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Very, very, very, very, very cool!!!

‘The Mandalorian’: Jon Favreau Confirms a Familiar Robotic Bounty Hunter Will Appear

Things are slowly but surely falling into place for The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau‘s live-action Star Wars series for Disney+ that stars Pedro Pascal as “a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy.” The cast is getting wider and wackier (Nick Nolte! Werner Herzog!), Black Panther composer Ludwig Göransson will provide the score, and now, Favreau has confirmed that IG-88—a robotic bounty hunter who first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back—is getting in on the Fett-family action.

The director confirmed the news in an Instagram post along with a photo of the infamous droid bounty hunter, who gained a Fett-like cult following after his brief Empire appearance. IG-88 notably showed up in Darth Vader’s bounty hunter job interview alongside the likes of Bossk, Dengar, and the disintegration fiend himself, Boba Fett. He also notably looks like a walking tea kettle who will straight up murder you, and that’s pretty dang cool.

What’s intriguing is the fact that, if the photo Favreau shared is from set, we’re looking at a practical IG-88 and not CGI. The Lion King filmmaker has been teasing a very hands-on, very unique experience in a galaxy far, far away, something that Infinity War directors The Russo Brothers hinted at when we talked to them last month.

“Jon is always at the forefront of cutting-edge tech,” Joe Russo told us, “and he is shooting this in a way that no one has ever shot anything ever before. It’s pretty astounding.”

Here is the official synopsis for The Mandalorian:

After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.

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Don’t do it, folks!! Don’t ever do it!!!

Steve Carell Shoots Down ‘Office’ Revival & Series Writer Explains How The Comedy Survived A Disastrous First Season

There’s no doubt that Netflix is a huge reason why “The Office” is even bigger now than it ever was during its 9 season run on NBC. In hindsight, you would think that the network knew exactly what it had with Steve Carell and the rest of the cast in what would become one of the best comedies of the last decade. But really, in the beginning, no one knew and the series almost didn’t survive.

On a recent episode of Vox’s podcast “I Think You’re Interesting,” series writer Michael Schur talked “The Office” and why it is a miracle the series lasted 201 episodes when it probably should have only lasted 6. And then Steve Carell finally puts to rest all talk of an ‘Office’ reunion.

READ MORE: Steve Carell Says Universal Shut Down Production On ’40-Year-Old Virgin’ Because He “Looked Like A Serial Killer”

“That show was developed by Kevin Reilly, who was running NBC at the time. He had come from FX, and he loved the British show, and he was very passionate about ‘The Office.’ So he gave [creator] Greg [Daniels] the chance to basically do it the way he wanted and basically cast it the way he wanted. He was very invested in the show. We made six episodes that first season, and no one liked it,” said Schur.

He continues, “So, definitely going to get canceled — except that Kevin Reilly kind of stakes his reputation as an executive [on it]. And says to his bosses at NBC, ‘I believe in this show. I think it can work. Please, please, please give me another chance. Give us another season.’”

Luckily for all involved, the begging of Reilly coincided with Steve Carell becoming a massive star thanks to Judd Apatow’s “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” Suddenly, NBC had more at stake than just a low-rated American remake. The network had a movie star under contract.

“They partially gave us the second season because they had Steve under contract. So, network executive sticks his neck out. The guy who’s the main character becomes a movie star,” said Schur.

But getting a second season wasn’t going to fix all the wrongs of the first season. Because of Carell’s rise to fame, Schur and the rest of the folks behind the scenes decided to take the show in a different direction and branch off more from the British ‘Office’ that the series was based on.

He explains:

“The guy who created the show [Greg Daniels] is a first-ballot hall of fame TV brain. And he says, ‘Well, let’s look at thing No. 2, and let’s think about how we should take that information and use it for the show. And the way we should is by saying, that guy, that character he’s playing in that movie, is so sympathetic and so kind and so lovely. We need to take 20 percent of that energy and put it into Michael Scott’

And the writers — his own writers, me included! — rebelled and said, ‘You’re going to ruin it. The thing that Ricky [Gervais] and Steve [Merchant made] is perfect, and how dare you, and the whole point is it’s supposed to be bleak, and Michael Scott, like David Brent, is a terrible person.’ And Greg patiently listened to all of us, and heard us all out, and said, ‘No, you dummies, I’m going to do it this way, and we’re going to add just a tiny little glimmer of hope to the end of every episode.’

