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I finally saw CREED II and BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, and really enjoyed both. Hope to see RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET this week!!

Ralph Breaks the Internet tops box office again on quiet weekend

Ralph Breaks the Internet is the high scorer at the box office for the second week in a row.

With only one major new release to contend with — Sony’s horror film The Possession of Hannah Grace — Disney’s candy-colored Wreck-It Ralph sequel is on pace to sell an estimated $25.8 million in tickets at 4,017 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday, topping the chart and holding off The Grinch and Creed II.

After helping to power the biggest Thanksgiving box office on record, Ralph will decline about 54 percent over its second frame (a respectable figure), bringing its North American total to $119.3 million. Overseas, it will add about $33.7 million this weekend, for a worldwide total of $207 million.

Reviews have been favorable for the film, which stars John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman as two pixelated pals who venture into cyberspace for the first time. Moviegoers gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.

Filling out the top five are Universal’s animated Dr. Seuss tale The Grinch, with about $17.7 million; MGM’s Rocky film Creed II, with about $16.8 million; Warner Bros.’ wizarding world adventure Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, with about $11.2 million; and Fox’s Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, with about $8.1 million.

The Possession of Hannah Grace will debut in the No. 7 spot, earning an estimated $6.5 million at 3,148 North American theaters. The opening is on par with expectations for the film, which reportedly cost less than $10 million to make.

Directed by Diederik Van Rooijen, Hannah Grace stars Shay Mitchell as former cop and recovering addict working the graveyard shift at a morgue, where a newly arrived cadaver (Kirby Johnson) has other thoughts about staying dead. Critics were underwhelmed by the movie, while audiences gave it a C-minus CinemaScore.

In limited release, Orion’s zombie musical Anna and the Apocalypse is arriving in five theaters with an estimated $50,000 (a per-screen average of $10,000).

The post-Thanksgiving weekend is typically a quiet one in terms of major studio releases, and there are none on the calendar for next week either, but the rest of December will bring such high-profile offerings as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Aquaman, Bumblebee, and Mary Poppins Returns.

Overall box office is up 10.1 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. See the Nov. 30-Dec. 2 figures below.

1. Ralph Breaks the Internet — $25.8 million
2. The Grinch — $17.7 million
3. Creed II — $16.8 million
4. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — $11.2 million
5. Bohemian Rhapsody — $8.1 million
6. Instant Family — $7.2 million
7. The Possession of Hannah Grace — $6.5 million
8. Robin Hood — $4.7 million
9. Widows — $4.4 million
10. Green Book — $3.9 million

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I miss going to movies all the time. I still haven’t seen Bohemian Rhapsody yet, or Ralph Breaks the Internet and Creed II. Maybe this week.

Ralph Breaks the Internet and Creed II power record Thanksgiving box office

A destruction-prone but well-meaning arcade character and a score-settling young boxer are taking the Thanksgiving box office to new heights.

Led by the strong openings of Disney’s animated sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet and MGM’s Rocky successor Creed II, the Wednesday-Sunday North American box office total will be the biggest in the holiday’s history, coming in at an estimated $314 million. According to Comscore, this will be the first time the five-day frame has crossed the $300 million mark.

Ralph Breaks the Internet is the weekend’s high scorer, selling an estimated $55.7 million in tickets at 4,017 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday though Sunday, and an estimated $84.5 million since its Wednesday debut. The latter figure represents the second-highest Thanksgiving bow ever (not adjusted for inflation), behind Frozen’s $93.6 million. Overseas, Ralph will add about $41.5 million this weekend, for a worldwide total of $126 million. The film reportedly cost $175 million to make.

Featuring the voices of John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman, Ralph Breaks the Internet is the sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, and follows the titular hero as he ventures into cyberspace for the first time. Critics’ reviews have been favorable, and audiences gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.

Meanwhile, Creed II is stepping into the ring with an estimated $35.3 million from Friday to Sunday, good for second place, and an estimated $55.8 million over its first five days, which is easily the top Thanksgiving start for a live-action movie. (Four Christmases previously held the title, with $46.1 million.) The film cost at least $40 million to make.

