Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TV fights unemployment by training actors

From left, Shane Ballenti of Tualatin , Tony Bowen of Bellingham, WA, and Andres Coria of Portland play their roles on an assassination of a mob boss scene during the two-day-thugbootcamp for the tv show Leverage. Motoya Nakamura/The Oregonian

"Leverage' holds acting camp for unemployed construction workers in Portland (where it is filmed).

SAG National Board member Mary Mac is a dialogue coach and consultant on the show, and has taught the seminars.

Is Amazon's user marketplace rife with counterfeits?

Warner Bros. Files Mass Litigation Against Amazon Customers
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. is going after's resellers market. On Monday, the studio's home entertainment division filed at least 16 separate lawsuits in California against those who use the e-vendor to sell discounted DVDs ranging from Harry Potter films to many HBO shows such as Game of Thrones, The Wire, The Sopranos and Entourage.
Each of the defendants is alleged to be using the Amazon's e-commerce platform, which enables third parties to sell products on its website. According to the complaint, more than 2 million users participate in the Amazon Marketplace to offer "new, used and collectible selections at fixed prices to Amazon customers around the world."

The complaints don't offer much detail about what the defendants are selling except to identify the titles of the allegedly infringed works and to say the works being sold are "counterfeit."
A search the products being offered by defendants on Amazon yields such items as a DVD of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that's priced at $6.99.

In the lawsuit, Warner Bros. asserts exclusive distribution rights to various creative works.
The re-selling of copyrighted items has long enjoyed some legal protection under the "first sale doctrine." But in a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010 in Vernor v. Autodesk, the appellate judges held that the original vendor could limit the application of the first sale doctrine by crafting the terms of use for media content to define the purchase as a "license" rather than a strict "sale."

However, a source close to the studio says the latest lawsuits are "not a question of used merchandise." (Warners had no comment.)

If Warner Bros. is suggesting that illegally downloaded or camcorded copies of shows and movies are being passed off as new or used items on Amazon, the lawsuits launched Monday suggest a different sort of problem. Namely, the lack of internal controls in the Amazon Marketplace to deal with such "counterfeits." Amazon has been known in the past to suspend the accounts of counterfeiters, so the litigation raises the question of why not this time. A spokesperson for Amazon wasn't available for comment.

Amazon is not a named defendant in the lawsuit.

However, a few of the lawsuits target unnamed John Does. Typically, such a move is made in anticipation of subpoenaing a service provider for more information about the identities of infringers.
Warner Bros. is seeking that the defendants be restrained from offering unauthorized copies of their works for sale as well as marketing, advertising, and promoting such copies. The studio is also seeking actual damages and attorney's costs.

E-mail:; Twitter: @eriqgardner

Third 'Hobbit' movie confirmed for summer 2014

Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Martin Freeman and Ian McKellan discuss "The Hobbit" at Comic-Con
Director Peter Jackson, left, shown with collaborators at Comic-Con, will make a third "Hobbit" movie to be released in the summer of 2014. (Kevin Winter)

The "Hobbit" is a tiny book compared to the "Lord of the Rings" but could it come out as profitable as the "Rings" original trilogy? 

Two "Hobbit" movies are officially becoming three as Peter Jackson and his many Hollywood backers have finalized plans to produce a third movie based on the classic fantasy book and release it in the summer of 2014.

Talks had been going on for the last several weeks between Warner Bros.' New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, various rights holders, and the principal cast after it became clear that director Jackson wanted to produce three films rather than the planned two.

The cast will include many actors from Jackson's successful "The Lord of the Rings" films, including Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Elijah Wood.

To continue reading in the Los Angeles Times, click  More..

Rebourne. Olympic ranting. Disney Channel's crossover hit. Comcast begins appeals process in FCC Tennis Channel ruling.

After the coffee. Before learning how to score gymnastics.

The Skinny: Lots of gripes about how NBC is covering the Olympics (see below). My favorite complaint is that NBC has a "monopoly" on the games. Well, they outbid Fox and ESPN for that "monopoly." No one handed them the Games and said "go to town." Tuesday's headlines include the above-mentioned Olympic coverage complaints, a look at how much money Warner Bros. pumps into the local economy and a new Disney Channel cartoon is a hit with African Americans.

