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  1. Duplass Brothers Sign 4-Movie Deal With Netflix

    Premiere Of HBO's 'Room 104' - ArrivalsJay and Mark Duplass, the indie filmmakers behind The One I Love," "The Overnight," "Creep," have signed a big deal with Netflix for their next four movies.

    "Turns out when you make films for Netflix, millions of people all over the world watch them. This is not a terrible thing for an independent filmmaker," said the Duplass brothers in a statement.

    The first untitled project is a comedy starring Mark Duplass and Ray Romano and is described as a "bittersweet bromance about friendship, mortality, and made-up sports." It was written by the brothers and directed by Alex Lehmann. t.

    The company and the brothers have a long working history, going back to 2005 when Netflix acquired their first feature film "The Puffy Chair."

    In 2015, the brothers signed a streaming deal with Netflix for their films, including "Blue Jay," "Take Me," "Creep 2," and the upcoming "Duck Butter" and "Outside In." They also executive-produced the platform's documentary series "Wild Wild Country," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and will begin streaming March 16.

    They are not entirely exclusive to Netflix; HBO has ordered a second season of their anthology series "Room 104" and a third season of their animated comedy "Animals."

    The brothers join other Netflix film stars, including Adam Sandler, who extended his deal last year. On the television side, the streaming service has locked down mega deals with prolific producers Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy.

    "Its a ton of work for the free @Netflix membership, but totally worth it!" Jay Duplass joked on Twitter.

  2. 'Black Panther' Director Ryan Coogler Writes Grateful Letter to Fans

    Ryan Coogler, director of the hit movie 'Black Panther', in Washington, DC.The runaway success of "Black Panther" has yielded so many good things, far beyond a critically-acclaimed movie, a cast made up of black actors (and many of them women), and Michael B. Jordan doing push-ups.

    And for all the love the movie is getting, director Ryan Coogler is returning it manifold.

    After "Black Panther" had a record-breaking Monday at the box office to for an astonishing four-day domestic total of $242 million, Coogler released a heartfelt letter reflecting on the tremendous experience and thanking fans in particular.

    Read it below and try not to cry:

    I am struggling to find the words to express my gratitude at this moment, but I will try.

    Filmmaking is a team sport. And our team was made up [of] amazing people from all over the world who believed in this story. Deep down we all hoped that people would come to see a film about a fictional country on the continent of Africa, made up of a cast of people of African descent.

    Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong. It still humbles me to think that people care enough to spend their money and time watching our film. But to see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theaters – often moved me and my wife to tears.

    For the people who bought out theaters, who posted on social about how lit the film would be, bragged about our awesome cast, picked out outfits to wear, and who stood in line in theaters all over the world – all before seeing the film...

    To the press who wrote about the film for folks who hadn't yet seen it, and encouraged audiences to come out...

    And to the young ones, who came out with their parents, with their mentors, and with their friends...

    Thank you for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you.

    Sincerely,

    Ryan Coogler

    P.S. Wakanda Forever

  3. Jennifer Lawrence 'Extremely Offended' by 'Sexist,' 'Ridiculous' Dress Controversy

    But Jen. Tell us how you REALLY feel.

    Jennifer Lawrence was blessed with great beauty and talent -- and zero filter. We love her that way. She is currently promoting her new movie "Red Sparrow," and took the semi-rare step of posting an official response on her Facebook page to the "controversy" over her choice of dress for the London photo call.

    Apparently it was really cold outside, and several article writers and social media commenters couldn't help but notice that JLaw was wearing very little while her male costars were covered up for winter weather.

    Some outlets took it pretty far, writing headlines like "This 'Red Sparrow' Cast Photo Says So Much About Women In Hollywood" and "Why Jennifer Lawrence's Dress Shows Sexism in Hollywood Persists Despite #TimesUp."

    Well, JLaw was not having it. She made it clear that it was her CHOICE to wear that in the cold:

    Can't say we'd make the same cold-weather clothing choice, but it's all about making your own choices. Then again, no one is offering us Versace gowns to wear, and if they did, we couldn't make them look that good. Because when it comes to choices, we choose junk food over the gym. THATS MY CHOICE TOO!

    Jennifer Lawrence plays a sexy ballerina turned spy in "Red Sparrow," which opens in theaters March 2.

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  4. Natalie Portman Reacts to Those Millie Bobby Brown Comparisons

    Natalie Portman thinks it's too flattering to compare her to "adorable" and "magical" "Stranger Things" star Millie Bobby Brown.

    Brown, who just turned 14, has repeatedly been compared to a young Natalie Portman:

    I NEED ANSWERS pic.twitter.com/XVvT0UkUqv

    — j (@jansantaliz) January 16, 2018

    Hmm Natalie Portman or Millie Bobby Brown? Who is who? 😳😳 pic.twitter.com/JQrq1nWi0j

    — Mellow 94.7 (@mellow947) January 19, 2018

    Find the seven differences. Millie Bobby Brown vs. Natalie Portman. pic.twitter.com/utotXE8eAi

    — Peric Palot ✊ (@culecule999) February 15, 2018

    Natalie Portman confirma su parecido con Millie Bobby Brown (VIDEO) https://t.co/JC0H9xziVV

    — Scotty Rivenbark (@wamegisekizoku) February 9, 2018


    Portman doubled-down on the comparisons earlier this month on "Saturday Night Live," playing Eleven in a "Stranger Things" sketch.

    Portman recently talked to MTV News about the MBB comparisons, calling "Stranger Things" "an incredible show," and revealing she had a sweet Mini Me meet-up at the Golden Globes:

    "I met Millie at the Golden Globes a few months ago. She came up to me and was like, 'People keep telling me I look like the kid version of you!' I was so flattered because she's absolutely adorable and so talented. I'm like, 'That is very nice, but I think you're your own magical person.' But it was fun to give a nod to that on SNL. [...] I see that there's something there, but I also find her much more magical than I see myself. She's really wonderful."

    Natalie Portman talks what it was like meeting @milliebbrown and what's on her
    playlist. 💫 pic.twitter.com/mdEXvakE4u

    — MTV (@MTV) February 21, 2018

    MBB responded with her own love:

    Was a dream come true meeting Natalie! So beautiful and talented 🙌😍 https://t.co/1qd4kAtfbG

    — Millie Bobby Brown (@milliebbrown) February 21, 2018

    That's all very sweet, but let's just hope fans treat young Millie better than they treated young Natalie.

    Natalie Portman's trippy sci-fi classic movie "Annihilation" opens Friday, Feb. 23. "Stranger Things" Season 3 starts filming this spring for release ... 2019? ... on Netflix.

    [Via: People]

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  5. Oscar Race 2018: Too Close to Call

    One reason this year's Oscar race is so exciting? Everything we think we know about it may be wrong.

    For months, the race has seemed to come down to a slugfest between "The Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri." Indeed, it's still very likely that Guillermo del Toro will win a directing Oscar for the former, and that Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell will win Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor for the latter.

    But Best Picture? What if we're wrong, and neither of them has the shot we think it does?

    Sure, "Shape" has won a number of Best Picture prizes from critics' groups, and del Toro has won nearly every directing prize available. It also has more nominations than any other movie this year (13 of them), enough to suggest it has support throughout most branches of the Academy.

    Similarly, "Three Billboards" has won the top prize at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAGs), and just this past weekend, at the British Academy Awards (BAFTAs). The BAFTAs have a modest track record of predicting who will win on this side of the Atlantic, and many of their other winners this year -- del Toro, McDormand, Rockwell, Gary Oldman (Best Actor for "Darkest Hour"), and Allison Janney (Best Supporting Actress for "I, Tonya") -- are expected to repeat at our Academy Awards on March 4.

    But you have to take into account some other factors, including the guild awards and the Academy's tricky voting process. After all, the Academy voters will be thinking of these things when they fill out their ballots this week.

    Aside from the SAGs, the guild awards aren't televised, but they still matter because they represent the preferences of the many professions that make up the Academy. They also each anticipate a particular award handed out at the Oscars -- the so-called "craft" awards that fill up half your Oscar-pool ballot, like cinematography, production design, make-up, and editing.

