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BSkyB To Acquire Fox’s Sky Italia & Deutschland Stakes, Create European Giant

BSkyB To Acquire Fox’s Sky Italia & Deutschland Stakes, Create European GiantAs expected, BSkyB said this morning that it will create “a world-class multinational pay TV business” with the acquisition of 100% of Sky Italia and 57.4% of Sky Deutschland. The UK’s leading pay-TV player has acquired the stakes from Rupert Murdoch‘s 21st Century Fox in a deal worth about £4.9B ($8.3B) in cash, plus assets. (Fox owns and will retain a 39% stake in BSkyB.) The combined group will have 20M subscribers in Europe across three of the four biggest markets. BSkyB will pay £2.07B for Sky Italia and £2.9B for Deutschland. It will also transfer its 21% ownership of National Geographic Channel to Fox at a value of £382M ($649M). That will raise Fox’s stake in the channel to 73%. BSkyB says it will also launch a voluntary cash offer to the remaining shareholders of Sky Deutschland at 6.75 euros ($9) per share. Subject to the number of shareholders who accept the offer, the overall cash value of the deals announced today could reach £7B ($11.9B). The moves come as BSkyB reported adjusted revenue for the year was up 7% to £7.6B ($2.9B).

The moves to create Sky Europe also come as Fox pursues a mega-acquisition of Time Warner. While speculation has been that the deal to combine the Skys was designed to raise funds for another eventual run at TW, it’s also considered that this deal has a distinct raison d’être and exists on its own … Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Venice Film Festival To Expand Online Screenings; StudioCanal Sets Thriller ‘’71’ For October In UK; More

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 10:00pm PDT

Global Showbiz Briefs: Venice Film Festival To Expand Online Screenings; StudioCanal Sets Thriller ‘’71’ For October In UK; MoreThe Venice Film Festival, which announced its lineup this morning, is expanding its online screening offering this year. Sala Web, the initiative that acts as a parallel online showcase for films officially selected in the Horizons and Biennale College sidebars, this year will be available 24 hours a day over five days from anywhere in the world. The virtual screening room provides a limited viewing window during the festival with a capped allotment of tickets to be sold through a dedicated online box office. Films selected make their online world premieres in the Sala Web simultaneously with their official presentations on the Lido. Tickets priced at 4 each go on sale in mid-August at www.labiennale.org. The fest runs August 27-September 6.

Jack O'Connell in '71StudioCanal has set an October 10 UK release date for ’71, the Yann Demange-directed thriller that played to great reception in Berlin this year. Rising star Jack O’Connell plays a young British soldier accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the streets of Belfast. Unable to tell friend from foe, and increasingly wary of his own comrades, he must survive the night alone and find his way to safety through a disorientating, alien and deadly landscape. Sean Harris, Killian Scott, Martin McCann and Charlie Murphy also star. Gregory Burke wrote the screenplay. Roadside Attractions has U.S. distribution.

If ’71 is looking to bring in the male-skewing crowd, then … Read More »

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Comic-Con UPDATE: Bryan Fuller Reveals ‘Hannibal’ Season 3 Details, Eddie Izzard Among Returning Characters & Emmy Disappointment

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 5:49pm PDT

Comic-Con UPDATE: Bryan Fuller Reveals ‘Hannibal’ Season 3 Details, Eddie Izzard Among Returning Characters & Emmy DisappointmentUPDATE: 5:49 PM: There were a few surprises at the Hannibal panel today after all. Both leads Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy appeared to Ballroom 20 via short individual video greetings with the former in Denmark and the latter from Australia.

hugh dancy hannibal video picAlso, it turns out Season 3 will pick up a year after the brutal events of the Season 2 finale. Episode 4 of Season 3 will fill in what happened between the two cycles, Bryan Fuller disclosed. He also revealed after a half-joking question by moderator Jonathan Ross that Eddie Izzard in fact will return to the series. “We’re writing for Eddie Izzard to return in a flashback scene,” said Fuller to applause from the packed ballroom about the reappearance of the losing limbs Dr. Abel Gideon. Izzard appeared in 5 episodes in Season 2. BTW – Raul Esparza did show up, and he’s coming back to the show.

