Data collected from BitTorrent, Hollywood Stock Exchange used to find figures
Economist Kolem Strumpf of the University of Kansas School of Business recently conducted a study looking into the financial impact of movie piracy on film revenues. Using data from BitTorrent and the Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX), Strumpf looked at the top 150 films each year from 2003 to 2009. The study found that there's a "quite small" revenue displacement caused by the illegal films.
Fincher out, Boyle in as director; Bale out, DiCaprio in as Jobs
Following the alleged pullout of planned director David Fincher -- and possibly his choice to play the title role, Christian Bale -- the latest speculation on Sony Pictures' Steve Jobs biopic has it that the studio is now talking to Danny Boyle to helm the multi-million dollar movie, and goes on to say that Boyle's choice for the Jobs role is Leonard DiCaprio. Boyle, best known for Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting, is rumored to be the leading candidate following Fincher's walkout over fees and marketing control demands, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Wanted Christian Bale in the role of Jobs, $10M fee, marketing control
Those hoping for a reunion of the team that made The Social Network into a critical and commercial success will be disappointed to learn that -- at least for now -- that film's director, David Fincher, is off the Sony Pictures "Steve Jobs" project, according to industry trade reports. Fincher, along with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, was set to tackle Sony's big-budget interpretation of Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs, but has pulled out over the issue of fees and marketing control, sources claim.
Deframe version 1.5.1 released, features new video tools
Developer Einstein's Legacy has announced the release of its updated video tool software, Deframe. Allowing users the ability to extract high-quality still images and video clips from their footage, Deframe v 1.5.1 includes a redesigned user interface, new slide show creation, and the ability to share images via email or social media platforms. Deframe operations have been consolidated into a single window, providing a simplified interface for manipulating movies and extractions. Its slide show feature displays in a full screen mode, and can be navigated manually, or as a timed slide show. Available for $20 through the Mac App Store, Deframe requires OS X 10.8.5 or higher.
Gifts vary by region or country due to restrictions, store limits
Apple is continuing its "12 Days of Gifts" promotion, which allows iOS users to download a free gift every day (including, for the first time, US users). Monday's Day 5 present is a free copy of the Martin Scorsese film Hugo in the US and Canada, while in the UK the movie is instead the Christmas classic Home Alone (the films normally sell for around $15-$18). The movie is available in 1080p, 720p ("HD") and standard definition.
Cable company could offer movie purchases shortly after theatre run
Comcast could allow its subscribers to buy movies on their cable boxes, according to recent reports. The cable company is claimed by unnamed sources to be preparing to offer customers the service, via set-top boxes and through the browser via the Xfinity TV website, with the possibility that it will launch before the end of this year.
Audiences, early Apple employees both give film mixed ratings
The opening weekend haul of the independent biopic Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher as the Apple CEO and co-founder fell short of distributor Open Road Films' hopes, bringing in $6.7 million across 2,381 screens in North America -- less than the $8-$9 million expected, but more than half of the estimated $12 million cost of the film. Critics and Apple fans tended to give the movie harsher notices -- noting the lower production values, shortcuts in the storytelling and focus more on Apple than Jobs himself, while mainstream audiences generally viewed Kutcher's portrayal of Jobs and Josh Gad's portrayal of Steve Wozniak with somewhat more favor than critics.
Most find acting better than story, take issue with historical accuracy
The independently-made biopic of Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, entitled Jobs and starring Ashton Kutcher in the title role, has opened in cinemas around North America. Early reviews have largely given the film a thumbs down -- though somewhat surprisingly more for the story by first-time screenwriter Matt Whitely than for Kutcher, whom most critics thought was cast largely for his resemblance to Jobs over his mostly-lightweight acting abilities. Critics of the film have largely focused on the script's heavy emphasis on Apple rather than Jobs personally.
Tie-in with film release also memorializes Apple co-founder
Legendary Macintosh icon designer and member of the original Mac team Susan Kare has issued two new 32x32 icons, each one a "pixel portrait" of either Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs or his doppelgänger in the new independent biopic Jobs, Ashton Kutcher. The movie tie-in also offers larger icon portraits of the two men available from Kare's website, with the film itself opening in cinemas on August 16. Kare worked for both Apple and NeXT as a creative director throughout the 1980s.