    In recent weeks, several of the craft guilds have handed out their own prizes. The American Cinema Editors gave their top award to "Dunkirk." The Motion Picture Sound Editors honored "Blade Runner 2049." That film also won with the American Society of Cinematographers. (Cross your fingers, Roger Deakins fans; the cinematographer has gone 0 for 13 at the Oscars, but his "Blade Runner" work may mean that the 14th time's the charm.) The Visual Effects Society recognized "War for the Planet of the Apes." And the Art Directors Guild honored "Shape of Water." Still to come are awards from the costume designers, hair and make-up artists, and sound mixers, all of which will be handed out during the final Oscar balloting period that runs from February 20 through the 27th.

    The fact that these awards spread the wealth all over the place makes it that much harder to guess how they'll vote for Best Picture, especially since "Blade Runner" and "Apes" aren't in the running for the top prize. But you can't even rely on the major guild awards, like the SAGs or the Directors Guild (which honored del Toro) as reliable predictors anymore.

    There used to be a number of hard and fast rules about which precursor awards a movie needed to win or at least be nominated for in order to land a Best Picture Oscar. A movie that didn't get a SAG Best Ensemble nomination historically has had no chance to win Best Picture. If the Academy voters or the Golden Globes didn't nominate the movie for Best Director, it wouldn't win Best Picture either. And if Oscar voters didn't nominate a movie for writing or acting, or failed to nominate it for any of the craft awards, it had no shot at the top prize either.

    But this year, at least one of those rules will have to go out the window. There's not one among the nine Best Picture nominees whose victory won't break at least one of these rules. Six of the nine -- "Shape of Water," "Dunkirk," "Call Me by Your Name," "The Post," "Darkest Hour," and "Phantom Thread" -- didn't get that SAG nomination. The Globes didn't nominate the directors of "Get Out," "Lady Bird," or "Phantom Thread," while the Academy didn't nominate the directors of "Three Billboards," "Call Me by Your Name," or "The Post." Neither group nominated the director of "Darkest Hour." "Dunkirk" has no Oscar nominations for writing or acting. "Lady Bird," Get Out," and "The Post" have no craft nominations.

    Why are these stats important? Because the whole Academy votes on Best Picture, so a film needs the support of the editors, set designers, and hairstylists as well as the producers, directors, writers, and stars whose names appear during a movie's opening credits.

    Best Picture voting uses a complicated system of proportional representation, in which voters mark not just one choice but several ranked choices. It's a system, then, that tends to reject the most polarizing, love-it-or-hate-it movies. Rather, the process favors consensus movies -- maybe not the ones with the most intense fanbases, but the ones that just enough voters can get behind, the ones that may not get the most first-place votes on Academy members' ballots but at least are among the top vote-getters on the most members' lists.

    Seen that way, you have to wonder if the race is really between "Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards" after all. Del Toro's human-sea monster love story is lyrical and poignant, but is it just too weird a fantasy tale to top all the ballots it needs to win? The lack of a SAG nomination suggests that the support for the movie among actors, the Academy's biggest branch, is weak. Similarly, "Three Billboards" may feel like a timely expression of rage, but many voters may think its racial politics are problematic, it's ending is unsatisfying, and it's not as well directed as at least five other nominees.

    So that leaves an opening for one of the other nominees. Let's assume that "Call Me by Your Name" and "Phantom Thread" are too exotic, and that "Darkest Hour" doesn't have enough going for it besides Gary Oldman's performance. That leaves "The Post," "Lady Bird," "Get Out," and "Dunkirk." Might one of these have enough broad-based Academy support to overcome the fact that it hasn't been top-tier enough to earn the precursor awards and nominations that have made "Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards" into leading contenders?

    With "The Post" -- obviously, the Academy loves Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg (though not enough to nominate him for directing this time), and it loves intrepid-journalists-behind-real-life-exposé dramas, like recent Best Picture winner "Spotlight." But the movie's near shut-out in precursor awards, not to mention the fact that the Academy nominated it for only two prizes, suggests that the broad-based support for "The Post" is not there.

    "Lady Bird" has been a critics' favorite for months, and the Academy has a chance to make history by making Greta Gerwig only the second woman ever to win a Best Director Oscar. But its coming-of-age story may feel too low-stakes, and the lack of craft nominations suggests that rank-and-file Academy members didn't love the film.

    "Get Out" also has a chance to make history, with Jordan Peele potentially becoming the first African-American to earn a Best Director Oscar. His nominated screenplay certainly couldn't have been more topical or timely. Then again, "Get Out" has the same apparent lack of craft support that "Lady Bird" does, and its horror elements may turn off some Academy members.

    So, "Dunkirk"? It does tell an old-fashioned story of World War II heroism, but its technique is certainly modern. It's lack of acting and writing nominations may not matter, since individual performance and dialogue were sorta beside the point. The Academy's craft branches loved it, and Christopher Nolan may finally get his due as a director after numerous Oscar snubs.

    Most of all, "Dunkirk" doesn't step on anyone's toes, politically speaking. In an Academy seeking consensus, it may be the least alienating choice. It may not be the movie that Hollywood is most proud of this year, but it may also be the movie that Hollywood is least embarrassed by.

  6. These Disney Television Animation-Inspired Art Pieces Will Give You All the Nostalgic Feels

    Gallery Nucleus has teamed up with our friends from Cyclops Print Works and Oh My Disney for an art show inspired by Disney Television Animation, which began (as most of us can attest) with the incredible Disney Afternoon programming block. It continues to this day with some of the greatest, most challenging and adventurous animation anywhere. An Art Tribute to Disney Television Animation opens this Saturday and will run until March 11. Artwork will also be available online.

    And we are so thrilled to show you a bunch of the pieces that will be on display. Fair warning: the nostalgia center of your brain will get a dexterous workout, thanks to these brilliant pieces by some of the greatest pop culture artists and animators working today. They'll make you feel like a kid again.

    RESCUE RANGERS

    Artist : Hackto Oshiro - @hackto_

    Size : 20" x 30 "

    Technique : Serigraph | 10 colors

    Edition Size : Limited Edition of 200

    Features : Hand – Numbered | Varnish Finish | Authenticity Seal

    Paper: Coventry Rag Vellum 320 gsm

    Printed by : Cyclops Print Works

    --

    Officially licensed by Disney

    DUCKTALES

    Artist : Stephanie Ramirez (DTV Artist) @anirami84

    Size : 20" x 30 "

    Technique : Serigraph | 10 colors

    Edition Size : Limited Edition of 200

    Features : Hand – Numbered | Varnish Finish | Authenticity Seal

    Paper: Coventry Rag Vellum 320 gsm

    Printed by : Cyclops Print Works

    --

    Officially licensed by Disney

    DUCKTALES (MAGICA DE SPELL EDITION)Artist: Tom Whalen - @strongstuff

    Size : 12" x 36"

    Technique : Serigraph | 12 colors

    Edition Size : Limited Edition of 195

    Features : Hand – Numbered | Varnish Finish | Authenticity Seal

    Paper: Iced Silver 300 gsm

    Printed by : Cyclops Print Works

    --

    Officially licensed by Disney

    DUCKTALES (FLINTHEART GLOMGOLD EDITION)Artist: Tom Whalen - @strongstuff

    Size : 12" x 36"

    Technique : Serigraph | 12 colors

    Edition Size : Limited Edition of 195

    Features : Hand – Numbered | Varnish Finish | Authenticity Seal

    Paper: Iced Silver 300 gsm

    Printed by : Cyclops Print Works

    --

    Officially licensed by Disney

    DARKWING DUCKArtist : Nico Delort - @nicodelort

    Size : 24"x36"

    Technique : Serigraph | 3 colors

    Edition Size : Limited Edition of 300

    Features : Hand – Numbered | Authenticity Seal

    Paper: Iced Silver 300 gsm

    Printed by : Cyclops Print Works

    --

    Officially licensed by Disney

    And here are some of the originals that'll be available for those big spenders!