Daily Dose: Fox Business Network continues to make gains on CNBC. In July, FBN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" beat CNBC's "The Kudlow Report" in the key 25-54 demographic. It's the first time "Lou Dobbs Tonight" has scored a monthly win since it premiered in March 2011. In total viewers, Dobbs still trailed Kudlow by about 10,000.
Bill Macatee and Martina Navratilova interview Ana Ivanovic for the Tennis Channel
Comcast began its appeal of last week's FCC ruling on the Tennis Channel. The Tennis Channel's Bill Macatee and tennis great Martina Navratilova, center, interview Ana Ivanovic, in 2009 at Wimbledon. (Fred Mullane / July 30, 2012)

Comcast Corp. has asked the Federal Communications Commission to stay its decision that the Philadelphia-based cable television giant discriminated against the independently owned Tennis Channel.

Monday's filing by Comcast Corp. is expected to be the first step in a lengthy appeals process in the dispute over distribution that began three years ago.

Last week, in a 3-2 vote, the FCC found that Comcast had discriminated against the Santa Monica-based Tennis Channel by placing it in a more expensive sports package that limited the channel's exposure and revenue prospects.

The Tennis Channel is available in about 3 million homes that receive Comcast Cable service.
At the same time, Comcast provided two sports channels it owns, the Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network (previously called Versus) to nearly all of its 22 million subscribers. The FCC ordered Comcast to provide the Tennis Channel with distribution comparable to the two sports channels, which would effectively increase its coverage by about 18 million homes, and force Comcast to pay Tennis Channel millions of dollars more each year in programming fees.

It was the first time that a major cable operator has been found in violation of federal anti-discrimination program carriage rules that were established in 1993.

To continue reading in the LA Times click on  More...

Two Broke Girls
A Warner Bros. product like "Two Broke Girls" pumps a lot of money into the local economy. (CBS / July 31, 2012)

 Big spender! How important in Warner Bros. to Los Angeles County? Well, in 2010 the studio spent about $1.6 billion on local businesses and paid $2.5 billion in wages and residuals to residents. While studios typically guard such numbers, Warner Bros. is in a talking mood in an effort to enlighten local communities and civic leaders about the value of having it in the backyard. Details on the local spending habits of Warner Bros. from the Los Angeles Times.

No pleasing everyone. NBC's Olympics are scoring big ratings for the network. It is also streaming events live online (I snuck a peak at women's volleyball on Monday). But there will also be people who can find things to complain about and now thanks to Twitter they have a platform for their rants against NBC. If the network could make as much money by playing the Olympics live on TV all day with no tape delay and no worries about a prime-time audience, it would. But until that day comes, tape delay in prime time for TV will remain as it has for decades. Since I actually work during the day and am definitely in the casual viewer camp, it's not a big deal to me. There are worse things in the world I can find to complain about. Talking heads covering competent event announcers who are talking in English, comments made on what viewers can obviously see and not showing some of the most poignant moments of the overall events to highlight content less interviews with US athletes. More on the backlash against NBC from the Baltimore Sun and Los Angeles Times.

Can I get a show? Google's YouTube is determined to make its video platform a showcase for professional entertainment (as opposed to clips of cats doing silly things). Having already spent $150 million to launch dozens of channels, it is now pumping another $200 million into the effort. Lots of producers and stars are also giving YouTube a shot. Side deals with Facebook and other distributors for cross promotion and distrubution increase YouTubes odds at becoming a true programming challenger. Details from the Wall Street Journal.

Building bridges. The New York Times notes that Walt Disney Co. has at times had a hard time connecting with African Americans. But now, thanks to a new Disney Channel cartoon called "Doc McStuffins," the company has hit pay dirt. “For Disney to make a cartoon that stars a little brown girl as an aspiring intellectual professional, that’s coming a long way,” one mother said of the show.
Get out the vote! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will elect a new president Tuesday night. There are at least five people jockeying for the job including studio executive Rob Friedman and producer Gale Anne Hurd. Variety with a preview of the race.

Reborn! When Matt Damon decided to stop playing Jason Bourne, many bet that the franchise would end. But Universal is banking on Jeremy Renner keeping it alive. The Hollywood Reporter talks with producer Frank Marshall and coproducer Jonathan Crowley about their efforts to show that Bourne is more than Matt Damon.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Spanish-language TV stations and networks are poised to make big bucks from political spots.

Follow me on Twitter and pick fights with me.


