Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Avengers, Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Games, Spider-Man, WWE, Paramount Pictures, Celebrity Gaming, UFC...

Hollywood and Australian News: The Avengers, Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Games, Spider-Man, WWE, John Cena, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, Paramount Pictures, Celebrity Gaming and casino news, Arcade And Slot games, Hollywood gossip, UFC...

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The Avengers enjoys worldwide box office success; Breaking records...

Marvel superhero fans in Australia and around the world. We've got tons of news for you today. There's Avengers news, gaming and slot games, interviews, quotes, numbers, A WWE connection and more...

The Avengers proved that five superheroes are better than one by bursting into Hollywood's record books with a massive $197 million in ticket sales over its opening weekend in US and Canadian theatres, kicking off Hollywood's summer movie season with a bang.

The film now easily holds the record for greatest box office takings on its first weekend of cinema release, speeding past last summer's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows - Part 2, which opened with $166 million, and Batman franchise film The Dark Knight, according to Box Office Mojo.

In March, The Hunger Games opened with $150 million, the fourth largest opening in box office history.

The Avengers, which reunites Marvel comic heroes Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Black Widow, has collected $630 million since it opened in international markets on April 25.

"We keep thinking we have a sense of what this movie can do, or will do, and every time we get a report it does even better," said Dave Hollis, Disney's executive vice-president of distribution.

"This is very satisfying, to say the least."

Disney's aggressive marketing, which included promotions aimed at women that included sending stars to The View daytime talk show, resulted in women making up 40 per cent of the audience for the action film, according to Disney's survey. Half the audience was also over 25 years of age, the studio said.

Winner of the past two weekends, Sony's romantic comedy Think Like a Man, slipped to second place with $7.8 million at North American theatres, according to Hollywood.com.

Hunger Games, from Lions Gate Entertainment, took the No 3 spot in its seventh week in theatres, with $5.6 million, and has collected $374 million in US and Canadian theatres during its run.

Warner Brothers' The Lucky One landed in fourth place with $5.4 million, and the animated film The Pirates! Band of Misfits from Sony finished in fifth place with $5.3 million.

The undisputed success of Avengers brought Disney the type of redemption that Hollywood loves to put on screen. In March, Disney released the expensive sci-fi adventure film John Carter, one of the biggest flops in box office history. The company said it expects to lose up to $196 million on that film.

Avengers is the first Marvel film released by Disney since the media and theme park giant purchased Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $3.9 billion, a move to expand its appeal to boys with a stable of superheroes.

Disney would not say whether it plans to make a sequel. Sequels to films based on the Thor and Iron Man characters are scheduled for next year and Captain America in 2014.

About 52 per cent of The Avengers ticket sales came from higher-priced 3D tickets, Disney said.

The first weekend in May kicks off Hollywood's summer movie-going season, a four-month period typically filled with big-budget action movies and sequels. Coming movies include Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Men in Black 3, and Battleship. (Reuters)


Scarlett Johansson: comic book movie superhero...

Scarlett Johansson first enrolled in the Marvel comic book superhero universe when she was introduced as the mysterious Black Widow opposite Robert Downey Jr. in the 2010 blockbuster Iron Man 2.

The action-filled movie role marked a massive change of direction for the actress, who's known more for low-key performances in films like Sofia Coppola's drama Lost in Translation or Woody Allen's sly comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

But Johansson is in fighting form to reprise her role as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, in Marvel Studios' The Avengers. With her bright red hair and sexy latex suit, the Black Widow teams up with Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye and Thor to stop the evil Loki from conquering Earth with his army.

Johansson sat down with media to talk about the film, the fighting style she learned for her role and what it was like to master her character's native Russian language.

Black Widow was introduced in Iron Man 2 but gets far more exposure in The Avengers. How did you expand the character?

At the end of Iron Man 2, we know she's a part of S.H.I.E.L.D., but we don't know what S.H.I.E.L.D. is. In this film, (director) Joss Whedon and I talked about her past. Who is she? How does she get to be a mercenary? What path do you follow in order to get to that place? We both wanted to see the darker side of her - not just that she's someone who is highly skilled, but why did she have to learn those skills?

You're in top form physically on screen. What new fighting skills did you learn?

We incorporated this Wushu style (of fighting) when the Widow wields a huge alien gun. That was new and really challenging. I had to learn how to spin it and move it. It was hard because I'd hit myself with it all the time. And it's heavy.

You learn (by using) a broom handle so you're like, 'Ah, I got it down, I've mastered it.' Then all of a sudden they're like, 'Here's the prop' and you're like, 'What? This thing is 20 pounds!' I was so terribly battered. I'd wake up every day in agony but it was a continuous thing, so it became normal (laughs).

Black Widow also speaks in her native Russian language, which you seemed to nail. Was it difficult to learn?

I had two days, so I had to learn it phonetically. I knew what I was saying but I had to be able to pronounce it and breathe some life into the lines so that it didn't sound like I was repeating some Berlitz tape.

We hired this great Russian translator, and she worked with the dialogue coach. She was really expressive, which helped, so my mouth found the words in a way that didn't just sound like I was a parrot.

You often play with hair color in your movie roles. Did you enjoy being a redhead for the duration of the shoot?

It's nice because it allows me to go a bit under the radar - people don't expect me to have that color of hair. I'm always happy when I do it because it's the first step of the process of finding the character again.

To me more than anything, the hair color represents a huge piece of work that we dive head first into. And I'm really happy when I can wash it out because then I'm like, 'Yes, It's finished, we actually did it!' Out it goes and you know you've accomplished something.

You're the only female Avenger in the cast. Did your male co-stars treat you any differently because of that?

If anything, the guys weren't as delicate with me as I thought they would be. They like to play hard and always dragged me along for the ride. I'd always come back with battle wounds. But they're a great group of guys. All of us got on so well.

Who did you spend most of your time with on location in New Mexico?

Jeremy (Renner, Hawkeye) because (we share scenes) together a lot. We fight together, so we had to do a lot of our stunt training together. We had the same battle wounds! Tom (Hiddleston, Loki), Jeremy and I spent a lot of time in the stunt gym because we fight so much hand to hand, so we ended up hanging out together. But we all equally had a closeness.

What was the dynamic like with all of you?

We're all fans of each other's work. Some of us have worked together in the past. Chris Evans and I have made three movies together. Sam Jackson and I made three movies together. Mark Ruffalo I've known for quite some time. Every time Robert (Downey Jr.) was on set, it was like, so alive.

We're just lucky that there was no diva on set. It was everybody trying to support one another. It was really nice to have that.

The Avengers is screening now (to packed and very enthusiastic audiences).


Disney's "The Avengers" a winner for Paramount Pictures also: source...

Walt Disney's blockbuster "The Avengers" has five superheroes and record ticket sales. It also has a silent partner in Viacom's Paramount Pictures, which is in line to to get a massive payday even though the studio didn't spend a cent to produce or market the film.

Paramount Pictures already snatched $57.5 million in April, when the film was released internationally. And it stands to collect 8 percent of the millions that the film will earn in theaters, on DVD, and when it is watched on the Internet, according to two people with knowledge of the business deal.

Under a 2005 distribution agreement between Paramount Pictures and Marvel, Paramount receives a distribution fee for the theatrical distribution of "The Avengers" as well as its distribution of its home video, Internet and TV rights. That agreement transferred to Disney, when Disney acquired Marvel for a cool $4 billion in 2009.

Disney and Paramount agreed in 2010 to amend that agreement, giving Disney the rights to distribute Marvel-produced "The Avengers" and "Iron Man 3," the second sequel to the 2008 film that Paramount distributes. That agreement stipulated that Disney would pay Paramount a $115 million advance against future fees that Paramount would have earned.

Half of that fee was paid when Disney released "The Avengers" in international markets.

Spokesmen for Disney and Paramount declined to comment on the matter.

Paramount does not have rights to merchandise from the Marvel movies, and Iger told investors after the deal closed that he signed the getting the movie rights allows he to rev up Disney's marketing machine.

"Not only will we distribute it and market it, but we know that Marvel is working really hard with the cooperation of a number of entities at Disney to turn The Avengers into a true franchise," he said on the earnings call.

Studios and theater owners generally split ticket sales 50-50, meaning that Disney has collected $320.9 million based on "The Avengers" $641.8 million in worldwide ticket sales. Paramount's $25.7 million take would be applied against the pre-paid fee from Disney.

The two parties also agreed that "The Avengers" would appear on the Epix online and premium TV service that Paramount owns with Lions Gate Entertainment and the famous MGM studio. That's a big boost for the nearly three-year-old channel. Disney is legally obligated to show most of its movies on the Starz pay channel.

What size Paramount's take will be depends on how big a hit "The Avengers" becomes. The deal gets even sweeter for Paramount Pictures in 2013, when Disney is scheduled to release the third Iron Man. Paramount will get 9 percent of the money that film will generate.

It's going to be tough to match the hulking numbers of 'The Avengers', but the studios and business partners in on the action should be looking at plenty more green stuff generated from the ultra successful and cool Marvel franchise. Movies, games, fashion...what's next? Stay tuned true believers.