And he did. And that is the difference between that show lasting 12 episodes and lasting 200.”

So, the rest is history. The series lasted 9 seasons and over 200 episodes. And now, thanks to streaming, fans are discovering the NBC comedy and loving it more than ever. This has led to many fans asking about a potential revival or reunion.

Sadly, according to star Carell, if there is a reunion, it’ll be without him. In a new interview with Collider, the actor sets the record straight on whether or not he’d want to be included.

Carell says:

“I’ll tell you, no. I feel like I’m a broken record, talking about this because I get asked about it. The show is way more popular now than when it was on the air. I just can’t see it being the same thing, and I think most folks would want it to be the same thing, but it wouldn’t be. Ultimately, I think it’s maybe best to leave well enough alone and just let it exist as what it was. You’d literally have to have all of the same writers, the same producers, the same directors, and the same actors, and even with all of those components, it just wouldn’t be the same. So, no. But, I love the show. It was the most exciting time, and all of those people are my friends. We all love it. It was a special thing. It was a special thing before people thought it was a special thing. It was special to us, before other people started feeling that way. But, no.”

Even though it doesn’t appear that Carell is interested in bringing Michael Scott back to Dunder Mifflin, fans can still relive his antics on Netflix over and over again.

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I’m excited to hear that!!

Rihanna Confirms Her New Album Will Be Out in 2019

It’s been almost three years since Rihanna fans have been graced with an album by the singer, and it looks as though the wait for a follow-up to Anti may soon be over.

On Friday (Dec. 21) she responded to a fan who commented on an Instagram post of a new Fenty product asking “But when is the album dropping Robyn? Can we have a release date for that?” with a simple “2019.”

No further details were released.

Her vocal producer Kuk Harrell teased the new album earlier this week, promising it’s “incredible” and “amazing” before adding that “that’s all I’m going to say.”

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So many movies to see!!

Aquaman arrives on a $67 million wave, conquering pre-Christmas box office

A magical English nanny and a kindhearted yellow Transformer are no match for DC’s wettest superhero this weekend.

The splashy comic-book movie Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa as the half-Atlantean tough guy, is on track to earn an estimated $67.4 million at 4,125 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday — topping the box office and besting fellow new releases Mary Poppins Returns and Bumblebee. Together, though, the wave of high-profile pre-Christmas movies should help close a record year for the North American box office, after a lackluster 2017. According to Comscore, this year’s domestic total should inch past 2016’s high-water mark of $11.383 billion on Sunday.

Made for about $200 million, Aquaman is opening in line industry projections, which were in the $65 million to $70 million range. (Including paid sneak previews, its domestic total is an estimated $72.1 million.) Overseas, where the movie began rolling out two weeks ago, it has already grossed about $410.7 million (with $91.3 million of that coming this weekend), bringing its worldwide total to about $482.8 million.

Aquaman comes as the first of Warner Bros’. interconnected films based on DC Comics characters to open since last year’s all-star team-up Justice League, which debuted with $93.8 million but failed to impress critics or audiences. Along with the summer 2017 hit Wonder Woman — which opened to $103.3 million and went on to earn $821.9 million worldwide — Aquaman could help recalibrate the dour tone and crossover-heavy approach of WB’s superhero mega-franchise (as seen in films like Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).

Directed by James Wan (Furious 7, the Conjuring movies), Aquaman follows Momoa’s eponymous hero as he battles his power-hungry half-brother and tries to protect surface dwellers and ocean folk alike. The cast also includes Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Critics’ reviews have been measured but generally favorable, and moviegoers gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.

In second place, Disney’s sequel Mary Poppins Returns is edging out Paramount’s Transformers spin-off Bumblebee, with the former earning an estimated $22.2 million and the latter taking in about $21 million. Both figures are below industry projections, though time will tell if they make up ground over the Christmas holiday.

Released on Wednesday, Mary Poppins Returns is headed toward a five-day domestic opening of about $31 million, and it will add about $20.3 million in foreign markets. The film represents Disney’s latest effort to revive one of its iconic properties, and stars Emily Blunt as the practically perfect governess, following in the footsteps of Julie Andrews in the classic 1964 film. Returns also features Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Mortimer, and Ben Whishaw, and is directed by Rob Marshall. Reviews have been positive, and audiences gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.

