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His death still seems surreal, a day later.

Sean Connery’s wife opens up about late actor’s dementia battle

Sean Connery’s widow, Micheline Roquebrune, has broken her silence following the movie star’s death, opening up about his battle with dementia.

The 90-year-old former James Bond icon’s peaceful death was confirmed by his family on Saturday, and now his artist wife has confirmed reports the Scottish actor was battling the degenerative condition.

“It was no life for him,” she tells the Daily Mail on Sunday. “It took its toll on him. He was not able to express himself latterly… He got his final wish to slip away without any fuss.

“At least he died in his sleep and it was just so peaceful. I was with him all the time and he just slipped away. It was what he wanted.”

Connery passed away at the couple’s home in the Bahamas.

A cause of death has yet to be released.

Pierce Brosnan pays respect to Sean Connery

Pierce Brosnan has added his tribute to movie legend Sir Sean Connery, calling the Scottish star “my greatest James Bond.”

Brosnan, who portrayed 007 in four movies between 1995 and 2002, has joined fellow Bond Daniel Craig among those paying their respects.

Posting a black and white image of Connery on social media, Pierce writes: “Sir Sean Connery, you were my greatest James Bond as a boy, and as a man who became James Bond himself. You cast a long shadow of cinematic splendour that will live on forever.

“You led the way for us all who followed in your iconic foot steps. Each man in his turn looked to you with reverence and admiration as we forged ahead with our own interpretations of the role. You were mighty in every way, as an actor and as a man, and will remain so till the end of time. Your were loved by the world, and will be missed. God bless, rest now, be at peace.”

Current Bond Craig was among the first to offer up his thoughts about the man who originated 007 in the long-running film franchise back in 1962, sharing a statement via the Bond films’ official Twitter page that read: “It is with such sadness that I heard of the passing of one of the true greats of cinema. Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster.”

Representatives for another late James Bond star, Roger Moore, have also released a statement, which reads: “How infinitely sad to hear the news Sir Sean Connery has passed away. He and Roger were friends for many decades and Roger always maintained Sean was the best ever James Bond. RIP.”

Meanwhile, Connery’s granddaughter, Saskia, has also offered up a tribute via social media, calling the acting great her best friend.

“A surreal goodbye to my best friend, mentor and dear grandfather,” she wrote. “Please respect my families privacy while we process this news (sic). Thank you for all the wishes and we will get back to you all soon. Heaven has gained the most legendary angel today.”

Saskia also posted an image of the flag outside her grandfather’s local golf club Lyford Cay Club in Nassau, the Bahamas, at half mast as officials honour their late member: “Half mast and forever missed,” she wrote.

And Sir Sean’s actor grandson Dashiell has posted a photo of the late star with the caption: “Great man.”

In a video message, he added: “Thanks for all the love and support and well wishes. I really do appreciate it. Thank you.”

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“A legend on screen, and off. “

Daniel Craig leads tributes to original James Bond, Sean Connery

Daniel Craig is leading tributes to late James Bond star Sean Connery following the Scottish actor’s death at 90.

The current 007 has released a statement, calling Connery “one of the true greats of cinema”.

“Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more,” Craig writes. “He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster.

“He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course.”

Connery was the original star of the James Bond film franchise, playing the superspy in 1962 movie Dr. No. He appeared in seven 007 films.

He passed away in his sleep at his home in the Bahamas.

Hugh Jackman and Salma Hayek have also paid tribute to the late movie legend.

The Australian star tweeted: “I grew up idolizing #Sean Connery. A legend on screen, and off. Rest in Peace.”

Hayek shared a black and white photo of Connery on Instagram and added: “It saddens me that today the legendary Sean Connery passed away. At least he lived to be 90. My heart goes out to his close ones. May he rest in peace.”

And Sam Neill, who starred in The Hunt For Red October alongside Sean, added: “Every day on set with #SeanConnery was an object lesson in how to act on screen. But all that charisma and power – that was utterly unique to Sean. RIP that great man, that great actor.”

Meanwhile, Elton John took to Instagram to share his thoughts and prayers, writing: “A true screen legend” alongside a photo of the rocker and his husband David Furnish hanging out with Connery and his wife Micheline Roquebrune.

