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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Entertainment, Hollywood, Gaming, Celebrity, Wrestling and WWE News

Gaming, Entertainment, Hollywood and Celebrity News: Spider-Man movie, The Dark Knight Rises, movie ratings, The Wolverine, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, Highest paid actors includes "The Rock"; WWE, Pro Wrestling, Gaming and more...

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Warner Bros Says 'The Dark Knight Rises' Won't Beat 'The Avengers'...

The Hollywood Report is reporting that the pre-release tracking numbers for "The Dark Knight Rises" are so high that the movie should have no problem topping the $158 million opening of "The Dark Knight" and getting the best U.S debut for a 2D film.

According to Warner Bros, Christopher Nolan's third Batman film has already grossed $25 million in advance ticket sales, which is one of the best results of all time. The studio believes that "The Dark Knight Rises" will end up at around $170 million for the weekend, but box office experts believe that the film will likely end up between $185 million and $195 million.

As predicted earlier, "The Dark Knight Rises" will likely not beat "The Avengers" ($207.4 million) for the highest-grossing opening weekend, but should surpass "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" ($169.2 million). Both of the films had the advantage of being released in 3D. Roughly $35 million of "The Avengers" opening numbers came from the extra charge that comes with watching films in 3D.

The other problem that "The Dark Knight Rises" faces is being 2 hours and 43 minutes long. Very often people tend to wait for lengthy films to come out on DVD/Blu-ray. Plus, theaters won't be able to squeeze in as many screenings as they could for a shorter movie.


Warner, China Film clash on 'Dark Knight' debut against 'Spider-Man'...

A plan to open superhero movies "The Amazing Spider-Man"and "The Dark Knight Rises"on the same date in China has prompted a tense standoff between film authorities in Beijing and Hollywood's biggest studio.

Warner Bros.' Batman sequel "The Dark Knight Rises" and Sony Pictures' reboot "The Amazing Spider-Man" have both been scheduled to open in China on Aug. 30 , according to to several people familiar with the Chinese movie market not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Release dates in China are set not by studios, but by the state-owned China Film Group.

Such a move would almost certainly depress the box office grosses of both big-budget pictures as they compete for audiences and screens.

In response, Warner Bros. is lobbying China Film Group to delay the opening of "Dark Knight Rises" to September, the knowledgeable people said. The negotiations are delicate, however, as China Film's decision-making process is opaque to Hollywood studios.

The underlying question in the dispute is which side has more leverage: China Film Group, the gatekeeper to the world's second-largest movie market; or Warner Bros., which controls one of the most anticipated movies of the year, expected to gross more than $1 billion worldwide.

Spokespeople for Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures declined to comment.

"Dark Knight Rises" is opening in the U.S. on Friday as well as in many other countries in Europe and Asia; "Spider-Man" has already been open for several weeks in most territories.

Should China Film refuse to change the opening date of "The Dark Knight Rises," Warner Bros.'s only apparent option would be to hold back the movie entirely, potentially giving up tens of millions of dollars in box office revenue from the country in order to stand on principle.

REVIEW: 'Dark Knight Rises'

The news comes a week after the revelation that the 3-D animated movies "Ice Age: Continental Drift" (from 20th Century Fox) and "The Lorax" (from Universal Pictures) will premiere against each other on July 27 in China.

In the past, it has been highly unusual for similar movies to open on the same date in China as the government sought to boost box office receipts, which hit $2 billion last year and are projected to rise to $3 billion by the end of 2012.

But Chinese authorities may be concerned that Hollywood movies have been performing much better than local product so far this year, according to people with ties to the Chinese film market who did not want to be identified publicly because it might jeopardize their relationships there.

These people said that executives at China Film appear to be opening similar American movies against each other in order to minimize their box office takes.

Xiao Ping, the general manager in charge of importing movies at China Film Group, said she had not received any "official confirmation" of the release dates of "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Dark Knight Rises."

"I'm not sure when those two movies will be released in China," she said. "It all depends on the market conditions."

She referred a Times reporter to other executives at China Film. One who worked in the legal department said that the China Film Distribution and Exhibition Assn. is in charge of scheduling release dates.

However, a woman who answered the phone at the association said she couldn't comment and referred questions back to China Film Group.

There has been an unofficial "blackout" on American movies in China for the last several weeks -- with only local product appearing in theaters--from the opening of the animated film "Brave" on June 19 until "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1" arrives on July 25.

Consequently, there is expected to be a back-up of Hollywood summer tentpole pictures opening on top of one another over the next couple of months.

If China Film Group decides to continue opening American movies on the same dates, it could impact such pictures as the 3-D animated films "Hotel Transylvania," "Frankenweenie," "Wreck-It-Ralph" and "Rise of the Guardians," as well as "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and the James Bond picture "Skyfall."


