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Hollywood star John Travolta woos audiences in Saudi Arabia

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 12:27:26 UT

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Hollywood star John Travolta has wooed fans during a visit to Saudi Arabia, where authorities have said that commercial cinemas will reopen next year after more than a three-decade ban on movie theaters. Travolta met with fans in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Friday, fielding questions from the audience about his career and movies, which include hits like Grease, Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction. On Saturday, the American movie star attended a gala dinner and press conference.

'The Last Jedi' opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

Sun, 17 Dec 2017 20:38:42 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" will happily settle for second. Rian Johnson's second installment in the third "Star Wars" trilogy rocketed to a debut of $220 million at the North American box office, according to studio estimates Sunday. That gives "The Last Jedi" the second-best opening ever, slotting in behind only its predecessor, "The Force Awakens." The Disney blockbuster became just the fourth film to open above $200 million domestically. Aside from "The Force Awakens" ($248.8 million), the others are "The Avengers" ($207.4 million) and "Jurassic World" ($208.8 million). Accounting for inflation, the debut of 2012's "The Avengers" would roughly tie with "The Last Jedi.

Spurlock's 'Super Size Me' sequel pulled from Sundance fest

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 01:40:06 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Morgan Spurlock's latest documentary will not premiere at the Sundance Film Festival as planned. The remaining partners in his production company said Friday that they removed "Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!" from the Sundance slate in light of Spurlock's confessions of sexual misconduct this week. Warrior Poets partners Jeremy Chilnick and Matthew Galkin said in a statement that "this is not the appropriate time" for the film to premiere. YouTube Red, which was to distribute the film, also had a change of heart. YouTube said Friday it would not release the film, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

'Florida Project' producer accused of sexual misconduct

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 22:35:48 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "The Florida Project" producer Andrew Duncan has been accused of sexual misconduct by a dozen anonymous women and is stepping down from his company June Pictures. Duncan in a statement Friday disputes the allegations, calling them either distorted or demonstrably false. He accuses rivals of "taking advantage of the news climate" and trying to undermine his financial prospects. The Hollywood Reporter detailed accounts from multiple women alleging various kinds of misconduct on or around film sets ranging from inappropriate suggestions to kissing and groping without consent. Alex Saks is taking sole control of June Pictures in Duncan's absence.

Peter Jackson's Weinstein story opens old wounds for Sorvino

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 22:27:00 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Director Peter Jackson says he is now realizing that Harvey Weinstein's advice to avoid working with Mira Sorvino or Ashley Judd was likely part of a smear campaign against the two actresses. Jackson tells Stuff that he was told by Miramax in the late 1990s that they were "a nightmare" to work with and thus didn't consider either for his Lord of the Rings films. Sorvino said on Twitter that she burst out crying when she saw the article. She says it is confirmation that Weinstein derailed her career. Judd and Sorvino are among dozens of women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

Dying man's wish to see new 'Star Wars' movie coming true

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 22:09:40 UT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A dying man's wish to see the new "Star Wars" movie is expected to come true Saturday, thanks to local fire departments and medics. Ron Villemaire, 69, is terminally ill and is in hospice care in Bedford, New Hampshire, his daughter, Elizabeth Ngo, said Friday. Villemaire is a huge "Star Wars" fan, but can't get to a theater and sit in a seat. "Nothing would make me happier," Villemaire, who has late-stage cancer that spread from his colon, told WMUR-TV earlier this week. "That would be something to take with me." After a public plea from Ngo, the Bedford and New Boston fire departments said they'll take him Saturday by ambulance to a theater and transfer him to a hospital bed provided at the theater in Epping.

Review: 'Jumanji' sequel serves up stars, good hearted fun

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:11:38 UT

More than two decades after Robin Williams conquered that pesky board game, "Jumanji" has been resurrected with more and glossier stars (Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black), a comedy director and a "modern" twist. The result, "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ," is a very sweet, and generally entertaining body swap lark with some nice messages about being, and believing in, yourself. Why it had to be "Jumanji" is the head-scratcher.

