Saturday, May 19, 2012

Terminator 3 actor Nick Stahl reported missing; May be linked to drug use

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Terminator 3 actor Nick Stahl reported missing may be linked to drug use; Arnold Schwarzenegger says he'd be back for new Terminator movie...

Think of The Terminator, and you immediately think of Arnie classic cult film franchise, then there's The Terminator games and other spin offs, but today unfortunately the Media Man agency has some serious news to report...no hospital bed publicity shots with Expendables mate Sylvester Stallone today fans.

Los Angeles authorities were searching today for Terminator 3 actor Nick Stahl, whose disappearance his wife fears is linked to possible drug use.

Stahl's wife, Rose, filed a missing person's report with the Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday, saying she last saw the 32-year-old actor on May 9, according to popular entertainment and celebrity news website TMZ.

Sources said his wife fears his disappearance could be connected to drugs, as he has reportedly been hanging out in the rough Los Angeles wholesale district, Skid Row, of late.

Stahl appeared in the 2003 film Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, in the role of John Connor.

English actor Christian Bale took over the role of Connor for the fourth film in the series, Terminator Salvation, in 2009.


Arnold Schwarzenegger says he'd be back for new Terminator movie...

Schwarzenegger slammed the last Terminator film as awful, saying the Hollywood blockbuster starring Christian Bale and Sam Worthington "missed the boat".

The former governor of California - who did not star in 2009's Terminator Salvation - made the comments when asked if he would reprise his most famous role as the killer cyborg.

"(I'm open to) all those things, if it's True Lies, Terminator, a well-made Terminator . . . the last one was awful." he said.

He's currently working on a Twins sequel with Eddie Murphy set to play his and Danny DeVito's other long lost brother.

Profiles

The Terminator...

The Terminator is a 1984 American science fiction action film directed by James Cameron, co-written by Cameron and William Wisher Jr. and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, and Linda Hamilton. The film was produced by Hemdale Film Corporation and distributed by Orion Pictures, and filmed in Los Angeles. Schwarzenegger plays the Terminator, a cyborg assassin sent back in time from the year 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, played by Hamilton. Biehn plays Kyle Reese, a soldier from the future sent back in time to protect Sarah.

Though not expected to be either a commercial or critical success, The Terminator topped the American box office for two weeks and helped launch the film career of James Cameron and consolidate that of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Three sequels have been produced: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), and Terminator Salvation (2009). In 2008, The Terminator was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". (Wikipedia)


Terminator 2: Judgment Day...

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 science fiction action film, the second installment of the Terminator franchise and the sequel to The Terminator (1984). Directed by James Cameron and written by Cameron and William Wisher, Jr., it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, and Edward Furlong. Terminator 2 follows Sarah Connor (Hamilton) and her son John (Furlong) as they are pursued by a new, more advanced Terminator, the liquid metal, shapeshifting T-1000 (Patrick), sent back in time to kill John to stop him from becoming leader of the human Resistance. An older, less advanced Terminator (Schwarzenegger) is also sent back in time to protect John. After a troubled pre-production characterized by legal disputes, Mario Kassar of Carolco Pictures emerged with the franchise's property rights in early 1990. This paved the way for the completion of the screenplay by the Cameron-led production team, and the subsequent accelerated 186-day filming schedule starting in October 1990. The production of Terminator 2 required an unprecedented budget of more than $94 million (1991 dollars), much of which was spent on filming and special effects. The film was released on July 3, 1991, in time for the U.S. Fourth of July weekend. Terminator 2 was a significant box office and critical success. It had an impact on popular culture, and is considered hugely influential in the genres of action and science fiction. The film's visual effects included many breakthroughs in computer-generated imagery, marking the first use of natural human motion for a computer-generated character and the first partially computer-generated main character.[6] It received many accolades, including four Academy Awards for makeup, sound mixing, sound editing, and visual effects. (Wikipedia)


Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines...

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (commonly abbreviated as T3) is a 2003 science fiction action film directed by Jonathan Mostow and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes and Kristanna Loken. It is the second sequel to The Terminator (1984). After Skynet fails to kill Sarah Connor before her son is born and to kill John himself as a child, it sends back another Terminator, the T-X, in an attempt to wipe out as many Resistance officers as possible, since Connor himself cannot be traced. This includes John's future wife, but not John himself as his whereabouts are unknown to Skynet. John's life is placed in danger when the T-X accidentally finds him.


Terminator Salvation...

Terminator Salvation is a 2009 American science fiction action film directed by McG and starring Christian Bale and Sam Worthington. It is the fourth installment in the Terminator film series. In a departure from the previous installments, which were set between 1984 and 2004 and used time travel as a key plot element, Salvation is set in 2018 and focuses on the war between Skynet and humanity, with the human Resistance fighting against Skynet's killing machines. Bale portrays John Connor, a Resistance fighter and the franchise's central character, while Worthington portrays cyborg Marcus Wright. Terminator Salvation also features Anton Yelchin as a young Kyle Reese, a character first introduced in The Terminator, and depicts the origin of the T-800 Model 101 Terminator. After a troubled pre-production, with The Halcyon Company acquiring the rights for the franchise from Andrew G. Vajna and Mario Kassar and several writers working on the screenplay, filming began in May 2008 in New Mexico and ran for 77 days. Terminator Salvation was released on May 21, 2009 in the United States and Canada, followed by early June releases in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Warner Bros. handled the North America release and Columbia Pictures the international one. The film grossed over $371 million worldwide. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 87 out of 265 critics, 33%, have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 5 out of 10. Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 0–100 from film critics, has a rating score of 52 based on 35 selected reviews. (Wikipedia)

Terminator online game...

Terminator and Arnie movie fans may be interested to play The Terminator online game that was developed by bwin.party digital entertainment - PartyCasino, and is currently featured across the Man Man online network.

Websites

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Media Man News Update: Movies, Gaming, Casinos, Politics, Australia, Hollywood...

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PartyCasino.com Wins Media Man 'Online Casino of the Month'

PartyPoker And PartyCasino Owner bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plans Return to US Market

Avengers smash $1 billion mark; Marvel Entertainment: The Avengers video game in the works...

Hollywood action hero news: Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Expendables 2, The Tomb

An Officer and a Gentleman The Musical Plays Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star

Fightin' Fanboys: Dolph Ziggler

Raw expands to three hours starting July 23

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW EXPANDS TO THREE ELECTRIFYING HOURS ON 1,000TH EPISODE

CHRIS JERICHO’S A REAL ROCK FOR WWE

Forbes Celebrity 100 Class Of '99: Where Are They Now?

J.Lo's Stunning Career Reincarnation Puts Her No. 1 On The Celebrity 100

Inquiry points finger at media

Claims of lying as casino owners trade blows over the Star

Audiences marvel at a comic escape

What happens if Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman are in the legal right?

