Blockbuster closing all its U.S. stores

The video-rental company, now owned by Dish Network, is closing its last 300 stores by early January.

By Nick Turner

Blockbuster, the video-rental company now owned by Dish Network, will close its remaining 300 U.S. stores, ending an era for a retail chain that was once a hallmark of shopping centers nationwide.

Blockbuster will shut the outlets by early January and discontinue its DVD-by-mail service by the middle of next month, Englewood, Colo.-based Dish said Wednesday in a statement. The company will keep the licensing rights to the Blockbuster brand and use it with Dish services. It also has a video-streaming product called Blockbuster On Demand.

While the chain had more than 20 stores in Jacksonville less than three years ago, it’s now down to two: one at Atlantic and Hodges boulevards and another on Old St. Augustine Road in Mandarin.

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‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Tracking for Massive $185M Box-Office Opening

By Todd Cunningham

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is tracking for an opening weekend that could go as high as $185 million when it debuts on Nov. 22, based on box-office marketing data released Thursday.

The higher pre-release tracking goes, the less reliable it becomes, and we’re still three weeks away from the opening. But the Jennifer Lawrence sci-fi sequel looks like it will be a box-office monster for distributor Lionsgate Entertainment.

If it does hit that mark, “Catching Fire” would be the year’s biggest opening, ahead of the $174 million May debut of “Iron Man 3.” And it’s within striking distance of the all-time record for a weekend debut of $207 million, established by “The Avengers” in May of 2012. The record for a November opening, the $142 million rung up by “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” in 2009, is well within reach.

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Warners Exec Talks Wonder Woman Speculation

By Garth Franklin

The rumors have been swirling for a while now that Diana of Themyscira (aka. Wonder Woman) might make an appearance in Zack Snyder’s upcoming “Batman vs. Superman” film at Warner Bros. Pictures.

Appearing at the Variety Entertainment and Tech Summit, Warners’ president of creative development and worldwide production Greg Silverman was asked about the possibility of this scenario actually taking place.

The surprise is that Silverman doesn’t offer an outright denial, wording his answer in a carefully non-committal way:

“We have been doing a lot of thinking for years about how to best use all those characters and we love them. Wonder Woman is an amazing character. I think it’s a great opportunity both for box office success, but also to have an amazingly powerful female superhero.

Dark Horizons >>


Nintendo Wii production has officially ended

John Callaham

Today marked the end of one of the most successful game consoles in Nintendo’s history. The Wii, which launched in the fall of 2006 with the funny name and the Wii Remote controller, is no longer being made by the company as it tries to made the transition to the more recent Wii U.

Nintendo’s Japanese website has confirmed it has shut down producing new Wii hardware. Nintendo has shipped just over 100 million units of the Wii since its launch, beating the shipment numbers of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. However, both of those consoles are still in production and in theory they could finally overtake the Wii if sales last long enough.

Nintendo had an early success with the Wii; stores all over the world could not keep up with the demand for the first several months after its launch. This was due in part to its low price (just $249 in the U.S) and the fact that the console, at least in some parts of the world, included Wii Sports as a freebie. The game, which also served as a tutorial on how to use the motion-based Wii Remote, became a critically acclaimed title on its own.


Samsung launches world’s first smartphone with curved screen

SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Wednesday launched the world’s first smartphone with a curved display, a variant of the Galaxy Note which moves the Asian giant a step closer to achieving wearable devices with flexible – even unbreakable – screens.

Curved displays are on the frontlines of Samsung’s innovation war with rivals such as Apple Inc and LG Electronics Inc, as the South Korean firm seeks to expand its lead in the slowing market for high-end smartphones.

“It’s a step forward for having unbreakable gadgets and flexible devices eventually. But for now, the new phone is more of a symbolic product,” said Hana Daetoo Securities analyst Nam Dae-jong, adding that Samsung did not yet have capacity for large-scale production of curved touch-screens for the new Galaxy Round.

The Galaxy Round is Samsung’s attempt to gauge consumer appetite for curved phones although its lack of other eye-catching features means it is unlikely to be a hit, he said.


