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Friday, September 30, 2011

Marvel Entertainment Movie And Gaming News, by Greg Tingle - 30th September 2011


Movies Hollywood Marvel Entertainment Marvel Slots Marvel Studios Paramount Pictures Disney Games Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Media Man

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment's PartyCasino Tipped To Get More Hollywood And Marvel Themed Slot Games... the world's biggest and most trusted online gambling company, is tipped to soon be getting more Marvel Comics and Hollywood themed slot games. Will it be Captain America, Blade, Andre The Giant, Knight Rider or all of the above? Stay tuned to find out!

Marvel looking for Avengers game partner...

The Avengers movie-based game that was in the works at THQ may not be happening now, but Marvel Comics tells us its gaming plans are far from over, and something big and positive is just around the corner.

"The rights for a video game based on Marvel's Avengers IP have reverted back to Marvel," a Marvel spokesperson told the press. We also heard something about "The company is in early stages of exploring potential publishing and licensing opportunities."

Should the partnership turn into reality, it would mark the Avengers' first gaming project since 1996's rarely seen Data East arcade fighter Avengers: Galactic Storm. Data East also handled the supergroup's best-known gaming excursion, the 1991 arcade beat-'em-up Captain America and the Avengers, which received a number of console ports in the following years.

The Avengers characters have featured in quite a few games over the decades. Upcoming Avengers film...Captain America, Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man...have all starred in their own feature films and accompanying game adaptations over the years.

The Avengers movie will feature a star-studded cast including Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, and Samuel L. Jackson. Insiders tip it may be the superhero themed movie of the year and takings are expected to be beyond both Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.

Activision Releases New X-Men Game...

Activision Blizzard Inc. recently announced the release of X-Men Destiny at retail stores. The title is available on Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360, Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii and DS gaming systems. X-Men Destiny’s console version has been developed by Silicon Knights while Other Ocean studio has developed the DS version.

Based on characters created by Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a division of The Walt Disney Company (DIS), the new role-playing action game (RPG) introduces three new characters in the epic battle between X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. Gamers can choose from the three new mutants- Grant Alexander, Aimi Yoshida and Adrian Luca, to fight alongside and against some of the greatest X-Men characters, such as Magneto, Cyclops, Wolverine and Gambit.

For the first time in the history of the franchisee, X-Men Destiny features a unique story telling mode, where the three new characters have a story and can make personal choices that will decide their own destiny, adding a new dimension to the game. Popular Hollywood stars have lent their voices to the three new characters, which is an added attraction of the game.

X-Men Destiny also features a new upgrade system, which allows gamers to enhance their mutant skills by mixing and matching X-Genes and abilities from various X-Men and Brotherhood characters.

X-Men has been one of the most popular franchisees published by Activision. The company has a history of publishing successful franchises based on iconic characters such as Spiderman, The Hulk, Shrek, Tony Hawk and many others. The company recently announced the release of the James Bond game GoldenEye 007: Reloaded and GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Double 'O' Edition.

We think the new games will drive Activision’s top-line growth going forward. We also believe that X-Men Destiny will provide a competitive edge against peers like Electronic Arts Inc.

Activision currently focuses on the digital channel, which helped drive revenues in the last quarter. This is an encouraging trend, since digitized games tend to yield higher margins and are also more likely to grow at a faster rate than packaged versions.

However, Activision continues to face tough competition from Electronic Arts Inc. and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.

Activision also does not have a presence in the social and mobile gaming platforms, where Electronic Arts has made strategic acquisitions and partnerships. This could impact its competitive position over the long term.

Further, the gloomy macro environment in North America and weak video game results over the last 12 months compel us to remain on the sidelines.

We offer a Neutral recommendation on Activision over the long term (for the next 3 to 6 months). Activision boasts of a strong product pipeline for the upcoming holiday season, which will boost its top-line going forward. This is the reason for the #2 Rank on the shares, which implies a Buy rating in the short term.

Thor Slot Game; Super Hero Jackpot And More...

Marvel Entertainment via and Media Man present the Thor slot game. Don't just read the comics and watch the movies, play the games!

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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Hunter Sydney Australia Movie Premiere - 26th September 2011


Movies Hollywood Tasmania Sydney Australia

Our hunt is just about over for the Australian premiere of 'The Hunter'.

Sydney might not be home to the Tasmanian Devil, but it's hard to argue with the choice of Dendy Opera Quays being the venue for tonight's Aussie premiere.

Willem Dafoe was most generous in his time with Australian press.

Defoe portrays a mercenary on the trail of the now extinct Tasmanian Tiger.

"It's true," Dafoe concedes in his instantly recognisable, gravelly voice over the phone from his home in Rome. "And that's not a bad thing."

The actor was wrapt to play the lead part of Martin in The Hunter, based on Julia Leigh's acclaimed novel of the same title.

