Los Angeles - The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) on behalf of several of its member studios today filed a lawsuit against the operators of the download hub service Hotfile (www.hotfile.com) for copyright infringement. Hotfile facilitates the theft of copyrighted motion picture and television properties on a staggering scale and profits handsomely from encouraging and providing the means for massive copyright infringement.

"In less than two years Hotfile has become one of the 100 most trafficked sites in the world. That is a direct result of the massive digital theft that Hotfile promotes. Everyday Hotfile is responsible for the theft of thousands of MPAA member companies' movies and TV shows - including movies still playing in theaters - many of which are stolen repeatedly, thousands of times a day, every single day," said Daniel Mandil, General Counsel & Chief Content Protection Officer for the MPAA. "The theft taking place on Hotfile is unmistakable. Their files are indeed ‘hot,' as in ‘stolen.' It's wrong and it must stop."

Sometimes referred to as cyberlockers, download hubs like Hotfile bear no resemblance to legitimate online locker services. In fact, Hotfile openly discourages use of its system for personal storage. Hotfile's business model encourages and incentivizes users to upload files containing illegal copies of motion pictures and TV shows to its servers and to third-party sites, so unlimited users can download the stolen content - in many cases tens of thousands of times. Hotfile profits from this theft by charging a monthly fee to users who download content from its servers. Hotfile also operates an incentive scheme that rewards users for uploading the most popular files - which are almost exclusively copyrighted works. Hotfile profits richly while paying nothing to the studios for their stolen content.

Hotfile is operated by Anton Titov, a foreign national residing in Florida. The studios are suing Hotfile and Titov for direct infringement for unlawfully distributing copyrighted works, inducement of infringement, contributory infringement and vicarious infringement, for actively promoting, enabling and profiting from their users' copyright infringement. A civil lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida for damages and injunctive relief for violations under the United States Copyright Act of 1976.

"Digital theft is not just a Hollywood problem. It's an American problem," Mandil said. "More than 2.4 million hardworking, middle-class Americans spanning all 50 states rely on the motion picture and television industry for their livelihoods. For all these workers and their families, digital theft means declining incomes, lost jobs and reduced health and retirement benefits."

 

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Source: Deadline.com

Julia Roberts is very close to signing a deal that will have her playing the Evil Queen in director Tarsem Singh's The Brothers Grimm: Snow White. The project is being housed at Relativity.

Universal has a rival Snow White project in the works with Viggo Mortensen and Kristen Stewart attached. It's all too common story in Hollywood for two studios to be rushing to profit off of a similar concept. See also Armageddon vs. Deep Impact and Antz vs. A Bug's Life.

Roberts will be seen later this year opposite Tom Hanks in Larry Crowne. Hanks also directed the film, which follows a middle-aged man as he goes back to college.

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Morristown, N.J. and Los Angeles, CA -- Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. (NASDAQ: CIDM), the global leader in the digital cinema industry, reported continued strong operational and financial performance in the fiscal third quarter and nine months ended December 31, 2010. Cinedigm also reported its first ever positive quarterly adjusted EBITDA from its non-deployment businesses, a key indicator of the success of the Company's strategy to provide a complete line of complementary business and technology products and services to its customers.

Revenues for the third quarter were $21.1 million, representing a 7.2% increase from the prior year third quarter revenues of $19.7 million and an 11.6% increase from the sequential second quarter of fiscal 2011.
The Company posted Adjusted EBITDA[1](defined below) of $12.9 million, increasing 19.4% from $10.8 million in the prior year's third quarter, and 24.4% sequentially from the fiscal 2011 second quarter. The net loss in the third quarter of ($4.2) million, or ($0.13) per share, represents a 35.5% improvement compared to the net loss of ($6.5) million, or ($0.23) per share, in the third quarter one year ago, and a dramatic improvement over the net loss of ($10.9) million or ($0.36) per share in the sequential second quarter of 2011.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2011, revenues increased 11.1% to $59.3 million, as compared to $53.4 million for the same period one year earlier. Adjusted EBITDA (defined below) for the year to date was $33.8 million, which is a 15.6% increase from the $29.2 million reported one year earlier. The net loss for the first nine months of the fiscal year was ($22.3) million or ($0.73) per share, which compares to a net loss of ($14.8) million or ($0.52) per share for the first nine months of the prior year. The net loss for the nine months ended December 31, 2010 included losses related to various non-cash items and discontinued operations of ($6.3) million, as compared to a net gain of $10.1 million in the prior year primarily related to a non-recurring gain on the extinguishment of note payable.