The Amazing Spider-Man Games Let's You Play Stan Lee...

True Believers, get ready for spectacular news — Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) and Spider-Man Merchandising L.P., a subsidiary of Marvel today announced some amazing pre-order exclusives for fans that reserve an early copy of The Amazing Spider-Man™ video game in North America.

Planned to launch June 26th, the game brings Spidey back to the thrill of free-roaming through Manhattan in an original epilogue story to Sony Picture Entertainment's upcoming feature film. The pre-order exclusives for The Amazing Spider-Man video game are available today and include the Rhino Challenge from GameStop and a special mission featuring a fully playable Stan Lee from Amazon.com.

Take control of the massive, genetically engineered villain RHINO and rampage around Manhattan in an exclusive gameplay challenge of pure destruction! As Rhino, players will be able to unleash his formidable powers to destroy anything and everything that gets in his way in a timed event full of speed, combo streaks, and of course, a ton of things to break! Unlockable for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 system ONLY.

All the rumors can officially be put to rest — for the first time ever, fans will be able to play…STAN…LEE as himself in The Amazing Spider-Man. Players will take on the role of Stan "The Man" Lee in his own special mission across Manhattan, borrowing abilities from his old pal Spider-Man as they help Stan collect pages of his latest script in a spectacular race around Manhattan. Stan's mission is punctuated with his witty banter that fans have come to know and love, and a special surprise waits for them at the end of the mission — after all, it is Spider-Man's 50th anniversary this year! Unlockable for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 system ONLY.

Go beyond the feature film and find out what happens next in The Amazing Spider-Man™ video game, which brings Spider-Man's free-roaming, web-slinging action back to New York City. Players take on the role of a young Peter Parker discovering his new Spider-Man powers and added Super Hero responsibilities, using the game's innovative Web Rush mechanic to swing freely around Manhattan, combat a variety of criminal activities and take on classic Marvel Super Villains. Set against an original story crafted by Hollywood writer Seamus Kevin Fahey (episodes of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena and the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica) that takes place entirely after the events of the upcoming feature film, The Amazing Spider-Man video game delivers a brand-new, immersive and cinematic adventure allowing players to truly harness the power of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

For more information on The Amazing Spider-Man video game, please check out http://www.TheAmazingSpiderManGame.com and
http://www.Facebook.com/TheAmazingSpiderManGame


The Avengers video game in the works...

Now that they've saved the world on film, The Avengers are teaming up for a motion-control video game.

Ubisoft Entertainment have announced a partnership with Marvel Entertainment to create a game based on the popular Marvel superhero posse. The game will be titled Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth and will be released for both the upcoming Wii U console from Nintendo Co. and the camera-based Kinect system for the Xbox 360 from Microsoft.

"The idea that we're making a motion-control version of The Avengers is a unique proposition if you compare that to superhero games of the past," said Tony Key, Ubisoft's vice president of sales and marketing.

"This is the perfect type of game for that because these characters are very action oriented. They're always fighting and throwing things."

Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth will focus on such characters as Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk fending off an invasion of genetically altered Skrull aliens. The title will feature more than 20 characters from the Marvel universe and would be based on the Secret Invasion comic series, not the recent film.

No release date was announced, but Key said the disc-based title is expected to launch after Nintendo debuts the Wii U later this year. The successor to Nintendo's Wii will feature high-definition graphics, increased online capabilities and a touch-pad controller. He said more details about the game would be unveiled at next month's Electronic Entertainment Expo.

The game will be the latest addition to Ubisoft's motion-control arsenal. Previous titles released by the Canadian publisher that rely on gesture-based devices include the artsy shooter Child of Eden, street brawler Fighters Uncaged, superhero dueler PowerUp Heroes, the Your Shape fitness franchise and top-selling Just Dance series.

Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth will mark the first time that the Assassin's Creed publisher has developed a game based on a franchise from Marvel, which was purchased in 2009 by The Walt Disney. The developers previously worked with Avatar director James Cameron to craft a third-person 3D action-adventure game set on the planet Pandora.

Sega created each of the games pegged to the films of The Avengers forerunners, including last year's Thor: God of Thunder and Captain America: Super Soldier, but there was no console game released this year alongside director Joss Whedon's blockbuster The Avengers, just the mobile game Marvel's The Avengers and Facebook title "Marvel: Avengers Alliance."

Fans freaked out last year over unofficial footage and concept art posted online of a first-person Avengers game that was reportedly in development by THQ. The footage of Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America and Thor battling the infamous Skrull was yanked by Marvel from YouTube. A representative for Marvel declined to be interviewed for this story.

Traditionally, games based on Marvel movies have been released around the same time as their super-powered counterparts to benefit from parallel buzz. The open-world action-adventure title The Amazing Spider-Man from Activision. is set for release June 26, ahead of director Marc Webb's film of the same name on July 3.

The big-screen adaptation of The Avengers starring Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye has smashed box office records, earning $US207.4 million in the US in its opening weekend.

"For us, that obviously raises the brand itself to an even higher level, and that's good for our video game because we have an opportunity to reach a broader audience than just the guys who love comic book characters," said Key, who added that Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth would be family friendly despite the game's focus on fighting.

Marvel's superheroes have been a dominant presence throughout the history of games. They most recently assembled for the Capcom brawler "Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3" and the Activision role-playing sequel Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. Gazillion Entertainment is currently developing a free-to-play online game featuring them called Marvel Heroes. Website: www.AvengersBattleForEarth.com


Robert Downey Jr. learns to be a team player...

Billionaire genius Tony Stark had to learn to play well with others in "The Avengers" after he was the main attraction in two "Iron Man" films.

So did Robert Downey Jr., though his path to superhero team player came without the fisticuffs and rivalries that Stark stumbles into with his fellow Avengers, who beat up on one another a bit before they figure out how to work as a group.

Downey has had a long time to get ready for something beyond his close-up in the solo outings as Stark, the Marvel Comics superhero in a metal suit. The idea that Downey would become part of an ensemble of heroes was teased at the end of the first "Iron Man," with "Avengers" producer and Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige steering such follow-ups as "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" toward that aim.

"I had five years to prepare myself, because Kevin Feige and the Marvel team had been saying that it was kind of heading toward this," Downey said.

The film debuted this past weekend in the United States with $200.3million at the box office, a record opening that surpasses last year's "Harry Potter" finale. The film casts Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, head of peacekeeping agency S.H.I.E.L.D., which rounds up a dream team of good guys (Downey's Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, Chris Hemsworth's Thor, Chris Evans' Captain America, Mark Ruffalo's Incredible Hulk and Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye) to battle Thor's evil brother (Tom Hiddleston), who plots to subjugate humanity.

While it's an all-star cast, Downey's the mega-star. But unlike the diva moments among Stark and some of the other alpha dogs of the Avengers, there was no big-footing among the performers, according to the actors and director Joss Whedon.

Adjusting to ensemble life simply continued the path on which Stark and his healthy ego have been all along, Downey said.

"Personally, the 'Iron Man' series so far has always been about making space for others and collaborating," Downey said. "It's Tony's quote-unquote story, but it's always about all the folks we get around him who are kind of what make him interesting or give him someone or something to fight."

Stitching together so many characters and storylines could have turned into herding cats, but the communal structure meant no single actor had to carry the action all of the time.

Everyone took turns at center stage, and each got to take welcome breathers during the long shoot, Downey said.

"It was like a complicated pregnancy," Downey said. "What was fun, this bit of WWE superhero tag-team wrestling, is where Hemsworth's all beat up and he's been shooting nights, and my character's got the helmet closed, so I'm not there. Then he's flying home to be with the missus, and I'm coming in to do a bunch of scenes with Ruffalo. I think everybody really bought into the spirit of the thing."

Downey, 47, is preparing to shoot "Iron Man 3" in Wilmington, which is due in theaters in May 2013. The film reunites Downey with his "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" director Shane Black.

He won't disclose details, but Downey said the next installment is a "sort of storytelling that's really in Shane's wheelhouse, which is it doesn't need to be quite as linear, and Tony definitely is brought out of his comfort zone. So there's a lot of travel in this."

A third "Sherlock Holmes" movie also is in the works, with Downey's great detective expected to travel to North America this time.

Amid his two film franchises, Downey's busy with a newborn son with his wife, producer Susan Downey, with whom he has formed a film production company.

It's uncertain whether Downey will be back as Stark after "Iron Man 3," either in another solo film or a second "Avengers" tale. With his fourth Marvel flick getting under way, though, Downey said he feels he has a vested interest in the superhero business.

"It's dumb not to be open to possibilities, you know?" Downey said. "I kind of almost feel like a shareholder in the company, even sometimes more than an actor in the movies."


No small roles for megastar Downey...

This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who sat through the credits of The Avengers, or who simply looked at the film’s record-breaking box office sales this past weekend. Still, fans (and investors) will be glad to hear that Disney CEO Bob Iger just announced that the company is developing a sequel. The film’s success “is a great illustration of why we like Marvel so much.” Demand for Avengers merchandise has been strong, he added.