Promotion building to a fever pitch ahead of August 16 opening
A new trailer for the independent biopic Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher in the title role, is now available in wide distribution. The ad itself, dubbed the "American Legend" trailer, features a number of previously-unseen clips from the film, which will be the first major movie about the Apple co-founder to reach the big screens apart from a limited run of a "lost interview" documentary featuring Jobs that appeared briefly last year. In addition to debuting the new trailer, stars Kutcher and Josh Gad will also be hosting a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) discussion on August 8.
Man alleges added $1 charge reaped 'millions in undeserved profits'
A San Francisco man is suing Apple for formerly allowing people who rent high-definition movies even though their equipment is incapable of displaying the format -- meaning the customers who didn't understand the difference essentially got charged $1 more than they should to rent movies or other videos from the iTunes store. Apple has since corrected the issue, and now displays a warning when HD-renting customers are using standard-definition (SD) devices, but plaintiff Scott J. Weiselberg claims that while the rented movie would fall back to SD automatically, Apple kept the $1 HD premium charge.
Like recent Apple signage, uses a thin font with bright colors
Following along two weeks after its first theatrical trailer, the independent biopic Jobs has unveiled the official movie poster, which capitalizes on star Ashton Kutcher's strong resemblance to the Apple co-founder and former CEO. The movie, which covers a roughly 30-year span of Steve Jobs' life (from a few years prior to founding Apple to the introduction of the iPod) will prominently feature Jobs' early adult years and thus the poster boasts a psychedelic array of colors, similar but different to Apple's recent redesign efforts.
Worries that Jobs to be shown as 'a saint' even in earliest days
Steve Wozniak, the legendary engineer and co-founder of Apple who earlier made some harsh remarks on the forthcoming independent film Jobs based on a pre-released scene, has softened his tone on the film starring Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs and Josh Gad as Woz. He still worries, however, that Jobs will be portrayed as always having been a visionary "saint" who was always right, rather than "one of the key people who led Apple through failure after failure" before coming back to Apple as a more mature leader.
Debuted at Sundance, film has met with mixed reviews so far
Jobs, the independent biopic covering a key period in the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, is now officially set to open in theaters across the US on August 16 -- four months after the originally-scheduled debut, according to distributor Open Road Films. The movie, which has seen mixed reviews overall though generally garnered praise for the effort put in by lead Ashton Kutcher as Jobs, covers his life from approximately 1971 to 2001 and also stars Broadway actor Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak.
Satirical film on Apple co-founder to debut online April 15
Online comedy site Funny or Die will become the first to have a full-length Steve Jobs movie hit the mainstream market, when they debut their own parody film of Jobs' life, called iSteve, on April 15. The Funny or Die film, intended to poke fun at the competing bioflicks of Jobs -- the completed-but-delayed Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher and the big-budget Sony Pictures effort being written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) -- stars Justin Long, who played "the Mac" in Apple's "Mac vs. PC" ads.
Actors intended 'the utmost love, admiration and respect'
The stars of the independent theatrical movie jOBS took the stage on the first day of the MacWorld/iWorld conference today in San Francisco, discussing their roles in the film, which premieres nationally on April 19. During their talk, Ashton Kutcher (who played Steve Jobs) and Josh Gad (Steve Wozniak) discussed their involvement, their take on Apple and the men they were chosen to portray, the accuracy of the film in general and other issues surrounding the movie, which focuses on the formative years of Apple.
Seen in white shirt, black vest outfit from 1990s
The independent biopic "jOBS" appears to have wrapped principle photography, with reports of several of the stars of the movie attending the traditional wrap party. Separately, a papparazzi site has published photos (seen below) of headliner Aston Kutcher in costume as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as he would have been dressed just before and during the return to Apple in 1996, favoring a white dress shirt with a v-neck black sweater and jeans.
Joins Ashton Kutcher as Jobs in indie TV-movie
The independent Steve Jobs biopic jOBS has added another veteran actor to its case, gaining Matthew Modine (best known for his string of hit movies in the mid-80s, including Full Metal Jacket) to play the role of former Apple CEO John Sculley, the former Pepsi executive recruited by Jobs to run Apple who ended up forcing Jobs out of the company. He joins star Ashton Kutcher as Jobs and Broadway star Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak.
