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I was hoping to go see Bohemian Rhapsody this weekend, but I spend the time reading the Beastie Boys Book instead. No regrets!!

Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody rules the box office with $50 million debut

Bohemian Rhapsody is proving to be box office dynamite (with a laser beam?).

Twentieth Century Fox’s foot-stomping biopic about the influential British rock band Queen is on track to sell an estimated $50 million in tickets at 4,000 theaters in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, far exceeding expectations and easily dethroning Halloween as the No. 1 film in North America. Starring Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) as Queen’s charismatic frontman, Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody will notch the second biggest opening for a music biopic ever, behind 2015’s Straight Outta Compton ($60.2 million).

Heading into the weekend, the film had been projected to debut in the $35 million to $40 million range. It cost about $52 million to make. Overseas, it will add about $72.5 million in ticket sales this weekend.

Tracing Queen’s rise to stardom, internal conflicts, and reconciliation ahead of a legendary Live Aid performance in 1985, Bohemian Rhapsody has had a long and winding path to the screen. For years, Sacha Baron Cohen had been attached to play Mercury, but he left the project in 2013 over creative differences. Later, director Bryan Singer was fired partway through filming after an extended absence that led to a production shutdown, and Dexter Fletcher was brought in to finish the movie. (Singer is the sole credited director.)

Setbacks notwithstanding, Bohemian Rhapsody is off to a strong start, and moviegoers gave it an A CinemaScore. Film critics were less impressed, though many have praised Malek’s performance.

Arriving with less fanfare this weekend are Disney’s live-action fantasy The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, in second place with about $20 million, and Paramount’s comedy Nobody’s Fool, in third place with about $14 million. Both films are coming in toward the low end of industry projections.

Directed by Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston, Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a big-budget retelling of the beloved story about a young girl (Mackenzie Foy) who receives a precious Christmas gift that leads her on a journey to a fantastical new world. Critics were unimpressed by the movie, while audiences gave it a B-plus CinemaScore.

Nobody’s Fool, meanwhile, is the first R-rated comedy from Tyler Perry and stars Tiffany Haddish as an ex-con who helps her sister (Tika Sumpter) deal with a potential catfishing situation. Reviews were also poor, though the film received an A-minus CinemaScore.

Rounding out the top five this weekend are Warner Bros’. music-driven romance A Star Is Born, with about $11.1 million, and Universal’s slasher reboot/sequel Halloween, with about $11 million.

In limited release, Focus Features’ gay-conversion drama Boy Erased is debuting in five theaters with an estimated $220,000 (a strong per-screen average of $44,000), and Aviron’s A Private War, about slain war correspondent Marie Colvin, is opening in four theaters with an estimated $72,000 (a per-screen average of $18,000).

Overall box office is up 10.7 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. See the Nov. 2-4 figures below.

1. Bohemian Rhapsody — $50 million
2. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms — $20 million
3. Nobody’s Fool — $14 million
4. A Star Is Born — $11.1 million
5. Halloween — $11 million
6. Venom — $7.9 million
7. Smallfoot — $3.8 million
8. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween — $3.7 million
9. Hunter Killer — $3.5 million
10. The Hate U Give — $3.4 million

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Farewell, Apu?

The Simpsons’ solution to Apu backlash: Drop him

The Simpsons may have solved “The Problem with Apu.”

Producers are reportedly planning to write the brown-skinned shopkeeper off the animated show in an effort to silence allegations of racial stereotyping about Indian-Americans.

Producer Adi Shankar, who does not work for the show, said Fox will “drop the Apu character altogether,” according to his interview with IndieWire published Friday. “They aren’t going to make a big deal out of it, or anything like that, but they’ll drop him altogether just to avoid controversy.”

The Indian-American producer said two people who work for the long-running show and one who work for its creator, Matt Groening, told him the “disheartening news.”

Shankar set out to save Apu earlier this year by crowd-sourcing a script that would make the character more PC with a storyline that “evolves him in a way that takes a creation that was the byproduct of a predominately Harvard-educated white male writers’ room and transforms it into a fresh, funny and realistic portrayal of Indians in America,” Shankar said.