    RESCUE RANGERS (ORIGINAL)Artist: Nicole Gustafsson - @nimasprout

    Size : 9" x 12"

    Technique : Acryla gouache and ink on wood panel

    --

    Officially licensed by Disney

    RECESS "THE ASHLEYS" (ORIGINAL)Artist: Phillip Light - @philliplight

    Size : 11" x 14"

    Technique : Digital

    --

    Officially licensed by Disney

    ADVENTURES OF THE GUMMI BEARS (ORIGINAL)Artist: Brianne Drouhard - @potatofarmgirl

    Size : 8.5" x 11"

    Technique : Colored with copic ink and colored pencil

    --

    Officially licensed by Disney

    GRAVITY FALLS (ORIGINAL)Artist: James Silvani - @silvaniart

    Technique : digital

    --

    Officially licensed by Disney

    BIG HERO 6 "THE SERIES"Artist: Joey Chou - @choochoojoey

    Size : 16" x 20"

    Technique : digital

    --

    Officially licensed by Disney

    TANGLED "THE SERIES" (ORIGINAL)

    Artist: Pernille Ørum - @pernilleoerum

    Size : 6.9" x 9.8"

    Technique : Gouache

    --

    Officially licensed by Disney

    And remember, you can see all of these pieces (and much more!) starting on Saturday at Gallery Nucleus and on the website shortly afterwards.

  7. J.J. Abrams: 'The Last Jedi' Backlash Won't Alter 'Star Wars: Episode IX' 'in the Least'

    J.J. Abrams directed "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," then stepped away as Rian Johnson directed "The Last Jedi." With Colin Trevorrow getting the boot, Abrams is stepping back up for the as-yet-untitled "Star Wars: Episode IX," coming out next year.

    If you were hoping Abrams would knock Johnson's direction for "The Last Jedi," well, these are not the droids you're looking for. Not only is Abrams standing by his franchise man, he lashed out at the fans who called the diversity of "The Last Jedi" so much politically correct SJW feminist propaganda:

    "Star Wars' is a big galaxy, and you can sort of find almost anything you want to in 'Star Wars,'" Abrams told IndieWire.

    "If you are someone who feels threatened by women and needs to lash out against them, you can probably find an enemy in 'Star Wars.' You can probably look at the first movie that George [Lucas] did ['Star Wars: A New Hope'] and say that Leia was too outspoken, or she was too tough. Anyone who wants to find a problem with anything can find the problem. The internet seems to be made for that."

    IndieWire asked if the fan outcry would impact his vision for Episode IX:

    "Not in the least. There's a lot that I would like to say about it, but I feel like it's a little early to be having the 'Episode IX' conversation ... I will say that the story of Rey and Poe and Finn and Kylo Ren — and if you look, there are three men and one woman, to those that are complaining that there are too many women in 'Star Wars' — their story continues in a way that I couldn't be more excited about and cannot wait for people to see."

    Good for him. And it's not like he's a stranger to those exact same complaints, since he fielded a few after Rey was made the center of "The Force Awakens."

    To be fair, the criticism for both "The Force Awakens" and "The Last Jedi" extended beyond the female-driven storylines. Then again, those of us old enough to remember when the prequels came out can also recall a similar level of outrage at George Lucas for "ruining" childhoods.

    The box office receipts don't lie, and so far "The Last Jedi" has made more than $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office. "The Force Awakens" made just over $2 billion.

    "Star Wars: Episode IX" is scheduled to open in theaters on December 20th, 2019.

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  8. Paul Rudd Said His Mustache for Netflix's 'Mute' Scared an Elderly Couple

    This is truly the season of the spectacularly problematic 'stache. First there was Henry Cavill's "Justice League" MustacheGate, then Kenneth Branagh's monster mustache in "Murder on the Orient Express."

    Now Paul Rudd is throwing his stache in the ring as Cactus Bill in the new sci-fi noir movie "Mute," which starts streaming on Netflix this Friday, February 23.

    Rudd was just on "The Tonight Show" talking about his facial hair. It was his own, not a fake. He said the inspiration was actually from the 1970 movie "M.A.S.H."

    "You know Justin [Theroux] has a blonde wig. There's a similar thing with Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland in M.A.S.H., so we kind of recreated their looks a little bit."

    However, Rudd said a stache like that can be pretty unpopular with the general public:

    "People don't like it. People really recoil when they see a pronounced mustache. [...] I remember one time having a mustache and going into an elevator. I was sweaty and I was running for this elevator, and there was an elderly couple who were really not psyched to see me. They thought I looked threatening or something. They walked off the elevator and I realized, and I'm not kidding, I had a T-shirt that said 'Mustache rides, 25 cents.' I didn't even realize it until they walked off. That is a true story. And they never offered me a quarter."

    Hahaha. Give the poor man's stache a quarter!

    Watch the now stache-less Paul Rudd tell his story:"Mute" was written and directed by Duncan Jones, and stars Alexander Skarsgård, Justin Theroux, Florence Kasumba, Noel Clarke, Gilbert Owuor, and Nikki Lamborn. It's been described as a "spiritual sequel" to Duncan Jones' "Moon" with Sam Rockwell, and you can look for some "Moon" Easter eggs in "Mute."

    Watch for yourself this Friday, Feb. 23 on Netflix.

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  9. Zac Efron Shares More Ted Bundy Movie Photos & a Stunt Clip

    Zac Efron's Ted Bundy serial killer biopic "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile" is almost done filming.

    Efron plays Bundy, with Lily Collins as his longtime girlfriend, and "Maze Runner" star Kaya Scodelario as his ex-wife.

    Efron recently shared the first photo of Scodelario as Carole Ann Boone, alongside Bundy:

    Efron also posted a photo and stunt jump clip of Bundy running from the cops (while wearing a truly special retro cardigan):

    "I GOT WARRANTS!" #behindthescenes🎬

    A post shared by Zac Efron (@zacefron) on

    I'm literally falling for you. ❤️😎#happyvalentinesday

    A post shared by Zac Efron (@zacefron) on

    The movie is told from the perspective of Bundy's longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, played by Lily Collins. Collins already wrapped her role and shared her own photos on set, including some with director Joe Berlinger. Berlinger also showed off another Efron photo, this time with Metallica's James Hetfield (!!!) in a cameo. Honestly, James Hetfield first dramatic role is reason enough to see this, beyond watching Zac Efron as a serial killer.

    "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile" also stars John Malkovich, Jim Parsons, Haley Joel Osment, Angela Sarafyan, Dylan Baker, Jeffrey Donovan, and Terry Kinney. There's no official release date yet.

    [Via: EW]

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  10. Live-Action 'The Lion King' Is Reportedly Ditching One of the Original's Best Songs

    If this report is accurate, Disney better be prepared for fans' first question to be "Where's 'Be Prepared'?"

    Elton John helped compose the soundtrack for the 1994 movie "The Lion King," and he talked to The Sun's Dan Wootton about the music for the 2019 live-action movie. In good news, Beyoncé -- who'll be playing Nala -- reportedly reached out to Elton John to see if they could collaborate on a new song. Elton said that's in the works for the end credit song.

    Here's the scoop from Elton John to The Sun:

    "They need to have a new end credits song. There's going to be four of our songs in the film, from the original: Can You Feel The Love Tonight? Hakuna Matata, I Just Can't Wait To Be King and Circle of Life. And then there will be an end, closing song, and we've been speaking to Beyonce's people and hopefully Tim and I and her can cook up something."

    So that sounds like five songs, total, with one new one for the end credits? If that's official, and not just in the planning stages, what about Scar? The animated movie gave Jeremy Irons' villain his own song in "Be Prepared," but will Chiwetel Ejiofor's new Scar be left without his own song?

    Disney tends to do right by these live-action movies, so we'll stay cautiously optimistic. Elton John teased good things ahead from director Jon Favreau's film: "I've seen a little bit of the opening of it, which is amazing."