Jessica Biel Bails on 'The Wolverine,' a Superhero Movie That Can't Get a Break...

After three successful X-Men with a total domestic gross of nearly a $1 billion, a spin-off, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and one of the greatest modern cameos of all time (his f-bomb in X-Men: First Class is truly inspired), one would think Hugh Jackman getting another round of mutant comic book action off the ground would be easy peasy lemon squeezy. Not so.

The latest hiccup for Wolverine's second outing, simply titled The Wolverine, sees Jessica Biel vacating a role that she never quite had. Rumors were swirling around Comic-Con that Biel was in talks for the costarring role of "Viper" in the film. The actress was in talks with the studio for the part on Friday, but the negotiations fell through. Biel, who previously lent her action acting skills to the third installment of the Blade franchise and the upcoming Total Recall, reportedly had "cold feet" regarding the role and opted out of joining the sequel.

The departure of Biel is another bump in the road for The Wolverine. After the middling success of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, questions over whether the gruff, ballbusting hero would get another chance at a solo career. Director Gavin Hood insisted that a second film was on the way, with writer Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Jack Reacher) hired to pen a script in August 2009. When Hood was not asked to return for a follow-up, plans for a sequel were stuck in limbo. But after the success of Black Swan, Jackman's former Fountain director Darren Aronofsky stepped in to helm the picture with a revamped title that separated it from the previous Origins series: The Wolverine.

Aronofsky boarded The Wolverine in October of 2010, but by March of 2011, he was bowing out of the project, citing the need to remain in the country with his family (the director had split from his wife Rachel Weisz in November, following the announcement). The departure of the director wasn't even The Wolverine's biggest issue: McQuarrie's script for the film took the action to Japan, following one of the character's most famous arcs, but just before Aronofsky's departure, Japan suffered a massive earthquake that devastated the country and left business out to dry. Once again, Fox was stuck with a project they were dying to make but with no one and no where to make it. An immediate search began for a new director, and by June 2011, the studio settled on James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Knight & Day) to helm the picture. The film was on the fast track to shoot in fall of that year in Australia.

With whether concerns in Japan a lingering problem, The Wolverine bounced around start dates with its star eventually taking on another project in the interim, the musical Les Miserables. But after years of false starts, the pieces for the comic book sequel are falling into place, Jackman confirming at this year's CinemaCon that production would begin in August for a release date of July 26, 2013.

The Wolverine has already begun assembling its primarily Japanese cast, signing on Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi , Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima for key roles, but the loss of Biel comes as a blow to the production. The star is one of the few go-to female action heroines — and her profile is only growing. Who can go toe-to-toe with Jackman on both a physical and emotional level. In the comics, The Viper character begins in a romantic relationship with Wolverine before double-crossing him and taking him down. The casting of Biel is an indication that, at the very least, Viper will be seeing a bit of the action in the film (and with a name like Viper, how could she not?). There's no word yet on who could fill Biel's shoes, but if Total Recall is any indication, actress Kate Beckinsale has the chops to contend with Biel. An ample replacement? Who should take over Viper from the quickly-departed Biel?


Dwayne Johnson to play Lobo...

Dwayne Johnson has confirmed he is in talks with producer Joel Silver and director Brad Peyton to play comic book star Lobo....

Dwayne Johnson has confirmed he is in talks to play comic book star Lobo.

The 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' star - who also wrestles in the WWE as The Rock - took to his twitter account to reveal he has entered negotiations with producer Joel Silver and director Brad Peyton about taking on the role of DC Comics' Czarnian bounty hunter.

In response to a fan's question about whether he is playing the character, he tweeted: "Rumors of me possibly playing LOBO are true. Joel Silver and Brad Peyton working on it now. That could be fun.. (sic)"

Earlier this year, Brad took up an offer from Warner Bros. to make the DC Comics movie as his next project.

The filmmaker teamed up with Dwayne on 'Journey 2: The Mysterious Island', which features Sir Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson and Vanessa Hudgens, and sees the wrestler star as explorer Hank Parsons.

Dwayne's next movie role will see him portray Roadblock on forthcoming action motion picture 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation', and he recently admitted he signed up for the project because he thought there was "room for improvement" in the franchise after watching 2009's 'G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra'.

He explained: "I was even more than 'Yeah I'm in.' But also too, you wanna be a little bit poised with your excitement at first. When I first heard it, the idea of starring in 'G.I. Joe', first of all you get a second crack at something that is - the franchise is that big, the title is that big, the first one did well [but there was] room for improvement.