Note Of The Rock Making Comment About John Cena And Divorce...

During the build to the WrestleMania 28 main event, The Rock held a "Rock Concert" on the March 12, 2012 edition of WWE RAW.

Not having learned about the news of John Cena filing to divorce his wife this week, one verse of The Rock's song stands out.

"Rock saw Cena makin' out with Eve, Grabbin' on her thigh, tuggin' on her weave. Cena was havin' the time of his life, I guess he didn't tell her that he's got a wife. Let's rock. Everybody let's rock. Divorce lawyer's right up the block, but we're dancing because Cleveland Rocks."

There have been no reports of Cena being romantically involved with Eve but it was known The Rock and John Cena were legitimately taking personal shots at each other during their promos building to their match.

TMZ.com did report that John Cena was open about his marital problems with his co-workers in the WWE locker room. It seems The Rock's remarks about Cena's wife and a "divorce lawyer right up the block" hit closer to home than we realized at the time.


Celebrity Gambling List...

Nothing is more entertaining than watching gambling celebs in action. Celebrity gamblers consist of the biggest VIPs you would find in Las Vegas. Just being stars they are pampered with the luxurious lifestyle that is offered to them at the numerous Las Vegas casinos and hotels.

Though most celebrities enter games and tournaments for fun, there are some who enter into special tournaments to help raise money for an orphanage and other causes. Some actually played to win money like you and I. Most of these casino gambling celebs play in poker tournaments, like Ben Affleck. Read more below about the top 10 USA Celebrity Gamblers.

Top 10 USA Celebrity Gamblers...

Ben Affleck – star of great Hollywood pictures like Pearl Harbor, Daredevil and Armageddon is one of the most serious gamblers and perhaps the most accomplished poker player. In 2004, the star outsmarted professional poker star Stan Goldstein and 90 other players winning $356,400. He also won a $25,000 seat in the WPT 2005 Championship.

Hugh Hefner – Hefner owns the Playboy Club & Fantasy Tower in Las Vegas. Playboy now operates as a land-based casino and as an online casino in USA. The Fantasy Tower includes casino games such as blackjack, roulette, and playboy themed slot machines. Mr. Hefner plays many casino games, but you can bet he has played strip poker with a couple of his bunnies.

Matt Damon – the star of The Talented Mr. Ripley, Bourne identity, Dogma, and star of one of the best poker movies ever, Rounders, was tutored to play poker by the legend Johnny Chan. The actor is quite passionate about gambling and considers himself as an excellent poker player.

Matthew Perry - "Could this flush be any more royal?" Best known as Chandler Bing from the award winning televisions series ‘Friends’ is yet another good poker player. He regularly plays at tournaments and other charity events including Celebrity Poker Showdown TV show. Matthew is indeed a VIP at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas.

Frank Sinatra – the biggest and best singer ever known in the history of music had performed several shows in Las Vegas. After all the time he spent in Las Vegas, Sinatra started to share his love for gambling. Known to play with his mob friends and other celebs.

The Queen – yes Her Royal Highness herself rarely misses out on gambling lifestyle. The Queen has a passion for making sports bets and loves slots machines.

George Clooney – inspired by his motion picture Oceans 11, 12 and 13, George Clooney has invested $3 billion in a Vegas casino complex along with co-star Brad Pitt.

Macy Gray – very famous singer and songwriter and not forgetting a celeb poker star made her appearance in Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown and completed the contest in third place.

Brad Pitt – and his gambling friend George Clooney have both invested around $3 billion in luxury Vegas casinos like the Vegas Casino Complex.

Teddy Sheringham – Also a poker fan and former soccer player in the UK for Manchester United is the longest serving playboy. He is quite regular on the celeb poker circuit. Retired from football he was recently made the Ambassador for online giants VC poker, where he will provide support for tournament players.


Bill Goldberg Talks WWE, Pro Wrestling And 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin Dream Match...

On his and Brock Lesnar's initial departure from WWE: "Obviously it was kind of unfinished business. We both left there under circumstances that weren't the most favorable for anybody, let alone the fans who are the most important at the end of the day."

On Lesnar in general: "Brock, as a young kid, he succeeded in every single thing that he did. To venture out and try to play professional football without having college experience — LaVar will tell you how hard that is. Big pat on the back to him for that. And then going to MMA and succeeding and becoming the World Heavyweight Champion. Whatever Brock wants to do, I'm in his corner. He's a good buddy of mine and we talk frequently. I just hope at the end of the day whatever he chooses his health is in a positive note. We all know he's had some issues over the past number of years."

On having a final match: "It's really tough for a guy like myself. Look at a guy like Animal. Look at Road Warrior. Look at guys who are big power guys. . . the older you get the harder it is to be that guy."

He added his ideal final match would be against Steve Austin: "That'd be a dream come true… that'd be killer. I think at the end of the day they probably don't trust me enough to put me in there with guys, considering I'm 'a dangerous guy to work with' and 'I haphazardly ended Bret Hart's career.' At the end of the day these people have to understand it's a violent deal, number one. Number two, accidents happen. And number three, that's why I work in Japan — they don't cry if you hit them …That's a joke."


CMT, Steve Austin Team for Redneck Island; Former Pro Wrestler Signs Development Deal...

CMT has inked a development deal with actor and former WWE superstar Steve Austin, tapping him as host of a new 10-episode series, Redneck Island.

Produced by 51 Minds Entertainment, Redneck Island takes 12 red, white and blue-collared Americans out of the South, far away from cold beer, and drops them in a tropical paradise where they will compete for $100,000. The series will debut in June, paired with a second season of CMT's hit series, My Big Redneck Vacation.

As part of his development deal, Austin will look to produce additional series for CMT with his production company, Broken Skull Ranch Productions.

"I am thrilled to join the CMT family and for the opportunity to work with them on future projects," Austin said. "I'm also excited to work with the great folks at 51 Minds Entertainment on Redneck Island. If there's one thing I know, it's how to keep a bunch of rednecks in line. And that's the bottom line!"

Redneck Island begins with 12 men and women competing as teams in a fight for $100,000 cash. From a remote location, Austin will guide the contestants through a number of hilarious mental and physical challenges designed to celebrate the group's strengths and limitations. At the end of each episode, teammates will send one competitor packing.

One of the most popular pro wrestling superstars of all time, Austin has been reinventing himself since retiring from the ring in 2003. The WWE Hall of Fame inductee hit the big screen in 2010 in Sylvester Stallone's action thriller, The Expendables, co-starring alongside a who's who in action films. He followed that project with the lead role in Damage, one of Fox Home Video's best-selling releases.

In 2011, he starred in The Stranger and Hunt to Kill, both released by Anchor Bay. Austin also served as host for the USA Network's hit reality series, Tough Enough. Future projects include The Package with Dolph Lungdren and Maximum Conviction with Steven Seagal.


WWE® CFO George Barrios to Participate in the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference on May 16th...

STAMFORD, Conn. -- WWE (NYSE:WWE) announced today that its Chief Financial Officer, George A. Barrios, will participate in the 40th Annual J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, on May 16, 2012, in Boston, MA.

Mr. Barrios’ remarks are expected to begin at approximately 4:10 p.m. ET. A live audio webcast will be available online at corporate.wwe.com/investors. Also, a replay of the presentation will begin shortly after the actual presentation time and will be available until August 14, 2012.

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/.

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.


Videogame Classic Space Invaders launched as online slot game...

FremantleMedia Enterprises has signed a two-year agreement with Square Enix to develop the arcade videogame classic Space Invaders as an online slot game.

Launched in 1978, the original Space Invaders game ignited an entertainment medium and founded a gaming generation. The new online slot game will target UK and European players and be available to customers via the OpenBet and GTS platforms later in the year.

Simon Murphy, head of gambling EMEA, said: “The deal with Square Enix further demonstrates our goal to become one of the leading developers and distributors of premium branded gaming content.”

FME’s gambling division has previously licensed, developed and distributed branded games for online, mobile and land-based slots across a number of brands including The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, The Price Is Right and Family Fortunes.


Casino King James Packer really aiming for Echo Entertainment...

Gaming analysts believe billionaire James Packer would consider offloading some of Queensland's casinos if he is successful in acquiring the Echo Entertainment Group.

Greg Fraser, a senior analyst at Fat Prophets, said yesterday that Mr Packer's real goal in his expected takeover tilt for Echo was to snare the scandal-plagued Star Casino in Sydney and merge it into his Crown group.


Apology after monks caught gambling, smoking...

The head of South Korea's largest Buddhist order has made a public apology after video footage was released showing monks gambling, drinking and smoking.

The Jogye order represents most of South Korea's 12 million or so Buddhists.

The head of the order called a news conference to make a personal apology for the latest scandal to hit his organisation.

It has been plagued by vicious internal feuds that at one time used to erupt in mass brawls at the main temple.

Footage shown on national television this week showed a group of eight senior monks and abbots engaged in an all-night, high stakes poker game.