Action hero Jackie Chan to go out fighting

Bono uses Facebook to steal title of world's richest rocker from Sir Paul McCartney

Double Down Interactive, an IGT Company, Releases Highly Anticipated Facebook Game, Texas Hold'em Poker

Australian tourism can be saved by Chinese middle class to large casinos; Melbourne, Perth, Sydney

Wrestling with face paint, bodyart and human statues; Ultimate Warrior, Sting, Jeff Hardy...

What the Media has said about wrestling over the years

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Friday, May 18, 2012

An Officer and a Gentleman The Musical To Play Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star - 18th May 2012

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Tonight of An Officer and a Gentleman enjoyed its Sydney, Australia premiere at The Star's Lyric Theatre at Ultimo.

The red carpet premiere was well attended by media and celebrities, and its understood the production is likely to match if not exceed the hype.

Producer John Frost said that more hard-won world premieres were in store.

"Not just Australian stories, but international stories that can be exported to international markets," Frost said.

Producers from Germany, South Korea, Canada, New York and London were at tonight's opening.

Frost said the $6 million budget for An Officer And A Gentleman was about half what it might have been if it was developed in New York or London.

"Things are just easier and cheaper here, and in New York and London, you're so far out of town (doing the set building) trying to get it right and get it fixed," he said.

Frost said the process of developing new musicals, as opposed to simply remounting a successful overseas version, would help build production skills for the creation of new musicals in the future.

"What this is doing is establishing people like (An Officer And A Gentleman) director Simon Phillips, his choreographer and his assistants, to do new stuff they're not used to doing, because they are used to doing stuff that's already been done and what we are trying to do is to broaden that experience so a lot more directors and a lot more writers get that opportunity," Frost added.

Later next year and early 2014 Frost expects to mount world premieres of Dream Lover: The Bobby Darin Show and Red Dog. His production of Doctor Zhivago is approaching the end of a six month-long run in Seoul and will then be mounted in New York.

The Media Man and Music News Australia agencies were overheard agreeing "Another world class production put on by The Star and Lyric Theatre".

The pitch:

A new musical based on the Paramount Pictures-Lorimar movie "An Officer and a Gentleman" written by Douglas Day Stewart

Music and lyrics by Ken Hirsch and Robin Lerner
Book by Douglas Day Stewart and Sharleen Cooper Cohen
Director Simon Phillips
Choreographer Andrew Hallsworth
Set and Costume Designer Dale Ferguson
Lighting Designer Matt Scott
Musical Director Dave Skelton
Associate Director Dean Bryant
Producers Sharleen Cooper Cohen and John Frost

In association with Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros Theatre Ventures

Based on the hugely successful Academy Award-winning film, this new production has been adapted for the stage by the original screen writer, Douglas Day Stewart and co-writer Sharleen Cooper Cohen, with music and lyrics by Kenny Hirsch and Robin Lerner. It will be produced by Sharleen Cooper Cohen and John Frost, and directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical).

The talented cast that will bring this timeless story to life includes Ben Mingay (Jersey Boys) as Zack Mayo, the classic angry young man who grew up in a "sewer" and dreams of flying jets and parlaying this skill into a better life; Amanda Harrison (Wicked) as Paula Pokrifki, the young factory worker who dreams of becoming a nurse and finding a better life without selling out for it, like everyone around her; Kate Kendall (Next to Normal) as Lynette Pomeroy, Paula's best friend who is determined to marry a flier to escape her dead end life, no matter what it takes; and Alex Rathgeber (The Phantom of the Opera) as Sid Worley, the likeable Okie son of a Navy Admiral who is the class "superstar" at the Naval Academy.

A hit across the ages, the 1982 film has become a phenomenon in cinema history, recently listed by the American Film Institute as one of the top ten love stories in cinema history. Featuring the iconic hit song "Up Where We Belong" and a new score by hit song writer Ken Hirsch and Grammy nominee Robin Lerner this timeless tale of struggle, success, friendship and love promises to be the musical blockbuster of 2012.

An Officer and a Gentleman is a triumphant story of working class heroes surviving great tests; a classic modern day love story about a working class boy and girl who must overcome their upbringing and personal weaknesses to accept life and love.

His Story, Her Romance.

Websites

An Officer and a Gentleman - The Musical official website

The Star

Sydney Lyric Theatre

Echo Entertainment

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PartyCasino Wins Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' Award; Promotions

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Jon Stevens plays Blue Beat club, Double Bay, Sydney - 17th May 2012

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Tonight New Zealand - Australian performing artist, Jon Stevens played the newly revamped Blue Beat club at Double Bay in Sydney's east, and he sounded and looked great.

We were pleased that he played the classic 'Reach out and touch somebody' early into the night of entertainment.

The support act was talented singer - songwriter Bonnie Anderson who did a good job of warning up the crowd.

Thank you to everyone involved in making tonight a success.

Profiles

Jon Stevens...

Most recognised for his work as the lead singer of Australian band Noiseworks, who had 4 Australian Top 10 albums, Jon also fronted Australian rock band INXS after the death of its lead singer Michael Hutchence and was part of two Australian productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, playing Judas on both occasions, to high acclaim.

Jon Stevens has led a varied and remarkable career, standing strong through the successes and trials that have earned him a place as a respected performer. Through his solid studio recordings and incredible live performances, Jon has proven himself to be an adaptable, hard-working and inspiring artist. He has walked the boards of the world’s most prestigious stages and enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside the world’s best.

Bonnie Anderson...

Bonnie Anderson is a natural-born performer. Having grown up surrounded by musical family and friends, including her mother who is also a singer, Bonnie’s childhood paved the way for her talents as she spent family time playing music and singing. When she wasn’t surrounded by bands and musicians, Bonnie also took inspiration from her Godfather, world champion boxer Lionel Rose.

In 2007, Australian audiences fell in love with Bonnie’s incredible talent as the then 12 year-old won first place in Australia’s Got Talent. Rather than get swept up in the media bandwagon and subsequent offers of recording and management contracts, Bonnie made the decision to put her future career on hold and ‘just be a kid for a while’.

Bonnie is an incredibly focused performer with professionalism beyond her years, so in pursuit of her ultimate dream to be taken seriously as a singer-songwriter and professional musician, she has chosen to forego an easy fifteen minutes of fame in favour of focusing on the “big picture”.

Like any artist, she has learnt her craft by watching the ‘old masters’ at work and has already shared the stage with some of Australia’s greatest acts including Jimmy Barnes, Diesel, Vanessa Amorosi, Kate Ceberano and Kasey Chambers. In addition to her vocal training, Bonnie also plays both piano and guitar. 2009 was a turning point for Bonnie and saw her tour with Australian icon, Jimmy Barnes, as a backing vocalist.

Now aged seventeen, the story is only beginning...


About Blue Beat...

Announcing Blue Beat, the new venue of Christopher Richards and Nicholas Rice.

