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02 November 2012

Movie Hollywood, Entertainment, Gaming and Creative Arts news - 1st November 2012

Movies, Hollywood, Entertainment and gaming - casino news; WWE, pro wrestling, Marvel Entertainment - Star Wars, James Bond Skyfall, WWE Studios...

The Media Man agency has another piledriver and bodyslamming look at the entertainment and pro wrestling industry, plus more hot updates from the casino, gaming, bodyart - bodypainting - creative arts world. Then there's our friends over at Marvel Entertainment, Disney and Star Wars happenings. All this and more from our web of extreme entertainment.

Profiles

Movies Hollywood Wrestling WWE Skyfall Marvel Entertainment
Disney



Disney buys 'Star Wars' producer Lucasfilm for $4.05B...



Leia is the newest Disney princess. Goofy could replace Jar Jar Binks. And Mickey will surely wield a mean lightsaber. The Force is strong with that mouse.

It was as if a million Star Wars fans suddenly cried out in terror Tuesday, with the surprise announcement that entertainment titan Disney is in the process of buying Star Wars creator George Lucas's production company, Lucasfilm Ltd., along with rights to the vast galaxy of Star Wars films, merchandise and other spin-offs. The cost of the deal was pegged at $4.05 billion US.

Blowing fans' minds further, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger announced Disney's plans to release a new live-action Star Wars film every two to three years, beginning with Star Wars: Episode VII in 2015. "We have a pretty extensive treatment of the next three movies," Iger told a conference call of analysts and journalists late Tuesday afternoon.

And what of George Lucas himself, who announced his retirement from movies in June? "It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers," Lucas said in a statement. "I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime."

As social media erupted with what's surely geekdom's biggest news story of 2012, some bemoaned the deal as the beginning of the end for Star Wars.

Not so. In fact, this is possibly the best thing to happen to Star Wars since Lucas let his friend Irvin Kershner handle directorial duties on 1980's The Empire Strikes Back. With all due respect to the man who created these pop culture touchstones, any new Star Wars movie not written or directed by Lucas has to be a good thing. The scars from the prequel trilogy - particularly 1999's Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, with its wooden performances, leaden dialogue and the awfulness that is Jar Jar Binks - are still fresh after all these years.

On Twitter, geek queen Felicia Day summed it up in a point echoed by many calmer heads: "Every awesome creative person in Hollywood would love to work on something new (related to) Star Wars," she tweeted. "So this could be a great thing."

A Star Wars movie directed by The Avengers' Joss Whedon, who is already firmly in the Disney/Marvel fold? Or by Brad Bird, who helmed Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and Pixar's awesome The Incredibles? Based, perhaps, on some of the beloved (and non-Lucas) Star Wars novels and spinoffs? A fan can dream.

Iger said new Star Wars TV shows, theme park attractions and video games are also likely. Lucas's Indiana Jones franchise now falls under Disney's domain as well, but Iger said for the time being the focus will be on expanding the Star Wars saga and not a new Indy movie.

When Disney dropped $7.2 billion US on Pixar in 2006 and acquired comic book giant Marvel for $4.2 billion US in 2009, there were similar qualms from fans of each company. But Toy Story 3 and that little The Avengers flick seemed to turn out OK.

Fear leads to anger, as Yoda would say, and there's nothing to fear with this deal. Time will tell how it all plays out, but Disney and Star Wars could be the best partnership since Han Solo and Chewbacca.


Disney unlikely to change 'Star Wars' brand...

Naysayers would have you believe Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm can only mean one thing: Bambi and Mickey Mouse are sure to appear in future "Star Wars" movies taking up lightsabers against the dark side of the Force.

Not so, say experts who've watched Disney's recent acquisition strategy closely. If anything, The Walt Disney Co. has earned credibility with diehard fans by keeping its fingerprints off important film franchises like those produced by its Marvel Entertainment and Pixar divisions.

"They've been pretty clearly hands-off in terms of letting the creative minds of those companies do what they do best," says Todd Juenger, an analyst with Bernstein Research. "Universally, people think they pulled it off."

Though the Walt Disney Co. built its reputation on squeaky clean family entertainment, its brand today is multifaceted. Disney, of course, started as an animation studio in 1923 with characters such as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse. Over the years, the company ventured into live action movies, opened theme parks, launched a fleet of cruise ships and debuted shows on TV.

By way of acquisitions over the last few decades, it has ballooned into a company with $40.9 billion in annual revenue and a market value of $88 billion. Disney bought Capital Cities/ABC in 1995 for $19 billion, Pixar for $7.4 billion in 2006, Marvel for $4.2 billion in 2009 and this week, it said it will purchase Lucasfilm and the "Star Wars" franchise for $4.05 billion.

Disney's acquisition of Marvel Entertainment in 2009 offers the best example of how it might treat Lucasfilm and the "Star Wars" universe.

Marvel was in the midst of a storyline that would span several films following the smash hit success of its first self-produced movie, "Iron Man," in 2008. When Disney bought it a year later, it continued reading from the comic book giant's playbook, releasing in subsequent years "Iron Man 2," ''Thor," ''Captain America" and then this year, "The Avengers," which brought heroes from those movies together in one giant film that grossed $1.5 billion at the box office.

Now, "Avengers" director Joss Whedon is working on the sequel and developing a Marvel-based TV series for Disney-owned ABC.

