Universal City, California - The world's funniest evil genius saw his plans for world domination come true when Despicable Me made off with first-day sales on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download of nearly $25 million on December 14. Fueled by the exclusive debut of three all-new mini-movies on DVD Double Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and 3D Combo Pack starring the film's wildly popular Minions, the mega-hit animated family comedy sold well over one million units to consumers (excluding rentals) in its first 24 hours of release and is poised to become the second biggest-grossing animated home entertainment title of the year.

"Despicable Me is one of the most creative, beloved and successful animated features of all time, as evidenced by its resounding critical acclaim and extraordinary global box-office earnings of over half a billion dollars," said Craig Kornblau, President, Universal Studios Home Entertainment. "In providing consumers with exceptional all-new mini-movies and the greatest choice of platforms across DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D, Despicable Me has rocketed to the top of everyone's gift list and has assumed the coveted position as the must-own release of the holiday season."

The title's explosive first-day sales were also aided by Universal's groundbreaking "Minion Madness" promotion, a points-based reward and social media program spotlighting the film's beloved mischief-makers, the Minions. Fans can register to participate in creative interactive activities that earn points toward prizes ranging from gift cards to all-expense-paid vacations. To date, registered users have earned more than one million minion points and shared thousands of pieces of fan art, fan photos and more at www.minionmadness.com. Running through January 2011, "Minion Madness" will award more than 15,000 prizes to registered users.

 

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AUCKLAND -- Vista Entertainment Solutions has been awarded NZ$1.24 million to help achieve the company's ambitious growth plans. One of the main targets for Vista is the United States, where it has recently opened a new office. Vista currently has less than 1% of the US market and is looking to expand this to be in line with its global market share of 15% within 3 years.

Vista also plans to grow beyond the 50 countries to which it currently exports its leading edge cinema software technology.

The investment is part of the Government's new Technology Development Fund. The fund is driven by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and is one of the flagship business assistance funds announced in the 2010 May Budget to boost business R&D. It is one of the investment products under TechNZ, the Foundation's business investment programme.

Vista CEO, Murray Holdaway, said: "We plan to use these funds to help us to continue to be the market leaders and ultimately sign up more cinemas in the U.S. as well as China, amongst other regions. We already have a world leading product, this grant will enable us to continue to develop and deliver world class products that truly set us apart from our competitors."

"The companies were chosen as those that would benefit from extra research and development funding and those that could develop market share abroad by showing the world the quality of New Zealand's high-tech export products and services."

The criteria were firms that have a good track record in research and development and which spend a significant proportion of their revenue on R&D. Other companies chosen include Orion, Fisher and Paykel and Weta Digital.

Dr Richard Templer, acting Chief Executive, Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, says that Vista Entertainment Solutions is a leading Kiwi technology business and a front runner in R&D:

"TechNZ's support will ensure Vista Entertainment Solutions can just keep on doing what they are good at-developing innovative technology solutions that are in global demand," Dr Templer says.

 

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Paris, France and Liège, Belgium -- SmartJog, a digital delivery service provider, and XDC, a digital cinema deployment company, announced today that the SmartJog service is currently being deployed in 100 cinemas under contract with XDC. The service, SmartJog's digital cinema library solution, enables all cinemas to be connected to the SmartJog network as well as provides cinemas with a storage library for DCPs (Digital Cinema Packages). This is the largest order ever received by SmartJog from a single client and the deployment in theatres in Southern Europe and Austria is already underway.

XDC will handle the installation and first tier of support with local Exhibitors, while SmartJog will provide the end-to-end service including the hardware and software solution in cinemas, permanent optimized satellite capacity, supervision and additional support to XDC.