Modifies title to 'jOBS,' now a made-for-TV feature
The independent biopic of Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher that begins filming next month has modified its title to simply jOBS with the "Get Inspired" portion that was previous thought to be part of the title now identified as just a tagline. The low-budget production from Five Star Feature Films says it will commence principle photography next month, including the actual Los Altos home of Jobs' parents, including the garage that started it all.
Production hopes to commence next month
While Apple fans debate how well lead actor Ashton Kutcher will (or won't) do portraying Steve Jobs in the upcoming independent bio-pic Jobs, Broadway star Josh Gad from The Book of Mormon is in talks to portray Steve Wozniak, Apple's other co-founder, says The Hollywood Reporter. The movie, which is planning to start shooting next month, will cover a section of Jobs' life from his student days up to the founding of -- and subsequent 1997 return to -- Apple.
Sony has acquired rights to Isaacson's bio
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who deeply profiled Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the 2010 film The Social Network is "strongly considering" writing a screenplay based on Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs for a future Sony-produced film, he told E online at an event in Santa Monica. Sony acquired the rights to the biography last month and were rumored to have picked Sorkin as the company's top choice to pen the film.
Nikon D90 unveiled
Nikon brought rumors to a head Wednesday with an official release of the D90, confirming the 12.3 megapixel camera, and its accompanying AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm lens with VR function. The camera also introduces an alleged world-first for DSLR cameras, offering users the ability to shoot D-Movie video footage in resolutions up to 720p, with an included HDMI-out port for simplified viewing. Nikon notes that the larger DX-format sensor will allow for lower-noise video than a conventional camcorder.
Apple updates iLife
Apple today released software updates for iLife 8.0, the software suite that ships with most Macs. The release is largely aimed at fixing bugs and compatibility issues, although iPhoto 7.14 (77.1MB) includes "new holiday greeting card and postcard themes for use with Apple print products." Also released: iLife Support 8.3 (5.5MB), iWeb 2.04 (36.3MB) and iMovie 7.14 (39.8MB).
Sequence screen capture
App4mac on Friday unveiled Sequence 1.0 for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, its screenshot and video capture tool designed to use multithreaded code and a 64-bit enabled compression system. Sequence allows users to capture screenshots and movies of the entire screen or segments within, and send the resulting media to either the clipboard or into a file. App4mac is selling Sequence 1.0 for $20, and is available for download from the company's website.
Front Row meets Twitter
For the past six years, a group of developers scattered across the globe has been quietly working to reinvent the way we watch movies and listen to music. The result is Boxee -- a media player based on the XBMC Open Source platform -- released in alpha form this month initially on the Mac. The developers says Boxee was born of frustration over what they saw as the somewhat clunky way computers gather and display content. Separate applications are needed to display photos or play music and movies, and content is often delivered in formats requiring proprietary media players. The ambitious end game for Boxee is to become the “one-size-fits-all” media center that works with any kind of content on any platform.
Universal Blu-ray details
Universal Studios, at one time backing only the discontinued HD DVD high-definition movie format, will announce on Thursday it will start releasing all of its new movies on Blu-ray starting this summer. The studio was quick to switch camps once HD DVD's demise was final, but has not released any Blu-ray titles or made any announcements until today. The first Blu-ray title from Universal will be Doomsday, which will be released sometime this summer and, like all its movies, on the same day as the standard DVD of the movie.
Flickr for video files
Flickr today launched a video hosting service to run alongside its image equivalent, which already boasts around 42 million monthly visitors. The move comes in response to findings that 40-percent of surveyed individuals use their digital cameras to capture short video clips, with 55-percent of those surveyed sharing movies with others directly on the camera, and an additional 20-percent who don't share them once they are captured.
JoeSoft has announces the availability of Hear, a sound enhancement program for the Mac. The developer says this add-on "greatly" improves audio quality in movies and music throughout all Mac OS X applications. It offers a wide array of settings, purportedly delivering intra-app sound that is richer and clearer with regard to dialog. "Hear is a great new program that makes everything sound better on your Mac. All your music will be vastly improved, your movies will surround you with rich sound and your games will now blow you away" says Greg Brewer, CEO of Prosoft. "Once you've listened to your music or movies with Hear, you will never want to be without Hear." Hear is priced at $50.