There have also been tributes from Elizabeth Hurley, Star Trek’s George Takei, Antonio Banderas, and Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who released a statement that reads: “We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Connery. He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond, whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words – ‘The name’s Bond… James Bond’ – he revolutionized the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent.

“He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.”

Connery was a bodybuilder, model, and milkman before he found fame as an actor, making his movie debut in 1954’s Lilacs in the Spring. He went on to appear in a series of British TV roles and films until his big break in the Disney musical Darby O’ Gill & the Little People in 1959. That led to an appearance in classic war movie The Longest Day and his Bond debut, both in 1962.

Outside his Bond film appearances, Connery also won acclaim for the movies The Hill, The Man Who Would Be King, Murder on the Orient Express, A Bridge Too Far, The First Great Train Robbery, The Hunt For Red October, The Rock, Highlander, and The Untouchables, for which he won an Oscar. He also teamed up with Harrison Ford for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

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Tragic, tragic news. Rest In Peace, Sir Sean and Thanks!!

Sean Connery dead at age 90

Sean Connery, the charismatic Scottish actor who rose to international superstardom as suave, fearless secret agent James Bond and then abandoned the role to carve out an equally successful Oscar-winning career playing a variety of leading and character roles, has died. He was 90.

Bond producers EON Productions confirmed his death, first reported by the BBC.

Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said they were “devastated by the news.”

“He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words — ‘The name’s Bond … James Bond,”‘ they said in a statement.

The producers said Connery’s “gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent” was largely responsible for the success of the series.

Connery’s son Jason said his father died peacefully in his sleep overnight in the Bahamas where he lived, having been “unwell for some time.”

“A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor,” Jason Connery told the BBC.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “heartbroken” at the news.

“Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons,” she said.

A commanding screen presence for some 40 years, Connery was in his early 30s and little known when he starred in the first Bond thriller, 1962’s Dr. No, based on the Ian Fleming novel.

Condemned as immoral by the Vatican and the Kremlin but screened at the White House for Bond fan John F. Kennedy, Dr. No was a box-office hit and helped Bond become a franchise that long outlasted its Cold War origins.

For decades, with actors from Connery to Daniel Craig in the leading role, filmgoers have loved the outrageous stunts, vicious villains and likable, roguish hero who enjoyed a life of carousing, fast cars, gadgety weapons, elegant clothes and vodka martinis (always shaken, not stirred).

For many, Connery was the definitive James Bond, his character’s introduction among the most famous in movie history. He is seated at the baccarat table of an upscale casino, seen first from the side and the back. After he wins a couple of hands against a glamorous young woman, she asks for more money to gamble.

“I admire your courage, Miss, uh …” we hear him tell her as the camera shows his hands removing a cigarette from a slender case. She introduces herself as “Trench, Sylvia Trench,” tells him she admires his luck and asks his name. His reply remains a catchphrase decades later. “Bond,” he says, his face finally revealed as he lights a cigarette. “James Bond.”

United Artists couldn’t wait to make more Bond movies, with ever more elaborate stunts and gadgets, along with more exotic locales and more prominent co-stars, among them Lotte Lenya and Jill St. John.

Connery continued as Bond in From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever, often performing his own stunts.

Diamonds Are Forever came out in 1971, and by then Connery had grown weary of playing 007 and feared he wasn’t being taken seriously despite his dramatic performances in Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie and Sidney Lumet’s The Hill.

“I’d been an actor since I was 25, but the image the press put out was that I just fell into this tuxedo and started mixing vodka martinis,” he once complained.

When he walked away at age 41, Hollywood insiders predicted Connery would soon be washed up. Who would hire a balding, middle-aged actor with a funny accent?

Connery fooled them all, playing a wide range of characters and proving equally adept at comedy, adventure or drama. And age only heightened the appeal of his dark stare and rugged brogue; he set a celebrity record of sorts when at age 59, he was named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”

He won the affection of fans of the Indiana Jones franchise when he played Indy’s father opposite Harrison Ford in the third picture, 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He turned in a poignant portrayal of an aging Robin Hood opposite Audrey Hepburn in Robin and Marian in 1976 and, 15 years later, was King Richard to Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

He was the lovable English con man who joined Michael Caine in swindling tribal people everywhere in The Man Who Would Be King and the bold Russian submarine commander in The Hunt for Red October.