Warner Bros. is a big spender in L.A. County: $4 billion a year

The studio offers a rare glimpse into the business operations of a Hollywood studio, hoping to show the importance of film and TV production to the area's residents and businesses.

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. purchased $3.4 million worth of construction supplies and $2.4 million worth of food and catering services from Burbank vendors in 2010. Above, a worker carries lumber at the studio. (Anne Cusack, Los Angeles Times / July 20, 2012)

On a typical day, Kun Lee, owner of Bake It Again Sam, prepares 360 bagels and 240 muffins for his famous customer across the street. And that's not counting the scrambled eggs, sandwiches, quesadillas, cookies and specialty order birthday cakes he often serves up to the crews of such television shows as"Pretty Little Liars" and"Shameless."

"They're a big chunk of my business," Lee said. "If it wasn't for them, I would have gone under a long time ago."

Bake It Again Sam is among 1,200 vendors and suppliers in Burbank that provide more than $550 million worth of goods and services each year to one of the city's A-list residents: Warner Bros.Entertainment, the studio behind such movie franchises as "Harry Potter" and "The Dark Knight" and popular TV shows "The Big Bang Theory" and"2 Broke Girls" on CBS.

PHOTOS: Hollywood back lot moments

In 2010, the studio spent a total of $1.58 billion on products and services from companies across Los Angeles County and paid $2.5 billion in wages and residuals to county residents. Warner's total spending of more than $4 billion in the county was an increase of nearly 30% from 1999, largely reflecting a growth in television production, according to a study the studio conducted of its local expenditures.

Studios are typically guarded when it comes to disclosing expenditures on their movies and TV shows, let alone what they spend in an entire community. Owned by media giant Time Warner Inc., Warner Bros. has privately been tracking its costs for more than a decade, initially as an effort to educate film-wary communities about the economic benefits of film and TV productions. But this marks the first time the studio has publicly released such detailed information, providing a rare glimpse into the business operations of a major Hollywood studio.

Warner executives say there was no specific catalyst for the decision to release the spending information, but they stressed it is part of an effort to better inform local politicians and the public about the value of the entertainment industry to the local economy at a time when L.A. is struggling to keep productions from chasing more advantageous film tax credits and rebates in other states.

To continue reading this story in the LA Times, click here.

'Ice Age' clobbers 'The Lorax' in China face-off

Scenes from "The Lorax," left, and "Ice Age: Continental Drift"
"The Lorax," left, took a pounding by "Ice Age: Continental Drift" at the box office in China this weekend. (Universal Pictures / 20th Century Fox / July 30, 2012)
The head-to-head battle of two animated giants in China turned out to be a rout.

Twentieth Century Fox's "Ice Age: Continental Drift" destroyed Universal Pictures' '"The Lorax" at the box office after both opened Friday -- the first salvo in an effort by the country's largest film distributor to depress ticket sales of Hollywood movies.

Released through China Film Group, the fourth "Ice Age" film grossed $15.7 million, while "The Lorax" took in only $964,000.

Fox was helped by securing far more theaters: 3,500, compared with just 1,060 for Universal. Both movies were fighting for as many 3-D screens as possible to capitalize on the popularity of the technology in China.

Also helping "Ice Age" is the fact that it opened in the U.S. only two weeks ago, while "The Lorax" debuted in March. Once films debut anywhere in the world, pirated copies are typically available quickly in China. As a result, many interested moviegoers may have already seen "The Lorax" on DVD or online.

In addition, "Ice Age" is an established franchise that is already beloved overseas; the third film in the series collected $22.6 million in China in 2009.

The China results reflect an overall international dominance for "Ice Age: Continental Drift," which has grossed $516.3 million so far from foreign countries. "The Lorax" has grossed only $110.6 million, with two major markets left to launch.

In a recent interview with the state-owned People's Daily, Zhang Hongsen, deputy head of China's Film Bureau, said the country is taking "protective measures," including opening American pictures against each other, "to create a space for domestic movies to survive and grow."

In the first six months of 2012, the box-office revenue for Chinese-made films dropped 4.3% compared with the same period last year to $439 million, according to a report in China Daily. Ticket sales for foreign pictures rose 90% to $825 million.

Superhero Hollywood tentpoles "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" have both been scheduled to debut in China on Aug. 30, though Warner Bros. is lobbying officials to push back the debut of its Batman film to September.

In addition, thrillers "The Bourne Legacy" and "Total Recall" may open on the same day in China in September.