    "The Lion King" -- starring Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, James Earl Jones, Beyoncé , Alfre Woodard, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and John Kani -- is scheduled to open July 19th, 2019.

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  11. Jessica Chastain Is Officially in Talks for the 'It' Sequel

    After lots of speculation fueled by the film's cast and crew, fans, and the actress herself, it looks like Jessica Chastain will indeed be joining the "It" series.

    According to Variety, Chastain has finally entered official talks to star in the upcoming sequel to the horror hit, playing the adult version of Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis). "It 2" picks up with the first film's characters decades later, banding together once again to take down the titular monster.

    While the negotiations just started, Chastain has been linked to the hotly-anticipated sequel since before the first flick even opened, with fans noting her resemblance to Lillis. The actress has publicly discussed the possibility before, the film's kid cast has vouched for her, and she has an existing relationship with director Andres Muschietti, for whom she starred in his feature debut, the 2013 horror movie "Mama."

    Chastain was reportedly set to appear as Beverly in a post-credits sequence in the first "It," though that plan was eventually scrapped. This time around, chances seem good that she and filmmakers will be able to work something out.

    In the meantime, Variety reports that Bill Skarsgaard is returning as Pennywise, the creepy clown manifestation of the title beast. Our fingers are crossed that Chastain joins him on the official cast list soon.

    [via: Variety]

  12. 'Black Panther' Has Biggest Monday in Box Office History For $242 Million Total

    "Black Panther" continues to leap over box office records by posting the biggest Monday in history.

    The Marvel superhero flick earned $40.2 million yesterday, inching past the $40.1 million earned by "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Overall, the movie made $242 million over the long President's Day weekend; that four-day total vaults it over "The Last Jedi" and just behind "The Force Awakens."

    Its three-day total of $201.8 million made "Black Panther" the fifth biggest domestic opening of all time, the biggest February opening (supplanting "Deadpool"), and the second-biggest for a superhero movie behind "The Avengers" ($207.4 million).

    Not only was "Black Panther" a smash at the domestic box office, it cleaned up internationally as well, with a haul of $184.6 million through Monday. And it has yet to open in some of the biggest international markets, including China, Japan, and Russia.

    That box office success smashed the already high expectations for the movie, which received a ton of advanced buzz and glowing reviews. And "Black Panther" received an A+ CinemaScore grade from audiences, making it one of only two Marvel movies with that top score ("The Avengers" is the other).

  13. Michael Jordan Has to Do Push-Ups at Lupita Nyong’o's Command After Losing Bet

    'Black Panther' Seoul Premiere - Press ConferenceEveryone's a winner thanks after Lupita Nyong'o triumphed in a bet against "Black Panther" co-star Michael B. Jordan.

    The two actors made an undisclosed bet, which Nyong'o apparently won. And the outcome is that Jordan now has to a push-up whenever she commands.

    The first time she exerted her power took place during a live Twitter Q&A with the "Black Panther" cast. After the moderator asked Jordan about playing a villain, Nyong'o chimed in, "Can I just add to that? Give me one, please."

    "Ooooh, man!" Jordan exclaimed. He then did a push-up on stage and said, "She's vicious. She's cold-blooded."

    The second instance occurred at the Calvin Klein show during New York Fashion Week, which Nyong'o documented on Instagram. In the caption, she revealed she has three more push-up requests in her arsenal.

    The third time took place backstage yesterday on "The View." Nyong'o found Jordan in his dressing room, where he first tried to butter her up ("You look nice today, you look amazing") and then attempted to deflect her ("I'm sure you're in a rush").

    But she wasn't having it. "I definitely have time to talk to you," she said, "and I would especially like to see you get down."

    .@MichaelB4Jordan, losing with a smile. On call push-ups!!! pic.twitter.com/g1W3UJqTVu

    — Lupita Nyong'o (@Lupita_Nyongo) February 19, 2018
    Two more to go! It's the bet that keeps on giving.
  14. 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' DVD to Drop in March With 14 Deleted Scenes

    More of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" you want? More, you will get.

    The blockbuster movie will be available on digital platforms March 13 and on Blu-ray/DVD March 27. The latter will include two behind-the-scenes featurettes: "The Director and the Jedi," about Rian Johnson's personal journey in making the film, and "Balance of the Force," which explains Johnson's interpretation of the phenomenon.

    There are also three scene breakdowns that detail the space battle, the motion capture process behind Snoke (Andy Serkis), and the final battle on Crait.

    The Blu-ray/DVD will also contain a whopping 14 deleted scenes. Previous reports put those scenes' runtime at 20 minutes. Johnson has teased that the cut footage includes a bromantic scene between Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega), more sneaking on the Mega Destroyer with Finn and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), and a major sequence involving Luke (Mark Hamill), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and the fish nuns called the Caretakers.

    Here's a trailer for the home video release:

  15. Christopher Nolan Won't Direct Next James Bond Movie

    The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Outstanding Directors Award Sponsored by The Hollywood ReporterUnless you can "Inception" his mind, Christopher Nolan won't be directing the next James Bond movie.

    Bond 25 has locked down star Daniel Craig and has a November 2019 release date, but so far, no one at the helm. But don't look at Nolan, the director behind the Oscar-nominated "Dunkirk."

    "I won't be the man," he said on BBC Radio 4. "No, categorically. I think every time they hire a new director I'm rumored to be doing it.

    Well, that's because Nolan has previously gushed about the franchise and his desire to take it on. Even in the same BBC interview, he added:

    "I'd love to make a Bond film at some point and I think those producers .... do a tremendous job and Sam Mendes has done a terrific job the last couple of films, so they don't particularly need me. But I've always been inspired by the films and would love to do one someday."

    Maybe Nolan is just playing coy? Trying to strike a better deal? Wants to be able to cast his own Bond? (Tom Hardy?!)

  16. Did Chris Evans Just Confirm a Black Widow Movie?

    Fans clamoring for Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow to get her own movie may be in luck. "Avengers: Infinity War" co-star Chris Evans seemingly let the news slip that Marvel is developing a Black Widow spinoff movie.

    Evans recently spoke to ET Canada about the massive success of "Black Panther," saying "There's nothing [Marvel Studios] can't do, man. And I'm sure it's going to have the exact same effect when "Captain Marvel" comes out, and then the Black Widow movie comes out. Marvel just has the winning recipe."

    That would seem to suggest that Marvel is actively moving forward with a Black Widow movie in the aftermath of 2019's "Avengers 4." Marvel currently has three unspecified films scheduled for release in 2020, one of which is expected to be "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." Will Black Widow claim one of the other dates?

    It's possible that Evans is merely assuming, as many fans are, that Black Widow is next in line for a solo spinoff. However, this gels with a recent report that a Black Widow movie is in the early stages of development and has hired Jac Schaeffer to pen the screenplay.

    We'll next see Johansson's Widow and Evans' Captain America when "Avengers: Infinity War" hits theaters on May 4.

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  17. 2018 BAFTA Awards: 'Three Billboards' Wins Best Film, Guillermo Del Toro Best Director

    EE British Academy Film Awards - Press Room"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" won Best Film at last night's BAFTA Awards, cementing its place as the Oscar frontrunner.

    The British Academy honored the movie with five awards in total, including Best Actress for Frances McDormand, Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell, and Best Original Screenplay for Martin McDonagh.

    However, McDonagh lost out on the Best Director award to "Shape of Water" helmer Guillermo Del Toro.

