Monday, April 30, 2012

Media Man News Update - 1st May 2012

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PartyCasino.com Wins Media Man 'Online Casino of the Month' award

PartyPoker And PartyCasino Owner bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plans Return to US Market

What the media has said about wrestling over the years

ABC says sorry to Buttrose's ex-husband

Tax war over as Paul Hogan settles with ATO

Small screen, big impact

Freeway arrest over chauffeur airport stabbing

ABC makes full apology to Ita Buttrose’s ex-husband over claims he was “selfish”

Broadcasters disappointed with Convergence findings

'Jackman's talent unnerves Crowe'

The Voice wins ratings battle

MONA to hang Weeping Woman

Star inquiry set to clear Peter Grimshaw

Star Casino in the clear on sex and drugs but cloud over Grimshaw

Crown’s Macau JV Exit Would Raise Stakes For Echo: UBS

Gambling oversell ends badly for sports-mad males

Star casino inquiry set to clear Grimshaw

Creamfields drug bust: scores nabbed at Sydney dance festival

A perfect storm produces a terrific WWE Extreme Rules PPV

TNA News: Hulk Hogan teases a "momentum shifting move," names two former WWE stars have reached out to the company


WWE Hall Of Famer Calls Ric Flair 'A Loser,' Rips Ultimate Warrior & Bret Hart

Marvel mastermind Stan Lee in film of his own

Marvel Planning More Hulk?; Mark Ruffalo's signed for six pics

The Avengers assemble: Marvel's master plan to bring Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Thor together on screen is finally here

Fox CEO Promises 'The Wolverine' Will Be 'True Berserker and Bad Ass'

'The Avengers' flexes muscles overseas

Richard Branson to Make Movie of "Exile on Main Street: A Season in Hell With the Rolling Stones"

Steven Spielberg's 'Jaws,' other restored films to be screened at Cannes

PartyCasino.com Wins Media Man 'Online Casino of the Month' award

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Virgin Casino Adds Stash of the Titans and Coyote Moon Slots

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Virgin Casino have added the Stash of the Titans and Coyote Moon slot games to their offering today – get a 100% welcome bonus up to £100 as well as a one off 100% deposit bonus up to £500 on the new slot games.

Stash of the Titans is a Microgaming powered slot game with 5 reels and 20 paylines. The main feature is the Free Spins bonus round where you can win up to 200,000 coins. You need to get 3 or more Medusa symbols across the reels to initiate the bonus game. You will then be rewarded with 15 free spins each with a 4x multiplier.

Coyote Moon is powered by IGT/WagerWorks and features 5 reels and 40 paylines. Similar to Wolf Run, it’s a low variance slot game which will give you plenty (but small wins). It has a Stacked Wilds feature where each reel is loaded with groups of 4 or more consecutive Wild symbols. This becomes significant in the Rising Moon Bonus feature as the Stacked Wilds give you bigger rewards. You can trigger the feature by getting 3 bonus symbols on reels 2, 3 & 4. You will then be rewarded with 5 free spins which come with richer stacked wilds. You can retrigger more free spins up to a maximum of 255 free spins.

If you haven’t got an account at Virgin Casino, now is the time – they offer a 100% welcome bonus up to £100. This means that if you deposit anything up to £100, you will get the same value free. When registering, click on the ‘Select A Bonus’ button and select the ‘Casino’ option – simple.

Furthermore, Virgin Casino are running a Cash Blast Off promo with a deposit bonus match up to £500. If you take up the welcome bonus today, you have time to get a 100% bonus up to £500 – yes, £500. You need to deposit by tomorrow and enter the bonus code BLAST500 to qualify.

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Mercedes Benz Fashion Week: Marvel Comics Inspired Fashion Marvellous

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Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia today officially enjoyed day 1 in Sydney, Australia.

Yesterday it was media and insiders day, but it was today when MBFWA once again got to show itself off to the world.

In a world where life can imitate art, and fashion can take on all sorts of different forms, Marvel Comics - Marvel Entertainment superheroes got a whole lot of flash...adding to the strong buzz that Marvel's 'The Avengers' is already enjoying at the Australian and international box office.

Day one at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia was a colour fans and colour buyers dream come true, start with three very different, but equally bright, collections to open our most famous and favourite fashion fest.

In recent years, Romance Was Born shows have been staged late in the evening with elaborate, stagey productions where the theatricality of the show may have been accused of overriding the actual garmets on display.

This time is was done very right. Romance Was Born opened Fashion Week in Sydney with a comparatively simple set inspired by the graphic Pop style of Marvel comics, cartoon superheroines and "Op Art".

Fashion models strutted up a lightning bolt-shaped catwalk showing off bright red wigs that brought us back to Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie images and memories. The makeup was what Fairfax Media and others have called "Kabuki-like", with big fake eyebrows, slashes of electric-blue eyeshadow and glossy red lips all the rage. Some media and buyers would have also thought of the KISS rock gods.

The clothes were also cartoon inspired. Marvel icon Stan Lee could not have dreamt his cartoons would once day be shown off on the world's most beautiful models. How about the Big Bridget Riley-style op art graphics on dresses and separates opened the show, before things got even crazier.

Romance Was Born is not for the conservative fashionista, but these days just about anything goes anyway. They put out clothing for parties and other events where wow factor and "look at me" rules. Multi-coloured digital print catsuits, sexy sequinned corseted, padded bomber jacket - interested... then this way out designer is for you ladies, or should that be 'Wonder Women'.

Queensland-based designer Gail Sorronda got a little more experimental this year. Ms Sorronda who enjoyed a strong response to showing her collection in Milan, Italy with the support of Dolce & Gabbana, has gone more for the type of bold colour and quirky print normally associated with designers such as Romance Was Born, moving away quite a bit from her traditional blacks and whites.

The title of her collection, Oh My Goth!, may have tricked a few fashion fans. Models stood motionless on spot-lit white plinths while groovy and scary music played. The models also showed off Pierrot-like black lips and pasty white faces, but this was contrasted with bright polka-dot blouses, patterned flares, tiered buttercup yellow dresses and headwear that reminded some media or Smarties - the confectionery brand.

Some media were not so happy about the darkness of the room, but it was done for the show - not the media. It showed them off wonderfully.

Gary Bigeni has a very quirky individual style – he wears riotous clashes of print and colour and currently sports bright blue hair – but the clothes he designs are clean, minimal and totally wearable.

He showed a refined collection of colour-blocked dresses, leather skirts and dresses, open-weave knitwear and prints that are well suited for a summer down under.

Rather than mashing up several bold colours together – as has been a popular trend in recent times – Bigeni mixed neutrals with bright seaside blues and fresh tangerines. There were elegant cropped pants, striped sweaters, draped skirts and cuffed shorts. All pretty cool stuff.

As we know, media always watches media, and the following observations have been noted, and blogged all over town...some of the fashion industry's best-known bloggers, editors and other media and PR folks are in 'Sin City' Sydney to catch Fashion Week. Vogue's Tim Blanks, Filipino Bryanboy, UK blogger Susie Bubble and Australian model-turned-blogger Candice Lake have all been spotted sitting front row, and photographer and media agencies like AAP, Media Man, Fairfax Media and Splash News & Picture Agency have all been spotted in or nearby to all the action. We suspect many news media will be working to the early hours of the morning getting all their stories and pictures out for what looks to be an outstanding festival for the iconic fashion show of shows down under.

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Celebs including Lara Bingle and Kate Waterhouse packed the front row as comic strip prints paraded around.

Louise Van der Vorst and Montana Cox were among the models who sported David Bowie inspired red mullet wigs and comical garments for the show were well... show stealers in the hearts and minds of many.

Luke Sales of Romance was Born said they had wanted to work with comics for quite a while.

