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James Cameron overcomes ‘Avatar’ legal challenge


Director James Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment Inc. have prevailed in a legal case brought against them by a man who alleged that his ideas were stolen for use in the blockbuster “Avatar.”

In December 2011, Eric Ryder filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that Cameron’s “Avatar” stole plot elements, settings and other details from a story called “K.R.Z. 2068” that Ryder gave to Lightstorm executives.

“Avatar,” released in December 2009, is the top-grossing movie of all time, according to Box Office Mojo.

Judge Susan Bryant-Deason granted Cameron’s motion for summary judgment Wednesday, ruling that the science-fiction film was independently created by the director.

Competition show’s prize: space ride

NBC says it will air a competition show with an out-of-this-world prize: a ride into space.

The network said Thursday that TV producer Mark Burnett is teaming with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic on “Space Race,” a game where the winner will get a ride on Virgin’s aircraft atop the Earth’s atmosphere.

Virgin has been testing its rocket-powered space vehicle with the goal of taking paid customers into space. Virgin said the plan is for Branson and his children to be the first civilians to take a ride sometime next year.

She quit job in video, then gets offer

A University of Missouri graduate whose dance video announced she was quitting her job was offered another employment opportunity during a taped appearance on a daytime TV talk show.

On her talk show Thursday, Queen Latifah offered a digital content producer position to Marina Shifrin, a suburban Chicago native who worked for the Taiwanese company Next Media Animation before quitting in a dance video that went viral after being posted to YouTube.

Latifah said the two would do a quick job interview backstage, but the show ended without disclosing whether Shifrin had accepted the position.

In her video – which she recorded on company time before walking out – Shifrin danced to Kanye West’s “Gone” in a 1 minute, 45 second production. She explained in captions on the video that she had spent two years sacrificing “my relationships, time and energy for this job.”

Next Media Animation responded this week with a video of its own using the same song.

Titled “An Interpretative Dance From NextMedia set to Kanye West’s Gone,” employees are shown dancing. Text along the bottom says, “We work for an awesome company that hires based on dance skills.” The video also wishes Shifrin well and says that the company is hiring.

The birthday bunch

Author Anne Rice is 72. Actor Clifton Davis is 68. Actress Susan Sarandon is 67. Actor Armand Assante is 64. Music producer Russell Simmons is 56. Actor Liev Schreiber is 46. Actress Dakota Johnson is 24.


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