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Tagged With: Universal

Channel Headline News

Sci Fi and Universal Channels Launch in Hong Kong

NBC Universal Global Networks has launched Universal Channel and Sci Fi Channel on now TV in Hong Kong in January 2009.

The move is part of NBCU Global Network's ongoing channels expansion in Asia and central to the company's objective, led by Roma Khanna, President, Global Networks & Digital Initiatives, to grow to over 100 channels internationally by 2010.

Universal Channel (now TV channel 522) and Sci Fi (now TV channel 124) are available with traditional Chinese subtitling.

Universal Headline News

Shmuger, Linde Extend Deals To Lead Universal Through 2013

Marc Shmuger and David Linde will continue to serve as the leading executives of Universal Pictures in a new four-year contract extension that also sees Linde elevated to the position of chairman alongside Shmuger.

Universal Headline News

Universal, Verbinski Take On Online Fantasy World Devotee

Gore Verbinski (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) and Universal have bought the rights to a WALL STREET JOURNAL article depicting the detrimental effect that online fantasy role-playing games have on people's real lives, per VARIETY.

The 2007 article, by Alexandra Alter, focuses on a married man who spends upwards of 20 hours a day at his computer, role playing as a muscled entrepreneur, when he is in fact a diabetic, chain-smoking 53-year-old.

Universal Headline News

Wolfman Delayed, Fast & Furious 4 Moved Up

Universal Pictures made several major changes to their 2009 release schedule on Tuesday, per VARIETY.

Horror franchise hopeful THE WOLFMAN will move from April 3 to November 6 to give it a more high-profile release, and Ridley Scott's NOTTINGHAM with Russell Crowe has been moved to sometime in 2010.

FAST & FURIOUS, the fourth installment of the racing franchise, is complete already, so Universal has moved it up from June 12 to April 3, taking WOLFMAN's place.

Universal Headline News

Universal Snags Further Bourne Rights

Universal Pictures has made an overall deal with Ludlum Ent., the estate in charge of THE BOURNE IDENTITY author Robert Ludlum, per VARIETY. The deal gives the studio exclusive rights to the Jason Bourne character and a first look at all other Ludlum novels.

Universal Headline News

Universal, Verbinski To Play Host

Gore Verbinski is on board to remake THE HOST at Universal, per VARIETY. The 2006 Korean thriller directed by Bong Joon-ho broke records in its South Korean theatrical run.

Commercials director Fredrick Bond will be making his feature debut and Mark Poirer will write the script. Verbinski will produce with Vertigo's Roy Lee and Doug Davison along with Paul Brooks.

Film Headline News

Steve Carell Is Despicable Me

Steve Carell, who last voiced The Mayor of Whooville for Fox's DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO!, will voice the title character in Universal's upcoming 3-D CG-animated feature DESPICABLE ME.

The film is the first for the Universal-based Illumination Ent., a family film unit under Chris Meledandri.

Other lead voices for the film, set for a 2010 release, include Jason Segel, Kristen Wiig, Will Arnett, Danny McBride (TROPIC THUNDER), Russell Brand (FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL), Jemaine Clement (FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS), Jack McBrayer (30 ROCK) and Julie Andrews.

Universal Headline News

Universal Wins Hot Inferno Bidding War

Universal Pictures beat out three other studios on Sunday for EA's unreleased and unannounced videogame DANTE'S INFERNO (working title), per VARIETY. Set to hit the marketplace next year, the videogame is the second EA title in a week to go to Universal.

ARMY OF TWO was purchased by the studio for Scott Stuber to produce (via EA) and Scott Z. Burns (THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM) to write.

Universal Headline News

Studios Bid On Unannounced EA Dante's Inferno Game

In an unusually early bidding war, four studios are battling for a new videogame from Electronic Arts -- that hasn't yet been announced publicly, per VARIETY.

About a journey through the depths of hell, sources say the game is likely to be titled DANTE'S INFERNO, and while EA has cleared the title for use, it has not officially titled it. EA and its representation declined to comment Thursday evening.

Universal Headline News

DreamWorks, Universal Sign Distribution Deal

Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg today announced a seven-year worldwide distribution deal between their new motion picture company and Universal Studios, which is expected to begin in 2009 and include approximately six films per year. (via

Snider and Spielberg recently departed Paramount Pictures to partner with Reliance Big Entertainment on a new motion picture company. Reliance Big will distribute the new company's projects in India.

Game Headline News

Universal Enters Game Biz With Despereaux

Universal, who has previously said they want to invest in their own videogames rather than licensing them out, will create a game based on the upcoming animated feature THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, per VARIETY.

A version of the film WANTED was announced first, but will be released sometime in 2009, with DESPEREAUX to be released first. The studio will fully fund the game about a heroic mouse on a fairy-tale quest for Nintendo DS. A deal with Brash Ent. was made for marketing and distribution.

Halloween Headline News

Universal Studios Offers Look At The Wolfman

A first look at Universal Pictures' re-imagining of the genre classic, THE WOLFMAN, will debut at Universal Studios Hollywood's "Halloween Horror Nights" as part of the theme park's "Terror Tram."