"Our prints have always been photo-based and we wanted to do something more graphic with more pop which is what attracted us to comics," he said.

"We figured Marvel was the biggest and so simply asked if they wanted to come on board as a collaborative partner and they were thrilled.

"I think the partnership is perfect because our designs mirror the celebration of creativity and and imagination they are famous for."

The week began with a hick up or two for for celebrity blogger Bryan Boy however, who is attending for the week to report on Australian designers to his legion of loyal followers.

The superstar of the blogosphere was a highly anticipated front row star for the show, but after holding the runway for almost forty minutes they were forced to start without him.

"I went to the wrong place and then had to try and hail a cab, and then he dropped me to the wrong place and I finally arrived as it was finishing," Bryan Boy later disclosed. We're pleased to report that AAP, Splash News and Fairfax Media were all present - at least for most of the day's activities.

Kirrily Johnston added hints of hints of acid brights to her signature neutral palette while Manning Cartell has forcast bold colours and prints to be a sure thing as the weather warms up.

Camilla Franks, known for her embellished kaftans and resort wear wowed a celebrity studded front row including star of WAG nation Terry Biviano, Erica Heynatz and Michelle Bridges with her new ready-to-wear collection.

The look was overwhelmingly inspired by the jet-setter lifestyle with new silhouettes including jumpsuits and playsuits. A jet-set feel was also paramount at the Dylan Cooper show, in his fashion week debut after winning on Project Runway last year.

Celebrity red-carpet designer Aurelio Costarella didn’t let the crowd down with hand-dyed raffia, silk-covered crystals and mirrored sequins.

Just off Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York, Whitney Port, star of reality television series The City, turned designer, gave an international flavour to the day. Port showed off her collections Whitney Eve and WE by Whitney Eve.

Closing off the opening day was Ginger and Smart who are celebrating their tenth year in the industry.

Well done MBFWA... more marvellous days like this one please. Looking forward to move wonder women tomorrow.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Media Man News Update - 30th April 2012


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Casino controversy continues...

Affluent Chinese tourists are a significant component for James Packer’s hopes to construct a second Sydney casino at Barangaroo.

Mr Packer has found opposition to his plans for a second harbour-side casino in the form of Tourism Queensland chairman, Don Morris.

Consumer research provided by Tourism Australia supports Mr Morris’ claims that Chinese tourists are not visiting Australia just to gamble and visit casinos.

“Our traditional European, British and US markets have long been seduced by the uniqueness of Australia's easygoing, class-free culture. And the Chinese are the same, with this research ranking 'laid-back and easygoing' as their key motivator for visiting Australia, after safety,” Mr Morris told The Australian.

Mr Packer disagreed and said that without proper infrastructure, accommodation and entertainment “we will not get the tourism growth Australia deserves”.

He has support from Tourism Australia chairman and Crown board member Geoff Dixon.

“The Crown, Burswood and Star complexes are a lot more than casinos; they are integrated resorts that provide some of the best restaurants, convention and meeting facilities in Australia,” Mr Dixon said.

“To get very desirable venues you often need revenues from casinos."

Mr Packer said the rising middle class tourists spread throughout China and Asia “wants luxury hotels, great restaurants, high-end retail and an entertainment experience which usually includes the opportunity to have a gamble”.

Mr Dixon agreed claiming “they [high-end Chinese travellers] want all the things our research says, such as the environment and good food, but also many of them do desire the opportunity to visit casinos”.

Despite his lack of encouragement for a second Sydney casino, Mr Morris supported Mr Packer’s suggestion of a new hotel in Sydney.

“A new major Sydney hotel of the superb standard of Melbourne's Crown Towers would provide a vital and overdue tourism impetus to Sydney and benefit immensely the entire Australian tourism sector.”


The Darling in Sydney wins Best New Hotel Design at Asia-Pacific International Hotel Awards...

Sydney's new 5 star hotel The Darling, designed by Cox Richardson Architects has won the Best New Hotel Construction and Design 2012 at the Asia-Pacific International Hotel Awards in Kuala Lumpur.

The Star commissioned renowned building corporation, Brookfield Multiplex, to interpret and execute the designs by Cox Richardson Architects, to produce a contemporary hotel integrated within the existing complex.

The Darling has been designed as a stand-alone hotel, with its own arrival experience, amenities and alluring personality. It is the first five-star new build hotel in Sydney since the 2000 Olympic Games.

Two-part in its design, The Darling has a distinctive inverted glass tower resting on a sandstone podium and features 171stylish and spacious rooms and suites, an infinity pool and a luxury 16 room spa. The Darling is also home to Sokyo, an exciting new contemporary Japanese restaurant and bar.

Echo Entertainment Group CEO, Larry Mullin said the industry award is recognition of The Darling’s distinctive design and a tribute to the hard work and dedication by a strong team of builders, designers and visionaries.

“We are very proud to receive this prestigious award and I would like to thank everyone involved, including our partners, Brookfield Mulitplex, Cox Richardson and Laurence Lee.

“We set out to create an iconic hotel at The Star that was sympathetic to its surroundings, while breaking the mould in terms of design and construction. The result we think is an innovative and aesthetically beautiful building that appeals to business and leisure travellers looking for something different to chain hotels.”

The International Hotel Awards recognise the most outstanding hotel projects across Asia Pacific which have been singled out for their green credentials, excellent architectural merit and design. Eighteen different countries took part in this year’s competition with judges reporting keen competition across the board.

Located on the edge of Sydney’s harbour and a key feature of The Star’s $870 million redevelopment, The Darling Hotel and Spa features 171 rooms and suites complete with views of the harbour and city skyline. The rooms and suites are designed to feel like a home away from home for both business and leisure travellers.

Built in addition to the existing hotel and apartments, The Darling brings the total rooms and suites at The Star to over 650 across three towers.


Poker Legend “Amarillo Slim” Preston Passes Away...

In saddening news from the state of Texas this morning, 1972 World Series of Poker Championship Event victor, four-time WSOP bracelet winner and Poker Hall of Fame member “Amarillo Slim” Preston has passed away after a lengthy illness. The legend of the poker world was 83 years old.

Last weekend, Preston was entered into hospice care, battling cancer and heart problems. Buoyed by several friends in the poker community, including his old “road gambler” running mate Doyle Brunson, Preston seemed to improve over the past week. The announcement of his passing was provided to poker player Scott Clark, who also stated that full details regarding the passing of a poker legend would come later today from the family.

Born Thomas Austin Preston, Jr., in Arkansas in 1928, the man who would become “Amarillo Slim” was known for his propensity to make outlandish prop bets as well as his tremendous skills on the felt. Joining up with Brunson and another former World Champion-to-be, Brian “Sailor” Roberts, the trio would tour the Southwest as the original Texas “road gamblers,” traveling to poker games to make a living. Although the trio would eventually break up their partnership (after they lost their bankroll in Las Vegas, a story told by Brunson in several arenas), they would continue to remain friends and earn their legends during the early years of the World Series of Poker.

“Amarillo Slim” first earned attention during the 1972 WSOP Main Event, taking down the championship for his first ever bracelet. He was able to parlay that victory into a celebrity status, appearing on talk shows including The Tonight Show and movies to promote the game of poker. He would also continue to excel on the tables, taking three more WSOP bracelets, with his last victory coming in 1990 in a $5000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament.

Preston was also very influential in other poker endeavors. He was responsible for several poker books, including Amarillo Slim’s Play Poker To Win. One of his most popular literary efforts was his autobiography, Amarillo Slim In A World Full Of Fat People, which he detailed his career on the tables and with his prop bets. As recently as 2007, Preston released an e-book co-written with Joe Brent Riley.

