Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Entertainment, Hollywood, Movie and Gaming news; Human Statues, creative arts...

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

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

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Movies Hollywood Wrestling WWE Spider-Man Amazing Spider-Man Marvel Entertainment



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

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

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

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

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

For men:

1. Thor (The Avengers)

2. Iron Man (The Avengers)

3. Captain America (The Avengers)

4. Hulk (The Avengers)

5. Batman (The Dark Knight Rises)

6. James Bond (Skyfall)

7. Ted the Raunchy Teddy Bear (Ted)

8. Gandalf (The Hobbit)

9. Magic Mike (Magic Mike)

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

For women:

1. Catwoman (The Dark Knight Rises)

2. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

3. Snow White (Snow White and the Huntsman)

4. Queen Ravenna (Snow White and the Huntsman)

5. Black Widow (The Avengers)

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

7. Effie Trinket (The Hunger Games)

8. Selene (Underworld: Awakening)

9. Merida (Brave)

10. Alice (Resident Evil: Retribution)

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Marvel Entertainment Avengers costumes #1..

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

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

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

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

Happy Halloweening.


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



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

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

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

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

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


Bullet To The Head...

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


WWE Studios and ABC Family Set Christmas Bounty...



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

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

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

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

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


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



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


WWE® Declares Quarterly Dividend...

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Hulkamania Online Slot Game Launches...



Keep checking your favorite online casinos for the slot game based on legendary pro wrestler, Hulk Hogan.

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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But Mr Packer says that could change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NWA Response to Australia controversy...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CALIFORNIA ONLINE POKER ASSOCIATION COLLAPSES...


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

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

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

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

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


Spider-Man Inspired By Masked Luchadors...




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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



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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Media Man News Update - 30th April 2012


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Casino controversy continues...

Affluent Chinese tourists are a significant component for James Packer’s hopes to construct a second Sydney casino at Barangaroo.

Mr Packer has found opposition to his plans for a second harbour-side casino in the form of Tourism Queensland chairman, Don Morris.

Consumer research provided by Tourism Australia supports Mr Morris’ claims that Chinese tourists are not visiting Australia just to gamble and visit casinos.

“Our traditional European, British and US markets have long been seduced by the uniqueness of Australia's easygoing, class-free culture. And the Chinese are the same, with this research ranking 'laid-back and easygoing' as their key motivator for visiting Australia, after safety,” Mr Morris told The Australian.

Mr Packer disagreed and said that without proper infrastructure, accommodation and entertainment “we will not get the tourism growth Australia deserves”.

He has support from Tourism Australia chairman and Crown board member Geoff Dixon.

“The Crown, Burswood and Star complexes are a lot more than casinos; they are integrated resorts that provide some of the best restaurants, convention and meeting facilities in Australia,” Mr Dixon said.

“To get very desirable venues you often need revenues from casinos."

Mr Packer said the rising middle class tourists spread throughout China and Asia “wants luxury hotels, great restaurants, high-end retail and an entertainment experience which usually includes the opportunity to have a gamble”.

Mr Dixon agreed claiming “they [high-end Chinese travellers] want all the things our research says, such as the environment and good food, but also many of them do desire the opportunity to visit casinos”.

Despite his lack of encouragement for a second Sydney casino, Mr Morris supported Mr Packer’s suggestion of a new hotel in Sydney.

“A new major Sydney hotel of the superb standard of Melbourne's Crown Towers would provide a vital and overdue tourism impetus to Sydney and benefit immensely the entire Australian tourism sector.”


The Darling in Sydney wins Best New Hotel Design at Asia-Pacific International Hotel Awards...

Sydney's new 5 star hotel The Darling, designed by Cox Richardson Architects has won the Best New Hotel Construction and Design 2012 at the Asia-Pacific International Hotel Awards in Kuala Lumpur.

The Star commissioned renowned building corporation, Brookfield Multiplex, to interpret and execute the designs by Cox Richardson Architects, to produce a contemporary hotel integrated within the existing complex.

The Darling has been designed as a stand-alone hotel, with its own arrival experience, amenities and alluring personality. It is the first five-star new build hotel in Sydney since the 2000 Olympic Games.

Two-part in its design, The Darling has a distinctive inverted glass tower resting on a sandstone podium and features 171stylish and spacious rooms and suites, an infinity pool and a luxury 16 room spa. The Darling is also home to Sokyo, an exciting new contemporary Japanese restaurant and bar.

Echo Entertainment Group CEO, Larry Mullin said the industry award is recognition of The Darling’s distinctive design and a tribute to the hard work and dedication by a strong team of builders, designers and visionaries.

“We are very proud to receive this prestigious award and I would like to thank everyone involved, including our partners, Brookfield Mulitplex, Cox Richardson and Laurence Lee.

