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16 June 2012

Entertainment, Gaming, Casino and Hollywood News Report: Marvel Entertainment, WWE, Movies, James Bond...

Entertainment, Gaming, Casino and Hollywood News Report: Marvel Entertainment, WWE, Movies, James Bond...

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Sony Pictures May Emulate Marvel’s Strategy and Tie ‘Venom’ to ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ and Other Films...

Some people including some studio executives scoffed as Marvel Studios began to build a franchise of films that would lead up to The Avengers. The team movie was ambitious, and the result of so much planning that it was easy to suspect may fail. We know now, of course, that The Avengers did anything but fail — it is one of the most financially successful films ever released - currently around 3rd most successful of all time.

That means other studios are now willing to consider emulating Marvel’s strategy. Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment haven’t laid the groundwork for a team film in the same fashion Marvel did, but they’re attempting it with Justice League anyway.

And Sony has the rights to some Marvel characters, notably the Spider-Man and Ghost Rider families. And it seems like the character spin-off Venom, which Chronicle director Josh Trank may make, could be designed to fit in with the new wave of Spider-Man movies that begins with The Amazing Spider-Man. Question is… to build up to what?

Hollywood.com talked to The Amazing Spider-Man producers Avi Arad and Matthew Tolmach, who said Venom is being developed with connectivity in mind.

What I’m trying to say to you without giving anything away is hopefully all these worlds will live together in peace someday…Look for the worlds to make sense with one another.

Avi Arad explained what they’re trying to do with Venom, in basic terms:

It’s an Eddie Brock story. We want to be as close to the comics as possible. Especially in Eddie Brock’s story. But again, pseudo-sceince is becoming science. All these tidbits about webs, artificial webs, is a huge industry now. Spiderwebs have unique qualities that will be huge for communications, fibers, and so forth. So we have taken the approach that we want to make the huge amazing movie about Eddie.

The Brock character was played in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 by Topher Grace, but this will be a new take, presumably with a new actor. Brock will be “a journalist. He had the wrong story, he got in trouble for it, he got fired,” explains Tolmach.

Making the films play nice together makes sense, but now the question will be: can we expect a Ghost Rider reboot that places that character in the same universe? In general, is it reasonable to expect that any Marvel characters held by Sony will get films that are connected in at least some vague way? Sony can’t quite make The Avengers, but it could build up to something like the old Marvel Team-Up comic series.


Spiderman comes to South Korea...

A new face of Spider-man came to Seoul on Thursday (June 14) to premiere Parker's untold story, the latest saga of the Spider-Man franchise.

One of this summer's most eagerly awaited blockbusters, "The Amazing Spider-Man" delves into the origins of teenager Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man, and tells of the superhero that the 17-year-old eventually becomes.

The new spider-man, Andrew Garfield, appeared on a news conference stage with a smile, but he was more than serious when he spoke about the new saga of the Spiderman series.

"There is such a long legacy to honour, and to do justice to, and I think our intention was to start from there, and make sure we were doing justice to these timeless mythical characters that Stanley created," said Garfield at the news conference.

Spider-man's latest instalment reboots the modern movie franchise that began with 2002's "Spider-Man", starring Tobey Maguire as the comic book crime fighter.

Over three films, the franchise amassed around 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in ticket sales, and for the fourth movie, its creators decided to take a fresh look at the series, bring in a new director and hire 28-year-old Garfield to replace Maguire, 36.

Talented actor Garfiled advised wearing a Spiderman suit and mask wasn't very easy, but it was also his dream come true.

"No one wants to wear spandex, but Peter has to for many reasons, so yeah, it was a challenge, but of course wearing the suit itself was a dream of mine since I was three years old, so being able to put it on every day," said Garfield.

Emma Stone, 23, who has been linked romantically with Garfield off-screen, portrays Parker's first love interest, Gwen Stacy, in the flick.

She said Gwen is different from Mary Jane Watson from the previous series.

"She's involved in helping Peter save the day as Spiderman of course, and so there are a lot of differences there, she doesn't sit idly by and she doesn't let him being a superhero stop the relationship from continuing or complain about it, she becomes a partner," said Emma Stone.

The movie director Marc Webb, well known in the country for his romantic comedy movie "500 Days of Summer," said the characters and romance made the blockbuster actions more appealing.

"You'll believe in that action more, you'll experience it in a more profound way if you care about the characters, and I think the only way I know how to create that empathy is through finding relatable characters and finding those little tiny moments between, whether it's between Peter and his aunt or uncle, or between Peter and Gwen, obviously romance interests me in cinema," said the film director Marc Webb.