Directed by Steven Caple Jr., taking the franchise reins from Ryan Coogler, Creed II finds Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) facing off against Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu) the son of the man (Dolph Lundgren) who killed his father in a boxing match years ago. Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as Rocky Balboa, young Creed’s mentor, and also co-wrote the screenplay (with Juel Taylor). Reviews have been solid, and moviegoers gave it an A CinemaScore.

Not every new film is hitting its target, however. Lionsgate’s big-budget Robin Hood will earn an estimated $9.1 million at 2,827 from Friday through Sunday, and $14.2 million over the five-day frame. That’s a disappointment for a film that cost nearly $100 million to make, and lands it in seventh place for the weekend.

Starring Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx and directed by Otto Bathurst, Robin Hood has been panned by critics, while audiences gave it a B CinemaScore.

Rounding out this weekend’s top five are Universal’s animated Dr. Seuss adaptation The Grinch, with an estimated $30.2 million; Warner Bros’. Harry Potter spin-off/prequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, with an estimated $29.7 million; and Fox’s Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, with an estimated $13.9 million.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight’s historical drama The Favourite is bowing with an estimated $420,000 at just four theaters, which works out to a per-screen average of $105,000 — the best of 2018. Yorgos Lanthimos directed the critically acclaimed film, which is set amid the scheming court of Queen Anne during the early 1700s. Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz star.

Netflix also unveiled its awards hopeful Roma, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, in three theaters in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, but the company is not reporting grosses.

Overall box office is up 10.2 percent year-to-date. See the Nov. 23-25 figures below.

1. Ralph Breaks the Internet — $55.7 million ($84.5 million five-day)
2. Creed II — $35.3 million ($55.8 million five-day)
3. The Grinch — $30.2 million ($42 million five-day)
4. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — $29.7 million ($42.9 million five-day)
5. Bohemian Rhapsody — $13.9 million ($19.2 million five-day)
6. Instant Family — $12.5 million ($17.4 million five-day)
7. Robin Hood — $9.1 million ($14.2 million five-day)
8. Widows — $8 million ($10.6 million five-day)
9. Green Book — $5.4 million ($7.4 million five-day)
10. A Star Is Born — $3 million ($4.1 million five-day)

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Methinks this is how it’ll be done from now on. Less albums, more singles.

Norah Jones on new song ‘Wintertime’ and her next chapter: ‘That whole album cycle push, I’m not up for it’

With over 50 million album sales and nine Grammys, Norah Jones knows she’s reached an autonomous point in her career where she can pretty much do whatever the hell she wants. And the 39-year-old mother of two tells EW she plans to write the next chapter in her professional songbook one track at a time.

“It was fun and I had a great time, but that whole album cycle push, I’m not up for it anymore,” the “Don’t Know Why” singer says of restructuring her creative output after releasing six solo LPs (each with a massive accompanying tour) since 2002. So, her husband suggested an alternate route: “Go in the studio” with an array of hand-selected musicians “for one to three days [and] put out a song per month,” Jones explains. So far, a collection of four singles — spanning Doveman-assisted experimental-electronic political anthems to soulful wallops of moody brass — made at her own pace with friends new and old serve as tokens brought back from her sonic travels.

“This is me finally figuring out who I want to play with,” says Jones, adding that the goal of the process is to just “see what happens” in the largely improvised sessions she quickly chucks online to savor the raw spontaneity of the process.

“It’s easy when you get into a record cycle to lose that a little bit… the magic of the song starts to dissipate,” she continues. “Waiting around, getting artwork together… it’s like, let’s just put out the important part and move on.”

For example, Jones’ sessions with Jeff Tweedy yielded four overall tracks, but “Wintertime” is the only one that originated prior to their collaboration.

“[Jeff had] already written a lot of the chords, the whole melody, and a lot of the words before I came in,” Jones says of the song, which speaks to longing and desire — aided by the song leaning into timely themes of seasonal depression. “I’m just drawn to warm instruments in general, and happy lyrics always sound cheesy coming off my tongue. [This song is] just what comes naturally.”

“Wintertime” also reunites Jones with her former engineer, Tom Schick, and features Tweedy’s son Spencer on percussion. But the tone was set by Jones and Tweedy finding a balance between their perspectives.

“His way of writing [and] the way he thinks about lyrics is a super different perspective from mine,” Jones observes. “It’s hard to describe a process like that, it just kind of goes back and forth until it finds its way.”