“Amarillo Slim” also played host to the Super Bowl of Poker which, at the time, was one of the biggest tournaments around until it cancellation in 1991. That tournament was won by actor/poker player Gabe Kaplan on one occasion and accounted for three of poker legend Stu Ungar’s ten career victories.

Over the span of his tournament poker career, Preston was able to cash in tournaments around the world. On the WSOP stage, “Amarillo Slim” was able to cash eleven times, with his most recent cash coming in 2007 in the Seniors Event, and was still racking up those cashes as late as 2009, when he finished in fourth place in an event on the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza schedule. Overall, the career earnings for Preston may not be impressive ($587,568, according to the Hendon Mob database), but his overall impact on the game of poker might arguably only be rivaled by Chris Moneymaker’s historic 2003 WSOP Championship victory.

Comments regarding Preston’s passing have poured in across social media. Poker pro Bernard Lee simply stated, “RIP Amarillo Slim, one of the first poker superstars,” over his Twitter feed. Brunson himself recounted a story on his personal blog of a robbery the twosome had gone through in the early 1960s, while others paused for a moment in memory of one of poker’s all-time greats.

Poker News Daily would like to pass along our condolences to the Preston family during this saddening time.

UPDATE: The Preston family has released a statement through Nolan Dalla, the Media Director for the WSOP, stating the following:

“We hope everyone will remember our beloved Amarillo Slim for all the positive things he did for poker and to popularize his favorite game – Texas Hold’em.” (Poker News Daily)


The Avengers versus The X-Men...

In the late '60s, the legendary comic artist Neal Adams was lured by the irrepressible Stan Lee to reinterpret the Marvel comic of his choice.

He chose the then least-successful comic, The X-Men, which the company was phasing out. Lee's response, according to Adams: "Why don't you do the last two X-Men and then do an important book like The Avengers?"

"I actually did 10 issues," Adams says. "It was after those 10 issues that everybody and their brother became fans of The X-Men and every new artist wanted to do The X-Men."

In 2012, the "important" comic finally gets its own movie, with The Avengers finally hitting the screen (after a warmup that included two Iron Man movies, two Hulks, Captain America and Thor). The erstwhile expendible X-Men franchise, meanwhile, will flex its muscles again next summer when Hugh Jackman dons his adamantium claws for The Wolverine. And, not to miss a marketing opportunity, Marvel released an Avengers Vs. X-Men comic book series last month.

Herewith, a thumbnail comparison of the two Marvel franchises on film.

THE AVENGERS

Born: September 1963 in Avengers Comics #1.

Original Members: Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man, Wasp

Related Movies This Century: Seven (The Avengers, Two Iron Mans, Hulk, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America)

Domestic Box Office: $1.26 billion (source: Box Office Mojo)

You Don't Want To Make Him Angry: Hulk

Boy Scout: Captain America

Fanboys Drool Over: Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

Brains Behind The Operation (Onscreen): Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)

Brains Behind The Operation (Real life): Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly)

Oscar Cred: Gwyneth Paltrow (won), Robert Downey Jr. (nominated twice), Mark Ruffalo (nominated), Jeremy Renner (nominated twice), Samuel L. Jackson (nominated)

Evil British Actor: Tom Hiddleston as Loki

Best Cameo By Marvel Founder Stan Lee: Tony Stark mistakes him for Hugh Hefner on a red carpet in Iron Man

THE X-MEN

Born: September 1963 in X-Men Comics #1

Original Members: Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Beast and Iceman

Related Movies This Century: Five (X-Men, X-Men 2: X-Men United, X-Men 3: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class)

Domestic Box Office: $932 million (source: Box Office Mojo)

You Don't Want To Make Him Angry: Wolverine

Boy Scout: Cyclops

Fanboys Drool Over: Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, Rebecca Romijn as Mystique

Brains Behind The Operation (Onscreen): Prof. Xavier (Patrick Stewart)

Brains Behind The Operation (Real life): Bryan Singer (first two movies).

Oscar Cred: Halle Berry (won), Anna Paquin (won), Ian McKellen (nominated twice), Ellen Page (nominated), Hugh Jackman (hosted), Jennifer Lawrence (nominated)

Evil British Actor: Ian McKellen as Magneto

Best Cameo By Marvel Founder Stan Lee: Hot dog vendor in X-Men; old man watering his lawn in The Last Stand.


Avengers does well at Aussie box office...

The hugely anticipated mega-blockbuster The Avengers has wreaked havoc at the Australian box office, breaking $6 million on the film's Anzac Day opening.

It puts the 3-D action flick at No.2 on the list of all-time best Australian box office openings behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which took $7 million on its first day in July last year.

The Joss Whedon-directed superhero mash-up is now on track to fly past The Hunger Games to be the year’s biggest box office smash.

The Avengers, which features Australian Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, is the latest in a long line of superhero films to come out of the Marvel comics stable.

However, its one day figure easily surpasses the combined individual opening days of each of the the studio's movies — Iron Man 2, which took $1.813 million in 2010, last year's Thor ($1.3million) and Captain America: The First Avenger ($0.86million) and 2008's The Incredible Hulk ($0.37million) for a total of $4.357 million.

It also represents the best opening day for Disney Studios, taking the number one position from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe ($3.5 million).

The film's performance is remarkable given that Anzac Day trading restrictions in Queensland and Victoria meant cinemas could not open until after 1.30pm. And WA is contributing a large proportion of the takings, with Innaloo the third top Event Cinemas location in the country behind Sydney’s George Street multiplex.

Event Cinemas WA area manager Stephen Lamb said Gold Class sessions were sold out weeks in advance and the fight for seats was at Boxing Day levels.

WA Hoyts marketing co-ordinator Alex Biddle also reported bumper sales: "Hoyts Cinemas across WA saw their Xtremescreen and IMAX cinemas teeming with enthusiastic cinemagoers" while Ace Cinemas marketing and promotions manager Karen Smith added: "This film has certainly pumped up our box office and engergised the cinema viewers' batteries."

Senior vice president and managing director of The Walt Disney Company John Cracknell said the success of The Avengers was testament to "fabulous storytelling with a blockbuster cast and world-renowned director".

Whedon is best known as the creator of the cult television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel.

He co-wrote and produced the horror film The Cabin in the Woods, which is due for release in Australia in July. (The West Australian)


Heroic effort as The Avengers tops box office...

Marvel's long-awaited and much-hyped all-in superhero pic The Avengers has recorded the second-highest local one-day haul in history, taking just over $6 million on Anzac Day.

With Joss Whedon at the helm and a budget of around $US220 million, expectations for the film are high, and its Australian result is bound to settle a few nerves ahead of the film's US opening on May 2.

For the record, the film with the highest one-day opening in Australia is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which took $7.092 million on July 13, 2011. But The Avengers pipped it in per-screen terms, taking an average of $9668 on each of its 621 screens, versus Harry's average of $9716 across 730 screens.

Of the top 10 opening days, the best per-screen average remains the $12,336 recorded by Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers on 424 screens on December 26, 2002. Adjusted for inflation, that is the equivalent of roughly $16,000 per screen today.

It doesn't have the clout or the saturation exposure of The Avengers, but the week's second-placed film made a very solid bow. The Lucky One is Australian director Scott Hicks' adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' (The Notebook) novel, and it proved something of a lucky charm for him, taking $3.59 million with the week’s best per-screen average of $14,027.

The weepy about an Iraq war veteran (Zac Effron) who goes in search of the woman he thinks magically saved his life also opened strongly in the US, recouping its estimated $US25 million budget in a week. It was a strong start for the Shine director's first film since 2009's The Boys Are Back.

At No. 3 was Battleship, sailing on with $3 million in its second week and a total of $8.4 million.