“We set out to create an iconic hotel at The Star that was sympathetic to its surroundings, while breaking the mould in terms of design and construction. The result we think is an innovative and aesthetically beautiful building that appeals to business and leisure travellers looking for something different to chain hotels.”

The International Hotel Awards recognise the most outstanding hotel projects across Asia Pacific which have been singled out for their green credentials, excellent architectural merit and design. Eighteen different countries took part in this year’s competition with judges reporting keen competition across the board.

Located on the edge of Sydney’s harbour and a key feature of The Star’s $870 million redevelopment, The Darling Hotel and Spa features 171 rooms and suites complete with views of the harbour and city skyline. The rooms and suites are designed to feel like a home away from home for both business and leisure travellers.

Built in addition to the existing hotel and apartments, The Darling brings the total rooms and suites at The Star to over 650 across three towers.


Poker Legend “Amarillo Slim” Preston Passes Away...

In saddening news from the state of Texas this morning, 1972 World Series of Poker Championship Event victor, four-time WSOP bracelet winner and Poker Hall of Fame member “Amarillo Slim” Preston has passed away after a lengthy illness. The legend of the poker world was 83 years old.

Last weekend, Preston was entered into hospice care, battling cancer and heart problems. Buoyed by several friends in the poker community, including his old “road gambler” running mate Doyle Brunson, Preston seemed to improve over the past week. The announcement of his passing was provided to poker player Scott Clark, who also stated that full details regarding the passing of a poker legend would come later today from the family.

Born Thomas Austin Preston, Jr., in Arkansas in 1928, the man who would become “Amarillo Slim” was known for his propensity to make outlandish prop bets as well as his tremendous skills on the felt. Joining up with Brunson and another former World Champion-to-be, Brian “Sailor” Roberts, the trio would tour the Southwest as the original Texas “road gamblers,” traveling to poker games to make a living. Although the trio would eventually break up their partnership (after they lost their bankroll in Las Vegas, a story told by Brunson in several arenas), they would continue to remain friends and earn their legends during the early years of the World Series of Poker.

“Amarillo Slim” first earned attention during the 1972 WSOP Main Event, taking down the championship for his first ever bracelet. He was able to parlay that victory into a celebrity status, appearing on talk shows including The Tonight Show and movies to promote the game of poker. He would also continue to excel on the tables, taking three more WSOP bracelets, with his last victory coming in 1990 in a $5000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament.

Preston was also very influential in other poker endeavors. He was responsible for several poker books, including Amarillo Slim’s Play Poker To Win. One of his most popular literary efforts was his autobiography, Amarillo Slim In A World Full Of Fat People, which he detailed his career on the tables and with his prop bets. As recently as 2007, Preston released an e-book co-written with Joe Brent Riley.

“Amarillo Slim” also played host to the Super Bowl of Poker which, at the time, was one of the biggest tournaments around until it cancellation in 1991. That tournament was won by actor/poker player Gabe Kaplan on one occasion and accounted for three of poker legend Stu Ungar’s ten career victories.

Over the span of his tournament poker career, Preston was able to cash in tournaments around the world. On the WSOP stage, “Amarillo Slim” was able to cash eleven times, with his most recent cash coming in 2007 in the Seniors Event, and was still racking up those cashes as late as 2009, when he finished in fourth place in an event on the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza schedule. Overall, the career earnings for Preston may not be impressive ($587,568, according to the Hendon Mob database), but his overall impact on the game of poker might arguably only be rivaled by Chris Moneymaker’s historic 2003 WSOP Championship victory.

Comments regarding Preston’s passing have poured in across social media. Poker pro Bernard Lee simply stated, “RIP Amarillo Slim, one of the first poker superstars,” over his Twitter feed. Brunson himself recounted a story on his personal blog of a robbery the twosome had gone through in the early 1960s, while others paused for a moment in memory of one of poker’s all-time greats.

Poker News Daily would like to pass along our condolences to the Preston family during this saddening time.

UPDATE: The Preston family has released a statement through Nolan Dalla, the Media Director for the WSOP, stating the following:

“We hope everyone will remember our beloved Amarillo Slim for all the positive things he did for poker and to popularize his favorite game – Texas Hold’em.” (Poker News Daily)


The Avengers versus The X-Men...

In the late '60s, the legendary comic artist Neal Adams was lured by the irrepressible Stan Lee to reinterpret the Marvel comic of his choice.

He chose the then least-successful comic, The X-Men, which the company was phasing out. Lee's response, according to Adams: "Why don't you do the last two X-Men and then do an important book like The Avengers?"

"I actually did 10 issues," Adams says. "It was after those 10 issues that everybody and their brother became fans of The X-Men and every new artist wanted to do The X-Men."