He delivered a charming performance as a reclusive writer who mentors a teenage prodigy in 2000’s Finding Forrester.

He won his Oscar for supporting actor in 1987 for his portrayal of a tough Chicago cop who joins Elliot Ness’s crime-fighters in The Untouchables.

By then he was at peace with James Bond, and when he arrived onstage at the Oscar ceremony he declared, “The name’s Connery. Sean Connery.”

He kept his promise not to play Bond again until 1983, when he was lured back by an offbeat script about a middle-aged 007. Based on the only Fleming story that hadn’t been nailed down by the film empire Broccoli and Saltzman created, Connery took the role and helped produce the film. The result was Never Say Never Again, a title suggested by his wife, Micheline Roquebrune.

Even as the 007 films made him a millionaire, Connery often tried to separate his own personality from that of Bond. “I’m obviously not Bond,” he once said. “And Bond is obviously not a human being. Fleming invented him after the war, when people were hungry for luxury, gourmet touches, exotic settings. Those were the things the English loved to read about following the privations of the war.”

The “real” Sean Connery had a troubled first marriage and a history of comments justifying domestic violence. In 1962, he married Diane Cilento, an actor best known for her role as Molly in Tom Jones. They had a son, Jason, who also became an actor, but the union proved tempestuous and ended in 1974.

Its impact lasted long after. Cilento would allege that he had physically abused her, and Connery defended his behaviour in interviews. In 1965, he told Playboy magazine that he did not find “anything particularly wrong about hitting a woman — although I don’t recommend doing it in the same way that you’d hit a man. An openhanded slap is justified — if all other alternatives fail and there has been plenty of warning.”

When journalist Barbara Walters brought up those remarks in a 1987 interview, he said his opinion hadn’t changed because “sometimes women just won’t leave things alone.”

Connery was widely criticized but still received numerous honours, including being chosen as commander (the same rank as Bond) of France’s Order of Arts and Literature and a Kennedy Center honoree in 1999 in the United States. The following year, Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed him a British knight.

Thomas Sean Connery was born Aug. 25, 1930, in Edinburgh, the first of two sons of a long-distance truck driver and a domestic worker.

He left school at age 13 during the Second World War to help support his family.

“I was a milkman, labourer, steel bender, cement mixer — virtually anything,” he said.

Weary of day labour, he joined the British navy and was medically discharged after three years. The ailment: stomach ulcers.

Back in Edinburgh, he lifted weights to build his body and compete in the Mr. Universe contest. He came in third and briefly considered becoming a professional soccer player but chose acting because he reasoned his career would last longer.

He got his first big break singing and dancing to There is Nothing Like a Dame in South Pacific on the London stage and in a road production before going on to act in repertory, television and B movies.

He went to Hollywood for two early films, Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People and Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure.

When he decided to become an actor, he was told that Thomas Sean Connery wouldn’t fit on a theatre marquee, so he dropped his first name.

Then came the audition that changed his life. American producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had bought the film rights to a string of post-Second World War spy adventure novels by Ian Fleming.

Connery was not their first choice for Dr. No. The producers had looked to Cary Grant but decided they wanted an actor who would commit to a series. The producers also realized they couldn’t afford a big-name star because United Artists had limited their film budget to $1 million a picture, so they started interviewing more obscure British performers.

Among them was the 6-foot-2 Connery. Without a screen test, Broccoli and Saltzman chose the actor, citing his “dark, cruel good looks,” a perfect match for the way Fleming described Bond.

When Connery started earning big money, he established his base at a villa in Marbella on the Spanish coast.

He described it as “my sanitarium, where I recover from the madness of the film world.” It also helped him avoid the overwhelming income tax he would have paid had he remained a resident of Britain.

As his acting roles diminished when he reached his 70s, Connery spent much of his time at his tax-free home at Lyford Cay in the Bahamas. He played golf almost every morning, often with his wife. He announced in 2007 that he had retired when he turned down the chance to appear in another Indiana Jones movie.

