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The Avengers enjoys worldwide box office success; Breaking records...
Marvel superhero fans in Australia and around the world. We've got tons of news for you today. There's Avengers news, gaming and slot games, interviews, quotes, numbers, A WWE connection and more...
The Avengers proved that five superheroes are better than one by bursting into Hollywood's record books with a massive $197 million in ticket sales over its opening weekend in US and Canadian theatres, kicking off Hollywood's summer movie season with a bang.
The film now easily holds the record for greatest box office takings on its first weekend of cinema release, speeding past last summer's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows - Part 2, which opened with $166 million, and Batman franchise film The Dark Knight, according to Box Office Mojo.
In March, The Hunger Games opened with $150 million, the fourth largest opening in box office history.
The Avengers, which reunites Marvel comic heroes Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Black Widow, has collected $630 million since it opened in international markets on April 25.
"We keep thinking we have a sense of what this movie can do, or will do, and every time we get a report it does even better," said Dave Hollis, Disney's executive vice-president of distribution.
"This is very satisfying, to say the least."
Disney's aggressive marketing, which included promotions aimed at women that included sending stars to The View daytime talk show, resulted in women making up 40 per cent of the audience for the action film, according to Disney's survey. Half the audience was also over 25 years of age, the studio said.
Winner of the past two weekends, Sony's romantic comedy Think Like a Man, slipped to second place with $7.8 million at North American theatres, according to Hollywood.com.
Hunger Games, from Lions Gate Entertainment, took the No 3 spot in its seventh week in theatres, with $5.6 million, and has collected $374 million in US and Canadian theatres during its run.
Warner Brothers' The Lucky One landed in fourth place with $5.4 million, and the animated film The Pirates! Band of Misfits from Sony finished in fifth place with $5.3 million.
The undisputed success of Avengers brought Disney the type of redemption that Hollywood loves to put on screen. In March, Disney released the expensive sci-fi adventure film John Carter, one of the biggest flops in box office history. The company said it expects to lose up to $196 million on that film.
Avengers is the first Marvel film released by Disney since the media and theme park giant purchased Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $3.9 billion, a move to expand its appeal to boys with a stable of superheroes.
Disney would not say whether it plans to make a sequel. Sequels to films based on the Thor and Iron Man characters are scheduled for next year and Captain America in 2014.
About 52 per cent of The Avengers ticket sales came from higher-priced 3D tickets, Disney said.
The first weekend in May kicks off Hollywood's summer movie-going season, a four-month period typically filled with big-budget action movies and sequels. Coming movies include Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Men in Black 3, and Battleship. (Reuters)
Scarlett Johansson: comic book movie superhero...
Scarlett Johansson first enrolled in the Marvel comic book superhero universe when she was introduced as the mysterious Black Widow opposite Robert Downey Jr. in the 2010 blockbuster Iron Man 2.
The action-filled movie role marked a massive change of direction for the actress, who's known more for low-key performances in films like Sofia Coppola's drama Lost in Translation or Woody Allen's sly comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
But Johansson is in fighting form to reprise her role as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, in Marvel Studios' The Avengers. With her bright red hair and sexy latex suit, the Black Widow teams up with Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye and Thor to stop the evil Loki from conquering Earth with his army.
Johansson sat down with media to talk about the film, the fighting style she learned for her role and what it was like to master her character's native Russian language.
Black Widow was introduced in Iron Man 2 but gets far more exposure in The Avengers. How did you expand the character?
At the end of Iron Man 2, we know she's a part of S.H.I.E.L.D., but we don't know what S.H.I.E.L.D. is. In this film, (director) Joss Whedon and I talked about her past. Who is she? How does she get to be a mercenary? What path do you follow in order to get to that place? We both wanted to see the darker side of her - not just that she's someone who is highly skilled, but why did she have to learn those skills?
You're in top form physically on screen. What new fighting skills did you learn?
We incorporated this Wushu style (of fighting) when the Widow wields a huge alien gun. That was new and really challenging. I had to learn how to spin it and move it. It was hard because I'd hit myself with it all the time. And it's heavy.
You learn (by using) a broom handle so you're like, 'Ah, I got it down, I've mastered it.' Then all of a sudden they're like, 'Here's the prop' and you're like, 'What? This thing is 20 pounds!' I was so terribly battered. I'd wake up every day in agony but it was a continuous thing, so it became normal (laughs).