PREVIOUS, 4:05 PM: Bryan Fuller doesn’t spare Hannibal viewers the raw deal on the show and he has no intention of doing otherwise today at Comic-Con. “We’re pretty generous with the spoilers,” the showrunner refreshingly told me just before this afternoon’s panel. “We will be talking fairly openly about events in Season 3 and hopefully getting people excited.” If last year’s SDCC appearance by the NBC series is any indication, the fans in Ballroom 20 will be very exited indeed. Despite a sometime Read More »

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Comic-Con: UPDATE: ‘Halo: Nightfall’ Trailer From Ridley Scott (Video)

Comic-Con: UPDATE: ‘Halo: Nightfall’ Trailer From Ridley Scott (Video)UPDATE: Microsoft just released this first-look trailer of Halo: Nightfall, the live-action series coming in November from Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions and Microsoft’s 343 Industries. The story is set between the events in the fourth and fifth Halo video games (Halo 5: Guardians is coming next year).

The live-action five-part series follows a new character,  Jameson Locke (played by Mike Colter (The Good Wife)), described as “a legendary manhunter and agent with the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), Earth’s most powerful and secretive military branch.” After a biological attack, Locke and his unit unravel a plot and track down an ancient artifact. The series will be part of The Master Chief Collection, the remastered set of the first four Halo games that Microsoft announced during E3 last month and set to debut in November.

Read More »

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Hot (Tub) Trailer: ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2′ Redband Unveiled At Comic-Con

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 5:00pm PDT

Hot (Tub) Trailer: ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2′ Redband Unveiled At Comic-ConFour years ago, a modern dude quartet took a booze-soaked soak in a hot tub and were hurled back to the Reagan era. Now Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke are suited up for the sequel (though John Cusack isn’t) and are joined for Round 2 by Adam Scott and Gillian Jacobs. This time when our heroes fire up their watery wayback machine, they accidentally are sent to the future. And of course they must alter said future so they can preserve the past — which is really the present. Got that? Anyway, Steve Pink returns to direct from a script by Josh Heald, who co-wrote the 2010 original. Paramount will unwrap Hot Tub Time Machine 2 on Christmas Day. Until then, here’s the decidedly NSFW redband trailer:

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Comic-Con: ‘Penny Dreadful’ Showrunner John Logan Teases Season 2 & New “Human” Villain

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:47pm PDT

Comic-Con: ‘Penny Dreadful’ Showrunner John Logan Teases Season 2 & New “Human” VillainSan Diego is about to get a Gothic horror visit from Victorian England today and John Logan is about to let Penny Dreadful get truly uninhibited. “A lot of Season 1, for me, was actually putting the playing pieces on the board,” says the Oscar nominated scribe of the Showtime series of 19th century iconic supernatural misfits he created. “Now I feel we’ve had 8 hours to do that, to establish the landscape and so now I really get to play,” the first time showrunner adds with a laugh. “I can create more and more complex patterns of the relationships of the characters and of the supernatural element as well,” the Gladiator and Skyfall writer says. “In terms of the second season, I’ve written all but two of the episodes. So, the last two are yet to be written. So I’m well ahead of the game there, and the actors will all be getting it the end of this month.

Penny Dreadful Comic-ConIn just over a month since Dreadful’s rather spectacularly blood soaked Season 1 finale, Logan will be taking the stage in Ballroom 20 of the San Diego Convention Center this evening with cast members Harry Treadaway, Reeve Carney and Josh Hartnett. If he returns next year, he may be bringing a few more people with him and not just absent leads Timothy Dalton and Eva Green. “I’m teasing out from the characters I really love … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Fort Bliss’

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:46pm PDT

Hot Trailer: ‘Fort Bliss’Michelle Monaghan stars as a decorated Army medic who returns from a 15-month tour of duty in Afghanistan and tries desperately to reconnect with her 5-year-old son, who initially wants nothing to do with her. As they try to restore a bond, she is faced with redeployment — and the likelihood of losing everything she worked to rebuild. Ron Livingston, Pablo Schreiber, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Dash Mihok and young newcomer Oakes Fegley co-star in Fort Bliss, from writer-director-producer Claudia Myers. Phase 4 Films opens the drama September 19 in theaters and VOD. Here’s the new trailer:

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Mayim Bialik To Host TV Land’s ‘Candid Camera’ Reboot

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:45pm PDT

Mayim Bialik To Host TV Land’s ‘Candid Camera’ RebootTV Land has tapped Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik to host its new version of the hidden camera reality series Candid Camera alongside Peter Funt, the son of the show’s creator and first host, Allen Funt. The series will premiere on Monday, August 11 at 8 PM with original episodes airing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of that week. It will then air in its regular time slot on Tuesdays at 8 PM beginning August 19. The series is taping now across the country. Ben Silverman’s Electus and Peter Funt’s Candid Camera, Inc. are co-producing, with Funt and Silverman serving as exec producers.