Bumblebee also garnered an A-minus CinemaScore, to go with overwhelmingly positive reviews. Directed by Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) and starring Hailee Steinfeld as a girl who befriends a shapeshifting VW Bug, the film is a smaller-scaled outing than the Michael Bay-directed Transformers movies, and one the studio hopes will reinvigorate the series.

Overseas, Bumblebee will add about $31.1 million this weekend, and it’s set to debut Jan. 4 in China, where the Transformers movies have proved popular.

Also launching this weekend are STX’s rom-com Second Act, starring Jennifer Lopez, with an estimated $6.5 million, good for seventh place, and Universal’s offbeat drama Welcome to Marwen, starring Steve Carell, in ninth place with an underwhelming $2.4 million.

Two holdovers round out the top five: Sony’s animated flick Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, with an estimated $16.7 million, and Warner Bros’. crime drama The Mule, with an estimated $9.3 million.

In limited release, Amazon Studios opened the Polish drama Cold War in three locations this weekend, earning $55,727 (a per-theater average of $18,575).

Overall box office is up 7.5 percent year-to-date. See the Dec. 21-23 figures below.

1. Aquaman — $67.4 million
2. Mary Poppins Returns — $22.2 million
3. Bumblebee — $21 million
4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — $16.7 million
5. The Mule — $9.3 million
6. The Grinch — $8.2 million
7. Second Act — $6.5 million
8. Ralph Breaks the Internet — $4.6 million
9. Welcome to Marwen — $2.4 million
10. Mary Queen of Scots — $2.2 million

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Awesome, but too rich for my blood.

1947 best-picture Oscar sells for nearly $500K at auction

LOS ANGELES — One Academy Award trophy sold for nearly $500,000 and the second for well over $200,000 in a rare auction of Oscars that ended Friday in Los Angeles.

A best-picture Oscar for “Gentleman’s Agreement,” the 1947 film starring Gregory Peck that took on anti-Semitism, sold for $492,000. A best picture statuette for 1935’s “Mutiny on the Bounty” fetched $240,000.

Both were outpaced by an archive of papers on the origin and development of “The Wizard of Oz” that brought in $1.2 million.

Auction house Profiles in History announced the results after four days of bidding on Hollywood memorabilia that brought in more than $8 million in total.

Other items sold include a TIE fighter helmet from the original “Star Wars” that went for $240,000, a Phaser pistol from the original “Star Trek” TV series that fetched $192,000, a hover board Marty McFly rode in “Back to the Future II” that sold for $102,000, and a golden ticket from “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” that brought in $48,000.

The “Mutiny on the Bounty” Oscar price came close to auction-house projections, but the “Gentleman’s Agreement” statuette brought in more than twice what was expected, for reasons that are not clear. The buyers of both Oscars and “The Wizard of Oz” document chose to remain anonymous.

Auctions of Oscar statuettes are very uncommon because winners from 1951 onward have had to agree that they or their heirs must offer it back to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for $1 before selling it elsewhere. The academy has said it firmly believes Oscars should be won, not bought.

Neither of the Oscars sold this week approached the record of $1.5 million paid by Michael Jackson to acquire David O. Selznick’s “Gone With the Wind” Oscar in 1999.

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While I’m always happy for those who get in, I’m always bothered by the legends that still aren’t – like Warren Zevon, John Hiatt, Iron Maiden and many, many others.

Radiohead, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks Lead Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2019 Class

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has officially announced next year’s inductees: Radiohead, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Def Leppard, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will all join the class of 2019.

The induction ceremony will be held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on March 29th. An edited version of the event will air later on HBO alongside a SiriusXM radio broadcast. Ticket details will be announced in January.

Artists are eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first album or single. Kraftwerk, Todd Rundgren, Rage Against the Machine, Rufus & Chaka Khan, MC5, LL Cool J, John Prine and Devo were all nominated, but failed to make the cut. No newly eligible acts made it in this year, but this was the first time that Def Leppard and Nicks appeared on the ballot (though Nicks was inducted as a member of Fleetwood Mac in 1998). She will become the only woman to enter the Hall of Fame on two occasions.

“I have a lot to say about this,” Nicks said in a statement, “but I will save those words for later. For now I will just say, I have been in a band since 1968. To be recognized for my solo work makes me take a deep breath and smile. It’s a glorious feeling.”

Jackson also released a statement reacting to the honor. “Thank you, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” she says. “I am truly honored and I am happy to be in there with my brothers.”

