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A few years ago, we nearly saw a Halo feature film from director Neill Blomkamp. At the time, he wasn't a big director, and the Halo film collapsed under the weight of its two financiers, 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures, pulling out of the project at the last minute.
This was reportedly due to concerns over the ever-increasing budget, and Microsoft's cut. Lord of the Rings director, Peter Jackson, had hired Neill Blomkamp to direct the Halo movie, which would've been Blomkamp's first full-length film. When the Halo film collapsed, Jackson and his partner, Fran Walsh, decided to go with producing Blomkamp's District 9, a sci-fi flick based on one of his short films.
District 9 was released in 2009 to a huge praise from critics and viewers, going as far as receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. When talking with Hero Complex, Blomkamp said: "The luck is the fact that Peter and Fran let me make [District 9] out of the ruins that were Halo. What happened out of that was learning to trust my ideas. If Halo had come out and succeeded or failed, I wouldn't have learned that."
Today, Roku announced that Verizon's RedBox Instant service is now available on the Roku 3, Roku 2, Roku HD, and Roku LT set-top boxes and the Roku Streaming Stick. The new service allows not only Verizon subscribers but everyone else to access the app and rent and purchase new releases on-demand.
RedBox Instant is also offering a one-month free trial of its subscription service that includes free unlimited streaming of a list of "hit movies" and four DVD credits to be used at RedBox kiosks. Users can download the app by visiting the Roku Channel Store and searching for the RedBox Instant by Verizon logo. Below is a list of features that Roku says is available via RedBox Instant:
5,500+ active digital movies instantly and more than 680 discs available in Redbox kiosks
- The ability to locate and reserve movies and video games* on disc at more than 43,000 Redbox kiosks nationwide.
- Movie trailers and user reviews to allow previewing and researching films before you stream, reserve at the kiosk, rent or buy (when available).
- Bookmark functionality to keep track of all movies discovered on the service for future viewing
- The option to start, stop and resume watching movies.
- Parental controls to manage on-demand purchasing and content restrictions for young children, children and teens.
I was one of those people that didn't really enjoy Avatar that much, but we all know it was one of the most successful movies of all times at the box office. James Cameron and 20th Century Fox have now confirmed that Avatar 2, 3 and 4 will be released one year apart starting from 2016.
Cameron has been spending some time in New Zealand working on the story for Avatar, with the famous director now coming out with 20th Century Fox and announcing the three sequels to Avatar. Cameron has called in some help for the script, with Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes co-writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver stepping on, as well as Black Dahlia screenwriter Josh Friedman and Savages writer Shane Salerno.
Cameron says: "Building upon the world we created with Avatar has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience. In writing the new films, I've come to realize that Avatar's world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen. And to help me continue to expand this universe, I'm pleased to bring aboard Amanda, Rick, Shane and Josh - all writers I've long admired - to join me in completing the films' screenplays."
As I predicted, set-top box manufacturers are scared of Google's new Chromecast HDMI media streaming dongle, and rightfully so. The little device costs just one-third of what comparable devices cost from other major brands. With companies like Netflix, Vimeo, Spotify, HBO, and PLEX either supporting Chromecast or planning support, the $35 dongle looks more appealing than anything else.
Today, Apple has dropped the price on its refurbished Apple TV box from about $85 to just $75. Is this because of Google's success with the $35 Chromecast? That could be it, but Apple does have a history of reevaluating their refurbished prices and dropping them if the market is slow, so it really could be either of the reasons. A brand new Apple TV unit retails for about $99 new, so there is little value in choosing the refurb over the new, but my bet is to go with the $35 Chromecast.
The first two Bryan Singer-directed X-Men films unleashed comic book movies into the multi-hundred-million dollar budgets of Hollywood's minds, and has kickstarted the billion-dollar comic book movies, such as The Dark Knight.
But, Singer is back with X-Men: Days of Future Past after passing on X-Men: The Last Stand for Superman Returns. X-Men: Days of Future Past will see both the worlds of X-Men and X-Men: First Class joined together, and is centered around a dystopian future where mutants are held prisoner in internment camps, before Kitty Pryde has her mind transferred into her younger body to help the X-Men of the past to step in a moment in history to stop the future from happening.
The above viral trailer is a fake ad for Trask Industries, which is a company run by military scientists and once-Presidential advisor, Bolivar Trask. Trask is responsible for creating the Sentinels, who are robots programmed to locate and terminate mutants.
