Article: Now is a good time to re-set your Twitter password and disable Java in your browser

Now is a good time to re-set your Twitter password and disable Java in your browser

Paul Allen – NBA Billionaires – Forbes

Article: The 5 Best Productivity Articles We Read This Year

The 5 Best Productivity Articles We Read This Year

Disney is paying $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm Ltd

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Disney is paying $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company behind “Star Wars,” from its chairman and founder, George Lucas. It’s also making a seventh movie in the “Star Wars” series called “Episode 7,” set for release in 2015, with plans to follow it with Episodes 8 and 9 and then one new movie every two or three years.

The Walt Disney Co. announced the blockbuster agreement to make the purchase in cash and stock Tuesday. The deal includes Lucasfilm’s prized high-tech production companies, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, as well as rights to the “Indiana Jones” franchise.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement that the acquisition is a great fit and will help preserve and grow the “Star Wars” franchise.

“The last ‘Star Wars’ movie release was 2005’s ‘Revenge of the Sith’ — and we believe there’s substantial pent-up demand,” Iger said.

Kathleen Kennedy, the current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become the division’s president and report to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Lucas will be creative consultant on new “Star Wars” films.

Lucas said in a statement, “It’s now time for me to pass ‘Star Wars’ on to a new generation of filmmakers.”

Digital Domain shutters Florida Unit

TemboAwful news out of Florida this morning. Digital Domain announced today that as part of “a strategic realignment that will enable it to focus its resources on its core business,” it will shut down its new Port St. Lucie, Florida studio Tradition and halt production of its first animated feature The Legend of Tembo. Per the studio’s press release:

As a key part of this strategic realignment, DDMG has begun the cessation of its Port St. Lucie operations by reducing virtually its entire Port St. Lucie workforce, retaining approximately 20 employees who will remain as part of the wind-down.

300 people lost their jobs this morning. The breakdown: “About 100 on Tembo, 50 or so on VFX, 100 or so doing Stereo Conversion work, and about 50 or so misc. employees.”

One artist who was let go tweeted, “A very sad day for the Digital Domain Tradition studios family. I’ll miss the whole Tembo crew,” and followed up with, “In related news, I’m looking for work! I’ll have an updated portfolio online later today.”

Other Digital Domain studios will remain open according to the same press release: “DDMG’s studios in California and Vancouver intend to continue to operate without interruption, as will the Digital Domain Institute, based in West Palm Beach, Florida

Frequent moviegoing has Plummeted

Frequent moviegoing has plummeted among entertainment options for Americans during the past three years, according to results of an annual survey by the public relations giant Edelman. The study, which looks at attitudes and preferences of U.S. and UK entertainment consumers and the impact of social media, was presented today at the Soho House in West Hollywood. It shows that TV remains the most-used source of entertainment (45% of Americans frequently turn to it for entertainment, and 58% in the UK), while the Internet continues to creep up in usage (34% of U.S., 27% of UK). The real loser, however, was “cinema/movies,” which now rate as a “frequent source of entertainment” among just 3% of U.S. consumers, down from 28% in the survey just two years ago.

“It confirms some of what we’ve been seeing with declining movie attendance, which had a 16-year low in 2011”, said Gail Becker, Edelman’s chair for the Western Region, Canada and Latin America. “But I think the bigger change is in the perceived value of entertainment content.” All categories of entertainment “moved up together in both countries”, she added. “It signifies how this entertainment ecosystem is lifting all boats”. Becker was referring to other survey findings that showed a huge uptick — in most cases doubling — in the value audiences put on six categories of entertainment: music, film, cable TV, satellite TV, social networks and games.

The survey results also show that bad entertainment products are swiftly and widely punished with negative comments on social media sites. That reality puts a greater premium than ever on creating really good content, because the bad stuff won’t survive long, said members of a panel discussing the survey results. “You can’t market your way out of a bad product anymore,” said Jonathan Anastas, VP Global Brand Marketing for Activision, the world’s largest game company. “People are spending more time on fewer brands. You have to have a great product and figure out how to activate those triggers in people (to get them engaged and watching). It’s a combination of top down and bottom up.”

No more “Shaken not Stirred” for 007?

SKYFALL Poster RevealedAd Age reports that actor Daniel Craig, who portrays the British Secret Service agent, will reach for a Heineken rather than his trademark cocktail in a scene from the upcoming Bond movie Skyfall, thanks to a deal Heineken USA struck with the film franchise.

Craig will additionally star in a commercial for the brew to run globally, with Skyfall director Sam Mendes serving as a consultant.

