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Monday, August 27, 2012

The Expendables 2 snags No. 1 box-office spot for second-straight weekend

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Sylvester Stallone's "The Expendables 2" snagged the No. 1 box-office spot for the second-straight weekend with $13.5 million. Released by Lionsgate, the film raised its domestic total to $52.3 million after two weekends.

Holdover movies easily led the weekend box office again, as "The Bourne Legacy" landed in second place with $9.3 million, followed by "ParaNorman" with $8.5 million.

Hollywood may have run out of summer hits, but an anti-Obama documentary is helping to fill the gap.

The weekend's new wide releases were overshadowed by "2016: Obama's America," which expanded from limited to nationwide release and took in $6.2 million to finish at No. 8.

The documentary is a conservative critique of what the country would look like four years from now if President Barack Obama is re-elected.

Released by Rocky Mountain Pictures, "Obama's America" nearly matched the $6.3 million debut of the No. 7 movie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's action tale "Premium Rush," a Sony release that played in more than twice as many theaters as the Obama documentary.

The weekend's other new wide releases opened weakly. Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell's road-chase comedy "Hit & Run," released by Open Road Films, debuted at No. 10 with $4.7 million, and the Warner Bros. fright flick "The Apparition" opened at No. 12 with $3 million.

The weak openings are typical of late August, a dumping ground for movies without much audience appeal as the summer blockbuster season winds down and young viewers switch to back-to-school mode.

But with less competition from Hollywood releases, it also opens the door for surprise successes such as "Obama's America."

"Obama's America" is based on the book "The Roots of Obama's Rage," written by Dinesh D'Souza, who co-directed the movie with John Sullivan.

The documentary now has climbed to a $9.1 million domestic total, with prospects for strong business as the Republican National Convention unfolds over the next few days. (U.S report)

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Bourne Legacy red carpet premiere at State Theatre, Sydney, Australia - 7th August 2012

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The Bourne Legacy tonight enjoyed its Sydney, Australia red carpet premiere (and a bike stunt) at the world famous State Theatre.

Megastar Jeremy Renner has seen his career take off in recent years after appearing in a string of popular movies including 'The Hurt Locker', 'Avengers' and 'The Bourne Legacy'. The 41-year-old says it is impossible for him to pick a favourite out of the vast number of films he's starred in.

"My favourite movie... it's difficult to say," Jeremy admitted to Sydney radio's Kyle and Jackie O. "It's a bit like having to choose which is your favourite child."

Renner features in the latest Bourne movie following the departure of Matt Damon. He found it tough to abide by some of the rules surrounding the top secret nature of The Bourne Legacy's script.

"They flew the script in at midnight and you were allowed to look at it for two hours before they flew it back. I'm a slow reader anyway so I felt pressured," Jeremy explained. "I had to really rifle through it! I mean what were they going to do, have it burst into flames on me or something?!"

Although he felt stressed, Jeremy agrees with the concept. The actor respects the need for secrecy with storylines in the film industry.

"We are in the age where nothing is sacred or private anymore. It gets to the point where no one wants to come see movies if they know the ending anymore so why spoil it for people?" Jeremy continued. "Especially in a big franchise like Bourne where there is a big fan base."

Story...

After agent Jason Bourne goes rogue as seen in the original "Bourne" trilogy--CIA agent Eric Byer (Edward Norton), head of the government's secret Outcome program which has used a chemical process to create super agents, decides to end that program by killing all the agents in the field. One such agent, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) manages to survive the culling and with the help of biochemist Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) goes on the run from Byers' agents as he tries to get the chemicals he needs to survive.

"The Bourne Legacy" is a very interesting approach to reviving a franchise because it's not a reboot as much as a sequel that takes place concurrently and overlapping with "The Bourne Ultimatum." This idea is the brainchild of Tony Gilroy, who was involved in the the first three "Bourne" movies before directing "Michael Clayton" and "Duplicity." He returns to the "Bourne" franchise.

In The Bourne Legacy, writer/director Tony GIlroy expands the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films.

For The Bourne Legacy, Renner joins fellow series newcomers Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac, while franchise veterans Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn reprise their roles.