Chris McGurk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cinedigm, commented, "We are extremely pleased with the favorable third quarter operational and financial performance at Cinedigm. The 604 Phase II digital system deployments in the third quarter and the 614 screens signed to Master License Agreements (MLA) in the third quarter and through today reflect our continued outstanding progress. Cinedigm has now deployed 1,402 digital systems to date in fiscal 2011 through its Phase II program, bringing our total number of deployed Phase II systems to 1,713 to date," Mr. McGurk continued. "Moreover, we have reached 2,983 total Phase 2 screens under MLAs and continue to aggressively work with the several thousand screens in our pipeline, indicating that outstanding growth in deployments will continue during the remaining 20 months of our deployment program."

Cinedigm reported Adjusted EBITDA from its non-deployment businesses (excluding the Phase 1 and Phase 2 deployment segments) of $361,000 in the third quarter, as compared to ($1.3) million in the prior year period. For the first nine months of fiscal 2011, adjusted EBITDA from non-deployment businesses was ($287,000), representing a substantial improvement over the ($4.3) million one year earlier.

Adam M. Mizel, CFO and Chief Strategy Officer, added, "I am encouraged and excited by the operational progress of our non-deployment businesses. The third quarter marked the first positive Adjusted EBITDA quarter for the non-deployment businesses in Cinedigm's history, and we expect this to continue in the future. As we have consistently noted, each one thousand screens we deploy will add $2.0-$2.5 million of non-deployment EBITDA in the first twelve months through service fees, software license and maintenance fees, and delivery fees."

"In addition, we are expanding our software business with a recently completed multi-year international software license and maintenance transaction in India as well as several new international pilots underway. These new opportunities are a validation of our strategy to leverage our proven digital cinema platform and will further accelerate our growth," Mr. Mizel noted.

"Finally, we are making significant progress in our content businesses," Mr. McGurk concluded. "Our recently completed Mount St. Elias action movie release in partnership with Red Bull, the YuGiOh 3D release we are supporting with 4Kids Entertainment and the Memento re-release with Exclusive Media are all examples of the powerful marketing and programming opportunities that exist for content distribution on our platform supported by global brands. We expect to seek other similar partnerships in the future as our project pipeline and distribution platform continue to expand. Since joining Cinedigm one month ago, I have been pleased by the breadth and seriousness of our content distribution discussions as well as the keen interest of the entertainment community in our expanding digital platform. Our solid financial results, the continued acceleration of our deployment program, and our growing new business pipeline will provide a strong foundation for material progress in all business lines in the weeks and months ahead."

 

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Source: Deadline New York

Date Night director Shawn Levy has joined 20th Century Fox's production of Fantastic Voyage, a remake of the 1966 original which will be produced by 3D maven and frequent Fox collaborator James Cameron. Laeta Kalogridis, who previously wrote screenplays for Alexander and Shutter Island, is reportedly providing a polish on Armageddon and Shaft screenwriter Shane Salerno's script, and the film is Levy's next project after he completes another Fox project, the robot-boxing action film Real Steel.

Levy has made a concerted effort in the last few years to move from his early hits Cheaper By the Dozen and What Happens in Vegas to comparatively more substantial fare. Date Night was a minor hit, but he has pinned his hopes for critical credibility on Real Steel, and working with Cameron can only improve his current pedigree as a purveyor of featherweight mainstream entertainment.

 

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tangled.pngTangled was able to tack on another $23.7 million internationally this weekend in 50 territories representing a little more than 85% of the international market. The animated flick now stands at $285.1 million abroad. Worldwide, Tangled has grossed $477.2 million.

Other grosses:

The Green Hornet: $16.7 million from 5,740 locations in 73 markets. International total: $83.8 million. Worldwide total: $171 million.

Black Swan: $12.8 million from 1,913 locations in 28 markets. International total: $48 million. Worldwide Total: $144 million.

Gulliver's Travels: $10.4 million from 2,756 locations in 34 markets. International total: $140 million. Worldwide Total: $181.6 million.

Yogi Bear: $9.2 million from from 3,800 screens in 35 territories. International total: $47.1 million. Worldwide total: $142.1 million.

Hereafter: $5.4 million from 2,000 locations in 33 territories. International cume: $50.3 million.

TRON: Legacy: $5.3 million from 53 territories representing approximately 93% of the international market. International total: $203.7 million. Worldwide Total: $372.4 million.

Love and Other Drugs: $3.4 million from 2,256 locations in 40 markets. International total: $58.7 million. Worldwide total: $91 million.

Sanctum: $3.1 million from 561 locations. International total: $3.1 million. Worldwide total: $12.3 million.

 

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