“I thought long and hard about it, and if anything could have pulled me out of retirement it would have been an Indiana Jones film,” he said.

“But in the end, retirement is just too damned much fun.”

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I miss that man every day!!

City of Toronto marks ‘John Candy Day’ to celebrate late actor’s birthday

Toronto Mayor John Tory has declared this Saturday “John Candy Day” to mark what would’ve been the actor’s 70th birthday.

The mayor made the announcement on social media, saying, “It’s our way of remembering a beloved actor and comedian with roots in Toronto.”

Candy, who was born on Oct. 31, 1950, grew up in East York and attended high school in Scarborough. He began his comedy career as part of Toronto’s Second City sketch troupe.

He rose to fame as part of the cast of the Second City Television series in 1976, forging a unique identity with characters such as TV personality Johnny LaRue and clarinetist Yosh Shmenge of the Shmenge Brothers polka duo.

That opened the doors to Hollywood, where he was cast in many classic comedies, including Splash, Home Alone, Stripes and Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

But Candy always maintained his ties to Toronto, taking on a stake in the Toronto Argonauts football team in 1991 as co-owner.

Candy died on March 4, 1994, after suffering a heart attack while shooting the film Wagons East in Durango, Mexico. He was 43.

Tory said the actor’s legacy lives on in many places, among them his family, his performances and his induction into Canada’s Walk of Fame.

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One day there’ll be good movies to go see again!!

Come Play’ limps to $3.1 million debut at box office

LOS ANGELES — Audiences did not heed the title of “Come Play,” a terrifying thriller from Focus Features and Amblin that debuted in U.S. theatres this weekend. The PG-13 horror film generated just $3.15 million from 2,183 screens, enough to lead sleepy box office charts in pandemic times.

Moviegoing has been incredibly slow in North America because theatres in New York City and Los Angeles, two vital markets, remain closed. With those venues shuttered, studios are wary of releasing big-budget potential blockbusters. For the time being, studios are siphoning off smaller movies like “Come Play,” supernatural thriller “The Empty Man” and family flick “The War With Grandpa.” It’s a chance for theatre owners to offer audiences new product, sure, but such offerings are hardly moving the needle for ticket sales.

“Come Play” actually came in ahead of expectations: pre-release tracking suggested inaugural weekend sales around $2 million to $2.5 million. Yet analyst David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, referred to the opening of “Come Play” as “soft.” However, he noted that “like all recent wide releases, ‘Come Play’s’ theatre count is somewhat low and in line with the proportion of theatres closed across the U.S.”

“Come Play” sold the most tickets in Dallas, followed by New York — despite New York City venues still shuttered. Drive-in theatres have been a boon during the pandemic, and this weekend was no different. Mission Tiki Drive-In near Los Angeles and West Wind Sacramento 6 Drive-In were among the highest-earning theatres. Directed by Jacob Chase and starring Gillian Jacobs (“Love”) and John Gallagher Jr., “Come Play” follows two parents as they attempt to protect their young son from getting abducted by a villainous humanoid creature. It cost $10 million to produce.

“We’re thrilled that audiences came out to celebrate Halloween making ‘Come Play’ the No. 1 movie this weekend,” said Lisa Bunnell, president of distribution at Focus Features.

Liam Neeson’s action adventure “Honest Thief” collected $1.35 million from 2,360 theatres, enough to secure second place. After three weekends of release, the movie has generated $9.5 million.

Since launching over the Columbus Day holiday weekend, Robert De Niro’s “The War With Grandpa” has made $11.2 million in total. The comedy landed at No. 3 on charts this weekend after adding another $1.1 million from 2,365 screens.

“The Empty Man,” from Disney’s 20th Century Studios, plummeted nearly 60% from initial weekend sales. Given essentially zero promotion from the studio, it scraped together $561,000 this weekend for a North American total of $2.2 million.

“The Empty Man” came in behind Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” which has been in U.S. theatres for over two months. The sci-fi epic, starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, brought in $665,000. That brings “Tenet’s” domestic total to $53.8 million, disappointing results for a movie that cost over $200 million. Overseas, the film has enjoyed stronger box office receipts, with ticket sales reaching $293.3 million internationally and $347 million globally.

