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  • Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014
In this Dec. 3, 2014 file photo, actor Chris Rock attends the premiere of "Top Five" at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

How do you joke about the Sony hacking story? After all, it was an attempt at comedy that launched this whole sobering mess.

If you're Chris Rock, you joke about it cleverly but carefully. Promoting his new movie "Top Five" this week, he noted an added bonus: "My movie's very Korean-friendly. There are no jokes about North Korea in 'Top Five.' If you're Korean, go out and see 'Top Five.' You will enjoy it."

Given that the fallout over an unabashedly silly movie — "The Interview," which Sony shelved last week after a stunning cyberattack by hackers the U.S. has linked to North Korea — has escalated into a serious global situation, one would think comedy writers might be a wee bit skittish just now.

But they ARE in the business of satire, and this is one of the biggest entertainment stories in years.

And so, NBC's "Saturday Night Live" didn't wait long to bring up the scandal — in fact, it More

  • Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014
A banner for "The Interview"is posted outside Arclight Cinemas, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- 

The GOP is calling on supporters to buy a ticket to the movie "The Interview" if theater owners reverse their decision not to show the film amid threats of retaliation for its comedic take on assassinating North Korea's leader.

The Republican Party chairman, Reince Priebus (ryns PREE'-bus), says in a letter to theater chain executives that he's concerned that a foreign regime would be allowed to dictate the movies Americans can and cannot watch.

Noting that Hollywood and the GOP have had their differences, Priebus says the situation with "The Interview" is about freedom and free enterprise.

Priebus says he will ask Republican supporters to buy tickets "to show North Korea we cannot be bullied into giving up our freedom," and suggests part of the proceeds go to military charities.

  • Friday, Dec. 19, 2014
Sony Pictures Entertainment studio lot in Culver City, Calif. A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information.

Lionel Felix's lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles states he ran the company's infrastructure for Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment from 2001 to 2004. His lawsuit is joined by Michael Levine, one of the company's former technical directors.

The suit seeks class action status for the nearly 50,000 current and former employees' whose data was stolen and posted online by hackers.

Their suit alleges Sony ignored warnings about the security of its networks.

"For decades, (Sony) failed, and continues to fail, to take the reasonably necessary actions to provide a sufficient level of IT security to reasonably secure its employees'" personal information, the lawsuit states.

The More

  • Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014
Randall Rothenberg, IAB president and CEO
IAB reports $12.4 Billion generated in Q3 2014
NEW YORK -- 

Internet advertising revenues in the U.S. climbed to an historic high of $12.4 billion for the third quarter of 2014, according to the latest IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report figures released today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC US. It is the highest quarter ever, besting the record-setting revenues of Q4 2013, which came in at $12.1 billion.

Q3 2014’s milestone numbers represent a year-over-year uptick of 17 percent over the $10.6 billion reported for the third quarter of 2013. The figures also mark a 6.5 percent increase from Q2 2014, which totaled $11.7 billion.

“This milestone demonstrates marketers’ commitment to digital,” said Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO, IAB. “Brands are tapping into the ubiquity of digital screens, now an undeniable vital part of consumers’ lives, as they seamlessly move from smartphones to PCs to interactive televisions throughout the More

  • Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014
In this July 20, 2010 file photo, a person uses Netflix in Palo Alto, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Dish is making it easier to watch video from an online rival, Netflix.

The satellite TV company said Wednesday that it is adding the Netflix app to its latest set-top boxes, its second-generation Hopper devices released in February 2013. Dish wouldn't say how many customers have that box. Customers with older boxes would need a replacement to use the feature. Dish customers also must subscribe to Netflix's $9-a-month service on their own.

TiVo also makes a device that combines regular TV channels with online video services, but Netflix said Dish is the first U.S. pay TV provider to add the app to its own set-top box. Netflix has similar deals with cable companies overseas.