Shankar’s efforts came months after Fox’s Apu troubles — which have been brewing for years — erupted with the airing of a damning documentary entitled “The Problem With Apu.” The short film highlighted the stereotypes Apu embodies — including his heavy Indian accent and a job as an immigrant running a Kwik-E-Mart.

Fox, when asked about the alleged Apu axing, told IndieWire only that “Apu appeared in the 10/14/18 episode ‘My Way or the Highway to Heaven.’” But he appeared only briefly in a group shot with dozens of other characters.

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I would also add, AVENGERS: DAN IS EXCITED!!

What Will ‘Avengers 4’ Be Called?

It’s just over six months away, and Marvel Studios has not unveiled the title.
As anticipation grows for the fourth Avengers movie, so does speculation about the movie’s title, which remains under wraps with just over six months to go until release. By this point in its release cycle, even Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s title was known — that got revealed 11 months out — and the lack of knowledge is making fandom both excited and frustrated.

It’s almost guaranteed that the movie’s title will feature or adapt a comic book series, following in the pattern established by earlier movies in the series — The Avengers, Age of Ultron and [The] Infinity War were all comic books before they were movies, even if the storylines don’t match entirely. But with more than half a century’s worth of comic books to choose from, which titles are most likely for Marvel Studios and Joe and Anthony Russo to choose from? Here are our five picks:

Avengers Disassembled

The title was originally coined for the 2004 comic book storyline that ended one era of the Avengers. It’s something that would be fitting to revive for the movie that, thanks to the presumed retirement of the onscreen Captain America,Thor and Iron Man, brings about another final adventure for the cinematic incarnation of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Also, what better description is there of the way that the good guys were left at the end of Avengers: Infinity War…? (Technically, there’s 2011’s “Shattered Heroes,” but that might be slightly too on the nose.)

Avengers: Secret Wars

The “Secret Wars” title has been used on a number of occasions, starting with 1984’s toy tie-in series Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars; it’s popped up since on storylines with significance within the larger Marvel mythology, making it suitable for use for the movie that is, to all intents and purposes, the climax of the original era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Depending on the plot of Avengers 4, it could also refer to whatever the inevitably covert comeback plan of the heroes ends up being. After all, it has to be covert, surely. It would be ridiculous to just attack Thanos in public… wouldn’t it?

Avengers: Fear Itself

While the 2011 comic book series Fear Itself doesn’t have any particular Thanos connection, it is an Avengers-centric storyline that sees the heroes face the traditional unbeatable odds and villains far outside of their comfort zone — beings with godlike powers who induce a state of panic on Earth. That’s not a million miles away from what Avengers 4 might present, and even if it wasn’t, there’s something both fitting (and especially Marvel-esque) about invoking Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural address when promoting the final appearance of Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers.

Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet

In comic book terms, Infinity Gauntlet was the title of the 1991 comic book series that came before 1992’s The Infinity War, but the storyline of Gauntlet might sound familiar to moviegoers: It’s what the remaining Marvel heroes get up to after Thanos snaps his fingers and wipes out half of all life with the Infinity Gauntlet. (As it happens, they just try and confront him publicly, apparently not having seen my earlier comment about how ridiculous that would be. Spoilers: It really doesn’t work out well for them.) Titling the fourth feature Infinity Gauntlet would also underscore that the movie is the second half of the story started in Infinity War, given the recurring “Infinity,” as well. It’s the only upside for using this one.

Avengers: Annihilation

If fan speculation is to be believed, this is the title Marvel is going to use — one that originated in a 2006 event set in space featuring heroes standing against a massive invasion from another dimension. Evidence for this in many people’s eyes comes in the fact that the word “annihilation” has been used in dialogue in both Captain America: The First Avenger and Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is either a coincidence brought about by the fact that “annihilation” is a pretty fun dramatic word, or a sign that Marvel is playing the long game unlike anyone ever imagined.

The still-untitled fourth Avengers movie will be released May 3, 2019. Hopefully, by that point, we’ll know what it’s actually called.

