Washington, D.C. - The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) today announced it has named Paul Brigner as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Policy Officer, a new role for the Association. As the principal technologist and technology policy strategist for the MPAA, Brigner will serve as the lead executive on technology issues impacting the protection of intellectual property. He will also be directly involved in work on industry-wide content standards that will enable consumers to easily access content in the digital age. Brigner will report to President and Interim CEO Bob Pisano, and will be based in Washington, D.C. He will assume his new role on January 10.

"Paul's depth and breadth of experience will be crucial as he helps steer our members through a rapidly changing technological landscape. With his counsel, we will continue to strike a balance between protecting the intellectual property rights of our members and our continuing desire to provide fans around the world with the content they enjoy in the format of their choice. We are delighted that Paul has joined our team," said Pisano.

Brigner most recently served as Executive Director, Internet and Technology Policy for Verizon where he held several senior management positions since he began his tenure in 2001. Prior to his service at Verizon, Brigner held senior positions as chief software architect and senior consultant for technology companies Digital Focus and Cambridge Technology Partners. He also developed online systems for several notable companies in the energy sector.

Brigner holds a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and is finishing an MBA at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. He is a graduate summa cum laude of Stephen F. Austin State University where he received the Outstanding Computer Science Graduate Award and The Wall Street Journal Student Achievement Award. Brigner also served in the United States Army where he attended the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School and was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy.

 

 

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Source: THR

After numerous attempts to bring Japan's most famous monster to America, Warner Brothers Pictures has enlisted Monsters director Gareth Edwards to develop and direct a new version of Godzilla for the big screen. The project is both perfectly within the filmmaker's wheelhouse and a major leap in scale, after his first film (released in late 2010 after a festival run) met with remarkable commercial success despite its limited budget and distribution, not to mention its "less is more" approach to spectacle.

Edwards' first film is a terrific example of creativity unleashed by monetary restraint: Monsters was reportedly made for a low six figures, and featured special effects work created largely by Edwards himself, but it follows a photographer and his boss' daughter as they navigate their way against a hostile and foreign landscape populated by otherworldly creatures. Although the film shows precious little of the creatures during the film, Edwards successfully creates the ongoing, palpable threat of their attack, and reveals them in just appropriate enough proportions to give them physical authenticity and dramatic legitimacy.

The first script for this iteration of Godzilla was written by Doom and The Expendables scribe David Callaham, but Edwards will be working with a new writer on his draft, which he will potentially direct as well. In the meantime, Edwards still has plans to collaborate with producer Timur Bekmambetov on another original science-fiction project he definitely plans too direct himself.

 

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Source: THR

Gemma Arterton, star of the 2010 films Prince of Persia and Tamara Drewe, is set to play Gretel in the upcoming film Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Arterton joins Jeremy Renner, who plays her brother Hansel, as the two of them recover from childhood trauma to become bounty hunters for folks who practice the black arts. Dead Snow director Tommy Wirkola is set to start shooting the film in Berlin as soon as March 7.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters follows in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and, indirectly, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, two other projects that merge familiar historical or literary figures with contemporary fantasy elements. However, it remains to be seen how eager mainstream audiences will be to explore a world that is both classical and modern, or maybe more specifically adds a self-aware, postmodern sheen to existing tales or mythologies.

Regardless, Hansel and Gretel seems poised for release later in the year if Wirkola can shuffle through production quickly enough, although it may face considerable competition from another Paramount production, the third installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise. But even if it doesn't get released until early 2012, it may still beat Abraham Lincoln into theaters, since that Timur Bekmambetov-directed project is set for its own release in June of 2012.

 

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BURBANK, CA -- The Warner Bros. Pictures Group broke the all-time industry worldwide box office record with a 2010 gross of $4.814 billion, which surpasses the prior record of $4.010 billion (set by Warner Bros. in 2009). The announcement was made today by Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

Setting new benchmarks for both the international and global box office grosses in 2010 and retaining the domestic box office number one ranking (after achieving a record gross in 2009), the Studio now holds the industry record in all three categories. Additionally, Warner Bros. surpassed its own worldwide gross from the previous year by $800 million to earn the number one position in worldwide market share for the second consecutive year and for the sixth time in the past 10 years, also an industry record.

"We are so proud of these incredible accomplishments, which were made possible through the global efforts of an exceptional group of people who collaborated to create, produce, market, and distribute more than two dozen films this past year," said Robinov. "We have a terrific leadership team behind these efforts, including Sue Kroll, Dan Fellman and Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, and, along with Barry Meyer and Alan Horn, I applaud everyone who contributed to this year's record-breaking success."