In 2012, the "important" comic finally gets its own movie, with The Avengers finally hitting the screen (after a warmup that included two Iron Man movies, two Hulks, Captain America and Thor). The erstwhile expendible X-Men franchise, meanwhile, will flex its muscles again next summer when Hugh Jackman dons his adamantium claws for The Wolverine. And, not to miss a marketing opportunity, Marvel released an Avengers Vs. X-Men comic book series last month.

Herewith, a thumbnail comparison of the two Marvel franchises on film.

THE AVENGERS

Born: September 1963 in Avengers Comics #1.

Original Members: Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man, Wasp

Related Movies This Century: Seven (The Avengers, Two Iron Mans, Hulk, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America)

Domestic Box Office: $1.26 billion (source: Box Office Mojo)

You Don't Want To Make Him Angry: Hulk

Boy Scout: Captain America

Fanboys Drool Over: Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

Brains Behind The Operation (Onscreen): Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)

Brains Behind The Operation (Real life): Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly)

Oscar Cred: Gwyneth Paltrow (won), Robert Downey Jr. (nominated twice), Mark Ruffalo (nominated), Jeremy Renner (nominated twice), Samuel L. Jackson (nominated)

Evil British Actor: Tom Hiddleston as Loki

Best Cameo By Marvel Founder Stan Lee: Tony Stark mistakes him for Hugh Hefner on a red carpet in Iron Man

THE X-MEN

Born: September 1963 in X-Men Comics #1

Original Members: Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Beast and Iceman

Related Movies This Century: Five (X-Men, X-Men 2: X-Men United, X-Men 3: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class)

Domestic Box Office: $932 million (source: Box Office Mojo)

You Don't Want To Make Him Angry: Wolverine

Boy Scout: Cyclops

Fanboys Drool Over: Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, Rebecca Romijn as Mystique

Brains Behind The Operation (Onscreen): Prof. Xavier (Patrick Stewart)

Brains Behind The Operation (Real life): Bryan Singer (first two movies).

Oscar Cred: Halle Berry (won), Anna Paquin (won), Ian McKellen (nominated twice), Ellen Page (nominated), Hugh Jackman (hosted), Jennifer Lawrence (nominated)

Evil British Actor: Ian McKellen as Magneto

Best Cameo By Marvel Founder Stan Lee: Hot dog vendor in X-Men; old man watering his lawn in The Last Stand.


Avengers does well at Aussie box office...

The hugely anticipated mega-blockbuster The Avengers has wreaked havoc at the Australian box office, breaking $6 million on the film's Anzac Day opening.

It puts the 3-D action flick at No.2 on the list of all-time best Australian box office openings behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which took $7 million on its first day in July last year.

The Joss Whedon-directed superhero mash-up is now on track to fly past The Hunger Games to be the year’s biggest box office smash.

The Avengers, which features Australian Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, is the latest in a long line of superhero films to come out of the Marvel comics stable.

However, its one day figure easily surpasses the combined individual opening days of each of the the studio's movies — Iron Man 2, which took $1.813 million in 2010, last year's Thor ($1.3million) and Captain America: The First Avenger ($0.86million) and 2008's The Incredible Hulk ($0.37million) for a total of $4.357 million.

It also represents the best opening day for Disney Studios, taking the number one position from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe ($3.5 million).

The film's performance is remarkable given that Anzac Day trading restrictions in Queensland and Victoria meant cinemas could not open until after 1.30pm. And WA is contributing a large proportion of the takings, with Innaloo the third top Event Cinemas location in the country behind Sydney’s George Street multiplex.

Event Cinemas WA area manager Stephen Lamb said Gold Class sessions were sold out weeks in advance and the fight for seats was at Boxing Day levels.

WA Hoyts marketing co-ordinator Alex Biddle also reported bumper sales: "Hoyts Cinemas across WA saw their Xtremescreen and IMAX cinemas teeming with enthusiastic cinemagoers" while Ace Cinemas marketing and promotions manager Karen Smith added: "This film has certainly pumped up our box office and engergised the cinema viewers' batteries."

Senior vice president and managing director of The Walt Disney Company John Cracknell said the success of The Avengers was testament to "fabulous storytelling with a blockbuster cast and world-renowned director".

Whedon is best known as the creator of the cult television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel.

He co-wrote and produced the horror film The Cabin in the Woods, which is due for release in Australia in July. (The West Australian)


Heroic effort as The Avengers tops box office...

Marvel's long-awaited and much-hyped all-in superhero pic The Avengers has recorded the second-highest local one-day haul in history, taking just over $6 million on Anzac Day.

With Joss Whedon at the helm and a budget of around $US220 million, expectations for the film are high, and its Australian result is bound to settle a few nerves ahead of the film's US opening on May 2.

For the record, the film with the highest one-day opening in Australia is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which took $7.092 million on July 13, 2011. But The Avengers pipped it in per-screen terms, taking an average of $9668 on each of its 621 screens, versus Harry's average of $9716 across 730 screens.