About a thousand of fans gathered to see the new Spiderman and his girlfriend on a red carpet, and a fan couldn't hide his excitement for seeing the hero in person.

"I'd never imagined to actually meeting him like this, so I'm so honoured to see him in person. I got an autograph signed by Andrew Garfield himself.

I love him!!" said South Korean fan Lee Kyung-hoon.

South Korea's popular girl group '2EN1' was also attending the red carpet event to promote the movie.

"The Amazing Spider-Man" opens on June 28 in Seoul.

No official word yet on when the new movie will hit Australian big screens, but it should be around the same time as Korea.


Comics film gives legend respect...

Many people put Marvel creator Stan Lee in the same ranks as Walt Disney and Jim Henson. This is exactly the reason William Lawrence Hess and Nikki Frakes decided to make a documentary about the comic book legend.

“When I met Stan, I began to realize how big the things he created and stories he told were,” Hess says during a recent phone interview. “I’m into history and with Stan, there’s a rich history in what he’s done. You can tell he’s one of the 20th-century creators that people look up to.”

The duo’s result was the documentary “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story.” The film will screen at 9 tonight at the KiMo Theatre, 420 W. Central.

Lee will introduce the film and then sign autographs during the Albuquerque Comic Expo, which runs today through Sunday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

The documentary took nearly four years to complete. Hess says production began at Comic Con in San Diego in July 2006.

“We shot about 40 hours of footage right before that,” he explains. “When the project was over, we had 480 hours of footage that we managed to fit into an hour and a half documentary.”

Hess says the editing was tiring, but what softened the blow of cutting so much content out was the ability to make bonus footage.

“Nikki worked really close with the editor in carving it down,” he says. “It was a big process to go through, but it worked out in our favor.”

Frakes says it was important to show the man behind the mask.

“He invited us into his house and we got to see what he’s like with his wife,” she says. “It was important that we captured that and tell the story of how he came to be this icon in the comic industry.”

The duo led a team that searched archives and interviewed people associated with Lee. One of the prized interviews was with “Captain America” co-creator Joe Simon, who died in December 2011.

“Joe was basically Stan’s boss six decades ago,” he says. “We wanted to get inside the inner workings of the comic book industry. There were plenty of heavy hitters that came along in the ’40s. This was a huge interview for us.”

Yet for both filmmakers, comics weren’t the first thing they read. Frakes didn’t read them, but says when she learned more about Lee’s story, she wanted to help tell it.

“A lot of people think that he’s an overnight success,” she says. “He’s overcome a lot in his life and managed to become this cultural icon. He’s worked hard to get to his status.”

Hess, who grew up in New Orleans, was introduced to “X-Men” comics and later the Saturday morning comics that Lee participated in.

“I can still hear him saying ‘Stay Tuned Because We’ll be Knee Deep in Danger’ before the commercial break,” he says. “I appreciate that he’s been able to make an impact like that on me.”


'Black Panther' movie rumour: Marvel Studios...

Entertainment Weekly’s inside sources at Marvel Studios advise the news report is no true, however studio representatives declined to comment on the hot rumour.

A news report from the movie website Latino Review by writer El Mayimbe stated Marvel Studios has committed to making one of its next projects a picture based on Black Panther, the leader of the fictional African nation and the character widely regarded as the first major black superhero.

Marvel Studios and its parent company Disney did not immediately comment on the rumor, which has circulated far and wide, causing a buz among comic book movie fans. But now inside sources at Marvel have told EW that it’s simply not true that Black Panther will be one of their next films.

Black Panther is not just a cool codename, it’s the title bestowed on the Wakandan king. In the comics, T’Challa, a Wakandan prince and warrior, passed the trials necessary to ascend to his nation’s throne, thus earning the mantle of Black Panther. Coincidentally, he also fell in love with Ororo Munroe, a.k.a. the weather-controlling Storm from X-Men, during his journeys, but don’t expect her to show up in any Marvel Studios film about him. She remains a part of X-Men mythology still owned by 20th Century Fox.

Black Panther first appeared in a 1966 issue of Fantastic Four, and the name only coincidentally mirrors that of the militant civil rights political party, created that same year. (He also fought as part of The Avengers, which could factor into any sequel for that blockbuster.)

If the look of the character recalls DC Comics’ Batman, the two characters actually have similarities beyond the costume. T’Challa’s superhuman powers are his acute senses of perception and strength, but he is also a brilliant scientist, and as heir to the throne of Wakanda he is every bit as wealthy as Bruce Wayne.