The Hunger Games did $2.16 million in its fifth week, taking its total to $29.12.
Fleshing out the top five is American Pie: Reunion, which took $2.1 million in its third week for a total of $13.42 million.

Australian Box Office (April 19-25)

1. The Avengers (M) - $6,003,882
2. The Lucky One (M) - $3,586,273
3. Battleship (M) - $3,020,666 ($8,420,129 after 2 weeks)
4. The Hunger Games (M) - $2,160,941 ($29,117,930 after 5 weeks)
5. American Pie: Reunion (MA15+) - $2,152,882 ($13,428,159 after 3 weeks)
6. Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (G) - $2,097,817 ($15,110,737 after 4 weeks)
7. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG) - $1,892,057 ($17,228,059 after 5 weeks)
8. Titanic 3D (M) - $1,402,489 ($6,493,694 after 3 weeks)
9. Pirates! Band Of Misfits (G) - $1,241,266 ($5,963,905 after 3 weeks)
10. Mirror Mirror (PG) - $863,978 ($5,939,508 after 4 weeks)
Source: Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (Fairfax Media)


Out of the picture for Melbourne films...

Melbourne's major film studio has called on the Federal Government to ramp up its support for international flicks shot locally.

Major overseas productions have shunned Docklands Studios Melbourne since 2010’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, as the high Aussie dollar has eroded competitiveness.

Studio chief executive Rod Allan has responded by lobbying the government to increase its location offset rebate from 16.5 per cent of what film productions spend in Australia to 30 per cent, to entice more acclaimed directors, actors and producers to our shores.

Mr Allan said he was hopeful of an announcement to this effect in next week’s Federal Budget.

But a spokeswoman for Arts Minister Simon Crean, Angela Dorizas, did not commit to any increased support when contacted by Leader last week.

Ms Dorizas said the government’s backing for the sector, including the 16.5 per cent offset, was at record levels.

She said the upcoming Hugh Jackman blockbuster The Wolverine would be shot in Sydney - thanks to a one-off payment of $12.8 million to bring it to Australia - leading to investment of $80 million and 2000 Australian jobs.

Despite the recent lack of international interest in Melbourne, Mr Allan said Docklands Studios was busy with television productions and a feature film - I, Frankenstein, starring Bill Nighy and Aaron Eckhart - which qualified as local due to a large contingent of Australians on the team.

“This year has been good. At one point every available space was hired, but the business is naturally cyclical,” Mr Allan said.

Established in 2004 and run by the State Government, Docklands Studios hires out five giant soundstages.

Major international productions filmed there include Ghost Rider, starring Nicolas Cage, and the Steven Spielberg-produced US TV series The Pacific.

TV productions now using the space include Winners and Losers and Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation.

The state’s peak film body, Film Victoria, did not respond before deadline.


Olympics security: surface-to-air missiles could be stationed on the rooftop of apartment block...

Surface-to-air missiles could be stationed on the rooftop of an apartment block in east London as part of Britain's air defences for the Olympics, the country's military confirmed on Sunday.

About 700 people living at the building in Bow - about 3.2 kilometres from London's Olympic Stadium - have been contacted and warned that the weapons and about 10 troops are likely to be based at the site for about two months.

In a leaflet sent to residents, the ministry said the venue offered an uncluttered "view of the surrounding areas and the entire sky above the Olympic park".

Troops plan to conduct tests next week at the building, an upmarket gated apartment complex, to determine if the high velocity surface-to-air missiles will be stationed on a water tower attached to the site's roof.

Britain has previously confirmed that up to 13,500 troops are being deployed on land, at sea and in the air to help protect the Olympics alongside police and security guards.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said Typhoon fighter jets, helicopters, two warships and bomb disposal experts will also be on duty as part of the security operation.

"As announced before Christmas, ground-based air defence systems could be deployed as part of a multilayered air security plan for the Olympics, including fast jets and helicopters, which will protect the skies over London during the games," the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

"Based on military advice we have identified a number of sites and, alongside colleagues from the Metropolitan Police, are talking to local authorities and relevant landowners to help minimise the impact of any temporary deployments."

However, the ministry insisted that "no final decision on whether or not to deploy ground-based air defence systems for the games has been taken".

Resident Brian Whelan said those who lived at the site were wary about the plan.

"From the few people I've spoken to, and the security we have here, they're not happy about it," he said. "I don't think it needs to be here at all."

The leaflet insisted there would be no hazard to those living in the building.

It said the missile system would be "only authorised for active use following specific orders from the highest levels of government in response to a confirmed and extreme security threat". (AP)


Paul Orndorff Slams Bret Hart, Warrior, Ric Flair & More...

"Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff was a guest on Inside The Ropes' 15th episode, where he talked about several topics and slammed a few legendary wrestlers. His interview stars 42 minutes, 20 seconds in.

On facing Ric Flair for the NWA World Title in 1982: "He was just another body. Some are better than others. I believed in making it look real. I was probably hard to work with because I wanted it to make real and I knew how to wrestle."

On working the first Wrestlemania in the main event: "It was special. There were so many people. It was the largest crowd to ever watch it. And then the pay per view of it was just ungodly. This was my opportunity to be really noticed and be seen. My paycheck….it was huge. I made more money in that 30 minutes than I did in a whole year with the NWA. People expected it and they were gonna get it from me."

On working with Mr. T: "I wasn't crazy about it. I was very protective WrestleMania 1of the business. I was taught that. You take care of it. You don't give out all your trade secrets. But then again you look at somebody like Ric Flair and you can say how can you hide something when they look like that? So I guess I started to give in a little bit."

On the transition in WWF from wrestling to entertainment in the 1980s: "It depends on your personality. I protected it. To me that wasn't protecting it. As you can see right now, because they didn't protect it, where it is now, there's only two shows now. Look how many there was, there was one in every state, now look where it is."

On Vince using bigger guys like Warrior: "I thought it was the worst move they could've made. Vince did it on purpose. He did it so he could be the only one."

On Warrior: "He never paid his dues. You gotta pay your dues, go and learn your trade that'll make it better when you are on that big stage. It's called experience and nobody has any now, because there's nowhere to go to get it."

On giving the belt to smaller stars like Savage and Bret: "No. Absolutely not. It's like putting the belt on someone who wants to be a wrestler. It didn't work. It downgraded, made the belt worthless. When Terry Funk, Harley Race had world titles, it meant more."

On the rumor that Hogan wouldn't drop the belt to Bret in 1993: "I don't blame him. I wouldn't have either. Bret Hart was a nobody from Canada and Hogan was the greatest star in wrestling. I don't blame him. He did the right thing."

He also gave some quick fire thoughts on several wrestlers:
-Ultimate Warrior: "I gotta go to the bathroom………………..NEXT!"
-Vince McMahon: "One of a kind."
-Hulk Hogan: "Great."
-Bret Hart: "I don't care much for Canadians."
-Randy Savage: "OK."
-Ric Flair: "A Joke."


WWE News: Big WWE Network updates - no timetable for launch, McMahon addresses current standing & challenges, will PPVs move to Network?, specific shows in the works...

WWE remains unsure when a proposed WWE Network will launch and what form the Network will take.

During the annual shareholders meeting Friday, WWE executives fielded numerous questions related to the Network. Near the end of the Q&A, WWE CEO Vince McMahon was finally asked point-blank when the Network will be launching.

"That's a really good question," McMahon replied. McMahon then repeated WWE's stance that they want to make sure they "do it right" by exploring all of their options with a traditional cable TV model versus a hybrid model incorporating newer media.

Specifically related to when the decision will be made, McMahon said, "An announcement is forthcoming." After a pause, McMahon said, "In other words, I don't have that answer."

