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Interview by Daniel Loria

You've worked with Seth MacFarlane long enough to be able to consider both of you frequent collaborators. How did your working relationship start with the first Ted film?

This will be our third film and we've also worked on a television series together. I'd been pitched the original Ted a couple of years before it was made. [Seth McFarlane] had a very clear vision of how he saw the teddy bear; he wanted the movements to resemble the physical movements of a person as opposed to the type of Pixar style animation. It was difficult to figure out how to create that concept in an R-rated comedy because these movies aren't really the most expensive movies to make. As a producer, I read every draft of the screenplay, and my lasting impression with Ted was laughing out loud even after reading the same joke for the tenth time. I connected in a very big way with the
humor and I'm a huge fan of Family Guy, so it was truly an honor to work with Seth.

The two of you have also worked together for television.

My collaboration with Seth grew from that experience and we made A Million Ways to Die in the West and now Ted 2. Along the way, I was introduced to Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan's widow, and exposed to the chance of rebooting Cosmos on TV. I have a son who studies physics in college and I've always been a bit of a science geek, but to be exposed at that level...I jumped in with both feet and Seth had our back all along the way. I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with him in these three films and television series.

What was the hardest part of getting the first Ted film off the ground?

unnamed-2.jpgOur challenge was to create Ted within our budget and our schedule while still allowing for the opportunity of improvisational acting between the CGI character and the actors. We came up with a way where Seth could record his dialogue in the exact same environment while directing the movie, eye-line pulls and reference materials that were easy to capture and didn't slow down the production team or the actors and a way where Seth could wear the motion capture system without requiring a volume to surround him in. The result was that we were able to capture his subtle performance reactions, the physicality to the lines, and it made the humor come to life because it was captured at the moment with the other actors reacting. I think it was a big plus in creating the kind of vitality and energy required by comedy. We found a couple of great animation houses, a bit off-the-beaten-path. We had to match the CGI with the teddy bear we'd designed, so these two separate animation houses in two different continents helped us bring that to life.

Ted ended up being a tremendous box office hit, including more than $330 million overseas. What was that experience like and what do you think contributed to the film's global success?

It was nothing short of thrilling. If you read a script ten times and you're still laughing out loud, you hope you're not just dumb or crazy - a lot of people embraced. I think it's a testament to the pairing of Mark Wahlberg and Seth's performance as Ted, the writing, the idea of taking a Pixar movie -what if your teddy bear came to life?- and flipping it on its head twenty years later. When we set out to do it, our concept was to create a world in which everything feels familiar. People react to Ted in the same way people react to The Muppets, they don't go "Oh my god, there's a talking frog!" -it's just a guy. I produced the two Stuart Little movies and have been involved in CGI character creation before and have been on the pioneering end of these type of movie ideas, as was the case with Monster House as well. The chance to apply that experience to an R-rated comedy, which is something I gravitate towards, at a price point that made the movie go, was a huge opportunity. Then to have people embrace it, to treat it as a character movie and not an effects movie, it was an awesome experience.

What can we expect from Ted 2?

Whenever you do a sequel, it's hard to recapture the novel aspects of the original. What you really have to do is try to develop a story that captures the relationship of the characters in a way that feels like the relationship has moves forward. I think this film really accomplishes something with heart and humor that feels very original and the right evolution of the characters' story. I think that's what you want to try to accomplish in a sequel: come up with enough invention to keep it fresh.

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By Daniel Garris

Jurassic World took in $11.57 million on Monday to continue to lead the daily box office. The Chris Pratt led 3D blockbuster sequel from Universal and Legendary has topped the daily box office for ten of the past eleven days. Jurassic World was down a sharp, but understandable 70 percent from Sunday's inflated Father's Day performance and down 54 percent from last Monday. Jurassic World has grossed a massive $414.37 million through eleven days of release. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation that already ranks the film as the 15th highest grossing film of all-time domestically. And by the end of today the film will likely have moved into eleventh place on the all-time list. Jurassic World is currently running $33.38 million and 9 percent ahead of the $380.99 million eleven-day take of 2012's Marvel's The Avengers.

Inside Out placed in a close second with a strong $10.49 million. The critically acclaimed 3D computer animated film from Disney and Pixar declined 58 percent from Sunday. Inside Out surpassed the $100 million domestic milestone on Monday and has grossed a much  stronger than expected $100.93 million in four days. Inside Out is the second fastest Pixar film ever to reach the $100 million milestone, behind only 2010's Toy Story 3 (which reached the milestone in three days). Inside Out is running an impressive 8 percent ahead of the $93.45 million four-day start of 2013's Monsters University and 20 percent behind the $125.91 million four-day take of Toy Story 3.