Elsewhere, Paramount unveiled “Spell” on premium video-on-demand and in 369 theatres, where it earned $210,000.

In honour of Halloween, Disney brought some spooky holiday favourites back to the big screen, including “Hocus Pocus” ($456,000), “The Nightmare Before Christmas” ($386,000) and “Monsters Inc. ($232,000).

Sluggish box office sales come as parts of Europe are enacting new lockdowns, prompting theatres in England, France and Italy to close down again. In the U.S., there are concerns that chilly temperatures during winter could cause coronavirus to continue surging.

“The cold, indoor weather is going to be a challenge around the world,” Gross said.

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I love the place, but it’s awful how many legends aren’t in there.

Insiders explain the worst Rock & Roll Hall of Fame snubs of all time

What do The Go-Go’s, Tina Turner, Kraftwerk, A Tribe Called Quest, Sonic Youth and Iron Maiden have in common? Not much. Except none of them are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“It’s a closed system,” said one industry player. “It’s all about the tastes of the older guys who started it: [Rolling Stone founder] Jann Wenner, [late Atlantic Records founder] Ahmet Ertegun. It’s changing a bit now that Jann’s stepped down — but that’s basically why there’s a lack of diversity and women and edgier acts.”

The first year of inductees was 1986, with a simple criteria for eligibility. An artist’s first album has to have been out for at least 25 years, to prove they stand the test of time. But beyond that, it’s a matter of voters’ personal preferences.

“The artists that get in reflect the tastes of that year’s nominating committee, which fluctuates,” said journalist Roy Trakin, a former voting committee member. “For instance, heavy metal and hair-metal — Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Poison — never get much respect.”

Same with hip-hop, said Joe Kwaczala, co-host of the podcast Who Cares about The Rock Hall. “Tupac got in, but LL Cool J, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul are waiting in the wings.”

Wenner was the chairman of the Hall’s Foundation until this year, when John Sykes, President of Entertainment Enterprises for IHeartMedia, took his place. Jon Landau, Bruce Springsteen’s longtime manager, is head of the nominating committee.

According to Kwaczala, “The committee meets once a year and each bring up two names. Then they all vote. The top 15 comprise the ballot. Then it goes to the voters, about 1,100 [industry] people.”

Sykes said the nomination process is no great mystery. “[It] is an … objective system that involves, first, a diverse group of over 30 people. It’s not a backroom cartel who decides. The group evolves because music evolves … [Landau] says the mantra is: ‘Who created the sound of young America?’”

Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, the Notorious B.I.G. and T. Rex all made the cut for this year’s ceremony, which airs Saturday on HBO. (The show was pre-taped as what Sykes calls as “documentary” and won’t feature the usual intra-band jam sessions.)

Among the more recent additions to the nominating committee are QuestLove and Dave Grohl. “QuestLove is an influential member. He was more or less responsible for getting Hall & Oates in [in 2014],” said Trakin.

Sources told The Post that bringing in Sykes should change things in the near future.

“The Go-Go’s, there’s no good reason they haven’t even been on the ballot. It wouldn’t shock me if they were on the ballot [for 2021], because of their Showtime documentary. Nina Simone was snubbed for years, but that Netflix doc on her really helped [her get in in 2018],” said Kwaczala.

He added: “The Hall is warming up to post-punk British bands: The Cure last year, Depeche Mode this year. The Smiths or Joy Division/New Order will be next.”

Some artists are perennially selected by the nominating committee, only to be rejected by voters.

“The committee put forth Kraftwerk six times. Chaka Khan and Rufus have been on the nominating ballot six times. LL Cool J, same. MC5 have been on at least five times,” Kwaczala explained.

Said Sykes, “Most artists don’t get in the first [nomination]. Biggie Smalls was an exception.”

Kwaczala predicts Jay-Z will get in next year, his first time for eligibility.

But does being in even matter?

“It matters for legacy,” said one longtime rock publicist. “Most artists, no matter what they say, really want to be inducted. When Eddie Van Halen just passed, one of the first lines in his obit was: ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.’”

Another publicist told The Post: “I’m told you have to get an old-time music business influencer to write you a letter. Some acts won’t do that. They feel like their music is enough.”