Of the top 10 opening days, the best per-screen average remains the $12,336 recorded by Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers on 424 screens on December 26, 2002. Adjusted for inflation, that is the equivalent of roughly $16,000 per screen today.

It doesn't have the clout or the saturation exposure of The Avengers, but the week's second-placed film made a very solid bow. The Lucky One is Australian director Scott Hicks' adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' (The Notebook) novel, and it proved something of a lucky charm for him, taking $3.59 million with the week’s best per-screen average of $14,027.

The weepy about an Iraq war veteran (Zac Effron) who goes in search of the woman he thinks magically saved his life also opened strongly in the US, recouping its estimated $US25 million budget in a week. It was a strong start for the Shine director's first film since 2009's The Boys Are Back.

At No. 3 was Battleship, sailing on with $3 million in its second week and a total of $8.4 million.

The Hunger Games did $2.16 million in its fifth week, taking its total to $29.12.
Fleshing out the top five is American Pie: Reunion, which took $2.1 million in its third week for a total of $13.42 million.

Australian Box Office (April 19-25)

1. The Avengers (M) - $6,003,882
2. The Lucky One (M) - $3,586,273
3. Battleship (M) - $3,020,666 ($8,420,129 after 2 weeks)
4. The Hunger Games (M) - $2,160,941 ($29,117,930 after 5 weeks)
5. American Pie: Reunion (MA15+) - $2,152,882 ($13,428,159 after 3 weeks)
6. Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (G) - $2,097,817 ($15,110,737 after 4 weeks)
7. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG) - $1,892,057 ($17,228,059 after 5 weeks)
8. Titanic 3D (M) - $1,402,489 ($6,493,694 after 3 weeks)
9. Pirates! Band Of Misfits (G) - $1,241,266 ($5,963,905 after 3 weeks)
10. Mirror Mirror (PG) - $863,978 ($5,939,508 after 4 weeks)
Source: Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (Fairfax Media)


Out of the picture for Melbourne films...

Melbourne's major film studio has called on the Federal Government to ramp up its support for international flicks shot locally.

Major overseas productions have shunned Docklands Studios Melbourne since 2010’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, as the high Aussie dollar has eroded competitiveness.

Studio chief executive Rod Allan has responded by lobbying the government to increase its location offset rebate from 16.5 per cent of what film productions spend in Australia to 30 per cent, to entice more acclaimed directors, actors and producers to our shores.

Mr Allan said he was hopeful of an announcement to this effect in next week’s Federal Budget.

But a spokeswoman for Arts Minister Simon Crean, Angela Dorizas, did not commit to any increased support when contacted by Leader last week.

Ms Dorizas said the government’s backing for the sector, including the 16.5 per cent offset, was at record levels.

She said the upcoming Hugh Jackman blockbuster The Wolverine would be shot in Sydney - thanks to a one-off payment of $12.8 million to bring it to Australia - leading to investment of $80 million and 2000 Australian jobs.

Despite the recent lack of international interest in Melbourne, Mr Allan said Docklands Studios was busy with television productions and a feature film - I, Frankenstein, starring Bill Nighy and Aaron Eckhart - which qualified as local due to a large contingent of Australians on the team.

“This year has been good. At one point every available space was hired, but the business is naturally cyclical,” Mr Allan said.

Established in 2004 and run by the State Government, Docklands Studios hires out five giant soundstages.

Major international productions filmed there include Ghost Rider, starring Nicolas Cage, and the Steven Spielberg-produced US TV series The Pacific.

TV productions now using the space include Winners and Losers and Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation.

The state’s peak film body, Film Victoria, did not respond before deadline.


Olympics security: surface-to-air missiles could be stationed on the rooftop of apartment block...

Surface-to-air missiles could be stationed on the rooftop of an apartment block in east London as part of Britain's air defences for the Olympics, the country's military confirmed on Sunday.

About 700 people living at the building in Bow - about 3.2 kilometres from London's Olympic Stadium - have been contacted and warned that the weapons and about 10 troops are likely to be based at the site for about two months.

In a leaflet sent to residents, the ministry said the venue offered an uncluttered "view of the surrounding areas and the entire sky above the Olympic park".

Troops plan to conduct tests next week at the building, an upmarket gated apartment complex, to determine if the high velocity surface-to-air missiles will be stationed on a water tower attached to the site's roof.

Britain has previously confirmed that up to 13,500 troops are being deployed on land, at sea and in the air to help protect the Olympics alongside police and security guards.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said Typhoon fighter jets, helicopters, two warships and bomb disposal experts will also be on duty as part of the security operation.