The English actor will also appear as Bond on special packaging for the beer.

Heineken USA chief marketing officer Lesya Lysyj told the trade paper, “[James Bond] is a perfect fit for us. [He is] the epitome of the man of the world.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise and to mark the event, the venerable agent has been cast to open the ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Craig, 44, will star in a short film called The Arrival to play during the games’ opening night.

In the film, he arrives at Buckingham Palace to be told his latest mission is to launch the Games, with the Queen rumored to be making a cameo appearance.

Bond will then be taken by helicopter to parachute into the Olympic stadium in Stratford, East London

Read more:

Canne’s Opening Film Announced

Rufus Norris’ Broken, starring Cillian Murphy and Un Certain Regard jury president Tim Roth, is opening Cannes‘ Critics’ Week section this year. A closing-night film has not been announced.

Celebrating its 51st running, the  sidebar is coming off of a strong 2011 showcase for rising talent. Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter took the top Critics’ Week prize in 2011, and this year he is in the official competition with Mud. Also in 2011, Australia’s Justin Kurzel was given a special mention for Snowtown, which went on to win six Australian Film Institute prizes, while Valérie Donzelli’s Declaration Of War opened the section and became France’s entry for the foreign-language Oscar. This year’s Critics’ Week runs May 17-25. Here’s the list of contenders:

OPENING FILM Broken, dir: Rufus Norris (UK)

COMPETITION FILMS Aquí Y Allá, dir: Antonio Méndez Esparza (Spain-US-Mexico) Au Galop, dir: Louis-Do de Lencquesaing (France) Les Voisins De Dieu, dir: Meni Yaesh (Israel-France) Hors Les Murs, dir: David Lambert (Belgium-Canada-France) Peddlers, dir: Vasan Bala (India) Los Salvajes, dir: Alejandro Fadel (Argentina) Sofia’s Last Ambulance, dir: Ilian Metev (Germany-Croatia-Bulgaria) SPECIAL SCREENINGS Augustine, dir: Alice Winocour (France) J’Enrage De Son Absence, dir: Sandrine Bonnaire (France-Luxembourg-Beligum)

SHORT- AND MEDIUM-LENGTH FILMS La Bifle, dir: Jean-Baptiste Saurel (France) Ce N’Est Pas Un Film De Cow-Boys, dir: Benjamin Parent (France) Circle Line, dir: Shin Suwon (South Korea) O Duplo, dir: Juliana Rojas (Brazil) Family Dinner, dir: Stefan Constantinescu (Sweden) Fleuve Rouge, Song Hong, dir: Stéphanie Lansaque & François Leroy (France) Hazara, dir: Shay Levi (Israel) Horizon, dir: Paul Negoescu (Romania) Un Dimanche Matin, dir: Damien Manivel (France) Yeguas Y Cotorras, dir: Natalia Garagiola (Argentina)

Branagh in talks to Direct Jack Ryan Reboot with Chris Pine




Kenneth Branagh In Talks to Direct Chris Pine in the Jack Ryan Reboot

Paramount has been planning a rebooted adventure for Tom Clancy‘s signature character, Jack Ryan, for some time now.  The studio found its Ryan in Chris Pine following his terrific turn as James Tiberius Kirk in 2009’s Star Trek, but getting the project off the ground hasn’t been so easy.  Last week it suffered what could’ve been a big setback when it lost its director, but apparently Paramount found a replacement right quick.

Kenneth Branagh is apparently in negotiations with the studio to take on the film, which we’ll refer to as Jack Ryan for the sake of expediency.  That’s according to Vulture, in an article that points out that Branagh delivered a summer blockbuster to Paramount and Marvel Studios with Thor before Disney bought Marvel.

Amazon announces new tie-in with Discovery Networks…

Below is text from Amazon new content from Discovery Networks:

Dear Customers,

Today we’re announcing our biggest addition yet, bringing nearly 3,000 more titles to Prime Instant Video. We’ve struck a deal with Discovery Networks to bring some of the highest quality, non-fiction, informative and entertaining content about the world to our Amazon Prime customers. Rolling out over the next few weeks are TV shows from Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, and Science. Prime members, at no additional cost, can now stream more than 17,000 titles.

The new titles include hits such as Deadliest Catch, Mythbusters, Man vs. Wild, Dirty Jobs, Gold Rush: Alaska, and Shark Week, TLC series like Say Yes to the Dress and Cake Boss, as well as content like How It’s Made from Science, and The Jeff Corwin Experience from Animal Planet.

Interesting – seems like Discovery has “found” a digital outlet for content – it will be interest to see who else joins in….