Some were drinking and smoking during the session, which was secretly filmed at a resort hotel where monks had gathered for a memorial service.

Members of the Jogye order's head office have offered to resign en masse.


Luke Evans In Talks To Join Vin Disel and Dwayne Johnson In Fast And Furious 6...

The last Fast franchise movie exceeded financial and critical expectations, and Universal is reteaming with director Justin Lin for the next film in the franchise. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson and other cast members are set to reprise their roles, and a new addition has now been revealed.

Luke Evans (Immortals, The Three Musketeers) has now entered into negotiations to join the large ensemble cast. According to Variety.com, "plot details are being kept under wraps, but sources say it would involve the crew heading overseas to work on a heist job. Evans would play the leader of another crew trying to pull off the same job." He can next be seen in Peter Jackson's highly anticipated film The Hobbit which hits theaters this December.

The Fast and the Furious franchise follows former police detective Brian Connor and street racer Dominic Toretto as they attempt to evade law enforcement while participating in high stakes races and heists around the country. Dwayne Johnson was the latest addition to the franchise in the role of federal agent Luke Hobbs. Fast and Furious 6 is currently slated for theatrical release on May 24, 2013.


UFC Announces ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs. U.K.’...

The Ultimate Fighting Championship's expansion of its biggest sub-brand will continue.

The promotion on Thursday night announced an international edition of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series for this fall. UFC president Dana White tweeted news of the series, and an official release from the UFC followed.

"The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs. U.K. – The Smashes" will film later this year, likely in late summer for a fall airing. The series will pit fighters from Australia against fighters from the United Kingdom. "The Smashes" in the title, according to the UFC, is "a play on the 130-year-old cricket rivalry" between Australia and the U.K.

The last international edition of TUF was Season 9 of the original U.S.-based series, which featured fighters from the United States against fighters from the United Kingdom. That season was coached by Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping, one of the most successful UFC fighters to come out of the TUF program – he won Season 3 of the show. The UFC also currently has "The Ultimate Fighter Brazil," which taped earlier this spring and is airing in that country, as well as on TUF.tv on Sunday nights.

Just like with the U.S. version of the reality show, as well as the one in Brazil, the winner or winners will receive a contract with the UFC. Past winners have included future UFC champions like Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans, as well as title contenders and stars like Bisping, Nate Diaz and Ryan Bader. Other alums of the groundbreaking show, which aired in the U.S. for seven years and 14 seasons on Spike TV, and now airs in a new live format Friday nights on FX, include Stephan Bonnar, Josh Koscheck, Kenny Florian, Diego Sanchez, Chris Leben, Joe Lauzon, Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione.

"Australia and the U.K. have a fierce, long-standing rivalry, and where better to settle the score than in the UFC's Octagon?" said Marshall Zelaznik, the UFC's managing director of international development. "The popularity of MMA has exploded in Australia and the U.K., with gyms opening all over the respective countries. There is an athlete in one of those gyms who hasn’t had the chance to show the world what he can do. 'The Ultimate Fighter' is going give to him that opportunity. We’re going to discover the UFC's future stars – you can bet on it."

Coaches for the series have not yet been named, nor has an exact broadcast plan been announced.

Prospective fighters from bantamweight to welterweight – 61-77 kilograms – should visit special sites set up for registration forms, rules and criteria for qualification. Tryouts are planned for June 12 in Sydney, Australia, and June 15 in London. For fighters from Australia, visit au.ufc.com/TUFForm; for fighters in the U.K, visit uk.ufc.com/TUFForm.





Websites

Media Man Int

Marvel Entertainment

WWE

Media Man Entertainment

Australian Sports Entertainment

Website Network

Media Man Int

Media Man

Media Man News

Media Man Entertainment

Friday, May 11, 2012

'Looking Through a Glass Onion' tour - Sydney; John Waters to perform tonight at Theatre Royal - 11th May 2012

Profiles

Music Television Celebrities Hollywood Sydney





John Waters stars in this critically-acclaimed production that pays homage to the music, mystery and memory of John Lennon.

Initially created by John Waters and Stewart D'Arrietta in 1992 as a two-man show, Looking Through a Glass Onion was an instant success. The show now returns twenty years later and will tour Australia one final time before heading to the United States.

Rather than being a cut-and-paste biography of John Lennon and covering his original recordings, this stage production explores the essence of the music icon through song and spoken word. On stage, with shadows from the lighting arrangement fluttering over his face, John Waters shies away from imitating the artist. Though he is so emotive in his performance, it lulls the audience into believing anything is possible. It is part concert and part biography.

The tour will visit the Dunstan Playhouse in Adelaide on the 27th and 28th of April; Chapel Off Chapel in Melbourne from the 2nd to the 6th of May; the Theatre Royal in Sydney on the 11th of May; Newcastle City Hall on the 12th of May; The Concourse back in Sydney on the 13th of May; The Arts Centre on the Gold Coast on the 17th of May and the Astor Theatre in Perth on the 25th and 26th of May.

Venue: Theatre Royal, 108 King Street, Sydney

Date: Friday, May 11, 2012

Website: www.johnwaters.com.au

Websites

John Waters official website

Sue Mac Media

Theatre Royal

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Music News Australia

Media Man News

Website Network

Media Man Int

Media Man

Media Man News

Media Man Entertainment

On.Earz launch party at The Club, Kings Cross: Stan Walker, Jessica Mauboy, DJ's - 10th May 2012

Profiles

Music Television Celebrities Hollywood Sydney





Promo...

On.Earz is inspired by the influence of fashion, design and music. The brand is the initiative of Belgian people who wanted to bring the design and aesthetic headphone to the largest audience, without sacrificing sound quality.

On.Earz is produced in the best factories, offering premium audio with personality to create your own identity and style following your lifestyle. Tonight, brand ambassador Stan Walker will join Jessica Mauboy, YMS, Lazy J, Sammy G, KG, DJ Zannon and DJ Rated R at The Club in Kings Cross to celebrate the launch of these stylish headphones in Australia.

The Club Party Promo...

If you're a technoholic who loves to be ahead of the curve, or simply a stylish culture vulture with a taste for good music and good fun, look no further than today's trendsetting treat. Get ready for a great night out at the On.Earz Launch Party on Thursday 10 May 2012, 8pm to 4.30am! For just $24, head to The Club in Bayswater, Kings Cross, and join the celebration for the latest, greatest and most stylish headphones to hit the market ($48 value). On.Earz is inspired by the influence of design, fashion and music and aims to offer premium audio with personality to create your own identity. With this deal you'll get two free drinks with your exclusive ticket, and hear from a heap of hot DJs and special guests including Stan Walker, Jessica Mauboy, YMS, DJ Zannon and Justice Crew! Today's deal must sound like music to your ears.

*Dick Smith was a sponsor of the event.

Websites

On.Earz

Inspire Technology

Dick Smith

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Music News Australia

Media Man News

Australian Sports Entertainment

Website Network

Media Man Int

Media Man

Media Man News

Media Man Entertainment

The Star Turns It On; Celebrities, Music - Sydney, Australia - 11th May 2012

Profiles

The Star Echo Entertainment Brands Hotels World Casino Directory Sydney





Echo Entertainment is focussed more on a full on entertainment experience these days than gambling, despite the casino connection.

Tonight was party time at The Star, an a bush tucker bag of Australian celebrities came to party.

The Star has have hosted countless international acts and been a home away from home for many Hollywood and Las Vegas stars when they come down under to Sydney, Australia.

Echo Entertainment's The Star continues to push the celebrity card, and then there's the nightclubs, bars and The Darling - the 5 star hotel.

Upstairs the casino floor was doing a fine trade with favorites such as Wheel of Fortune, Cleopatra and a host of table games. It was all there for the taking, and clearly many punters and entertainment lovers did. Work hard and play and party harder.

Promo...

On Friday, 11 May The Star is lighting up with a night of festivities and events across the complex from 6pm til late. Best of all the events are open to everyone, so come on down and kick your weekend off in style!

ROCK LILY
British India Live

As part of "The Star Turns It ​On" event on Friday, Melbourne indie band British India played a free headlining set at The Star's home of live music, Rock Lily.


THE DARLING
Party in The Darling

​A killer DJ line-up featured Zoe Badwi and Alex Dimitriades from 7pm, complimentary drinks, delicious canapés and giveaways.


RETAIL COLLECTION
Fashion Event

​A special fashion night with in-store offers, models parading the various designer wares available, complimentary hand massages by The Spa at The Darling therapists, plus glasses of bubbles and beer.


24/7 SPORTS BAR
Sports Stars at 24/7 Sports Bar

Sports celebrities were on-hand for photos and autographs at 24/7 Sports Bar. They included NRL greats Wendell Sailor, Benji Marshall and NSW Origin captain Paul Gallen and current South Sydney Rabbitohs. And all the Friday night football action was up on the mega screen.


CHERRY
After Party in Cherry

Celebrity Apprentice star and glamour sportswoman, Lauryn Eagle, was hostess for the evening, plus tunes by DJ Jam Xpress. Champagne and cocktail specials were available for patrons.