"As announced before Christmas, ground-based air defence systems could be deployed as part of a multilayered air security plan for the Olympics, including fast jets and helicopters, which will protect the skies over London during the games," the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

"Based on military advice we have identified a number of sites and, alongside colleagues from the Metropolitan Police, are talking to local authorities and relevant landowners to help minimise the impact of any temporary deployments."

However, the ministry insisted that "no final decision on whether or not to deploy ground-based air defence systems for the games has been taken".

Resident Brian Whelan said those who lived at the site were wary about the plan.

"From the few people I've spoken to, and the security we have here, they're not happy about it," he said. "I don't think it needs to be here at all."

The leaflet insisted there would be no hazard to those living in the building.

It said the missile system would be "only authorised for active use following specific orders from the highest levels of government in response to a confirmed and extreme security threat". (AP)


Paul Orndorff Slams Bret Hart, Warrior, Ric Flair & More...

"Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff was a guest on Inside The Ropes' 15th episode, where he talked about several topics and slammed a few legendary wrestlers. His interview stars 42 minutes, 20 seconds in.

On facing Ric Flair for the NWA World Title in 1982: "He was just another body. Some are better than others. I believed in making it look real. I was probably hard to work with because I wanted it to make real and I knew how to wrestle."

On working the first Wrestlemania in the main event: "It was special. There were so many people. It was the largest crowd to ever watch it. And then the pay per view of it was just ungodly. This was my opportunity to be really noticed and be seen. My paycheck….it was huge. I made more money in that 30 minutes than I did in a whole year with the NWA. People expected it and they were gonna get it from me."

On working with Mr. T: "I wasn't crazy about it. I was very protective WrestleMania 1of the business. I was taught that. You take care of it. You don't give out all your trade secrets. But then again you look at somebody like Ric Flair and you can say how can you hide something when they look like that? So I guess I started to give in a little bit."

On the transition in WWF from wrestling to entertainment in the 1980s: "It depends on your personality. I protected it. To me that wasn't protecting it. As you can see right now, because they didn't protect it, where it is now, there's only two shows now. Look how many there was, there was one in every state, now look where it is."

On Vince using bigger guys like Warrior: "I thought it was the worst move they could've made. Vince did it on purpose. He did it so he could be the only one."

On Warrior: "He never paid his dues. You gotta pay your dues, go and learn your trade that'll make it better when you are on that big stage. It's called experience and nobody has any now, because there's nowhere to go to get it."

On giving the belt to smaller stars like Savage and Bret: "No. Absolutely not. It's like putting the belt on someone who wants to be a wrestler. It didn't work. It downgraded, made the belt worthless. When Terry Funk, Harley Race had world titles, it meant more."

On the rumor that Hogan wouldn't drop the belt to Bret in 1993: "I don't blame him. I wouldn't have either. Bret Hart was a nobody from Canada and Hogan was the greatest star in wrestling. I don't blame him. He did the right thing."

He also gave some quick fire thoughts on several wrestlers:
-Ultimate Warrior: "I gotta go to the bathroom………………..NEXT!"
-Vince McMahon: "One of a kind."
-Hulk Hogan: "Great."
-Bret Hart: "I don't care much for Canadians."
-Randy Savage: "OK."
-Ric Flair: "A Joke."


WWE News: Big WWE Network updates - no timetable for launch, McMahon addresses current standing & challenges, will PPVs move to Network?, specific shows in the works...

WWE remains unsure when a proposed WWE Network will launch and what form the Network will take.

During the annual shareholders meeting Friday, WWE executives fielded numerous questions related to the Network. Near the end of the Q&A, WWE CEO Vince McMahon was finally asked point-blank when the Network will be launching.

"That's a really good question," McMahon replied. McMahon then repeated WWE's stance that they want to make sure they "do it right" by exploring all of their options with a traditional cable TV model versus a hybrid model incorporating newer media.

Specifically related to when the decision will be made, McMahon said, "An announcement is forthcoming." After a pause, McMahon said, "In other words, I don't have that answer."

McMahon suggested earlier in the meeting that WWE could launch a cable-specific Network right now, but the volatility of the market and "times being different now" makes them more cautious to continue looking into other Network options.

"We're close to closing - if we wish - a linear network. We can do that," McMahon said. "We can also look at other opportunities at the same time that might be better for us, but, then again, it might not be."

One investor offered three proposed alternatives to a traditional cable TV network that included a suggestion for PPV event distribution through GFL.TV, a YouTube model alternative, and an a la carte offering online.

WWE CFO George Barrios replied that their research shows TV viewing behavior is still ahead of online/new-model consumption by a ratio of 5:1 hours. He said consumers may supplement their TV viewing on smart phones and other devices, but they still watch TV at a high rate, which is why they continue to pursue a traditional cable TV network model.

-- Another major aspect of the Network discussion centered on whether PPV events will be offered on the Network, as has been rumored over the past year. McMahon was vague in response, saying, the Network policy "may or may not include PPVs." He added, "It's certainly a factor we're considering."