McMahon suggested earlier in the meeting that WWE could launch a cable-specific Network right now, but the volatility of the market and "times being different now" makes them more cautious to continue looking into other Network options.

"We're close to closing - if we wish - a linear network. We can do that," McMahon said. "We can also look at other opportunities at the same time that might be better for us, but, then again, it might not be."

One investor offered three proposed alternatives to a traditional cable TV network that included a suggestion for PPV event distribution through GFL.TV, a YouTube model alternative, and an a la carte offering online.

WWE CFO George Barrios replied that their research shows TV viewing behavior is still ahead of online/new-model consumption by a ratio of 5:1 hours. He said consumers may supplement their TV viewing on smart phones and other devices, but they still watch TV at a high rate, which is why they continue to pursue a traditional cable TV network model.

-- Another major aspect of the Network discussion centered on whether PPV events will be offered on the Network, as has been rumored over the past year. McMahon was vague in response, saying, the Network policy "may or may not include PPVs." He added, "It's certainly a factor we're considering."

The topic was also looked at from a different angle when a shareholder asked about offering current PPV events in a season pass form to curtail lower PPV buys for non-WrestleMania events. McMahon said, "That's a possibility," before noting PPVs could be part of the Network package. However, the key for WWE would be knowing when to pull the trigger on changing the PPV model and whether it's feasible to include PPVs on the Network.

-- Some of the key phrasing WWE used was their belief that they can drive the current WWE audience to a Network and that there is strong demand for more WWE content, which would be made available through a Network. "Give audience more of what they want," McMahon said. WWE did not provide supporting evidence for their belief that there is more demand for more content, though.

-- Asked of WWE Classics-on-Demand will go away when the Network launches, McMahon said it most likely will. Earlier in the meeting, WWE management stressed they are creating new shows based on their tape library.

-- Two shows WWE stressed for the Network were a show based on the Monday Night Wars and a WWE Countdown show, which WWE is currently pushing in new DVD releases.

Link: WWE's full shareholders meeting can be viewed at this link from WWE Corporate (Pro Wrestling Torch)


HULK HOGAN Take My Naked Ass Off the Internet!!!...

Hulk Hogan is freaking OUT over screengrabs of his alleged sex tape that have leaked onto the Internet -- and now, the wrestling legend's taking legal action ... sending in his lawyer to clean up the XXX mess.

The black-and-white pics -- which appear to show a naked Hulk doing the nasty with an unidentified female -- surfaced on TheDirty.com last week ... and more pics followed.

But Hulk isn't taking the affront on his knees -- unlike a certain unidentified female -- in fact, his lawyer just fired off a cease and desist letter to TheDirty.com editor Nik Richie, demanding Nik take down the pics forthwith ... or face a lawsuit.

The lawyer writes, "As you know, should a sex tape or photographs of Mr. Bollea exist, they were taken without his consent and therefore the same would constitute a felony in the State of Florida."

We're told Nik and TheDirty.com have no plans to remove the pictures in question. Stay tuned ... (TMZ)


Lakshmi Mittal retains tag as richest man in Britain, tops Sunday Times Rich list...

LONDON: It's not a good year to be in metals,mining or owning football clubs. Lakshmi Mittal, who still retains his tag as the richest man in Britain, topping the annual Sunday Times Rich list, is GBP4.8 billion poorer than he was last year, with his wealth estimated at GBP12.7bn - the main reason, a Eurozone crisis that has eroded the share price of Arcelor Mittal.

Anil Agarwal, Vedanta's promoter, has seen his position dropping from 12th place to 26, thanks, again to dropping share prices that's seen his wealth erode by GBP1.5 bn. Ravi Ruia, who entered the list last year at number 12, has also seen his share price bomb, and in 2012 clocks in at 33, with his wealth almost halved by GBP2.9 bn to GBP 2 bn. The newspaper noted that Essar Global, which was valued around GBP 5.4 bn in 2010 when it floated, is now valued at GBP 1.6 bn.

The only Indians who have seen their position going up are Sri and Gopichand Hinduja, who last hit the headlines for buying a palatial mansion at Carlton Terrace, within a stone's throw of Buckingham Palace in Pall Mall, who are now estimated to be worth GBP8.6bn, up by GBP 2.6 bn from last year. It puts them at the 4th place in the top 1000 rich list.

Anurag Dikshit, the reclusive, Gibralter-based former owner of poker site Partygaming, makes it to the number 3 in the top philanthropy list in 2012, with recent donation of GBP 23.4 million to his charitable trust in India, Kusuma, in addition to the GBp 172 million he gave away last year, reducing his personal wealth to a mere GBP 35 million.

In the top 50, another Indian who's seen he's position rise is Ajay Kalsi, of AIMS-listed Indus Ind Gas, who at number 42 has significantly crawled up the ladder from number 58. The newspaper attributed this to share prices holding up despite the recession.

Of the other top 3, though, Alisher Usmanov, the Russian mining tycoon best known for his recent acquisition of Arsenal football club, has also lost wealth, as has Roman Abramovich, the oil mogul best known for his ownership of Chelsea football club, has also lost money.


SkyCity holds winning hand, say Oz analysts...

SkyCity's controversial expansion plans have not dented its share price - nor the view taken of the business by three Australian-based professional investment experts.

Not only are analysts picking better fortunes for the gaming business, but their latest market research out this month on four ASX- and NZX-listed gaming industry businesses showed they had rethought the longer-term outlook for SkyCity's earnings.

They picked it as the best performer on a profit revision basis, piling on more money than the other three.

Shares are still rising despite the business suffering a backlash against its $350 million offer to build an international convention and exhibition centre in Auckland's Hobson St in return for Government permission to have more gaming machines.

The company, with a market capitalisation of $2.2 billion, is trading at $3.81, below its $4 two-year high but well above the $3.30 of last November.

Deutsche Bank Markets Research's Mark Wilson, Daniel Pi and Anthony Hanna revised up their SkyCity earnings estimate forecasts by 2 per cent, the highest for any of the Australasian stock exchange-listed gaming businesses.

Instead of making $145.4 million net after-tax profit in 2012, $150.7 million in 2013 and $164.9 million in 2014, SkyCity will make $145.8 million, $153.6 million and $168.1 million, they predict.

They advise investors not to sell, issuing a hold recommendation on the stock because they believe it has good potential - although they have not gone as far as issuing a buy, which they have on the giant Melbourne and Perth Crown.

Some of the risks and rewards of buying shares in SkyCity are major capital expenditure projects with the benefits the business has gained from recent main gaming floor refurbishments, they say.

Changes to the regulatory environment, movements in the New Zealand and Australian dollars and changes to the New Zealand economy, particularly household disposable incomes, are also singled out for mention.

Auckland accounted for 60 per cent of the group earnings, they said, exposing the business to booms and busts in one area.

"SkyCity's earnings are sensitive to movements in the Australian dollar given the translation of earnings from the Adelaide and Darwin casinos," said the analysts, who used various financial metrics to give a favourable review of the business, benchmarking it against gambling rivals Aristocrat, Crown and Tatts Group.

Crown owns and operates two of Australia's leading gaming and entertainment venues: Crown Entertainment Complex in Melbourne and the Burswood Entertainment Complex in Perth.

Aristocrat Leisure makes and sells gaming machines and supplies gaming systems, table gaming equipment and other services for casinos, clubs and hotels. Tatts provides leisure and entertainment products and services to the Australasian gambling industry and has investments in overseas businesses.

Nigel Morrison, SkyCity's chief executive, has wanted to expand Auckland because he says international gamblers, particularly from Asia, do a circuit of major Australasian casinos. (New Zealand Herald)


Bwin.party Commits to Teradata to Drive Single Customer and Operational View...

Online gaming and sports betting leader will use advanced data warehouse system to integrate its customer base, strengthen analytics and improve BI performance...

