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Force awakens around the globe next week

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On 7 September, visitors to Sandton City and Canal Walk will be able take a trip through the Star Wars universe that will showcase art gallery installations of some of the most iconic moments from the six Star Wars films.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens products are set to be unveiled in the world’s first-ever global live toy unboxing event over 18 hours in 15 cities and 12 countries, the event will see highlights from the range of epic merchandise revealed in a rolling New Year’s Eve style celebration featuring top digital stars from the Maker Studios network.

Star Wars toys have always played an important role in how our fans interact with the Saga,” says Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “They’ve inspired multiple generations to relive the experience of the movies and to create new adventures all their own. These spectacular Star Wars: The Force Awakens products will continue that tradition.”

Infographic for the countdown to Star Wars Force Friday epic global event.

Infographic for the countdown to Star Wars Force Friday epic global event.

Kicking off in Sydney, Australia on the morning of September 3, and continuing through Asia, Europe, Canada, and North & South America, selections from the new toy line will debut to global fanfare leading up to retailers around the globe opening their doors at midnight.

“Over the course of 18 hours, some of Maker Studios’ biggest stars will each be unboxing a new toy from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens product line in a different city around the world and sharing the experience live on YouTube.” said Leslie Ferraro, President, Disney Consumer Products. “We’ve seen tremendous excitement for these new products and can’t wait to see the global reaction from the Star Wars fan community.”

Star Wars fans and Internet personalities Andi Gutierrez (right) and Anthony Carboni (left) prepare to give the world a sneak peek at the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens products in the first-ever global live toy unboxing.

Star Wars fans and Internet personalities Andi Gutierrez (right) and Anthony Carboni (left) prepare to give the world a sneak peek at the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens products in the first-ever global live toy unboxing.

The Star Wars YouTube channel will host the live stream, which kicks off with the first unboxing in Sydney, Australia at 7:45 a.m. local time on Thursday, Sept. 3 (5:45 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Sept. 2), with the grand finale at Lucasfilm in San Francisco at 8 a.m. PDT  (11 a.m. EDT) on Thursday, September 3. Each of the 15 locations will reveal a new product inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

These “unboxing” videos will feature online personalities sharing the excitement of opening the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys. Unboxing videos overall have captivated millions of Internet viewers and continue to grow in popularity. Eighteen of the top 100 most viewed YouTube Channels worldwide are dedicated to toys and toy unboxings. These 18 channels accounted for 8.1 billion views in Q1 2015.

Evergreen imagery of fans and families with Star Wars products.

Evergreen imagery of fans and families with Star Wars products.

“We’re excited to be part of this first-of-its-kind initiative,” said Chris M. Williams, Chief Audience Officer, Maker Studios. “The unboxing world continues to expand rapidly as audiences around the world connect with digital creators who share their passions. This shared fandom helps attract billions of monthly views and consistently puts the genre at the top of the YouTube charts.”

The global unboxing event will incorporate traditional toy unboxers such as the popular EvanTubeHD, channels featuring families such as Bratayley, lifehack specialists such as ExpCaseros, gamers such as AlexBy11 and Star Wars fans from around the world, including Chris Pirillo, bringing with them a broad audience and appeal. The global line-up includes:

COUNTRY CITY MAKER TALENT LOCAL TIME 9/3 EDT
Australia Sydney Bratayley 07:45 17:45 9/2
Japan Tokyo Einshine 11:00 22:00 9/2
Korea Seoul Dollastic 12:00 23:00 9/2
Hong Kong Hong Kong Dante Basco 12:00 00:00 9/3
France Paris AyPierre 09:00 03:00 9/3
Spain Madrid AlexBy11 11:00 05:00 9/3
Germany Berlin Reyst 12:00 06:00 9/3
England London GamingBeaver 11:30 06:30 9/3
Brazil Rio de Janeiro Malena010102 08:30 07:30 9/3
USA New York EvanTubeHD 08:30 08:30 9/3
Canada Toronto Quill18 09:00 09:00 9/3
USA Chicago HobbyKidsTV 08:30 09:30 9/3
Mexico Mexico City ExpCaseros 09:30 10:30 9/3
USA San Francisco Chris Pirillo 08:00 11:00 9/3

The full schedule also is available at www.StarWars.com.