Black Widow also speaks in her native Russian language, which you seemed to nail. Was it difficult to learn?
I had two days, so I had to learn it phonetically. I knew what I was saying but I had to be able to pronounce it and breathe some life into the lines so that it didn't sound like I was repeating some Berlitz tape.
We hired this great Russian translator, and she worked with the dialogue coach. She was really expressive, which helped, so my mouth found the words in a way that didn't just sound like I was a parrot.
You often play with hair color in your movie roles. Did you enjoy being a redhead for the duration of the shoot?
It's nice because it allows me to go a bit under the radar - people don't expect me to have that color of hair. I'm always happy when I do it because it's the first step of the process of finding the character again.
To me more than anything, the hair color represents a huge piece of work that we dive head first into. And I'm really happy when I can wash it out because then I'm like, 'Yes, It's finished, we actually did it!' Out it goes and you know you've accomplished something.
You're the only female Avenger in the cast. Did your male co-stars treat you any differently because of that?
If anything, the guys weren't as delicate with me as I thought they would be. They like to play hard and always dragged me along for the ride. I'd always come back with battle wounds. But they're a great group of guys. All of us got on so well.
Who did you spend most of your time with on location in New Mexico?
Jeremy (Renner, Hawkeye) because (we share scenes) together a lot. We fight together, so we had to do a lot of our stunt training together. We had the same battle wounds! Tom (Hiddleston, Loki), Jeremy and I spent a lot of time in the stunt gym because we fight so much hand to hand, so we ended up hanging out together. But we all equally had a closeness.
What was the dynamic like with all of you?
We're all fans of each other's work. Some of us have worked together in the past. Chris Evans and I have made three movies together. Sam Jackson and I made three movies together. Mark Ruffalo I've known for quite some time. Every time Robert (Downey Jr.) was on set, it was like, so alive.
We're just lucky that there was no diva on set. It was everybody trying to support one another. It was really nice to have that.
The Avengers is screening now (to packed and very enthusiastic audiences).
Disney's "The Avengers" a winner for Paramount Pictures also: source...
Walt Disney's blockbuster "The Avengers" has five superheroes and record ticket sales. It also has a silent partner in Viacom's Paramount Pictures, which is in line to to get a massive payday even though the studio didn't spend a cent to produce or market the film.
Paramount Pictures already snatched $57.5 million in April, when the film was released internationally. And it stands to collect 8 percent of the millions that the film will earn in theaters, on DVD, and when it is watched on the Internet, according to two people with knowledge of the business deal.
Under a 2005 distribution agreement between Paramount Pictures and Marvel, Paramount receives a distribution fee for the theatrical distribution of "The Avengers" as well as its distribution of its home video, Internet and TV rights. That agreement transferred to Disney, when Disney acquired Marvel for a cool $4 billion in 2009.
Disney and Paramount agreed in 2010 to amend that agreement, giving Disney the rights to distribute Marvel-produced "The Avengers" and "Iron Man 3," the second sequel to the 2008 film that Paramount distributes. That agreement stipulated that Disney would pay Paramount a $115 million advance against future fees that Paramount would have earned.
Half of that fee was paid when Disney released "The Avengers" in international markets.
Spokesmen for Disney and Paramount declined to comment on the matter.
Paramount does not have rights to merchandise from the Marvel movies, and Iger told investors after the deal closed that he signed the getting the movie rights allows he to rev up Disney's marketing machine.
"Not only will we distribute it and market it, but we know that Marvel is working really hard with the cooperation of a number of entities at Disney to turn The Avengers into a true franchise," he said on the earnings call.
Studios and theater owners generally split ticket sales 50-50, meaning that Disney has collected $320.9 million based on "The Avengers" $641.8 million in worldwide ticket sales. Paramount's $25.7 million take would be applied against the pre-paid fee from Disney.
The two parties also agreed that "The Avengers" would appear on the Epix online and premium TV service that Paramount owns with Lions Gate Entertainment and the famous MGM studio. That's a big boost for the nearly three-year-old channel. Disney is legally obligated to show most of its movies on the Starz pay channel.