Joe Elliott of Def Leppard is equally thrilled by the news. “Now we can stop holding our breath,” he tells Rolling Stone. “How wonderful to be in the same club as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles and the Who and Queen. . . . It’s a nice badge of honor.”

For Colin Blunstone of the Zombies — who have been eligible since 1989 and have appeared on three previous ballots — this was the result of incredible patience and persistence. “You do start to doubt that it could happen,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I’ve tried to be fairly philosophical about it and tell myself that if we don’t get inducted, it’s just a bit of fun. Don’t take it too seriously. But of course when you’re actually inducted, everything changes. You think, ‘This is a career-defining [and] life-defining moment.’ “

His longtime bandmate Rod Argent echoed Blunstone’s sentiment. “I know it’s fashionable in some circles to say, ‘I don’t mind whether I get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or not,’ ” he tells Rolling Stone. “But that is not how I’ve ever felt. When we were first nominated, that felt like a huge honor in its own right. And this time, to turn the corner and get inducted feels fantastic. . . . I’m just so delighted.”

In a statement, a cordial Radiohead said that “the band thanks the Hall of Fame voting body and extends congratulations to this year’s fellow inductees.” But when we spoke to them in 2017, they were a little skeptical about the institution. “I don’t want to be rude about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because for a lot of people it means something, but culturally I don’t understand it,” said guitarist Ed O’Brien. “I think it might be a quintessential American thing. Brits are not very good at slapping ourselves on the back. It seems very showbiz, and I’m not very showbiz.”

Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry had a different take. “We are delighted to accept this prestigious award on behalf of everyone who has been involved in the world of Roxy Music,” he wrote in a tweet, “musicians, engineers, producers, designers and numerous people behind the scenes . . . and of course our loyal fans.”

Many Hall of Fame inductions have wrapped up with an all-star jam where each inductee lets loose on a single song, but finding one that works for all seven inductees might be a challenge. “That’s a bit of a tricky one, isn’t it?” asks Blunstone. “If you were to ask me off the top of my head, I’d go with ‘I Saw Her Standing There,’ by the Beatles. Everyone knows that.”

Elliott has a different take. “I suppose older folk would be thinking [Chuck Berry’s] ‘Johnny B. Goode’ and younger folk would be thinking [David Bowie’s] ‘Heroes,’ ” he says. “It might one of those awkward moments where I’m saying, ‘I’m uncomfortable. I’m not doing it. Do they really want to play with us? Do we want to play with them?’ I don’t know. It depends on the kumbaya-ness of the evening.”

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Can’t wait to see it again this Christmas!!

Paul Williams on Creating the Music for ‘Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas’ as the Henson Special Moves to Theaters

A vintage holiday television program is getting the big screen treatment this Christmas season, as Fathom Events presents Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas as part of Jim Henson’s Holiday Special, set to be beamed into theaters across the country this Sunday (Dec. 16).

It is only the latest sign that the warm holiday tale, almost forgotten by the public at large, has become a word-of-mouth Christmas tradition that continues to grow in popularity each year.

It’s an odd turnaround in fortune that even the legendary names behind Emmet could never have predicted. Based on a book by Russell and Lillian Hoben, the tale of Emmet Otter — a poor, young critter who has recently lost his father, and hopes to win a talent contest in order to use the cash prize to buy a Christmas present for his mother — featured a fantastical cast of woodland puppets courtesy of Henson, with original music created by Oscar-winning songwriter Paul Williams.

While the outpouring of love that Williams has received for his work on Emmet in the past few years has stunned him, it was the recent success of the soundtrack album that truly floored him. Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (Varese Sarabande) finally saw its first proper release in any format this past November, including a limited vinyl pressing for Record Store Day that sold out nationally within two days, and was the top seller at Amoeba Music in Hollywood.

“I’m just amazed at how many people showed up to buy it nationally,” Williams tells Billboard with a laugh. “The remastering for the album was just brilliant, and they made a really well-balanced little record out of it.”

Points out Cheryl Henson, president of the Jim Henson Foundation, “The show was first broadcast on HBO in 1978 when not many people had [the cable channel] back then, so there are a lot of people who have only just discovered it many years later. There’s never really been a licensing program around it.”

“It’s funny, because if you were to put everything that’s happened with it — the vinyl selling out everywhere within two days; such a demand for it that another pressing has been ordered already — into a movie, people would call bullshit on it for being too corny,” Williams adds. “It’s a tribute to Jim Henson, a tribute to all the heart he put into this.”