The buzz is that this is an awesome film, so be watching out for release dates in your region.

Release Date: August 10, 2012

Genre: Action-Thriller

Studio: Universal

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Albert Finney, Joan Allen, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Oscar Isaac

Directed By: Tony Gilroy

Written By: Tony Gilroy and Dan Gilroy

Produced By: Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley, Jeffrey M. Weiner, Ben Smith

Full Cast List:

Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross
Rachel Weisz as Dr. Marta Shearing
Scott Glenn as Ezra Kramer
Stacy Keach as Retired Adm. Mark Turso, USN
Edward Norton as Retired Col. Eric Byer, USAF
Donna Murphy as Dita Mandy
Michael Chernus as Arthur Ingram
Corey Stoll as Zev Vendel
Prue Lewarne as CNN Reporter
Tony Guida as Dr. Benezara
Sonnie Brown as Dr. Lieberburg
Neil Brooks Cunningham as Dr. Dan Hillcott
Zeljko Ivanek as Dr. Donald Foite
Robert Christopher Riley as Outcome #6 (as Rob Riley)
Albert Finney as Dr. Albert Hirsch
Dennis Boutsikaris as Terrence Ward
Oscar Isaac as Outcome #3
David Strathairn as Noah Vosen
Corey Johnson as Ray Wills
Jennifer Kim as Outcome #4
Page Leong as Mrs. Yun
Joan Allen as Pam Landy
John Arcilla as Joseph
Clayton J. Barber as Gene (as Clayton Barber)
Michael Berresse as Leonard
Elizabeth Marvel as Dr. Connie Dowd

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Casino News Media: Sydney, Australia; UK, Fiji, Macau, California, U.S

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Crown Limited Does Deal With Barangaroo In Sydney...

In big news today, James Packer’s Crown Limited (ASX: CWN) has struck a deal to build a $1 billion hotel development at Barangaroo, on Sydney’s foreshore. Crown signed an agreement with the developer, Lend Lease Limited (ASX: LLC) earlier today, but said it will only go ahead if Crown gains approval to including VIP gambling facilities (in other words – a casino). Just yesterday, Crown announced that it was spending up to $568m to build a six star hotel at its Burswood casino in Perth.


Work on Fijis first ever Casino to begin...

Work on Fiji’s first casino will begin this month as investors will meet to give contracts to local companies in Denarau this week.

One Hundred Sands – the company behind the project has managed to raise $400million for construction.

However the initial projections for phase one of the project which will see the construction of a convention center, casino and resort is $290m.

Managing Director Larry Claunch says overseas investors are often given misconceptions about Fiji’s investment potential by local private sectors.

“There has been a lot of criticism if we could raise the money in a timely fashion – we have, criticism and comments if we can finish on time – we will – its going to be probably a fastest development anybody has ever seen and it going to be fun to watch.”

Claunch says the current government played a vital role for this investment.

“I didn’t come to Fiji with a though of developing a casino or anything for that matter – I really just came here to eat fresh fish – but after seeing the vision of this government I knew everything was possible and I was all in.”

Five hundred locals will be employed during the construction and around 600 to 850 will be employed at the casino.

The new casino is expected to begin operation from September next year.


Aspers Casino looks forward to end of Games...

Though it’s happening right on the doorstep of his company’s flagship casino, Richard Noble is looking forward to when the 2012 London ­Olympic Games finish.

The chief operating officer of Aspers Group – a joint venture between the Australian Securities Exchange-listed Crown and the Aspinall family, which operates Aspers Casino at Westfield Stratford City next to Olympic Park – says weekly takings and average visitor numbers are down about 20 per cent in the first week of the Games.

When Aspers at Westfield Stratford City, the country’s largest casino, opened on December 1 last year, Noble told The Australian Financial Review it was immediately popular. “In our first three days we had 30,000 visitors which was about 100 per cent above our business case. After that we were averaging 25,000-30,000 visitors per week. But in the last few months we’ve seen the three carparks here at the Westfield get cut down to one and now it is none, so we have been adversely affected.”