What size Paramount's take will be depends on how big a hit "The Avengers" becomes. The deal gets even sweeter for Paramount Pictures in 2013, when Disney is scheduled to release the third Iron Man. Paramount will get 9 percent of the money that film will generate.
It's going to be tough to match the hulking numbers of 'The Avengers', but the studios and business partners in on the action should be looking at plenty more green stuff generated from the ultra successful and cool Marvel franchise. Movies, games, fashion...what's next? Stay tuned true believers.
The Amazing Spider-Man Games Let's You Play Stan Lee...
True Believers, get ready for spectacular news — Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) and Spider-Man Merchandising L.P., a subsidiary of Marvel today announced some amazing pre-order exclusives for fans that reserve an early copy of The Amazing Spider-Man™ video game in North America.
Planned to launch June 26th, the game brings Spidey back to the thrill of free-roaming through Manhattan in an original epilogue story to Sony Picture Entertainment's upcoming feature film. The pre-order exclusives for The Amazing Spider-Man video game are available today and include the Rhino Challenge from GameStop and a special mission featuring a fully playable Stan Lee from Amazon.com.
Take control of the massive, genetically engineered villain RHINO and rampage around Manhattan in an exclusive gameplay challenge of pure destruction! As Rhino, players will be able to unleash his formidable powers to destroy anything and everything that gets in his way in a timed event full of speed, combo streaks, and of course, a ton of things to break!
All the rumors can officially be put to rest — for the first time ever, fans will be able to play…STAN…LEE as himself in The Amazing Spider-Man. Players will take on the role of Stan "The Man" Lee in his own special mission across Manhattan, borrowing abilities from his old pal Spider-Man as they help Stan collect pages of his latest script in a spectacular race around Manhattan. Stan's mission is punctuated with his witty banter that fans have come to know and love, and a special surprise waits for them at the end of the mission — after all, it is Spider-Man's 50th anniversary this year!
Go beyond the feature film and find out what happens next in The Amazing Spider-Man™ video game, which brings Spider-Man's free-roaming, web-slinging action back to New York City. Players take on the role of a young Peter Parker discovering his new Spider-Man powers and added Super Hero responsibilities, using the game's innovative Web Rush mechanic to swing freely around Manhattan, combat a variety of criminal activities and take on classic Marvel Super Villains. Set against an original story crafted by Hollywood writer Seamus Kevin Fahey (episodes of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena and the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica) that takes place entirely after the events of the upcoming feature film, The Amazing Spider-Man video game delivers a brand-new, immersive and cinematic adventure allowing players to truly harness the power of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
The Avengers video game in the works...
Now that they've saved the world on film, The Avengers are teaming up for a motion-control video game.
Ubisoft Entertainment have announced a partnership with Marvel Entertainment to create a game based on the popular Marvel superhero posse. The game will be titled Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth and will be released for both the upcoming Wii U console from Nintendo Co. and the camera-based Kinect system for the Xbox 360 from Microsoft.
"The idea that we're making a motion-control version of The Avengers is a unique proposition if you compare that to superhero games of the past," said Tony Key, Ubisoft's vice president of sales and marketing.
"This is the perfect type of game for that because these characters are very action oriented. They're always fighting and throwing things."
Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth will focus on such characters as Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk fending off an invasion of genetically altered Skrull aliens. The title will feature more than 20 characters from the Marvel universe and would be based on the Secret Invasion comic series, not the recent film.
No release date was announced, but Key said the disc-based title is expected to launch after Nintendo debuts the Wii U later this year. The successor to Nintendo's Wii will feature high-definition graphics, increased online capabilities and a touch-pad controller. He said more details about the game would be unveiled at next month's Electronic Entertainment Expo.
The game will be the latest addition to Ubisoft's motion-control arsenal. Previous titles released by the Canadian publisher that rely on gesture-based devices include the artsy shooter Child of Eden, street brawler Fighters Uncaged, superhero dueler PowerUp Heroes, the Your Shape fitness franchise and top-selling Just Dance series.
Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth will mark the first time that the Assassin's Creed publisher has developed a game based on a franchise from Marvel, which was purchased in 2009 by The Walt Disney. The developers previously worked with Avatar director James Cameron to craft a third-person 3D action-adventure game set on the planet Pandora.