The topic was also looked at from a different angle when a shareholder asked about offering current PPV events in a season pass form to curtail lower PPV buys for non-WrestleMania events. McMahon said, "That's a possibility," before noting PPVs could be part of the Network package. However, the key for WWE would be knowing when to pull the trigger on changing the PPV model and whether it's feasible to include PPVs on the Network.

-- Some of the key phrasing WWE used was their belief that they can drive the current WWE audience to a Network and that there is strong demand for more WWE content, which would be made available through a Network. "Give audience more of what they want," McMahon said. WWE did not provide supporting evidence for their belief that there is more demand for more content, though.

-- Asked of WWE Classics-on-Demand will go away when the Network launches, McMahon said it most likely will. Earlier in the meeting, WWE management stressed they are creating new shows based on their tape library.

-- Two shows WWE stressed for the Network were a show based on the Monday Night Wars and a WWE Countdown show, which WWE is currently pushing in new DVD releases.

Link: WWE's full shareholders meeting can be viewed at this link from WWE Corporate (Pro Wrestling Torch)


HULK HOGAN Take My Naked Ass Off the Internet!!!...

Hulk Hogan is freaking OUT over screengrabs of his alleged sex tape that have leaked onto the Internet -- and now, the wrestling legend's taking legal action ... sending in his lawyer to clean up the XXX mess.

The black-and-white pics -- which appear to show a naked Hulk doing the nasty with an unidentified female -- surfaced on TheDirty.com last week ... and more pics followed.

But Hulk isn't taking the affront on his knees -- unlike a certain unidentified female -- in fact, his lawyer just fired off a cease and desist letter to TheDirty.com editor Nik Richie, demanding Nik take down the pics forthwith ... or face a lawsuit.

The lawyer writes, "As you know, should a sex tape or photographs of Mr. Bollea exist, they were taken without his consent and therefore the same would constitute a felony in the State of Florida."

We're told Nik and TheDirty.com have no plans to remove the pictures in question. Stay tuned ... (TMZ)


Lakshmi Mittal retains tag as richest man in Britain, tops Sunday Times Rich list...

LONDON: It's not a good year to be in metals,mining or owning football clubs. Lakshmi Mittal, who still retains his tag as the richest man in Britain, topping the annual Sunday Times Rich list, is GBP4.8 billion poorer than he was last year, with his wealth estimated at GBP12.7bn - the main reason, a Eurozone crisis that has eroded the share price of Arcelor Mittal.

Anil Agarwal, Vedanta's promoter, has seen his position dropping from 12th place to 26, thanks, again to dropping share prices that's seen his wealth erode by GBP1.5 bn. Ravi Ruia, who entered the list last year at number 12, has also seen his share price bomb, and in 2012 clocks in at 33, with his wealth almost halved by GBP2.9 bn to GBP 2 bn. The newspaper noted that Essar Global, which was valued around GBP 5.4 bn in 2010 when it floated, is now valued at GBP 1.6 bn.

The only Indians who have seen their position going up are Sri and Gopichand Hinduja, who last hit the headlines for buying a palatial mansion at Carlton Terrace, within a stone's throw of Buckingham Palace in Pall Mall, who are now estimated to be worth GBP8.6bn, up by GBP 2.6 bn from last year. It puts them at the 4th place in the top 1000 rich list.

Anurag Dikshit, the reclusive, Gibralter-based former owner of poker site Partygaming, makes it to the number 3 in the top philanthropy list in 2012, with recent donation of GBP 23.4 million to his charitable trust in India, Kusuma, in addition to the GBp 172 million he gave away last year, reducing his personal wealth to a mere GBP 35 million.

In the top 50, another Indian who's seen he's position rise is Ajay Kalsi, of AIMS-listed Indus Ind Gas, who at number 42 has significantly crawled up the ladder from number 58. The newspaper attributed this to share prices holding up despite the recession.

Of the other top 3, though, Alisher Usmanov, the Russian mining tycoon best known for his recent acquisition of Arsenal football club, has also lost wealth, as has Roman Abramovich, the oil mogul best known for his ownership of Chelsea football club, has also lost money.


SkyCity holds winning hand, say Oz analysts...

SkyCity's controversial expansion plans have not dented its share price - nor the view taken of the business by three Australian-based professional investment experts.

Not only are analysts picking better fortunes for the gaming business, but their latest market research out this month on four ASX- and NZX-listed gaming industry businesses showed they had rethought the longer-term outlook for SkyCity's earnings.

They picked it as the best performer on a profit revision basis, piling on more money than the other three.

Shares are still rising despite the business suffering a backlash against its $350 million offer to build an international convention and exhibition centre in Auckland's Hobson St in return for Government permission to have more gaming machines.