    Here's the full list of the 2018 BAFTA Award winners:

    BEST FILM

    THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
    Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Martin McDonagh

    DIRECTOR

    GUILLERMO DEL TORO
    The Shape of Water

    LEADING ACTRESS

    FRANCES McDORMAND
    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    LEADING ACTOR

    GARY OLDMAN
    Darkest Hour

    CINEMATOGRAPHY

    BLADE RUNNER 2049
    Roger Deakins

    ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

    THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
    Martin McDonagh

    SOUND

    DUNKIRK
    Alex Gibson, Richard King, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo, Mark Weingarten

    SUPPORTING ACTRESS

    ALLISON JANNEY
    I, Tonya

    OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER

    I AM NOT A WITCH
    Rungano Nyoni (Writer/Director), Emily Morgan (Producer)

    SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS

    BLADE RUNNER 2049
    Richard R. Hoover, Paul Lambert, Gerd Nefzer, John Nelson

    PRODUCTION DESIGN

    THE SHAPE OF WATER
    Paul Austerberry, Jeff Melvin, Shane Vieau

    SUPPORTING ACTOR

    SAM ROCKWELL
    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

    CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
    James Ivory

    FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

    THE HANDMAIDEN
    Park Chan-wook, Syd Lim

    BRITISH SHORT FILM

    COWBOY DAVE
    Colin O'Toole, Jonas Mortense

    BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION

    POLES APART
    Paloma Baeza, Ser En Low

    DOCUMENTARY

    I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO
    Raoul Peck

    EDITING

    BABY DRIVER
    Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss

    ANIMATED FILM

    COCO
    Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson

    COSTUME DESIGN

    PHANTOM THREAD
    Mark Bridges

    MAKE UP & HAIR

    DARKEST HOUR
    David Malinowski, Ivana Primorac, Lucy Sibbick, Kazuhiro Tsuji

    ORIGINAL MUSIC

    THE SHAPE OF WATER
    Alexandre Desplat

    EE RISING STAR AWARD
    (Voted for by the public)

    DANIEL KALUUYA

    OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM

    THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
    Martin McDonagh, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin

    OUTSTANDING BRITISH CONTRIBUTION TO CINEMA

    Jon Wardle, National Film and Television School

  18. What's New on TV, Netflix, Digital & DVD/Blu-ray This Week: February 19-25

    At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's new on Netflix and TV, we've got you covered.

    New Video on Demand, Rental Streaming, and Digital

    "Thor: Ragnarok"
    "Yes!" Our Avengers friends from work are ready to entertain you at home on Digital HD starting Tuesday, February 20, and then on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 6.

    Bonus features exclusive to the digital release include "Evolution of Thor and Hulk's Bromance" and additional deleted scenes. The Blu-ray comes with heaps more extras, including a "Director's Introduction," a gag reel, deleted/extended scenes, and more hilarious shorts with Thor's Australian roommate, Darryl.

    "Murder on the Orient Express"
    Whodunnit? Find out as Kenneth Branagh gathers an all-star cast to adapt this classic Agatha Christie novel (again). Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, and Leslie Odom, Jr. co-star in the mystery, which is out on Digital and Movies Anywhere on Feb. 20, and Blu-ray/DVD/4K on Feb. 27. There are several behind-the-scenes features, including an alternate opening, deleted scenes with commentary, and a lot more.

    Check out this exclusive clip from the bonus features, focusing on director/star Kenneth Branagh as detective Hercule Poirot:"Neat: The Story of Bourbon"
    Find out everything you ever wanted to know about bourbon in this fascinating documentary, which is available on EST and VOD on February 20.

    Here is the summary: "'Neat' dives into the rich and storied world of bourbon. Exploring its colorful history, charismatic characters, and uniquely American process, the film is a celebration of the artistry that makes America's only native spirit."

    Check out this exclusive clip explaining the ABCs of bourbon:"The Cured"
    Ellen Page, Sam Keeley, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, and Paula Malcomson star in this horror thriller in theaters and available on VOD this Friday, Feb. 23.

    Here is the plot summary: "In a world ravaged for years by a virus that turns the infected into zombie-like cannibals, a cure is at last found and the wrenching process of reintegrating the survivors back into society begins. Among the formerly afflicted is Senan (Sam Keeley), a young man haunted by the horrific acts he committed while infected. Welcomed back into the family of his widowed sister-in-law (Ellen Page), Senan attempts to restart his life—but is society ready to forgive him and those like him? Or will fear and prejudice once again tear the world apart?"

    "Beast of Burden"
    Daniel Radcliffe, Pablo Schreiber, Grace Gummer, Robert Wisdom star in this action thriller in theaters and on Digital HD/On Demand February 23.

    "Pilot Sean Haggerty (Daniel Radcliffe) must deliver cocaine across the US-Mexico border for his final run as a drug smuggler. Alone in a small plane, he is faced with the burden of choosing between his allegiance to the Cartel, his deal with the Drug Enforcement Administration and saving his increasingly tense relationship with his wife, eagerly awaiting his return."


    New on DVD and Blu-ray

    "Daddy's Home 2"
    Mel Gibson plays Kurt, Mark Wahlberg plays Dusty, Will Ferrell plays Brad and John Lithgow plays Don in Daddy's Home 2 from Paramount Pictures.Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell's co-parenting comedy adds two more A-list dads in Mel Gibson and John Lithgow for this sequel out February 20 on 4K Ultra HD, DVD and Blu-ray.

    The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack include more than 45 minutes of behind-the-scenes bonus content, including five featurettes, deleted/ extended/alternate scenes, and a gag reel.

    "The Star"
    Follow the adventures of brave donkey Bo (voiced by Steven Yeun) as he and some new friends follow a star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told. "The Star" -- featuring an all-star vocal cast from Oprah and Kelly Clarkson to Kristin Chenoweth and Christopher Plummer -- arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on February 20.

    The release comes with more than an hour of bonus materials including the "Star-aoke: Sing Along with Bo & Friends," a dance along to "Life Is Good" by A Great Big World, crafting and baking with "how-to" videos, and a lot more.

    "The Florida Project"
    Willem Dafoe earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in this indie drama, which co-stars Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite in breakout roles. The movie arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on February 20, including bloopers and outtakes, cast and crew interviews, and the featurette "Under the Rainbow: Making The Florida Project."


    New on Netflix

    "Mute" (Netflix Original)
    Netflix's many great February releases continue with this original film from visionary director Duncan Jones, starring Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux. (Fun fact: "Mute" is set in the same universe as Duncan Jones' "Moon" with Sam Rockwell, and includes some Easter eggs.) Stream "Mute" on Netflix this Friday, February 23. Here is what the much-anticipated movie is about: "Welcome to Berlin 2052 -- where dreams come true and man comes undone. In a Berlin of the future, a mute bartender's search for his missing lady-love takes him deeper and deeper into the city's criminal underbelly." "Seven Seconds" Season 1 (Netflix Original)
    Regina King stars in this Netflix series premiering February 23.

    "How far will you go for justice? Tensions run high in Jersey City after a white police officer accidentally hits and critically injures a black teenager.""FullMetal Alchemist" (Netflix Original)
    This live-action film adapting the popular manga and anime series has done very well in Japan, and it's coming to Netflix on February 19. "Fullmetal Alchemist" follows two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who learn alchemy in order to bring back their deceased mother.

    According to Comicbook: "After a terrible miscalculation, however, the two brothers pay a terrible price with Alphonse even losing his body and linking his soul to a suit of armor. As the two boys search for an alchemy that will restore their bodies to their original forms, they join the military and deal with a whole host of new political, ethical, and moral issues.""The Frankenstein Chronicles" Season 1 and Season 2 (Netflix Original)
    Netflix picked up Sean Bean's popular British period crime drama series, and will stream both seasons starting February 20. In this re-imagining of Mary Shelley's classic novel, Bean plays an 1830s London War veteran Inspector John Marlott. In the six-episode first season, Marlott discovers a crude assembly of body parts in a grotesque parody of a human form.

    ***

    TV Worth Watching

    "The Walking Dead" Season 8 Midseason Premiere (Sunday on AMC at 9 p.m.)It's time to say goodbye to Carl Grimes. TWD Season 8 returns February 25 with a supersized episode continuing the All Out War between Rick and Negan, but centered around Rick's bitten son, Carl.

    "Ash vs. Evil Dead" Season 3 (Sunday on Starz at 9 p.m.)
    If you're interested in a different type of horror, why not switch over to Starz for the new season of Bruce Campbell's series. In the Season 3 premiere, demon-hunter Ash returns to action when mankind is threatened by a Deadite plague.