LONDON, April 24, 2012 -- Teradata (NYSE: TDC), the analytic data solutions company, has agreed to a deal with Bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plc, the world's largest listed online gaming company, to supply a new, high-performance enterprise data warehouse solution.

Based in Gibraltar and listed on the London Stock Exchange, Bwin.party is one of the largest online gaming operators. It was created in March 2011 through a merger Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and PartyGaming Plc.

The agreement will see the Teradata Database and a Teradata integrated data warehouse platform implemented across Bwin.party's gaming and sports customer bases to create a single customer view across all gaming verticals. In turn, this will enable Bwin.party to segment its customer base and target marketing campaigns more effectively based on previous customer activity.

In addition to facilitating essential financial reporting across the joint organisation, the new integrated Teradata solution is expected to strengthen the data analytics used for essential campaign planning, reduce operating costs and contribute to an easier-to-use and maintain business intelligence environment.

"Data analytics are essential to our organisation," said Bwin.party's Group Technology Director Tod Martin. "We believe that the new Teradata solution will be extremely effective in consolidating data generated by our joint organisation, whilst providing the platform for better reporting analytics and insight."

Current planned developments include the provision of a more widely-available self-service Business Intelligence model across the wider organisation.

"We are delighted that Bwin.party has chosen the latest Teradata integrated data warehouse platform," added Teradata Corporation Area Vice President, UK, Chris Armitage. "The technology is well-placed to help drive business performance and consolidate key performance indicators across the organisation."

About Teradata Teradata Corporation (NYSE: TDC) is the world's leading analytic data solutions company, focused on integrated data warehousing, big data analytics, and business applications. Teradata's innovative products and services deliver data integration and business insight to empower organizations to make the best decisions possible and achieve competitive advantage. Visit teradata.com for details.

About Bwin.party Bwin.party digital entertainment plc (LSE: BPTY) is the world's largest listed online gaming company. The Company was formed from the merger of bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and PartyGaming Plc on 31 March 2011. Incorporated, licensed and regulated in Gibraltar, the Group also has online poker licences in France and Italy. With offices in Europe, India, Israel and the US the Group generated total pro forma revenue of euro 816.0m and pro forma Clean EBITDA of euro 199.3m in 2011. Bwin.party operates one of the world's largest online poker networks, www.PartyPoker.com and also owns the World Poker Tour. The Group's scale, proprietary poker software, online gaming platform and strong portfolio of games collectively differentiates its customer offer from those of its competitors. Bwin.party is a constituent member of the FTSE4Good Index Series, which identifies companies that meet globally recognised corporate responsibility standards.


bwin.party will go social in 2012...

bwin.party digital entertainment plans to launch into the social gaming sector this year.

Commenting on the company’s financial results for the full year 2011, co-CEOs Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger said: “As integration projects are completed, we are channelling more resources into driving innovation across the business and through new channels including our proprietary mobile gaming platform. We are also extending our reach into new areas of digital entertainment such as social gaming, where we see significant potential.”

bwin.party reported a 0.2 per cent increase in total revenues to €816m for the year ended December 31, 2011, and it remains “on track to deliver approximately €40m of synergies this year and €65m in 2013." The growth in casino and games, as well as slight improvement in sports betting revenues, made up for a decline in its poker and bingo offering.

Looking ahead, Ryan and Teufelberger said they expect to gain competitive advantage this year from additional scale and improved flexibility, which will flow from the integration and migration of the company’s main products to a single technology platform. The company will also add more casino games and continue to improve its poker and bingo offerings.

They continued: “We have secured strong business partners in the US ahead of any regulation there and have also applied for a licence in Spain, which is expected to regulate in the second quarter of this year. In Germany, we have applied for a gaming licence in Schleswig-Holstein, the only EU-compliant licensing regime available.” (Intergame)

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Five facts about The Avengers - 25th April 2012

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It's the hottest new action film to showcase Marvel Comics' heroes and it's burning up Australian screens right now, but if you think you already know everything there is to know about The Avengers, you're wrong.

Here's five facts from behind the scenes of The Avengers:

THEM'S FIGHTING WORDS

Tom Hiddleston, who plays the Norse god Loki, had to learn the most fight sequences of any cast member for his battles with The Avengers. He did training in Wushu, a Chinese martial art, as well as boxing, stick and staff work, knife work and hand-to-hand combat.

He wasn't the only one put through the wringer though.

Mark Ruffalo lost 21 pounds to play Hulk, while shooting had to be rescheduled when Jeremy Renner tore a muscle from his back to his shoulder filming stunts for Hawkeye.

Scarlett Johansson also trained extensively in Wushu and weapons handling alongside fight choreographer Jonathan Eusebio and her stunt double, Heidi Moneymaker.

IT AIN'T EASY BEING GREEN

Mark Ruffalo, who replaced Edward Norton as The Hulk, says it's not a role he would usually take on, but Robert Downey Jnr and the Iron Man movies were what convinced him.

He says unlike previous incarnations of The Hulk, he doesn't change size in The Avengers and is always "about eight and a half feet tall" regardless of how angry he is.

The Avengers is the first time, in film, TV and in the comics, that Bruce Banner and The Hulk have had physical similarities. Instead of just CGI, director Joss Whedon used motion capture technology (used to create characters like Gollum from Lord of the Rings) so you can see Ruffalo's facial characteristics in The Hulk.

THE SCARLET LETTER

The usually blonde Scarlett Johansson was not Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau's first choice to play Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, who in the comics is a tall Russian redhead. But when he met with her, she had dyed her hair red so he would know she was serious about the part.

The Avengers director Whedon made it clear from the beginning that a strong female character was absolutely essential and an all-male Avengers team was unacceptable.

SAMUEL "LEAKY" JACKSON

The Avengers is the first time Samuel L Jackson's SHIELD agent Nick Fury has stepped into a main role, instead of just cameos. But during filming, his printer was hacked and the movie script for The Avengers leaked online. Marvel sent a team of investigators to Canada to track down the person that put it up for sale online.

Nick Fury's own spin-off movie is now in the works, with Jackson predicting fellow agent Black Widow (Johansson) will also be in it.

SPYING THE SPIES DURING THE SHOOT
Advertisement: Story continues below
The first day of the 92-day shoot was on April 24, 2011, and involved a scene where Nick Fury confronts Steve Rogers in an old boxing gym with a new mission.

It wasn't until day 11 that the entire lead cast of The Avengers assembled for the first time, for a scene where they find out why Nick has rounded them up.

Movies aren't generally shot chronologically, but the last scene of the movie was also shot on the last day of production, with the film wrapping on September 5, 2011.

It was shot in Central Park in New York with the entire lead cast, but because it was a long weekend in the US, thousands of onlookers gathered to see the Avengers in costume, including Thor and Loki decked out in their Asgardian gear. (AAP)

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gold Coast hotel Palazzo Versace for sale; Property buy opportunity of decade?

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Palazzo Versace, the ultra glamorous hotel that put Queensland's Gold Coast on the international map at the start of the new millennium, is going on the market.

Owner the Sunland Group, which snatched a coup by opening the world's first fashion-branded hotel in 2000, is aiming to sell the Main Beach hotel to reinvest in other projects.

These could include building another property on the site of Mariner's Cove, south of Palazzo Versace, and an upmarket Brisbane apartment tower.

The new owner will have the keys to a property that has been admired around the globe since it was constructed nearly 12 years ago.

It is the ultimate entertaining venue, one where guests can be spoiled and feted in six-star luxury.

The hotel has had hundreds of famous guests since it first opened its doors, including the Rolling Stones, Paris Hilton, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Beyonce and Jay Z, and more recently Rod Stewart and Chris Brown. Ruler of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashed al-Maktoum passed away at the hotel in 2006.