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Google Buys Gamer Video Site Twitch.TV For $1 Billion: Report

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:34pm PDT

Google Buys Gamer Video Site Twitch.TV For $1 Billion: ReportThe Google deal for Twitch.TV, rumbled around in Silicon Valley for months, now finally is cinched at around $1 billion — but not officially announced, according to the tech investor site VentureBeat. If true, the deal would bring into the Google fold one of the biggest sources of online video traffic that isn’t already Google’s YouTube division, which is spearheading the deal. The acquisition also would reinforce how hot the videogame sector has become for online entertainment, as millions of fans watch others play, and sometimes grab their own bit of notoriety by streaming their performances on Internet-connected PCs, the Sony PS4 or the Microsoft Xbox One.

Read More »

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Comic-Con: Christopher Nolan ‘Interstellar’ Trailer Wows At Paramount Presentation

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:30pm PDT

Comic-Con: Christopher Nolan ‘Interstellar’ Trailer Wows At Paramount PresentationParamount scored the first bona fide surprise of Comic-Con when Christopher Nolan strode onstage in Hall H. After some evasive small talk, Nolan showed the very first trailer for Intersteller. Much like Nolan’s Inception, which was too complicated to describe in a sound bite, the trailer basically showed enough footage to convince you that you are going to want to see this when it opens in November. With Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway leading his cast, it also showed that Nolan might very well have a major entry in the Academy race on his hands.

christopher-nolan-comic-conBasically, the trailer established that the world needs saving and that it’s down to McConaughey. A widowed and haggard father of two, he is loathe to leave behind his children but finds himself on what seems to be a space mission, though you get the clear impression time travel is part of this mix. Nolan cited Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 as a major sci-fi influence in his life, and you can see that he has tried to make something as ambitious, in his own way. It was Nolan’s first visit to Hall H, because all of his Comic-Con bait films were in various states of production or post production during previous geek fests. He was introduced by Matthew McConaughey, all cool and lean from his turns in Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective. Both of them soaked up the geek love, while playing hard to get. Asked if there was Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Magic In The Moonlight’, ‘The Fluffy Movie’, ‘A Most Wanted Man’, ‘The Kill Team’, ‘Happy Christmas’

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:27pm PDT

Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Magic In The Moonlight’, ‘The Fluffy Movie’, ‘A Most Wanted Man’, ‘The Kill Team’, ‘Happy Christmas’Looming in the wake of Boyhood‘s hot box office roll out earlier this month, some heavy-hitters will enter the Specialty fray this weekend which should shape up to be rather interesting come Sunday box office time. Woody Allen blitzed theaters last July with a smashing roll out of Blue Jasmine and he’s back, courtesy once again of Sony Classics with his latest Magic In The Moonlight. The distributor, however, is taking a somewhat different release track this time around. Lionsgate/Roadside is opening Philip Seymour Hoffman starrer A Most Wanted Man after delaying the title’s bow in the wake of its star’s death. The film will have a sizable theater count as it heads out to the box office Friday. But the weekend’s biggest Specialty opener in terms of location tally is Open Road’s The Fluffy Movie, which will hit several hundred locations nationwide though the bulk of its marketing has been targeted to a particular audience. On the other end of the scale is Oscilloscope’s Tribeca-winner The Kill Team which will bow at a single exclusive showing in NYC, while Magnolia’s Happy Christmas will have its theatrical launch in several locations after launching via ultra-VOD in late June.