Warner Bros. Pictures' domestic gross is estimated at $1.884 billion, making it number one in domestic market share for 2010. This is the third year in a row the Studio has held that crown and is the only studio to exceed the $1 billion threshold domestically for 10 consecutive years. Warner Bros. has been ranked either one or two domestically for seven of the last 10 years. The Studio had five films gross over $100 million domestically in 2010 - "Inception," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1," "Clash of the Titans," "Valentine's Day," and "Due Date."

"Our tentpole strategy combined with a remarkably diverse overall slate has once again proved enormously profitable at the box office," said Dan Fellman, President, Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. "We could not be more proud of the Studio's achievements this year."

Warner Bros. Pictures International set a new industry record in overseas box office with an estimated $2.930 billion year-end gross, breaking the previous industry record of $2.450 billion in 2009. This is the tenth consecutive year the Studio has exceeded $1 billion and third time it has surpassed $2 billion in international box office receipts. The Studio has had seven films gross more than $100 million internationally in 2010 - "Sherlock Holmes" ($264 million, for a total of $315 million, including 2009's take); "Valentine's Day" ($106 million); "Clash of the Titans" ($330 million); "Sex and the City 2" ($193 million); "Inception" ($531 million); "Due Date" ($100 million); and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1" ($611 million, and still in release).

"We're elated to reach these incredible numbers internationally," said Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, President, Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures International. "This achievement is a testament to the company's strategy to make event films with global appeal, and it would not have been possible without the hard work and innovative thinking from our outstanding marketing and distribution teams around the world."

Among the Studio's 2011 releases are "Red Riding Hood," directed by Catherine Hardwicke; the Zack Snyder-directed action fantasy "Sucker Punch"; "The Hangover Part II," the sequel to the 2009 breakout hit; "Green Lantern," the highly anticipated adaptation of the popular DC Comics title, starring Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively; the conclusion of the most successful film franchise of all time, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2"; "Crazy, Stupid, Love." starring Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling; Steven Soderbergh's thriller "Contagion," with an ensemble cast led by Matt Damon; "Happy Feet 2," the sequel to the 2006 Academy Award®-winning animated musical hit; New Line Cinema's "New Year's Eve," an all-star ensemble romantic comedy from director Garry Marshall; and "Sherlock Holmes II," Guy Ritchie's follow up to the 2009 hit, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.

 

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Englewood, Colo. and New York, NY -- In a significant strategic partnership within the ever-changing home/digital entertainment market, Starz, LLC has agreed to sell The Weinstein Company (TWC) a 25% stake in Starz Media, LLC, a programming production, home entertainment and international TV distribution company which includes Anchor Bay Entertainment and other TV/home entertainment assets. Separately, Anchor Bay has entered into a multi-year domestic distribution agreement for new theatrical content from TWC and its Dimension Films label.

The agreements were announced today by Starz, LLC President and CEO Chris Albrecht and TWC Co-Chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Financial terms of the strategic partnership were not disclosed.

The home/digital entertainment deal, which does not include television rights but spans Blu-rayTM, DVD and EST/VOD/PPV electronic/digital distribution, covers up to 20 TWC and Dimension titles per year including the seven-time Golden Globe-nominated Tom Hooper drama The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter; Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine, starring Golden Globe nominees Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling; and John Wells' feature directorial debut Company Men, starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner and Chris Cooper. Other titles include the Kristin Scott Thomas drama Sarah's Key, upcoming sequels in the successful Scream, Spy Kids, and Scary Movie franchises, and new installments in the Hellraiser, Halloween, and Children of the Corn film series.

"The distribution agreement leverages the scale of the strong Anchor Bay home entertainment business and the Starz Digital Media distribution platform. The Weinstein Company new release content is a quality addition to our distribution pipeline of new releases from Anchor Bay Films and Starz Originals," Albrecht said. "Harvey and Bob Weinstein are terrific business partners and we are very pleased to have them as part of Starz Media."

"We are thrilled to partner with Starz and appreciate the commitment of Liberty Media in bolstering Anchor Bay, allowing it to become a much bigger player in non-theatrical distribution," offered Bob and Harvey Weinstein in a joint statement. "We hope this strategic partnership is a first step in not only making Anchor Bay a home for our product, but in potentially housing other companies' product as well, giving quality independent films the kind of care needed in today's marketplace."

"This is an opportunity that excited us, especially given the strong management team and infrastructure at Starz," stated TWC COO David Glasser. "It's a smart, forward-looking partnership that will benefit from the superb skills of Chris Albrecht and everyone at Starz and Anchor Bay."

"Anchor Bay Entertainment is thrilled to be adding the quality films from The Weinstein Company and its Dimension Films label to our first-class home entertainment and digital distribution businesses. Their track record within the home entertainment category is superb. The TWC films will allow Anchor Bay to continue its expansion, offering consumers and our retail partners excellent independent films featuring leading Hollywood talent," said Bill Clark, president of Anchor Bay Entertainment.

 

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