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How Skype saved the day for new ‘Planet of the Apes’

There’s telecommuting, and then there’s telecommuting. Matt Reeves, the director of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” had a problem. The final shot for his $150 million movie wasn’t working, and he needed a new one, stat. The team at Weta Workshop, which did the animation for all the film’s apes, said that he needed a… Read More

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Amazon launches free movie storyboard tool, with a catch

Amazon this morning launched a free online storyboarding tool through its Amazon Studios movie and television production group — aiming to give writers and filmmakers a new and easy way to visualize their scripts and share them with others for feedback. The tool, called “Storyteller,” is making its debut as a beta. It scans a… Read More

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Just in time for the Oscars, Amazon launches Entertainment Collectibles Store with 350K items

These days, it seems like you can buy anything on Amazon. That certainly became more true today. The Seattle online giant just introduced a new Entertainment Collectibles Store where you can find more than 350,000 entertainment-related items from an autographed B.B King guitar for $14,400 to an autographed photo of John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn for $30,000…. Read More

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Video: Former Microsoftie making ‘Software Wars’ movie

Break out the popcorn: A new crowdfunding campaign, launched overnight, aims to raise $150,000 to complete a movie about the open-source software movement and the “war for freedom” against the world of proprietary software. The main producer is Keith Curtis, a Seattle-based author and programmer who spent 11 years at Microsoft before being converted to… Read More

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Amazon is making a movie, starting with a comic book

Amazon tends to do things in non-traditional ways, and that fact is on full display with the debut this morning of the first installment of Blackburn Burrow, a digital comic book from the company’s Amazon Studios original content group. The free comic book, produced by 12 Gauge Comics, is actually a test for a feature film… Read More

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Hellraiser director to create Zombies vs. Gladiators movie for Amazon

Amazon.com continues to expand into the original content arena, with news today that Hellraiser director and noted fantasy writer Clive Barker plans to direct a new movie for Amazon Studios called Zombies vs. Gladiators. “Zombies vs. Gladiators is now in the hands of someone who has written genre-defining material throughout his career,” said Roy Price, director,… Read More

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Microsoft gears up for live-action ‘Halo’ web series

It’s not a movie, yet, but Microsoft is planning to launch a new web series based on its blockbuster Halo video-game series, with real people playing the characters. A company representative confirms that Microsoft will be producing the live-action series, called “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn,” in conjunction with the launch of the Halo 4… Read More

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Digiboo takes flight: Movie kiosks at Seattle airport offer new releases for $3.99 (Video)

There are multiple ways to watch movies on airplanes. Some rely on the selection in the airline’s inflight entertainment system, while others load up on personal DVDs or download their favorite films prior to arriving at the gate. Others use Wi-Fi connectivity to stream movies while cruising at 30,000 feet. For Blake Thomas, chief marketing… Read More

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Meet the geeks who make video games in this documentary film

The critically-acclaimed documentary film Indie Game: The Movie – honored at both the Sundance Film Festival and SXSW — will be rolling into Seattle this Friday for a special screening at the SIFF Cinema at the Uptown. Canadian filmmakers James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot also will be on hand to answer questions from the audience. Initially… Read More

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Amazon hiring execs to make comedy and kids shows

Newly surfaced Amazon.com job postings provide some interesting clues about the company’s push into original programming. An Amazon unit called the People’s Production Company, an extension of its crowd-sourced Amazon Studios initiative, is seeking creative executives to develop half-hour comedy and kids shows “for online and traditional distribution.” As noted by AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski, that… Read More

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Netflix kills Qwikster, says DVDs will stay on Netflix site

Farewell, Qwikster, we never got a chance to know you. And maybe that’s a good thing. That’s no doubt the sentiment among many Netflix subscribers this morning after the company abruptly reversed its plan to spin off its DVD-by-mail service into a new site. The change would have required many Netflix users to maintain two… Read More

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Microsoft startup film to debut at Napa Valley Film Festival

Microsoft has made a full-length feature film — a professionally produced documentary on the startup life, of all things — and it’s slated to premiere in November at the Napa Valley Film Festival. That’s the unexpected news today from the company’s BizSpark program, an initiative inside Microsoft that provides tech startups with access to the… Read More

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Amazon lands Fox movies and TV shows for Prime members

Amazon.com this morning announced a new digital licensing agreement with 20th Century Fox that will increase the catalog of streaming content available to members of its Amazon Prime subscription service to more than 11,000 movies and TV shows, up from 9,000 previously. The agreement comes two days before Amazon’s expected announcement of a tablet computer… Read More

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Evening Radar: Microsoft’s tech plan for low-income kids; Google+ opens up; analyzing the science behind ‘Contagion’

A roundup of headlines and news items catching our attention as the day winds down … Microsoft today announced a new three-year program to bring software, hardware and discounted broadband to 1 million children from low-income families in the United States. An extension of an existing Microsoft initiative called Shape the Future, it was announced… Read More

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Despite uproar, Netflix expects price overhaul to pay off

Netflix’s quarterly results today are being closely watched for the impact of the customer outrage over the price hikes recently announced by the company through the separation of its DVD-by-mail and online streaming services. So here’s the upshot: The company expects some short term pain from the price change to pay off in the form… Read More

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‘Scene It?’ goes daily with unified trivia game across web, devices

The “Scene It?” game franchise is getting broader and more timely today with a new trivia quiz game that works as an online service across iPhone, Android, Facebook and web. Seattle-based Screenlife’s “Scene It? Daily” will offer daily pop culture quizzes in movies, TV, music and celebrity categories. That’s a departure from the company’s traditional… Read More