You can rest soundly tonight knowing that the villain responsible for uploading the Wolverine movie a month before its theatrical release will probably serve time behind bars. That is, if the FBI has grabbed the right man.
The FBI early this morning arrested Gilberto Sanchez, 47, in Bronx, N.Y., and believe he's the cold hearted criminal who leaked the 20th Century Fox feature film to the Internet in April. By the time the flick made it to the silver screen a month later, it had already been watched about 4.1 million times, says BigChampagne, a market research firm for file-sharing networks.
According to the indictment, Sanchez uploaded the film to Megaupload.com under one of his online aliases, which include "theSkilled1" and "SkillyGilly." But what the indictment doesn't say is how Sanchez managed to get his hands on a working copy of the flim, even though the copy that was leaked was missing a bunch of computer-generated special effects.
It's unclear how much jail time and fines Sanchez would face if convicted, but according to CNet, a New Jersey man who pleaded guilty to copyright infringement charges for uploading the film "Hulk" a few weeks before its big screen debut was sentenced to six months house arrest and slapped with a $7,000 fine.
Blockbuster will soon begin renting movies on SD cards. You will need to visit your nearest Blockbuster Express Digital kiosk to rent your favorite movies. There, users will be able to transfer DRM-protected movies to their own SD cards. According to a Fast Company report, the rentals will cost $1.99.
All said, hardware incompatibility may prove to be a major issue as not all phones, TV sets and notebooks feature a full-size SD cardslot. The kiosks will be built and managed by NCR Corporation, the very company that manages Blockbuster’s DVD-rental kiosks.
Looks like Spore knows how to take a hint. PC gamers weren’t quite ready to herald the game as the second coming of The Sims, so it’s jumped gaming’s ship and gotten into show business. And fortunately, thanks to a little common sense on EA’s part, someone not named Uwe Boll is walking Spore down the red carpet.
Chris Wedge, who birthed the $1.9 billion-grossing “Ice Age” film franchise, is set to be the intelligent designer behind Spore’s big screen debut. Meanwhile, Greg Erb and Jason Oremland, who recently wrapped up writing Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” are penning the script. Twentieth Century Fox is partnering with EA to produce the whole thing.
"I'm always looking for unique worlds to go to in animation," Wedge said. "From every perspective -- visually, thematically and comedically -- the world of 'Spore' provides the potential to put something truly original on the screen."
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll probably learn a bit about yourself in the process. What’s not to like?
And now, we present an inside look at the creation of the possibly upcoming MechWarrior movie:
Movie Exec A: “Hey [Movie Exec B], you know what people seem to be able to relate to right now, in this time of economic hardship? Giant robots.”
Movie Exec B: “Yeah! And you know what goes great with giant robots, don’t you? That’s right: vague nostalgic ties into this generation’s childhood, ala Transformers 2.”
Movie Exec A: “Hey, aren’t the MechWarrior people getting sued for that whole ‘stealing from a nostalgic property’ business right now? Let’s make a movie out of that!”
Movie Exec B: “Brilliant! Get Shia LaBeouf on the phone, stat!”
And that’s how we like to imagine the rumored MechWarrior movie began its development. But it probably isn’t. Joystiq’s claiming that Michael Eisner’s The Tornante Company is helming the project, as Eisner owns the rights to the franchise at the moment. Apparently, Michael Gordon, the man behind such cinematic greats as Godzilla and G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra is directing. Other than that, nothing else is known. We’ll let you know when – or if – we hear more.
The number of decent videogame movies can scarcely be counted on two hands (and even then, it only works if you count Metal Gear Solid 4 as a movie), but World of Warcraft’s cinematic debut is looking to turn that trend around. First, the film snagged The Dark Knight’s producer, and now Spiderman director Sam Raimi is lending his significant skills in the field of not being Uwe Boll to the project.
“Blizzard Entertainment and Legendary Pictures have a shared vision for this film and we searched at length to find the very best director to bring that vision to life,” said Paul Sams, chief operating officer of Blizzard.
“From our first conversation with Sam, we could tell he was the perfect choice. Sam knows how to simultaneously satisfy the enthusiasts and the mainstream audience that might be experiencing that content for the first time. We’re looking forward to working with him to achieve that here.”
In addition to the Spiderman films, Raimi has also directed “Evil Dead” and the recent “Drag Me to Hell,” among others. Honestly though, while we’re sure Raimi‘s got something special planned for the WoW movie, we’d love to see Blizzard’s cinematic team branch its talent tree into the realm of movie magic. If WoW looked as mind-blowing as they make it out to be, well, even the four people who aren’t currently addicted to Blizzard's potent substance might give it a shot.