"We get a second crack at bat with this; I wanted to grab this by the throat and not let go. The moment I locked in, we all agreed, I'm in."


‘Dark Knight Rises’ SRO Official Academy Screening Begins With Moment Of Silence For Colorado Tragedy Victims...

The Colorado movie theatre shooting tragedy apparently did not dampen the want-to-see factor for The Dark Knight Rises among members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. At Saturday night’s official screening at the Academy’s 1012 seat Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills an SRO crowd , the largest so far this year and easily one of the largest in many years , turned out to see the much-awaited conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The Academy crowd was so big that in a highly unusual move for one of these official weekend Acad member screenings ( which often draw far less than capacity audiences) an announcement was made that anyone not having a seat or not happy with the seat they did have could go to the lobby and they would begin filling the Academy’s adjacent Little Theatre.

In another highly unusual move for one of these regular screenings Academy President Tom Sherak was on hand and made a few remarks before asking for a moment of silence for the victims of the horrendous tragedy which occurred early Friday morning shortly after the first midnight screening began at the Aurora, Colorado theatre.

I am told this is what he said in part, “… (this was) such a thankless act of violence by a deranged individual who took the lives of so many innocent people and wounded so many others. The movie-going experience is one which we should be able to enjoy with others in our community in an environment that is safe. We should be able to go to our local theatres and leave our problems behind and allow the movie to transport us to a place that entertains us and captures our imagination. For now though, we understandably feel angst and uneasiness with this tragic event and question the why and the how. Let us take a moment of silence before we begin to hold those innocent people and their families in our hearts and in our prayers. Our condolences surely go out to all of them”.

At least one observer told me reaction to the film itself was “fantastic with much applause at the end”. Although it is far from the studio’s or anybody’s mind this weekend – and should be – Warner Bros is known to have high Oscar hopes for the film. The Academy’s switch from five to ten Best Picture nominees in 2009 is widely thought to have been instigated by the omission of a Best Picture nod for 2008′s The Dark Knight which was nominated overall for 8 mostly below-the-line Oscars and won for Sound Editing and most notably a posthumous Best Supporting Actor statuette for Heath Ledger who played the Joker.

Official Academy screenings of The Dark Knight Rises continue Tuesday in New York and Thursday in San Francisco. London-based members saw it last Thursday.


Studio Quiet on “Dark Knight Rises” Box Office; Will it Top “The Avengers?”

In the wake of the tragic shooting at a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” it would potentially appear callous to focus on the whopping box office success of the highly-anticipated film.

As such, Warner Brothers Pictures issued a statement saying it will not officially report box office data over the weekend. Studio estimates often help formulate the “reports” movie buffs read on Saturday morning and then again Sunday afternoon. Official results are not delivered until Monday.

Those with inside sources, however, are reporting that the film’s tracking looks very strong. The question remains whether it will beat “The Avengers.”

Though it had a stronger midnight opening, “Dark Knight,” according to Deadline, will likely land in line with the other film’s opening day total. Given the passionate following for the latest Batman film series, this phenomenon makes sense–seeing the movie at midnight was a bona fide event for millions, but it is not necessarily a more widely-appealing movie than the star-studded “Avengers.”

Like “Avengers,” “The Dark Knight Rises” is tracking for about $80 million on Friday. “Avengers” held up reasonably well over the weekend to earn $207 million; it remains to be seen if interest in “The Dark Knight” is too front-loaded to bring another $120 million to the table on Saturday and Sunday.


Marvel & Latino Review: Studio Allegedly Threatens Movie Writer Over 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Leak...

On June 28, Latino Review writer Dave Gonzales -- writing under the pseudonym Da7e -- broke the news that Marvel was planning to make "Guardians of the Galaxy" one of its next films. Trades like Variety and THR were quick to pick up the news -- Deadline.com did as well, but without crediting Gonzales for the story -- and by the time Marvel officially announced "Guardians of the Galaxy" at Comic-Con on July 14, it seemed nearly everyone with a Twitter account was already aware of the project.

That apparently didn't sit very well with Marvel.

On Thursday, Gonzales posted an email he received from someone posing as a Marvel representative -- the writer was later revealed to be Robert Grosser, a vice president of loss prevention at Marvel, by THR -- that asked for the source of the "Guardians of the Galaxy" news. (Gonzales also broke a story about "Iron Man 3.")

The executives at Marvel are extremely upset regarding the release of this information and they have instructed me to find you and ascertain how you received it. My goal is to accomplish this in a quiet manner. I do not want to see you or anyone else get into trouble nor do I want to see anyone’s career be tarnished because of this. However I am very confident that through your efforts and mine, we will be able to work through this together. I personally feel that you did not have any malicious intent when you posted your spoilers on the fanboy website. Like many fans out there, you just wanted to be the first one to post something on the internet. I get it, however the "Iron Man 3" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" information was confidential and you did not have Marvel’s consent to post it. That was illegal!