While she doesn’t broadcast her views on social media, Jones’ art has long registered political. In protest to George W. Bush’s re-election, Jones dinged the Republican president in her 2004 song “My Dear Country,” and she says the “current climate” under Donald Trump inspired this experimental electronic opus made with Doveman musician Thomas Bartlett. The song — in which Jones observes “people hurting” and wonders if society is “broken” — came together after she’d written a set of stream-of-consciousness lyrics Bartlett improvised moody organ riffs over.

“We got three very different songs,” Jones says of their sessions. “We have another song that’s stripped down, and is really orchestral and beautiful. It’s just piano and voice. And then we have another song that’s more electronic…. whatever happens sonically, I’m open.”

“It Was You” — a soul-driven stunner made with Jones’ bandmates Brian Blade and Chris Thomas — epitomizes the spontaneous, pliable spirit of Jones’ current endeavor.

“I came from a very dark place personally [and] wrote four songs on the piano. This was one of them. It started with a different vibe; It had no words and sounded like a happy, church piano song,” she recalls. “These guys are such great musicians [so] it totally changed because of the way they played it,” Jones says of the studio time that pushed the track into its final form. “It was beautiful the way they interpreted it…. the groove kicked in and it was amazing. That was a very live track. We added the horns and the organs, and that’s it.”

One of the best songs on Jones’ 2012 album Little Broken Hearts is the grim “Miriam,” for which she took on the embellished persona of a woman fantasizing about murdering an ex’s mistress. “A Song With No Name,” another fruit of Jones’ Tweedy sessions, kindles similar images as she croons of love, knives, and guns in the same breath to create an abstract tone poem about impulsive passion — which also explains how the song was recorded.

“This song was very much improvised, lyrically and musically. I thought it was a throwaway, and we revisited it…. and [Jeff and I] both loved it,” Jones remembers. “There are some things about it that don’t connect in my head. If I could rewrite the lyrics, there are a few I’d change to make a story connect a little more…. but I like the way it is. Guns are everywhere, and the word was on the tip of my tongue; don’t worry about me.”

Jones admits she has “a hard time playing ‘Miriam’ now,” alluding to the cycle of violence that has played out in national headlines in recent years. “Even though I know what that song is, [because] it’s a mood; in no way am I advocating anything like that, and I never would.”

“We’re all aware of what’s going on [in this country] and that can inform certain things, but some of these are just songs about how you feel,” she says. “There’s no real thread tying these songs together; I think I’m the only thread.”

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I would absolutely LOVE this!!!!

Sorry, Scrubs Fans, Zach Braff’s Tweet Doesn’t Mean a Revival Is Happening

Zach Braff got a lot of people talking when he posted a photo of himself reunited with his former Scrubs co-stars and captioned it, “Season 10?”

The idea seemed plausible enough. Nowadays, just about every show seems ripe for revival. And since there aren’t very many medical comedies left to break up the monotony of so many hospital dramas now that the likes of House, Children’s Hospital and Royal Pains are through too, now’s as good a time as any for J.D. and Turk to get the bromance going again.

Unfortunately for anyone who took the tweet at face value, Scrubs Season 10 is not in the works. At least not right now.

The group got back together for the show’s stint at VultureFest on Saturday evening, during which creator Bill Lawrence slapped down the idea of a revival series, while still leaving the possibility of more Scrubs on the table in a different format.

“I would do anything to get to work with not only this group, but the writers, and do it again,” he said (via The Hollywood Reporter), with the caveat that “sometimes reboots — not all the time — feel like a money grab.”

Lawrence went on to add, “If we ever do it, we’ll do it as a short little movie or something else. I think the problem from me is I would just want to see where everyone is. I would want to see where their marriages are.”

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Another Number One Movie I’ll Probably Never See.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald charms box office with $26 million opening

Controversies and poor critical reviews don’t seem to have an impact on Harry Potter fans because Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald already made $100 million worldwide.

The latest cinematic installment to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world earned $25.7 million in ticket sales since opening in the U.S. with late Thursday night screenings. This puts it on track to reach upwards of $65 million domestically by weekend’s end, and the opening night tally adds to $74.3 million the film racked up internationally.

The Crimes of Grindelwald, based on a screenplay by Rowling and helmed by longtime Harry Potter film director David Yates, earned an A CinemaScore from audiences. The response from reviewers wasn’t nearly as positive.