There have been restrictions placed on visitor numbers to Westfield Stratford by the London Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOCOG). These include only Games ticket holders being allowed access to Westfield between 8.30am and 5pm on Friday and Saturday.

Noble says this cut down on the ability of regular Aspers patrons to visit the casino. He said it also affecting the numbers of people in the local area attracted to Westfield during the Games, who could have potentially visited the casino for the first time. LOCOG is also likely to institute another similar “lock-out” later this year due to fears about congestion at the mall, which is between Olympic Park and public transport links.

With the Olympics not providing the boost in business once hoped, Noble says Aspers will now concentrate its marketing efforts on the post-Games period. “On the 18th of ­September, after the Olympics and then the Paralympics are over, we will be having a huge relaunch.”

Noble says the casino concentrates on a high volume of customers who spend relatively little. It has a catchment area of 4.1 million people.

“And that is just in the east and the area around, north to Luton and east to Southend,” he said.

“But what’s been surprising and also delightful is that we’ve managed to get a lot of visitors from the west of London as well.”

A change to British gaming laws in 2007 allowed for the casino to be built without previous restrictions that meant patrons had to become members. Aspers also owns casinos in Newcastle, Swansea and Northampton and is planning to open a new venue in Milton Keynes in 2003.

Overall, he says Aspers is pleased about how the Stratford business has performed given it has already expanded since its December 2011 opening. It now has 57 gaming tables, the highest number in Britain, up from 38 when it opened. It has room to accommodate 80 tables. There are also now 138 electronic gaming terminals, up from 92. The site will soon feature a bespoke poker room to go with the sports bar, VIP bar and terrace, which has been hired out to corporate clients for the Games.

But Noble, who is otherwise enjoying the Games, can’t wait until September. “Some of our patrons are not able to get here at the moment but that will change once all this is over.” (The Australian Financial Review)


Police detain 150 in Macau casino raids amid fears of new gang war...

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Police detained more than 150 people in weekend raids on casinos and hotels in Macau after a recent spate of killings raised fears of a new gang war in the world's largest gambling destination.

The former Portuguese territory was gripped by gang wars in the late 1990s and the recent murder of three people in two weeks, thought linked to the gambling industry, comes just months ahead of the release from jail of triad boss "Broken Tooth" Wan Kuok-koi, who wreaked havoc at that time.

About 1,300 people were rounded up on Friday and Saturday in Macau and 150 of those were taken in for questioning in the operation codenamed "Thunderbolt".

"This operation is an annual exercise to maintain public security. It is a joint exercise undertaken by police in Guangdong province, Macau and Hong Kong to crack down and prevent crime in this region," a Macau police spokeswoman said.

In Hong Kong, police raided 21 locations on August 2 as part of the joint operation and arrested 130 people on suspicion of various crimes including money laundering involving HK$300 million (24.77 million pounds), illegal gambling and prostitution.

Police also seized cash, watches and cars worth more than HK$11 million.

The Macau raids came just weeks after a Chinese woman was found murdered in a residential area minutes away from the cavernous gambling halls of gaming magnate Sheldon Adelson's Venetian casino.

That followed the murders of two Chinese nationals at the five-star Grand Lapa hotel in Macau, a one-hour ferry ride from Hong Kong, and an attack at the end of June on a senior figure in Macau's junket industry, which extends credit to rich gamblers.

By contrast, only five homicide cases were recorded between June 2011 and May 2012, according to Macau police statistics.

Macau, which like Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, has boomed since the 1999 handover from Portugal, with Las Vegas moguls including Adelson and Steve Wynn setting up glitzy casino hotels.

That growth, however, has slowed significantly in the past three months, forcing junket operators into more aggressive debt-collecting tactics.

Many of the smaller junket companies, which collect gambling debts in exchange for a commission from casino operators, are struggling to stay in business.


IGT partners with California casino...

American computerised gaming equipment designer and manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT) has signed a deal that will see the Golden Acorn Casino and Travel Center in California host an online casino application from its Double Down Interactive subsidiary.

Las Vegas-based IGT purchased the casual games developer in January and revealed that the Golden Acorn Casino is set to utilise its technology in order to offer casino players free-play gaming experiences.