Heart, yes, but also a willingness to allow other creative minds to follow their own muses while working on the project. The one-hour Christmas special was the first collaboration between Henson, who died in 1990, and Williams, a partnership that would go on to see the songwriter receive an Academy Award nomination for The Muppet Movie’s “Rainbow Connection” in 1980.

“He trusted the people he brought onto a project,” Williams states, “but he trusted his instincts, too. He felt that, if he brought a creative soul onto a project to work on it, he wanted that soul to be heard. It was a rare, beautiful experience to work with him.”

The songwriter rewarded that trust by writing songs for the Emmet soundtrack that could only be performed honestly when coming from an otter made of cloth. Tunes such as “Ain’t No Hole in the Washtub” and “The Bathing Suit That Grandma Wore” would have been a hard sell to another singer if Henson had turned them down, but Williams’ approach to creating the lyrics for his first project with Henson would go on to be the same that he took when writing for any film project.

“I wrote for the characters,” explains Williams. “It wasn’t like when I would write a song for the Carpenters, and if they turned it down, I would turn around and pitch it to Three Dog Night. When I would write for characters, I considered [Muppet Show member] Gonzo to be just as well-defined as Barbra Streisand in A Star Is Born, with little difference when it came to writing the material. How it was sung is up to the [person] performing.”

That authenticity reverberates with viewers, according to Cheryl Henson.

“When people watch something like Emmet Otter, it’s something that they can actually imagine reaching out and touching,” she says. “The show itself is all handmade, so when looking at a little critter, you realize that someone actually hand sewed the little dress it’s wearing. My dad was born in Mississippi, and that whole Southern tradition of music was really tapped into by Paul, with the jug band music having such a great handmade quality to it also.”

“I still don’t know why he chose me to provide the songs for Emmet Otter,” Williams admits to Billboard, “because it certainly wasn’t typical of what I was doing at that time. I think between writing [Three Dog Night’s 1971 hit] ‘An Old Fashioned Love Song’ — which I know he loved — and the humorous appearances I was making across TV at that time, he just connected me with the project. He gave me the opportunity, and it was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.”

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I was hoping to see THE MULE this weekend, but life got in the way. Maybe sometime this week.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swings to top of the box office

There’s a new Spider-Man in town — and he’s on top of the box office.

Sony’s stylish animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which features an Afro-Latino teen named Miles Morales under the mask (voiced by Shameik Moore), is on track to sell an estimated $35.4 million in tickets at 3,813 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday. In doing so, it will handily become the No. 1 film in North America, ending Ralph Breaks the Internet’s three-week reign, while also scoring the biggest December opening ever for an animated movie.

Meanwhile, Clint Eastwood’s crime drama The Mule is off to a solid start, and the Peter Jackson-produced dystopian tale Mortal Engines is shaping up as a big-budget flop.

Heading into the weekend, Into the Spider-Verse had been projected to debut in the $30 million to $40 million range. Made for about $90 million, film represents Sony’s latest effort to mine the popularity of the Spider-Man mythos, which it has long licensed from Marvel. In October, the studio released the Spider-Man-adjacent live-action film Venom, which has grossed $852.7 million at the worldwide box office.

And of course, Sony has brought three different live-action incarnations of Peter Parker’s web-slinger to the screen over the years: Toby Maguire in the Spider-Man movies (the first of which opened to $114.8 million in 2002), Andrew Garfield in the Amazing Spider-Man movies (the first of which opened to $62 million in 2012), and Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming (which opened to $117 million last year and cemented the character’s place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).

Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, Into the Spider-Verse finds Morales teaming up with similarly powered Spider-People from different dimensions (including a parallel-universe Peter Parker voiced by Jake Johnson) to battle the notorious crime boss known as Kingpin (Liev Schreiber). Critics’ reviews have been excellent, and audiences gave it an A-plus CinemaScore, indicating strong word-of-mouth prospects. Overseas, the film will add an estimated $21 million this weekend.

Sony is already eyeing a Spider-Verse sequel and a separate spin-off.

Trotting into second place is The Mule, the latest directorial effort from Eastwood, within an estimated $17.2 million. That figure is in line with industry expectations and puts it ahead of Eastwood’s previous film, The 15:17 to Paris, which opened to $12.5 million in February.