Needless to say, Gonzales wasn't thrilled about the accusations or threats. Not only did he post the email online, he wrote this in response:

I’m not responding to this e-mail outside of this post, because I’ve done nothing wrong. A representative of my favorite comics house just stepped into my life with no legal authority to demand anything and threatened my career for doing my job well.

According to THR's legal blog, THR, Esq., Marvel would have a difficult time bringing any charges against Gonzales, a reporter, for reporting a story.

As for "Guardians of the Galaxy," Marvel announced the film at Comic-Con and will release it into theaters on Aug. 1, 2014.

For more on the legal ramifications of this story, head over to THR. To check out Gonzales' full report, hit Latino Review.


Thor: The Dark World - Stuntman Leak?...

At Marvel Studios’ panel at Comic-Con, it was revealed that the sequel to ‘Thor’ would be called ‘Thor: The Dark World’. But then the new title left people wondering what made Thor’s world so dark. It seems that stuntman James Grogan may have the answer to that.

In an interview with IReviewToo (via Comic Book Movie), Grogan may have just revealed who Chris Hemsworth will have to face in his next outing as the God of Thunder, beside Tom Hiddleston, who’s reprising his role as Loki. Here’s what the stuntman had to say:

“The other day for example, this is quite random but I was working on ‘Thor 2’. I had a load of stunt guys in and the director came in and he said ‘Look, we want you all to be elves,’ and I was like ‘What the hell is an elf anyway?’ and he said ‘I want you all to walk around like these supernatural animals,’ honestly it was the most ridiculous thing ever but you just have to not be self aware and get on with it.”

Elves? In ‘The Dark World’? Well for those in the know, one might assume that Thor will be facing off against the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim under the leadership of Malekith the Accursed. Back when Mads Mikkelsen was in talks for the role of an unnamed villain in Alan Taylor’s film, I speculated that he would play the demon Surtur, but now that we have more information to go on, could it be that the Danish actor who left the production was set to play the evil elf? And who’s lined up to play the villain now to fill the vacancy?

Also, as CBM notes, Loki and Malekith have been in cahoots before to acquire the Cask of Ancient Winters, which was featured in the first journey in Asgard, so maybe Taylor will be inspired by that comic storyline for his movie. Since production begins next month in London, I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.

‘Thor: The Dark World’, directed by ‘Game of Thrones’ favorite Alan Taylor, starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, and Anthony Hopkins, is scheduled for release on November 8, 2013.


Dwayne Johnson Up For "Lobo" Film...

After being asked by a fan, Dwayne Johnson has revealed that talk of him playing alien bounty hunter "Lobo", in the proposed DC Comics feature film adaptation in development at Warner Bros. Pictures, has some weight to it.

"Rumors of me possibly playing LOBO are true. Joel Silver and Brad Peyton working on it now. That could be fun" he states on Twitter. The studio has not set a release date yet for the film.

If cast, Johnson would reunite with his "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" director Brad Peyton on the movie.


Russell Crowe, 'Harry Potter' star Emma Watson to shoot 'Noah' on Long Island, New York...

Director Darren Aronofsky ("Black Swan," "The Wrestler") Thursday tweeted the first photo of the Noah's Ark set he's constructing on Long Island for his upcoming "Noah," based on his own graphic-novel reimagining of the Biblical epic.

"We're shooting in Oyster Bay, Long Island," a Paramount spokeswoman told Newsday. "Confirmed cast includes Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth." Oscar-winner Crowe is set to play a version of Noah, whom the graphic novel's publisher, Le Lombard, describes as "a Mad Max out of the depths of time." (Connelly will play Noah's wife, and Hopkins the 900-year-old Methuselah.)

"I dreamt about this since I was 13," Aronofsky, 43, tweeted. "And now it's a reality. Genesis 6:14," he said, referring to the Bible passage that reads, "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch."

Meanwhile, Grant Wilfley Casting has scheduled an open call for "Noah" extras Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Greek Orthodox Church of Holy Resurrection in Brookville, specifying "men and women with toned-slender runner's bodies, who are willing to work at night in the rain." A previous open call had taken place June 29 in Manhattan.

"Noah," scheduled for release March 28, 2014, will adapt the graphic novel by writers Aronofsky and Ari Handel and artist Niko Henrichon, which was published in French last October.


Bwin loses German hand...