Major features of the three-level landmark are 200 ensuite bedrooms, a 65m lagoon pool, luxury spa, high-tech gymnasium and marina.

The owner, in building this property, spared no expense, importing specially-designed Italian fittings and furnishings and flying in Italian artisans to undertake the intricate tiling and mosaic work.

The decision to sell the 200-room Palazzo Versace comes six months after Sunland regained 100 per cent ownership of the property in a deal with a Middle Eastern partner who acquired a 49 per cent stake seven years ago.

McVay Real Estate principal Dan McVay says he expects the hotel to bring at least $80 million.

"It's totally unique and will be seen as a trophy property, not just by hoteliers but by some of the world's wealthiest people," he said.

"There has been a never-ending trail of people wanting to buy the hotel over the years, virtually all of them from offshore.

"Hence I expect the buyer to be international, with Asian parties probably at the front of the queue."

Mr McVay, who with son Sam is marketing Palazzo Versace through an expressions of interest campaign, says he expects the hotel to sell well below replacement cost.

"The 200 rooms average 50sq m and at $80 million that equates to $8000 a sq m.

"For that figure you're not getting just 200 rooms - you also get three restaurants, a ballroom, shops, a gymnasium, a spa, a marina and other facilities."

Mr McVay says Palazzo Versace has performed solidly in the past year against the backdrop of what he regards as the worst market for hotel operators in more than 20 years.

"It's been making money and should net $4 million or more in the 2011-12 year.

"It's also being sold in pristine condition, having undergone a multimillion-dollar revitalisation in the last 18 months."

A Media Man analyst said "This Palazoo Versace purchase opportunity could very well end up one of the top luxury and property buys of the decade. For a company or individual looking to make a huge intentional splash into the property and / or high end luxury market, this is it".

Expressions of interest in Palazzo Versace will close in early June.


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Media Man Network accepting approved advertisers and campaigns


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The Media Man Network is currently accepting approved advertisers and campaigns - both online and traditional campaigns.

Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company.

They were established in 2001 and are a multi-time award winner.

Ranked in the Hitwise Australia top ten (entertainment - personalities category), Google 'Best Of The Web', and AllExperts (TV and Radio).

Campaign portfolio includes WWE, UFC, Messages On Hold, Human Statue Bodyart, PartyCasino, Virgin Games, Marvel Entertainment, Aston Martin, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, PlatinumHD, Ric Drasin, Eva Rinaldi Photography, Music News Australia, Richard Bradley Productions, Gizzi's Cafe, Frank Sinatra Enterprises, Palazzo Versace, IGT and Endemol.

The Media Man website network currently attracts approximately 5 million hits per month.

Media Man is regularly quoted in mainstream media including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Daily Telegraph, B&T, The New York Times blog, Gambling911, Street Corner and News Limited blog websites.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

KISS News Update: Paul Reviews Monster Book Progress; Kiss’ Gene Simmons Hosting Live Webcast Event

Paul Reviews Monster Book Progress; Kiss’ Gene Simmons Hosting Live Webcast Event with Fellow Rock N Roll AllStars Tour Mates; KISS catch up news: News that you may have missed; KISS & Motley Crue Announce Summer Tour: 'No Fake Bull---t'...

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From Sydney, Australia to Hollywood, to Japan, and all across the globe, the globe knows that rock legend KISS are "The Greatest Band In The World".

You can't miss their hard rock riffs or their fantastic face paint.

Flashback: Late 1972 - Simmons spots an ad in Rolling Stone placed by Peter Criss, a drummer "looking to do anything to make it". Criss auditions and begins rehearsing with Simmons and Stanley as a trio.

Before man KISS concerts the following bold announcement is made... You Wanted the Best , YOU GOT THE BEST! The Hottest Band in the World — KISS!

As the Media Man agency entertainment commentator says "KISS may have called themselves the 'Greatest Band In The World', but for many music lovers its been true since 1973 when the band first formed under the KISS banner".

Paul Reviews Monster Book Progress...

Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer met with the UK's First Light Publishers last week to review new full-size proofs from the giant KISS book. The KISS MONSTER BOOK will be released this summer.

Stay tuned to KISSOnline for more KISS MONSTER BOOK details soon!


Kiss’ Gene Simmons Hosting Live Webcast Event with Fellow Rock N Roll AllStars Tour Mates...

Gene Simmons is hosting a live interactive event next week from Buenos Aires, Argentina, that will give fans the chance to chat with him and the other stars participating in the Rock N Roll AllStars tour of South and Central America. The Q&A session will take place Monday, April 23, at 5 p.m. ET from Club Geba, where the hard rock collective will be performing that evening.

To take part in the webcast, fans can visit LiveAndGlobal.com/RnRAllStars. The website allows participants to chat in 53 languages and will translate questions and answers for viewers. In addition to Simmons, Def Leppard‘s Joe Elliott, ex-Guns N’ Roses members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach, Alice in Chains‘ Mike Inez and one-time Deep Purple bass player Glenn Hughes all will be participating.

“I’m thrilled to be hosting a real-time conversation between fellow rock legends, die-hard fans and myself during this first-of-its-kind tour,” Simmons says in a statement. “This Live & Global session is going to be a great addition to the tour and venue, and I’m looking forward to giving our fans a ‘backstage pass’ to talk with us!”

The Rock N Roll AllStars trek kicks off Thursday in Asuncion, Paraguay, and is scheduled through a May 6 concert in Caracas, Venezuela.


KISS catch up news: News that you may have missed...

KISS & Motley Crue Announce Summer Tour: 'No Fake Bull---t'...


"We're sick and tired of girls getting up there with dancers and karaoke tapes in back of them," Gene Simmons says...

KISS and Motley Crue are hitting the road for a co-headlining tour -- dubbed simply "The Tour" -- this summer, the iconic rock acts announced on Tuesday.

The 40-date North American tour will kick off in Bristow, Va., on July 20 and run through the end of the summer, with the hard rock groups each playing 90-minute sets.

"These guys are the baddest band in the f***ing world," Motley Crue's Vince Neil said on stage with both bands at the Roosevelt Hotel on Tuesday. "Our very first tour was with [KISS], 1982. To be able to do it now is amazing."

"Seeing them on stage, it was obvious back then that this was the next big thing," KISS' Paul Stanley added. "We talk about bang for buck, this will be the definition of bang for buck on this tour. If you want to see more bombs and artillery, you'll have to check out the military."

Whether or not KISS bassist Gene Simmons' A&E reality show, "Gene Simmons Family Jewels," will follow the explosive tour was unclear. "Probably. Maybe… not," he said.

But he had a clear answer to for the pop stars now invading stadiums once filled largely by rock acts.

"We're sick and tired of girls getting up there with dancers and karaoke tapes in back of them," Simmons said. "No fake bullshit. Leave that to the Rihanna, Shmianna and anyone who ends their name with an 'A.'"


KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® Grand Opening Set for Multi-faceted Rock ‘n Roll Themed Amusement Attraction in Las Vegas...

Legendary KISS® Band Members to Inaugurate First-of-its-kind Property at Opening Event in Las Vegas on March 15


LAS VEGAS, Nev. – KISS® By Monster Mini Golf®, a unique rock ‘n roll-themed amusement attraction based around the legendary band KISS® is set to open on Thursday, March 15 with co- founding members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, as well as band members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer in attendance. As part of the celebration, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons will slash through the ceremonial ribbon with their guitars and walk the “Black Carpet” with other notable guests.

“Our challenge is to continue to find ways to weave KISS into the very fabric of Americana. We'll be there to celebrate the first ever KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® grand opening in Las Vegas. This is miniature golf KISS style and another part of our KISS world. We've big plans for this and in this case what happens in Vegas won't stay in Vegas ” said Paul Stanley.