Magic In The MoonlightMagic in the moonlight 3
Director-writer: Woody Allen
Cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Antonia Clarke, Natasha Andrews, Valérie Beaulieu, Jackie Weaver, Peter Wollasch
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

SPC has had a winning streak with Woody Allen summer releases and it’s sticking to that formula for the filmmaker’s latest. Last year’s Oscar winner Blue Jasmine launched as a Specialty behemoth July 26 in 6 theaters, with a dazzling $102K average, eventually grossing over $33.4 million domestically. To Rome With Love was a comparatively more “modest” release, with a $72,272 PTA in five theaters in June 2012 ($16.69M cume), while 2011′s Midnight In Paris rocketed a $99,834 launch weekend PTA with six runs — eventually grossing over $56.8 million. “His films really seem to work in summer time,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker whose company has released Allen’s most recent five movies (and others in the past). The only recent exception was 2010′s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger which opened in September of that year ($3.24M gross).” Read More »

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Comic-Con: Yahoo Won’t Binge-Release ‘Community’

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:07pm PDT

Comic-Con: Yahoo Won’t Binge-Release ‘Community’One of the lingering questions when Yahoo acquired rights to revive NBC’s Community was how the 13-episode season would roll out. Today we know: Episodes will be made available weekly, it was announced during its Comic-Con panel. That plan is in contrast to rival Netflix’s binge model, in which entire seasons of a series are made available at once. Which way would you prefer it?

As for when to expect Season 6, the only hint so far is that it won’t come before Christmas 2014.

Creator Dan Harmon quipped during the panel that everyone will be watching the show the way they always did — “except now legally.” Joel McHale joined Harmon on the panel that included producer Chris McKenna, Jim Rash, Gillian Jacobs and writer Dino Stamatopoulos.

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Comic-Con: MTV’s ‘Teen Wolf’ Renewed For 20-Episode Fifth Season

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 3:50pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Comic-Con: MTV’s ‘Teen Wolf’ Renewed For 20-Episode Fifth SeasonMTV made the long-awaited announcement to a room full of screaming fans at San Diego Comic-Con. The 20-episode fifth season will be split in two parts, similar to the way the supernatural high-school series aired in Season 3, which also was super-sized (24 episodes). Seasons 1, 2 and 4 each have consisted of 12 episodes running continuously. (Teen Wolf‘s fourth season renewal also was announced at a fan convention, the New York Comic-Con.)

teen-wolfBased on the Michael J. Fox-starring MGM movie, Teen Wolf was developed by Jeff Davis who also serves as executive producer with Russell Mulcahy, Marty Adelstein, René Echevarria, Tony DiSanto, Liz Gateley and Ian Stokes. The show has become a hit online, where fan tweets about it routinely put it in the Weekly Top 10 of  Nielsen’s Twitter TV ratings, one of only two or three scripted shows to grab one of those spots regularly.

Tyler Posey stars as Scott McCall, the title teen werewolf character. Posey, along with co-stars Dylan O’Brien, Tyler Hoechlin, Holland Roden, Shelley Hennig and Dylan Sprayberry, as well as Davis, were on hand for a panel Q&A in the show’s fifth consecutive showing at Comic-Con.

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Comic-Con: ‘Showrunners’ Docu Getting Day-And-Date Release In October

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 3:40pm PDT

Comic-Con: ‘Showrunners’ Docu Getting Day-And-Date Release In OctoberEXCLUSIVE: The feature documentary about TV creators will arrive in theaters and homes just as the fall season gets into full swing. Submarine Deluxe will send Showrunners into cinemas the same day Gravitas Ventures makes it available on VOD. JJ Abrams, Matthew Carnahan, Jane Espenson, Hart Hanson, Ronald D. Moore, Kurt Sutter, and Joss Whedon are among the powerhouse television creators who appear in Showrunners, the first feature-length film to explore the rising power of the showrunner and the behind-the-scenes process that goes into making a hit show. Appropriately enough, pic includes footage shot at previous Comic-Cons. Showrunners also has an exclusive sneak peek screening set for Friday at Comic-Con, followed by a Q&A with director Des Doyle and co-producer Ryan Patrick McGuffey as well as Mike Royce (Enlisted, Men Of A Certain Age, Everybody Loves Raymond) and Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory).

The Black Sheep / Romark / Junto Production was financed by the Irish Film Board and via Kickstarter. Producers are John Wallace and Rock Shaink, with co-producer Ryan Patrick McGuffey. Executive producers are Jason Rose, Jimmy Nguyen, and Christof Bove. The acquisition deal was negotiated by Dan Braun of Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers and by Nolan and Brendan Gallagher on behalf of Gravitas.

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Amazon Stock Plummets After Q2 Earnings Miss

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 3:34pm PDT

Amazon Stock Plummets After Q2 Earnings MissShares are down 10.2% in post market trading after the e-retailer reported a far bigger Q2 loss than investors expected. Amazon lost $126M, up from a $7M loss in the period last year, on revenues of $19.3B, +23.2%. The top line was right on target with analysts’ consensus forecast. But the loss at 27 cents a share far exceeded the 15 cent loss the Street anticipated. What’s more, Amazon warns that it could lose as much as $810M on an operating basis in Q3, up from last year’s $25M loss.