Fox's Spy took third place with $1.26 million. The Melissa McCarthy led comedy fell 66 percent from Sunday and a healthy 28 percent from last Monday. Spy continues to stabilize as of late thanks in part to strong word of mouth. The film has grossed a respectable $76.36 million in 18 days. However, that places the film an underwhelming 19 percent behind the $94.55 million 18-day gross of 2013's Identity Thief.

Warner's San Andreas landed in fourth with $0.958 million. The Dwayne Johnson led 3D disaster film was down a sharp 70.5 percent from Sunday, but only down a slim 17 percent from last Monday thanks in part to just how much the film stabilized over the past weekend. San Andreas continues to significantly exceed pre-release expectations with a 25-day take of $133.65 million.

Open Road's Dope rounded out Monday's top five with $0.788 million. The critically acclaimed Rick Famuyiwa directed comedy drama declined 53 percent from Sunday. Despite its strong critical reviews, Dope is running slightly below its already modest expectations with a four-day start of $6.89 million. That places the film 5 percent ahead of the $6.54 million four-day take of last year's Beyond the Lights. Dope will hope to hold up well going forward with help from its strong word of mouth and reviews.

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

In order to maintain a healthy balance between domestic product and Hollywood fare, SARFT (The State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television) imposes an annual blackout "month" on most imported films. This weekend begins the month or more-long protection period and sees 14 new films enter cinemas.

Of the eight new domestic films, three co-productions, and three imports, Hollywood Adventures (横冲直撞好莱坞) has all the makings of a summer blockbuster. Produced by Justin Lin (Furious 3-6, Better Luck Tomorrow) and starring superstar and newly minted billionaire Vicky Zhao (赵薇), current it boys Huang Xiaoming (黄晓明) and babyfaced Tong Dawei (佟大为), this Hollywood-China coproduction has been aggressively marketed for months through publicity tours, music videos, and cast appearances. According to EntGroup's EFMT Index, Hollywood Adventures has the highest level of awareness and intent to purchase of any release this weekend. We think it could be a massive hit on the Mainland grossing upwards of $100 million a la The Breakup Guru which opened in the same frame last summer on its way to $107.83 million.

Another film getting buzz this weekend is Hear Me (听说), a lighthearted teen romance film from Taiwan starring popular performers Eddy Peng, Ivy Chen, and Michelle Chen. However, the film was released in Taiwan all the way back in 2009 which might hurt box office potential.

Begin Again starring Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley seems to have skirted the blackout, but its limited appeal to Chinese moviegoers is probably the reason for this unattractive release date.

Finally, Jurassic World will be losing most of its screens this weekend due to the protection period, but we still see the hot ticket in China placing in the top 3 and ending its run over $200 million. 

Other films opening: The Temptation in Lincang 临沧的诱惑 (China), Come Back, Love 约定到时候 (China), My Geeky Nerdy Buddies 大宅男 (China/Taiwan), Bloody Destiny 拳霸风云 (China), Can't Prove 无法证明 (China), I Love You, Too 恋爱排班表 (China), Where The Wind Settles 对风说爱你 (China/Taiwan), Twilight Online 午夜43路 (China/Hong Kong), The Three Pigs and the Lamp 三只小猪与神灯 (China), and The Adventures of Little Piglet Banna 小猪班纳之梦想大冒险 (China).

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PRESS RELEASE:

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Cinemaximum Marmara Forum in Istanbul to be First Turkish Location


BARCELONA - June 23, 2015 - CJ 4DPLEX and Mars Cinema Group are partnering to bring 4DX to Turkey for the first time. Developed by CJ 4DPLEX, 4DX is the world's first 4D-technology based cinema for feature films, using motion, vibration, water, wind, lighting, scents and more to provide moviegoers with a truly immersive experience. The first Turkish location for 4DX will be at Cinemaximum Marmara Forum in Istanbul, which boasts the greatest number of screens and seats of any cinema in the country. It is expected to open in mid September this year.

"4DX has proven itself as a breakthrough film exhibition technology has had strong performances across Europe - from England to Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic," said Byung Hwan Choi, CEO of CJ 4DPLEX. "We are confident that by appealing to the audience's five senses, 4DX will be similarly successful in Turkey, and we are proud to be working with Mars Cinema Group to continue our international expansion."