Rick Marshall, a journalist and blogger who writes about the comic book and movie industries, was skeptical when Disney bought Marvel. But his doubts quickly melted when it was clear Disney wouldn't taint the Marvel universe by getting too involved. "I was the first one to say there's going to be a Goofy-Wolverine crossover," Marshall said. "We haven't seen that .... Disney was able to step away."

Recent history ought to assuage "Star Wars" fans who fear the Disney empire. But that hasn't stopped many of them from posting an array of video and pictorial mash-ups and jokes online as they poke fun at their darkest fears: Luke Skywalker staring into the distance at a mouse-eared sun and Darth Vader telling Donald Duck that he's his father.

What Disney did with Marvel was merely amplify its presence in theme parks, stores and theaters, observers say.

Disney's formula for success with Marvel was not to tamper with storylines, but to bring the existing franchise under its corporate umbrella.

Before it was acquired, Marvel paid Paramount Pictures a percentage of movie ticket sales to advertise its movies, make film prints and get them into theaters. Disney has those capabilities, so now that money doesn't go out the door. Disney also has a worldwide network of staff that help put Marvel toys on store shelves, expanding their reach and saving the money that Marvel used to pay third-party merchandise middlemen.

Owning Marvel also gives Disney a steady flow of super hero cartoons for its pay TV channel, Disney XD. These kind of logistical savings allow Disney to profit from ownership while not interfering in the creative process.

"Marvel does seem like it's running pretty independently and staying pretty close to its roots," said Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible.

Disney's recent acquisitions have also filled gaps in its creative portfolio. CEO Bob Iger has said the company's $7.4 billion purchase of Pixar in 2006 was partly an investment in talent and a way to "grow and improve Disney animation." The deal brought John Lasseter, a former Disneyland employee, back into the fold as its chief creative officer of both Disney and Pixar's animation studios.

The purchase of Marvel helped Disney add characters that would resonate with boys at a time when the company was becoming known more for princesses, fairies and its fictional teenage rock star Hannah Montana.

The "Star Wars" franchise fills a hole in Disney's live-action portfolio, which suffered an embarrassing $200 million loss on the sci-fi flick "John Carter" earlier this year. The box-office bomb caused an executive shuffle at the studio that brought in former Warner Bros. president Alan Horn, who oversaw the hugely successful runs of "Harry Potter" and "The Dark Knight" movies.

It's in Disney's best interest to maintain the integrity of film franchises that come with a built-in fan base. Disney chief Iger has said the plan is for "Star Wars" live-action movies to replace others that may be in development, and to keep its production slate at a modest seven to 10 movies per year.

"I think Disney's intention is that it just doesn't want to get in the way of a great asset," said Morningstar analyst Michael Corty.

In a conference call explaining the acquisition, Iger told analysts that "Disney respects and understands, probably better than just about anyone else, the importance of iconic characters and what it takes to protect and leverage them effectively." When "Star Wars Episode 7" hits theaters in 2015, millions of fans will surely hold Iger to his word.


Shareholders approve Murdoch buyout of Australia's CMH...

Shareholders in James Packer's majority-owned Consolidated Media Holdings on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly in favour of a US$2 billion takeover by Rupert Murdoch's News Limited.

The deal will see News, the Australian arm of News Corp, emerge with 50 percent control of Foxtel, the country's biggest pay TV operator, and all of Fox Sports. Telecommunications giant Telstra holds the other half of Foxtel.

"At the meeting held today CMH shareholders approved the scheme of arrangement... under which News Pay TV Financing Pty Ltd, a 100 percent owned subsidiary of News Corporation, will acquire all of the shares in CMH," the subscription TV-focused media firm said in a statement.

CMH said 90.13 percent of shareholders present or voting by proxy at the meeting voted in favour of the deal, with 99.91 percent of all votes cast in favour.

It will be taken to the Federal Court of Australia on Friday for formal assent and lodged with the securities regulator the same day, with the intention that trading in CMH's shares cease by the end of that day.

CMH said the deal, which has already been cleared by the competition and investment regulators, was expected to be implemented on November 19.

The Aus$3.45-per-share deal was in little doubt given CMH's largest shareholders -- James Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings (50 percent) and Kerry Stokes' Seven Group Holdings (25 percent) -- had already indicated their approval.

Seven had wanted to mount a rival bid but it was knocked back by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

It will be the first time in a century that the Packer family will have no media interests in Australia, apart from a small stake in the Ten Network.

For News Corp, the takeover is its most significant investment in pay television since its bid to buy out British Sky Broadcasting broke down.

Consolidated Media chairman John Alexander told shareholders ahead of the vote, which was held in Perth, that board members unanimously supported the takeover.

"I think that when you get an offer which basically makes overwhelming sense -- and our two biggest shareholders thought it made overwhelming sense, the independent expert thought it made overwhelming sense -- you have to act in the best interests of shareholders," Alexander was quoted in The Australian newspaper as saying after the meeting.

Consolidated Media Holdings was formed when Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd, founded by Packer's grandfather Frank and run by his father Kerry, a one-time arch-rival to Murdoch, changed its name in 2007.

Since Kerry's death in 2005, billionaire Packer has been moving away from the family's traditional media business and focusing on creating a worldwide gambling empire.

He has casino interests in Australia and Macau, the world's biggest gaming hub, and is pushing to build Sydney's second casino as part of a huge gambling and hotel development on the harbour foreshore.


WWE inks deal with Sky Box Office re Rolling Stones tour...