Samsung to Launch Smartphone With Curved Screen

By Min-Jeong Lee

Samsung Electronics Co. is bringing curves to its smartphones.

At a launch event held in Seoul Wednesday for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, Samsung announced its plans to release a mobile phone with a curved screen in October.

While the company declined to provide details on the phone’s specs, one of its latest patent filings in South Korea suggest the screen could be curved slightly inwards.

Samsung has been busy applying curved designs to its vast array of television models, unveiling 55-inch and 65-inch ultra-high-definition TVs just this month.

Despite the official argument that curves on TVs provide a better viewing experience from all angles, these designs have generally been perceived more as a marketing tactic. Convincing phone users that a curved screen works better could be a tougher sell.

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Microsoft Phone: Nokia Purchase May Save Phone

By Lacy Langley

Steve Ballmer is resigning as CEO of Microsoft. He readily admits his company reacted too slowly to developments in the mobile and smartphone markets. He also stated that Microsoft phone sales were disappointing. He was addressing a group of Wall Street investors and analysts, and told them that, with hindsight, he realized that the company had placed too much emphasis on its operating system and missed out on mobile phone opportunities.

Microsoft phone

Ballmer said, “I regret that there was a period in the early 2000s when we were so focused on what we had to do around Windows that we weren’t able to redeploy talent to the new device called the phone… That is the thing I regret the most. It would have been better for Windows and our success in other foreign factors.”

However, Inquisitr reports that trying to view the situation from a “glass half full” stance, Mr. Ballmer said that for Microsoft mobile the only way to go is up and went on to say that the company has significant opportunities in the market now, due to its recent acquisition of the mobile phone unit of Nokia. He thinks this will allow Microsoft to speed up development on its Windows Phone platform.


Grand Theft Auto V Blows All Other GTAs Away

By Chris Kohler

Grand Theft Auto V skips all of the preliminaries and gets right to the insanity.

Want to hijack a plane in midair? Smoke some dubious weed and go on a very bad trip? Blow up a meth lab? Stop dreaming and start doing. Grand Theft Auto V, to be released Tuesday for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (reviewed), ramps up fast and doesn’t slow down for anyone.

If you don’t like those early hours of other Grand Theft Auto games, where you have to run dinky fetch quests for low-level gangsters for 10 hours before things get interesting, you won’t have a chance to feel that way about GTA V because it’ll have you robbing banks and jumping trains on a dirt bike faster than you can say “not eligible for parole.” I couldn’t really get into previous games in the series, but I can’t stop playing the fifth.

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Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Features Camera, Voice Function

By Joshua Sophy

Small Business owners and entrepreneurs on the go already look for mobile devices to make their lives easier.

But in addition to smartphones and tablets, there’s a new gadget in town: the smartwatch. The watch allows users to check updates “hands free” without even touching your phone. Samsung has introduced its version of the smartwatch, called the Galaxy Gear.
Galaxy Gear Introduced as Companion to Note 3

The Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch introduced last week at an unboxing event in Berlin is the next step for these devices.

The new smartwatch was unveiled along with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, a next generation of the company’s so-called “phablet” device (larger than a standard phone, with features like a tablet).


Apple Could Put the Final Nail in Nintendo’s Coffin

By Sam Mattera

The last six years have been terrible for Nintendo’s (NASDAQOTH: NTDOY ) shareholders. After peaking in 2007 with a market cap near $85 billion, Nintendo has steadily collapsed and has now lost over 76% of its value over the last five years.

Unfortunately, this could be the beginning of the end for the once iconic video game company. Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL ) coming entrance into the video game market, a fairly likely possibility, could signal the end of Nintendo.

Nintendo’s business model is becoming obsolete
Ironically enough, Apple and Nintendo have similar business philosophies. Both believe in marrying hardware with software, and maintaining strong control over their devices. Consumers buy Apple devices to get access to their operating systems (iOS, Mac OS); likewise, gamers buy Nintendo’s consoles to play Nintendo’s games.

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