Wakanda was the site of an ancient meteor crash which scattered the element vibranium throughout the land. That fictional element, of course, is one of the rarest and strongest minerals on earth, and is used in the creation of Captain America’s shield. Black Panther’s prime nemesis is Ulysses Klaw, a physicist who murders T’Challa’s father to gain access to the precious vibranium deposits, which he uses to craft a weapon that can create solid objects out of sound waves.

Being the first mainstream black superhero, there were also political elements to Black Panther’s story. In the mid-1970s, comic book story arcs sent him to the American South, where he clashed with the Ku Klux Klan. Black Panther also ventured into an Apartheid-ruled South Africa depicted in the guise of a Marvel nation called Rudyarda.

The Black Panther script was revealed last January, with documentarian Mark Bailey (The Fence, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, and Pandemic: Facing AIDS) crafting the story — an unusual choice, but not if Marvel would like to add a dose of social commentary to the action hero’s story.

If Latino Review’s report proves to be true, the next big questions are who would star and who would direct.

In breaking the scoop, Mayimbe proposed Nate Parker, who got high marks from critics for Red Tails (even if the movie itself did not) and garnered lots of praise at Sundance for a powerful turn opposite Richard Gere in the Wall Street thriller Arbitrage.

Parker’s a solid choice, but The Wire‘s Idris Elba would also supply endless intensity for the character. Chiwetel Ejiofor has the kick-ass-professor vibe down, and Anthony Mackie, although a little slim physically, could build some muscle for the role. If we’re talking pure star power and charisma, Jamie Foxx could be a good choice, and will be riding high after Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained debuts this year.

Marvel Entertainment movie fans.. if the rumour turns out to be true it sure will be excelsior!


Pro Wrestling News...

The debut of Steve Austin’s Redneck Island on CMT (in the U.S) this past Saturday scored a 0.42 rating with 665,000 viewers. It was the highest rated show for the day. Austin wrote the following about the show last night:

“It’s a damn crying shame that Canada, Australia, England, and other great countries cannot get CMT Redneck Island. A damn shame. Spreading Redneck Island around the globe is my newest task. Yes…To provide quality entertainment and content across the globe. #CMT #BSR”

- Despite what WWE says in the lawsuit from TNA, most people within WWE believe that "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair will return to the company as soon as he is legally able to and that WWE officials would love to have him back at the 1,000th RAW in July.


Wrestling companies square off in Nashville, USA court...

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Lawyers for World Wrestling Entertainment have told a Nashville judge the company has not and will not use confidential information from rival Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

The pledge came during a hearing last week over a lawsuit TNA filed last month against pro wrestling giant - WWE, claiming WWE had obtained secret contract details in an attempt to poach TNA's wrestlers.

Attorneys for WWE told Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle that the company has not contacted any of TNA's contracted personnel. The attorneys also said WWE has returned the only copies of the confidential information to TNA.

Lyle dissolved a May 24 temporary restraining order against WWE that had prohibited it from using the information to solicit TNA wrestlers, but she made no ruling on the merits of the case. Another hearing will be July 12.

TNA, based in Nashville, claimed in the suit that WWE apparently had already tried to hire away veteran wrestler Ric Flair. According to the court record, WWE lawyers said the company "has no intention of doing so."

TNA alleged that one of its former employees, Brian Wittenstein, went to work for WWE and provided his new employer with contract details. WWE said he was fired when he gave them the information.

A TNA suit against Wittenstein is still pending.

Jerry McDevitt, an attorney for Connecticut-based WWE, said Tuesday the company will file clarifying details with the court. He said the latest order "speaks for itself."

Dixie Carter, president of TNA, said in a statement Tuesday that the company "will vigorously protect TNA and its brand from damage at the hands of any and all sources, no matter who is involved." TNA was founded by wrestler Jeff Jarrett.


WWE Legal Letter To TNA Legal Counsel...

WWE Attorney Jerry McDevitt recently sent a letter to TNA legal counsel Erika Blonquist. The letter was filed with the court last week and can be read below:

First, and as I advised you orally on the phone during our recent conference call, WWE has not solicited Ric Flair to leave TNA and enter into a contract with WWE. WWE has made no offer to Flair and has no intention of doing so.

Second, as I also advised you, WWE has not solicited any other current TNA talent to repudiate their contracts and enter into a contract with WWE. WWE has no interest in current TNA talent.


The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs. UK To Air On FX...

TUF: Australia vs. UK broadcasts on FX in Australia this fall

"The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs. U.K." will air on FX in Australia in the fall as the latest installment of the reality series from the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

UFC officials announced the news yesterday.

Tryouts for the upcoming season of "TUF" are currently underway, featuring fighters from both Australia and England. The coaches for the season have not yet been named, though an official announcement is expected soon.