WWE has signed a deal with Sky Box Office to air the Rolling Stones' December 15th pay-per-view internationally. It will air in the UK at 2am on December 16th.


Scott Steiner - TNA Wrestling lawsuit update...

Scott Steiner has counter-sued TNA, alleging that the company breached their contract with him. This was in response to TNA's lawsuit against him filed in June, which claimed that Steiner breached his TNA contract by making disparaging remarks about the company. TNA has filed a motion to dismiss the claim, and a hearing will take place on Friday, October 26th at 9 am. Scott Steiner was backstage at WWE's Hell In A Cell pay-per-view event in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday. Now 50-years-old, he continues compete on the independent wrestling scene.


WWE Studios movie deals...


Variety reports that the working title for WWE's Scooby Doo movie that comes out in 2014 is "Scooby Doo: The Curse of the Ghost Bear." The movie will feature voice roles by Triple H, John Cena, Kane, The Miz, Brodus Clay, Santino Marella, Sin Cara, AJ Lee and Vince McMahon. Variety also reports that Anchor Bay Films has acquired the theatrical distribution rights for WWE Studios' No One Lives, which features Brodus Clay. The movie will be released in theaters throughout North America, Europe and Australia. No word yet on the date.


John Farnham’s son Rob making it in Hollywood...


John Farnham’s 33-year-old son Rob Farnham has been spotted in West Hollywood leaving a restaurant with his manager Rhys O'Connell (well known to the Media Man agency) and band mate Matt Bolding.

Rob was in LA to meet with producers and apply the finishing touches to his new album, set for release in the US next year.

The son of “The Voice” has established himself on the local Australian music scene over the past few years touring his EP, So Long.

Playing shows in and around LA at various venues, Rob has been developing a fan following on the international music scene by playing well-known venues such as The Viper Room.

Rob will be making his US TV debut on celeb gossip show TMZ.


Paparazzo to give Mel B five-metre berth...

Australian paparazzo Jamie Fawcett has agreed to maintain a distance of at least five metres between him and former Spice Girl Mel Brown.

Waverley Local Court on Thursday heard Fawcett had agreed to the interim AVO and its terms, with his lawyer Roland Day telling magistrate Jacqueline Milledge: 'You've only heard one side of the story'.

Brown attended Waverley Local Court on Thursday but remained in the victim support room for the brief mention, which Mr Fawcett did not attend.

She sought the AVO in relation to threats allegedly made by Fawcett against her husband Stephen Belafonte on Sydney Harbour last week.

The orders, which were consented to by both parties, include terms that Fawcett must not 'loiter' within 50 metres of Brown, must not approach within five metres of her and must not contact her.

Mr Day said Fawcett agreed to the orders on the understanding 'that he is still able to be a photographer and do his job'.

Ms Milledge replied: 'He's just got to put a little bit of thought into it.'

She said Mr Fawcett's action in agreeing to the orders was 'commendable'.

'There's no doubt these are difficult matters to negotiate,' Ms Milledge said.

She adjourned the matter for mention on November 22.

Speaking outside court, Mr Day said Fawcett denied the allegations against him and would fight the AVO.

'Mr Fawcett just wants to do his job,' he said.

Brown declined to comment to waiting media.


Critics slam approval process for Packer casino...

Critics of James Packer's plan to build a second Sydney casino say the billionaire has had a free ride through the planning approvals process.

The New South Wales Government and Opposition have both thrown their support behind the project, which would see a high-rollers' haven built at the northern end of the CBD - right on Sydney Harbour.

Last night, Mr Packer thanked both the Liberal and the Labor parties for their support.

But current and former politicians are questioning why the community apparently had no say in approving the development.

Mr Packer already owns Crown in Melbourne, the casino in Perth, and has a large stake in BetFair. He also has casino interests in London, Las Vegas and Macau.

The proposal for the Barangaroo site in Sydney is a little different, in that mug punters will not be allowed in through the front door.

"We don't want a customer that can't afford to be there," Mr Packer told a business dinner.

"There's a lot of people out there who can afford it and who you're selling adrenalin to, and they're happy to pay for that experience."

'Appalling process' Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the city's people have been locked out of the approvals process, and it has been too easy for Mr Packer.

"I think if Australians, if ordinary punters want to go to the casino they should be able to," she said.

"I think the process is appalling. This is a site, it's public land, it's probably one of the most important sites in Australia, it is harbour-side, adjacent to the global city of Australia, and yet there's no consultation.

"The Government knows that before it came to office... there was real concern in the Sydney community about the process that the previous Labor government had gone through, and they came in saying that they were going to do it differently.

"And here we have a situation, this major, major development where there's no tendering and there is no public consultation and it's all been done behind closed doors and it's been done by both the major parties to Jamie Packer.

"I just think the people of Sydney will be appalled by what is going on."

Crown predicts when it is finished, the casino complex could inject $400 million into the local economy and support 1,400 jobs.

But former federal opposition leader John Hewson says whichever way you look at it, the approval looks bad.

"Perception is the problem here, people perceive that Packer's bulldozed this through," he said.

Wealth and power

Current Greens MP John Kaye went further, saying the integrity of the political process was being undermined.

"Mr Packer's wealth and Mr Packer's power has given him an easy access to the second stage of the O'Farrell Government's process," he said.

"There will be no public consultation on whether we have a second casino or not, that's now a done deal, with four parties in the New South Wales Upper House signing off on it.

"At least there should have been a debate."