Anyone familiar with Chris and Nick won’t be surprised that Blue Beat stands for quality music played by superb musicians, in a setting that gives audiences and musicians alike a memorably satisfying experience.

Blue Beat is founded on the same passion for live music that’s been at the heart of Chris and Nick’s previous venues. For those who don’t know, Nick’s history includes entertainment, promotions and venue consultancy, including key Sydney venues Bar Broadway and the Marquee nightclub. Chris is synonymous with The Basement, as manager, co-owner and booker. After nearly four decades he has strong connections with industry from festival directors to sound technicians, and he brings all this to Blue Beat.

“We think Sydney needs, and deserves, a venue that’s of its time, and caters for reasonably discerning audiences, in a way that puts the music centre-stage”, explains Rice. “But you might also just want to call in for a late-night drink or an after-theatre tapas and a place to talk.”

“So the Blue Beat philosophy is about an exciting journey through the world of contemporary music, around which we’ve built a venue that’s unpretentious but has great attention to detail”, says Richards.

Websites

Jon Stevens official website

Blue Beat

Bonnie Anderson official website

Ralph Carr Management

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Music News Australia

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Australian Sports Entertainment

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Madame Tussauds Sydney, Australia: Strewth! Alf Stewart gets waxed - 17th May 2012

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Darling Harbour Events Fashion Celebrities Sydney Australia

Madame Tussauds Sydney enjoyed having Ray Meagher aka "Alf Stewart" get waxed at Sydney's Madame Tussauds in Darling Harbour tonight.

The Home and Away veteran is understood to be the  first local star to be announced as one of the Australian attractions to appear in the museum, which will feature more than 70 wax figures.

Meagher has submitted to hours of painstaking measuring to ensure his wax sculpture is as true to life as possible.

He will join a large contingent of Australian sportspeople, politicians and stars in the $14 million tourist attraction.

Merlin Entertainment Australia director Edward Fuller won't reveal which other Australian stars have been selected for the local exhibition, but he has said extensive research has been done to ensure the right mix of the famous and infamous.

"The key thing is that there will be a really strong line-up of local stars," Mr Fuller said.
A team of artists is working furiously to have the sculptures ready in time for the opening. Each wax model requires about 20 artists, from sculptors to painters, and can take up to six months to complete.

"The hair is all individually inserted into the head," Mr Fuller said, adding that capturing the "character and atmosphere" of the subject was the artists' goal.

To assist in this, many of the celebrities immortalised by Madam Tussauds' artists donate their own clothes to help create a sense of authenticity.

"That's the icing on the cake," Mr Fuller said.

"Not only can you get up close and personal to your favourite star but they're actually wearing the clothes they might have turned up to the Oscars in."

Madame Tussauds Sydney promo...

Step into the world of celebrity with over 70 of the world's best known personalities, our very own Aussie stars and a range of fun interactive experiences at Madame Tussauds Sydney.  You can get on stage with pop stars, rub shoulders with the most powerful politicians, and even test your sporting skills against the greats. With a whole host of stars, legends and interactive experiences, Madame Tussauds Sydney really does add up to a red hot outing where the whole family can meet, greet, chat up, debate, hug and sing with their favourite celebrity.

Websites

Madame Tussauds

Darling Harbour official website

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Music News Australia

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Australian Sports Entertainment

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Avengers smash $1 billion mark; Marvel Entertainment: The Avengers video game in the works...

Avengers smash $1 billion mark


Marvel Entertainment: The Avengers video game in the works


The Avengers sequel gets green light from Disney; Disney chief executive Bob Iger also announces plans for Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and Captain America 2...

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





The Avengers has smashed through the $US1 billion mark in global box office earnings, official numbers demonstrate without doubt.

The comic book superhero blockbuster movie made $US103.1 million over the weekend in North America, following its $US207 million opening weekend - the highest-earning debut on record.

Globally, the Disney action adventure movie, directed by cult favourite Joss Whedon in collaboration with Marvel Comics, has made $US1,002,082,000, according to movie industry website IMDb.

The mega success of the movie - produced for an estimated $US220 million - will help offset Disney's huge $US200 million loss on sci-fi fantasy film John Carter in March, which acted as a catalyst for the departure of Walt Disney Studios boss Rich Ross.

The Avengers focuses on a superhero tag team including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor.


The Avengers sequel gets green light from Disney; Disney chief executive Bob Iger also announces plans for Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and Captain America 2...

A sequel to superhero blockbuster The Avengers has been officially greenlighted after Joss Whedon's film brought in a massive $700m at the global box office in just two weeks.

Disney chief executive Bob Iger made the announcement as the studio admitted that its earnings for the first quarter of 2012 dropped 12% to $1.2bn compared to the same period last year. The film unit's $84m operating loss for the quarter was blamed largely on the box-office failure of $275m fantasy epic John Carter earlier this year.

Iger also confirmed that Iron Man 3, Thor 2 (both set for 2013) and Captain America 2 (due in 2014) will all be heading to cinemas through Marvel studios, which Disney bought for $4bn in 2009. He did not give a date or other details for the sequel to The Avengers (known as Avengers Assemble in the UK).

Meanwhile it has been revealed that The Avengers helped boost revenues for the $220m film via product placement for at least 18 companies. The luxury car manufacturer Acura was most prominent, having secured a multi-picture deal with Marvel, according to brand website portal Brand Channel. The company developed a special supercar especially for the movie, Tony Stark's NX Roadster, and also provided a number of other vehicles for key scenes. Other featured brands included ABC, aussieBum, Bose, CNN, Dr Pepper, Harley-Davidson and Southwest Airlines.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed that British actor Rebecca Hall is in talks to appear opposite Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man 3, following Jessica Chastain's decision to pass on the film due to scheduling issues. Shane Black, director of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, will take the reins on the third instalment.


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

Marvel online slot games continue to be available via Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment - PartyCasino, and full game reviews are available across the Media Man agency website network. Excelsior!

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2012 Musicoz Awards; Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

Profiles

Music Television Celebrities Hollywood Sydney Sydney Opera House





Each year, the awards highlight up and coming musical talent in 18 musical categories including singer, songwriter, alternative, blues, country and pop.

Celebrities...

Hots Sarah McLeod
Dallas Frasca
Pat Farmer
Kamahl
Mickey Avalon from the USA with Finalist Kid Mac
The Playboy Mansion Girls - Crystal Harris, Melissa Dawn Taylor and Ciara Price
Cam Tapp and Glenn Whitehall from The Voice
Gok Wan  - UK TV Show - How to Look Good Naked
Melissa Wu - Australian Diving Team and Olympic Gold Medallist
Mark Gables - The Choir Boys
Fat Pizza Crew
Liam Burrows and Chooka from Australia's Got Talent
Amali Ward - recent Tour support for Seal
Jim and Dan from Art Vs Science

Background...