Who was there?

Lauryn Eagle, Alex Dimitriades, Zoe Badwi, British India, Wendell Sailor, Benji Marshall and Paul Gallen.

The Deal...

The Star's tag line is 'There will be stories', and we're sure there are a few floating around from festivities tonight. Give it a few days and some of the stories might just end up in print. Stay tuned. Well done Star. We look forward to the next party.

Websites

The Star

Echo Entertainment

Cherry

24/7 Sports Bar

Music News Australia

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Media Man Int

Australian Sports Entertainment

Website Network

Media Man Int

Media Man

Media Man News

Media Man Entertainment

The Star Turns It On; Tonight in Sin City Sydney, Australia - 11th May 2012

Profiles

The Star Echo Entertainment Brands Hotels World Casino Directory Sydney






Our take on things...

Echo Entertainment is apparently more about entertainment than gambling these days, casino tie in or not, and tonight its party time at The Star. This is most assuredly worth taking a gamble on. There's a strong chance that by the time you stop parting you would have had an absolute blast.

They have hosted countless international acts and acted as home to the Hollywood and Las Vegas stars where they come down under to Sin City Sydney.

They continue to push the celebrity card, and then there's the nightclubs, bars and The Darling - the 5 star hotel. If you want to find Wheel of Fortune, Cleopatra or other slot and table games, you won't have any trouble with that either. It's all there for the taking. Work hard and play and party harder.

Promo...

On Friday, 11 May The Star is lighting up with a night of festivities and events across the complex from 6pm til late. Best of all the events are open to everyone, so come on down and kick your weekend off in style!

ROCK LILY
British India Live

As part of "The Star Turns It ​On" event on Friday, Melbourne indie band British India will be playing a free headlining set at The Star's home of live music, Rock Lily, from 10pm.


THE DARLING
Party in The Darling

​A killer DJ line-up featuring Zoe Badwi and Alex Dimitriades from 7pm, complimentary drinks, delicious canapés and giveaways. First in, best dressed!


RETAIL COLLECTION
Fashion Event

​A special fashion night will commence in our retail collection from 6pm, with in-store offers, models parading the various designer wares available, complimentary hand massages by The Spa at The Darling therapists, plus glasses of bubbles and beer.


24/7 SPORTS BAR
Sports Stars at 24/7 Sports Bar

Sports celebrities will be on-hand for photos and autographs at 24/7 Sports Bar from 6pm, including NRL greats Wendell Sailor, Benji Marshall and NSW Origin captain Paul Gallen and current South Sydney Rabbitohs. Plus all the Friday night football action on the mega screen.


CHERRY
After Party in Cherry

A​fter exploring The Star, join us for an after party at our cocktail bar, Cherry. Celebrity Apprentice star and glamour sportswoman, Lauryn Eagle, will be hostess for the evening, plus tunes by DJ Jam Xpress. Champagne and cocktail specials will be available.


Who's coming tonight...

Lauryn Eagle, Alex Dimitriades, Zoe Badwi, British India, Wendell Sailor, Benji Marshall and Paul Gallen.

Wrap Up...

The Star's tag line is 'There will be stories', and its a sure bet Star will live up to that tonight. Something tells us the stories won't be out until later over the weekend when everyone starts recovering from a Star hangover... a positive one of course.

Websites

The Star

Echo Entertainment

Cherry

24/7 Sports Bar

Music News Australia

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Media Man Int

Australian Sports Entertainment

Website Network

Media Man Int

Media Man

Media Man News

Media Man Entertainment

The Voice Judges, Celebrities Dine At Bondi Icebergs Dining Room and Bar - 10th May 2012

Profiles

Music Television Celebrities Hollywood Bondi Beach Bondi Icebergs Sydney





The Voice Judges, Celebrities Dine At Bondi Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Sydney, Australia

Seal, Keith Urban, Nicole Richie and her husband, Joel Madden, along with host Darren McMullen, were in the mix of celebrities from The Voice fame who tonight dinned at Bondi Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, but not before navigating through a sea of news media (photographers and videographers) estimated to be a pack of 40 or 50.

Even the boys in blue (NSW Police) circled the surrounding streets as part of the security plan, with parking police ("brown bombers") making a killing fining cars parked illegally.

Madden was seen putting his hand over his eyes and face, as to avoid all the flashbulbs, saying something like "this is too much".

We sure hope all The Voice cast enjoyed their meal and drinks, to help compensate the over enthusiast pack of news media that ensured tonight.

It's unclear when the visitors may trek back to Bondi Beach. The Voice continues to dominate Australian television ratings.

Fair winds.

Websites

The Voice

Seal official website

Bondi Icebergs Dining Room and Bar

Bondi Icebergs

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Music News Australia

Media Man News

Australian Sports Entertainment

Bondi Beach Directory

Website Network

Media Man Int

Media Man

Media Man News

Media Man Entertainment

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Star to party with celebrities and media this Friday in Sin City Sydney, Australia

Profiles

Media Man Echo Entertainment Brands Hotels World Casino Directory Sydney





Echo Entertainment top brass say its more about entertainment than gambling and being a casino these days. Well, this Friday its party time at The Star, and there's not doubting the quality of many of the international acts that The Star has showcased over the past year or so. They continue to play the celebrity card, and then there's the nightclubs, bars and The Darling - the 5 star hotel. What more could you ask for? Of course, there's gaming tables and slots if that's your thing also.

Background...

The Star's recent redevelopment has seen the opening of a number of new venues which will showcase special events and entertainment, including a party at the new five-star hotel called The Darling, a fashion event in the upscale retail area, chart-topping entertainment in the live music bar Rock Lily and sporting personalities in the 24/7 Sports Bar.

Guests will have the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrities as part of the festivities, including special guest DJ Alex Dimitriades and singer Zoe Badwi in The Darling Party. While in Rock Lily the crowds will enjoy tunes by Australian indie band British India, sporting celebrities set to attend the party in 24/7 Sports Bar include NRL greats Wendell Sailor, Benji Marshall, Paul Gallen and South Sydney Rabbitohs players.

Celebrity Apprentice star and glamour sportswoman Lauryn Eagle will be hosting the festivities at the after party in the cocktail bar, Cherry.

Who's coming:

Lauryn Eagle, Alex Dimitriades, Zoe Badwi, British India, Wendell Sailor, Benji Marshall and Paul Gallen.

Ed: we don't expect James Packer from Crown Limited (Crown Casino fame) will be on the invite list, but stranger things have happened. James is apparently interested in a major share of The Star, if you didn't already hear.

The Star's tag line is 'There will be stories', so you'll just have to turn up to know what the score is for real punters.

Websites

The Star

Echo Entertainment

Cherry

24/7 Sports Bar

Media Man Int

Media Man News

Australian Sports Entertainment

Website Network

Media Man Int

Media Man

Media Man News

Media Man Entertainment

Putting a new spin on an old sales pitch (republished)

Profiles

Media Man Shane Warne Messages On Hold Markson Sparks! Max Markson Greg Tingle Publicity Marketing Brands

In September of this year, supermodel and paparazzi favourite, Kate Moss, was unceremoniously dropped by H&M for "shock drug use" (H&M apparently never realising that drug use existed in the modelling world). Kate also lost lucrative contacts with Channel and Burberry within a few weeks of this incident. And while other managing directors around the world prayed that their celebrity spokespeople would remain model corporate citizens, the managing director of telephone audio production company, Messages On Hold, was headed in the opposite direction. Defying convention wisdom, Kym Illman was about to team up with a new spokesperson that had been dropped by previous sponsors for being risky and unpredictable. Messages On Hold bought Shane Warne.

It was a decision as bold as it was controversial. Was this move sheer stupidity or, in fact, the greatest piece of spin seen outside of a cricket ground? Illman suggests it was a little bit of both.

The story begins, as they often do, in the men's toilet. It was November 2003. At a function with the legendary leg spinner, Illman remembered being impressed with Shane's passionate, energetic style, believing these traits made the cricketing personality the perfect face for his company. Illman scribbled a proposal on a card and suggested that, for a sum of money, they might do business together. Either he never read the card or the figure was lower than Warne's batting average. Either way, Illman received no reply.

Clearly the time wasn't right for Warne to join the Messages On Hold team, but Illman wasn't daunted. The seed had been planted, and for the next 18 months the Adelaide-born businessman continued to push the idea with Warne's manager (and brother), Jason. Finally, in October 2005, Warne and Illman came to an agreement. Shane signed a long-term deal with the business, and the year's most attention-grabbing endorsement contract was born.

While the star power of Mr Shane Warne is indisputable (he was recently rated number 3 in Alpha magazine's list of the "Most Influential People in Sport"), just what do the two parties have in common? Upon first inspection, the 'messages' connection is obvious - until you realise it's nothing of the sort. Shane may have been famous for sending one too many messages in his time, but Messages On Hold has nothing to do with texting.

Established in 1988 after Illman was sacked from Channel 9 (so perhaps they do have something in common?), Messages On Hold was started from the spare bedroom of Illman's modest Scarborough flat. He began writing and recording audio productions for businesses to play back to waiting callers on hold.