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I might go and see HALLOWEEN this afternoon, but I intend to go swimming first.

Halloween stays on top with $32 million second weekend

Halloween is still making a killing at the box office.

Director David Gordon Green’s slasher reboot is poised to sell an estimated $32 million in tickets at 3,990 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday, topping the chart for the second weekend and pushing the film’s domestic total past the $100 million mark. The Universal Pictures release will drop off about 58 percent from its big debut weekend.

After 10 days in theaters, Halloween has earned about $126.7 million in North America, and another $45.6 million overseas ($25.6 million this weekend), for a global total of about $172.3 million. It’s quite a haul for a movie that cost about $10 million to make.

Serving as a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s original 1978 Halloween, the new film ignores the nine other sequels and remakes and picks up 40 years later, with Jamie Lee Curtis’ hardened heroine Laurie Strode preparing for her inevitable rematch with masked killer Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney). Green directed from a script he wrote with Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley. Carpenter served as an executive producer and composed the score with his son, Cody Carpenter, and godson, Daniel Davies.

Critics’ reviews were solid, and audiences gave it a B-plus CinemaScore.

The pre-Halloween weekend is usually one of the quieter frames of the year, and this week’s only new wide release, Lionsgate’s submarine thriller Hunter Killer, is on track to open with a muted $6.7 million (in 2,720 theaters), good for fifth place. Reviews for the film were tepid, though moviegoers gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.

Overall, however, this October has been a record one at the box office: Powered by movies such as Halloween, Venom ($10.8 million this weekend), and A Star Is Born ($14.1 million this weekend), the monthly total has hit $789.9 million with a few days to go, eclipsing the $757.1 million earned for the entire month during the previous record-setting year of 2014.

In limited release, director Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake is arriving in two locations with an estimated $179,806, which works out to an impressive per-screen average of $89,903. Amazon Studios is distributing the film.

Overall box office is up 10.9 percent year-to-date, according to ComScore. See the Oct. 26-28 figures below.

1. Halloween — $32 million
2. A Star Is Born — $14.1 million
3. Venom — $10.8 million
4. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween — $7.5 million
5. Hunter Killer — $6.7 million
6. The Hate U Give — $5.1 million
7. First Man — $4.9 million
8. Smallfoot — $4.8 million
9. Night School — $3.3 million
10. Mid90s — $3 million

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I was surprised to find out The Hockey Song wasn’t in the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame already.

Stompin’ Tom’s classic The Hockey Song to be inducted into Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame

Stompin’ Tom’s iconic sports anthem The Hockey Song is being immortalized in the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The catchy ditty celebrating “the good ol’ hockey game” will be honoured on Saturday as the Toronto Maple Leafs play the Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

The beloved song is celebrating its 45th anniversary as an anthem played throughout North American hockey arenas.

During the ceremony, the late singer’s son, Tom Connors Jr., will be presented with a hall of fame plaque, while country singer Tim Hicks will perform the song.

The induction marks the latest achievement for a novelty track which spent decades as a cult favourite before it graduated into the Canadian pop culture canon.

Released in 1973, The Hockey Song was a favourite among the Saint John singer’s fans during a period of unmatched success for Connors.

At the time, he was on a streak that saw him win the male country singer Juno Award for five years straight, from 1971 to 1975, propelled by hits like Bud the Spud and Sudbury Saturday Night.

But it wasn’t until the Ottawa Senators began playing The Hockey Song in the early 1990s that it caught the attention of Leafs coach Pat Burns. He called for the song to be played at his team’s games as well.

The Hockey Song quickly spread to other professional hockey rinks across the country where fans enthusiastically sang the chorus from the stands.

Fellow musicians have shown their adoration for the song too, with artists like Great Big Sea and Corb Lund performing their own versions.

After Connors died in 2013, the single shot up the charts, eventually peaking at No. 29 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100.

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SPOILER ALERT: I thought it would be the dog.

SPOILER ALERT: Who Died on Modern Family?

It may be weird to say this, but it’s true: The moment Modern Family fans have been waiting for (dreading) is here: the big death.