'Lorax' and 'Ice Age' opening on same date in China
'Bourne Legacy,' 'Total Recall' may face off in China

Warner, China Film clash on 'Dark Knight' debut against 'Spider-Man'

Cantor Gaming Commercial (non-union)

 if you are available and would like to be submitted email me the part you would like to audition for, your headshot, name and cell.

We just started Pre-Pro on 2 new Cantor Gaming commercials that are being directed by Jeff Lester. Broadcast commercial will be aired in Nevada markets. Shoot dates have not been set in stone yet but we are looking to shoot right away. Likely 3 days sometime in between August 3-11. Auditions this Wednesday, August 1st from 9a-6p for the following two roles:

1. "Male Lead Commercial 1" - Director has described this role as "Bond". Male looks 21-35, Very attractive face and body, all the sex appeal, intrigue and mystery that comes with a James Bond type. MUST BE STRONG ACTOR, not just a pretty face :)  British or Austrailian accent would be cool but definitely not a must. Rate is $750/day (less 10% agency) for 2 full day shoots and $500 (less 10% agency) for one additional half day shoot. Total rate is $2,000 (less 10% agency) for 2 and a half days of shooting on location.

2. "Male Lead Commercial 2"- Director is looking for a Dennis Leary type for this role (look up some of his standup on youtube for some insight). Male looks 21-35, Attractive and fit---MUST BE STRONG ACTOR that can carry a comedic role, fast talker, dynamic on screen. This is only a half day shoot in the studio at a rate of $750 (less 10% agency)

Please send in photos of interested and available talent by Tuesday for Wednesday Casting. We will also be casting 8 non-speaking featured extra roles and 16 background extras --all just based on photos. I will send out specs and rates for these roles on Wednesday night after the casting wraps up.

Thanks in advance for your help on this one! We take great pride in creating really dynamic new spots for Cantor Gaming each year. I know that these two new ones will be no exception!

Sheree Wilson <>

Union talent may audition but may not work without a union contract.

SAG-AFTRA London Fog Commercial Casting


London Alley Fragrance Commercial:

Shoots Aug 3. 2ND Casting… July 31. Please email me pictures ASAP and I will get back to you with location, time and talent that are chosen.

18-22 year old. 50/50 Male/Female   Aspirational look.  Good party dancers, exciting, cool energy.  Mix hip styles and sophisticated people you would see at a cool NYC street party.  All ethnicities.

The run is still to be finalized so for now:

'Intended for TV, Internet, Industrial and Foreign Use.

Sheree Wilson
Director of Models & Talent
Executive Assistant to Jaki Baskow
Baskow & Associates, A GEP Partner
2948 E. Russell Road
Las Vegas, NV  89120
702-547-5119 Direct Line
702-733-7818 Main Line
702-733-2052 Fax

Sundance Cinemas Experience to open at former Sunset 5 next month

Sundance Cinemas, whose president is Robert Redford (seen here answering questions about the 2011 Sundance Film Festival), announced Monday that it will open a theater in West Hollywood at the end of August. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times / July 30, 2012)

The Sundance Kid will soon come to Sunset Boulevard.

Robert Redford's Sundance Cinemas announced Monday that it will open its Sundance Sunset Cinema on Aug. 31 after an extensive remodel of the former Sunset 5 Theater in West Hollywood. Sundance took over the lease of the cinema on Dec. 1 from Laemmle Theatres, which operated the Sunset 5 for two decades.

Sundance Cinemas, based in Westlake Village, Calif., operates theaters in Madison, Wis., San Francisco and Houston.

The theater circuit offers a range of alternative programming, lectures and screening series, taking advantage of Redford's annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and the Sundance cable TV channel.

To continue reading in the LA Times clock on  More..

Monday, July 30, 2012

Legislative change would allow Netflix users to Facebook their video viewing

Netflix headquarters
A file photo shows Netfilx headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif. The company would benefit from a proposed legislative amendment. (AP Paul Sakuma / July 30, 2012)

A proposed amendment to a U.S. cyber-security bill would allow Netflix users to share information about their latest movie rentals with Facebook friends.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday filed four amendments to the bill, including one that would lift a decades-old ban against the sharing video viewing information without a consumer's express written consent. Overturning the bill could allow Facebook to let others know what you view and your ratings of the film or video viewed.