    "Celebrity Big Brother" Finale (Sunday on CBS at 8 p.m.)
    This season was too short! Our favorite love-to-hate summer series finally launched a celebrity edition, but only for a couple of weeks. The drama is already ending with Episode 13, airing February 25 from 8 to 10 p.m. Could Omarosa somehow win it all?

    "Frontline's Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia" (Tuesday on PBS at 9 p.m.)
    Feed your brain with some reality alongside the reality TV. On February 20 and 27, "Frontline" will premiere this three-hour, two-night deep-dive special, which "paints American television's most comprehensive picture of the dangerous political rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia that has reshaped the Middle East and plunged the region into war."

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  19. 12 Things You Never Knew About 'Army of Darkness'

    2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the cult classic "Army of Darkness." Is it a horror movie? A campy comedy? Who cares? All we know is that Bruce Campbell's Ash Williams is one movie icon who's stood the test of time.

    So grab your boomstick, hone your one-liners, and check out 12 things you might not know about the final chapter in the original "Evil Dead" trilogy.

    1. Director Sam Raimi originally had a much more pun-worthy title in mind for this sequel. He wanted to call it "The Medieval Dead."

    2. Officially, the film's full title is "Bruce Campbell vs. the Army of Darkness." Raimi wanted to pay homage to classic monster movie mash-ups like "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy," but shortened the title to make the film easier to market.3. Raimi had originally planned to make "Evil Dead 2" set in medieval times, but it was only after the success of 1990's "Darkman" that Raimi was able to find the budget he needed to bring that story to life.

    4. If that Oldsmobile Delta '88 looks familiar, it's probably because it's appeared in every single Sam Raimi film. For instance, it was also the car Uncle Ben used to drive Peter to the library in 2002's "Spider-Man."

    5. Star Trek and Batman fans may also have a case of deja vu watching the film. Portions of "Army of Darkness" were filmed at Vasquez Rocks (the sight of the iconic "Star Trek" episode, "Arena") and in Griffith Park's Bronson Canyon (where exterior shots of the Batcave were filmed in the 1966 "Batman" series).
    6. Similarly, Raimi's brother Ted has a habit of appearing in all his films, and he plays no fewer than three characters in "Army of Darkness" -- a soldier, a villager, and an S-Mart employee (above).

    7. Raimi and visual effects supervisor William Mesa used over two dozen storyboards from 1948's "Joan of Arc" to help craft the film's final battle sequence.8. Originally, the film was slated to end very differently. More recent DVD collections include the alternate original ending, where Ash drinks too much potion and wakes up in post-apocalyptic London rather than in his own time.

    9. "Army of Darkness" was originally saddled with an NC-17 rating, due in large part to a scene where Ash decapitates a female Deadite. Raimi trimmed that scene, but resisted studio pressure to edit the film down to a PG-13 rating.

    10. "Army of Darkness" saw its release pushed back by several months, as it became collateral damage in a legal battle between Universal Pictures and producer Dino De Laurentiis over the rights to the Hannibal Lecter character.

    11. Because of lingering issues with Universal, the Starz series "Ash vs. Evil Dead" (which is set 30 years after the events of the films) was unable to reference the events of "Army of Darkness' in its first season. Fortunately, those problems have since been ironed out.12. There have been numerous comic book continuations of "Army of Darkness," including a series where Ash meets "Re-Animator's" Herbert West and another where he battles zombie-fied versions of Marvel heroes.

  20. 9 Reasons Why 'Black Panther' Changed Everything at the Box Office

    Everyone knew "Black Panther" would be huge, but record-breaking-like-a-summer-movie huge?

    Just a week or so ago, experts had it beating the February opening-weekend record of $132 million that "Deadpool" set two years ago. But the new Marvel movie's numbers left that R-rated film's record in the dust.

    With an estimated three-day debut of at least $195 million, "Black Panther" is not only the biggest February opening of all time, but the fifth biggest opening weekend of all time. It's the second biggest Marvel opening ever, behind only the $207 million of "The Avengers." (It also beat "Avengers: Age of Ultron's" three and four day record, which is scary-good.)

    Over the four-day President's Weekend holiday, Disney is projecting that "Black Panther" will earn $218 million.

    Even Disney claims to be surprised by how big "Black Panther" is. "The volume of business is bigger than any of us could have imagined," Disney Executive Vice President for Theatrical Distribution Dave Hollis tells Moviefone. "Maybe we shouldn't be surprised by anything anymore," he adds.

    Still, he says, "the fact that this stand-alone character story is rivaling the first 'Avengers' film is a staggering and unbelievably satisfying result."

    There's a lot of credit to go around for the movie's success. Much of what "Black Panther" had going for it is obvious, but some is less so. Here are nine factors that made the Wakanda saga a winner.

    1. It's Marvel
    The Marvel brand is now as reliable to audiences as Disney's other major brands, Pixar and "Star Wars." This is the 18th Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and the 18th to open at No. 1. (And the ninth to open above $100 million.) "Black Panther" also earned the rare A+ CinemaScore, which Marvel got once before with 2012's "The Avengers."

    Of course, the synergy among the far-flung strands of the MCU helps, too. General audiences may not have known who T'Challa was a couple years ago, but introducing him in "Captain America: Civil War" (2016) was effectively the early launch of the marketing campaign for his stand-alone film. (Though Hollis says that the MCU movies started planting Easter eggs about Wakanda even before that, as far back as 2010's "Iron Man 2.") Speaking of that campaign...

    2. Disney's Marketing Muscle
    You can't accuse the studio of skimping on promotion, that's for sure.

    The widely reported figures have Disney spending nearly $200 million to make "Black Panther" and another $150 million marketing it. Those are typical figures for an MCU installment. Even so, the Wakanda tale reportedly has a bigger line of merchandise and toys than other Marvel films, and it's certainly been unavoidable in advertisements and promotional partnerships with various retailers. Then again, Disney also benefitted from a ton of free promotion from entertainment and business journalists who wrote about what a game-changer the film would be.

    3. Timing
    It's hard to overstate how important it was for African-Americans to have the opportunity to see a big-budget studio movie with a predominantly black cast, a black director and screenwriters, and most of all, a black superhero whose noble and inspirational qualities go well beyond his physical powers.

    Not only are African-Americans an audience hungry to see heroic, complex, fully human representations of themselves on screen, but they're also avid moviegoers who tend to make up a disproportionate number of the ticket-buyers at the multiplex. A pre-release poll suggested that three out of every four African-Americans wanted to see "Black Panther." Various tracking services have reported that they made up about 40 percent of the "Black Panther" audience.

    Hollis says Disney now makes a priority of inclusion and representation, not just to be politically correct, but because it makes for better movies and bigger business.

    "Audiences deserve to see themselves on screen, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it makes for better, richer storytelling," he says. He points to such recent hits as the female-fronted "Star Wars" movies, "Moana," and "Coco" as signs that this strategy is paying off both critically and commercially.

    4. Social Media
    For at least a year, "Black Panther" has been a huge topic on Twitter. Such hashtags as #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe have made "Black Panther" the most tweeted-about film of 2018.

    And according to social media tracker RelishMix, fans tweeting about the film as the leave the theater are nearly three times as active as "Star Wars" fans leaving "The Last Jedi" were. Also, the film is Marvel Studios' best reviewed effort -- at 97 percent "Fresh" on RT.

    There was some organized anti-"Black Panther" trolling online, from bombing the film with negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes in order to depress the movie's audience score, to trying to discourage attendance by posting faked photos of supposed outbreaks of violence at theaters showing the movie. But those efforts appeared to have no effect on turnout. Facebook stepped in to shut down one troll group, and fans are apparently getting more sophisticated at recognizing such campaigns as astroturf.

    5. That Soundtrack Is Great
    Honestly, when was the last time you even cared about a movie's accompanying original soundtrack album? (Well, maybe Marvel's two "Guardians of the Galaxy" films.)