The concept was canny enough for others businesses to warm to, and when it was combined with an unparalleled commitment to customer service (Messages On Hold's clear competitive advantage), it proved a runaway success. The company went international in 2002, and today is the largest provider of On Hold Messages in the Asia-Pacific region. However, this doesn't change the fact that the service has nothing to do with text messaging or mobiles. Perhaps this is just as well. Even with the exquisitely planned national PR campaign (with assistance from Sydney's Markson Sparks), Shane's credibility in this particular playing field is dubious at best. His behaviour, put simply, just isn't cricket. Synergy was built instead upon Shane's personality. Like Messages On Hold (famous for ambush marketing everything from the 1996 and 2000 Olympics to the ambush king himself, Richard Branson), Shane Warne is cheeky, brash and passionate. Shane is also the best at what he does - an achievement Messages On Hold is more than happy to associate itself with. It's this latter trait that the company chose to promote, and was integral to the campaign launch.

Kym's existing spin doctor, Greg Tingle (from Media Man Australia), was already creating groundswell about the pending launch in November. Around this time, Illman then brought PR veteran Max Markson (of Markson Sparks) into the fray. Having already worked with Shane on the Advanced Hair campaign, Markson was the perfect man for the job. His philosophy was simple - keep the past in the past and Shane's profile (currently at an all-time high following the Ashes) would do the rest.

The objectives were clear - to launch the campaign with as much media coverage as possible, and to create public awareness of Messages On Hold (both the company and the concept). The result was electric. Interest was widespread around the country, nowhere more so than in Melbourne where the press conference was to take place.

To capitalise on this, on November 11th (the day of the launch), teams of chalk artists daubed Messages On Hold logos on street corners around Melbourne and Sydney to further pique the public's interest and build awareness of the company. The press conference itself took place that morning at Melbourne's Junction Oval, with Shane fielding questions from the media alongside Illman. Photo opportunities then followed, as Warnie played a game of cricket with models dressed as Messages On Hold receptionists. Select one-on-one media interviews were scheduled immediately after this, and a nationwide videoconference drew the day's activities to a close.

The press launch over, Messages On Hold then got down to the business of big business. As the media packed up their cameras in Melbourne, telemarketers in the company's Perth office began playing pre-recorded sales offers to prospects around the country, voiced by Warnie. A viral video did the rounds and signed Shane Warne memorabilia was suddenly up for grabs to both new and existing Messages On Hold clients. Shane Warne had successfully swapped the cricket pitch for the sales pitch.

Not surprisingly, the reaction from press and public alike was huge. Most major papers in the country (and many overseas) featured the story; it also made headlines on radio and TV news bulletins around Australia. The press couldn't resist making the connection between Shane's messaging past and Messages present, and though the media was quick to realise there was no real connection, the level of interest was high enough to make the story hot news.

Weeks later it still is, with columns and panels alike debating the controversial nature of the partnership. However, thanks to a cheerful admission regarding the ironies involved and Shane's good-natured acceptance of some ribbing from the press, the media's take on it was universally a positive one.

Let's be honest. What makes this case study so interesting is the danger inherent in it. We've followed the story with nervous excitement, as if it were a natural disaster or terrorist outing. At the end of the day, however, the media loves Shane. He's always news (even when that news isn't good) because he never gets upset at them. Shane knows to let the press get their story without taking it personally, and in their eyes that makes him a larrikin not a liar, a champion not a cheat. Always one to play the game, he keeps the journalistic beast at a respectful distance, which in turn allows agencies like Markson Sparks (and through them, Messages On Hold) to ride that beast to their own ends.

Messages On Hold counted on this shaky relationship to take their business into every home around the country, and it's paid off. Less than two weeks on, the company has enjoyed more than half a million dollars worth of publicity. What if though, as many have asked, history repeats itself and Shane is embroiled in yet another scandal? Suffice it to say, Illman's PR agency has damage control measures at the ready. As Illman says, "There is a level of risk in sponsoring any athlete or celebrity, but no business gets to where we are today by playing it safe. I guess time will tell if the decision has been a good one."

Websites

Media Man Int

Media Man News

Messages On Hold

Markson Sparks!

Australian Sports Entertainment

Website Network

Media Man Int

Media Man

Media Man News

Media Man Entertainment

Joel Madden Adds His Voice To Song Summit And Screen Summit Annouced

Profiles

Music Television Celebrities Hollywood Sydney

JOEL MADDEN AND KEV CARMODY ADD THEIR VOICES TO SONG SUMMIT 2012 plus SCREEN SUMMIT ANNOUNCED!!!

JOEL MADDEN joins SONG SUMMIT 2012! Currently appearing on THE VOICE as a coach, THE
VOICE is a co-production between SHINE Australia and TALPA Productions screening on the Nine
Network on Monday nights. Good Charlotte front man and accomplished songwriter Joel wants to share his experiences as a songwriter with an audience of his peers at SONG SUMMIT, being held at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre on May 26th to 28th 2012. Joel will be interviewed "In Conversation" on Sunday 27th May at 11.45am.

Born and raised in Waldorf, Maryland, Joel first connected with Good Charlotte band members at the age of 16, where he formed it with his identical twin brother Benji and two school friends. They took the name Good Charlotte from a children's book. The band has released five studio albums: Good Charlotte (2000), The Young and the Hopeless (2002), The Chronicles of Life and Death (2004), Good Morning Revival (2007) and Cardiology (2010). The brothers released a mix tape to critical acclaim in late 2011and Joel and Benji are set to release their debut album under The Madden Brothers name this year.

Good Charlotte have sold more than 10 million albums worldwide and are best known for the singles Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and I Don’t Wanna Be In Love (Dance Floor Anthem), which catapulted the band to global recognition in 2003.

National songwriting treasure KEV CARMODY’s mentoring role at SONG SUMMIT has now expanded to
include an ‘In Conversation’ which will be led by film-maker Brendan Fletcher. Kev is highly respected as an advocate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia’s oral tradition of teaching and learning through storytelling. Considering himself a “conduit of stories”, Kev has collaborated with many Australian music icons, including Paul Kelly, with whom he wrote From Little Things, Big Things Grow, a song about the 1966 Gurindji strike. More recently, some of Australia’s most celebrated musicians have come together to record some of Kev’s songs - the Cannot Buy My Soul album and concerts spreading the wisdom, commonsense and evocative message in Kev’s music to a wider audience.

Kev released his first album Pillars of Society in 1988, at which time Sydney Morning Herald reviewer Bruce Elder wrote that Kev was “Australia’s Black Bob Dylan”. His second album, Eulogy (for a Black Person), released in 1991, did much to confirm this initial impression. Then, 1993, along came the album Bloodlines and the folk/protest tag fell away. As he said at the time, “To me, sound and feel come first and the lyrics after. So you could say my influences range from the howls of the dingo to the sound of a symphony orchestra. Images and Illusions followed (1995) along with 2003′s Mirrors.

Today he is back at work recording some of the backlog of songs he’s been stockpiling over the years.

The SONG SUMMIT 2012 program also will feature Screen Summit which targets emerging and
established screen music writers with a series of specialised sessions led by a host of impressive screen composers and music supervisors including Grammy nominated GARY CALAMAR (music supervisor for True Blood, Dexter and Six Feet Under) and multi award winning screen composer BURKHARD DALLWITZ. These specialist sessions will focus on the challenges of composing for Film & TV, advertising, synch and games.

Screen Summit speakers include:

• Gary Calamar: five time Grammy nominated Music Supervisor, known for his work on the TV series
True Blood, Dexter and Six Feet Under
• Stephan Schütze: Games Composer and Sound Designer (Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis and The
Polar Express)
• Kim Green: Independent Music Supervisor (Red Dog, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Shine and Happy
Feet 2)
• Burkhard Dallwitz: Golden Globe winner for Best Original Score in a Motion Picture (The Truman
Show)
• Michael Laverty: Managing director of Tropfest
• Gary Gross: Worldwide president of Universal Publishing Production Music
• Linda Tizard: Managing Director of Audio Network Australia
• Art Phillips: Multi-award winning composer, music producer and orchestrator
• Martin Armiger: Film composer, writer and teacher
• Les Gock: ARIA Award winning music and sound designer
• Vince Bannon: VP, Entertainment Partnerships and Development (Getty Images)
• Antony Partos: AFI Award winning music arranger and composer (Animal Kingdom)
• Craig Beck: musician, composer, producer, sound engineer
• Matt Bird: two time Tropfest finalist
• Jared Underwood: composer and musician

Please see below in bold for new additions to the speaker list for SONG SUMMIT 2012.
For full registration and ticketing details including student concession options please visit Song Summit’s official website: www.songsummit.com.au

SONG SUMMIT 2012 – Speakers to date:

Joel Madden, Brendan Fletcher, Lindsay McDougall, Santiago Menendez-Pidal, Ben Richards,
James Valentine, Troy Barrott, Fredrik "Fredro" Odesjo, Susan Robertson, Matthew Kennedy,
Felicity Urquhart, Gary Gross, Michael Laverty, Mahalia Barnes, Michael Taylor, Maree Hamblion,
Katie Brown, Des Crowe, Geoff Trio, Jacqui Kralj, Peter Hebbes, Ronald Siu, Vanessa Picken,
Henry Wagons, Abby Dobson, Neal Hunt, Rob Cannon, Evan Mannell and Danny Yau who join
Missy Higgins, Charles Jenkins, Tim Walker, Adam Booth, Cameron Undy, Brooke Salisbury, Chit Chat, Chad Gillard, John Mullen, Patrick Donovan, Phrase, Richard Glover, Vince Bannon, Bob Aird, Marianna Annas, Richard Wilkins, Leanne de Souza, Ger Hatton, Haji Taniguchi, Darren Sanicki, Ian James, Damian Trotter, Clive Hodson, Mark Callaghan, Antony Partos, Michael Szumowski, Marty Brown, Jules Munro, Craig Hawker, Paul McKercher, Andrew Jenkins, Kath Letch, David Albert, Bernard Zuel, Catherine Gerrard, Matthew Donlevy, Steve McPherson, Gary Go, David Vodicka, Andy Bryan, Leigh Gruppetta, Justin Cosby, Nathan McClay, Glenn Wright, Skye Riggs, Guy Blackman, Basil Cook, Damian Slevison, Nick O'Byrne, Will Barton, Stephanie Carrick, Nicole Cheek, Dave Ruby Howe, John Wardle, Paul Mason, Michael Fraser, Megan Washington, Kav Temperley, Abbe May, Bow Campbell, Millie Millgate, Steve Parkin, Paul Greene, Don McGlashan (NZ), Adam Lewis, Amandah Wilkinson, Art Phillips, Ben King, Dom Alessio, Kim Green, Catherine Britt, Chris Johnson, Darren Cordeux, David Rowley, Danny Widdicombe, Andrew Morris, Burkhard Dallwitz, Amanda Brown, Franc Tetaz, JacquiCrouch, Greg Arnold, Drew Crawford, Linda Tizard, Lindsay Rimes, Mark Callaghan, Sally Wilson, Sam Buckingham, Simon Carter, Simon Moor, Mike Dixon, Mick Daley, Jae Laffer, Neil Finn, Wesley Enoch, Andrew Jenkins (UK), Arnthor Birgisson (SWE), David Touve (US), Gary Calamar (US), Imogen Heap (UK), Mark Wood (UK), Myles Keller (UK), Pat Pattison (US), Peter Coquillard (US), Robert Horsfall (UK), Steve Cropper (US), Shelly Peikin (US) Bill Cullen, Catherine Haridy, Dann Hume, Guy Sebastian, Jake Stone, Kev Carmody, Kevin Mitchell, P Money (NZ), Rob Conley, Tom Harris, Will Larnach-Jones, Adam Argyle, Dave Batty, Rick Chen, Erana Clark, Jen Cloher, Stu Crichton, Mick Daley, Brendan Gallagher, Peter Farnan, Marc Fennell, Phil Graham, Lee Groves, Tim Levinson, Lior, Eric McCusker, Peter Northcote, Stephen Navin, Josh Pyke, Melinda Schneider, Stephan Schutze, Rai Thistlethwayte, Joan Warner, Jonathan Zwartz, Russell Thomas, Leigh Treweek, Chris Scaddan, Rina Ferris, Jeremy Fabinyi, Martin Armiger, Clare Bowditch, Jess Beston, Heath Johns, Les Gock, Briese Abbott, Claire Collins, Brett Oaten, Nicole Hart, Sharon Boyse, Jonathan Notley, Taasha Coates, Tristan Goodall, Tony Buchen and Sarah McLeod.

For more information on each speaker please go to: www.songsummit.com.au

SONG SUMMIT is part of Vivid Sydney, a unique annual festival of light, music and ideas running from May 25th to June 11, 2012.

SONG SUMMIT 2012 is supported by triple j Unearthed and Street Press Australia.

Many thanks to our partners and sponsors of Song Summit 2012. A full list of sponsors can be found on the Song Summit website www.songsummit.com.au/partners-sponsors

About Song Summit 2012:

• Song Summit will be held from 26 – 28th of May at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre.
• The event includes a conference program, Music Market and Song Summit LIVE.
• Song Summit 2010 hosted more than 130 industry professionals, including Feargal Sharkey (UK
Music); David Israelite (CEO National Music Publisher’s Association USA); Ralph Murphy (ASCAP), and internationally-acclaimed songwriters and composers Mike Chapman (US); Sacha Skarbek (UK); Colin Hay (AUS); Stephen Schwartz (US); Robert Forster (AUS).
• More than 1000 songwriters, composers, music publishers and other music industry professionals
are expected to attend the event.
• Song Summit 2012 will span a range of music genres as well as all facets of the music life-cycle from inspiration and creation through to marketing and distribution. It will cover both the art and the business of original music-making.
• The conference program will feature more than 50 presentations, panel discussions and
workshops featuring celebrated creators and recognised industry experts from Australia and
abroad. Topics will include the art of song-writing, new technologies, copyright, publishing, music licensing and international perspectives.

The Music Market will feature representatives from international and national music
organisations, music retailers, distributors, merchandisers, manufacturers, venue owners,
recording studios, music education institutions, technology companies, record companies and
music publishers.

• Song Summit LIVE will include local and international singer/ songwriters and will run throughout the entire event. Performers will be handpicked by a panel of industry representatives and music peers and are sure to deliver a dynamic and inspiring range of performances.
• Song Summit promotes sustainable events.

About APRA|AMCOS:
APRA|AMCOS work to ensure that songwriters, composers and music publishers are rewarded
whenever and wherever their musical works are played, performed or reproduced. We also help
Australian & New Zealand music consumers get access to the world’s musical repertoire. Australasian Performing Right Association Limited (APRA) was established in 1926 and now
administers the performing and communication rights of 68,000+ composer, songwriter and music
publisher members in Australia and New Zealand. Public performances of music include music used in pubs, clubs, fitness centres, shops, cinemas, festivals, whether performed live, on CDs or played on the radio or television. Communication of music covers, music used for music on hold, music accessed over the internet or used by television or radio broadcasters.

Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Limited (AMCOS) collects and distributes
mechanical royalties for the reproduction of its 9,500+ members’ musical works for many different purposes. These include the manufacture of CDs, music videos and DVDs, digital downloads and the sale of mobile phone ringtones, the use of production music and the making of radio and television programmes. Since 1997, APRA has managed the day-to-day operations of the AMCOS business.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Online Poker Agreement in California

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8th May 2012

bwin.party and the United Auburn Indian Community (‘UAIC’), which owns and operates the Thunder Valley Casino Resort near Sacramento, California, have entered into a formal agreement to offer online poker services in California if suitable intrastate legislation is enacted in the state.

As a federally recognised California Indian tribe that already operates a casino resort within the state, UAIC would be a qualified license applicant under legislation proposed in the California State Senate and would secure and maintain the necessary licenses to operate online poker services in California. bwin.party would provide the technology and operations expertise to power the services plus related support. The Agreement would be for a 10-year period from the date that online poker services are launched.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, the Co-CEOs of bwin.party, said:

“California is the largest state in the U.S. in terms of population and is known to have a significant number of poker players who like to play poker online.  Combining our own significant assets and resources with those of UAIC will create a strong partnership that is well-placed to seize the opportunities that will arise if appropriate online poker legislation is enacted in the Golden State.”

David Keyser, Tribal Chairman of UAIC commented:

“We see the legalisation of Internet poker and other Internet gaming as being inevitable. Having met with representatives from a number of different online gaming companies, bwin.party was our first choice as partner.  With its unrivalled expertise in online poker, proven technology and player loyalty we are confident of being able to maximise the revenue opportunity from a regulated online poker market in California and to continue to enhance the long-term prosperity of our community.”

On 24 February 2012, Senators Wright and Steinberg introduced a further piece of draft legislation to regulate online gaming within California. The Internet Gambling Consumer Protection and Public-Private Partnership Act of 2012 (SB 1463) proposes, inter alia, to regulate license and tax internet poker within the state of California. The current proposed rate of tax is 10% of gross gaming revenue.

About bwin.party

bwin.party digital entertainment plc (LSE: BPTY) is the world’s largest listed online gaming company. The Company was 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 and Denmark. With offices in Europe, India, Israel and the US, the Group generated total pro forma revenue of €816.0m and pro forma Clean EBITDA of €199.3m 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 www.bwin.com, www.PartyPoker.com,  www.PartyCasino.com and www.FoxyBingo.com. 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.