The proposed change would update the Video Privacy Protection Act, which barred a video store (or a service like Netflix) from sharing a consumer's video rental history without written approval.

Congress enacted the ban in 1988, after the Washington City Paper published a list of video rentals by Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork during the confirmation hearings.

Bork's movie preferences -- "A Day at the Races," "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and "Ruthless People" -- weren't particularly illuminating. But the privacy breach moved Leahy to draft legislation that would prevent the disclosure of rental information unless a consumer consented specifically and in writing -- or police officers would present a warrant.

A Netflix spokesman said the company would support a modernization of the 1988 law, which would allow subscribers to share information about the movies they're watching, just as Spotify users can let friends know what songs they're listening to.

But given the rancorous climate on Capitol Hill as the presidential election nears, it seems unlikely that any bill could muster bipartisan support.

Netflix has spent $395,000 in lobbying this year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' website, Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would amend the Video Privacy Protection Act's consent provisions to allow services like Netflix to obtain a one-time, blanket permission to disclose all the movies a consumer watches.


‘Ruby Sparks’ Filmmakers; 'Game of Thrones’ Language Creator. And The Hollywood Banter...

‘Ruby Sparks’ Filmmakers;  'Game of Thrones’ Language Creator
FRI JUL 27, 2012
Filmmakers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris on making ‘Ruby Sparks’-- the follow up to their hit ‘Little Miss Sunshine.’ Plus, the linguist who created the language Dothraki for the HBO Fantasy series ‘Game of Thrones.’


The Hollywood News Banter

Michael Schneider,Bureau Chief of TV Guide Magazine joins John Horn, Film Writer for The Los Angeles Times, to banter about some of this week’s top Hollywood News stories.
‘Gangster Squad’ release date is pushed in wake of the movie theater massacre.
‘American Idol’ reboots with Mariah Carey as new judge
‘Modern Family’ cast sues producing studio over contracts
Peter Jackson wants to make a third ‘Hobbit’ movie

Main Topic

‘Ruby Sparks’ Filmmakers 

Filmmakers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris talk with Kim Masters about the pressure to follow their 2006 indie sensation ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ with just the right second film. They had many starts and stops on other projects over the last six years and often went back to directing commercials to pay the bills. But in the end this married couple-- who compares co-directing with parenting-- landed the job directing the new romantic comedy ‘Ruby Sparks.’

Main Topic

‘Game of Thrones’ Linguist

Saul Gonzalez visits Berkeley-trained linguist, David Peterson in his Orange County apartment and finds the brain behind the ‘Game of Thrones’ warrior language, Dothraki. Peterson explains how he got the gig writing for the HBO fantasy series and how he works with the production-- translating and recording the Dothraki lines for actors. He also joyfully announces he’s recently helped another member of the LanguageCreation Society get a gig on an upcoming blockbuster movie.

Nevada Actors left to find new represenation

Actors who were with  David Brown's Yellow Rose (non-union) and many who were with David Brown's Remington Agency (union) are looking for new representation. Sunday morning actors found out that Yellow Rose is shutting down and Remington is purging actors from its list. It's a business move with the agency streamlining to focus on, as any business should, where the potential money is. The letters were polite. Subtext reveals a reality in the agency business of type, age and market demands. Non-union talent were referred to a local non-union talent agency, keeping the qualified non-union talent in the marketplace. The industry has slowed down, but the move leaves actors without representation with several projects coming into town and pilot season right around the corner for LA.

As of August 31 no SAG talent may be represented by Remington, as it will not longer be a franchised agency. The agency will remain open for non-union talent and for management (which is not an area under SAG jurisdiction)

The following is a list of other SAG-AFTRA Franchised agencies in Las Vegas:
  • Baskow and Associates
  • Baskow, J & Associates
    Full Service (All Ages)

    2948 E. Russell Rd.
    Las Vegas, NV  89120
    (702) 733-7818
  • Best Models and Talent
  • Best Agency
    Full Service (All Ages)

    5565 South Decatur Blvd.
    Las Vegas, NV 89118
    (702) 889-2900
  • eNVy
  • Best Agency
    Full Service (All Ages)

    5565 South Decatur Blvd.
    Las Vegas, NV 89118
    (702) 889-2900
  • Lenz Agency / Las Vegas Models and Talent
  • Lenz Agency
    Full Service (All Ages)

    1591 East Desert Inn Road
    Las Vegas, NV  89109
    (702) 733-6888

'Dark Knight' falls, NBC gets heat for Olympics. Modern Family is a happy family. Changes high up in networks.