- ImageWell 3.5 ($20) image editor for everyday simple editing and quickly sending images, screenshots, and other files tother users over the Internet. The tool includes upload support for Flickr, SmugMug and ImageShack, and is free. This latest release is Version 3.5, Build 327 and includes a new sharpness filter, two new shapes, the ability to double-click History items and open them in a browser, and fixes for bugs associated with Leopard. This is a free update to registered users. [Download - 964KB]
- PostgreSQL 8.3.1 Open Source project that leverages the Open Source PostgreSQL server and works to integrate the popular database engine into the Mac platform in as native a fashion as possible. This not only includes the creation of tools that are native to the Mac platform, but also the integration of Mac specific technologies like Automator, and publishing platform native toolkits like the PGSQLKit framework for Cocoa. The project is hosted, administered and developed by Druware Software Designs. [Download - 1.8MB]
- Avernum 5 1.0.4 ($28) enormous, epic fantasy role-playing adventure. "Wander a gigantic world, full of multitudes of characters, hundreds of side quests, and traps, tricks, and treasure in every corner. Take the part of a soldier for the all-powerful Empire, hunting for the foul assassin that struck down your Empress." The new update fixes a few errors that caused rare but irritating problems. [Download - 25.9MB]
- Cyndicate 1.2 ($30) RSS/Atom aggregator and content management application for Mac OS X. Enhancements in this release include: Performance has been greatly improved for some scenarios; Twitter support for sharing articles; Video enclosures can now be set to download separately from other enclosures; Feeds can now be set to never be checked; Fixed parsing feeds with use the Latin1 encoding and contain accented characters; Various bug fixes. [Download - 7.9MB]
- RapidWeaver 3.6.4 ($50) website creation application for Mac OS X. This release sees numerous improvements to the application including a significantly enhanced exporting process, along with a number of other minor fixes designed to improve the handling of QuickTime movies and images. In addition to feature fixes, the new version also offers preliminary support for the new Simplified Chinese localization. [Download - 24.6MB]
MacBook Air contest
In brief: We have posted reviews of Meander and Alien Skin Exposure 2, a MacBook Air will be given away in the "My Mac Server" contest, a new site lets you find the 99 cent movies in iTunes, and a new London travel guide for iPods and iPhones has debuted ... We have posted a review of Meander, an inexpensive program created by Peacock Media that lets you to use your computer to what you would do normally with a highlighter and a ruler; draw routes on maps and measure distances. Computer route planning has several obvious advantages. For example, you can quickly and easily test different routes to find the best one, and you can measure distances more accurately with a mouse than with a ruler.
First Look: ScreenFlow
Every Mac comes with the Grab program, which can capture images of the screen that are helpful for showing others how a certain program should look or what users should see after choosing specific commands. Unfortunately still images cannot always show the complete story, just as viewing a photograph is less enthralling than watching a movie. To fill the void Vara Software offers ScreenFlow, which captures screen activity and stores it as a Quicktime movie file that users can copy and distribute to others. Such Quicktime movies, called screencasts, are useful for creating video tutorials for training or teaching.
Steps to ousting Apple
Two research firms -- Park Associates and Entertainment Technology Center at USC -- have released a document urging Hollywood to use Apple's own tactics of offering low-cost TV shows and feature films for mobile media devices in an effort to reap profits on their own, cutting the Cupertino-based company out of the equation. "Hollywood shouldn't let Apple make all the money, especially since they are the ones making the movies," said John Barrett, director of research at Parks Associates. "Judicious use of free mobile content can help drive ticket and DVD sales." The white paper specifically details steps to achieve profitable distribution of mobile content on mobile platforms and devices, without Apple's help.