Since its inception in 2001, Mars Cinema Group has been a pioneer in the exhibition business in Turkey with its world class, innovative and modern multiplex cinemas. As an early adopter of technological innovation, Mars aims to uplift the filmgoing experience to the highest possible level. This ambition led Mars to become the first cinema chain in Turkey to complete the transformation to digital projection and audio.

"We are delighted to be launching Turkey's first 4DX cinema at Marmara Forum in Istanbul," said Mars Cinema Group CEO Kurt Rieder. "As leader in the motion-activated cinema experience space, 4DX has the support of all major film studios which will ensure the best mix of content for our customers. Marmara Forum is Mars' largest cinema complex in one of the best shopping malls in Turkey - 4DX could not be debuting in a better venue."


The Cinemaximum cinema complex is located in Marmara Forum Shopping Mall, drawing customers from a dense catchment area with a varied and prestigious tenant mix, well-designed infrastructure, easy access and young customer profile. As market leader, Mars also operates 74 cinemas and 658 screens in 28 cities in Turkey.

As of June 2015, 4DX reaches 182 auditoriums in 34 countries, with a goal to reach 300 auditoriums by the first half of 2016. To that end, the company is scheduled to meet additional potential European exhibitors at CineEurope 2015 in Barcelona from June 22 to 25, and to also be presenting ‘4DX & ScreenX, path to the future of cinema' at the ICTA seminar, also in Barcelona, on June 21-22, prior to the trade show. This is the first time that the company introduces 4DX and ScreenX together at CineEurope.

4DX and ScreenX will operate a booth to have business meetings with their existing and potential partners. Those who are interested in these innovative movie formats can find the sales representatives at Booth #127, CCIB.

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PRESS RELEASE:

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Former Research Scientist and Senior Manager at New Zealand's Tech Innovation Agency Joins Pre-Eminent Cinema Data Analytics Company To Help Exhibitors and Studios Maximize Moviegoer Connection

Los Angeles, CA and Auckland, NZ; June 23, 2015 - Movio, the global leader in marketing data, analysis, insights, and campaign creation and management for theatrical exhibitors, studios and film distributors, has appointed Dr. Bryan Smith as the company's Chief Data Scientist. A computational scientist with research and management experience, Dr. Smith most recently was Research Group Manager, Information & Communications Technologies at Callaghan Innovation, the New Zealand government agency, which commercializes technical innovation of New Zealand companies. The announcement was made today by Will Palmer, Movio's Chief Executive and Co-founder.

Callaghan Innovation gives businesses a single front door to the innovation system in New Zealand, working in partnership with government agency New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, economic development agencies, business incubators, universities, polytechnics, Crown Research Institutes, the venture capital community and industry associations.

Dr. Smith, who worked with Movio during his tenure at Callaghan, has a B.S.E. degree in Biomedical Engineering and Mathematics from Tulane University and Masters' and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Mathematics from Northwestern University in Chicago. He will head all research in statistics, science, and analytics at Movio, concentrating on the development of new products that utilize Movio's global moviegoer database to generate analytical insights. He will report directly to Peter Beguely, Chief Product Officer and co-founder of Movio.

"Dr. Smith is a world-class data scientist and mathematician as well as a superlative manager," said Palmer. "His expertise is a game changer for Movio and will help lead our growth as film exhibitors and studios gradually realize that big data on their customers' choices are invaluable, revenue-deriving assets."

"Movio is an ideal fit for me," added Dr. Smith. "It has interesting, established and innovative products with obvious potential for improvement utilizing ever more sophisticated analytics, but is still of the size that I feel that one person can make a real difference."

As moviegoers are faced with a growing number of choices for how, where and when they watch films, Movio's mission is to help the film industry better understand consumer behavior and deliver practical, personalized offers to moviegoers through their preferred communication channels. Movio's data analysis-driven software solutions make it faster and less expensive to analyze and use that data to increase customer satisfaction and enhance the digital cinema experience.

Most recently, Movio signed a multiyear partnership with AMC Theatres, the second-largest theater chain in the U.S., aimed at promoting movies, particularly smaller-budget, indie and foreign titles. AMC will combine data from its social media following and its loyalty program, AMC Stubs, with Movio Cinema, Movio's analytics and targeted marketing software-as-a-service solution. With this arrangement, personalized content such as movie trailers, movie news, special promotions, opening-date information and showtimes can be delivered across the guests' emails, mobile devices and social media.

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