"We're excited to be part of the FX family in Australia," UFC managing director for international development Marshall Zelaznik stated. "When the first series of 'The Ulimate Fighter' debuted in the United States seven years ago, it brought in millions of new fans who tuned in each and every week to watch their favorite fighters. I have no doubt that 'The Smashes' will do the same in Australia."

"The Smashes" is the title given to this season, referencing a cricket rivalry ("The Ashes") between the two countries.

While the season will air in Australia, no plans have been announced for those hoping to view in the U.S. Fans could watch "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil" online earlier this year as it was taping in Brazil, but the season did not broadcast on national television until FUEL TV began airing episodes just recently.

Are you ready? Are you ready? Let's get it on!


KA By Cirque du Soleil And Marvel Entertainment Bring Epic Story From Stage To Page With All-New Comic Book; KA #1 Released to Fans at Comic-Con International in San Diego 2012...

LAS VEGAS, June 13, 2012 - KA by Cirque du Soleil, the spectacular production at MGM Grand Las Vegas, and Marvel Custom Solutions team up to tell the story of this acclaimed live production through an all-new, collectible comic book. KA #1 will debut at the Marvel booth (#2329) during Comic Con International in San Diego, July 12 – 15, 2012.

"To see our live KA performances transform from the theatre to ink on pages in a comic book is an incredible opportunity for our entire team," said Marie-Helene Gagnon, Artistic Director of KA. "By aligning ourselves with the premier brand of comic book creators, we have produced an illustration of KA that depicts the story very vividly and stays true to the plot. Marvel and its team of creators have been great to collaborate with and have embraced the story of KA and the expectations of Cirque du Soleil."

"Marvel's proud to bring the exciting, out of this world action and adventure of KA to life in this all new comic book," said Axel Alonso, Editor in Chief, Marvel Worldwide, Inc. "This is a great comic for fans of all ages, whether they're long-time fans of Marvel, KA or new to both exciting brands of storytelling."

KA fans attending Comic Con International can take home the heroic journey of Imperial Twins separated by war who encounter adventure and peril at every turn on their quest to reunite their kingdom.

"What's more jaw-dropping, the majesty of the Imperial Court...the dynamic dance of their martial arts display...the overwhelming might of the invading archer army...the desperate fight for survival in the storm-tossed seas...or the tantalizing glimpses at the future threats that await the Twins?" said Marvel Editor Bill Rosemann. "Readers can decide for themselves when they feast their eyes on the all-out spectacle that writer Bryan J.L. Glass, artist Wellinton Alves and cover artist Michael Del Mundo have crafted in this world premiere debut issue."

KA #1 will be distributed at Comic Con International in San Diego at the Marvel booth in July. A limited amount of books also will be available at comic book stores in select markets. In addition to the print copy of the comic book, fans will be able to access the KA customized comic book by utilizing Marvel's cutting-edge digital comics reader.

Fans can get an inside look at the making of the comic book by visiting www.kacomicbook.com. Featuring sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes information, including line art, storyboards and more, this site will serve as a hub for details on the collaboration. Fans will be able to receive information on how to get their own copy of the comic book. On Twitter, fans can tweet about the collaboration to @Cirque and @Marvel using the #KAComicBook hashtag.

About KA:

KA by Cirque du Soleil is a heroic journey of love and conflict set within ever-changing theatrical landscapes that conjure an entire empire on stage. Presented exclusively at MGM Grand Las Vegas, KA unfolds on a colossal, 360-degree rotating stage which forms the backdrop for this cinematic journey of aerial adventure and perpendicular acrobatics. For more information visit www.ka.com. Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/KA and Tweet us: @Cirque #KA.

About Marvel Entertainment:

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing.

To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook. SOURCE Cirque du Soleil


Macquarie takes a stake in Echo...

Investment firm Macquarie Group has bought a five per cent stake in casinos operator Echo Entertainment Group.

Echo said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange on Wednesday that Macquarie had become a substantial shareholder in Echo on June 7, having acquired about 35.1 million shares, or about 5.1 per cent of Echo.

Echo announced on Tuesday that it proposed to undertake a capital raising - the amount of which was undisclosed - and its shares are currently in a trading halt.

The company last week lost its chairman John Story after Crown's James Packer launched a public campaign against him.

Crown is Echo's largest shareholder, with a 10 per cent stake.

Echo owns The Star casino in Sydney, the Jupiters casinos on the Gold Coast and in Townsville, and Treasury casino in Brisbane.

Shares in Echo last traded at $4.49 before going into a halt.


Crown Undecided on Support for Echo Capital Raising...