The uncertain state of European gaming, particularly regulation, and the need to gear businesses up for social networking contributed to a profit warning from Bwin.Party. With Europe in general almost intolerably volatile it is now difficult to be optimistic about Bwin's prospects for the rest of this year.


Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson In Highest Paid Actors List...

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was listed at #4 on the Forbes annual list of the highest paid actors in the world over the past year. Johnson was reported as earning $36 million this past year, behind only Tom Cruise ($75 million), Leonardo DiCaprio ($37 million) and Adam Sandler ($37 million).


Roddy Piper gives tips to CM Punk...

WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper continues to praise WWE Champion CM Punk. Piper says he is going to sit down with Punk at Monday's big RAW and give him some advice for his troubles with Big Show. Piper wrote:

"Watched @CMPunk on Raw. A great job. I fought Andre so many times going to sit down with Punk at 1000 Raw a tell him a secret. He's worh it!"


AW Wants To Be WWE RAW GM...

AW says he is the one to take us back to the WWE Attitude Era. He wrote the following in response to fans criticizing his open mic work on RAW:

"If you're annoyed by me on the mic it's not me u hate it's ur own lack of internal fortitude you despise. #StopHatingO's. I'm not politically correct. If u get offended deal with it. #AttitudeEra is my motto. I grew up on it, I live it!!! #F*ckFearDrinkBeer!! If anybody's gonna take us back to the #AttitudeEra it's me. Doubt me if u will, don't let the suit fool you. We've only just begun...."


WWE Has More Legends Confirmed for RAW 1000; Stone Cold Steve Austin...

On rumors that Steve Austin will face Heath Slater on Raw 1,000: "Austin will definitely give him the stunner, ya' know thats coming! Fans get ready, you're gonna see a Stunner!"

On if he will be apart of Raw 1,000: "I will be making an appearance...people will see that my spikes were excellently repainted! Yeah, I'll be there all painted up, with bells on boys! If it happens it happens, I'm ready!"

On what else to expect for Raw 1,000: "It's gonna star studded, on my flight alone is me, DDP and Bret 'Hitman' Hart!"


WWE Focus On recruiting...

Within WWE, recruiting is now the highest priority it has been since more than a decade ago when WWE had the original strong class in Ohio Valley Wrestling. Gerald Brisco and Canyon Ceman, a recent Triple H hire, were recruiting new talents this past week at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. They were specifically looking at wrestlers, weightlifters and track athletes. Brisco was highest on a bobsled racer who he thought had a great look and who loved wrestling. The racer is the pusher for his bobsled team and may want to wait until after the 2014 Winter Games. (Wrestling Observer Newsletter)


ICP’s annual Gathering of the Juggalos...

Wrestling stars announced for ICP’s annual Gathering of the Juggalos JCW BloodyMania event include Scott Steiner, Vader, John Morrison, Carlito, Bobby Lashley, Chavo Guerrero, Shane Helms, Matt Hardy, The Headbangers, The Rock ‘n Roll Express, Colt Cabana, Vampiro, Steve Corino and others. As noted before, Ric Flair will also be present as the host of the Main Stage.


Dave "Batista" Bautista to have GQ feature...

Former WWE Champion Dave "Batista" Bautista took part in a photo shoot for men's magazine GQ on Thursday to promote the upcoming martial arts film written by RZA and Eli Roth, The Man with the Iron Fists. The noted wrestler appears in the flick with Academy Award winner Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu and mixed martial artist Cung Lee. It is set for release in North America on November 2, 2012.


WWE SmackDown Results: July 20, 2012...

Five nights after Money-in-the-Bank, the 674th edition of WWE Friday Night SmackDown came to you from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, CA. After their shocking engagement on RAW and their even more shocking wedding date for the 1,000th Episode of RAW, the bride and groom-to-be, AJ and Daniel Bryan, would be the special guests on The Peep Show, hosted by Intercontinental Champion Christian!

Match Results

8-Man Tag: The Prime Time Players, Hunico, & Camacho (with A.W.) def. R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Primo, & Epico by Darren Young pinning Primo following the gutbuster.
Damien Sandow def. Zack Ryder by pin following the straightjacket neckbreaker.
Kane def. Daniel Bryan by DQ after AJ interferes.
Road Warrior Animal def. Heath Slater by pin following a jumping elbow drop.
Sheamus & Rey Mysterio def. Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio by DQ after Ricardo Rodriguez interferes.


Warner Bros. Consumer Products Announces Worldwide Licensing Program For The Dark Knight Rises
Epic Conclusion of the Dark Knight Trilogy Hits Theaters on July 20...


BURBANK, Calif., July 19, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The Bat-Signal soars above the skies as Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) and its global partners launch the worldwide licensing and merchandising program that supports the eagerly awaited epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan's phenomenally popular Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. As the summer blockbuster swoops into theaters, beginning July 20, WBCP unveils the unprecedented lineup of global licensees and products capturing the excitement for the film around the world.