A lot of discussions were sparked when Intel first announced that its upcoming set-top box would feature facial recognition technology. The company came under fire from privacy rights advocates, as well as those who fear that this would lead to a subscription-based model where each individual in the home would have to purchase a subscription just to watch content from the device.
This morning, a new report is suggesting that Intel has decided to drop this feature entirely and that the set-top box would be shipped without the imaging camera. Intel Media's Eric Huggers says that the decision to drop the facial recognition features is due to the camera's performance in low light situations, as well as the numerous privacy concerns voiced by prospective customers. The moral of the story here is that some companies will listen if enough of their customer base speaks out.
Google's Chromecast is making huge waves in the home theater market, and with the device completely selling out everywhere in less than 1 week, other companies are taking notice in a big way. This morning, we are hearing world that three of the biggest names in video streaming are voicing their interest in the device.
On Monday, GigaOM reported that Vimeo, the HD video streaming giant, has tossed its hat into the ring with the company's VP of mobile, Nick Alt, confirming interest in Chromcast. "We're excited about the emerging opportunities bridging mobile to Connected TV and we look forward to offering Chromecast support in our products." he said. Additionally, Redbox Instant says that they would love to bring their service to Chromecast. My favorite media server / media client Plex has also voiced its intentions to develop an app for the device.
Google has said that Pandora, AOL, and The Washington Post are all working on dedicated apps for Chromecast and that HBO is also looking into bringing its HBO Go service onto the device. Currently, Google's Chromecast streams content from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Webpages, but if today's news is any indication, things are about to explode for Chromecast!
A recent report by PC World is suggesting that Dell has recently started beta testing thumb drive sized Android mini PCs that could give Google's recent Chromecast a run for its money. Dubbed project Ophelia, the device is said to be similarly sized to the Chromecast but would feature much more functionality as it will run a full version of Android instead of a slimmed down version of Chrome OS like the Chromecast does.
Project Ophelia features the same style direct HDMI connectivity that Chromecast does and is said to feature a full version of the Google Play Store that would allow users to download the full complement of apps, games, movies, and books that other Android devices use. It will feature both Bluetooth 4.0 and and Wi-Fi, so wireless keyboards, mice, and the various Android-to-Android Wi-Fi-based remote apps that are growing so popular should work well.
Sources say that project Ophelia should retail for around $100, but for now, only beta testers are getting there hands on Ophelia, and we don't expect a release until sometime during the next fiscal quarter which could be as late as October. While the $100 price tag is a bit on the high-end in my opinion, this little device could spell big trouble for companies like Pivos, producer of the Xios DS Android-based set-top box that is one of the leading sellers for Android HTPCs.
Not even a week ago we reported that Netflix secured themselves an addition 630,000 more subscribers thanks to the fourth season of Arrested Development , but now we have series creator Mitch Hurwitz saying that it is "definitely" coming back.
We've been hearing whispers of a fifth season, but when the series' creator comes out and talks about it, it gives us more confidence. It looks like they're ready to either pull the trigger on an Arrested Development movie, or a fifth series of the cult show. The news comes from a Q&A at the Just for Laughs comedy conference in Montreal last week.
Netflix chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, asked the question himself: "are we going to do more" to which Hurwitz replied with "definitely". Hurwitz talked about multiple possibilities, with the movie being first, and then a fifth season. Maybe we might end up with a three-part episode before the fifth season begins. Hurwitz asked Sarandos: "are you game for that" with Sarandos replying with "absolutely, in any form".
It looks like the future of Arrested Development isn't looking so blue after all...
When Google first announced Chromecast, I instantly knew it was going to be big. The $35 media streaming dongle has become an instant hit among technophiles everywhere in the US. When originally launched, Google offered the device for $35 and included three months of Netflix for free, which essentially made the device cost a total of $11 if you are already a Netflix subscriber.
Today, we found out that device has sold out on every online outlet it was being offered at. In just 36 hours, so many units were sold on the Google Play Store that shipping times were eventually listed as 6 to 8 weeks. Amazon and Best Buy's online store have both sold out, but Best Buy says that they still have some units available in-store.
I placed my order for the Chromecast just an hour or so after it was announced and selected two-day shipping, but Google has still not sent any shipping info to me, so tonight I'm going to head to my local Best Buy and see if they have any units in stock so I can bring all of you readers a wonderful review the first of next week.