The company, with a market capitalisation of $2.2 billion, is trading at $3.81, below its $4 two-year high but well above the $3.30 of last November.

Deutsche Bank Markets Research's Mark Wilson, Daniel Pi and Anthony Hanna revised up their SkyCity earnings estimate forecasts by 2 per cent, the highest for any of the Australasian stock exchange-listed gaming businesses.

Instead of making $145.4 million net after-tax profit in 2012, $150.7 million in 2013 and $164.9 million in 2014, SkyCity will make $145.8 million, $153.6 million and $168.1 million, they predict.

They advise investors not to sell, issuing a hold recommendation on the stock because they believe it has good potential - although they have not gone as far as issuing a buy, which they have on the giant Melbourne and Perth Crown.

Some of the risks and rewards of buying shares in SkyCity are major capital expenditure projects with the benefits the business has gained from recent main gaming floor refurbishments, they say.

Changes to the regulatory environment, movements in the New Zealand and Australian dollars and changes to the New Zealand economy, particularly household disposable incomes, are also singled out for mention.

Auckland accounted for 60 per cent of the group earnings, they said, exposing the business to booms and busts in one area.

"SkyCity's earnings are sensitive to movements in the Australian dollar given the translation of earnings from the Adelaide and Darwin casinos," said the analysts, who used various financial metrics to give a favourable review of the business, benchmarking it against gambling rivals Aristocrat, Crown and Tatts Group.

Crown owns and operates two of Australia's leading gaming and entertainment venues: Crown Entertainment Complex in Melbourne and the Burswood Entertainment Complex in Perth.

Aristocrat Leisure makes and sells gaming machines and supplies gaming systems, table gaming equipment and other services for casinos, clubs and hotels. Tatts provides leisure and entertainment products and services to the Australasian gambling industry and has investments in overseas businesses.

Nigel Morrison, SkyCity's chief executive, has wanted to expand Auckland because he says international gamblers, particularly from Asia, do a circuit of major Australasian casinos. (New Zealand Herald)


Bwin.party Commits to Teradata to Drive Single Customer and Operational View...

Online gaming and sports betting leader will use advanced data warehouse system to integrate its customer base, strengthen analytics and improve BI performance...

LONDON, April 24, 2012 -- Teradata (NYSE: TDC), the analytic data solutions company, has agreed to a deal with Bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plc, the world's largest listed online gaming company, to supply a new, high-performance enterprise data warehouse solution.

Based in Gibraltar and listed on the London Stock Exchange, Bwin.party is one of the largest online gaming operators. It was created in March 2011 through a merger Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and PartyGaming Plc.

The agreement will see the Teradata Database and a Teradata integrated data warehouse platform implemented across Bwin.party's gaming and sports customer bases to create a single customer view across all gaming verticals. In turn, this will enable Bwin.party to segment its customer base and target marketing campaigns more effectively based on previous customer activity.

In addition to facilitating essential financial reporting across the joint organisation, the new integrated Teradata solution is expected to strengthen the data analytics used for essential campaign planning, reduce operating costs and contribute to an easier-to-use and maintain business intelligence environment.

"Data analytics are essential to our organisation," said Bwin.party's Group Technology Director Tod Martin. "We believe that the new Teradata solution will be extremely effective in consolidating data generated by our joint organisation, whilst providing the platform for better reporting analytics and insight."

Current planned developments include the provision of a more widely-available self-service Business Intelligence model across the wider organisation.

"We are delighted that Bwin.party has chosen the latest Teradata integrated data warehouse platform," added Teradata Corporation Area Vice President, UK, Chris Armitage. "The technology is well-placed to help drive business performance and consolidate key performance indicators across the organisation."

About Teradata Teradata Corporation (NYSE: TDC) is the world's leading analytic data solutions company, focused on integrated data warehousing, big data analytics, and business applications. Teradata's innovative products and services deliver data integration and business insight to empower organizations to make the best decisions possible and achieve competitive advantage. Visit teradata.com for details.

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 online poker licences in France and Italy. With offices in Europe, India, Israel and the US the Group generated total pro forma revenue of euro 816.0m and pro forma Clean EBITDA of euro 199.3m in 2011. Bwin.party operates one of the world's largest online poker networks, www.PartyPoker.com and also owns the World Poker Tour. The Group's scale, proprietary poker software, online gaming platform and strong portfolio of games collectively differentiates its customer offer from those of its competitors. Bwin.party is a constituent member of the FTSE4Good Index Series, which identifies companies that meet globally recognised corporate responsibility standards.


bwin.party will go social in 2012...

bwin.party digital entertainment plans to launch into the social gaming sector this year.