The shortfall comes from Amazon’s big investments in new products and services, including video. The company says it plans to spend $100M on original video content in the current quarter, far more than last year or in Q2. Funds also are going to build fulfillment centers, a subscription book service, the Kindle Fire TV streaming box, and its Fire smartphone.

“We continue working hard on making the Amazon customer experience better and better,” CEO Jeff Bezos says in the earnings release.

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James Patterson Inks First-Look Deal With CBS TV Studios

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 3:31pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

James Patterson Inks First-Look Deal With CBS TV StudiosOn the heels of CBS’ straight-to-series order for Zoo, a drama based on James Patterson’s novel, the studio behind the show, CBS Television Studios, has signed a multi-year, first-look deal with James Patterson Entertainment. Under the pact, the studio will tap into the bestselling author’s extensive library for series source material. CBS set Zoo as its next event drama series and its summer 2015 tentpole. The adaptation was written by Jeff Pinkner, Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg, whose company Midnight Radio also recently inked a first-look deal with CBS Studios. The four are executive producing with Patterson and Bill Robinson of JPE as well as Cathy Konrad and James Mangold of Treeline Films and Leopoldo Gout and Steve Bowen of JPE. Zoo was brought to CBS Studios by producer Konrad, whose company also is under a deal there. As part of the JPE pact,  Treeline Films will have a first-look deal at Patterson’s library to develop series projects for the studio. Patterson is reped by CAA and attorney Peter Grossman. Treeline is repped by WME and attorney Jason Sloane.

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‘Crossbones’ Final Episodes To Air On Saturday

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 3:22pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

‘Crossbones’ Final Episodes To Air On SaturdayNBC has shipped pirate drama Crossbones to Saturday for its last two airings, with this Friday’s episode the last to air in the series’ regular Friday 10 PM slot. The John Malkovich starrer will then be replaced by an NBC News special and Dateline for the following two weeks. Crossbones, which had been in the works for a long time, having been announced at NBC’s 2012 May upfront, started slow and has since lost half of its premiere rating, most recently drawing a 0.5 in 18-49 and 2.7 million viewers last Friday. NBC often sends underperforming dramas to end their runs on the low-trafficked Saturday night, something it previously did with Smash and Crisis.

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Comic-Con: Ben Affleck As Batman Shows Up … Sort Of

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 2:50pm PDT

Comic-Con: Ben Affleck As Batman Shows Up … Sort OfDC Entertainment is celebrating Batman’s 75th anniversary at its Comic-Con booth with a wall montage that happens to reveal the second image (here’s the first) of Ben Affleck as Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Check out the stubble:

Batman Affleck 2

Here’s DC Comics’ tweet that shows more of the full wall: Read More »

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Wayne Brady Makes Deal For ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ At Pasadena Playhouse

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 2:48pm PDT

Wayne Brady Makes Deal For ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ At Pasadena Playhouse

Let’s Make A Deal host Wayne Brady will star with Merle Dandridge (Spamalot) in the Pasadena Playhouse season opener, a revival of Cole Porter’s 1951 Shakespeare-inspired romp, Kiss Me, Kate. The tuner (“Too Darn Hot,” “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” “Another Op’nin’, Another Show”) will run from September 16 through October 12, with the press opening on September 21.

The Pasadena Playhouse production, staged by longtime artistic director Sheldon Epps, “will view the work through a new lens to showcase the trailblazing African-American actors and entertainers of the early 20th century,” according to a statement from the group.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 5.40.11 PMFor this quintessential backstage musical revolving around a production of the Bard of Avon’s The Taming Of The Shrew, Brady will play the dual roles of actor Fred/character Petruchio opposite the actress Lily/character Kate of Dandridge, best known for her Broadway turn as the Lady of the Lake in the Mike Nichols production of Spamalot.

Brady first came to notice on  the improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway? for which he won an Emmy and two nominations. The Wayne Brady Show brought two more Emmys, for Outstanding Talk Show Host. Other TV credits include The Dave Chappelle Show and 30 Rock. Brady was Grammy nominated for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “A Change Is Gonna Come” from his debut musical album, A Long Time Coming.

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