Mr Hewson dealt with the late Kerry Packer during the tender process for Sydney's first casino.

On ABC Local radio this morning, he was scathing in his assessment of the latest approvals process - especially of James Packer's assumption he would win any tender process.

"I think that's the height of arrogance and I think it pre-judges the processes of government," Mr Hewson said.

"It's not clear to me that an international gaming group wouldn't have been an effective competitor, we don't know that.

"We've been told it wouldn't apply but we don't know that.

"It reminds me of his father telling me in pretty colourful language that you know the country doesn't need pay TV, but if we have to have pay TV I'm going to own it.

"And it's that sort of arrogance, there's sort of two sets of rules, one for the Packers and one for the rest of us."

But there is a long way to go before anyone starts building anything. This is the first approval in a three-stage process.

Still to come is a tick-off by a Government-appointed panel and a design competition for the six-star hotel.


Everybody wants to dress up as The Avengers this Halloween...



Bring out the body paint and the robot outfit lying at the back of the closet: The Avengers are this year's most popular choices for movie-inspired Halloween costumes.

According to a poll of 1000 film fans by US website Fandango, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans, The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are the hottest movie-inspired outfits for the annual happening. Superheroes are not a big part of Halloween the world over, and Australia is no different.

Even Edward Cullen from Twilight doesn't even get a look-in in the top 10 list, and he's older than most of the comic-book-turned-movie-heroes. Vampires are now aged ok.

Here are the top 10 costumes based on 2012 films according to the poll:

For men:

1. Thor (The Avengers)

2. Iron Man (The Avengers)

3. Captain America (The Avengers)

4. Hulk (The Avengers)

5. Batman (The Dark Knight Rises)

6. James Bond (Skyfall)

7. Ted the Raunchy Teddy Bear (Ted)

8. Gandalf (The Hobbit)

9. Magic Mike (Magic Mike)

10. Wreck-It-Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph)

For women:

1. Catwoman (The Dark Knight Rises)

2. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

3. Snow White (Snow White and the Huntsman)

4. Queen Ravenna (Snow White and the Huntsman)

5. Black Widow (The Avengers)

6. Red-Eyed Bella the Vampire (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2)

7. Effie Trinket (The Hunger Games)

8. Selene (Underworld: Awakening)

9. Merida (Brave)

10. Alice (Resident Evil: Retribution)

For those considering more classic costumes, Indiana Jones, Batman, Dracula, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and Belle from Beauty and the Beast are top of the pile, according to Fandango voters.

Tempted to dress up and need some help? Australians can check out what's on offer from the team at Human Statue Bodyart - for bodyart, superhero costumes and much more.


'Avengers' tops Hollywood-inspired Halloween costumes...

What do Thor, Captain America and Batman have in common? (Hint: we're not talking about their spandex.)

All three characters, along with Iron Man and the Hulk, made the top five guys' picks in this year's list of the most in-demand movie-inspired Halloween costumes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Meanwhile, women picked Catwoman, who was seen this summer in "The Dark Knight Rises," as their No. 1 costume choice.

Katniss from "The Hunger Games," Snow White and Queen Ravenna from "Snow White and the Huntsman," and "The Avengers' " Black Widow rounded out the top five choices for the ladies.

The survey, conducted by Fandango, is based on more than 1,000 responses and also includes a "classic" costume category, with favorites such as Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" and Indiana Jones.

The rest of the top costume picks are more varied, including heart-of-gold hunks ("Magic Mike"), heart-of-gold princesses (Merida from "Brave") and super-specific vampires ("Red-Eyed Bella the Vampire").


Marvel Entertainment Avengers costumes #1..

Considering Marvel’s The Avengers made over $1.5 billion at the box office this year we’re not too surprised to hear the superhero characters will be filling the streets this Halloween. Yes, they even beat Batman. Again.

Fandango surveyed 1000 moviegoers on which film-related costumes they’d be sporting on Halloween. “Among 2012 releases, Avengers characters took the top four spots with males, with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor edging out the other characters from summer’s box office hit for the No. 1 spot. Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man came in second, followed by Chris Evans’ Captain America and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Batman was #5.

You can probably guess which female characters the women said they were most likely to dress as for Halloween but here are the stats. “Meanwhile, action heroines dominated the women’s choices, with Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman, also from The Dark Knight Rises, coming in at No. 1, followed by Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss from The Hunger Games. Rounding out the top five were Kristen Stewart’s Snow White and Charlize Theron’s Queen Ravenna from Snow White and the Huntsman and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow from Avengers.” Effie Trinket and Merida were also on the list.

When it comes to costumes not originating from the 2012 box office, men favored Indiana Jones while women chose Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

Happy Halloweening.


'Skyfall' debuts at No. 1 in 25 foreign countries, grosses $77.7M...



Sony Pictures is spying a hit in its latest James Bond film, as "Skyfall" debuted at No. 1 in 25 foreign countries this weekend.

The film, starring Daniel Craig in the 23rd entry featuring 007, collected an impressive $77.7 million overseas this weekend, according to an estimate from Sony, which is distributing the film internationally. "Skyfall," financed by Sony and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for just under $200 million, doesn't hit U.S. theaters until Nov. 9.

Of the 25 international markets the film played in this weekend, it easily did best on Bond's home turf, the United Kingdom. The picture sold $32.4 million worth of tickets there — the biggest opening of the year so far and 30% ahead of the opening for Craig's last Bond film, 2008's "Quantum of Solace."