Sometimes even campaigning doesn’t work. “We made several overtures to the Hall of Fame,” recalled Len Fico, manager of Jethro Tull from 1990 to 2007. “In 2001, when [singer] Ian Anderson had his second solo record out, we set up a gig in Cleveland [at the Hall of Fame Museum]. Ian was interviewed by the curator and donated a flag, stage clothing and original master tapes of ‘Aqualung.’ But I was told [Wenner] didn’t like Jethro Tull and would never let them in … Now that he’s stepped down, maybe they have a chance.”

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Saturday Night Live is 0-4 this season. Hopefully Mulaney saves the season!!

John Mulaney, the Strokes Set for ‘SNL’ Halloween Episode

John Mulaney will host and the Strokes will serve as musical guests on Saturday Night Live’s Halloween episode next week.

Both Mulaney and the Strokes will be making their fourth appearance on the long-running series; Mulaney, a former SNL writer, last hosted on February 29th, 2020 — the second-to-last pre-Covid episode — while the Strokes are returning to SNL for the first time since 2011, when they were musical guest on a Miley Cyrus-hosted episode.

“Three things define New York City: SNL, the Strokes, and Ed Koch. Koch is dead, so they got me,” Mulaney tweeted. “I am so goddamn excited. 4th time up. Wow and wow and wow.”

The Halloween episode marks the fifth and final of five straight new episodes to kick off SNL’s Season 46, as well as the last episode before Election Day.

Season 46 has so far featured hosts Chris Rock, Bill Burr, Issa Rae and Adele, with musical guests Megan Thee Stallion, Jack White, Justin Bieber and H.E.R.

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I wanted to go to a movie theatre twice this weekend, but the showtimes didn’t work out. I’m trying!!

Liam Neeson thriller ‘Honest Thief’ tops quiet box office again

LOS ANGELES, Oct 25, (Variety.com) – Liam Neeson’s thriller “Honest Thief” repeated as the winner of a subdued domestic box office with $2.4 million at 2,502 locations.

The Open Road release declined 44% from its opening frame and has taken in $7.5 million in its first 10 days in North America. The distributor added screens in New York state following New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to give movie theaters outside of New York City permission to reopen at reduced capacity starting on Oct. 23.

Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road said: “Our belief was that releasing a crowd-pleaser of a film, like ‘Honest Thief,’ at this point in time, would generate the positive word-of-mouth necessary to successfully propel the film for many weeks. Back to back weeks at number 1, confirms that belief.”

The “Honest Thief” number is one of the lowest-winning weekend totals in theaters during the past two months, but Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore, said it demonstrated the fundamental appeal of the moviegoing experience.

“The performance of ‘Honest Thief’ proves that moviegoers haven’t given up on the theatrical experience and that an action thriller starring Liam Neeson is the perfect antidote to today’s trying times and supplies that big screen escape that audiences have been craving,” Dergarabedian said. “With an unlimited supply of content at home on the small screen, it should be heartening to theatrical exhibition that movies in theaters remain relevant to audiences and even though the box office numbers (for obvious reasons) are lower than what would be typically seen at this time of year, there is clearly an interest by consumers in the movie theater experience.”

The New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco markets remained closed due to the pandemic along with the Regal Cinemas chain, which shuttered its 536 U.S. locations on Oct. 8. Other U.S. theaters are operating with reduced hours and at reduced capacity with social distancing restrictions.

101 Studios’ third weekend of family comedy “The War With Grandpa” showed solid holding power with a 25% decline to $1.9 million at 2,345 venues for a 17-day total of $9.7 million. The Robert De Niro vehicle led the box office over the Columbus Day weekend with $4 million, breaking the five-weekend winning streak of “Tenet,” the big-budget Christopher Nolan thriller.

Disney’s opening of horror-thriller “The Empty Man” debuted softly with $1.3 million at 2,027 domestic locations. In the film, James Badge Dale stars as an ex-cop dealing with a secretive group trying to summon a supernatural entity. “The Empty Man” was developed at 20th Century Fox before Disney bought the Fox entertainment assets last year.