The development comes as pay TV providers such as Dish face challenges keeping customers as they increasingly view video online — such as through Netflix. It might seem odd that Dish would embrace a competitor. But the move More

  • Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014
In this Nov. 11, 2014 file photo, actor Channing Tatum attends a special screening of "Foxcatcher," hosted by the Cinema Society with Details and Brooks Brothers, at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

As many as six aspiring filmmakers will appear in next year's Academy Awards ceremony, and Channing Tatum will help them get there.

Oscar producers said Wednesday they're bringing back the Team Oscar program that invites young filmmakers to play a role in the awards show. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron say Tatum will once again serve as spokesman for Team Oscar and help choose its members.

The actor posted a video on YouTube inviting students to submit a 60-second video through the film academy's Facebook page to audition. American citizens ages 18 to 30 are eligible, and submissions are due Jan. 12.

The winning artists will be flown to Los Angeles to participate in Oscar week activities and appear on the Oscar ceremony as trophy carriers.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014
Adam Goldstein
Frank Longo tops contest, followed by Darius Turbak, Adam Goldstein
LOS ANGELES -- 

Year two of The Tracking Board’s Launch Pad Features Competition yielded a Top 25, thus far resulting in the sale of a script to Paramount Pictures and a number of writers finding representation. Judges--who are A-List industry pros--recently voted on a Top 10, headlined by a winner and two runners up.

Winning the script competition was Frank Longo for Cooties, a family comedy. Storyline: When a meteor brings an outbreak of space bugs who infect their victims and make them behave like overgrown two-year olds, an unlikely group of kids must find a way to thwart them, save their small town, and stop the potential downfall of civilization.

The top two runners up were Darius Turbak for The Bluff and Adam Goldstein for Intro To Creation. The Bluff is a crime drama in which a confidential police informant must protect his family when he finds himself caught between a More

  • Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014
In this Nov. 3, 2006 file photo, a man wears an Apple iPod Shuffle at an Apple store in Palo Alto, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- 

A federal jury decided Tuesday that Apple didn't compete unfairly when it sold music players and songs with copy-protection software that was incompatible with rival devices and music from competing online stores.

The eight-member jury in U.S. District Court handed Apple a victory by rejecting a claim from attorneys for consumers and iPod resellers, who were seeking as much as $1 billion in a class-action lawsuit. The plaintiffs argued that Apple was able to overcharge consumers for iPods by making it difficult to switch to a rival music player, as music bought from Apple's iTunes store wouldn't work on other players, nor would music from other stores work on iPods.

After just three hours of deliberation, the jury accepted Apple's argument that the software provided necessary security protection and was part of a larger package of improvements that made iPods and iTunes popular with consumers.

More

  • Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014
In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Martin Freeman appears in a scene from the film, "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies." (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Mark Pokorny)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

The final installment of "The Hobbit" doesn't just mark the conclusion of Bilbo Baggins' journey on the big screen. It's also the end of a massively successful film franchise that's earned New Line and Warner Bros. nearly $5 billion, going all the way back to the 2001 release of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."

"I don't know what to compare it to because I've never been involved in a project that's gone on for so long or been such a huge success," said Toby Emmerich, president and CEO of New Line, the unit of Warner Bros. responsible for releasing "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" films over the past 13 years.

The marketing campaign for "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" promises moviegoers "one last" trip to Middle-earth when it debuts in wide release Wednesday. Will it really be the final outing for all those dwarfs, elves, hobbits and orcs? After all, "The Hobbit More

  • Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014
In this Dec. 2, 2014 file photo, cars enter Sony Pictures Entertainment headquarters in Culver City, Calif. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace made ominous threats Tuesday against movie theaters showing Sony Pictures' film "The Interview" that referenced the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The group also released a trove of data files: what they called the beginning of a "Christmas gift." But GOP, as the group is known, included a message warning that people should stay away from places where "The Interview" will be shown, including the upcoming premiere. Referencing 9/11, it urged people to leave their homes if located near theaters showing the film.

"The Interview" is a comedy in which Seth Rogen and James Franco star as television journalists involved in a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Its New York premiere is scheduled for Thursday at Manhattan's Landmark Sunshine, and is expected to hit theaters nationwide on Christmas Day. It premiered in Los Angeles last More

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