Cineon/DPX Pro for FC 3.0
Glue Tools today announced that it will release Cineon/DPX Pro for Final Cut 3.0 at NAB 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The latest release of Cineon/DPX for Final Cut Pro includes Cineon and DPX Sequence Presets along with a full Cineon or DPX Codec, completely eliminating the need to render sequences in Final Cut Pro's timeline. "No More Red Render Bar!" the company states. "Your imagery can be directly loaded into Final Cut Pro or Compressor, without needing to be compressed into an intermediate codec or movie format." The company is already accepting pre-orders for Cineon/DPX for Final Cut 3.0 at $400 per license. The update requires Final Cut Studio 2 and QuickTime 7.3.1. Upgrades for customers who purchasd Cineon/DPX Pro for Final Cut 2.5 after February 1st will receive a free upgraede to 3.0 when the software is made available at NAB.
Troi Dialog Plug-in 5
Troi Automatisering today unveiled Troi Dialog Plug-in 5 for FileMaker Pro 9, a plug-in designed to extend FileMaker's dialogue boxes in a number of different ways. The latest version adds compatibility with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, and an improved InputDialog function, which provides access to upwards of 15 input items. PresentImage has also been revamped, allowing users to view full screen slideshows of pictures or movies. Troi Dialog Plug-in 5 is currently available for $60, with free upgrades available for those who purchased v4.x on or after February 1st, 2007.
Apple extends rental limit
Although Apple has said it is confident that users are enjoying iTunes rentals, widespread critique began to form regarding the 24-hour rental period. Users insisted that it was simply not enough time to finish a movie due to a busy lifestyle, while others were exploring methods that would circumvent the time limit. Macworld.com notes that Apple has quietly extended the duration of movie rentals to allow users the opportunity to finish watching a film
Morph Age 4.0 debuts
Creaceed today began shipping its Hydra 1.0 HDR photography software for Mac, and unveiled a major upgrade to its Morph Age application for morphing as well as warping images and movies. Hydra aims to give the human eye perception to photographs by creating high dynamic range (HDR) images from a series of standard photographs, either from DSLRs or traditional point-and-shoot cameras. Hydra is priced at $60, but is available for an introductory price of $40 until the end of January. Hydra requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to run.
Studios keen on iTunes
Major Hollywood content providers gave Apple and its iTunes Store a thumbs up during a panel discussion and Q&A session on Monday at the CES trade show in Las Vegas. The Cupertino-based company began offering hit TV shows and more than 2,000 music videos in October of 2005 after experiencing enormous success in the digital music industry. Deals with four Disney-owned studios -- Disney, Pixar, Miramax, and Touchstone Pictures -- were followed by a deal with Paramount Pictures and later Lionsgate films.
Macrovision, the company largely responsible for modern DVD copy-protection schemes, has officially integrated its technologies with CinemaNow to offer downloads of CinemaNow premium video directly to Macrovision-enabled consumer electronics devices. Users who have registered Macrovision-enabled hardware at CinemaNow.com can use those devices to watch movies, TV shows, and music videos from CinemaNow's online library of available programming, according to TWICE.
Netflix, LG set-top box
Online DVD rental service Netflix and Korean electronics-giant LG have announced that they are working on a set-top box designed to stream movie content directly over the internet to a television. Netflix has long said it wishes to branch out its internet movie delivery feature, which allows members to play content on their PC from a library of over 6000 movies and TV shows. Reuters reports that the device will function in a similar fashion to the PC internet streaming, where users that subscribe to Netflix’ DVD rental service would also get access to the TV streaming service. LG says that the Netflix set-top box will be available at some point during the second half of 2008.
PC users, Apple gadgets
Thousands of consumers hoping to enjoy music, photos, and movies with Apple gadgets they receive this holiday season may need to learn some basic skills before diving right into the devices. Dave Taylor, a SupportSpace Committee member specializing in Mac as well as handheld technologies says the jump is even more difficult for most PC users. "Apple's iPhone and the latest generation of iPods have delivered enormous power and simplicity to the average consumer, but the technology is still complicated and usability is not 100% intuitive, especially for Windows users," he said.
SimpleImage 5 released
Developer Chris Wood has released SimpleImage 5, a large update to his image and movie viewing application. Wood says that SimpleImage is completely rewritten in Cocoa – Mac OS X's default application type – from the ground up. The new version has full support for Leopard, and over a dozen new features. Users can perform live searches of their media, as well as save media in web-appropriate formats. The software can also generate print previews, as well as movie contact sheets. Wood is offering a Christmas discount on SimpleImage 5 until December 25th, selling the software for $20.