Washington, DC - The Senate today approved financial reform legislation that includes a ban on futures wagering on motion picture box office results, sending the measure, which was already approved by the House, to President Obama for his signature. The following is a statement by Bob Pisano, Interim CEO and President of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA).

"Speaking on behalf of a coalition that includes the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA), the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its member companies, and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), I want to thank the Congress for approving this measure.

After proposals for these speculative gaming platforms came to light, our industry came together to oppose these plans with an unprecedented coalition that included entertainment industry workers, creators, independent producers and distributors, studios and theater owners. We are pleased with final passage of this important legislation. Congress has acted decisively to ban proposed trading in box office futures and to make important reforms in the country's financial regulatory system. We applaud the work the bill's authors have done, and of course, the many Senators and Members who supported the provisions to prevent movie futures trading."


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Source: THR

Jennifer Lawrence, star of Winter's Bone, has signed on to play Mystique in X-Men: First Class. Lawrence has been showered in critical praise for her turn in Winter's Bone, and she's already being pegged as a serious contender for the Best Actress Oscar. Rebecca Romijn played Mystique in the original X-Men trilogy.

Director Matthew Vaughn has built an impressive young cast for the film, with James McAvoy and Matthew Fassbender leading the way as Professor X and Magneto, respectively.

X-Men: First Class will hit theaters on June 3, 2011.

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Source: Variety

Elizabeth Banks is attached to star in a live-action version of the Tinkerbell story for Disney. The project is titled Tink and it's being produced by Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot and McG.

The role represents an interesting move for Banks, who mostly takes on parts in R-rated comedies such as Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Role Models. She could break out in the same way that Amy Adams did after playing a Disney princess in Enchanted.

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JOLIETTE, Quebec & OMAHA, Neb. -- Ballantyne Strong, Inc. (NYSE Amex: BTN), a provider of digital cinema projection equipment and services, cinema screens and other cinema products, announced today that it has completed the acquisition of the Joliette, Quebec (Canada) facility that houses its Strong/MDI cinema screen manufacturing operations, as well as an adjacent parcel of land. Strong/MDI previously leased the facility. The acquisition will enable Ballantyne to significantly expand its cinema screen production facility and related capacity to meet rapidly growing global demand for conventional, large-format, "gain," silver and other specialized screens. Ballantyne estimates the capital investment in the building, land and facility expansion will approximate $6 million, with completion targeted for year-end 2010.

The expansion plan involves adding more than 26,000 square feet of production space and related state-of-the-art systems and equipment in Strong/MDI's ISO 9001 screen operations. This expansion of approximately 35% over the existing structure will substantially increase key production areas including the painting towers, PVC welding, rolling and drying areas to support a growing base of global business domestically and internationally.

Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC) Senior Vice President and Chief Purchasing Officer Rob Del Moro, stated, "Strong/MDI has been integral in providing Regal with state-of-the-art silver screens as we transform our circuit to support 3D digital cinema. This relationship builds on a decades-long partnership with Ballantyne Strong that now also encompasses their skilled team of technicians who are overseeing the turnkey installation and integration of thousands of digital projection systems at Regal theaters across the country."

Chris Stark, Senior VP and Chief Operating Officer of Ballantyne, commented, "Strong/MDI's screen backlog has been steadily growing as we have been operating at peak capacity in Joliette for several months now. With the global digital cinema transformation picking up momentum and straining our ability to meet demand, it became clear that we needed to invest in expanding Ballantyne's production capabilities to better meet global sales opportunities. After much review, we determined that expanding our current plant was the best path forward, but that required us to purchase both our building and adjacent land to provide sufficient space for this expansion. When complete, our Joliette facility will have a total of approximately 75,000 square feet of production area, making it one of the largest such facilities in the world."


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