Musicoz is a national initiative dedicated to improving the quality of original music culture in Australia. Forover a decade Musicoz has been developing the music industry at the grass roots level by seeking out, recognising & encouraging the talents of unsigned and independent artists and providing them with much needed development support and opportunities as they carve out their careers.

Musicoz achieves these aims through:

Annual National Musicoz Awards Program

Covering 18 genres of music with over 5000 entries each year. Known in the media as "The Unsigned ARIAs", The Musicoz Awards give vital recognition, exposure to a national audience through our TV special of the awards being aired on national Television, as well as development opportunities to finalists and winners and the opportunity to work alongside well known artist surrounding the awards evening.  These awards are the biggest and most credible awards for unsigned and independent music artists in Australia. Our media partners include: BigPond Music, YouTube and Facebook.

Musicoz Development Program

Ongoing mentoring, artist development and support throughout the year as they develop their potential. The Program Includes:

Comprehensive songwriting Feedback service

Support and advice on Publicity, promotion, advertising, management, contracts, touring

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Business plans/Timeline/Budgeting/CD launch

Professional consultation on Presentation and image

Artist product development including CDs, DVDs, Promotional material

Recording Project Management

A&R Consulting Service referrals

Musicoz provides a range of benefits including:

The opportunity for all artists in all genres to receive recognition and much needed publicity

The opportunity for all artists to receive developmental help mentorships from industry sponsors

Valuable work experience for students of entertainment industry training centres.

Employment opportunities within Musicoz events.

Valuable industry contacts through Musicoz activities

Success Stories

Porcelain - signed to Universal Music U.S.

The Jezabels

Art Vs Science

Sender-Signed to Sony/BMG Australia- Reached no 19 on the national ARIA charts

Bliss'n'Eso-Signed to Illusive Records Australia-Reached no 7 on the national ARIA charts

Sick Puppies-Now a sensation in the U.S and signed to Roadshow Music.

Blue King Brown-No 1 on the Australian Independent charts

The Sunpilots-No 1 indie band on Myspace, No 1 added band to commercial radio FEB 2008

The Fumes- Album of the week FBI Radio and The Drum Media

Felicity Urquhart- 2007 Golden Guitar winner and No.1 video on CMC.

Anthony Snape - Currently Touring the U.S

Gian - Signed to ABC/Warner M usic

Stone Parade - No 17 ARIA charts, No 1 AIR charts May 2008

Plus many more

There is no other initiative across Australia that provides this form of support/benefits in the music industry.


Websites

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Eva Rinaldi Photography

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Hollywood action hero news: Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Expendables 2, The Tomb...

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Movies Hollywood Celebrities United States World Directory





Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone share a hospital ward

Arnold Schwarzenegger may be getting older, but he's still in demand by Hollywood movie studios, and still a big draw with movie fans.

After retiring from politics last year, he has cautiously eased his way back to acting.

The prospect of a multimillion-dollar divorce settlement with ex-wife Maria Shriver may have helped made up his mind, and Arnie has since committed to appearing in many action flicks.

Early next year he'll play an ageing sheriff who takes on a drug cartel in Last Stand, and he's also agreed to appear alongside long time mate Danny DeVito and Eddie Murphy in a sequel to the 1980s comedy Twins.

In the meantime he will tag team with close mate Sly Stallone to portray a mercenary in The Expendables 2.

Sly and Arnie are the most celebrated of the bodybuilding action heroes, and they both played a huge part of putting the action genre on the map.

There is however a new breed of bulked up, talented actors, headed up by The Avengers team, with Australian mega star Chris Hemsworth playing the beefed up Thor.

He added 20lbs of muscle to his six-foot-three frame for the role, through weights and constant eating. English actor Tom Hardy has put on over 30lbs for his role as Batman's nemesis Bane in the much-anticipated Dark Knight Rises, and looks huge.

Then again so does Christian Bale's Batman, and Bale famously put on 100lbs in six months in order to star in Batman Begins.

Rhys Ifans also seems impressively muscular as the villainous 'Lizard' in the forthcoming reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man.

It took an Austrian bodybuilder and an extra from Hell's Kitchen to rescue the muscleman from B-movie obscurity.

The art of bodybuilding stemmed from the British military during the 19th Century. The craze caught on in the US in the 1940s, mainly due in part to a switched on Italian immigrant called Angelo Siciliano, who renamed himself Charles Atlas and launched a bodybuilding programme that promised to turn "97lb weaklings" into "heroes of the beach".

Bodybuilders began showing up in Hollywood films in the 1950s. Steve Reeves played Hercules in a series of historical action dramas, and so did Leeds-born weightlifter Reg Park.

But movies like Hercules and the Captive Women were hacked together B-pictures that no one took seriously.

Things began to evolve in the late 1970s, when a new breed of super bodybuilders burst on to the scene. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno were deadly rivals in the Mr Universe contest, and both had acting ambitions and the will to success in Hollywood.

Ferrigno got his break first, starring in popular TV series, The Hulk. But Schwarzenegger became a much bigger star thanks to hit movies like Conan the Barbarian and Terminator.

The young Arnie had average English and ordinary acting ability, but turned his faults to his advantage by deliberately targeting roles that were light on dialogue and heavy on action.

He hit the jackpot with Terminator, James Cameron's groundbreaking 1984 sci-fi thriller, but used it as a template for future roles. He said little, flexed his well oiled muscles and killed indiscriminately with a stony face.

Arnie also cracked jokes, using deadpan comic timing that surprised many critics and got over well with fans.

In planning his movie career, Schwarzenegger must surely have been inspired by the example of Sylvester Stallone. Born in Hell's Kitchen, New York, and raised in Washington DC, Stallone took to bodybuilding as a teenager but found it hard to break into acting.

His feature debut was in a 1971 soft-core porn movie called The Party at Kitty and Stud's, which was re-released to his enduring embarrassment after he became famous.

He appeared as a thuggish extra in films like Woody Allen's Bananas and Klute. For a while it seemed he was doomed to a life of obscurity until he came up with an idea for a boxing flick.

The story is that Stallone wrote the script of Rocky in three days in the spring of 1975, and when Hollywood picked up on the idea he insisted on playing Rocky Balboa himself. The film was a huge hit, and acted as a catalyst for Stallone to become one of Hollywood's more unlikely A-listers.

The rise of Stallone and Schwarzenegger fitted in well with the new conservatism of Reagan-era America. In the 1970s, Hollywood had reacted to the moral confusion of the Nixon presidency with weighty anti-war films and edgy conspiracy thrillers.

But Ronald Reagan led a return to uncomplicated patriotism and a deep distrust of Johnny foreigner. In a way Sly and Arnie were the John Waynes of their time, and were quick to exploit the new enthusiasm for American flag-waving.

