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ESPN To Lay Off About 100 Employees Including On-Air Personalities And Writers

No one has been identified yet. These disclosures likely will trickle out once the people affected are told.

“A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions,” ESPN President John Skipper says in a memo to staffers.

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Changes in ESPN content must “go further, faster…and as always, must be efficient and nimble,” he says.

That means “we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent—anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play—necessary to meet those demands. We will implement changes in our talent lineup this week. A limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs.”

ESPN said in March that the layoffs announced today were a possibility.

So far this year sports viewing on Disney networks is down about 4%, Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser noted this week. Read the rest of this entry »

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Meet the Man Who is Bringing Asia into the Marvel Universe

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C.B. Cebulski is now Marvel’s man in the East, overseeing everything related to the brand. He talks about Hong Kong’s role in the expansion into Asia.

Andrew Sun writes: If Asia is to play any role in the Marvel universe, C.B. Cebulski will have a big say in the matter. In July, the comic book giant asked this loyal soldier to uproot from his New York home, for a new executive post half the world away. Cebulski, packing up everything including the family cat, said yes.

“Marvel was looking for Japan-centric stories at the time,” Cebulski recalls. “I didn’t have any connections but I just kept pitching and looking for opportunities. In the end, Marvel gave me my first writing work based on the fact that I had experienced Japan. So it wasn’t my skill as a writer that got me my first job, it was my intimate knowledge of Japanese culture and manga.”

Working out of parent company Disney’s Shanghai office, he will oversee anything and everything in Asia with the Marvel name attached. This includes licensing deals, film promotions, and special projects such as the upcoming Iron Man Experience attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland.

“My job is basically to help expand the Marvel brand in Asia, develop understanding of the characters, form new alliances and look for partners who will develop the characters and properties with us.”

“My job is basically to help expand the Marvel brand in Asia, develop understanding of the characters, form new alliances and look for partners who will develop the characters and properties with us,” explains Cebulski, whose official title is vice-president, brand management and development, Asia.

“Marvel is everywhere in America, but here it’s a roller coaster around movie releases. The movies hit and there’s a period where there are T-shirts and toys everywhere. After a while, it returns to a lull. We want to build a bridge that connects all the tent poles with all the brands, and that’s what I will focus on.”

“I’m basically reverse engineering the brand. In the West, people know we started in comics and grew to develop games, consumer products and films. But here, people know the films first, so I’ve got to figure out how we get people who don’t know who Stan Lee is to understand there is this other 75-year history.”

“Asia is of utmost importance. The brand is growing here faster than anywhere else in he world. There’s something happening in every territory, whether it’s games in Korea or films in China. I’m here to figure out what’s what and how to connect it all. Why are certain things popular in some areas and not other? Can what we do in Hong Kong translate to the rest of China?”

For non-nerds, Lee is the comic book legend who created Spider-man, the Hulk, the X-Men and other iconic characters, as well as being the chairman of the Marvel empire. The company is no longer cult or fringe in any way. It’s an entertainment powerhouse, ruling box-offices, merchandising stalls and the pop culture zeitgeist. In 2009, the Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel for US$4.3 billion.

[Read the full story here, at South China Morning Post]

As for Cebulski, you’re not likely to mistake him for just another expat executive in a suit with an MBA. His wardrobe consists primarily of bowling shirts and T-shirts with logos and characters. Even more un-corporate-like, he maintains a food blog that chronicles his gluttonous discoveries and adventures (Eataku.com).

But underneath that geek disguise, this friendly hulk has honed the superpowers to move millions of dollars in merchandise.

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“Marvel is everywhere in America, but here it’s a roller coaster around movie releases,” he says. “The movies hit and there’s a period where there are T-shirts and toys everywhere. After a while, it returns to a lull. We want to build a bridge that connects all the tent poles with all the brands, and that’s what I will focus on.”

Cebulski’s nerd credentials are impeccable. He grew up a typical superhero fanboy and collector. “The first comic I found on my own was The X-Men,” he says. “I was still quite young so the story didn’t grab me as much, but the images did.”

“American comics are more word heavy, and everything plays out at a slower pace. If a hero confronts a thug in Asia, the hero grabs the villain, looks him in the eye and then throws him out the window in five or six panels. In American comics, you see the hero enter the room, they would meet, there would three panels of dialogue, then he gets thrown across the room in slow motion, smashes out the window. The hero would say something as the villain falls and smashes into the ground. This would play out over four or five pages.”