In addition to directing, Eastwood stars as Earl Stone, a man in his 80s who, when facing foreclosure of his business, signs on to a job as a driver, which turns out to be a courier gig for a Mexican drug cartel. Dianne Wiest, Michael Peña, Andy Garcia, Laurence Fishburne, and Bradley Cooper costar in the Warner Bros. release. While critics generally assessed The Mule as middling output from Eastwood, audiences gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.

The weekend’s other major new release, Universal’s Mortal Engines, will squeak into the top five with an estimated $7.5 million, on the low-end of already muted expectations. That would seem to spell trouble for a film that reportedly cost at least $100 million to produce. In spite of Jackson’s involvement (as producer and co-writer), the film isn’t faring much better overseas, taking in about $11.5 million this weekend.

Taking place hundreds of years after an apocalyptic event, Mortal Engines stars Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw, a mysterious young woman singled out to stop London — which has become a giant predatory city on wheels. Hugo Weaving, Robert Sheehan, and Ronan Raftery also star in the film, which is based on the Philip Reeve book of the same name. Critics raked the film, and audiences didn’t show it much love either, bestowing it with a B-minus CinemaScore.

Animated films continue to hold strong at the box office, with Universal’s The Grinch taking the No. 3 spot with an estimated $11.6 million for the weekend and Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet claiming fourth place with an estimated $9.6 million.

In limited release, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins’ awards hopeful If Beale Street Could Talk will debut with an estimated $219,173 at just four locations, which works out to a strong per-screen average of $54,793. Based on the book by James Baldwin and released by Annapurna, the film stars KiKi Layne, Stephan James, and Regina King.

Overall box office is up 8.6 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. See the Dec. 14-16 figures below.

1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — $35.4 million
2. The Mule — $17.2 million
3. The Grinch — $11.6 million
4. Ralph Breaks the Internet — $9.6 million
5. Mortal Engines — $7.5 million
6. Creed II — $5.4 million
7. Bohemian Rhapsody — $4.1 million
8. Instant Family — $3.72 million
9. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — $3.65 million
10. Green Book — $2.8 million

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It should be another fun night!!

Golden Globes: Vice, Black Panther, Assassination of Gianni Versace nominated

Political biopic Vice leads a mixed slate of nominees heading into the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards, with this year’s contenders ranging from critics’ picks like The Favourite and Killing Eve to crowdpleasers such as Black Panther, A Star is Born and The Good Place.
Actors Danai Gurira, Terry Crews, Christian Slater and Leslie Mann gathered early Thursday to unveil the nominees for the upcoming awards, set for next month in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the annual honour celebrates achievements in film and television productions across 25 categories.
Vice, Adam McKay’s portrait of former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney, led film nominees with six overall, including for best musical or comedy film, direction and performances by Christian Bale, Sam Rockwell and Amy Adams. Meanwhile, The Assassination of Gianni Versace led the TV field, with the limited series earning four nominations.

“I’m blown away by the diversity of the Golden Globe nominations. I think it’s amazing,” noted Marc Malkin, a senior editor for industry publication Variety, after the announcement.
“I think the HFPA stepped up and is really speaking to our time right now.”

Selected nominees include:

Motion Picture, Drama:

Black Panther.
BlacKkKlansman.
Bohemian Rhapsody.
If Beale Street Could Talk.
A Star is Born.
Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy:

Crazy Rich Asians.
The Favourite.
Green Book.
Mary Poppins Returns.
Vice.

Television Series, Drama:

The Americans.
Bodyguard.
Homecoming.
Killing Eve.
Pose.
Television Series, Musical or Comedy:

Barry.
The Good Place.
Kidding.
The Kominsky Method.
Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

The Alienist.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
Escape at Dannemora.
Sharp Objects.
A Very English Scandal.

Canadians at the Globes

Sandra Oh, who has been tapped to co-host the awards celebration with Andy Samberg, will be the first Canadian emcee as well as the award show’s first host of Asian heritage.
“[The pair] did a bit together on the Emmys this past year. They were so strong, it was a highlight of the show,” noted Barry Adelman, executive producer of Dick Clark Productions, the firm behind the Globes telecast.

Sandra Oh, Andy Samberg to co-host 2019 Golden Globes
A handful of Canadians are in contention in the TV categories, starting with Ottawa-born Oh, who earned an acting nod for her lead role in Killing Eve, with the spy series itself a nominee for best TV drama. Last fall, the series earned Oh an Emmy nomination, making her the first actor of Asian descent nominated for a best dramatic actress Emmy. She previously won a Golden Globe for the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.