Several countries will join the live stream from YouTube Spaces (Berlin, Tokyo, London), with Star Wars commentators Anthony Carboni and Andi Gutierrez hosting the event from the YouTube Space, Los Angeles.

Fans can tune in to watch live unboxings at home or on mobile devices, and also enjoy the latest trailers on the upcoming movie, commentary from special guests, fun product videos and demos, and footage from recent Star Wars events.

The global celebration culminates at midnight local time, when many retailers around the world will open their doors to fans to purchase Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys, collectibles, books, apparel and more. Visit starwars.com for more details on participating locations. Additionally, select Disney Store locations around the world will take part.  More details are available at www.DisneyStore.com/ForceFriday.

Fans are encouraged to document their experiences around the event on social media using the hashtag #ForceFriday.

Check out the trailer here.

Arts and Entertainment

Timberlake to headline iTunes London festival

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Apple has announced that Justin Timberlake, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jack Johnson and Jessie J are among the headliners at this year’s iTunes Festival in London.

Running every night in September at the Roundhouse, the iTunes Festival features more than 60 acts performing at the legendary venue.

Performances can be watched live or on-demand by millions of iOS users around the world on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, as well as by music fans with iTunes on their computer or in stunning HD with Apple TV. Tickets are free for competition winners only.

Music fans from across the world, including the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, Japan and Mexico can win tickets to the iTunes Festival through competitions run by local media partners. In the UK, fans can win tickets using the iTunes Festival app and the iTunes Store as well as select media partners including Channel 4, Global Radio and Metro.

Sir Paul McCartney, Amy Winehouse and Crowded House played the first iTunes Festival at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in 2007. Since then over 370 artists have performed in front of more than 370,000 fans and tens of millions more online and on television. Other performers have included Adele, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Alicia Keys, Paul Simon, Jack White and Oasis. Performances are available for purchase and download on the iTunes Store.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

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Arts and Entertainment

New PS games ready for download

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Sony has announced its June line-up for PlayStation Plus subscribers, including Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and two new catalogue releases, Demon’s Souls and ICO and Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection.

Immerse yourself in the ancient world of Amalur and its 10,000 years of magical history in the action-packed tale Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, created by acclaimed New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore. Take destiny into your own hands as you combat your way through this vast and vibrant world as envisioned by the visionary creator of Spawn and much-admired artist, Todd McFarlane.

In Demon’s Souls you are summoned by a mysterious maiden as the last hope for humanity to take on a mighty demon horde that has taken over the kingdom of Boletaria, after a terrible curse was mistakenly unleashed by King Allant the XII whilst in search of greater powers. Prepare for a battle that has so far defeated all other realm champions as you set out on this epic journey to save the Kingdom from a fate worse than death.

ICO and Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection brings two exciting worlds to PS Plus ready for fans to explore. Adopt the role of ICO, a young boy who finds himself imprisoned by the people of his village inside the walls of a menacing castle before joining forces with a young girl named Yorda as she attempts to escape in ICO. Take on the role of a young man named Wander in Shadow of the Colossus as you journey through an enchanted land, battling 16 enormous beasts known as the Colossi in order to restore the life of a girl named Mono, whose soul is trapped in this haunting world.

For gamer’s on-the-go, grab your PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) and transport yourself to lush forests in the cartoon-quality action title Rayman Origins. Alternatively, weave through airborne mazes as you avoid falling coconuts in Coconut Dodge HD, both available on PS Plus from 5th June.

PS Plus provides subscribers with access to top-rated games on PS3 and PS Vita, extending the service to two platforms for a single price for a one-year subscription. Additionally, 90 day subscriptions are also available giving user’s access to the same fantastic titles and great PlayStation Store discounts.

PS Plus subscribers receive an array of exclusive features, including 2GB cloud storage (1G for PS3 & 1G for PS Vita) for game saves. Automatic updates and beta access, as well as a huge collection of exclusive dynamic themes and PlayStation Network avatars, makes PS Plus the place to be in 2013.

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