The deployment is in progress in Portugal and in Belgium, and XDC plans to deploy the SmartJog services to additional cinemas within the next 2 years, which will mean an additional 200 cinemas connected to the SmartJog network. Under the terms of the agreement, XDC will also use SmartJog for the delivery of DCPs, and SmartJog will use the XDC Digital Content Lab for joint mastering and electronic delivery services, as well as to supply a fast emergency recovery support.
"We have selected the SmartJog library to equip the XDC sites because SmartJog offers with its robust solution for the electronic satellite distribution, a Library Management System for DCP storage. The SmartJog library is fully integrated with our TMS, the CineStore Plaza. This enables full installation in technical room, avoiding useless duplication of equipment" says, Thierry Van der Kaa, VP Information Systems & Operations for XDC.

"As we continue to expand our digital cinema roll-out in Europe, we're happy to expand our footprint to interconnect all the mastering facilities, distributors, and cinema chains. XDC is a key player in the digital cinema industry and we are excited to extend our agreement and provide a complete solution for Exhibitors," says Nicolas Dussert, Director of Theatrical Sales for SmartJog.
Currently, SmartJog has around 300 cinemas and more than 1300 digital screens connected to its network in Europe.

 

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Beverly Hills, CA -- Forty-one songs from eligible feature-length motion pictures are in contention for nominations in the Original Song category for the 83rd Academy Awards®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.

The original songs, along with the motion picture in which each song is featured, are listed below in alphabetical order by film and song title:

* "Alice" from "Alice in Wonderland"
* "Forever One Love" from "Black Tulip"
* "Freedom Song" from "Black Tulip"
* "Bound to You" from "Burlesque"
* "Welcome to Burlesque" from "Burlesque"
* "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from "Burlesque"
* "There's a Place for Us" from "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"
* "Coming Home" from "Country Strong"
* "Me and Tennessee" from "Country Strong"
* "Despicable Me" from "Despicable Me"
* "Prettiest Girls" from "Despicable Me"
* "Dear Laughing Doubters" from "Dinner for Schmucks"
* "Better Days" from "Eat Pray Love"
* "If You Run" from "Going the Distance"
* "Darkness before the Dawn" from "Holy Rollers"
* "Sticks & Stones" from "How to Train Your Dragon"
* "Le Gris" from "Idiots and Angels"
* "Chanson Illusionist" from "The Illusionist"
* "Never Say Never" from "The Karate Kid"
* "To the Sky" from "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole"
* "What If" from "Letters to Juliet"
* "Life during Wartime" from "Life during Wartime"
* "Made in Dagenham" from "Made in Dagenham"
* "Little One" from "Mother and Child"
* "Be the One" from "The Next Three Days"
* "If I Rise" from "127 Hours"
* "When You See Forever" from "The Perfect Game"
* "I Remain" from "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time"
* "Dream Big" from "Pure Country 2: The Gift"
* "How I Love You" from "Ramona and Beezus"
* "Darling I Do" from "Shrek Forever After"
* "Noka Oi" from "Six Days in Paradise"
* "This Is a Low" from "Tamara Drewe"
* "I See the Light" from "Tangled"
* "Rise" from "3 Billion and Counting"
* "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3"
* "Eclipse: All Yours" from "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"
* "Nothing" from "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too"
* "A Better Life" from "Unbeaten"
* "Shine" from "Waiting for ‘Superman'"
* "The Reasons Why" from "Wretches & Jabberers"

On Thursday, January 6, the Academy will screen clips featuring each song, in random order, for voting members of the Music Branch in Los Angeles. Following the screenings, members will determine the nominees by an averaged point system vote. If no song receives an average score of 8.25 or more, there will be no nominees in the category. If only one song achieves that score, it and the song receiving the next highest score shall be the two nominees. If two or more songs (up to five) achieve that score, they shall be the nominees. A DVD copy of the song clips will be made available to those branch members who are unable to attend the screening and who request it for home viewing. A mail-in ballot will be provided.

Under Academy rules, a maximum of two songs may be nominated from any one film. If more than two songs from a film are in contention, the two songs with the most votes will be the nominees.

To be eligible, a song must consist of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the film. A clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition of both lyric and melody must be used in the body of the film or as the first music cue in the end credits.

The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

 

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