So, who kicked the bucket? Spoiler alert! It was Shelley Long’s DeDe Pritchett, mother to Claire (Julie Bowen) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), ex-wife of Jay (Ed O’Neill).

Reactions were…mixed. DeDe was never the most popular member of this extended family, and that fact paired with the fact that everyone was wearing complicated Halloween costumes made for a lot more comedy than tragedy, and a lot more arguing than crying. Claire and Mitch were troubled by childhood memories in the wake of their mother’s death, but the rest of the fam had their own way of coping.

Haley (Sarah Hyland) couldn’t stop eating, which apparently made her brain start working for the first time. Luke (Nolan Gould) couldn’t stop telling jokes, Alex (Ariel Winter) got mad at them and then had sex with her boyfriend, and Gloria was being haunted by tiny DeDe dolls that all the kids had been given once as gifts, by DeDe. Meanwhile, Phil (Ty Burrell) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) made the mistake of trying to go to West Hollywood on Halloween night.

Everyone spent the evening waiting for an explanation for the death, which came at the very end of the episode. After befriending a pack of wolves and being saved by one of those wolves after falling through some ice and then offending a tribe of Inuits and being briefly swallowed by a whale, DeDe died peacefully in her sleep with a smile on her face and a list of suggestions for the hotel staff in her hands.

“That is so mom,” Claire said as the episode ended.

Fans have known it was coming for months after series executive producer Christopher Lloyd said a “significant character” would die and it would be a “moving event” with effects felt throughout several episodes.

“We’re handling some bigger life events in this season,” Lloyd told EW. “We do deal with a death, which is certainly a topic that families have to deal with, and on television, it’s not easy to do because that’s a heavy subject. But at the same time, it would seem unusual for a family not to go through it.”

Rumors have run rampant since Lloyd teased the death in early September 2018, with many fans speculating it would be Stella, Jay’s dog.

“It’s definitely a person, not the dog. I’ve been hearing rumors about the dog, it’s not the dog. It’s no animal, it’s a human being,” Ferguson told E! News at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles gala.

Death is nothing new to sitcoms, especially ones on ABC. The Conners recently killed off Roseanne Barr’s character, Roseanne Conner, by way of opioid overdose after Roseanne was canceled.

Modern Family airs Wednesdays, 9 p.m. on ABC.

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It’s still such a great pop song. Happy 20th Anniversary, Britney!!

Britney Spears marks 20th anniversary of ‘…Baby One More Time,’ thanks fans

Britney Spears has marked the 20th anniversary of her debut single …Baby One More Time with a touching dedication to fans.

The singer took to Twitter on Tuesday to celebrate the occasion, sharing footage from the music video for the track, in which she famously appeared as a racy high school student.

“It’s hard to put into words what today means to me, 20 years ago, the world heard my music for the very first time,” Spears posted. “So much has happened since then but what I really want to say is thank you to my amazing fans who have been there for me since day 1.”

In an accompanying clip, Spears can be seen in behind-the-scenes moments from the 1998 shoot, filmed when she was just 16 years old. In the video the future pop princess shares her excitement over one day hearing her song on the radio.

“If I hear my song on the radio, I’ll just be like, crazy,” she exclaims. “I’d be like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I think that’d be so cool. I would love that… that’d be a great experience.”

“Your support over the years has meant the absolute world to me!! Love you all!” Spears wrote in a separate tweet.

The star reflected on the song during an August interview with The Guardian.

“The whole song is about the stress that we all go through as teens,” she told the publication. “It was different and I loved it, but I don’t think you can anticipate how a song is going to be received.”

Selling over 10 million copies, …Baby One More Time is one of the best-selling singles of all time.

The special anniversary comes just days after Britney announced the her second Las Vegas residency show, Domination, which is set to run from February to August 2019.

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I saw FIRST MAN this weekend and while the supporting cast was poorly cast, I still liked the movie.

Halloween scores second-best October opening ever with $77.5 million

Halloween is slaying its box office competition.