McDormand inspired central character in 'Three Billboards'

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:11:33 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The central character in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" probably wouldn't exist without Frances McDormand, and writer-director Martin McDonagh says such strong characters and actresses are something to celebrate in an industry reeling from revelations of widespread sexual misconduct. The film was nominated for six Golden Globes and four Screen Actors Guild Awards this week. McDormand inspired the film's foul-mouthed protagonist Mildred Hayes, who attempts to shame the town sheriff into solving the year-old rape and murder of her teenage daughter. She posts three billboards on the edge of town to taunt him.

2017 Breakthrough: Millicent Simmonds of 'Wonderstruck'

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 17:08:51 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Adjusting to life in the spotlight has been quite a transition for Hollywood newcomer Millicent Simmonds. The 14-year-old deaf actress, who earned rave reviews for her breakout role in Todd Haynes' "Wonderstruck," said being away from her family in Utah has been one of the toughest challenges. "It's a new world for somebody who's going through this, so you have to get used to both things that happen to you — both the good and the bad," said Simmonds during a recent interview. The "good" includes rubbing elbows with actors like Will Smith, whom she met while premiering "Wonderstruck" at the Cannes Film Festival. "He came up to me and said, 'Your acting was amazing. I love your movie.

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' boasts $45 million opening night

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 16:40:27 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is off to a death star-sized start at the box office. Disney says Friday that the eighth installment in the space franchise has earned an estimated $45 million from Thursday night showings. It's the second-highest Thursday night preview tally following the $57 million start for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which kicked off this modern trilogy in 2015. "The Last Jedi" is expected to net around $200 million throughout the weekend, which would make it the fourth-biggest opening of all time. It's set to play on 4,232 screens in North America. Rian Johnson wrote and directed "The Last Jedi," which stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver.

As Disney swallows Fox, a new era dawns for Hollywood

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 10:25:16 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — After years of tremors, the earthquake that had long been predicted finally shook Hollywood. Disney's deal to purchase most of 21st Century Fox ends the era of the "Big Six" major movie studios, toppling one of the industry's most famed studios and dramatically redrawing the Hollywood map. Disney's move — to pay $52.4 billion in stock for Fox assets — has countless reverberations. But by effectively absorbing Fox's film studio, 20th Century Fox, Disney has rapidly accelerated the industry contraction that many considered inevitable in an era of flat-lining ticket sales and new streaming competitors like Netflix, Amazon and Apple. The Big Six are now the Big Five — and the mightiest of them all has just been supersized.

9 films now vying for foreign language Oscar nomination

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 05:27:33 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nine films are now vying for an Academy Award nomination in the foreign language category. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the short-list Thursday, which includes films from Chile, Germany, Israel and Lebanon. Ninety-two films were initially in contention for possible nomination. Five films are typically nominated for foreign language Oscar consideration, and the nominees will be announced on Jan. 23. The Academy Awards will be held on March 4 in Los Angeles.

'Dunkirk,' 'Call Me By Your Name' top AP's best 2017 films

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 20:49:38 UT

Associated Press Film Writers Lindsey Bahr and Jake Coyle name their choices for the best films of 2017. LINDSEY BAHR: 1. "Dunkirk": I'm not sure I've ever been so wholly transported by and viscerally engaged in a theatergoing experience as I was watching Christopher Nolan's masterpiece "Dunkirk," but the filmmaker continues to innovatively use the generous budgets his success has afforded him to push the envelope of immersive cinema and storytelling. 2.

Top 2017 film moments include 'Girls Trip' and 'Get Out'

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:52:43 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — From Tiffany Haddish and that grapefruit to Wonder Woman taking on No Man's Land by herself, here are the 10 movie moments from 2017 that we can't stop talking about. Beware, mild spoilers lurk below. ___ NO MAN'S LAND, "Wonder Woman" Goosebumps. I still get goosebumps thinking about Gal Gadot emerging from that trench and walking confidently with a steely calm into that empty and unwinnable field, swatting bullets away with her golden bracelets and giving hope not only to those counting on her in the film but to every woman in the audience too.

Disney buying big chunk of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal, bringing together film studios and growing overseas.

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:04:05 UT

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — Disney buying big chunk of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal, bringing together film studios and growing overseas.