“Golden Acorn recognises the opportunity to provide gaming entertainment to its players across various channels,” said Eric Tom, Global Sales Executive Vice-President for IGT.

“This solution is allowing it to grasp an opportunity to evolve as the landscape of gaming also changes permitting it to drive engaging gameplay directly to its casino guests and fans of the Golden Acorn Casino and Travel Center brand.”

IGT stated that the revenue sharing partnership will see Golden Acorn use its own website in order provide players with a ‘truly convergent gaming experience’ that is to include access to a ‘full-casino-style offering of games in one convenient place’.

“Offering the same game titles on the web that we offer inside our casino gives us the unique opportunity to deliver fun and engaging casino-style experiences to our players,” said David Baggerly, Marketing Director for Golden Acorn Casino and Travel Center, which is located 47 miles from downtown San Diego near the Mexican border.

“This is an incredible chance to drive interactive slot culture to our players while allowing them to stay connected to our brand.”

Guests at the Golden Acorn will be able to enjoy online social versions of Texas hold‘em poker in addition to some of IGT's top-performing slot titles including Da Vinci Diamonds and Cleopatra. New games are to be added automatically while first-time users will receive one million dollars in virtual chips.


Development agreement for Bally and High 5 Games...

Bally Technologies has entered into a multi-year agreement with games developer High 5 Games to publish a substantial number of new H5G games under the Bally brand for the worldwide land-based, mobile and online business-to-business casino gaming markets.

“We’re excited to partner with a game creator that has such a world-class track record of developing high-performing and engaging game content,” said Jean Venneman, Vice President of Product Management and Licensing at Bally Technologies. “We look forward to leveraging H5G’s newest game content to help casino operators across the world drive revenues and delight players.”

Ramesh Srinivasan, Bally's President and Chief Operating Officer, added, “The partnership with H5G reflects our commitment to delivering best-of-breed, cross-platform game content to our customers. This promise is reflected in the more than 25 game studios we have established across the globe, augmented by relationships with proven game developers like H5G that enable us to deliver a diverse array of creative, interactive, and exciting game content.”

“We are delighted to partner with Bally Technologies, a long-time leader in the casino gaming industry,” said Anthony Singer, Chief Executive Officer of H5G. “With Bally’s sophisticated new ALPHA 2 game platform, and a new Bally Interactive division committed to mobile, online, and social business-to-business game content, we believe that the sky is the limit for this next generation of H5G games.”


Bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plc : The bearish trend should continue...

07/18/2012
Opinion : Bearish under 115.5 GBp
Target price : 83.4 GBp
Stop loss: 115.5 GBp
LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE

Bwin.party (BPTY) was formed from the merger of bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and PartyGaming Plc in March 2011 to create the world’s largest listed online gaming. Incorporated and licensed in Gibraltar, the Group has over 2,700 employees across Europe, India, Israel and the US. It commands leading market positions in each of four product: online sports betting, poker, casino and bingo with some of the world’s biggest online gaming brands including bwin, PartyPoker, PartyCasino and Foxy Bingo.

A month ago, we forecasted a downtrend with a target price at GBp 102. This target was reached and we reiterate our opinion. In a bearish trend, BPTY continues to decline.

From a fundamental viewpoint, the group is in a bad financial situation. Analysts have recently downgraded their forecasts for earnings per share. This indicator is often a precursor of a declining profitability and a worsening climate of investor confidence. Even if the company has a lot of cash, it is overvalued : BPTY’s PER for 2012 is 38.9x and 16.3x for 2013 and growth rates are low.

From a technical viewpoint, prices are in a downward trend. Moving averages are trending down and put pressure on the stock, which confirms this downward momentum. This trend may continue toward the GBp 95 support. Moreover, the security is testing a pivot point at GBp 102.6 in weekly data and the significant breakdown of this level would be a new bearish signal.

Taking into account fundamental and technical elements, investors can initiate a short position in BPTY with a first target price at GBp 95. If the security crosses this level, the second target price will be the long term support at GBp 83.4. A return towards GBp 115.5, the short-term resistance area, will invalidate the bearish strategy, which justifies a stop loss. (4 Traders)

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