARIETY Dave McNary Film Reporter@Variety_DMcNary March 31, 2015 | 07:32AM PT

Comcast, CFO Pledge $4.1 Billion to Fund New Investment and Operating Company

Michael Angelakis will be CEO of forming firm, gives up chief financial officer role at cable provider

Comcast Corporation and CFO Michael Angelakis are pooling together $4.1 billion to launch a new investment and operating company. Angelakis — who has personally pledged $40 million to the forming venture — will become CEO of the new firm and be replaced as chief financial officer of Comcast.

The big cable provider is funding the new company to the tune of $4 billion. The remainder will come from other senior members of the new company’s management team. The newly formed group will have an exclusive, 10-year partnership with Comcast as sole outside investor.

“This is a time of tremendous change and opportunity in our core technology and media industries, as well as in adjacent business areas. We believe the ability to establish entrepreneurial ventures that partner with and participate in the growth of innovative companies can be an important driver of strategic and financial value creation for our company,” said Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast. “As Comcast approaches the completion of the Time Warner Cable merger and related transactions, and the integration plans are well advanced, Michael is ready and excited to turn his attention to the next phase of his career and relationship with Comcast.”

He continued: “In the past, Comcast has made substantial investments in companies like QVC, Comcast Cellular and SpectrumCo, which have generated tremendous strategic and shareholder value. I couldn’t be more excited about the future and Michael’s role in building this new company.”

Comcast will immediately begin a search for a successor chief financial officer. Following that eventual appointment, Angelakis will serve as a senior advisor to Comcast. Angelakis will assist with the transition to the new CFO and begin the integration process for the Time Warner Cable and related transactions.

Angelakis is the Deputy Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Prior to joining Comcast, Angelakis was a managing director and member of the Investment and Management Committees at Providence Equity Partners, one of the leading, global private equity firms investing in technology, media and communications companies.

 “As we enter the final phase of the Time Warner Cable transaction, this is a great time to begin a transition and I am excited to start this new, entrepreneurial company,” Angelakis said. “Our industry is dynamic and I am very excited and optimistic about the many opportunities available to Comcast.”

“I look forward to closing the Time Warner Cable and related transactions and commencing the integration process,” he continued. “As part of our new company, I am very pleased to continue the partnership with my current colleagues and to contribute to Comcast’s future growth and success.”

THE WRAP Media | By Tony Maglio on March 31, 2015 @ 6:28 am

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Amazon, Bleecker Street Sign Streaming Distribution Pact

Newly launched indie film company Bleecker Street has locked up an important distribution partner, announcing Tuesday that it has entered into a multi-year content licensing agreement with Amazon Prime.
As part of the pact, Prime will be the exclusive subscription home for Bleecker’s theatrical releases — a slate that includes “Danny Collins” with Al Pacino, “I’ll See You in My Dreams” with Blythe Danner and “Pawn Sacrifice” with Tobey Maguire.
“As we build out our collection of films, it’s important to us to share the work of these amazing filmmakers with a broad viewing audience,” said Andrew Karpen, CEO of Bleecker Street, in a statement. “We look forward to bringing Prime members an entertainment experience we’re sure they’ll love.”
In January, Bleecker Street entered into an output deal with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, with the company handling all marketing, sales and distribution services for the Blu-ray, DVD, electronic sell through and on-demand platforms of the company’s films in the U.S.
Karpen, the former co-CEO of Focus Features, formed the company in 2014, with backing from 5-hour Energy founder Manoj Bhargava.
VARIETY Brent Lang Senior Film and Media Reporter@BrentALang March 31, 2015 | 06:17AM PT


Solar activity in the chromosphere takes many forms, the most common feature is the presence of spicules. Spicules are long thin jets of superheated gas, called plasma which appear like the blades of a huge field of fiery grass growing upwards from the photosphere below. On the disc of the Sun, spicules are called chromospheric mottles, there are also horizontal wisps of gas called fibrils, which last about twice as long as spicules.

According to a theory the spicules are caused by sound waves, slight pulsations of the Sun’s visible surface. Seismic waves (similar to those in an earthquake) in the Sun’s interior create giant sound waves called p-modes. The p-modes are normally trapped near the photosphere, but some of the sound waves leak out, developing shock waves that propel matter upward to generate spicules and push them into the corona.