Business was also strong in France, where the movie grossed $9.1 million, and in Russia, where receipts amounted to $8.6 million. The last installment in the franchise, "Solace," ultimately collected $417.7 million abroad — roughly 71% of its worldwide gross.

The strong international bow for "Skyfall" bodes well for its U.S. prospects, especially since early reviews have been exceptionally positive. As of Sunday, the movie had earned a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


Bullet To The Head...

Sylvester Stallone stars in the new film from director Walter Hill.

Shot some time back, but having had its release put back to early 2013, Sylvester Stallone's next movie is Bullet To The Head. In it, he's playing a hitman who teams up with a New York cop, on the hunt of bad people. A simple enough set-up.

What gives us hope that Bullet To The Head might just turn out to be a treat is the presence of director Walter Hill behind the camera. Hill's CV features many favourites, such as The Warriors, 48 Hrs, Last Man Standing, Red Heat and the TV show Deadwood. Hopefully, he can inject the necessary quality into Bullet To The Head, too.


Hulk Hogan Settles Lawsuit With Bubba The Love Sponge, Bubba Issues Statement...

Hulk Hogan has settled his lawsuit with former best friend Todd Alan Clem, a.k.a. Bubba the Love Sponge. Terms of the settlement are confidential, however Clem issued a public apology to Hogan on his radio show this morning.

"I am now convinced that Hulk Hogan was unaware of the presence of the recording device in my bedroom," Clem said. "I am convinced [Hulk Hogan] had no knowledge that he was being taped...It is my belief that Hulk is not involved, and has not ever been involved, in trying to release the video, or exploit it, or otherwise gain from the video's release in any way."

Hogan's attorney, David R. Houston, stated that his client was "pleased" with Bubba telling the truth and apologizing.

Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker.com remains pending, and a hearing for his request for an injunction will be held next Thursday, November 8th. (Wrestling Inc)


WWE Studios and ABC Family Set Christmas Bounty...



WWE Studios and ABC Family today announced that they are partnering to develop an upcoming television movie, Christmas Bounty, for a 2013 world premiere during ABC Family’s popular “25 Days of Christmas” programming event. WWE Superstar, The Miz, is attached to star in a lead role.

Christmas Bounty is said to be an action-filled comedy about a former bounty hunter turned elementary schoolteacher. Determined to have a normal life, and keep her bounty hunter past a secret, she reluctantly returns home for Christmas to help save the family business by catching the one bounty that got away. But when her fiancĂ© follows her home for the holiday, she struggles to hide her wild family business and a bounty hunter ex-boyfriend she thought she’d left behind. Written by Andrew Black & Vivian Lee, and James Berg & Stan Zimmerman, the movie is scheduled to go into production in early 2013.

“We are so pleased to partner with a tremendous network like ABC Family,” said Michael Luisi, President, WWE Studios. “25 Days of Christmas is one of the biggest cable programming events of the year and is the perfect release platform for this engaging holiday title.”

“ABC Family is the destination for holiday programming and is known for great original holiday movies. We’re thrilled to partner with WWE Studios and bring WWE’s passionate fan base to ABC Family and our wonderful 25 Days of Christmas programming event with such a fun movie,” added Kate Juergens, Executive Vice President, Original Series Programming and Development, ABC Family.

The Miz has been a devoted WWE fan his whole life, and most recently starred in WWE’s film The Marine 3: Homefront. MTV’s Real World alum Mike “The Miz” Mizanin competed on the fourth season of WWE’s reality show Tough Enough in hopes of winning a contract to become a WWE Superstar. After finishing as the runner-up, The Miz didn’t give up on his dream and continued to train once the show concluded. Now, his hard work is being rewarded as the reality TV Star with the frat boy looks, sophomoric humor and explosive intensity is living out his dream at the top of the WWE roster.


Comic-Con Staying In San Diego Until 2016...



The annual geek gathering and Mayor Jerry Sanders announced today that Comic-Con has extended its stay in San Diego one more year. Comic-Con had been contractually committed to remain at the San Diego Convention Center until 2015, and event organizers had indicated they might leave their long-time home if an expansion of the Convention Center did not occur. While building has not started, the city today committed to a $500 million plan. Comic-Con was started in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention. The July gathering now attracts more than 130,000 attendees and has proven an important marketing launchpad for studios and broadcasters. Comic-Con 2013 is scheduled to run July 18-21.


WWE® Declares Quarterly Dividend...

STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- WWE (NYS: WWE) announced that its Board of Directors today declared the Company's regular quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share for all Class A and B shares of common stock. The record date for the dividend will be December 14, 2012, and the payment date will be December 26, 2012. About WWE

WWE, a publicly traded company (NYS: WWE) , is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 145 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 600 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Istanbul and Tokyo.

Additional information on WWE (NYS: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.

If you have additional questions, please contact WWE Investor Relations via e-mail at investor.relations@wwecorp.com.

Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, risks relating to maintaining and renewing key agreements, including television and pay-per-view programming distribution agreements; the need for continually developing creative and entertaining programming; the continued importance of key performers and the services of Vincent McMahon; the conditions of the markets in which we compete and acceptance of the Company's brands, media and merchandise within those markets; our exposure to bad debt risk; uncertainties relating to regulatory and litigation matters; risks resulting from the highly competitive nature of our markets; uncertainties associated with international markets; the importance of protecting our intellectual property and complying with the intellectual property rights of others; risks associated with producing and travelling to and from our large live events, both domestically and internationally; the risk of accidents or injuries during our physically demanding events; risks relating to our film business; risks relating to increasing content production for distribution on various platforms, including the potential creation of a WWE Network; risks relating to our computer systems and online operations; risks relating to the large number of shares of common stock controlled by members of the McMahon family and the possibility of the sale of their stock by the McMahons or the perception of the possibility of such sales; the relatively small public float of our stock; and other risks and factors set forth from time to time in Company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results could differ materially from those currently expected or anticipated. In addition, our dividend is dependent on a number of factors, including, among other things, our liquidity and historical and projected cash flow, strategic plan (including alternative uses of capital), our financial results and condition, contractual and legal restrictions on the payment of dividends, general economic and competitive conditions and such other factors as our Board of Directors may consider relevant.


Team Punk Vs. Team Foley Announced For WWE's Survivor Series PPV...

WWE has announced that Team CM Punk vs. Team Mick Foley in a traditional Survivor Series match will main event November's Survivor Series pay-per-view. Here are the teams: Team Punk: CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, The Miz, Alberto Del Rio

Team Foley: Ryback, Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston, Kane, Daniel Bryan

Survivor Series takes place on November 18th from Indianapolis, Indiana.


Hulkamania Online Slot Game Launches...



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Hulk Hogan, is an American professional wrestler, actor and television personality. He is a 12-time world champion and the second longest-reigning WWF Champion of all time. Play as the greatest wrestler of all time in this 20 line slot game, and try to reach the 2 bonus rounds!


Australian casino king James Packer defends Sydney casino bid process; Entering virgin territory...



Tycoon James Packer has defended the way he and the New South Wales Government have gone about securing a second Sydney casino at a new harbour-side development.

Recently the New South Wales Government gave a preliminary tick of approval for the casino-hotel proposal at the Barangaroo site.

The Government says any new casino will not be allowed to start operation until 2019 because of an exclusivity arrangement with Star Casino.

And the project will not go out to tender - although Mr Packer insists he would have won any tender had it been conducted.

Recently Packer told a business dinner in Sydney that he was not just interested in making money, but wanted to build something "special" on the site at Barangaroo.

"I spent a lot of time in casinos as a kid with my dad, and I ended up thinking, f***, this must be a good business," he said.

"My dad was a lot smarter than I am and a lot more successful than I'll ever be, but he got his adrenalin rushes from going to a casino.

"That's the customer that we want. And there are a lot people out there who can afford it, and who you're selling adrenalin to, and they're happy to pay for that experience."

Mr Packer and his gaming company Crown Limited are having an especially good run of luck.

He says the latest project has been given the preliminary tick not because of lobbying, but because it is a really good idea.

This is more than just about money for me. My dad was a larger-than-life figure and I think this is my chance to do something that is special.

"The Labor Party and the Liberal Party were prepared to look at this – or the Labor Party especially – in a bipartisan manner and Premier O'Farrell was willing to say 'let's just do it'," he said.

"There's three stages, and we've got to get through stages two and three ... Premier O'Farrell's made it very clear that we're not done and I don't think we're done, we're a long way from done, but we've had a very good day."

Mr Packer also defended his decision not to wait for a competitive tender process.

"The unsolicited proposal legislation was designed for good ideas and this is a good idea and we took advantage of the legislation that was in place," he said.

"So I think frankly if there was a tender it would be very hard to see how we wouldn't have won it."

So far, the gaming venue has been touted as one that would lure high rollers, especially international tourists, and it would not have pokies.

But Mr Packer says that could change.

"This is not an economic no-brainer," he said.

"You know, there has never been a casino in the world built for a billion dollars without slot machines.

"So we're entering virgin territory, and we're sitting there and saying we'll wait until 2019, as we should."

At the same time as promising to give Sydney an economic kickstart, he says he wants to be the one to leave a legacy in keeping with his father's.

"This is more than just about money for me," he said.

"I am a great believer in Sydney, this country has been incredibly kind to my family, this city has been incredibly kind to my family.

"My dad was a larger-than-life figure and I think this is my chance to do something, you know, that is special."


NWA Response to Australia controversy...


The NWA professional wrestling organization issued a response to the incident that occurred in Australia over the weekend, where their champion Adam Pearce tossed the world title down and quit the organization. 411mania.com reported on Oct. 29 that NWA president R. Bruce Tharpe sent out a press release teasing a new champion.

"The NWA World Heavyweight Title has been vacated. The Board of Governors wish former champion Adam Pearce the best in his future endeavors. There will be a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion crowned on Friday, November 2nd in Clayton, New Jersey."

The entire situation came to a head when champion Adam Pearce defended his world title against Colt Cabana in a "Seven Levels of Hate" challenge series. Pearce said if he lost, he would leave the NWA forever. The series was tied at 3-3 and the seventh match took place last weekend.

However, the NWA had a falling out with their Los Angeles affiliate so Pearce and Cabana moved their match to Australia. Apparently, the decision was for Cabana to win the match and become the new NWA World Champion.

The problem is that the NWA is ran by a governing body and they decide as a voting body who the champion will be. They refused to sanction the match as a title match, therefore proclaiming they would not back Colt Cabana as their champion.

When the match ended, and Cabana won, both men took turns on the microphone to bury the NWA. Cabana said it was an organization ran by idiots who lived in the past and refused to represent them. Pearce tossed down the title saying that when they pushed out Cabana, they pushed him out too.