Sega created each of the games pegged to the films of The Avengers forerunners, including last year's Thor: God of Thunder and Captain America: Super Soldier, but there was no console game released this year alongside director Joss Whedon's blockbuster The Avengers, just the mobile game Marvel's The Avengers and Facebook title "Marvel: Avengers Alliance."
Fans freaked out last year over unofficial footage and concept art posted online of a first-person Avengers game that was reportedly in development by THQ. The footage of Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America and Thor battling the infamous Skrull was yanked by Marvel from YouTube. A representative for Marvel declined to be interviewed for this story.
Traditionally, games based on Marvel movies have been released around the same time as their super-powered counterparts to benefit from parallel buzz. The open-world action-adventure title The Amazing Spider-Man from Activision. is set for release June 26, ahead of director Marc Webb's film of the same name on July 3.
The big-screen adaptation of The Avengers starring Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye has smashed box office records, earning $US207.4 million in the US in its opening weekend.
"For us, that obviously raises the brand itself to an even higher level, and that's good for our video game because we have an opportunity to reach a broader audience than just the guys who love comic book characters," said Key, who added that Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth would be family friendly despite the game's focus on fighting.
Marvel's superheroes have been a dominant presence throughout the history of games. They most recently assembled for the Capcom brawler "Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3" and the Activision role-playing sequel Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. Gazillion Entertainment is currently developing a free-to-play online game featuring them called Marvel Heroes. Website: www.AvengersBattleForEarth.com
Robert Downey Jr. learns to be a team player...
Billionaire genius Tony Stark had to learn to play well with others in "The Avengers" after he was the main attraction in two "Iron Man" films.
So did Robert Downey Jr., though his path to superhero team player came without the fisticuffs and rivalries that Stark stumbles into with his fellow Avengers, who beat up on one another a bit before they figure out how to work as a group.
Downey has had a long time to get ready for something beyond his close-up in the solo outings as Stark, the Marvel Comics superhero in a metal suit. The idea that Downey would become part of an ensemble of heroes was teased at the end of the first "Iron Man," with "Avengers" producer and Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige steering such follow-ups as "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" toward that aim.
"I had five years to prepare myself, because Kevin Feige and the Marvel team had been saying that it was kind of heading toward this," Downey said.
The film debuted this past weekend in the United States with $200.3million at the box office, a record opening that surpasses last year's "Harry Potter" finale. The film casts Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, head of peacekeeping agency S.H.I.E.L.D., which rounds up a dream team of good guys (Downey's Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, Chris Hemsworth's Thor, Chris Evans' Captain America, Mark Ruffalo's Incredible Hulk and Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye) to battle Thor's evil brother (Tom Hiddleston), who plots to subjugate humanity.
While it's an all-star cast, Downey's the mega-star. But unlike the diva moments among Stark and some of the other alpha dogs of the Avengers, there was no big-footing among the performers, according to the actors and director Joss Whedon.
Adjusting to ensemble life simply continued the path on which Stark and his healthy ego have been all along, Downey said.
"Personally, the 'Iron Man' series so far has always been about making space for others and collaborating," Downey said. "It's Tony's quote-unquote story, but it's always about all the folks we get around him who are kind of what make him interesting or give him someone or something to fight."
Stitching together so many characters and storylines could have turned into herding cats, but the communal structure meant no single actor had to carry the action all of the time.
Everyone took turns at center stage, and each got to take welcome breathers during the long shoot, Downey said.
"It was like a complicated pregnancy," Downey said. "What was fun, this bit of WWE superhero tag-team wrestling, is where Hemsworth's all beat up and he's been shooting nights, and my character's got the helmet closed, so I'm not there. Then he's flying home to be with the missus, and I'm coming in to do a bunch of scenes with Ruffalo. I think everybody really bought into the spirit of the thing."
Downey, 47, is preparing to shoot "Iron Man 3" in Wilmington, which is due in theaters in May 2013. The film reunites Downey with his "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" director Shane Black.
He won't disclose details, but Downey said the next installment is a "sort of storytelling that's really in Shane's wheelhouse, which is it doesn't need to be quite as linear, and Tony definitely is brought out of his comfort zone. So there's a lot of travel in this."