The rising star actor told our friends at News Limited "First of all I didn't know it was freezing. But the fact that we were going to shoot in Tasmania was very important. Clearly you had this very good story set against this epic backdrop and that appealed to me not only for the adventure personally but it's also nice to find a movie that can do the things movies do best, something that television can't do for example.

"I liked the fact that it was the central character with a slow transformation and that you got to spend a lot of time with him in the bush."

"The landscape is very tough and the weather is very tough but it really rooted what we were doing. One day it would be beautiful and sunny and the next day it would be snowing and freezing cold. And button grass - unless you have walked through a field of button grass you have no idea how difficult it is."

Dafoe advised he loves to travel the world to make motion pictures, thinking that exposure to different locations and new things helps makes actors "reconsider your condition and the condition of the world". He loved that Tasmania was so faraway from the movies business and was as "a magical place to film".

"You can really concentrate on what you are doing and the further you get away from the world, then that becomes the only world," he says. "Because it is so far away from everything it has a special charm."

The Hunter also stars Frances O'Connor and Sam Neill, with whom Dafoe has worked before.

Be sure to watch out for the ongoing struggle between loggers and tree huggers.

Dafoe has worked with some huge names in the modern era of movie making. Try on for size David Lynch (Wild At Heart), Martin Scorsese (The Last Temptation of Christ), Oliver Stone (Platoon) and Sam Raimi (Spider-Man). The Hunter was directed by Daniel Nettheim, in his first feature, but Dafoe says he enjoyed the opportunity to lend his considerable expertise.

"Let's face it," he says, "Martin Scorsese and David Lynch had to start somewhere. Also you are afforded a sense of collaboration. It's always difficult to adapt a very strong piece of literature and since you spend so much time with this character it was important to really suit him to me.

"So there was lots of back and forth and working to make it a good fit. After I met Daniel I knew he was very bright and knew he was very open to working with me in that way."

Tasmania may be home for his current flick, but next stop is Mars for the rising star, thanks to Disney. Dafoe will play Tars Tarkas, a six-limbed, green Martian warrior.

For now, its apparent that Dafoe has found his place in the motion picture universe, and insiders tip he is an actor expected to go a long way, with his name up for some Hollywood awards later this year.

The Hunter opens Australia on Thursday.


The Hunter

Dendy Opera Quays



Willem Dafoe - Martin David
Sam Neill - Jack Mindy
Frances O’Connor - Lucy Armstrong
Sullivan Stapleton
Dan Wyllie
Callan Mulvey
Jacek Koman
Morgana Davies - Sass Armstrong
John Brumpton - Publican
Maia Thomas - Shakti
Jamie Timony - Free
Dan Spielman - Simon
Finn Woodlock - Bike Armstrong

Director: Daniel Nettheim
Writers: Julia Leigh (novel), Wain Fimeri (original adaptation)

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Star casino owner Echo Entertainment a logical target for Crown - 19th September 2011


World Casino Directory Australian Casinos The Star Echo Entertainment Crown Limited Donald Trump Sydney Media Man

BT Investment Management's Crispin Murray, Perpetual's Matt Williams, David Paradice from his eponymous fund management group, Lazard's Rob Osborn and Colonial's Marcus Fanning were among the investment management posse partying it up at Echo Entertainment's Sydney casino relaunch, but one shareholder's absence was notable.

James Packer, a small shareholder of Echo through his Crown casino company, declined an invitation to attend.

Although Crown is often touted as the logical acquirer of the $2.6 billion Echo, Packer has always pointed to tax as a major reason why he can't make the deal stack up. Governments in Victoria and Western Australia can't jack up taxes on Crown's Melbourne and Perth casinos without mutual agreement, unlike NSW. But UBS analysts led by Sam Theodore argue that Crown in Melbourne is reaching a point where its high-roller or VIP business will soon have to pay a "super tax" for earnings above a base rate set under a deal with the Victorian government agreed in the mid-1990s.

UBS says that Crown might look to generate more VIP revenues from its Perth casino but that buying Echo is another option.

On UBS numbers, merging Crown and Echo could generate $50 million in yearly savings. Even if Crown paid $4.90 a share for Echo, a 30 per cent premium on Friday's close of $3.77, the deal would add 5 per cent to EPS.

Echo chief Larry Mullin will be hoping a visit today from his former boss and US entrepreneur Donald Trump will create more good publicity. (Credit: News Limited)


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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Media Man Australia Website Updated

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Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Nears Finalizing US Deals, by Greg Tingle


Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Playtech Caesars Entertainment IGN World Poker Tour United States Casinos Gaming World Directory Brands Media Man

The Co-Chief Executive of Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, Jim Ryan confirmed this past week that the group is close to finalizing a number of deals with US based gambling companies, in a bid to enter the US market when legislation passes in this sector on a federal level.

Ryan said that the recently merged Bwin and PartyGaming were negotiating with companies who reached across the country, and particularly those in states where the likelihood of online gambling reaching them in the near future was higher than other states.