In the Rambo flicks, Sly Stallone provided a bloody rebuttal to the 1970s anti-Vietnam War activists. And though not American himself, Schwarzenegger made sure to kick the butts of commies and Islamic extremists in films like Commando and True Lies. Their movies were generally formulaic but highly effective, especially at the box office, and soon a host of buffed up imitators of sorts emerged.

Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme all became action stars in the 1980s, churning out ever-more violent B-pictures in which the hulked hero took on impossible odds to defeat America's enemies.

But by the late-1980s, the hulky format was getting a bit tired and has out-welcomed its stay.

Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis, neither of whom were bodybuilders, paved the way for a new, quicker and slicker kind of action flick, and in the mid-1990s both Schwarzenegger's and Stallone's careers began to slide.

Arnie entered politics, and Sly limped off to lick his wounds and plot the inevitable comeback.

Come back he did, and his 2010 film The Expendables was warmly welcomed.

Sly and Arnie would have had their work cut out trying to keep up with the likes of Jason Bourne, and these days speed, not bulk, tends to be a key requirement for survival in the business.

If Schwarzenegger and Stallone have left a legacy, it's this: nowadays all the male stars hit the gym before they start shooting anything. Hollywood loves actors who can act, look great and buffed, and have the 'It Factor' - heard of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson? We thought so, and he's well on the way to becoming the biggest Hollywood movie money making actor of all time, and in an act of loyality continues to compete a few times a year for professional wrestling aka "sports entertainment" powerhouse, WWE, which also helps keep his fan base cultivated, and his face all over mainstream television. What may be in the future for 'The Rock'? Politics of course. The next Regan? Don't laugh - stranger things have happened. Jesse For Prez may not have happened, but maybe 'The Body' Ventura was just warning up the landscape for Rocky.

News Update...


Marvel Entertainment: The Incredible Hulk May Make Smash Hit To Combat Sly - Arnie Connection...

Be on the lookout for Marvel Entertainment - Marvel Studios to build upon the massive success of The Avengers with a remake or continuation of The Incredible Hulk movie. Don't expect Sly or Arnie to be cast, but there's always a decent chance Lou Ferrigno may turn up - especially in a cameo, following the lead of Marvel Comics icon, Stan Lee.

Press Release...


PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY UNDERWAY ON THE TOMB


Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Jim Caviezel, Amy Ryan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones, Sam Neil Lead Cast

Mikael Håfström directs the action-thriller now shooting on location in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LA MAY 10 – Production is underway on Summit Entertainment’s The Tomb.  Directed by Mikael Håfström, the action-thriller is an Emmett-Furla Films/Mark Canton production.  The producers are Atmosphere Entertainment’s chairman Mark Canton, Randall Emmett, George Furla, Robbie Brenner and Kevin King-Templeton. Co-financed by Emmett-Furla Films and Summit Entertainment, The Tomb is being filmed on location in the New Orleans area.  Summit Entertainment, a LIONSGATE company, holds worldwide distribution rights and will release the motion picture in North America.

Written by Miles Chapman for the screen, with a rewrite by Jason Keller, The Tomb follows Ray Breslin (Stallone), the world’s foremost authority on structural security. He’s analyzed nearly every high security prison. After being framed by persons unknown, all of Breslin’s ingenuity and expertise are about to be put to work in the most challenging test he’s ever faced: escaping from a high-tech prison facility that’s design is based on his own protocols.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Emil Rottmayer,a complex inmate with multiple shades of gray. He’s the guy who fights to keep the prisoners from losing their humanity in their darkest hour as they struggle together to stay alive.

Jim Caviezel plays Hobbes, the warden of the Tomb. This is the type of prison facility that deals with inmates that no government wants on its books.  The lead guard of the maximum-security facility, Drake, is played by English actor and retired footballer Vinnie Jones.

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson plays Hush, Ray Breslin’s right-hand man and high-technology expert.  Buttoned-down with street lurking just below the surface, Hush is aptly named because when he speaks, it is just above a whisper…but it’s a whisper with attitude and edge that can turn from soft to drop dead serious in the blink of an eye. Vincent D’Onofrio plays Lester Clark, Breslin’s business partner and CEO of B&C Security, their independent security company hired by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to test the integrity of their maximum-security facilities nationwide.  Amy Ryan plays Abigail Ross, jack-of-all trades and one of Beslin’s closest confidants at B&C Security.  Sam Neil is cast as Dr. Emil Kaikev, the prison doctor embedded within the Tomb, who is sympathetic to Breslin’s plight.

Håfström’s previous writing/directing credits in his native Sweden include: the gripping coming of age drama Evil, which was nominated for an Academy Award® in 2004 for Best Foreign Language film; the thriller Drowning Ghost; and the drama Days Like This, which won Sweden’s Guldbagge Award for Best Screenplay.  His films have been invited to festivals around the world and, at home, Håfström has received multiple Guldbagge nominations, with Evil winning the Award for Best Direction and Best Screenplay.

The behind-the scenes filmmaking team of The Tombincludes director of photography Brendan Galvin (Immortals, Behind Enemy Lines, Flight of the Phoenix), production designer Barry Chusid (Source Code, 2012, Aliens in the Attic, The Day After Tomorrow) and costume designer Lizz Wolf (The Expendables and The Expendables 2, Rambo, Dreamgirls, Suspect Zero, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl, Armageddon, Traffic).

Special effects are supervised by Michael Lantieri (Alice in Wonderland, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, The Hulk, Minority Report, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) and visual effects are supervised by Chris Wells (300, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Live Free or Die Hard).  Elliot Greenberg (Chronicle) is editing. The sound mixer is Richard Schexnayder (Red, The Expendables, Jonah Hex) and stunts are coordinated by Noon Orsatti (The Expendables 2, American History X, Conan The Barbarian).

The executive producers of The Tomb are Nicolas Stern, Bill Chase, Stefan Partirosyan.

Schwarzenegger and Stallone will next be seen on screen together in The Expendables 2, which is currently in post-production and will be released this summer by Lionsgate. Schwarzenegger recently wrapped filming The Last Stand, also for Lionsgate, produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and directed by Jee-woon Kim.

Websites

The Expendables 2

Arnold Schwarzenegger official website

Sylvester Stallone official website

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson

'Stone Cold' Steve Austin - Broken Skull Ranch

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InStyle Women Of Style Awards: Red Carpet Awards Evening - 15th May 2012

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INSTYLE AND AUDI WOMEN OF STYLE AWARDS RED-CARPET AWARDS EVENING

SYDNEY, May 15, 2012: InStyle, in association with Audi, hosted the fourth annual Women of Style
Awards at Carriageworks on Tuesday May 15.