A third "Sherlock Holmes" movie also is in the works, with Downey's great detective expected to travel to North America this time.
Amid his two film franchises, Downey's busy with a newborn son with his wife, producer Susan Downey, with whom he has formed a film production company.
It's uncertain whether Downey will be back as Stark after "Iron Man 3," either in another solo film or a second "Avengers" tale. With his fourth Marvel flick getting under way, though, Downey said he feels he has a vested interest in the superhero business.
"It's dumb not to be open to possibilities, you know?" Downey said. "I kind of almost feel like a shareholder in the company, even sometimes more than an actor in the movies."
No small roles for megastar Downey...
This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who sat through the credits of The Avengers, or who simply looked at the film’s record-breaking box office sales this past weekend. Still, fans (and investors) will be glad to hear that Disney CEO Bob Iger just announced that the company is developing a sequel. The film’s success “is a great illustration of why we like Marvel so much.” Demand for Avengers merchandise has been strong, he added.
Note Of The Rock Making Comment About John Cena And Divorce...
During the build to the WrestleMania 28 main event, The Rock held a "Rock Concert" on the March 12, 2012 edition of WWE RAW.
Not having learned about the news of John Cena filing to divorce his wife this week, one verse of The Rock's song stands out.
"Rock saw Cena makin' out with Eve, Grabbin' on her thigh, tuggin' on her weave. Cena was havin' the time of his life, I guess he didn't tell her that he's got a wife. Let's rock. Everybody let's rock. Divorce lawyer's right up the block, but we're dancing because Cleveland Rocks."
There have been no reports of Cena being romantically involved with Eve but it was known The Rock and John Cena were legitimately taking personal shots at each other during their promos building to their match.
TMZ.com did report that John Cena was open about his marital problems with his co-workers in the WWE locker room. It seems The Rock's remarks about Cena's wife and a "divorce lawyer right up the block" hit closer to home than we realized at the time.
Bill Goldberg Talks WWE, Pro Wrestling And 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin Dream Match...
On his and Brock Lesnar's initial departure from WWE: "Obviously it was kind of unfinished business. We both left there under circumstances that weren't the most favorable for anybody, let alone the fans who are the most important at the end of the day."
On Lesnar in general: "Brock, as a young kid, he succeeded in every single thing that he did. To venture out and try to play professional football without having college experience — LaVar will tell you how hard that is. Big pat on the back to him for that. And then going to MMA and succeeding and becoming the World Heavyweight Champion. Whatever Brock wants to do, I'm in his corner. He's a good buddy of mine and we talk frequently. I just hope at the end of the day whatever he chooses his health is in a positive note. We all know he's had some issues over the past number of years."
On having a final match: "It's really tough for a guy like myself. Look at a guy like Animal. Look at Road Warrior. Look at guys who are big power guys. . . the older you get the harder it is to be that guy."
He added his ideal final match would be against Steve Austin: "That'd be a dream come true… that'd be killer. I think at the end of the day they probably don't trust me enough to put me in there with guys, considering I'm 'a dangerous guy to work with' and 'I haphazardly ended Bret Hart's career.' At the end of the day these people have to understand it's a violent deal, number one. Number two, accidents happen. And number three, that's why I work in Japan — they don't cry if you hit them …That's a joke."
Luke Evans In Talks To Join Vin Disel and Dwayne Johnson In Fast And Furious 6...
The last Fast franchise movie exceeded financial and critical expectations, and Universal is reteaming with director Justin Lin for the next film in the franchise. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson and other cast members are set to reprise their roles, and a new addition has now been revealed.
Luke Evans (Immortals, The Three Musketeers) has now entered into negotiations to join the large ensemble cast. According to Variety.com, "plot details are being kept under wraps, but sources say it would involve the crew heading overseas to work on a heist job. Evans would play the leader of another crew trying to pull off the same job." He can next be seen in Peter Jackson's highly anticipated film The Hobbit which hits theaters this December.
The Fast and the Furious franchise follows former police detective Brian Connor and street racer Dominic Toretto as they attempt to evade law enforcement while participating in high stakes races and heists around the country. Dwayne Johnson was the latest addition to the franchise in the role of federal agent Luke Hobbs. Fast and Furious 6 is currently slated for theatrical release on May 24, 2013.
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