    Kendrick Lamar's "Black Panther" album, announced less than two months ago, has created its own unique advance buzz for the film. It has leveraged the rapper's own fanbase and social media following (as well as those of guest performers The Weeknd and SZA) to help promote "Black Panther."

    6. Critics and Fans Love the Movie
    For all the talk about T'Challa as a role model, especially for kids of color, "Black Panther" played to a heavily adult audience. Disney reports that 73 percent of the audience was adults seeing the movie without kids in tow, and that 61 percent of the audience was over 25. That's not atypical for a Marvel movie, and Hollis says he believes more kids will buy tickets in the days to come, especially with Monday being a school holiday.

    To the extent that the older audience is one that still relies on critics, it certainly helped that reviewers gave the movie an aggregate 97 percent at Rotten Tomatoes. Paying customers liked the movie as much as critics did, judging by the aforementioned A+ CinemaScore.

    7. Women Like the Movie, Too
    CinemaScore also found an even split between men and women among ticket-buyers; Disney tracking found the audience skewed just a little more male, with 55 percent men and 45 percent women. Still, that near-even ratio suggests that "Black Panther" has even more appeal to female audiences than many Marvel movies.

    The reason, naturally, is that T'Challa is surrounded by strong female characters, literally so in the case of The Dora Milaje, a squad of very capable female warriors/bodyguards. In terms of putting both black and female characters at the center of the film, Hollis calls the movie a "twofer" of inclusiveness.

    8. Weak Competition
    Not that anything was going to come close to "Black Panther," but the rest of the multiplex was practically filled with crickets and tumbleweeds.

    "Peter Rabbit" held on to second place in its second weekend, but that meant a take of just an estimated $17.3 million. Animated comedy "Early Man" got great reviews, but it wasn't able to capitalize on the family audience that was "Black Panther's" only real vulnerability. According to estimates, it premiered in seventh place with a weak $3.2 million, about a third of its pre-weekend predicted take.

    No doubt "Early Man" suffered from having too much other competition for the family market, including "Peter Rabbit" and the unstoppable "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" (with an estimated $7.9 million, good for fourth place). And the other new wide release, "Samson," tried to draw the churchgoing crowd, but the Biblical hero didn't even put a dent in the comic-book hero. Opening in tenth place, "Samson" debuted a hair shy of $2 million, also less than half of what was predicted.

    "We picked a date intentionally that was less crowded," Hollis says. Not only was there not much competition this weekend, but "Black Panther" will have the mainstream marketplace to itself for another three weeks, until the release of the next Disney epic from an African-American filmmaker: "A Wrinkle in Time," which is tracking to open above $20 million.

    9. Shattering International Expectations
    Disney's inclusiveness-and-representation strategy seems to be paying off beyond the United States. (As Hollis says, "We make movies for a global audience, from all walks of life.")

    Opening in much of the rest of the world this weekend, "Black Panther" earned an estimated $169 million overseas. The film's $361 million global weekend doesn't even include such major markets as China, Japan, and Russia, where the movie has yet to open.

    It's long been conventional wisdom in Hollywood that movies with black stars don't do well abroad -- at least not enough to please Hollywood accountants, who are used to blockbuster releases earning more than half of their global take outside the U.S. The international successes of such stars as Will Smith, Denzel Washington, and the diverse"Fast & Furious" franchise cast should have put that myth to bed long ago. If not, it should end with the near-even split between "Black Panther's" domestic and international takes.

    As "Black Panther" hurtles toward a potential billion-dollar global take, that old way of thinking is one more glass ceiling that T'Challa will probably shatter.

  21. 'Black Panther' Smashes Records With $218 Million at Holiday Weekend Box Office

    LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Disney-Marvel's "Black Panther" is heading for a super-heroic $218 million debut over the four-day President's Day weekend at 4,020 North American locations, estimates showed Sunday.

    That number means that "Black Panther," starring Chadwick Boseman and directed by Ryan Coogler, has doubled its original tracking in less than a month. The film, which carries an estimated $200 million production cost, had been tracking to bring in between an impressive $100 and $120 million when first estimates emerged on Jan. 25. Since then, "Black Panther" has become a must-see movie for many moviegoers, underlined when Thursday previews brought in $25.2 million, the largest Thursday night preview gross for a February opener and the second-largest preview gross for a Marvel film.

    The film's estimated three-day gross of $192 million is the highest debut ever for a February film and the fifth highest of all time. Combined with an estimated international debut of $169 million from 69 percent of the international market, the estimated global debut stands at $361 million through Sunday.

    "Black Panther" has demolished the record for the largest Presidents Day weekend, blowing past "Deadpool's" 2016 mark of $152 million. Overall North American moviegoing for the four-day period should hit $300 million -- far above the $278 million mark in 2016, according to comScore.

    "This is proof that the big screen experience may arguably be the most powerful platform of change in our society," said Paul Dergarabedian," senior media analyst with comScore. "The emotional, communal, immersive and bigger than life theatrical experience has an impact that virtually no other medium can match."

    Comscore's PostTrak survey of the audience showed outstanding numbers with 77 percent rating "Black Panther" as "excellent" and another 18 percent as "very good."

    Boseman portrays King T'Challa, ruler of Wakanda, a technologically advanced society, who conflicts with Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger, who intends to take over the throne. Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, and Daniel Kaluuya also star. It's received an A+ CinemaScore, the only Marvel film to have done so besides 2012's "The Avengers."

    Sony's second weekend of "Peter Rabbit" should bring in $22.5 million from 3,275 domestic locations for the four-day weekend, yielding an 11-day domestic total of $53 million. The film stars the voice of James Corden as the titular rabbit, along with Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley as Peter's sisters. Domhnall Gleeson stars as the heir to Mr. McGregor's property, with Rose Byrne as the kindly neighbor Bea.

    The second weekend of Universal's "Fifty Shades Freed" follows in third with $18 million from 3,768 locations for the Friday through Monday period. The erotic romance stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele -- now Mrs. Grey. Its Friday through Sunday total ($16 million) marks a 57 percent decline from its opening weekend. The film has earned $161 million worldwide in its first eight days.

    Sony's ninth weekend of its durable action-comedy "Jumanji: Welcome to Jungle" finished fourth with $10 million at 2,800 venues. The 62-day domestic total will hit almost $380 million, just behind 2005's "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" for 32nd spot on the all-time list.

    Clint Eastwood's second weekend of the thriller "The 15:17 to Paris" is set to take fifth, with $9.1 million from 3,042 locations for Warner Bros. The movie, starring the three men who stopped an attempted 2015 terrorist attack on a European train, is projected to have grossed nearly $27 million domestically in 11 days.

    Fox's ninth weekend of "The Greatest Showman" continued to show remarkable traction in sixth with a projected $6.3 million at 1,936 locations, which will lift the 62-day total to $155 million for the Hugh Jackman musical.

    Nick Park's "Early Man" opened softly this weekend in the U.S. in the seventh slot with $4.2 million from 2,494 North American locations. The British film, which is being distributed in the United States via Lionsgate, utilizes the voice talents of Tom Hiddleston, Timothy Spall, Eddie Redmayne, and Maisie Williams.

  22. Watch Jamie Foxx Abruptly End TV Interview Over Katie Holmes Question

    Jamie Foxx and Katie Holmes have reportedly been dating for years. Just don't ask them about it.

    Holmes and Foxx spent Valentine's Day together in Los Angeles. They were spotted heading to an area basketball court together, both in workout gear. Entertainment Tonight shared photos and a little video.

    But, seriously, they're not interested in opening up about their relationship, so stop even trying.

    Foxx was just on ESPN's "SportsCenter" talking to Michael Smith about the All-Star Celebrity Game during NBA All-Star weekend in L.A. Foxx was game to talk about how he prepared, but he was not happy when Smith tried to segue into a question about Foxx preparing by playing basketball with Holmes on Valentine's Day. In response, Foxx -- still smiling -- just took off his headset and walked away. Interview over.