The InStyle and Audi Women of Style Awards honour Australia’s most inspirational and innovative women, across nine fields, including: business, arts/culture, charity/community, beauty, lifestyle, environment, design, fashion and news/entertainment:

WHO: Kerrie McCallum (editor, InStyle), Miranda Kerr, Miranda Otto, Asher Keddie, Collette Dinnigan, Layne Beachley, Sally Obermeder, Erika Heynatz, Jodhi Meares, Kate Ritchie, Melissa Doyle, Kylie Gillies, Lara Bingle, Rachael Finch, Brooke Satchwell, Jessica Rowe, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Tim Ross,
Sophie Falkiner, Nicola Finetti, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Saskia Burmeister, Jan Logan, Nikki Gemmell, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, Louise Olsen, Jana Wendt, Krystal Barter, Alyssa McClelland, Gillian Armstrong, Camilla Freeman-Topper, Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson (Easton Pearson), Bianca Spender, Jodi Gordon, Alex Perry, Josh Flinn, Lisa Ho, Samantha Harris, Emma Freedman, Charlotte Dawson, April Rose Pengilly, Gail Elliot and Joe Coffey, Lizzy Lovette, Fleur Wood, Marnie Skillings, Natarsha Belling, Alice Burdeu, Rachel Gilbert, Tom Williams, Krew Boylan, Samantha Armytage, Jesinta Campbell, Ann Sanders, Sarah Cumming, Indira Naidoo, Donna Hay, Lally Katz, Nicolette Fraillon, Lorna Jane Clarkson, Kate Weiss, Diana Williams, Abigail Forsyth, Tanya Ha, Natalie Isaacs, Blainey North, Caroline Pidcock, Rebecca Morrice Williams, Belinda Fraser and Melanie Gleeson (Endota Spa).

“The InStyle and Audi Women of Style Awards event is the country’s premier evening to honour the
achievements of outstanding Australian women who have the innovation and commitment to succeed and
excel in their field of expertise,” comments Kerrie McCallum, editor, InStyle.

News Scoop...


The InStyle Goodie Bags Valued At $900; Extra Security Added To Event...

Additional security guards were engaged by InStyle magazine yesterday ahead of this evenings annual Women Of Style events - but the considerable celebrity guest list including Miranda Kerr is not the prime reason for the increased protection.

It's all about the goodie bags! Leaks state that are valued at $900 and feature a Coach umbrella, Mimco earrings and a Collette Dinnigan cosmetic purse.

"They're worried some will get stolen or that people will take two," a deep throat said.

At time to press there were no reported thefts or incidents at the event. There's always next year.

Websites

InStyle Australia

Pacific Magazines

Carriageworks

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Music News Australia

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Australian Sports Entertainment

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Australian tourism can be saved by Chinese middle class to large casinos; Melbourne, Perth and Sydney

Profiles

Australia Australian Casinos Macau Asia Travel and Tourism

"Chinese middle class is going to change the world"


James Packer says man-made attractions important


Mr Packer owns casinos in Melbourne, Perth and Macau


Sydney's The Star already attracting high roller VIP's


Non Packer casino and resorts also want in on the action





Profiles

Australia Australian Casinos Macau Asia Travel and Tourism Crown Melbourne Crown Perth The Star Entertainment Casinos

Sunday night's 60 Minutes report 'Packer's punt' got tongues wagging and telephones running hot across Australia - Melbourne and Perth (both home to existing Packer casinos) and 'Sin City' Sydney (site of the Barangaroo development).

Australia's flagging tourism industry can be saved by attracting the Chinese middle class to large casinos, Crown Limited chairman James Packer told the Nine network.

Mr Packer said recognising the Chinese middle class was as important as recognising the internet.

"It's like saying how big a deal is the internet," Mr Packer told his former business co-hearts Channel Nine.

"The Chinese middle class is going to change the world."

He advised Australia cannot rely on its natural beauty alone, because people are more drawn to man-made attractions.

"A lot of the Chinese tourists like man-made attractions as well as natural attractions," he said.

"We need to have better hotels, better restaurants, better shopping."

Mr Packer gave the United States as an example of how man-made attractions win over natural ones.

"Las Vegas gets 40 million people a year," he said.

"I think maybe the greatest natural attraction is the Grand Canyon. It's a half-hour drive from Las Vegas but gets about three million (visitors) a year."

Mr Packer owns casinos in Melbourne, Perth and Macau.

He also pointed out that casinos in The Philippines were doing well and contributed greatly to that country, and that he didn't currently have any casino interests there.

He said he was keen to secure a tables-only Sydney casino complex at Barangaroo to bring in more Chinese tourists.

Responsible Gambling Awareness Week started yesterday and the NSW Government is encouraging problem gamblers to seek help.


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 that Mr Packer's real goal in his expected takeover tilt for Echo was to snatch the scandal-plagued Star Casino in Sydney and merge it into his Crown group.


Cairns casino targeting Chinese tourists: Packer's Crown not the only option for Chinese punters...

The famous Pullman Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns is not letting gaming tsar James Packer have all the action when it comes to attracting cashed-up Chinese gamblers to his legal gambling dens.

Mr Packer said the struggling tourism industry could be saved by attracting Chinese middle class visitors to large casinos.

As well, he said many Chinese tourists liked man-made activities as well as natural attractions.

But Cairns casino chief exec Alan Tan said his venue established a China strategy some six years ago.

"I think, while the casino is important, we offer more than just that. The Great Barrier Reef is very important, especially when I talk to the Chinese who say they like to see the Reef and in the evening they like to enjoy time in the casino as well," Mr Tan said.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive officer Rob Giason said the casino was part of the overall experience for Chinese holidaymakers.

Cairns Airport chief executive officer Kevin Brown said the casino complemented other activities the Chinese tourists wanted to experience, including dining, shopping and cultural activities.

Casino marketing executive manager Richard Porter said its China strategy included the relocation of Cafe China restaurant to the casino, Chinese language signage and information.

He said casino reps frequented China at least six times a year, worked closely with inbound operators and leading Chinese businessman Harry Sou.

Mr Porter said when China Southern Airlines started flying to Brisbane the casino experienced a "giant leap forward" in Chinese visitors.

So there you go... Packer is far from the only switched on casino and gambling baron. It's going to be mighty interesting to see how Pullman's Alan Tan continues to fair in the Australian "casino wars", as Packer continues on his quest to also takeover Echo Entertainment operations, as well as push forward for his greater "Sin City" Sydney ambitions.

It's said "The house always wins" in casino talk, but can the trio of Crown, Pullman and Echo Entertainment all continue to win big time, or is something going to give (like a merger or acquisition)? Stay tuned as we continue to probe for developments.

*the writer is a shareholder in Crown Limited and Virgin Enterprises Limited

Websites

Crown Melbourne

Crown Perth

The Star

Echo Entertainment

City of Dreams, Macau

Barangaroo Delivery Authority website

Barangaroo South

Australia.com

60 Minutes (Australia)

60 Minutes (Australia) - 'Packers Punt'

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Australian Sports Entertainment

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Vegas casinos gamble on online partners with a past - 14th May 2012

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To prime itself for the U.S. debut of legal online poker, MGM Resorts International, owner of such Las Vegas Strip monuments as the MGM Grand, the Bellagio and the Mirage, wanted a partner that knew the ropes.

