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Mar 25, 2014

Universal teases ‘Fast & Furious 7,’ Jolie film

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Cars falling from the sky in “Fast & Furious 7,” clips from Angelina Jolie’s directorial project “Unbroken,” and the first look at erotic novel adaptation “Fifty Shades of Grey” provided a glimpse of Universal Pictures’ upcoming movie slate on Tuesday.

In the footage shown to theater owners at the CinemaCon gathering in Las Vegas, a clip from the seventh installment of the “Fast and Furious” action franchise featured some of the final scenes filmed by actor Paul Walker before his sudden death in a California car crash in November last year.

Mar 23, 2014

‘Divergent’ teen warriors defeat ‘Muppets’ at box office

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Dystopian thriller “Divergent,” the story of a society that divides people based on personality traits, dominated weekend movie charts with $56 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, kicking off a new franchise for “Hunger Games” producer Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

Walt Disney Co family comedy “Muppets Most Wanted” finished in second place, nabbing $16.5 million from Friday through Sunday, according to estimates provided by Rentrak. Animated “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” produced by Dreamworks Animation Inc, took the No. 3 slot with $11.7 million.

Mar 20, 2014

‘Hunger Games’ studio aims to hit bullseye with ‘Divergent’

LOS ANGELES, March 20 (Reuters) – Young actors Shailene
Woodley and Theo James arrived on the Hollywood set of the
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” TV talk show by sliding above a cheering
crowd while harnessed to a zip line, a dramatic entrance to
spark interest in “Divergent,” the movie Lions Gate
Entertainment Corp hopes to make its next hit franchise.

The studio behind the mega-hit “Hunger Games” movies is
betting again on a popular series of best-selling young adult
novels set in a dystopian future. The “Divergent” books, about a
society divided into factions by personality traits, have sold
more than 17 million copies worldwide.

Mar 18, 2014

Last-minute Disney policy change averts proxy access vote

PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co amended guidelines on Tuesday for the selection of its chairman, persuading investors to withdraw a proposal to grant large shareholders more say in electing directors just hours before it was to have gone to a vote.

The last-minute change states that the chairman should be an independent director unless justified in writing. It averted a potential contest, and investors re-elected Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger and nine other directors to the media company’s board at its annual shareholder meeting.

Mar 18, 2014

New ‘Star Wars’ film to be set 30 years after ‘Return of the Jedi’

PORTLAND, Oregon, March 18 (Reuters) – The highly
anticipated next installment of the “Star Wars” franchise will
be set 30 years after “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,” Walt
Disney Co.’s chief executive officer Bob Iger said on Tuesday at
the company’s annual shareholders meeting.

Disney purchased “Star Wars” production company LucasFilm
for $4.05 billion in 2012 and announced it would release three
new films in the popular sci-fi series. Fans have been avidly
awaiting details of the next film, “Star Wars: Episode VII.”

Mar 14, 2014

Disney faces latest investor proposal to nominate directors

By Lisa Richwine and Ronald Grover

(Reuters) – Walt Disney Co shareholders are expected to vote at its March 18 annual meeting on a resolution that asks the company to allow large shareholders to nominate board members, the latest bid by investor groups to win “proxy access” rights.

The Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds and the California State Teachers Retirement System proposed that the board allow owners of at least 3 percent of the company’s stock be empowered to nominate up to 20 percent of the board, according to a regulatory filing from Disney on January 24. Under the non-binding proxy access proposal, shareholders must own their stake for three years before they have nomination rights.

Mar 11, 2014

Disney TV executive Sweeney to leave company in January

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Anne Sweeney, the president of Walt Disney Co’s Disney/ABC Television Group, will leave the media company in January after 18 years to pursue a career in television directing, the company said on Tuesday.

Sweeney, also co-chair of Disney Media Networks, oversees the ABC broadcast network, ABC Studios and cable networks including the Disney Channels and ABC Family.

Mar 3, 2014

’12 Years’ Oscar a golden ticket for box office, DVD sales

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Historical drama “12 Years a Slave” was awarded the top prize at Sunday night’s Academy Awards show, claiming the Oscar for best picture and boosting the revenue its distributor Fox Searchlight can expect from added theater and home entertainment sales.

“12 Years a Slave” won a total of three Oscars, including for Lupita Nyong’o for best supporting actress. “Gravity,” distributed by Time Warner Inc’s Warner Bros., was the night’s big winner with seven Oscars, including one for Alfonso Cuaron as best director.

Feb 28, 2014

Oscar favorite ‘Frozen’ leads red-hot animation field

LOS ANGELES, Feb 28 (Reuters) – The first Academy Award for
an animated feature film was a special honor given to Walt
Disney in 1939 for the innovation of “Snow White and the Seven
Dwarfs.” Child actress Shirley Temple presented Disney with a
full-sized gold Oscar statuette and seven miniature ones.

The studio founded by the animation pioneer, Walt Disney
Animation Studios, has never won the Oscar for best animated
feature, a category created in 2002. That is expected to change
on Sunday, as the studio’s hit “Frozen” is the favorite in a
race that has become as diverse as Hollywood’s animation
industry.

Feb 24, 2014

Netflix may need to pay AT&T, Verizon for faster speeds

Feb 24 (Reuters) – Netflix Inc, which agreed to pay
Comcast Corp for faster video delivery, may have to
make similar arrangements with other broadband providers to make
sure its customers get trouble-free access its streaming movies
and TV shows.

Verizon Communications’ chief executive said on
Monday he expects Netflix will pay the telecom company
for faster speeds after Netflix customers complained about slow
connections to stream TV shows and movies with Verizon’s FiOS
service.