Newmarket, Ont.-born Jim Carrey picked up an acting nomination Thursday for the comedy series Kidding, in which he plays a children’s television host. Carrey’s also a past winner: he earned a Golden Globe for the Andy Kaufman dramedy Man on the Moon.
Stephan James, hailing from Scarborough, Ont., earned an acting nod for his turn opposite Julia Roberts in the series Homecoming, in which he plays a soldier seeking post-warfare treatment. He also appears in the movie-drama nominated If Beale Street Could Talk.

Montreal director Jean-Marc Vallée’s limited series Sharp Objects picked up a trio of nominations. It will vie for best limited TV series, and earned acting nominations for Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson. In January, his acclaimed series Big Little Lies dominated with four Golden Globe wins.

As part of the nominees announcement Thursday morning, HFPA president Meher Tatna also revealed that the press group has added a new life-achievement category equivalent to its existing Cecil B. DeMille Award, to honour an impactful career in and outstanding contributions to the medium of television. The first honouree will be announced, along with the latest DeMille Award recipient, in coming weeks.

Tatna called the diversity seen with some of this year’s nominations a “very hopeful sign” for the entertainment industry.
“We are a diverse group of voters. [The nominees] spoke to us in some way. They’re all good,” she declared.

Awards shows have increasingly suffered from waning audiences, but the Golden Globes have an edge on several fronts: the show is considered to have a less formal, more freewheeling spirit (since it’s staged as a banquet with an open bar), and it’s also typically the first out of the gate in the new year.

The 76th Golden Globes will air live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 6.

2019 Golden Globe Awards – Full nominees list:

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Black Panther.
BlacKkKlansman.
Bohemian Rhapsody.
If Beale Streat Could Talk.
A Star Is Born.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Glenn Close, The Wife.
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born.
Nicole Kidman, Destroyer.
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Rosamund Pike, A Private War.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born.
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate.
Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased.
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody.
John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Crazy Rich Asians.
The Favourite.
Green Book.
Mary Poppins Returns.
Vice.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns.
Olivia Colman, The Favourite.
Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade.
Charlize Theron, Tully.
Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale, Vice.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins Returns.
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book.
Robert Redford, The Old Man & the Gun.
John C. Reilly, Stan & Ollie.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Amy Adams, Vice.
Claire Foy, First Man.
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk.
Emma Stone, The Favourite.
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali, Green Book.
Timothé​e Chalamet, Beautiful Boy.
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman.
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice.

Best Motion Picture – Animated
Incredibles 2.
Isle of Dogs.
Mirai.
Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
Capernaum.
Girl.
Never Look Away.
Roma.
Shoplifters.

Best Director – Motion Picture
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born.
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma.
Peter Farrelly, Green Book.
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman.
Adam McKay, Vice.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma.
Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, The Favourite.
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk.
Adam McKay, Vice.
Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga and Brian Currie, Green Book.

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Marco Beltrami, A Quiet Place.
Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs.
Ludwig Göransson, Black Panther.
Justin Hurwitz, First Man.
Marc Shaiman, Mary Poppins Returns.

Best Original Song – Motion Picture
All the Stars from Black Panther.
Girl in the Movies from Dumplin’.
Requiem For a Private War from A Private War.
Revelation’ from Boy Erased.
Shallow from A Star Is Born.

Best Television Series – Drama
The Americans.
Bodyguard.
Homecoming.
Killing Eve.
Pose.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander.
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale.
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve.
Julia Roberts, Homecoming.
Keri Russell, The Americans.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Jason Bateman, Ozark.
Stephan James, Homecoming.
Richard Madden, Bodyguard.
Billy Porter, Pose.
Matthew Rhys, The Americans.

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Barry.
The Good Place.
Kidding.
The Kominsky Method.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Kristen Bell, The Good Place.
Candice Bergen, Murphy Brown.
Alison Brie, Glow.
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Debra Messing, Will & Grace.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Sasha Baron Cohen, Who Is America?
Jim Carrey, Kidding.
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method.
Donald Glover, Atlanta.
Bill Hader, Barry.

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
The Alienist.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.
Escape at Dannemora.
Sharp Objects.
A Very English Scandal.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Amy Adams, Sharp Objects.
Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora.
Connie Britton, Dirty John.
Laura Dern, The Tale.
Regina King, Seven Seconds.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso.
Daniel Bruhl, The Alienist.
Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.
Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose.
Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alex Bornstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects.
Penelope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.
Thandie Newton, Westworld.
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method.
Kieran Culkin, Succession.
Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.
Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal.
Henry Winkler, Barry.