So last October it hooked up with Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc, a London-listed, Gibraltar-based specialist that rakes in more from Web betting than any other publicly traded company. MGM Resorts took 25 percent of a new venture 65 percent owned by Bwin.Party, with smaller Las Vegas casino operator Boyd Gaming getting the remaining 10 percent.

"We'll be out of the gate as soon as anybody," MGM Resorts Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren boasted to investors in February.

Online expertise isn't the only thing that distinguishes Bwin.Party. In 2009, an earlier incarnation of the company paid $105 million while admitting to U.S. prosecutors it had run an illegal gambling operation and engaged in bank and wire fraud.

Among its principal backers: a California-born woman who made a fortune in phone sex and Web pornography businesses that, like the pioneering online-gambling company that became Bwin.Party, faced multiple allegations of wrongdoing.

MGM Resorts' choice of Bwin.Party as a partner while applying for online poker licenses in Nevada might seem unusual. It isn't. The alliance reflects the calculated risks that major casino operators, Native American tribes and social-gaming giants Zynga and Facebook are weighing as they angle for a slice of a market valued at billions of dollars a year.

Caesars Entertainment Corp is prepping for online poker by tying up with an Israeli company that in 2007 acknowledged settlement talks with the U.S. Justice Department over alleged breaches of anti-gambling laws.

A group of Native American tribes in California has signed up to use software from another Israeli company, run by a man who served prison time for stock manipulation and bribery. Another tribe last week announced a deal with Bwin.Party.

Zynga, eager to convert some of its tens of millions of virtual poker enthusiasts into cash gamblers, also has been in talks with Bwin.Party and others that have had brushes with the law, according to people familiar with the matter.

Meanwhile, offshore gambling outfit PokerStars is considering buying its chief offshore rival, Full Tilt, and making a run at the U.S. market even though founders of both were indicted by the Justice Department last year on charges of illegal gambling, bank fraud and money laundering, according to people familiar with the situation.

All this comes as Nevada prepares to license the first online poker operators and software suppliers late next month -- and as California, New Jersey, Iowa, Massachusetts, Delaware and other states debate similar moves.

Many of the cash-starved states, encouraged by intensive industry lobbying, have felt freer to act since December, when the Justice Department declared that one federal anti-gambling law, the Wire Act, would no longer be enforced beyond sports betting.

But casino operators, Indian tribes and Internet powers bent on offering online poker lack experience delivering it. Online poker is a business that involves processing billions of dollars worth of bets and battling the fraudsters, cheats and robot-player software that can ruin the games. Hence the casinos are cozying up to some tech-savvy offshore partners whose pedigrees might give regulators pause.

Most states have "suitability" rules designed to keep crooks out of the gambling industry. Nevada requires that successful license applicants and their large shareholders possess "good character, honesty and integrity." Nevertheless, the big casino operators and their offshore partners are betting that regulators will look favorably on their license applications for two good reasons: tax money and high-tech jobs.

Early indications are that they are right.

At a hearing on a Caesars deal with the Israeli company last year, Mark Lipparelli, chairman of Nevada's Gaming Control Board, said: "I don't think as we look at companies that we can have perfection as the standard, because I think that would be a disservice to the state in attracting business here." The board unanimously recommended approval of the venture.

Gambling foes warn that states are putting fiscal worries ahead of public safety, exposing a huge and vulnerable population to the potential for compulsive betting. "The governments are so desperate for revenues that they will partner with these lawbreaking outfits," said Les Bernal, executive director of the nonprofit Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation in Washington, D.C. "They will create addiction in order to feed off of it."

PORN AND CARDS

Jim Ryan, co-chief executive officer of Bwin.Party, acknowledged in an interview that when the company was looking for U.S. partners, its history was a chief concern of MGM Resorts and other U.S. companies.

"Suitability is the very first question on all of their minds," he told Reuters during a recent business trip to San Francisco.

It's easy to see why.

Bwin.Party grew out of PartyGaming, a brainchild of San Francisco-area native Ruth Parasol, who has a history as colorful as Las Vegas. After earning a law degree, Parasol first prospered in the 1990s through 1-900 phone-sex and other services that were sued by multiple states for aggressive billing and collection practices. In North Carolina's suit, the judge ordered a company she co-founded to pay $270,000 in damages.

Then Parasol put her money behind Internet Entertainment Group, which gained notoriety for releasing an early Pamela Anderson sex video and promising an initial public offering that never happened. Employees accused the company of routinely overbilling customers, and Chief Executive Seth Warshavsky fled to Thailand as authorities investigated. Warshavsky didn't respond to an interview request.

Parasol managed to emerge unscathed, and in 1997 founded Starluck Casino in the Caribbean, providing online gambling to customers in the U.S. and elsewhere. The company had a big hit with its PartyPoker website, which became the dominant force in U.S. online cards, and then renamed itself PartyGaming.

Parasol, who has been living in Gibraltar for most of the past decade, declined requests for an interview.

In 2005, PartyGaming's IPO became the largest London had seen in four years, valuing the company at more than $8 billion. Just then, debate over the U.S. legal status of online gambling flared.

The Justice Department had long argued that Internet poker violated the Wire Act and other federal and state laws. Despite the success of PartyGaming and other offshore companies, no U.S.-based companies offered alternatives for fear of prosecution.

In 2006, Congress clarified the matter by passing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA, explicitly barring processing interstate or international poker transactions where state laws forbade such gambling. PartyGaming responded by pulling out of the U.S., leaving two-thirds of its players behind to be claimed by privately held offshore companies.

The law didn't snuff out online poker in the U.S. as players migrated to other offshore providers. Research firm H2 Gambling Capital estimates the U.S. accounts for about $400 million of global annual online poker revenue of nearly $5 billion, or 8 percent. Depending on how many states ultimately legalize online cards, that share could rise to as high as 28 percent in five years, the company says.

PartyGaming's problems didn't end when it left the United States. In 2008, co-founder Anurag Dikshit pleaded guilty to gambling via the wires in federal district court in New York. He forfeited $300 million and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, leading PartyGaming itself to settle in 2009. The company paid $105 million to avoid prosecution for pre-UIGEA violations. Dikshit couldn't be reached. His lawyer didn't return calls seeking comment.

In 2010, prosecutor Arlo Devlin-Brown told the court that the probe was continuing and referred to documents under seal. He recently told Reuters he could not comment further, leaving open the possibility that Parasol could be charged if she returns home to the United States.

PartyGaming's fortunes recovered as it began to focus on non-U.S. customers. Last year it bought rival Bwin Interactive of Austria and changed the merged company's name to Bwin.Party, with annual revenue of 691 million euros, or $902 million.