Microsoft’s adverts have been getting stranger and stranger, and their offering for Office 2010 is no different.
The advert comes packaged as a trailer for the action flick, “Office 2010: The Movie.” The basis for the film is simple, there’s a rogue font on the loose that causes anyone reading it to fall into a state of hypnosis and believe everything that they read. It’s then up to a mentally scarred agent to save everyone, despite the recent loss of his partner (Clippy). The trailer is filled with enough special effects to be a Michael Bay movie, and comes with nerd humor all along the way. So, if you’re interested in checking it out, you can do so here.
As for actual information about Office 2010, Microsoft will be offering a technical preview later in the month. If you’re interested, you can find additional information on their site.
According to Variety, Columbia Pictures is putting the pieces in place to release "The Social Network," a film about the formation of Facebook. David Fincher appears to be the front runner to direct the new flick, who's previous works include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Panic Room, Fight Club, and others.
As for the movie itself, Variety says the film will focus on the 2004 creation of Facebook by then Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerberg and follow the social networking site's evolution to where it is today, over 200 million members strong.
This isn't the first time social networking has been linked to Hollywood. A Twitter-based reality show is also said to be under way, which will seek to "put ordinary people on the trail of celebrities in a revolutionary competitive format."
Lionsgate, Paramount and MGM have all come together to create a new TV network called Epix that will show their own recent films in HD before they’re released on DVD. They’re also bringing this channel online with an on-demand website that will offer HD streaming of the very same films. And, best of all, it won’t have any advertising and won’t show up on your cable bill.
Epix will be bundled directly into cable packages, and according to their current business model, won’t show up as a separate charge on your bill. If Epix can convince enough cable operators to sign on (they haven’t announced any partners yet), they will be able to gain a competitive edge over pay-TV channels that have a monthly fee.
The best part of it all is the site, epixhd.com. The films will stream in 720p, all for free. The video will be offered through Flash and is multi-bitrate enabled. The player will check your available bandwidth every ten seconds to see if a larger or smaller stream is required. Epix is currently working off of six different encodings for each film, ranging from cell phone quality (500Kbps) all the way to full HD.
But, there’s reportedly a catch (surprise, surprise). In order to use the website, you’ll need to be signed up with an ISP’s Internet and cable. This is primarily because Epix is looking to install caching servers directly in the data centers of ISPs that partner with them.
In what might not have been the brightest move in hindsight, 10-year Foxnews.com columnist Roger Friedman posted a short review of the pirated flick "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," which will be released in theaters May 1st. Consider that 20th Century Fox is a subsidiary of News Corp, and it shouldn't be too surprising the suits in charge opted to issue Friedman a pink slip.
"Roger Friedman's views in no way reflect the views of News Corporation," News Corp. said in a statement. "We, along with 20th Century Film Corporation, have been a consistent leader in the fight against piracy and have a zero tolerance for any action that encourages and promotes piracy. When we advised Fox News of the facts, they took immediate action, removed the post, and promptly terminated Mr. Friedman."
The statement issued by Fox News wasn't quite as harsh, claiming Friedman and Fox News "mutually agreed to part ways immediately" and wishing Friedman "success in his future endeavors."
It probably didn't help Friedman's case that, in addition to writing about Wolverine, he said he was also able to find the current top 10 movies in theaters, and that "Later tonight I may finally catch up with Paul Rudd in 'I Love You, Man.' It's so much easier than going out in the rain!"
In what initially looked to be an April Fool's Day prank, film distributor 20th Century Fox wasn't laughing when it learned its upcoming movie "X-Men: Origins: Wolverine" was viewed by thousands of people a month before the flick is scheduled to show on the big screen. While pirated movies showing up online isn't anything new, this particular leak is rare given that it hadn't even premiered yet.
"The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of thelaw," 20th Century Fox said. "The courts have handed down significant criminal sentences for such acts in the past."
According to 20th Century Fox, both the FBI and MPAA are investigating the leak. Some estimates peg the illicit release as having been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times in its first 24 hours on the web. However, Eric Garland, chief executive of the file-sharing monitoring firm BigChampagne, said that online viewers would only account for a small percentage of the film's total audience.
Garland did also point out that bad word of mouth could be a concern. The copy that was leaked to the internet was missing many special effects and included temporary sound and music.