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‘Maleficent’ Holds Strongly at Japan Box Office

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TOKYO – In its fourth week on release “Maleficent” became the first foreign live-action pic to pass the JPY4 billion ($39.5 million) milestone at the Japanese box office. Following the July 26-27 weekend, the film’s cume amounted to JPY4.03 billion, good enough for second place after Toho’s release of “Godzilla.”  Opening on 649 screens on… Read more »

Stephen A. Smith Suspension Exposes ESPN’s Bigger Problem

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ESPN has a problem. It wants to be in the thick of things, to be part of every major debate pertaining to sports. But its commentators and analysts – rooted as they are in trade deadlines and X’s and O’s – can be loose cannons, occasionally getting in over their heads when pressed to address… Read more »

‘Dragonriders of Pern’ Set Up as Movie Franchise at Warner Bros.

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Warner Bros. is launching development of a movie franchise based on the sci-fi series “Dragonriders of Pern.” The studio has optioned the 22-volume book series from the estate of American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey, who died in 2011. It has yet to set up the project with a producer. The books are set in a pre-industrial… Read more »

Netflix to Pay AT&T for High-Quality Video Streaming Connections

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Netflix has struck a deal with AT&T, under which the No. 1 Internet video-streaming company will pay the U.S.’s biggest phone company fees to guarantee high-quality delivery. The deal represents the third major U.S. broadband provider Netflix has cut such a deal with, after Comcast and Verizon Communications. “We reached an interconnect agreement with AT&T… Read more »

‘The Flash,’ ‘Arrow’ Announce New Cast Members

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“Arrow” and its spinoff “The Flash” have added new faces to their upcoming seasons. “Arrow” has announced the casting of J.R. Ramirez (“Emily Owens”), who will play Wildcat on the show’s upcoming third season. On the series, the character is described to be a former boxer with a mysterious past who now runs a gym… Read more »

Ireland Welcomes Film and TV Production With Incentives

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The Emerald Isle is about to dispense more green. In 2015, the location for “Game of Thrones” and “Penny Dreadful” will boost its cash rebate from 28% to 32% in order to attract an even greater number of international productions. Plus, the program will have no restrictions on nationality-based eligibility, no requirements to team with… Read more »

Awards Race Shaping Up for Below-the-Line Talent

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Artisans account for 10 of the Academy’s 17 branches. Yet most Oscar handicappers tend to focus on the best pic and/or acting races. Those pundits don’t know what they’re missing. For one thing, the artists are often more fun to talk with than the stars. More important, this year’s craft races have already seen some… Read more »

Runaway Production Has Cost California $2 Billion Since 2010

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For the first time, there’s a calculation of just how much coin California is losing as a result of runaway production — and it’s not a pretty picture. According to the California Film Commission, the state has lost $2 billion in production spending since 2010. The org’s just-released annual report on the state’s production tax-credit… Read more »