During the merger talks, the regulatory suitability of PartyGaming and Parasol became an issue. Parasol and her husband, Russell DeLeon, agreed that the board could force them to restructure their more than 13 percent stake in the merged company or sell it if "required by any gaming regulatory authority in connection with business opportunities," according to merger documents filed with regulators.

That clause wouldn't apply, however, if the licensing process is "more burdensome to the principal PartyGaming shareholders than the licensing requirements currently imposed by the state of Nevada." That means the couple's stake could, in effect, block deals in states with tougher standards. Bwin.Party's Ryan said he couldn't imagine the couple standing in the way. DeLeon couldn't be reached for comment.

Now partnered with MGM Resorts, Bwin.Party has applied for a Nevada license to offer Internet poker software and services. Co-CEO Ryan said the joint venture will handle all U.S. games where players pay to play and can cash out their winnings.

In the meantime, he said, Bwin.Party will promote its brands through a social game, to be announced soon, without the ability to cash out. Ryan said negotiations with Facebook, a likely game platform, are continuing.

Facebook declined to comment. MGM did not respond to repeated interview requests about its choice of Bwin.Party.

"PRETTIEST GIRL IN TOWN"

One of Bwin.Party's top rivals is also listed in London but based in Israel. That company is 888 Holdings, founded by a dentist inspired to put poker on the Net after a 1996 trip to Monte Carlo. The late Aharon Shaked and his brother Avi mortgaged their homes to fund the company, and their families and a co-founding family still have majority control.

In 2006, 888 joined PartyGaming in pulling out of the U.S. market. But for a time before that, 888's Casino-on-Net gambling website was among the top 10 buyers of banner ads aimed at U.S. home Internet users, reaching more than 10 percent of them in a single week, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

In 2007 the company acknowledged it was in settlement talks with the Justice Department over suspected breaches of pre-2006 anti gambling laws. No charges were filed.

The 888 deal with Caesars that Nevada regulators approved last year was a trial run of Caesars-branded online poker in the British market, where such games have been legal for years. Caesars, operator of the Strip's Caesars Palace, Harrah's and Rio, has since expanded its relationship with 888, agreeing to use its software in the United States once states approve.

Ambitions are running high at 888. "The most exciting market opportunity for the industry must be that of the States, and we are definitely the prettiest girl in town, with everybody keen to have discussions with us," 888 Chief Executive Officer Brian Mattingley told investors last month. Officials at 888 declined interview requests, as did those at Caesars.

Lipparelli, the Nevada Gaming Control Board chairman, said scrutiny of the initial Caesars venture was lower than what it would have been for a U.S. venture. He said current investigations of Bwin.Party, 888 and more than 20 other license applicants would be far more rigorous than anything the overseas outfits had experienced in their home countries. "Some will probably not make it through," Lipparelli said.

He said confessions of pre-2006 wrongdoing wouldn't automatically prevent licensing, though. Gambling executives say they expect smooth sailing in Nevada because regulators want to add local technology jobs. Concern about past lawbreaking "has all gone away," one casino executive said.

One big test could come in the case of PokerStars, based in the Isle of Man, and Full Tilt Poker, based in the Channel Islands, which together snapped up most of the U.S. market after the 2006 law was passed and PartyGaming ran for the exits.

Last year, on an April day known in online poker circles as Black Friday, federal prosecutors unsealed indictments alleging illegal gambling, bank fraud and money laundering against the founders of PokerStars and Full Tilt. Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Full Tilt had operated as a Ponzi scheme, relying on new players' deposits to cover payouts to older customers while executives and advisers took hundreds of millions of dollars from player accounts.

The indictments prompted Wynn Resorts Ltd to drop a weeks-old "strategic relationship" with PokerStars. The main owner of Station Casinos, which serves Las Vegas locals at 11 casinos off the Strip, abandoned a similar tie-up with Full Tilt. Neither Nevada company returned calls seeking comment.

Full Tilt has shut down while it negotiates with the Justice Department. But PokerStars remains the biggest site worldwide, with what others in the industry believe tops $1 billion in annual revenue. It harbors hopes that a deal with prosecutors could pave the way for a return to the U.S.

People familiar with the situation say that as part of the settlement talks with the Justice Department, PokerStars is considering buying Full Tilt and refunding U.S. players hundreds of millions of dollars missing from their accounts. PokerStars confirmed the settlement talks but declined to comment on Full Tilt or its American aspirations. Full Tilt officials couldn't be reached for comment.

"CONCERNED ABOUT PROBITY"

In California, casinos and gambling-software companies already are scurrying for deals with the tribes and others that would be eligible for direct licenses under a bill pending in the state senate. Caesars manages the Rincon tribe's Harrah's casino and is hoping to build on that with software from 888.

A coalition of tribes and card rooms known as the California Online Poker Association has signed up to use software from Playtech Ltd, a London-listed British company. About 40 per cent of Playtech is owned by Teddy Sagi, an Israeli billionaire who pleaded guilty to stock manipulation and bribery in 1996 in a scandal known as the Discount Affair. He was sentenced to nine months in prison. Playtech didn't respond to a request for comment.

The tribes are aware of the risks of choosing partners that won't satisfy the state Justice Department, which the current bill would empower to approve license applications.

"We are very, very concerned about probity," said Joaquin Fletcher, president of the Pechanga Development Corp, owner of the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. "We don't want whoever we pick to just create more nightmares down the road."

Similar concerns are on the minds of social media companies.

Zynga, the dominant provider of recreational games on Facebook, has 36 million monthly average users of its Texas HoldEm Poker, the second most popular game on Facebook after its CityVille, according to market research firm AppData.

The card game doesn't require regulation because players don't receive cash payouts, though they often pay for extra chips to play with. Those virtual chip purchases have made the game one of Zynga's top earners and opened the company's eyes to the potential of the real thing.

Lazard Capital Markets said in March that it expected Zynga to move "aggressively" and capture an extra $100 million in annual profit by offering online poker with cash payouts and prizes.

Zynga has held talks with Bwin.Party, 888, multiple California tribes and card rooms, and the big brick-and-mortar casinos, people familiar with the discussions said. The company might experiment first with poker in well-regulated overseas markets such as the United Kingdom, they said. Zynga declined to comment.

The gambling majors have seen the promise of social networking as well. MGM Resorts, like Bwin.Party, is planning its own game without cash payouts but with social networking built in. Caesars recently bought game application developer Playtika, which has a popular free slot machine app on Facebook called Slotomania, and it launched a Caesars-branded casino game suite there, too.

Despite the enthusiasm, the risks of a regulatory, legal or public-relations setback for Zynga and Facebook are substantial, even if they partner well.

With millions of free players, "it's very likely these people can be converted" to playing for real money, said one longtime offshore poker executive. "But do they want a headline saying some kid lost $10,000 playing poker on Facebook?" (Reuters)

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