Gene Simmons added, “This venue is perfect for Las Vegas. Where else can you go play a round of KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® and then renew your wedding vows in an official KISS “Hotter Than Hell” Wedding chapel, only in Vegas.”

KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® is the first-of-its-kind indoor glow-in-the-dark custom-designed, rockin’ 18-hole miniature golf course and will also host a state-of-the-art arcade, the largest KISS gift shop in the world, A KISS Gallery, the “Hotter Than Hell” Wedding Chapel, a private VIP Room, FANtastic KISS® themed event rooms and the “Rock ‘n Roll All Nite” CafĂ©. KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® is located at 4503 Paradise Rd. Las Vegas, NV 89169 in the Shoppes at Harmon Square across from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

“KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® has been in development for more than two years and it is destined to become a must see when anyone comes to visit Las Vegas,” said Christina Vitagliano, Founder of KISS® By Monster Mini Golf®.

"The Kiss brand just keeps getting bigger and bigger around the world. KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® will be a favorite for the Kiss Army legion of loyal fans as well as new Kiss fans" said Dell Furano, CEO of Live Nation Merchandise, Kiss longtime worldwide exclusive licensing and merchandising partner.

About Monster Mini Golf
Monster Mini Golf is the leader in cutting-edge indoor glow-in-the-dark themed entertainment. Founded in 2004, the company boasts 30 (and counting) 18-hole miniature golf courses across the country. Each custom-designed course features an arcade game area, private event rooms, in-house DJ, and entertainment for the whole family. Updates/information visit www.monsterminigolf.com, or www.facebook.com/MonsterMiniGolfKISS

For more information: Christina Vitagliano, Founder – KISS® By Monster Mini Golf®
Ph: 702.558.6256 – Monster Mini Golf® Corporate Ph: 401.454.8100 or Christina@monsterminigolf.com

About KISS
KISS, the legendary American rock band was founded in 1972. Four decades later KISS remains one of the most influential bands in the history of Rock and Roll. Achievements include the release of approximately 44 albums, sales of over 100 million albums, sold out concerts tours around the world and the incredible support of over 6 million FaceBook fans worldwide. KISS has performed at the Super Bowl, 2002 Winter Olympics, 2009 Finale of American Idol, 2005 Rockin' The Corps Concert. In 2009, KISS was nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. KISS is currently recording their 2012 Album "Monster".

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sir Richard Branson backs Facebook rival Path; Olympic gold not on the cards for Virgin

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SEATTLE - Sir Richard Branson has invested in Path, the "private social network" hoping to take on Facebook.

Path, a 'mobile-centric social network', which limits its members to 150 friends, was created by former Facebook employee Dave Morin in 2010.

Original backers included Hollywood actor and serial technology investor, Ashton Kutcher. However, during the site's latest round of funding, in which the company managed to raise more than US$30 million (S$37.5 million), Sir Richard has added his name to Path's investor list.

Last month Path came under fire after it emerged that the site was automatically uploading users' mobile phone address books and storing the information on its servers, without gaining consent from its members.

Consequently Mr Morin was forced to apologise and change the service's mobile settings. Path members are now asked first if they wish to opt in to share the content of their mobile address book.

An Apple spokesman said at the time: "Apps that collect or transmit a user's contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines."

The Daily Telegraph lists other new Path investors as Mr Yuri Milner, the Russian investor with stakes in Facebook, social games company Zynga and Twitter, and chief executive of Zynga Mark Pincus.

The news comes only a week after Facebook acquired Instagram, a popular photo-sharing app which has yet to generate revenues from it 40 million users, for US$1 billion.

Path, which has two million users, also has yet to fully roll out a commercial model.

Such large investments and buy-outs of companies without strong revenue models have prompted much conversation about a new technology bubble forming.


Virgin Casino New Football Online Slot...

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Sir Richard Branson says FA Cup final kick off time should change to ease Liverpool FC travel chaos...

Virgin boss Richard Branson has asked the Football Association (FA) to rethink the timing of next month's FA Cup final, in the light of travel problems faced by Liverpool fans.

Major maintenance work means rail travel, of which Virgin is the main provider, is likely to be severely disrupted over the May public holiday weekend.

That means supporters traveling from the north-west to Wembley for a 5:15pm kick-off against Chelsea on May 5, and hoping to return on the same day, will be affected.

"We have a strong relationship with Liverpool Football club and twice recently have worked with them and Network Rail to bring many fans to Wembley," said Branson in a letter emailed to the Liverpool Echo.

"On this occasion we would ask the FA to look again at the timing of the game."

The FA did not respond to Branson's call for a rethink on the kick-off time but stressed they felt there would be enough coaches to ferry fans back and forth.

"In light of the disrupted rail service to London, The FA can confirm that National Express, a partner of Wembley Stadium, will provide dedicated services between Liverpool and Wembley for the FA Cup Final," said an FA spokesman.

"We went on record last year to state that the 2011-12 FA Cup final would have a later kick-off time while May 5 was announced almost 12 months ago to allow the Premier League to conclude in plenty of time for England to prepare for this summer's European Championships."

But with all but three of Virgin's Liverpool to London trains having been cancelled that day and the last return service leaving just after 8:00pm, some fans still face being stranded in the capital.

The matter was even discussed in Parliament on Thursday, with Transport Secretary Justine Greening telling the House of Commons, "The underlying problem that we are trying to solve is that the FA Cup starts later than it was originally planned to start."

Six lawmakers have signed an early day motion, calling on "all involved to take the action necessary to ensure disruption is minimised as much as possible."


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Olympic gold not on the cards for Virgin...

RICHARD Branson's Virgin Atlantic is not counting on the London Olympics delivering it a ''bonanza'' in demand for flights on the Australia-UK route as the games are likely to keep the British at home.

After passenger growth of 10 per cent on the route last year, the British airline expects a more moderate rise of 6 per cent in 2012 due to recession in European economies and competitive pressures.

Airlines including Qantas have struggled to stem losses on routes to Europe because of intense competition from Middle Eastern and Chinese airlines and high fuel prices.

Virgin Atlantic's chief commercial officer Julie Southern said the impact of the London Olympics on travel demand in late July and August would be ''net neutral''. While it would encourage an influx of tourists to the UK, she said the sporting event would lead to a reduction in the number of British travelling abroad. ''It is not a curse but is is not a bonanza either,'' she said. The airline is yet to see a trend emerge for Australians' interest in travelling to the Olympics.

Big events such as the Olympics tend to be a mixed blessing for airlines as they create operational headaches due to a surge in demand for travel in one direction. The soccer World Cup in South Africa two years ago failed to deliver Qantas the spike in passenger numbers it was expecting on flights between South Africa and Australia.

To ease its exposure to recession-hit Europe, Qantas will this month reduce flights on the route to London from five a day to three. The flights it drops from Hong Kong and Bangkok to London will be filled by Qantas' joint-venture partner, British Airways.

''It is tougher flying internationally, which is what we are seeing with BA and Qantas,'' Ms Southern said. While Australians flock overseas in record numbers - egged on by the high Australian dollar and cheap fares - she said it was ''more of a challenge'' to encourage the British to fly here because the weakness of the pound made Australia a more expensive destination.

Ms Southern said she was hopeful a code-share arrangement with Virgin Australia on flights between Australia and Hong Kong would boost demand.

The code-share deal does not include flights from Hong Kong to London because Virgin Australia has a strategic alliance with Etihad between Australia and Britain via Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Virgin Atlantic flies daily between Sydney and London via Hong Kong. Sir Richard's Virgin Group has a 51 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic. (Credit: Fairfax Media)


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