"Batman is one of the most iconic characters in the world and our global merchandising program inspired by The Dark Knight Rises offers fans of all ages an opportunity to extend their experience beyond the theater," said Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. "The characters, gadgets and vehicles created by Christopher Nolan have opened up a world of great product opportunities."

In support of The Dark Knight Rises, WBCP and its host of renowned licensees are rolling out a vast product lineup generating awareness and enthusiasm just in time for the tentpole film's release. Led by global master toy licensee Mattel, the film will also be supported by key partners such as The LEGO Group, Hallmark, Kinetix, Converse, Rubie's Costume Company, and Titan Books, among many other licensees worldwide. The myriad of merchandise supporting The Dark Knight Rises will bring the film to life and into the homes of fans with a licensing program that boasts offerings across multiple categories from toys and games, to collectibles and costumes, to apparel and accessories, to publishing, party goods and domestic decor.

Mattel, global master toy partner for the film and DC Comics, will have a broad lineup as part of its Batman toy collection including action figures, playsets and collectible figures, highlighted by the fan-favorite Movie Masters(TM) line for the older fans and serious collectors, which captures the superior accuracy and details of the characters from The Dark Knight Rises. In addition, the authentic film-inspired toy line introduces the innovative play technology QuickTek(TM), which offers snap-and-slide armor and accessories.

The much-anticipated film is also being supported by LEGO, the official partner in the construction category, with a construction set inspired by The Dark Knight Rises; Rubie's Costume Co., bringing a wide range of costume products based on the entire DC Comics portfolio, including The Dark Knight Rises; and Hallmark offering collectible ornaments.

Additional licensees also supporting the film include: PPW Toys' DC Super Heroes collectible line of Mr. Potato Heads, including a "Caped Cru-Tater" figure inspired by The Dark Knight Rises; Jakks Pacific with a range of film-inspired novelty and large scale figures and plush; and Cardinals Industries' games and puzzles based on The Dark Knight Rises and Batman, as well as other legendary DC Comics characters. Funko brings its fun stylized plush and vinyl collection; Mezco unmasks colorfully detailed vinyl figures; Hornby Hobbies revs it up with a Scalextric limited edition Batman Tumbler vehicle; Thinkway Toys brings their best-in-class innovation to a range of remote control vehicles, figures, and basic role play toys inspired by Batman and The Dark Knight Rises; and McFarlane Toys unveils a special edition collectible action figure of former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and two-time Super Bowl champion, Hines Ward, in his Gotham Rogues uniform as worn in The Dark Knight Rises.

The licensing program for The Dark Knight Rises reaches multiple product categories. In apparel, high-end fashion from Kinetix and Kids Republic, to Braccialini's cat-walk Catwoman-inspired clutch, to trendy apparel from Bioworld, Junkfood, French Connection, Converse, New Era and Diesel, gives fans a chance to don the look with t-shirts, limited edition sneakers and caps, accessories and more inspired by the artistry and graphics from The Dark Knight Rises; as well as Under Armour with their specialty athletic gear as inspired by their Gotham Rogues uniforms in the film. Collectibles from Hot Toys, Kotobukiya, Mobius Models and Noble Collection offer discerning collectors a chance to display the most artistic and detailed figures and replicas; Mimoco offers cool-collectors' high-tech USB flash drives for all fans; and home goods from Franco, and more will bring Batman to life in any room in the house. In publishing, WBCP and its partners take an in-depth look at all of the vehicles, gadgets, uniforms and more as seen in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. Titan Books will bring the film to the page with its official tie-in novelization; Abrams releases The Art and Making of the Dark Knight Trilogy; HarperCollins caters to younger fans with a publishing program that includes a Junior novelization, I Can Read book series and assorted activity books; and Insight Editions lets fans and auto aficionados get into the driver's seat in Batmobile: The Complete History coffee table book about the iconic Batmobile through the years, as well as giving an inside look at the secrets to being Batman in The Dark Knight Manual.

Other licensees that are part of the exciting roll-out for The Dark Knight Rises program, including Lava Lite LLC, Skinit, Inc., Cufflinks, Inc., Graphitti Designs, The Northwest Company, Thermos, Trends International, Muckle Mannequins, Molli Toys and Bakery Crafts, among many others - each offering inspired product that will delight all fans.

About The Dark Knight Rises Warner Bros. Pictures' and Legendary Pictures' The Dark Knight Rises is the epic conclusion to Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. The film stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Morgan Freeman. Christopher Nolan directed the film from a screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven are the producers, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull serving as executive producers, and Jordan Goldberg co-producing. The Dark Knight Rises is based upon Batman characters created by Bob Kane and published by DC Comics.