The "Terror Tram: The Nightmare Tour" -- which expands this year to double the length of previous Halloween tram experiences -- will offer an exclusive preview of THE WOLFMAN on the tram's LED screens.

Film Headline News

Universal Int'l Quenches Thirst For Vampires

Universal Pictures and Focus Features have bought into director Park Chan-wook's vampire film THIRST, now in production, per VARIETY.

This is the first time a Korean film has received American studio money and a U.S. distribution contract before its local release. Universal and Focus will invest in and co-produce THIRST, which up until now has been produced by Korean major CJ Ent.

Focus will release the film in North America, while CJ will handle the remaining international sales rights, and distribute the film in South Korea.

Universal Headline News

Del Toro Adds Projects, Booked Through 2017

Guillermo del Toro has plans for the next decade, including remakes of FRANKENSTEIN, THE HOBBIT two-picture project and an adaptation of DROOD, per VARIETY.

Universal has a three-year first look deal with del Toro they signed a year ago, and have committed to him with four directing projects, including remakes of FRANKENSTEIN, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE and SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE. Project four will be an adaptation of Dan Simmons' novel DROOD that is set for publication by Little, Brown in February.

Universal Headline News

Gorden Flashes Ahead With Writers In Tow

Sony has hired writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless to write the screenplay for FLASH GORDON, just months after winning the rights to the title, per THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

The outer space tale follows Flash Gordon, a young polo player who is kidnapped and taken to the distant planet of Mongo, where he and companions Dale Arden and Hans Zarkov get into adventures while fighting ruler Ming the Merciless.

Universal Headline News

Pirates Helmer Signs Deal At Universal

Gore Verbinski, at work on a big screen adaptation of videogame BIOSHOCK, has signed a three-year first-look deal at Universal Pictures, per VARIETY.

Verbinski directed all three PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN pictures for Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and will work on the Take-Two videogame project before moving onto other films.

John Logan (THE AVIATOR, GLADIATOR) wrote the script, whose story surrounds the mysterious events that transpire in an underwater utopia known as Rapture.

Universal Headline News

Oscar, Props, Costumes Showcased In New Universal Studios Hollywood Attraction

The 1973 Best Picture Oscar statuette for THE STING arrived via armored truck with police motorcycle escorts as Universal Studios Hollywood inaugurated its new movie memorabilia attraction, THE UNIVERSAL EXPERIENCE: BEHIND THE SCENES OF UNIVERSAL PICTURES, celebrating the Studios' historic movie heritage and the first-ever public Oscar display at The Entertainment Capital of L.A.

Universal Headline News

Universal To Study Dragonology

Universal has bought the rights to the children's book series DRAGONOLOGY by Dugald A. Steer, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

The mock nonfiction books will be adapted by Leonard Hartman, who will write and exec produce.

Steer's novels follow the premise that dragons actual exist, revealed by Victorian dragonologist Ernest Drake, and should be studied the same as any other rare series.

Universal Headline News

Universal Studios Honors California Firefighters

Universal Studios Hollywood is paying tribute to the firefighters who recently helped save the historic Universal studio with a "Salute to Firefighters," offering badged fire department personnel a free One Day General Admission throughout the month of June. Up to three family members or friends accompanying an eligible firefighter will also receive 50 percent off a One Day General Admission.

To obtain free admission, firefighters may show current photo employee identification at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park box office.

Universal Headline News

The Show Goes On At Universal Studios Hollywood Following Fire On Sunday

Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk have taken a "the show must go on" stance and are open for business as usual after a weekend fire that damaged the King Kong backlot attraction and one area of film sets that were frequently visited by the Studio Tour.

Universal Headline News

Universal Studios Backlot Fire Destroys Several Rides, Shooting Locations

A fire at Universal Studios on Sunday affected two popular backlot shooting locations -- New York Street and the BACK TO THE FUTURE courthouse square -- the KING KONG park attraction and countless copies of studio films and TV shows in a video vault, VARIETY reports.

The pre-dawn blaze is said to have burned three to four acres, but the full impact on shooting and theme park operations was unclear. A Universal rep said Sunday afternoon they had no information regarding future production in the affected areas.

Studios Headline News

Universal Studios Shows Us The Black Lagoon

Drawn from Universal's crypt of classic monsters and updated with spectacular Broadway production values and special effects, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON -- THE MUSICAL will rise, live, on stage at Universal Studios Hollywood beginning spring 2009.

Universal Headline News

Iron Man Writers To Tackle Last Ludlum Novel

Universal is moving forward on a screen adaptation of BOURNE author Robert Ludlum's novel THE SIGMA PROTOCOL, per VARIETY.

They have hired IRON MAN writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway to write the screenplay, based on the late author's final novel. Strike Ent. partners Marc Abraham and Eric Newman will produce with Paul L. Sandberg.

THE SIGMA PROTOCOL is about a young investment banker who discovers a secret organization manipulating the global economy. When he attempts to expose the scheme, he's targeted for death.