The story continues the adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) after Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. With dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (the newly Relevio-ed Johnny Depp) amassing followers across Europe, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), Newt’s old Hogwarts professor who knew Grindelwald in his youth, tasks his former pupil to thwart these efforts.

Katherine Waterson, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, and Ezra Miller also return for The Crimes of Grindelwald, which introduces Zoe Kravitz as Leta Lestrange, Callum Turner as Newt’s brother Theseus, and Claudia Kim as Nagini.

“It is, well… a lot,” EW’s Leah Greenblatt writes. “And as Rowling piles on the mythology and backstories and subplots, the movie begins to feel a little bit like walking into a wind tunnel and being asked, in 134 minutes, to put the swirling pages of her wildly dense script back together.” Paired with far more merciless reviews, The Crimes of Grindelwald sits at an abysmal 39 percent “rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes.

Drama surrounding one of the film’s stars also threatened to derail the debut. Rowling and Yates stood by Depp when the actor was accused of emotion and physical abuse by ex-wife Amber Heard two years prior. Depp denied the claims at the time and the two reached a settlement in 2016. In supporting Depp, Warner Bros. quoted a portion of the joint statement the actor released with Heard in the aftermath of the settlement, but Heard responded by sharing the remarks in full, adding, “To pick and choose certain lines and quote them out of context, is just not right.”

“The fact remains I was falsely accused, which is why I’m suing the Sun newspaper for defamation for repeating false accusations,” Depp told EW. “J.K. has seen the evidence and therefore knows I was falsely accused, and that’s why she has publicly supported me. She doesn’t take things lightly. She would not stand up if she didn’t know the truth. So that’s really it.”

Additional controversies swirled around the characters of Dumbledore and Nagini. Rowling confirmed her beloved Hogwarts headmaster to be gay, but Yates said the film wouldn’t “explicitly” feature that portrayal. Others took issue with the fact that Kim plays a character which sees a Korean woman eventually transforming into the pet of a powerful white man (Lord Voldemort).

According to research from Fandom, however, these stories don’t seem to have an effect on Potterheads — and the box office numbers appear to support that.

“What these fans are focused on is the deep, deep world of lore,” Angelina Fadool, Fandom’s director of content operations, told Variety. “Press and other external factors — good, bad, or indifferent — it doesn’t effect the world of the film for them.”

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It must be said that “Best Years of My Life” is one of my favourite songs of the year!! The entire album is great!!

Miranda Lambert’s Pistol Annies have never been more important than they are right now

For the Pistol Annies, sometimes a song arrives whether or not all three members of this country-music supergroup are ready for it.

One example? “Best Years of My Life,” a casually devastating account of adult-onset disappointment that begins with Ashley Monroe delivering this instant classic of an opener: “I picked a good day for a recreational Percocet.”

“That was her line, and she likes to get up real early in the morning and start writing songs, which we hate,” Monroe’s bandmate Angaleena Presley said with a laugh, recalling a sleepover writing session at the home of the group’s third member, Miranda Lambert. “But she was sitting out on the balcony and woke us up with that, and we were both like — ”

“‘Damn it,’” Lambert chimed in.

“We had to get up,” Presley added. “We knew immediately.”

Commitment to the tune — that’s what has defined the Pistol Annies since 2010, when Lambert briefly paused her hugely successful solo career to form the trio with her old friend Monroe, herself an acclaimed singer, and a then-struggling Nashville songwriter whose work had impressed her.

You could hear it on the band’s hit debut, 2011’s “Hell on Heels,” with its clever ditties about struggling to make ends meet. And it was there on “Annie Up,” from 2013, in a perfectly realized lament like “Unhappily Married.” (“You’re going bald and I’m getting fat,” it goes, “I hate your mom and you hate my dad.”)

Yet the Pistol Annies’ craft has never run deeper, nor felt more important, than it does on their latest album, “Interstate Gospel,” which debuted this week atop Billboard’s country chart.

On Wednesday night the trio will celebrate with a performance at the Country Music Assn. Awards, where Lambert is also up for several prizes, including female vocalist of the year and single of the year for “Drowns the Whiskey,” her No. 1 duet with Jason Aldean.