With both men leaving, it is unclear who the NWA plans to put in the match for the title in November.


bwin.party Gaming Platforms to Be Powered by Lightstreamer Real-Time Technology...

The Lightstreamer Technology Will Be Used by bwin.party, a Global Leader in Digital Entertainment, for Pervasive Live Data Delivery Over the Web

MILAN, ITALY--(Marketwire - Oct. 29, 2012) - Weswit, a global leader in real-time web solutions, today announced that bwin.party (LSE:BPTY), the global online gaming company, has re-selected Lightstreamer to power its world-class gaming and betting platforms.

bwin.party, which has millions of customers worldwide and pro forma net revenue in 2011 of EUR816.0 million, will progressively deploy Lightstreamer in its online poker, casino, and bingo product verticals.

Lightstreamer is a massively scalable solution for pushing live data over WebSockets and other web protocols, to millions of users. With a growing number of customers ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, the Lightstreamer technology enables the streaming of real-time gaming data and messaging across multiple channels and apps, including HTML5, Android, iPhone, iPad, and many other platforms.

"Lightstreamer was the clear scalable solution to handle the complex real-time data communication required by our state-of-the-art gaming products," commented Tod Martin, bwin.party's Group Technology Director. "We are confident the Lightstreamer solution will provide the highest quality gaming experience for our customers." "We are honoured that Lightstreamer will be part of bwin.party's online gaming platforms," declared Mauro Fantechi, Co-CEO and Chairman at Weswit. "Being deployed in such well-known, cross-platform gaming environments, our solution keeps confirming its value for the betting and entertainment industries, which are at the forefront of technological development and innovation."

"It is truly exciting to know that bwin.party has selected our Lightstreamer real-time web technology," added Alessandro Alinone, co-CEO and CTO at Weswit.

"Lightstreamer takes care of all the complexity of delivering real-time data over the web, reducing the technological risks and drastically enhancing the pervasiveness of games."

Lightstreamer is made up of a high-performance server, which routes the real-time messages over the web protocols, and a rich set of client libraries, which easily enable any application to send and receive live data in an efficient and reliable way. Lightstreamer can reach any desktop and mobile client, whatever connectivity the user experiences, passing through any kind of proxies and firewalls. Features include bandwidth optimisation, adaptive throttling, data conflation, delta delivery, and total control over the quality of service.

About Weswit Weswit, with its flagship product Lightstreamer, is a global leader in real-time web streaming solutions. Since the beginning, Weswit has been focused on real-time technologies aimed at making the Web a live environment, and superseding the traditional web paradigm, where any update had to be "pulled" by the client, rather than "pushed" by the server.

Weswit has provided Lightstreamer to a growing number of companies ranging from small size startups to Fortune 500 corporations, including top-tier financial institutions, as well as aerospace, military, energy, gaming, sporting, and entertainment companies. In 2012, Weswit has been recognized as a "Cool Vendor in Application and Integration Platforms" by Gartner, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company.

Weswit has thousands of free users and hundreds of customers worldwide, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, NASA, Sony Music, Honeywell, SocGen, UBS, IG Group, City Index, ICAP, and Fixnetix. www.weswit.com www.lightstreamer.com

About bwin.party digital entertainment bwin.party digital entertainment plc (LSE:BPTY) is a global online gaming company, formed from the merger of bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and PartyGaming Plc on 31 March 2011. Incorporated, licensed and regulated in Gibraltar, the Group also has licences in France, Italy, Spain and Denmark. With offices in Europe, India, Israel and the US, the Group generated total pro forma revenue of EUR816.0m and pro forma Clean EBITDA of EUR199.3m in 2011. bwin.party commands leading market positions in each of its four key product verticals: online sports betting, poker, casino and bingo with some of the world's biggest online gaming brands including bwin, PartyPoker, PartyCasino and Foxy Bingo. The Group's scale, technology and strong portfolio of games collectively differentiate its customer offer from those of its competitors. bwin.party is a constituent member of the FTSE 250 Index and the FTSE4Good Index Series, which identifies companies that meet globally recognised corporate responsibility standards.


CALIFORNIA ONLINE POKER ASSOCIATION COLLAPSES...


They certainly had noble intentions, but the ride is over for the California Online Poker Association after several million dollars spend and a handful of failed legislative bills caused the organisation to cease its lobbying efforts.

COPA had poured a lot of money into ensuring that online poker was both legalised and regulated in the state, but after spending $1.2 million on its efforts in the first half of 2012 alone without making any headway, it was decided that the group must fold.

Despite outspending companies like Chevron and the California Teachers Association, COPA’s two-year run saw a handful of proposed bills fall through the legislative cracks as interest dissipated or the state could not agree on the financial rewards for those who were involved.

COPA’s operating agreement had stated that the organisation would dissolve if significant progress had not been made by January 2013, but the decision was made to pull the plug ahead of schedule earlier this month, with Ryan Hightower, the group’s spokesman, confirming: “The decision was based upon insufficient progress within the legislature towards the passage of an online poker bill.”

The San Manuel and Morongo tribe who had affiliated themselves with COPA, however, are not giving up the fight just yet and have stated that they believe it is only a matter of time before online gambling happens in California. If legislation does change after 2013’s proceedings, don’t be surprised to see the efforts of COPA and its partners reassessed in light of the new online climate.


Spider-Man Inspired By Masked Luchadors...