Commenting on the company’s financial results for the full year 2011, co-CEOs Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger said: “As integration projects are completed, we are channelling more resources into driving innovation across the business and through new channels including our proprietary mobile gaming platform. We are also extending our reach into new areas of digital entertainment such as social gaming, where we see significant potential.”

bwin.party reported a 0.2 per cent increase in total revenues to €816m for the year ended December 31, 2011, and it remains “on track to deliver approximately €40m of synergies this year and €65m in 2013." The growth in casino and games, as well as slight improvement in sports betting revenues, made up for a decline in its poker and bingo offering.

Looking ahead, Ryan and Teufelberger said they expect to gain competitive advantage this year from additional scale and improved flexibility, which will flow from the integration and migration of the company’s main products to a single technology platform. The company will also add more casino games and continue to improve its poker and bingo offerings.

They continued: “We have secured strong business partners in the US ahead of any regulation there and have also applied for a licence in Spain, which is expected to regulate in the second quarter of this year. In Germany, we have applied for a gaming licence in Schleswig-Holstein, the only EU-compliant licensing regime available.” (Intergame)

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gold Coast hotel Palazzo Versace for sale; Property buy opportunity of decade?

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Palazzo Versace Hotels Luxury Gold Coast Fashion Property Brands


Palazzo Versace, the ultra glamorous hotel that put Queensland's Gold Coast on the international map at the start of the new millennium, is going on the market.

Owner the Sunland Group, which snatched a coup by opening the world's first fashion-branded hotel in 2000, is aiming to sell the Main Beach hotel to reinvest in other projects.

These could include building another property on the site of Mariner's Cove, south of Palazzo Versace, and an upmarket Brisbane apartment tower.

The new owner will have the keys to a property that has been admired around the globe since it was constructed nearly 12 years ago.

It is the ultimate entertaining venue, one where guests can be spoiled and feted in six-star luxury.

The hotel has had hundreds of famous guests since it first opened its doors, including the Rolling Stones, Paris Hilton, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Beyonce and Jay Z, and more recently Rod Stewart and Chris Brown. Ruler of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashed al-Maktoum passed away at the hotel in 2006.

Major features of the three-level landmark are 200 ensuite bedrooms, a 65m lagoon pool, luxury spa, high-tech gymnasium and marina.

The owner, in building this property, spared no expense, importing specially-designed Italian fittings and furnishings and flying in Italian artisans to undertake the intricate tiling and mosaic work.

The decision to sell the 200-room Palazzo Versace comes six months after Sunland regained 100 per cent ownership of the property in a deal with a Middle Eastern partner who acquired a 49 per cent stake seven years ago.

McVay Real Estate principal Dan McVay says he expects the hotel to bring at least $80 million.

"It's totally unique and will be seen as a trophy property, not just by hoteliers but by some of the world's wealthiest people," he said.

"There has been a never-ending trail of people wanting to buy the hotel over the years, virtually all of them from offshore.

"Hence I expect the buyer to be international, with Asian parties probably at the front of the queue."

Mr McVay, who with son Sam is marketing Palazzo Versace through an expressions of interest campaign, says he expects the hotel to sell well below replacement cost.

"The 200 rooms average 50sq m and at $80 million that equates to $8000 a sq m.

"For that figure you're not getting just 200 rooms - you also get three restaurants, a ballroom, shops, a gymnasium, a spa, a marina and other facilities."

Mr McVay says Palazzo Versace has performed solidly in the past year against the backdrop of what he regards as the worst market for hotel operators in more than 20 years.

"It's been making money and should net $4 million or more in the 2011-12 year.

"It's also being sold in pristine condition, having undergone a multimillion-dollar revitalisation in the last 18 months."

A Media Man analyst said "This Palazoo Versace purchase opportunity could very well end up one of the top luxury and property buys of the decade. For a company or individual looking to make a huge intentional splash into the property and / or high end luxury market, this is it".

Expressions of interest in Palazzo Versace will close in early June.


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Media Man Network accepting approved advertisers and campaigns


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The Media Man Network is currently accepting approved advertisers and campaigns - both online and traditional campaigns.

Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company.

They were established in 2001 and are a multi-time award winner.

Ranked in the Hitwise Australia top ten (entertainment - personalities category), Google 'Best Of The Web', and AllExperts (TV and Radio).

Campaign portfolio includes WWE, UFC, Messages On Hold, Human Statue Bodyart, PartyCasino, Virgin Games, Marvel Entertainment, Aston Martin, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, PlatinumHD, Ric Drasin, Eva Rinaldi Photography, Music News Australia, Richard Bradley Productions, Gizzi's Cafe, Frank Sinatra Enterprises, Palazzo Versace, IGT and Endemol.

The Media Man website network currently attracts approximately 5 million hits per month.

Media Man is regularly quoted in mainstream media including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Daily Telegraph, B&T, The New York Times blog, Gambling911, Street Corner and News Limited blog websites.

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