Crown Ltd. (CWN), the casino operator controlled by billionaire James Packer, hasn’t decided whether it will buy new stock in a planned capital raising by Echo Entertainment Group Ltd. (EGP)

Echo, based in Brisbane, will seek to raise between A$400 million ($399 million) and A$500 million in a rights offering being managed by UBS AG and Macquarie Group Ltd., according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The details may be announced as early as tomorrow, the person said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

Crown, which owns 10 percent of Echo, will wait for details of the share sale, Chief Financial Officer Ken Barton said by telephone from Melbourne today.

Packer agreed to cease a campaign against Echo after Chairman John Story stepped down June 8, Acting Chairman John O’Neill said yesterday. Crown is seeking regulatory approval to increase its holding in the operator of the only casino in Sydney above the current 10 percent limit as Genting Singapore Plc (GENS) built a stake of 4.9 percent.

“We’ll wait to see what they’re proposing,” Barton said.

Trading in Echo shares was halted yesterday, ahead of the capital raising. Spokeswomen for UBS and Macquarie in Sydney declined to comment.

Brad Schmitt, a Sydney-based spokesman for Echo, declined to comment on the fundraising plan in an e-mailed statement. The Australian Financial Review reported that Echo is planning to raise A$400 million earlier today, without saying where it got the information.

Genting’s stake may make it harder for Crown to take control of Echo and increases the chances of a bidding war, according to Gary Pinge, Macquarie Group Ltd.’s regional head of gaming and consumer research. Though a joint bid by the two companies is possible, Crown won’t want to see Genting “entering its backyard,” he said.

Story resigned after Crown, which owns casinos in Melbourne and Perth, called a meeting to vote on his removal and ran advertisements in local newspapers criticizing the company’s “underperformance” under his leadership. Packer has now withdrawn his request for a shareholder meeting.

Echo owns the Star in Sydney as well as three casinos in the state of Queensland.


Hot Body of 2012...

ELLE MACPHERSON


Admit it: 48 never looked this good! The Aussie model, known around the world as "The Body," ignited bikini envy from a whole new generation of beachgoers when she flaunted her fit form in the pages of PEOPLE. "I do get jitters," says Macpherson of donning a two-piece 20-plus years after gracing four Sports Illustrated covers. "I was comfortable [at the shoot]. But I had to get my self-conscious 'maybe I don't look my best' head out of the way and go with, 'Let's celebrate where I'm at.'"


James Bond turns 50...

James Bond turns 50 this year but you'd never know it by looking at him. Despite hundreds of skirmishes with the world's scariest villains, not to mention a diet heavy on shaken-not-stirred martinis, the man in the Aston Martin still cuts a dashing figure.

In October, it will have been five decades since 007 -- in the form of Sean Connery -- first sauntered onto movie screens in "Dr. No." And he's still going strong. The Bond movies are not only the longest continuously running series in cinema history but also the most successful, with more than $5 billion in box-office receipts. Take that, George Lucas.

Daniel Craig, the sixth actor to play the world-saving spy, will step into Bond's shoes once again on Oct. 26 with "Skyfall," the 23rd film in the series. Also this October, MGM will celebrate 007's birthday with a 22-disc Blu-ray set that finally makes all of the movies available in high definition.

The movies, which will be presented in 35 mm prints, include "Goldfinger" (June 17), "GoldenEye" (June 26), "The Spy Who Loved Me" (July 2), "Dr. No" (July 10), "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (July 16), "Live and Let Die" (July 24) and "From Russia With Love" (July 30).

The Bond film franchise began in 1962 with "Dr. No." It was not only a worldwide smash but also turned out to be a big influence on popular culture. Think "The Man From U.N.C.L.E," "Our Man Flint," "Get Smart" and "Mission: Impossible."

So where did the idea come from? Ian Fleming, of course. A former journalist and British Naval intelligence officer, he conceived of the book series in 1952 while vacationing in Jamaica in a holiday home he called Goldeneye.

James Bond made his first appearance in "Casino Royale," which was published in 1953. Thirteen more Bond books by Fleming followed.

Since the release of "Dr. No," we have never gone more than five or six years without a new Bond flick. Connery played him five times 1962-1967 and then again in 1971 and 1983. In between, there was a one-off appearance by George Lazenby. In 1973, Roger Moore took over for seven outings.

Next came Timothy Dalton for two films beginning in 1987. Pierce Brosnan got the job in 1995 for four features. The latest Bond is Craig, who has played him in series re-boot "Casino Royale," "Quantum of Solace" and the upcoming "Skyfall."

Did we mention that Bond also enjoys a good game of poker and baccarat and often the stakes have been life or death. Would you like to play with Bond? That's what we thought.

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