Rovio Said to Be Planning a $2B IPO as Early as Next Month

Finland-based Rovio Entertainment Oy, maker of the “Angry Birds” mobile games and movie, is said to be planning an IPO valued at $2 billion as early as September. “A listing would test investors’ appetite for entertainment software, a group whose shares have declined an average of 18 percent from their offer prices following IPOs this year,” reports Bloomberg, citing social gamer King Digital Entertainment (creator of “Candy Crush”) and South Korean publisher Netmarble Games (maker of “Lineage” and “Stone Age”) as examples. A successful IPO for Rovio could help finance “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” slated for a 2019 release. Continue reading Rovio Said to Be Planning a $2B IPO as Early as Next Month

Netflix Showcases Big-Budget Feature Films at Comic-Con

Netflix had a major presence at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego, including an off-site installation to showcase numerous fan favorites, a screening of Adam Wingard’s upcoming supernatural horror-thriller “Death Note” (based on the popular manga series), a well-received trailer for season 2 of “Stranger Things,” and a collection of panels promoting other upcoming projects, including the David Ayer-helmed big-budget feature “Bright,” starring Will Smith. Making such a splash at the 4-day event is a first for Netflix, as the company continues its expansion into feature film projects with larger budgets. Continue reading Netflix Showcases Big-Budget Feature Films at Comic-Con

Rovio Self-Finances ‘Angry Birds’ Movie to Control Franchise

Finnish company Rovio Entertainment decided four years ago that, rather than license the “Angry Birds” characters to a Hollywood studio, it would finance its own $73 million movie. Since opening on Friday in some territories, Rovio’s gamble has thus far resulted in a $43 million gross. Companies such as Lego A/S and Hasbro turned to studios to finance their films, but Rovio took the same path Marvel did when it made “Iron Man,” with the goal of controlling the franchise over the long term. Continue reading Rovio Self-Finances ‘Angry Birds’ Movie to Control Franchise

Lucasfilm Shows Off ‘Star Wars’ VR Experience with HTC Vive

Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB R&D unit just did a limited demonstration of its new “Star Wars” virtual reality experience: “Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine,” using the HTC Vive headset. The user, by walking around in a 15×15-foot space, explores the planet’s surface, does some maintenance on a Millennium Falcon, meets R2-D2 and fight offs a group of attacking Stormtroopers with a lightsaber. After unveiling the experience to a group of journalists, Lucafilm plans to allow other “select audiences” to also experience it. Continue reading Lucasfilm Shows Off ‘Star Wars’ VR Experience with HTC Vive

‘Star Wars’ Smashes Box Office, Rallies Blockbuster Strategy

On its opening weekend, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” demolished box office records — as well as the trope that crowds no longer throng to movie theaters, even in the first days. The Walt Disney Company’s latest “Star Wars” movie brought in about $517 million globally, a success that is stunning in its size and scope, and that underscores Hollywood studios’ efforts to focus on repurposing the blockbuster, from “Avatar” to “Frozen.” According to Disney, 3D screenings account for 47 percent of the gross. Continue reading ‘Star Wars’ Smashes Box Office, Rallies Blockbuster Strategy

Movie Trailers Proliferate, Building Fervor, Fan Engagement

The number of trailers for franchise blockbusters has skyrocketed, flooding YouTube, Facebook and other platforms. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” counts 17 trailers, teasers and ads thus far. Today’s trailer looks much more like entertainment than an ad, linking to past franchise chapters, teasing out the identity of shadowy or hooded characters, and generally amping up anticipation and heated fan engagement before the film even opens. The nested teasers and trailers dole out details without giving away plot. Continue reading Movie Trailers Proliferate, Building Fervor, Fan Engagement

ILMxLAB Debuts ‘Star Wars’ VR Series Ahead of Film Premiere

If you can’t wait until December 18 to see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” you’ve got a brand-new 360-degree immersive video series to enjoy. Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB studio, partnered with Google and Verizon, just created a virtual reality experience, “Jakku Spy,” which is available on the official “Star Wars” Android and iOS apps and viewed via Google Cardboard. The VR experience puts the user in the desert world of Jakku, as a Resistance secret agent. New “vignettes” will be available every few days until the film’s debut. Continue reading ILMxLAB Debuts ‘Star Wars’ VR Series Ahead of Film Premiere