'The Dark Knight Rises'
"The Dark Knight Rises" took a tumble at the box office over the weekend. (Warner Bros.)
After the coffee. Before doing something really important that I can't talk about yet. 

The Skinny: I spent the weekend at the TV press tour and now I need to try to catch up with the Olympics so I can be part of the conversation. Monday's headlines include the weekend box office report, a look at all the criticism NBC's getting for its coverage of the Games and an appreciation of now former Fox Sports chief David Hill.

Daily Dose: The recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission to force Comcast to distribute the Tennis Channel in as many homes as it carries its own sports networks is dividing the industry. The National Cable & Telecommunications Assn., the industry's chief lobbying arm in Washington, D.C., blasted the FCC. Then the Tennis Channel ripped the NCTA. Much is being made of Tennis Channel chief Ken Solomon's close ties to the Obama administration, but top Comcast executive David Cohen also has helped raise money for the president. Maybe the top execs should play tennis and winner takes all.

Can't please everyone. NBC's Olympics coverage is scoring big ratings for the network and its cable channels that are also carrying the Games from London. But it seems people are spending as much time complaining about what the network is doing both on television and with its live streams as they are watching the competition. NBC's chief digital officer Vivian Schiller probably didn't help matters when she retweeted a CNN producer's joke that “the medal for most Olympic whining goes to everyone complaining about what happens every 4 yrs., tape delay.” Also incessant talking and cutting away from events audiences turned in to see. The New York Times and Reuters on the heat NBC's coverage is taking.

News hole. CNN's longtime chief Jim Walton announced he would leave the cable news empire at the end of the year when his contract is up. Walton helped turn CNN into global powerhouse but has been unable to fix its U.S. channel, which has struggled in the ratings for many years. No successor was named for Walton. Analysis of CNN's woes from the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.

He leaves a big hill to climb. Last week, it was announced that longtime Fox Sports chief David Hill was stepping aside for a broader advisory role. Hill, a colorful character never at a loss for words or enthusiasm, also was a pioneering producer, which kind of got lost in the news that he would no longer be the top man at Fox Sports. Deadspin looks at Hill's legacy.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: The adult cast of "Modern Family" is a happier family with its new contracts. We're trying to figure out why we care about Kristen Stewart cheating.

Follow me on Twitter. I promise not to gripe about Olympics coverage.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Hamlet" auditons Sunday night at Onyx

    • Auditions for HAMLET, 

      Directed by Troy Heard
      starting at 10 PM


    Director Troy Heard brings a stunning update of Shakespeare's masterpiece to the Onyx stage.

    "Who's there?" These words begin Western theatre's most famous revenge thriller. A young man returns home from college to attend his father's funeral and finds his mother married to his uncle. The father's ghost appears, accusing his brother of his untimely end and spurring the young man to avenge his death. Bloodshed follows.

    "This isn't a high-concept revision of HAMLET," says director Troy Heard, "but a lo-fi slicing to the bone. There's so much flesh on the play that makes this a treasure trove of philosophy…but if you dig deep beneath the skin you find a really gripping horror story. That's the one I'm interested in telling. We've stripped the characters and story to the bare essentials: a cast of seven, a bare stage, contemporary clothing, and ninety minutes of unrelenting intensity. And, yes, the language is still intact."

    Click on "read more" below for breakdown, details and a map to the auditions.

'Dark Knight Rises' is No. 1 again, while two new films struggle

"The Dark Knight Rises" grossed $64 million this weekend
Christian Bale stars as Batman in "The Dark Knight Rises." (Warner Bros.)

"The Dark Knight Rises" may have soared to the top of the box office for the second consecutive weekend, but the Batman film is still falling behind its predecessor.

The final installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy saw its ticket sales tumble 60% to $64.1 million during its second weekend in theaters, according to an estimate from distributor Warner Bros. The film has now collected $289.1 million in the U.S. and Canada -- roughly $25 million less than "The Dark Knight" made during the same time period in 2008 despite lower ticket prices.

Given that the film notched an excellent A grade with opening weekend moviegoers and earned strong critical reviews, the difference in receipts could be due largely in part to the Aurora, Colo., massacre. A week after a gunman opened fire in a post-midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20, Hollywood research firm NRG reported that 20% of moviegoers were reluctant to head to theaters. The start of the Olympics this weekend also may have affected ticket sales.