In The Amazing Spider-Man, which hit theaters Tuesday, Peter Parker is inspired to create a mask after winding up inside a wrestling ring surrounded by posters of masked luchadors. It is not the first wrestling connection in the movie franchise as in the premiere film released in 2002, Peter enters a wrestling tournament and squares off against a character portrayed by the late Randy "Macho Man" Savage.


Spider-Man movie has strong ties to pro wrestling; "Macho Man" Randy Savage connection...

The Amazing Spider-Man was released during the Independence Day week and so far the flick has performed well.

The Spider-Man franchise is awesome, it is something else which has pro wrestling fans excited about the latest reboot of the superhero franchise.

In the original film, starring Tobey Maguire, we witnessed Spider-Man enter a pro wrestling match in order to win a sum of cash which would allow him to purchase a used car he thought would impress Mary Jane.

Initially, Peter Parker wanted to be called The Human Spider, but Bruce Campbell put a stop to that nonsense and sent him down to the ring as Spider-Man.

As if seeing the man most famously known as Ash Williams wasn't enough, we were treated to a second cameo within seconds.

Spidey was facing off against Bonesaw McGraw, who was played by the late, great Randy "Macho Man" Savage.

It was here where Spidey first faced off against a foe who put him through hell.

This cameo by the legendary "Macho Man" was warmly welcomed by wrestling fans who had missed Savage. The new film, featuring Andrew Garfield as the webby one has gone back to its roots and given Peter Parker another wrestling-based inspiration.

At one point in the film Peter Parker is walking away from a group of hoodlums he had just schooled when he falls through a roof, landing in the middle of a wrestling ring.

When he stood up and looked around he saw what provided him with the inspiration for his signature mask.

The small arena was filled with signs featuring Lucha Libre masks, one of which catches Parker's eye more than the others.

The mask is red with dark-colored designs surrounding the eyes, nearly an exact copy of Spidey's look sans the webbing all over the face area.

Director Marc Webb made a lot of wrestling fans happy by inserting another inspiration for Spider-Man which is based in the world of pro wrestling.

Wrestling fans and comic book fans have a large cross over audience which these film makers have smartly plugged into - further casting their own web, to help increase net profits of course.

Comics and pro wrestling have a few elements in common. They both feature people dressed in fancy outfits, have signature attacks / finishing moves, and have a good VS evil theme for the most part.

Both Marc Webb and Sam Raimi chose to use wrestling as a launching pad for Peter Parker is also another point that wrestling fans are high on.

This latest part of the Hollywood - pro wrestling connection has gone over well and may even lead to the wrestling themes been further cast out in the Hollywood movie web and the movie industry wrestles attempting to get back some of the glory and money it used to make.


Marvel Entertainment Movies: Amazing Spider-Man, Thor 2, The Avengers Et Al Boost Popularity Of Marvel Slot Games...

The Media Man agency reports that Marvel themed online slot games across the network, and featured at partner, PartyCasino.com , are boosting the popularity of the superhero themed online slot games. Bwin.Party currently offers The Incredible Hulk, Thor, The Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four, with more expected to soon hit the popular gaming and entertainment website destination.


WWE Keen To Work With UFC Fighter; Ties To C.M Punk And "Stone Cold" Steve Austin...

Various news media has reported that WWE is interested in working with 35 year old UFC fighter "The American Gangster" Chael Sonnen. There's been mixed reports on whether Sonnen will one day try his hand at pro wrestling, post MMA, following the lead of 'King Mo' who now wrestles in TNA Wrestling. Oh, did you hear... Batista may soon be returning to professional wrestling WWE style - watch this space, and be sure to check him out in the new flick 'The Man With The Iron Fists', where he plays 'Brass Body'.

Back to the talented big mouth fighter Sonnen...he has ties to WWE as he is mates with WWE Champion CM Punk. Punk was ready to accompany Sonnen to the Octagon for a fight several months back but that was nixed.

Sonnen is also close to WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin. Austin has been bringing Sonnen out to his Broken Skull Ranch in Texas to help him with strength and conditioning training.



Ric Flair may soon return to WWE; Next Monday on Raw?...



Various pro wrestling websites and "dirt sheets" are reporting that folks close to Ric Flair are stating that he will be returning WWE at the October 29th RAW from Charlotte, North Carolina. Many fans are of course hoping this rumour is true.

The general understanding is that he will be getting involved in the storyline with AJ Lee, Vickie Guerrero and John Cena.

Flair will be a most welcome addition to the roster which is thin on depth at the moment, with big name iconic wrestlers such as The Rock, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar nowhere to be seen. Lots of internet buzz about a potential return to the WWE from Dave Bautista, but nothing's 100% until it happens.

Hardcore and casual fans are excited about seeing Flair work with his modern day equivalent of sorts - Dolph Ziggler. How cool what that be? You can smell the improved TV ratings already.

WWE needs to pull a rabbit or two out of the hat, and the likes of Flair, Bautista, The Rock and The Undertaker are just what the doctor ordered. 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin is also strongly rumoured to make some WWE appearances in 2013, which may or may not result in a fued or match with CM Punk.

Lot's of rumors around and all up it should make a more entertaining that usual Raw, and new WWE program, Main Event, would also do well to see legendary wrestlers return.

Yes fans, there's a lot of buzz and excitement around at the moment, so let's hope that the WWE powers that be do what is required to get some legendary wrestlers back on the active roster.

One more thing for us Ryback fans, and there's millions - Feed Me More!


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