Christoper Nolan’s “Tenet” also took in $1.3 million at 1,801 domestic site, declining only 15% in its eighth weekend. Warner Bros. opted to open “Tenet” in North America on Labor Day weekend and has seen domestic results top $52 million. The international results have been respectable with nearly $290 million, but the film’s modest domestic performance signaled a reluctance by many U.S. moviegoers to return to multiplexes amid the ongoing pandemic. Major studios have been delaying virtually every other high-profile release as a result.

During the past week, three more high profile titles — MGM’s “Legally Blonde 3,” Universal’s “Candyman” and Sony’s “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” — have been delayed. Only a few major studio movies remain on the 2020 calendar with Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman 1984” scheduled for Dec. 25.

Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Box Office Pro, summed up the weekend by noting the need for exhibitors to provide reassurance to potential customers.

“Relatively strong holds across the board remain the theme of pandemic box office, even if overall foot traffic remains markedly low,” he noted. “The re-opening of some New York state cinemas helps business in a minor way, but we’re in a period of the calendar now where theaters should start relying more on communication to consumers about the safety of moviegoing just as much as, or more than, promoting new releases. It’ll be a few weeks before any truly mainstream titles arrive from major studios again. The attainable goal right now is all about building consumer confidence.”

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I wonder what comes first…we all see NO TIME TO DIE or the naming of the next James Bond?

‘James Bond’ studio demanded $600M deal to move from theatres to streaming: Report

Bosses at MGM Studios reportedly put a $600 million price tag on new James Bond movie No Time To Die as they considered a streaming deal in place of a theatrical release.

The movie, Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007, was supposed to be released back in April 2020, but was pushed back until November right at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has since been pushed back again until April 2021 – and Variety reported producers considered scrapping the theatrical release altogether.

“The studio was said to be looking for a deal of roughly $600 million — a price tag that was deemed too rich for two of the free-spending streaming services,” the publication claimed, with Apple TV+ and Netflix among the platforms reportedly in the mix for the possible acquisition.

A representative told Variety: “We do not comment on rumours. The film is not for sale. The film’s release has been postponed until April 2021 in order to preserve the theatrical experience for moviegoers.”

No Time to Die, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, also stars Jeffrey Wright, Lea Seydoux, and Rami Malek.

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I’m Still Numb And Can’t Believe Eddie’s Gone. Rest In Peace, Eddie!!

Eddie Van Halen dead of cancer at 65

Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest groups, fuelled the unmistakable fiery solo in Michael Jackson’s hit Beat It and became elevated to the status of rock god, has died. He was 65.

A person close to Van Halen’s family confirmed the rocker died Tuesday due to cancer. The person was not authorized to publicly release details in advance of an official announcement.

His son also confirmed his death and the cause on Twitter.

“I can’t believe I’m having to write this but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning,” Wolfgang Van Halen said in the tweet.

With his distinct solos, Eddie Van Halen fuelled the ultimate California party band and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s with his band’s self-titled debut album and then with the blockbuster record 1984, which contains the classics Jump, Panama and Hot for Teacher.

Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie Van Halen at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.

Eddie Van Halen was something of a musical contradiction. He was an autodidact who could play almost any instrument, but he couldn’t read music. He was a classically trained pianist who also created some of the most distinctive guitar riffs in rock history. He was a Dutch immigrant who was considered one of the greatest American guitarists of his generation.

The members of Van Halen — the two Van Halen brothers, Eddie and Alex; vocalist David Lee Roth; and bassist Michael Anthony — formed in 1974 in Pasadena, Calif.

They were members of rival high school bands and then attended Pasadena City College together. They combined to form the band Mammoth, but then changed to Van Halen after discovering there was another band called Mammoth.

Their 1978 release Van Halen opened with a blistering Runnin’ With the Devil and then Eddie Van Halen showed off his astonishing skills in the next song, Eruption, a furious one-and-a-half minute guitar solo that swoops and soars like a deranged bird. The album also contained a cover of the Kinks’ You Really Got Me and Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.

Mike McCready of Pearl Jam told Rolling Stone magazine that listening to Van Halen’s Eruption was like hearing Mozart for the first time. “He gets sounds that aren’t necessarily guitar sounds — a lot of harmonics, textures that happen just because of how he picks.”

