BURBANK, Calif. -- Swinging into theaters April 20 with a $10.6 million opening-weekend performance, "Chimpanzee" proved so popular among audiences that Disneynature is extending the "See ‘Chimpanzee,' Save Chimpanzees" conservation initiative for a second week. For every moviegoer who sees "Chimpanzee" through May 3, 2012, Disneynature will make a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to protect chimpanzees today and tomorrow.

"In theaters just five days, ‘Chimpanzee' has already given us a lot to celebrate," said Alan Bergman, president, The Walt Disney Studios. "Led by a young chimpanzee named Oscar, ‘Chimpanzee' has won the hearts of audiences nationwide. It's because of that success that we decided to extend our program with the Jane Goodall Institute."

"See ‘Chimpanzee,' Save Chimpanzees"-initially slated for the film's opening week through April 26-will continue through the film's second week till May 3-a first-ever extension to a Disneynature conservation program.

The news was well received by Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace. "We couldn't be happier to extend this collaboration to help the Jane Goodall Institute better protect chimpanzees and the places they call home," she said. "A film like ‘Chimpanzee' helps spread the passion we have for these extraordinary beings, sharing the truly relatable moments experienced by Oscar and his fellow chimpanzees in a way that will hopefully inspire audiences to continue their support long after the movie ends."

Rated G by the MPAA, "Chimpanzee" is in theaters now.


Live From CinemaCon 2012: Disney Makes Two Major Announcements on April 25, 2012

disneylogo.pngBy Phil Contrino

On Tuesday evening the Coliseum Theatre stage at Caesars Palace belonged to Disney.

The Mouse House made two major announcements: 1) They'll be moving forward with The Muppets 2 and 2) Jack White is going to be scoring The Lone Ranger.

Jason Segel has been quite vocal about not wanting to star in a Muppets sequel, but that's not stopping Disney from continuing to capitalize on the revitalized brand. The Muppets raked in $158.2 million worldwide.

The decision to let Jack White score The Lone Ranger give the project a much needed boost of coolsomething that was desperately needed after the bad publicity generated by false starts on the production side.

The Disney showcase also included new footage from Wreck-It Ralph, Monsters University, The Odd Life of Timothy Green andOz: The Great and Powerful. Wreck-It Ralph and Monsters University went over particularly well with the crowd.

The presentation ended with the first 30 minutes of Brave. The Pixar flick should tap into the same audience that appreciated seeing strong female characters in The Help and The Hunger Games. Brave is definitely a force to reckoned with this summer.


MPAA CEO and Chairman Senator Chris Dodd Highlights Bright Future of Growing Film Industry at CinemaCon Conference on April 24, 2012

LAS VEGAS - MPAA Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd delivered remarks today at CinemaCon, the annual National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) convention in Las Vegas. Speaking at The Colosseum inside Caesar's Palace, Senator Dodd offered an optimistic perspective on what lies ahead for the film and television industry:

Traditionally, so called disruption innovations- radio, TV, the VCR- inspired fear among filmmakers and exhibitors...While that anxiety about change has at times marked our past, it is not how we approach the future. The film industry - home to some of the world's most inspiring visionaries and innovators - embraces the future, its innovations and its challenges.

In a 2012 outlook, Senator Dodd discussed a successful first quarter at the box office and highlighted some of the summer's upcoming blockbusters:

This year has already begun with a tremendous start: as of April 19 - the box office was up 17 percent over the same period last year. And we have an incredible slate coming up this summer, films that combine the best of what's old and what's new. In films like The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, Battleship and GI Joe: Retaliation, our filmmakers will put your audio and video upgrades to good use, dazzling audiences with their use of technology.

Senator Dodd went on to preview other upcoming features, including The Great Gatsby and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but also took time to underscore the importance of protecting creative content. He emphasized all parties, in both the creative and tech communities, must work together to find a shared solution:

We are a nation of ideas with an economy of creators and makers. But that cannot continue if creators and makers can't get paid for what they create and make - whether it's a movie or a smartphone app... I am committed to doing all I can to achieve a satisfactory resolution to the protection of intellectual property. But, more importantly, the leaders of the content industry are committed as well - and I am confident many in the tech community are similarly prepared to do their part as well.

For a complete copy of Senator Dodd's remarks as prepared for delivery, click here.


Live From CinemaCon 2012: Warner Bros. Presents Footage From 'The Hobbit,' 'The Dark Knight Rises,' 'The Great Gatsby' and Others on April 24, 2012


By Phil Contrino

Jeff Robinov, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, took the stage of The Coliseum Theatre on Tuesday morning to introduce footage from Warner Brothers' impressive 2012 slate.

Dark Shadows: Tim Burton made a brief introduction in which he discusses being obsessed with the Dark Shadows show as a kid. Burton then introduced Johnny Depp to rapturous applause. Depp said simply, "Have fun" right before the clip played. The audience reaction was strong, but not overly enthusiastic.

The Dark Knight Rises: Christopher Nolan took the stage to introduce a series of images and brief scene snippets from his highly-anticipated film. There was plenty of Bane and Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle to keep Batman enthusiasts entranced. The audience reaction was overwhelmingly positive.

Rock of Ages: Director Adam Shankman won the crowd over by joking, "I want to be Christopher Nolan when I grow up." It was the perfect way to lighten the mood after the serious tone of Dark Knight Rises. The footage of Rock of Ages featured plenty of Tom Cruise's rendition of "Wanted: Dead or Alive." Attendees responded well.

The Campaign: Jay Roach introduced a rough trailer for this Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis vehicle. Following in the great tradition of The Hangover and Horrible Bosses, both of which brought the house down at past Vegas events, The Campaign was met with a very warm reception. Keep a close eye on this one.

The Great Gatsby: Any concerns about Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby being a bad fit for 3D were squashed by this incredibly impressive series of clips. Luhrmann introduced the footage via a recorded message.

The Hobbit: This extended look at Peter Jackson's new film will be picked apart for a while to come. Jackson introduced the footage via recorded message and he warned that 48-frames-per-second cinema takes some time to adjust to. Audience reactions were mixed at best. Like any new technology, a higher frame will certainly have its mix of champions and detractors.

Live from CinemaCon 2012: Sacha Baron Cohen Makes Surprise Appearance on April 24, 2012

dictatorcinemacon.pngBy Phil Contrino

Sacha Baron Cohen stole the show during Paramount's reel presentation at CinemaCon on Monday evening.

Cohen appeared in character as The Dictator's General Aladeen, shocking those in attendance. As he made his way down the aisle of The Coliseum Theatre in Caesars Palace, Cohen asked one attendee, "How much for your daughter?"

Once on stage, Cohen made plenty of jokes aimed at Hollywood. "I thought I was the only dictator here, but then I found out Jeffrey Katzenberg is here as well," quipped Cohen. The best joke of the bit came at the expense of Disney. Cohen joked that if exhibitors didn't book his film he would ignite bombs under their seats before saying, "Trust me, there are bigger bombs than John Carter. Calm down, Disney. I'll employ all of you. I'll kill your executive. Wait, you already did." The last part referenced the recent firing of studio head Rich Ross.

Cohen is doing all he can to drum up publicity for The Dictatorbut Paramount's decision to move the film from a May 11 release date to May 16 does not bode well. The actor was riding high after Borat until Brüno destroyed a lot of mainstream good will. It's also very likely that jokes about terrorismof which The Dictator seems to have plentywon't come across as funny to a lot of viewers.

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