Over the weekend, "The Dark Knight Rises" grossed $122.1 million overseas in 57 foreign markets, raising its international total to $248.2 million. The film performed best this weekend in France, where it debuted with $11.3 million, but continued to do solid business during its second weekend in the United Kingdom as well. So far, the Batman film has collected $47 million in the U.K.

For the second weekend in a row, Warner Bros. distribution executives declined to discuss the Batman film's box office performance.

Indeed, two other movies struggled upon their debuts at the box office this weekend as well. "The Watch," a R-rated comedy starring well-known comedians such as Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, started off with a disappointing $13 million. And though "Step Up Revolution," the fourth entry in the dance franchise, was made for less money, its $11.8 million launch was unimpressive. As a result of the lackluster results, ticket sales were down 25% compared with the same three-day period in 2011.

While "The Dark Knight Rises" may be lagging a bit behind the 2008 Batman film at the domestic box office, it has a shot as surpassing the second installment overseas. This weekend, the new movie starring Christian Bale as the iconic superhero played in 57 foreign countries and by Friday had grossed a total of $176.1 million internationally. "The Dark Knight" sold $468.6 million worth of tickets abroad -- roughly 47% of its worldwide gross.
"The Watch" has been loathed by critics, notching only a 14% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Moviegoers who saw the film this weekend also disliked it, giving it an average grade of C+, according to market research firm CinemaScore.

Financed for about $68 million by 20th Century Fox, "The Watch" centers around four men who launch a local neighborhood watch and then end up battling aliens. The film was originally called "Neighborhood Watch," but Fox changed the title in May because it was fearful the movie would be wrongly tied to the Feb. 26 death of Trayvon Martin, who was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer.
The 3-D "Step Up Revolution" had the lowest debut of any film in the franchise -- trailing behind the $15.8 million the third film took in its opening weekend in 2010. Those who did see the fourth entry this weekend -- 71% of whom were under the age of 24 -- assigned it a B+ grade.

"Step Up Revolution" had a budget of about $33 million and is the first movie in the franchise to be financed entirely by Summit Entertainment, which was acquired by Lionsgate this past winter. Previously, the "Step Up" films were co-financed by Summit and Walt Disney Studios.

The "Step Up" series, which started in 2006 and launched Channing Tatum's career, now stars a cast of unknown actors. Since the original hit theaters six years ago, however, the "Step Up" films have become increasingly popular abroad; two years ago,"Step Up 3-D" grossed $116.9 million overseas, accounting for roughly 73% of its worldwide gross.

Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, with international results when available, according to studio estimates and Rentrak:

1. "The Dark Knight Rises" (Warner Bros./Legendary): $64.1 million on its second weekend, down 60%. Domestic total: $289.1 million. $122.1 million overseas in 57 foreign markets. International total: $248.2 million.

2. "Ice Age: Continental Drift" (Fox): $13.3 million on its third weekend, down 35%. Domestic total: $114.8 million. $49.4 million overseas in 69 foreign markets. International total: $514.1 million.

3. "The Watch" (Fox): Opened with $13 million.

4. "Step Up Revolution" (Summit/Lionsgate): Opened with $11.8 million.

5. "Ted" (Universal/Relativity/MRC): $7.4 million on its fifth weekend, down 27%. Domestic total: $193.6 million. $2.7 million overseas in 10 foreign markets. International total: $44.1 million.

6. "The Amazing Spider-Man" (Sony): $6.8 million on its fourth weekend, down 38%. Domestic total: $242.1 million. $12.2 million overseas in 86 foreign markets. International total: $412.7 million.

7. "Brave" (Disney): $4.2 million on its sixth weekend, down 30%. Domestic total: $217.3 million. $9.6 million overseas in 24 foreign markets. International total: $92 million.

8. "Magic Mike" (Warner Bros.): $2.6 million on its fifth weekend, down 40%. Domestic total: $107.6 million.

9. "Savages" (Universal/Relativity): $1.8 million on its fourth weekend, down 48%. Domestic total: $43.9 million. $200,000 overseas in three foreign markets. International total: $2.8 million.

10. "Moonrise Kingdom"(Focus Features): $1.4 million on its tenth weekend, down 24%. Domestic total: $38.4 million.

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