Initially he wanted to be a comic artist, but realised he didn’t have the talent. Cebulski then decided to be a storywriter, but his submissions were constantly rejected. Instead of giving up, he took a sabbatical and explored a budding interest in manga, spending several years in Japan. After returning to the US, he finally got his break. Read the rest of this entry »


#Media: 10 Publishers Account For Half Of All Online News, MSN.com Scores Highest Traffic at Over 27 Billion Combined Page Views

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The biggest online news publisher for the U.S. audience was MSN, owner of MSN.com, with just over 27 billion combined page views across mobile and desktop, followed by Disney Media Networks, owner ofESPN and ABC News, with 25.9 billion….(read more)

Source: mediapost.com


Awesomely Terrible Movie Posters

We love these awesomely terrible movie posters. They’re the work of artists from the West African nation of Ghana, where creating outlandish posters like this blossomed into an art form all its own that peaked during the 1980s and 90s, commonly referred to as the ‘Golden Age of Movie Posters’.

Although the title of each film is probably very familiar, the imagery in each poster might not be. That’s partially because sometimes the artists responsible for creating these posters hadn’t seen the movies themselves. Other times they simple allowed their awesome imaginations to run wild in effort to attract the biggest possible audience. They took impressive liberties with artistic license to add weapons, characters and scenes that didn’t exist in the actual movies. Painted on empty 50kg flour bags, the artists’ only creative restriction was the size of each poster, which was either the side of one bag or two sides stitched together.

Ernie Wolfe, an African art dealer who began noticing these movie posters in the early 1990s, said that the artists often have a very specific idea of the effect they were trying to create. “They are definitely very, very good artists and they paint exactly what they want,” he said. Wolfe admires their work so much that he has written two books on the genre – Extreme Canvas and Extreme Canvas 2. “Having looked at hundreds of them, you become aware of their individual hand, their idiosyncrasies and their brush strokes,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] First Look at the official New Star Wars Uprising RPG for iOS and Android

There is a brand new official Star Wars RPG in the works over at Kabaam studios. Today, alongside Disney and Lucasfilm, the developer announced Star Wars: Uprising, a new mobile title set to take place after the events of the last chronological film….(read more)

9to5Toys


Box Office: ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Opens to Record $33.9M in China Tuesday

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Furious 7 finally pulled to the side of the road in China to make way for JossWhedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, which opened to a record-breaking $33.9 million on Tuesday, the biggest weekday opening of all time.

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It’s also Disney and Marvel’s biggest opening day ever in China, exceeding the first two days of The Avengers in May 2012. All told, Age of Ultron commanded nearly 96 percent of the marketplace. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Tomorrowland Trailer #2

Disney’s Tomorrowland comes to theaters May 22, 2015

 


IMAX Treatment for Marvel’s ‘Star Wars: Rogue One,’ ‘Captain America: Civil War’

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Imax Corporation has renewed its exhibition agreement with Walt Disney Studios, ensuring that its wide screens will host a steady stream of Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm productions in the coming years.

The multi-picture deal begins this year and extends through 2017, and includes such hotly anticipated films as the seventh “Star Wars” picture and the stand-alone “Star Wars” film “Rogue One,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Doctor Strange” and “Guardians of the Galaxy 2.” Read the rest of this entry »


‘Star Wars’ Films Will Be Available for Download

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“Star Wars” is finally arriving on the world’s most wretched hive of scum and villainy: the Internet.

All six “Star Wars” movies will be available to download for the first time — legally, anyway — starting Friday, April 10, from major digital retailers like iTunes, Amazon, and Vudu.

“Hard-core fans will likely want to know that the digital versions will be the same ones that the always-tweaking George Lucas released on Blu-ray, not the original theatrical versions.”

Disney and 20th Century Fox, which together control rights to the films, will make them available to purchase for digital devices individually and as a set. Previously, “Star Wars” has been available on DVD and Blu-ray, but not online.

Prices will be set by retailers. The movies will only be available to buy, not to rent via video-on-demand. Read the rest of this entry »


SHOCKING: Rebel rocket attack [VIDEO]

In this exclusive video, militant rebel extremists target not just military aircraft but even ruthlessly attack beloved Disney characters. [image credit Banksy]

Militant rebels target not just military aircraft, armed personnel, and civilians. In this exclusive video, extremists are seen ruthlessly attacking even the most beloved Disney cartoon characters. [image credit Banksy]

Rebel rocket attack – Banksy – YouTube – via  South China Morning Post


‘Iron Man’ Deployed to Hong Kong Disneyland

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Patrick Frater reports: Already hugely popular in Asia, “Iron Man” is to become the newest attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland.

The attraction starts with the progression of Tony Stark’s suit and his other technologies. The anchor of the attraction is the Iron Man Experience, where guests will take flight on an adventure ride that pits Iron Man, and guests, against alien invaders in the streets and skies of Hong Kong. Read the rest of this entry »