Opening in theatres and IMAX on July 20, 2012, The Dark Knight Rises will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. The film has been rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language. www.thedarkknightrises.com


Gazillion Entertainment President David Brevik Talks Marvel Heroes MMO
The new game will offer dynamic environments...


SAN DIEGO -- Gazillion Entertainment have Comic-Con 2012 fans a first play of the free-to-play online game Marvel Heroes. The game combines the energy of action role-playing games with the breadth and immersion of the MMO genre, while sharing some popular features from Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo games.

Fans were able to play one of four iconic Marvel characters at the convention and battle through the war-torn streets of Mutant Town and Fort Stryker to defeat Magneto and retrieve William Stryker from his clutches. Along the way, players got a taste of the extensive loot and costume options for each hero. Developers of the game were at the Marvel Entertainment booth, which featured Iron Man 3, to guide players and answer questions during play.

“San Diego Comic-Con is the perfect venue for gamers and Marvel fans to play Marvel Heroes for the first time,” said Brevik. “Marvel Heroes is a great leap forward for the MMO genre, combining the rapid pace of an action-RPG with the depth of an MMO.”

During San Diego Comic-Con, fans also were able to play through the game to find the Tablet of Life and Time, which is a powerful item in Marvel Heroes. The Tablet has been stolen in a daring raid, and to help get it back the Marvel Heroes Task Force needed help. San Diego Comic-Con attendees were deputized and issued a unique photo ID badge, then put hot on the trail of the Tablet. Over the course of The Con, fans won t-shirts, beta codes and other prizes.


WWE Triple H Talks Talent...

Promoting this coming Monday's historic 1000th episode of Raw, Paul Levesque, also known as Triple H, addressed a number of topics including Randy Orton's ongoing sixty-day suspension for his second violation of WWE's Talent Wellness Program.

Orton, who hails from St. Louis, Missouri, the site of Monday's show, will be unable to appear due to the suspension. Though Levesque won't divulge what Orton did wrong, he notes "The Legend Killer" will be back once the suspension concludes.

"It is important to remember that all of our wrestlers are human but they also have to be accountable," Levesque says of Orton's suspension.

As WWE's Executive Vice President of Talent and Live Events, Levesque's corporate role is to discover tomorrow's Superstars. He admits it's a struggle.

"We're trying to teach them to be the Stone Colds and the Undertakers of tomorrow, but the one thing we can't teach is charisma," said Levesque. "You can teach people to do moves and create story lines and the psychology of what we do, but you can't teach someone to be the Rock. It's an innate ability to walk into a room and have everyone pay attention. Put aside the athleticism and what happens in the ring, what our business is really about is connecting with people emotionally. If you are emotionally connected to your character, then people will want to see you. It's true in Hollywood and movies. You don't have to be the best actor, just be a presence."

Triple H, The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin created on-screen personas "fans loved, hated or loved to hate" on Raw in the late '90s. Levesque feels they were the first stars of reality television.

"Every guy we have, whether it's me, whether it's the Undertaker, whether it's John Cena playing the character John Cena, is a performer," said Levesque. "What we did is very much the beginning of reality television. 'Jersey Shore,' whether people want to believe it or not, is a scripted kind-of show. They don't give them every single word, but they give them premises and they set things up. It's not a documentary where you follow them around brushing their teeth. And that's what we are — we blur that line and that's what people find intriguing."

Levesque also offers insight on The Rock and Kane's on-stage personalities, WWE's decision to make their shows "PG" television, critics denouncing wrestling as "fake," and more.


100 Million Fans Like WWE...

STAMFORD, Conn., July 20, 2012 – WWE® (NYSE:WWE) today announced that it has eclipsed 100 million fans through its global social media networks, further cementing its position as one of the most followed brands in the world.

To celebrate this milestone, WWE has surprised its 100 millionth social media fan, Alex Guerrero, Jr., 27 from San Antonio, Texas with a free trip to Monday Night Raw’s 1,000th episode live from St. Louis, Mo. this Monday. Guerrero will also appear on the show and be featured across all of WWE’s social media platforms, including Tout, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and on WWE.com, making him an online Superstar.

Currently, WWE has more than 73 million Facebook fans and 30 million Twitter followers across all of its networks. WWE’s network of Facebook pages has more fans than the NFL’s Facebook league page and its 32 team pages combined. WWE’s flagship Facebook page has a stronger following than brands such as MLB, ESPN, Nickelodeon, HBO, Pepsi and CNN. On Twitter, @WWE has more followers than the NHL, McDonald’s, TMZ, CNBC, and Coca-Cola. Earlier this year, WWE and its Superstars received six 2011 Mashable Awards including “Digital Company of the Year” and "Must Follow Brand on Social Media."