Ryan said that Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment was "in contract negotiations with a partner from New Jersey." In addition, the group was lining up partners in California and Florida.

These states had the greatest potential to see online gambling legislation passed, he said.

Ryan stressed that the current negotiations were not for acquisitions, but for partnerships only.

Above Consensus Market Expectations...

The announcement by Ryan was made as Bwin.Party released its first half earnings, showing that they had fallen by more than a fifth. This was put down in part to increases in gaming taxes across Europe.

The group said, however, that its numbers were still above consensus market expectations, which boosted its share prices somewhat.

While European gambling regulation continued to be encouraging, there was still uncertainty coming from the German market, which makes up for 22% of Bwin.Party's revenues.

Analysts believe that it may be two to three years before Germany's stand on regulation becomes clear.

An analyst with Peel Hunt, Nick Batram said: "While the current trading may reflect a worst case German scenario, it is frustrating that the company does not quantify the potential impact from an effective shutout and what plan B might be."

Troubles facing Full Tilt Poker also worked to Bwin.Party's advantage as players sought new poker sites and migrated to its brands.

First half earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization fell 21% to €81.8 million.

Ryan said that the group's strategy was "to be a pan-European operator and it looks like we are the only organization that has the strategy and capability to do that."

REG - digital - Dividend Declaration...

RNS Number : 2933N digital entertainment
31 August 2011 digital entertainment plc

('' or the 'Company')

Interim Dividend

The Board of has today declared an interim dividend of 1.56 pence per ordinary share in respect of the six month period ended 30 June 2011. This dividend will be paid by the Company in accordance with the timetable set out below.

Shareholders and depositary interest holders may elect to receive the dividend payment in Euros by submitting currency elections to the Company's registrar (Capita Registrars) no later than 23 September 2011. Currency election forms are in the process of being dispatched to registered shareholders and the form will be available on the Company's website, Depositary interest holders wishing to receive the dividend in Euros may submit a currency election via CREST. The foreign exchange rate used for converting the pounds sterling dividend payment into Euros will be the rate quoted by the Company at or about 11.00 a.m. (BST) on 26 September 2011.

31 August 2011 Interim dividend declared

7 September 2011 Ex-dividend date

9 September 2011 Record date

23 September 2011 Deadline for receipt of currency elections

26 September 2011 Pounds sterling/Euros foreign exchange rate struck for Euro dividend currency elections

7 October 2011 Interim dividend paid

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Financial Heads Up...

Wednesday could be one for the gamblers with online gaming operators Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment and 888 Holdings both reporting.

888 has already revealed its revenue figure for the first half – it made $153.m, an improvement of 18.1% on a year earlier. Panmure Gordon thinks earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) will be up 52% from last year at $19.1m, giving earnings per share of 4.5 cents.

“With the strong start to Q3 and, despite the planned increased investment, we believe the risk to our forecasts is on the upside,” the broker added.

As for Bwin.Party, UBS thinks the company will report a drab set of figures, with first half revenues of €425m. Even that is better than Panmure Gordon is expecting; the latter is predicting revenue of €410m.

Bwin.Party And 888 Update - 31st August 2011...

888’s rival digital saw its shares rally 15.3p to 125.3p, as investors warmed to its first set of results since it was created by the merger of PartyGaming and Austria’s bwin earlier this year.

The numbers revealed cost savings from the deal would be £8.9m more than expected and recent trading had been strong.

But it plunged to a half-year loss of £27m from profits of £53m after a £54.4m accounting charge.

The half-year dividend is 1.56p. said it was benefiting from the suspension of rival Full Tilt Poker’s license.

It hopes the US may one day reopen its doors. In the meantime, it is grappling with increased regulation in some European markets and the higher taxes this brings.

Bwin blames poker for drop in profits...

Online gaming firm revealed a drop in profits after it was dealt a blow from greater competition in poker markets.

The owner of PartyCasino, Foxy Bingo and PartyPoker said like-for-like revenues dropped three per cent to 398 million euros (£352.2 million) in the six months to June 30.

In its first set of results since the merger of Bwin and PartyGaming in March, the group said it came up against stronger comparatives with the previous year, which was boosted by the World Cup.

Revenues at its poker business declined 10 per cent to 104.9 million euros (£92.8 million) amid greater competition, including a campaign from rival 888 fronted by former Australian cricketer Shane Warne.

Underlying profits fell 21 per cent to 72.4 million euros (£64.1 million) after the group, which generates a quarter of its income in Germany, was hit by increased gaming duties as it launched in newly regulated markets.

Bwin said the number of new poker players signing up to its brands increased six per cent to 373,700 in the period, but active player days were down 11 per cent.

Revenues at its bingo arm were down eight per cent to 33 million euros (£29.2 million) amid intense competition in the UK, while sports betting revenues were down two per cent. But its casino and poker division saw revenues increase two per cent to 124.3 million euros.

*The writer has conducted b2 with Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment

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