Fan-Built Virtual Reality Starship Has Trekkies Wanting More

Sci-fi fans and others have tried before to recreate the Enterprise-D starship from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in virtual reality. Although some of these VR experiences have been impressive, another one has just arrived on the scene that stands far above the rest, say some VR enthusiasts. The Enterprise Construction Project is spearheaded by a 3D artist identified only as Jason, whose obsession is to create a VR version of the entirety of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D and all its 42 decks. Continue reading Fan-Built Virtual Reality Starship Has Trekkies Wanting More

MTV Launches Interactive Online Game to Promote ‘Scream’

As part of its social media push for the upcoming series “Scream,” based on the popular horror film franchise, MTV has created an interactive online game. In a unique promotional campaign, “Choose Your Own Murder” invites participants to enter their own horror movie scenario and try to escape a killer. Users are given options as the story unfolds and brief time limits to quickly make decisions that steer the action. Once murdered, users then have the option of playing the game again or sharing via social media. The series is slated to debut June 30. Continue reading MTV Launches Interactive Online Game to Promote ‘Scream’

Ellen DeGeneres Goes Interactive with Ellentube App and Site

Ellen DeGeneres is launching Ellentube, a website and app that will screen exclusive content from her popular daytime television program. The TV personality already runs one of the largest YouTube channels focused on television content. Now, along with executive producers Mary Connelly, Ed Glavin and Andy Lassner, DeGeneres has created Ellentube for interactive use. Fans will be able to upload videos, the best of which will be deemed suitable for a showcase on her daily program. Continue reading Ellen DeGeneres Goes Interactive with Ellentube App and Site

Optimistic Financial Reports from Electronic Arts and Activision

Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts released positive financial results and showed optimism about the holiday shopping season. EA said sales of new video game consoles from Microsoft and Sony exceeded their goals, as well as the sales of games for those devices. EA also announced a repurchase plan for $750 million shares, and a lofty profit forecast for the rest of the year. Activision reported that presales for the newest version of “World of Warcraft” are the strongest in the game’s history. Continue reading Optimistic Financial Reports from Electronic Arts and Activision

Stadiums Hope to Lure Sports Fans with New Tech Upgrades

There has been some debate regarding whether certain technologies have negatively impacted live sports. With the mass adoption of smart devices, many people are now opting to stay indoors. However, new technologies and mobile connectivity are aiming to lure more people into the stadium to chant for their favorite team without the need to miss a single moment. High-tech stadiums are introducing new apps and second screen features to offer fans an enhanced experience.

Continue reading Stadiums Hope to Lure Sports Fans with New Tech Upgrades

Blockbuster to Shutter U.S. Stores and DVD by Mail Services

DISH Network announced that its Blockbuster subsidiary will close approximately 300 remaining U.S.-based retail stores and its DVD by mail distribution operations by January 2014. The Blockbuster By Mail service will end mid-December. Blockbuster has recently divested itself of U.S. and international assets, including operations in the UK and Scandinavia. However, DISH plans to continue its support of Blockbuster’s domestic and international franchise operations. Continue reading Blockbuster to Shutter U.S. Stores and DVD by Mail Services

Activision Ships $1 Billion Worth of New ‘Call of Duty’ Game

Gamers have opted to hold off on purchasing some high-profile games until Sony and Microsoft release their next-gen consoles. The PlayStation 4 is scheduled to launch November 15 and the Xbox One will be available November 22. Although consumers are showing hesitation ahead of the new hardware launches, Activision Blizzard has shipped $1 billion worth of “Call of Duty: Ghosts” to retailers worldwide. “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” earned $1 billion in 15 days when it was released last year. Continue reading Activision Ships $1 Billion Worth of New ‘Call of Duty’ Game

Syndication: AOL and its Partners To Distribute ESPN Content

AOL and ESPN announced a new syndication deal this week that includes distribution of the sports programmer’s video content, excluding live TV, via AOL.com and the company’s network of partners. ESPN’s live programming will remain available to subscribers online and on mobile devices through the WatchESPN service. AOL began distributing ESPN’s news, highlights and analysis on Tuesday. ESPN has additional video deals with Apple and Microsoft’s Xbox. Continue reading Syndication: AOL and its Partners To Distribute ESPN Content

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