    Watch, it's kind of wonderful:

    Yo why Jamie Foxx just walk off on this sportscenter interview cause Michael Smith referred to him x Katie Holmes😂😂 pic.twitter.com/7OS2uK2DZA

    — Stephen A. Spliff (@The_RealTreezus) February 16, 2018


    Holmes and Foxx have reportedly been dating since 2013, a year after her split from Tom Cruise. They finally went public with their relationship over Labor Day weekend, just holding hands on the beach. They didn't give any statements but it seemed obvious that they knew they were being photographed and were OK with it. There was speculation, at the time, that the summer 2017 timing was due to Holmes' divorce agreement with Cruise.

    Katie Holmes actually has a new movie coming out, "Dear Dictator," opening March 16th. Jamie Foxx is playing Little John in the new "Robin Hood" movie opening in September.

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  23. Shuri of 'Black Panther' Is Everyone's Favorite New Disney Princess

    "Black Panther" standout Shuri (Letitia Wright) isn't *technically* a Disney princess, but nobody cares. It's also possible she'll be a lot more in future Marvel movies...

    Princess Shuri of Wakanda is the teenage sister of T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). She's smarter than Tony Stark, and almost as much of a smart-aleck. As leader of the Wakandan Design Group, she's an engineering and robotics genius. She's also just the coolest person in the room -- and in Wakanda, and in the world? -- and fans absolutely adored actress Letitia Wright in the role. In a film with several breakouts, Shuri shined the brightest for many viewers.

    Also, since she is a princess, and Marvel is owned by Disney, she's as much of a Disney princess as Princess Leia. Fans want her in the official canon -- or they'll just keep calling her a Disney princess anyway.

    Shuri is the real mvp. That is all. #BlackPanther #BlackPantherSoLIT pic.twitter.com/lwytvB38Gi

    — Geeks of Color (@GeeksOfColor) February 16, 2018

    Person: who's your favorite disney princess?

    Me: princess shuri of wakanda

    Person: but she's not-

    Me: *slams fist on table* pRINCESS #SHURI OF WAKANDA

    — TITA SAW BLACK PANTHER (@leiascaptain) February 16, 2018

    Princess Shuri of Wakanda is the greatest Disney Princess ever. Don't debate me. #BlackPanther

    — Sweetie Pie Pen 😜 (@sweetiepiepen) February 16, 2018

    Princess Shuri of Wakanda is the best Disney Princess.

    Fact. This is not up for debate.

    — That Benedict Fan (@DetectiveShezza) February 16, 2018

    The Disney Princess I've been waiting my whole life for. #BlackPanther
    #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe pic.twitter.com/6RehaNhhUG

    — Neysha is apartment hunting in Wakanda. (@La_Ney_sha) February 7, 2018

    I dare any other Disney Princess to challenge Shuri for her title as Greatest Disney Princess Of All Time, and folks...that is just SCIENCE y'all. pic.twitter.com/LtAEO0vpfD

    — Moisés Chiullán (@moiseschiu) February 13, 2018

    Guys, I love Shuri so much. And @AspiringMuppet told me a theory about how the MCU might use her in the future that is SO GOOD I'll actually be furious if they don't do it pic.twitter.com/3VuoKSqIqk

    — Clarisse Loughrey (@clarisselou) February 8, 2018

    Princess #Shuri is the best Disney princess EVER

    — jaymzangel (@jaymzangel) February 16, 2018

    .@letitiawright as Shuri will be your favourite thing for a good long while.

    — Naomi Scott (@NaomiScott) February 15, 2018

    PRINCESS SHURI I WOULD DIE FOR YOU pic.twitter.com/vz4dy7meZF

    — black panther!pia (@bisexuaItchaIIa) February 15, 2018

    The Wakanda princess is the epitome of cool. Shuri is the Rihanna of girls in science #BlackPanther pic.twitter.com/Uj9kDIX2xT

    — D-Day (@diandujour) February 15, 2018

    Letitia Wright reacting to someone asking when she gets her own solo movie is the best. Protect her at all costs pic.twitter.com/0ukvE3rkMl

    — #kamalakorp (@agentfitz777) February 10, 2018

    We can probably expect a lot of baby girls to be named Shuri in the next few years. Fans are looking forward to seeing a lot more of Letitia Wright's Shuri as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues. Next up is "Avengers: Infinity War," opening May 4.

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  24. Jennifer Lawrence's 'Red Sparrow' Nudity Made 'Everybody Else Uncomfortable' 

    Jennifer Lawrence was almost too comfortable getting nude on the set of her new movie "Red Sparrow." But she sounded genuinely chagrined when admitting her top was unbuttoned throughout Amy Schumer's "very sudden" Valentine's Day wedding.

    Lawrence talked to Entertainment Tonight for the premiere of "Red Sparrow," which includes a nude scene for her sexy Russian spy character:

    "There's like one particular scene in the whole movie. The night before was worse. And then when I showed up, everybody made me feel so comfortable that I probably at a certain point started making everybody else uncomfortable. Because I'd be like, 'I don't want the robe. I'm hot!' I'm, like, eating. And everybody's like, 'She needs to cover up.'"

    Lawrence also revealed her dog Pippi was on set, and got upset by one scene where Lawrence was in a knife fight and fell to the ground. Little Pippi barked and ran over. "She was going to sacrifice her life for her mom!"

    Speaking of true love, Lawrence was one of the A-list guests at Schumer's wedding, and she talked to ET about that, too:

    "It was beautiful. It was very sudden, but it was, I was sobbing the whole -- his vows were stunning. It's when two people really love each other and they really mean it, it shows, and it was a beautiful ceremony and an amazing time. I couldn't be happier for them."

    For the wedding, Lawrence recycled the pink sleeveless Philosophy dress she wore to an event in December. (That's the photo at top.) But this time, she was afraid she accidentally upstaged the bride:

    "Notice my shirt was accidentally undone the whole time," Lawrence told ET. "In every wedding photo all of my buttons were undone. It looks like I was like, 'Oh, you thought this was going to be about you?'"

    Haha. It's true, though. If you look at the photos Schumer posted on Instagram, Lawrence's buttons are all the way down. Apparently that was not intentional.

    "Red Sparrow" -- with intentional JLaw flashing -- opens in theaters March 2nd.

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  25. 'Black Panther' Fans Turned Off as Theater Accidentally Plays 'Fifty Shades Freed' 

    Oops! One Atlanta patron taped the (hilarious) confusion, which lasted five un-sexy minutes.

    "Black Panther" opened Friday, Feb. 16, but eager fans packed theaters for Thursday night screenings. One screening in Atlanta, Georgia did not go as planned when the theater accidentally played the first few minutes of R-rated "Fifty Shades Freed" instead of the PG-13 Marvel movie.

    Most of the fans were not exactly turned on by Christian and Ana's wedding, and made their feelings known.

    Check out the audience reaction from this fan's videos:

    Aiight so this happened at Atlantic Station. They played 50 shades instead of black panther pic.twitter.com/5WhvX270Y5

    — The Chef (Steve) (@ChefWaites) February 16, 2018

    I never laughed so hard. I'm happy i came to the black theatre pic.twitter.com/pxdTFK4Qt3

    — The Chef (Steve) (@ChefWaites) February 16, 2018
    At least he enjoyed the show-before-the-show. This fan -- Steve/The Chef from "The Chef, The Angry and The Adam Podcast" -- said others were pissed, but he just laughed. He took his 13-year-old nephew with him and joked "he had to close his eyes" for the five minutes of "Fifty Shades" footage. At least one other fan also shared reaction from the same theater:

    @blk_tray @AminESPN So they started to play 50 shades instead of Black Panther in my theater today... I'm 5 months removed from ACL surgery and I sprinted through the theater to get that turned off so damn fast

    — Slim Hardaway Jr (@TreDay421) February 16, 2018

    It was either an innocent mistake or someone's expert trolling. Either way, it's pretty funny. And the movie eventually played, so no longterm harm done.

    According to Variety, "Black Panther" earned about $25.2 million from Thursday night preview showings and is tracking to possibly make a massive $200 million in North America from the four-day Presidents Day weekend.

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