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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Casino News Media: O'Neill formally takes over as Echo chairman

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Sydney Australia

O'Neill formally takes over as Echo chairman - 23rd July...

Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill has officially taken over as chairman of casino operator Echo Entertainment Group's board.

Mr O'Neill takes over from John Story who stepped down on June 8 following a campaign to remove him by James Packer, head of rival casino operator Crown.

Mr O'Neill, a non-executive board director and chief executive of the Australian Rugby Union, subsequently assumed the role of Echo's acting chairman.

His appointment received Mr Packer's support.

Mr Packer, seeking a presence in the lucrative Sydney gaming market, wanted to to increase his influence on Echo, which holds the city's sole casino licence.

Crown took a 10 per cent holding in Echo.

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

Crown operates the Crown casino in Melbourne and the Burswood casino in Perth.


Steven Spielberg Wants Chris Hemsworth for Robopocalypse...

Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth was a relative unknown Stateside only a couple years ago, but he has become the go-to guy for roles requiring a handsome badass who fights inhuman threats. Hemsworth has battled Frost Giants in Thor and alien invaders in The Avengers as Thor — and Thor's wicked brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), in both movies — and trolls as the Huntsman in Snow White and the Huntsman, and it looks like he will soon be battling robots for director Steven Spielberg in Robopocalypse.

The three-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker has been trying to put together an adaptation of Daniel H. Wilson's best-selling novel of the same name since before the book was completed, and now it seems he's finally ready to start moving forward with it. According to Deadline, Spielberg recently met in secret with Hemsworth to discuss starring in the movie and has chosen him to lead the resistance against the artificial intelligence Archos, which seeks to annhiliate the human race.

Further details on the adaptation are scarce at this point. Goddard wrote the initial screenplay adaptation of his book, but Deadline reports that Kario Salem (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) has been hired to rewrite Goddard's script. Here's the synopis of the book from Random House's website:

Not far into our future, the dazzling technology that runs our world turns against us. Controlled by a childlike — yet massively powerful — artificial intelligence known as Archos, the global network of machines on which our world has grown dependent suddenly becomes an implacable, deadly foe. At Zero Hour — the moment the robots attack — the human race is almost annihilated, but as its scattered remnants regroup, humanity for the first time unites in a determined effort to fight back. This is the oral history of that conflict, told by an international cast of survivors who experienced this long and bloody confrontation with the machines. Brilliantly conceived and amazingly detailed, Robopocalypse is an action-packed epic with chilling implications about the real technology that surrounds us.

It's the robots' world, we just live in it...for now.

Random House also has a one-minute video short set in the world of Robopocalypse on its site. The director of the short, Stephen Lunsford, is no Spielberg, but the short is worth watching solely for the creepy, child-like voice of Archos declaring itself humanity's god.

Robopocalypse will be a joint Dreamworks-Fox production distributed by Disney. It is slated for release on April 25, 2014.


Hugh Jackman echoes sorrow over massacre...

Australian actor Hugh Jackman has expressed his sadness following the mass shooting at a US screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

'All I can echo is the sorrow I feel for the families, the community, for everybody,' he says.

'It's an issue that goes way beyond, obviously beyond acting, beyond film or anything like that.

'This is just a tragedy on a level that we have experienced in Australia many years ago in Tasmania and it's devastating and I can't comment on (it) anymore than as a human being and my feelings for those people involved.'

Jackman was speaking in Sydney at a press conference on Tuesday for his new film The Wolverine, alongside its director, James Mangold, and Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Jackman was sporting a red right eye, but it wasn't because of training for the action movie, but rather 'a very energetic game of tag with my kids', which he thinks burst a blood vessel.

Jackman says it wasn't easy getting back into shape for the part, particularly coming from his last role as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.

'That was a particular challenge because Les Mis, I had to start at 83 kilos and I finished at about 97 kilos by the end of the movie,' he says.

'We did have a holiday recently, but it was more like boot camp for me. But the kids and Deb (his wife, actress Deborra-Lee Furness) were happy.'

Shooting of The Wolverine is scheduled to start in Sydney on July 30, after a number of setbacks for the sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Last March, director Darren Aronofsky left the project, and Mangold stepped in to replace him. Then the shoot, which was originally meant to be in Japan, was postponed last October because of weather conditions.

Mangold says The Wolverine is based on a series of comics that detail the mutant's journeys in Japan and he refuted reports that Jessica Biel had turned down the lead role of Viper.

'The story couldn't be more of a fantasy frankly, in terms of what I was reading, so it was nothing more than a list of people we were considering and still are,' he says.