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Disney Developing Live-Action ‘Mulan’

Image Courtesy of Disney

Disney is developing a live-action version of its 1998 animated movie “Mulan.”
The project is based on a script by Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek focused on the Chinese warrior character Hua Mulan. The project has been set up with Chris Bender and J.C. Spink.
The original “Mulan,” directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook, centered on the title character disguising herself as a man to take her father’s place in the army with her dragon friend Mushu. “Mulan” grossed over $300 million worldwide.
Disney’s seen an impressive run with its live-action versions of animated films starting in 2010 with “Alice in Wonderland,” followed by last year’s “Maleficent” and this year’s “Cinderella,” which has topped $336 million worldwide in three weeks. It’s developing a live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” starring Emma Watson with a release already set for March 17, 2017.
Disney is also releasing a live-action version of 1967’s “The Jungle Book” next year along with the sequel to “Alice in Wonderland.”
Bender and Spink have specialized in producing comedies for New Line such as “We’re the Millers” and “Horrible Bosses 2.”
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.
VARIETY Dave McNary Film Reporter@Variety_DMcNary March 30, 2015 | 02:33PM PT

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Get Hard (2015) Making of & Behind the Scenes (Part1/2)

DreamWorks Animation Stock Rises as 'Home' Opening Exceeds Expectations

DreamWorks Animation shares rose in early Monday trading after the better-than-expected opening weekend for Home.
Analysts said the first weekend performance reduces the risk of a writedown on the movie for the studio led by CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. As of 10 a.m. ET, the stock was up 8.6 percent at $24.63.
B. Riley analyst Eric Wold wrote: "Opening weekend box office for Home exceeds expectations," adding that the "write-off risk [is] reduced, but not eliminated."
Some were even more optimistic: "The surprisingly strong results eliminate risk of another impairment and should build confidence in DWA's recovery," said Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tony Wible.
But other Wall Street folks disagreed that the performance would necessarily boost investor confidence in the company.
Cowen analyst Doug Creutz said: "DWA's Home is estimated to have earned $54 million at the domestic box office in its opening weekend, well above expectations for $30-40 million. While Home's performance is a positive for shares, we remain hesitant to assume permanently improved film performance given the increasingly competitive market for big-budget tentpole films."
But he acknowledged: "This is a much needed win for Mr. Katzenberg and management amidst restructuring and poor recent film performance."
The Hollywood Reporter by Georg Szalai 3/30/2015 7:04am PDT


Roscosmos &  NASA have agreed to build a new space station after the current ISS expires. The operation of the ISS was prolonged until 2024.
“We have agreed that Roscosmos and NASA will be working together on the program of a future space station," Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov said during a news conference on Saturday.
The two agencies will be unifying their standards and systems of manned space programs, according to Komarov. “This is very important to future missions and stations.”

The next goal for the two agencies is a joint mission to Mars, NASA chief Charles Bolden told journalists.

Roscosmos and NASA are working with each other and other partners on a global roadmap of space exploration, Bolden said. “Our area of cooperation will be Mars. We are discussing how best to use the resources, the finance, we are setting time frames and distributing efforts in order to avoid duplication.”

Sky Acquires Majority Stake in U.S. Production Firm Jupiter

Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch
Courtesy of BskyB
Pan-European pay TV giant Sky has acquired a 60 percent stake in U.S. TV production firm Jupiter Entertainment, which focuses on non-scripted series and formats.
Financial details weren't disclosed.
The deal is part of Sky’s strategy to build a broad international content business, including networks, production and distribution.
It has particularly looked to expand the distribution of new programs through its Sky Vision international distribution unit. The Jupiter deal follows similar deals that saw Sky, led by CEO Jeremy Darroch, acquire stakes in independent production companies Love Productions in the U.K. and L.A.-based Znak & Jones.
Founded in 1996 by Stephen Land, Jupiter produces popular documentary, reality, true crime and lifestyle series, such as Welcome to Myrtle Manor (TLC), Wild West Alaska (Animal Planet), Snapped (Oxygen) and Homicide Hunter (ID).
The company recently struck a multi-year first-look deal with Random House that allows it to adapt the publisher’s assets as non-fiction TV and digital properties.
Jupiter has corporate offices in Knoxville, Tenn., and New York along with a Los Angeles post-production location. Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake in Sky.
Jupiter will continue to operate as a distinct company under the terms of the deal and will produce programs for a variety of networks. Jupiter’s existing agreements with other networks and distributors will remain unchanged.
Said Jane Millichip, managing director, Sky Vision: “Over the past two decades, Jupiter has built an impressive track record in popular factual television and has become a major supplier to a variety of U.S. networks. We look forward to working with Stephen, who is one of America’s most prolific television executives, and his talented team."
She added: "They have an exciting slate of returning series and new formats, and Jupiter will become an important partner for Sky Vision as we build our presence in the U.S. market.”
Land, CEO and executive producer of Jupiter, said: “We couldn’t be more delighted. Sky is an ideal strategic partner. Combining Jupiter’s strong domestic growth with Sky’s global reach creates thrilling possibilities. We have ambitious growth plans and believe our employees and network partners will all benefit from this exciting combination."
The Hollywood Reporter by Georg Szalai 3/30/2015 8:00am PDT


For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.

Gif: Alcohol inside a water cooler bottle strapped to a skateboard is ignited to show propulsion.

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