The 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw not only marks a new 8/7C start time on USA Network, but an expanded three-hour format that will usher in a new era of interactive programming, where viewers will become part of the action by using social media platforms to have a voice in the show.

About WWE
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: 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 (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.


McMahon releases 2010 tax returns...

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Senate candidate Linda McMahon has released tax returns showing the former wrestling executive and her husband earned $30.6 million in 2010.

The endorsed Republican candidate in the race for Connecticut's open U.S. Senate seat says her 2011 returns also eventually will be released.

The campaign provided copies of the 2010 returns to The Associated Press on Friday. The vast majority of the income for McMahon and her husband Vince, the CEO and president of WWE, formerly World Wrestling Entertainment, came from stock dividends. They paid $4.7 million in federal taxes.

A McMahon spokesman said the Greenwich couple is releasing only the 2010 returns for now because the 2011 returns have not been completed.

McMahon is facing former Congressman Christopher Shays in the Aug. 14 Republican primary election.


Marvel Entertainment movies; Thor, Spider-Man boost popularity of online slot games...

The Media Man agency reports that Marvel comics themed games such as Amazing Spider-Man, Thor, Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk have received a boost thanks to recent and upcoming movie releases tied in with Marvel Entertainment. For the gaming world that Excelsior! (as Marvel legend Stan Lee would say). Check em out at PartyCasino, as featured across the Media Man network.


Pensioners to be Banned From Titanic II's Casino - 18th July...

Pensioners will be banned from the casino onboard Titanic II -- as will anyone travelling in steerage -- according to the man behind the project, eccentric Australian billionaire Clive Palmer.

Palmer wants to protect pensioners from themselves and questions whether anyone who can't afford a First Class ticket should even be gambling onboard.

Speaking at a press conference in Brisbane yesterday, Palmer also revealed the deck plans for the replica ship -- which will follow the original plans as closely as possible but with one or two modern additions, including lifts, air-conditioning -- and enough (modern) lifeboats.

The ship, which is being built in China, will be about four feet wider in the beam, with an extra deck to carry more passengers, lifeboats and safety equipment, including escape chutes. The hull will be welded (rather than riveted), and it will be diesel-powered, rather than run by coal, despite Palmer making his billions from mining.

Teijo Niemela, Editor of Cruise Business Review, questioned how closely it would be possible to stick to the original design: "It's quite an interesting problem that they're going to have with the design. The closer they keep the design to the original, the less the ship will be modern. After a few years when all who are interested have seen the product, how many will want to go back to a ship whose design is 100 years old?

On the other hand, if they incorporate too many modern features, such as the gadgets Queen Mary 2 has, then the problem is it wouldn't be Titanic II."

Like the original, Titanic II will be divided into first, second and third classes, with those in steerage sharing bathrooms and sitting at long tables for meals.

Clearly influenced by the James Cameron movie, Palmer said that's where he would be found –- dancing jigs (presumably with a Kate Winslet lookalike) –- in third class:

"It's more fun to dance around with an Irish drum than it is to sit at a casino all night," he said at the press conference. "That's where I'll be -- that's where the fun will be!"

First-class tickets on the original ship in today's money would cost about £57,000 -- about the price of a world cruise on a six star ship today, and out of reach of all but the most wealthy. Palmer said: "I'm sure we can do better than that," when asked what a first class ticket would sell at.

When pressed why he wanted to ban pensioners from the casino, Palmer insisted he did not want to cause offence to the elderly: "I love pensioners. My closest relations are pensioners," he said. "I was just trying to say that we need to protect and respect people who have given a lot service to this country and make sure that we don't act positively to impoverish them later -- that's all it boils down to. We have to have some social responsibility too."

The casino is likely to be located in first class, so as with on Cunard's Grill Class, it will be possible to segregate passengers, Palmer explained: "There will be some sort of screening to make sure the people who do go there are people who can afford to go there. I think third class we'd have to have questions about, wouldn't we? If you can afford a first class ticket at the prices that I'll be charging, you can probably afford to go to the casino. We'll only locate the casino in first class probably, so we should be able to segregate."

The drawings released yesterday depict nine decks, complete with first-, second- and third-class staterooms, as well as officer and crew accommodations. From deck D upward, engineers Deltamarin have managed to keep the public rooms, passenger stairs, cabins and features in similar locations as in the original ship. The board of his shipping company, Blue Star Line, is yet to approve the final design. The first voyage is set for late 2016.

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