Van Halen released albums on a yearly timetable — Van Halen II (1979), Women and Children First (1980), Fair Warning (1981) and Diver Down (1982) — until the monumental 1984, which hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album charts (only behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller).

Rolling Stone ranked 1984 No. 81 on its list of the 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s.

“Eddie put the smile back in rock guitar, at a time when it was all getting a bit brooding. He also scared the hell out of a million guitarists around the world, because he was so damn good. And original,” Joe Satriani, a fellow virtuoso, told Billboard in 2015.

Van Halen also played guitar on one of the biggest singles of the 1980s: Jackson’s Beat It. His solo lasted all of 20 seconds and took only a half an hour to record. He did it for free, as a favour to producer Quincy Jones, while the rest of his Van Halen bandmates were out of town.

Van Halen performs Beat It with Michael Jackson at a concert in Irving, Texas, in July 1984. (Carlos Osorio/The Associated Press)
Van Halen received no compensation or credit for the work, even though he rearranged the section he played on.

“It was 20 minutes of my life. I didn’t want anything for doing that,” he told Billboard in 2015. “I literally thought to myself, ‘Who is possibly going to know if I play on this kid’s record?”‘

Rolling Stone ranked Beat It No. 344 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Jackson’s melding of hard rock and R&B preceded the meeting of Run-DMC and Aerosmith by four years.

But strains between Roth and the band erupted after their 1984 world tour and Roth left.

The group then recruited Sammy Hagar as lead singer — some critics called the new formulation “Van Hagar” — and the band went on to score its first No. 1 album with 5150, More studio albums followed, including OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Balance. Hit singles included Why Can’t This Be Love and When It’s Love.

Hagar was ousted in 1996 and former Extreme singer Gary Cherone stepped in for the album Van Halen III, a stumble that led to his quick departure. Roth would eventually return in 2007 and team up with the Van Halen brothers, with Wolfgang Van Halen on bass, for a tour and the albums A Different Kind of Truth in 2012 and Tokyo Dome Live in Concert in 2015.

Van Halen’s music has appeared in films as varied as Superbad, Minions and Sing as well as TV shows like Glee and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Video games such as Gran Turismo 4 and Guitar Hero have used his riffs. Their song Jamie’s Cryin was sampled by rapper Tone Loc in his hit Wild Thing.

For much of his career, Eddie Van Halen wrote and experimented with sounds while drunk or high or both. He revealed that he would stay in his hotel room drinking vodka and snorting cocaine while playing into a tape recorder. (Hagar’s 2011 autobiography Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock portrays Eddie as a violent, booze-addled vampire, living inside a garbage-strewn house.)

“I didn’t drink to party,” Van Halen told Billboard. “Alcohol and cocaine were private things to me. I would use them for work. The blow keeps you awake and the alcohol lowers your inhibitions. I’m sure there were musical things I would not have attempted were I not in that mental state.”

Eddie Van Halen was born in Amsterdam and his family immigrated to California in 1962 when he was seven. His father was a big band clarinetist who rarely found work after coming to the U.S., and their mother was a maid who had dreams of her sons being classical pianists. The Van Halens shared a house with three other families. Eddie and Alex had only each other, a tight relationship that flowed through their music.

“We showed up here with the equivalent of $50 and a piano,” Eddie Van Halen told The Associated Press in 2015. “We came halfway around the world without money, without a set job, no place to live and couldn’t even speak the language.”

He said his earliest memories of music were banging pots and pans together, marching to John Philip Sousa marches. At one point, Eddie got a drum set, which his older brother coveted.

“I never wanted to play guitar,” he confessed at a talk at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in 2015. But his brother was good at the drums, so Eddie gave into his brother’s wishes: “I said, ‘Go ahead, take my drums. I’ll play your damn guitar.”‘

He was a relentless experimenter who would solder different parts from different guitar-makers, including Gibson and Fender. He created his own graphic design for his guitars by adding tape to the instruments and then spray-painting them. He said his influences were Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.

Van Halen, sober since 2008, lost one-third of his tongue to a cancer that eventually drifted into his esophagus. In 1999, he had a hip replacement. He was married twice, to actress Valerie Bertinelli from 1981 to 2007 and then stuntwoman-turned-publicist Janie Liszewski, whom he wed in 2009.