Shortlink

Hey, Academy!!! I’m available, if you’d like to take a risk. I’m willing if you are!!

After Kevin Hart’s departure, finding new Oscars host won’t be easy

The “most thankless job in town” just got even more difficult.

The Oscars have a longstanding host problem, but Kevin Hart’s swift downfall over old anti-gay tweets has led to bigger questions about the gig and the liability of social media histories.

It’s just the latest controversy for the organization that puts on the Academy Awards, which is trying to combat declining ratings for its marquee event while weathering the pressure of being a focal point for the shortcomings of the entertainment industry as a whole.

“I think it’s embarrassing,” Matthew Belloni, the editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, said about the academy’s decision to pick Hart. “It shows that they either didn’t vet this host properly, or they did vet him and didn’t think this would be an issue. And both are a little troubling.”

Hart seemed to fit the bill for what the academy was looking for.

“He checks all the boxes for a show like the Oscars,” Belloni said. “He’s a legitimate movie star. He’s a funny guy and can handle the stand-up element of the show. And he has a gigantic social following. And to the academy, that’s important. They want someone who can bring a new audience to the show.”

But Oscars hosts have always been subjected to a lot of scrutiny.

Poor or even mediocre performances can haunt people for years (Anne Hathaway and James Franco). Off-colour jokes have a way of festering in the cultural consciousness (think of Seth MacFarlane’s “we saw your boobs” song, or Chris Rock’s Asian jokes). And even when things go decently enough, everyone is handed the right envelope and nobody walks away offended, the hosts can still be blamed for poor ratings.

“Oscars host has become a not very desirable job in Hollywood. Very few people see an upside,” Belloni said. “You put a huge target on your back.”

People have stepped down from being the public face of the event amid controversy, as producer Brett Ratner did in 2011 for anti-gay slurs. But Hart’s case is a little different. Ratner’s offensive remarks came after he had secured the gig. Hart’s tweets were from almost a decade ago and were well known.

But in 2018, an unsavory social media past can cost someone their job. Just this past summer, the Walt Disney Co. fired director James Gunn from the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie for old tweets in which he joked about subjects including rape and pedophilia. As with Hart, the problematic tweets were amplified by social media outrage.

Immediately after Hart was confirmed as host on Tuesday night, some journalists began tweeting reminders of Hart’s past comments. By Thursday morning, a few publications had written articles about them. The outrage escalated, Hart commented but did not apologize, stoking even more outrage, which culminated with Hart’s announcement on Thursday night that he was stepping down as host of the 91st Academy Awards.

As the dust settles, the situation has proved vexing for some in the entertainment business. Actor D.L. Hughley commended Hart for his decision.

“A comedian says something that offends people and refuses to apologize?” Hughley tweeted. “(Expletive) `em if they can’t take a joke! Well done (hash)KevinHart.” Snoop Dogg posted an even more colourful Instagram video in support of Hart.

The advocacy organization GLAAD wishes Hart hadn’t stepped down, however.

“Hart’s apology to LGBTQ people is an important step forward, but he missed a real opportunity to use his platform and the Oscars stage to build unity and awareness,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

The film academy has yet to address Hart’s departure. Hart said the film academy told him he had to apologize or he’d lose the gig. He bowed out on his own, and with an apology.

Now everyone has an opinion about who should be named host. A woman? A comedian? Not a comedian? Someone in the LGBTQ community? All of the above?

Many keep coming back to Whoopi Goldberg, who has hosted the awards four times. Some have said Ellen DeGeneres, who hosted one of the Oscars’ highest-rated shows, or Tom Hanks, who has a longstanding academy relationship.

Others have said Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele, Will Smith or Lin-Manuel Miranda. Busy Phillips threw her own name out there (“I AM AVAILABLE,” she tweeted). Philips also proposed Issa Rae, Sarah Silverman, Ali Wong, Samantha Bee, Robin Thede and Aisha Tyler, or “any other woman working in Hollywood right now who wants to.”

Stephen King suggested Patton Oswalt (He’s “funny, sharp-tongued, and he knows film,” King tweeted.) Some have even proposed Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty. Or no host at all, which has been done several times before, and as recently as 1989.

But the film academy will need to move quickly. The 91st Oscars are less than three months out.