About UAIC

The re-establishment of the United Auburn Indian Tribe began in the early 1990s when the United States Department of Interior documented the existence of a separate, cohesive band of Maidu and Miwok Indians, occupying a village on the outskirts of the City of Auburn, California. A federally recognized Indian tribe, the United Auburn Indian Community is a sovereign government and owns nearby Thunder Valley Casino Resort.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Avengers breaks box office record, Scarlett Johansson interview, Paramount Pictures wins with Avengers

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Marvel slot games at PartyCasino.com

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Movies Hollywood Marvel Entertainment Marvel Studios Marvel Comics Disney Paramount Pictures The Avengers Entertainment Marvel Games





Marvel superhero fans in Australia and around the world. We've got tons of news for you today. There's Avengers news, quotes, numbers and more...

The Avengers proved that five superheroes are better than one by bursting into Hollywood's record books with a massive $197 million in ticket sales over its opening weekend in US and Canadian theatres, kicking off Hollywood's summer movie season with a bang.

The film now easily holds the record for greatest box office takings on its first weekend of cinema release, speeding past last summer's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows - Part 2, which opened with $166 million, and Batman franchise film The Dark Knight, according to Box Office Mojo.

In March, The Hunger Games opened with $150 million, the fourth largest opening in box office history.

The Avengers, which reunites Marvel comic heroes Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Black Widow, has collected $630 million since it opened in international markets on April 25.

"We keep thinking we have a sense of what this movie can do, or will do, and every time we get a report it does even better," said Dave Hollis, Disney's executive vice-president of distribution.

"This is very satisfying, to say the least."

Disney's aggressive marketing, which included promotions aimed at women that included sending stars to The View daytime talk show, resulted in women making up 40 per cent of the audience for the action film, according to Disney's survey. Half the audience was also over 25 years of age, the studio said.

Winner of the past two weekends, Sony's romantic comedy Think Like a Man, slipped to second place with $7.8 million at North American theatres, according to Hollywood.com.

Hunger Games, from Lions Gate Entertainment, took the No 3 spot in its seventh week in theatres, with $5.6 million, and has collected $374 million in US and Canadian theatres during its run.

Warner Brothers' The Lucky One landed in fourth place with $5.4 million, and the animated film The Pirates! Band of Misfits from Sony finished in fifth place with $5.3 million.

The undisputed success of Avengers brought Disney the type of redemption that Hollywood loves to put on screen. In March, Disney released the expensive sci-fi adventure film John Carter, one of the biggest flops in box office history. The company said it expects to lose up to $196 million on that film.

Avengers is the first Marvel film released by Disney since the media and theme park giant purchased Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $3.9 billion, a move to expand its appeal to boys with a stable of superheroes.

Disney would not say whether it plans to make a sequel. Sequels to films based on the Thor and Iron Man characters are scheduled for next year and Captain America in 2014.

About 52 per cent of The Avengers ticket sales came from higher-priced 3D tickets, Disney said.

The first weekend in May kicks off Hollywood's summer movie-going season, a four-month period typically filled with big-budget action movies and sequels. Coming movies include Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Men in Black 3, and Battleship. (Reuters)


Scarlett Johansson: comic book movie superhero...

Scarlett Johansson first enrolled in the Marvel comic book superhero universe when she was introduced as the mysterious Black Widow opposite Robert Downey Jr. in the 2010 blockbuster Iron Man 2.

The action-filled movie role marked a massive change of direction for the actress, who's known more for low-key performances in films like Sofia Coppola's drama Lost in Translation or Woody Allen's sly comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

But Johansson is in fighting form to reprise her role as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, in Marvel Studios' The Avengers. With her bright red hair and sexy latex suit, the Black Widow teams up with Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye and Thor to stop the evil Loki from conquering Earth with his army.

Johansson sat down with media to talk about the film, the fighting style she learned for her role and what it was like to master her character's native Russian language.

Black Widow was introduced in Iron Man 2 but gets far more exposure in The Avengers. How did you expand the character?

At the end of Iron Man 2, we know she's a part of S.H.I.E.L.D., but we don't know what S.H.I.E.L.D. is. In this film, (director) Joss Whedon and I talked about her past. Who is she? How does she get to be a mercenary? What path do you follow in order to get to that place? We both wanted to see the darker side of her - not just that she's someone who is highly skilled, but why did she have to learn those skills?

You're in top form physically on screen. What new fighting skills did you learn?

We incorporated this Wushu style (of fighting) when the Widow wields a huge alien gun. That was new and really challenging. I had to learn how to spin it and move it. It was hard because I'd hit myself with it all the time. And it's heavy.

You learn (by using) a broom handle so you're like, 'Ah, I got it down, I've mastered it.' Then all of a sudden they're like, 'Here's the prop' and you're like, 'What? This thing is 20 pounds!' I was so terribly battered. I'd wake up every day in agony but it was a continuous thing, so it became normal (laughs).

Black Widow also speaks in her native Russian language, which you seemed to nail. Was it difficult to learn?

I had two days, so I had to learn it phonetically. I knew what I was saying but I had to be able to pronounce it and breathe some life into the lines so that it didn't sound like I was repeating some Berlitz tape.

We hired this great Russian translator, and she worked with the dialogue coach. She was really expressive, which helped, so my mouth found the words in a way that didn't just sound like I was a parrot.

You often play with hair color in your movie roles. Did you enjoy being a redhead for the duration of the shoot?

It's nice because it allows me to go a bit under the radar - people don't expect me to have that color of hair. I'm always happy when I do it because it's the first step of the process of finding the character again.

To me more than anything, the hair color represents a huge piece of work that we dive head first into. And I'm really happy when I can wash it out because then I'm like, 'Yes, It's finished, we actually did it!' Out it goes and you know you've accomplished something.

You're the only female Avenger in the cast. Did your male co-stars treat you any differently because of that?

If anything, the guys weren't as delicate with me as I thought they would be. They like to play hard and always dragged me along for the ride. I'd always come back with battle wounds. But they're a great group of guys. All of us got on so well.

Who did you spend most of your time with on location in New Mexico?

Jeremy (Renner, Hawkeye) because (we share scenes) together a lot. We fight together, so we had to do a lot of our stunt training together. We had the same battle wounds! Tom (Hiddleston, Loki), Jeremy and I spent a lot of time in the stunt gym because we fight so much hand to hand, so we ended up hanging out together. But we all equally had a closeness.

What was the dynamic like with all of you?

We're all fans of each other's work. Some of us have worked together in the past. Chris Evans and I have made three movies together. Sam Jackson and I made three movies together. Mark Ruffalo I've known for quite some time. Every time Robert (Downey Jr.) was on set, it was like, so alive.

We're just lucky that there was no diva on set. It was everybody trying to support one another. It was really nice to have that.

The Avengers is screening now (to packed and very enthusiastic audiences).


Disney's "The Avengers" a winner for Paramount Pictures also: source...

Walt Disney's blockbuster "The Avengers" has five superheroes and record ticket sales. It also has a silent partner in Viacom's Paramount Pictures, which is in line to to get a massive payday even though the studio didn't spend a cent to produce or market the film.

Paramount Pictures already snatched $57.5 million in April, when the film was released internationally. And it stands to collect 8 percent of the millions that the film will earn in theaters, on DVD, and when it is watched on the Internet, according to two people with knowledge of the business deal.

Under a 2005 distribution agreement between Paramount Pictures and Marvel, Paramount receives a distribution fee for the theatrical distribution of "The Avengers" as well as its distribution of its home video, Internet and TV rights. That agreement transferred to Disney, when Disney acquired Marvel for a cool $4 billion in 2009.

Disney and Paramount agreed in 2010 to amend that agreement, giving Disney the rights to distribute Marvel-produced "The Avengers" and "Iron Man 3," the second sequel to the 2008 film that Paramount distributes. That agreement stipulated that Disney would pay Paramount a $115 million advance against future fees that Paramount would have earned.

Half of that fee was paid when Disney released "The Avengers" in international markets.

Spokesmen for Disney and Paramount declined to comment on the matter.

Paramount does not have rights to merchandise from the Marvel movies, and Iger told investors after the deal closed that he signed the getting the movie rights allows he to rev up Disney's marketing machine.

"Not only will we distribute it and market it, but we know that Marvel is working really hard with the cooperation of a number of entities at Disney to turn The Avengers into a true franchise," he said on the earnings call.

Studios and theater owners generally split ticket sales 50-50, meaning that Disney has collected $320.9 million based on "The Avengers" $641.8 million in worldwide ticket sales. Paramount's $25.7 million take would be applied against the pre-paid fee from Disney.

The two parties also agreed that "The Avengers" would appear on the Epix online and premium TV service that Paramount owns with Lions Gate Entertainment and the famous MGM studio. That's a big boost for the nearly three-year-old channel. Disney is legally obligated to show most of its movies on the Starz pay channel.

What size Paramount's take will be depends on how big a hit "The Avengers" becomes. The deal gets even sweeter for Paramount Pictures in 2013, when Disney is scheduled to release the third Iron Man. Paramount will get 9 percent of the money that film will generate.

It's going to be tough to match the hulking numbers of 'The Avengers', but the studios and business partners in on the action should be looking at plenty more green stuff generated from the ultra successful and cool Marvel franchise. Movies, games, fashion...what's next? Stay tuned true believers.

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