Universal’s reboot of the venerable horror franchise is on track to sell an estimated $77.5 million in tickets at 3,928 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday, winning the weekend and scoring the second-highest October opening ever, behind Venom’s $80.3 million earlier this month. The new Halloween will also mark the series’ best debut (blowing past the Rob Zombie remake’s $26.4 million) and the second-highest opening for an R-rated horror movie, behind last year’s It ($123.4 million).

Heading into the weekend, Halloween had been projected to earn $70 million or more — a strong start for a film that cost about $10 million to make. Critics’ reviews have been largely positive, and audiences gave it a B-plus CinemaScore, which is solid for the horror genre. Overseas, Halloween will collect an estimated $14.3 million this weekend.

Serving as a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s original 1978 Halloween, the new film ignores the nine other sequels and remakes and picks up 40 years later, with Jamie Lee Curtis’s battle-scarred heroine Laurie Strode preparing for her inevitable rematch with masked killer Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney). David Gordon Green directed, from a script he wrote with Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley. Carpenter served as an executive producer and composed the score with his son, Cody Carpenter, and godson, Daniel Davies.

Curtis celebrated the film’s big opening on Twitter.

Rounding out the top five this weekend are Warner Bros’. music-driven romance A Star Is Born, with about $19.3 million; Sony’s superhero movie Venom, with about $18.1 million; Sony’s kid-friendly chiller Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, with about $9.7 million; and Universal’s Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, with about $8.6 million.

Entering wide release, Sony’s critically acclaimed drama The Hate U Give, based on Angie Thomas’ novel about a black teen who witnesses the police shooting of a childhood friend, will collect an estimated $7.5 million from 2,303 theaters, in line with expectations and good for sixth place. That brings the film’s domestic total to $10.6 million.

In limited release, Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, Mid90s, is arriving in four theaters with an estimated $249,500, which works out to a robust per-screen average of $62,375. The film is distributed by A24.

Overall box office is up 10.6 percent year-to-date, according to ComScore. See the Oct. 19-21 figures below.

1. Halloween — $77.5 million
2. A Star Is Born — $19.3 million
3. Venom — $18.1 million
4. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween — $9.7 million
5. First Man — $8.6 million
6. The Hate U Give — $7.5 million
7. Smallfoot — $6.6 million
8. Night School — $5 million
9. Bad Times at the El Royale — $3.3 million
10. The Old Man and the Gun — $2.1 million

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That is a very cool coincidence!!

‘The Simpsons’: Next Year’s ‘Treehouse of Horror’ Will Be Episode 666

“The Simpsons” airs its annual “Treehouse of Horror” Sunday night on Fox. Next year’s Halloween special, “Treehouse of Horror XXX,” will appropriately be the 666th overall episode of the long-running cartoon, the Fox studio confirmed.

“Next year, ‘Treehouse of Horror XXX’ will coincidentally be ‘Simpsons’ Episode 666,” showrunner Al Jean first pointed out to EW. “As we planned it in 1989!”

“The Simpsons” has technically not be renewed for Season 31 yet, but, come on — the show is going to outlive all of us.

Sunday’s “Treehouse of Horror XXIX,” will pull gags from “Jurassic Park,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “The Three Faces of Eve.”

“The Simpsons” airs Sundays at 8/7c on Fox.

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Wait, wait, wait!! I have such a wait problem!!!

‘Avengers 4′ Directors Announce Film Has Wrapped With Puzzling Photo

What could the bright blue light be?

Joe and Anthony Russo on Friday announced that production had wrapped on their highly anticipated, yet-to-be-titled fourth Avengers movie — but they also left fans scratching their heads.

Along with tweeting their news, the brothers’ account shared a picture of a bright blue glowing light.

Marvel fans immediately went into overdrive trying to figure out what it meant.

In the previous film, Infinity War, half of the superheroes died, so one fan theory about the light was that one more hero is going to die. And since Chris Evans recently confirmed he was done playing Captain America, sights were set on him.

Of course, it could just be the brothers messing with fans and a picture of a set light.

Either way, fans are going to have to wait some time to find out. Before the pic is released, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel will hit theaters March 8, with Avengers 4 is set to open May 3.