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‘Avengers’ Overpowers the Box Office

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Sequel ‘Age of Ultron’ pulls in $187.7 million domestically, but falls short of record set by the original film

Ben Fritz writes: Only for Marvel could this seem like a less-than-superheroic opening.

Avengers: Age of Ultron” opened to a phenomenal $187.7 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to studio estimates, the second-biggest debut of all time. But many in Hollywood were surprised it came in 9% lower than the record set three years ago by the original “Avengers,” which also opened the first weekend of May and kicked off summer moviegoing season.

Saturday night’s boxing match between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, along with the Kentucky Derby and NBA and NHL playoff games, undoubtedly depressed grosses a bit for “Age of Ultron,” from Walt Disney Co.’s consistently successful Marvel Studios. What’s not yet clear is whether the decrease in ticket sales indicate any audience weariness for Hollywood’s accelerating pace of big-budget “event” films.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

The movie industry is expecting a blockbuster summer at the box office, thanks primarily to highly anticipated sequels such as “Jurassic World,” “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation,” “Ted 2 and “Minions,” as well as Pixar Animation Studios“Inside Out.” If even a portion of the population is growing tired of such films, that could be bad for major studios.

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In good news, however, there are no signs of fatigue overseas. “Age of Ultron” has collected $439 million internationally after opening in many countries last week. Compared with the first “Avengers,” it has grossed 7% more in U.S. dollars and 31% more in local currencies in the same markets over the same period of time, said Dave Hollis, Disney’s executive vice president of distribution.

The most successful foreign country is South Korea, where the Avengerssequel has grossed $55.4 million. Part of the movie was shot and takes place in that country. This weekend, “Age of Ultron” set a record for the biggest opening of all time in Mexico, with $25.5 million. Read the rest of this entry »

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#Periscope Piracy Sets Up Grudge Match: Hollywood vs. Twitter

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Dick Costolo’s triumphant tweet could come back to haunt him

 writes: Forget Mayweather-Pacquiao. There’s a more interesting fight brewing between Twitter and Hollywood.

The piracy of Saturday’s welterweight boxing championship enabled by Periscope, a livestreaming app recently acquired by Twitter, is setting up a conflict that could be just as brutal. HBO and Showtime, which partnered on what will likely be the most popular boxing pay-per-view event ever, took a one-two punch of their own Saturday. First, they watched multiple pay-TV distributors experience technical problems transmitting the fight, which probably cut into their sales total. But what made matters even worse is that countless people who did pay for the fight used their smartphones to re-transmit the fight to users of Periscope and, to a lesser extent, rival app Meerkat.

“Oddly enough, HBO itself used Periscope earlier in the evening to stream content from Manny Pacquiao’s dressing room via Twitter. There’s a double-edged sword here for sure.”

Each stream reached hundreds or thousands of non-paying fans with a picture quality that was shaky and pixilated, yet still quite adequate. If Twitter CEO Dick Costolo understood the implications of this activity, he sure didn’t show it in a tweet that declared Periscope the “winner” of the night. There’s no question the app got tremendous exposure that will build nicely off the 1 million downloads impressively achieved in just its first 10 days, a fact Costolo made sure to  mention in the company’s underwhelming first-quarter results last week.

But what Costolo needs to be asking himself is if the price of all that publicity may end up too steep if the content companies come after him for backing an app that may be piracy’s biggest facilitator since PopcornTime.

[Read the full text here, at Variety]

Any pay-TV channel that pays billions to sports leagues for exclusive rights to programming is going to be concerned about what went on Periscope during the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. While piracy HBOxvia livestream is far from a new phenomenon, it may well have achieved a new level of visibility this weekend.

It would be one thing if Periscope was some rogue player like Napster. But Twitter has plenty of business with Hollywood that requires its content rights and advertising dollars, and the company does not have the leverage of bigger entities in Silicon Valley. Just as piracy via YouTube and Google’s search has impacted how Google and media conglomerates have dealt with each other over the years, Twitter is now heading in the same direction. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES THEY DID: Journalists Who Peddled Mayweather Domestic Violence History Say They Had Credentials Revoked Before Fight

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ESPN.com news services/ABC News reports: Two reporters said their credentials were revoked for Saturday night’s Floyd MayweatherManny Pacquiao fight, and a third reportedly had his taken away as well.

Rachel Nichols of CNN and Michelle Beadle of ESPN/HBO said via Twitter that they had been told their credentials were pulled. USA Today reporter Martin Rogers’ credential was reportedly pulled as well, according to SI.com.

Beadle was credentialed through HBO and not ESPN, both networks and Beadle said.

A spokesman for Mayweather denied the allegations from Beadle and Nichols.

A source told ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap that Mayweather Promotions insisted on having approval of credential Strange-Media-Planet-250applications, a stipulation included in the fight contract.

A source with Showtime told Schaap that it had nothing to do with Beadle’s credential situation — only that it denied her permission to film inside MGM Grand arena. A Mayweather promotions source, meanwhile, said  Nichols had a temporary credential, but CNN never confirmed she’d need a fight credential.

All three of the reporters have been at the forefront of reporting in Mayweather’s history of domestic violence. Nichols had a contentious interview with Mayweather on CNN last September. Rogers has written a number of stories chronicling Mayweather’s domestic violence issues, and Beadle has been outspoken about Mayweather.

Kelly Swanson, a media relations spokesperson for the Mayweather camp, denied that Nichols and Beadle has lost their credentials. Read the rest of this entry »


West Coast Desk: Attorney for #SugeKnight Says He is Hoping Floyd Mayweather Will Help Pay for His Client’s $10 Million Bail

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Robert Holguin @ABC7Robert