Jackman, who has played Wolverine now in five different movies over the past 12 years, says he takes the movies on one at a time.

For The Wolverine, he saw the screenplay and was sold.

'I feel like a golfer, always looking for a hole in one and I thought this was the best script we've had,' he says.


Hollywood declares box office truce after massacre...

The Hollywood studio behind the Batman movies has decided not to publish weekend box office figures after the Colorado theatre massacre.

Twelve people were killed and 58 injured when a gunman dressed in full body armour opened fire at a packed midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises in Denver.

James Holmes, 24, was taken into custody outside the cinema after the attack. He is in solitary confinement and is due in court on Monday morning.

Within hours of the attack, Warner Brothers had cancelled the movie's Paris premiere, which was to have been accompanied by a press junket with the cast and crew including director Christopher Nolan and main star Christian Bale.

The company also cancelled red carpet events for the film in France, Japan and Mexico, although screenings will go ahead as planned.

Warner Bros has now confirmed it will not publish weekend takings - a form of crowing about box office success - until Monday.

This was despite the fact that unofficial figures cited by industry daily Variety suggest that it made $US75 million on Friday alone, the third biggest opening day ever at the US box office.

The move was swiftly followed by major Hollywood rivals including Disney, Fox, Sony, Lionsgate and Universal.

After initial radio silence from most of the cast and crew, Nolan issued a statement lamenting the "senseless tragedy," and expressing "our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community".

On Saturday Bale, who plays Bruce Wayne aka Batman, also expressed his sadness.

"Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them," he said in a statement.

In a separate move Warner Bros scrambled to pull a trailer for another film, Gangster Squad, including a scene in which mobsters shoot at theatre audiences. (AFP)


Christian Bale: My Heart Aches for Victims

The film is expected to be among the most lucrative movie openings and possibly contend with the record $207.4 million brought in by "The Avengers."

"The Dark Knight Rises" star Christian Bale said Saturday that his heart goes out to the victims of the Colorado shootings, a tragedy that brought Hollywood studios together in a rare show of solidarity as they opted to give the weekend box-office a rest.

"Words cannot express the horror that I feel," Bale, who plays the caped crusader in the film, said in a statement. "I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them."

Meanwhile, Sony, Fox, Disney, Universal, Fox, Paramount and Lionsgate said Saturday that they are joining "Dark Knight Rises" distributor Warner Bros. in withholding their box-office numbers for the weekend.

Warner Bros. announced Friday that it would forgo the usual revenue reports until Monday out of respect for the victims and their families in the Aurora, Colo., shooting that killed 12 and wounded 58 at the midnight show of "The Dark Knight Rises" earlier in the day.

The other studios said they also would not report numbers until Monday. Box-office tracking service Rentrak, too, said it would not report figures this weekend.

Sunday box-office estimates are a weekly routine for Hollywood, with studios jostling for bragging rights as the No. 1 movie and always aiming to break revenue records.

Before the shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater at a midnight screening of the new Batman film, the box-office performance of "The Dark Knight Rises" had been eagerly anticipated. The film is expected to be among the most lucrative movie openings and possibly contend with the record $207.4 million brought in by "The Avengers."

But that now appears unlikely, even though "The Dark Knight Rises" earned $30.6 million from midnight screenings alone. Hollywood trade publications Variety and Hollywood Reporter reported estimates of roughly $75 million to $77 million for the film on Friday, based on box-office insiders.

That would put it on track for somewhere around $165 million for the weekend. Such a total would be the second highest weekend opening ever, after "The Avengers."

Any projections, though, are bound to be rough approximates given the atypical nature of the situation. Many of Friday's tickets were presold before the shooting. Moviegoers making their way to theaters also faced increased security and, in some places, bag checks. AMC Theaters, the country's second-largest movie chain, said it would not allow costumed fans or face-covered masks into its theaters.

Warner Bros. rushed to react to the tragedy, immediately canceling a Friday night premiere in Paris. On Saturday, it also canceled the other remaining red-carpet extravaganzas in Mexico City and Tokyo.

The studio, a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., also moved to pull trailers from its upcoming film "Gangster Squad" from theaters. The trailer of the film, which stars Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling in a ruthless war between Los Angeles police and the mob, includes a scene of mobsters firing into a crowded movie theater from behind the screen.

Christopher Nolan, the director of "The Dark Knight Rises" earlier responded to the tragedy, expressing his sorrow for the victims and their families.

Said Nolan: "The movie theater is my home and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me."

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