Like the earlier records, “Interstate Gospel” has some great laughs, as in the cheeky “Sugar Daddy” and the rowdy (and self-explanatory) “Stop, Drop and Roll One.”

But the record is also full of poignant, unsparing dispatches from women’s lives at a moment when male artists outnumber female on country radio by about 10 to 1.

“Milkman” explores the complicated relationship between a daughter and a mother who disapproves of her lifestyle. “Commissary” recounts an older sister’s visit to a younger brother behind bars.

Then there’s the handful of tunes seemingly inspired by Lambert’s widely publicized divorce from fellow country star Blake Shelton. In the anguished “Masterpiece,” the singer compares a failing marriage to a painting “up there on the wall for all to see,” then wonders, “Who’s brave enough to take it down?”

And though “Got My Name Changed Back” is funnier and more revved up, it’s still giving voice to an underrepresented perspective in rhymes as expertly phrased as “Spent an afternoon at the DMV” and “Now who I was ain’t who I be.”

Over lunch by their hotel pool during a recent trip to Los Angeles, the women — Presley is 42, Lambert is 35 and Monroe is 32 — told me they hadn’t gone into making “Interstate Gospel” with an eye toward correcting country music’s gender imbalance.

“I don’t ever want to come across as preachy,” Presley said.

But Monroe acknowledged she takes pride in fans telling her they can relate to songs not delivered from the point of view of a dude in a beat-up ball cap.

“I think it’s about people feeling understood,” Lambert said. “This song’s about your day sucking or divorce or somebody you love being put in prison. We’re not preaching to you — we’re talking to you because it happened to us too.”

“It’s the honesty,” Monroe said, a familiar talking point among country stars that nonetheless rings true with an act as frank as this one.

Asked whether the tabloid scrutiny of her marriage tempted her to put her guard up this time, Lambert scoffed.

“I don’t care what they write,” she said, adding that once you’re famous, “you could walk down the street and pick up a piece of trash and they’re gonna talk about it.”

If anything, she went on, the mistruths in gossip columns only made her double down on record.

“We sing the truth. Take from it what you will,” she said.
Lambert’s overall attitude toward her own celebrity is refreshingly unimpressed. And yet she admits to playing the game when necessary, as when she puts on a smile when the camera finds her in her seat at an awards show.

“That’s hard,” Presley said, “especially when you already suffer from resting bitch face, which I do.”

“Oh, me too,” Lambert agreed. “But I’ve gotten better at it.”

With the CMA Awards in mind — along with Nashville’s persistent man problem — I wondered aloud what the Pistol Annies thought of one tune nominated for song of the year: Chris Janson’s very iffy “Drunk Girl,” in which the singer is basically asking to be congratulated for not assaulting a woman he takes home from a bar.

“Leave her keys on the counter, your number by the phone / Pick up her life she threw on the floor,” Janson sings, “Leave the hall lights on, walk out and lock the door / That’s how she knows the difference between a boy and a man.”

At first the women said they didn’t know the song. Then Monroe began shaking her head silently.

“Well, clearly Ashley doesn’t want to talk about it,” Lambert said, which seemed to change Presley’s mind on the subject.

“I’m lying. I do know the song, and I’ll say one thing about it,” she said. “We don’t need to be rescued. We can get as drunk as we want, and we can get cabs.”

Lambert, who insisted again that she hadn’t heard “Drunk Girl,” asked if that’s really what the song is about.

“Seriously?” she said. “Everyone should try harder. There’s better ways to write songs.”

Are we living in something of a low-effort era?

“Uh-huh,” Lambert replied, nodding. “It’s a cop-out, all of it.”

At that, Monroe flashed a pained-looking expression. “I don’t care,” Lambert told her. “Why are you worried about it?”

“I’m not,” Monroe said. “I just don’t want to talk about Chris Janson. It’s not relevant to our music.”

Yet “Drunk Girl” is relevant, I said, as a demonstration of the blinkered thinking that the Pistol Annies are working against. As happened earlier, the women seemed to back away from a position of protest.

“We’re not on a soapbox,” Presley said. “We’re doing dishes and writing songs about it.”

Lambert said there’s room for all kinds in Nashville, even if most current country music leaves her cold compared with the “timeless” stuff she was raised on.

Some of the veterans she reveres — Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire — are admirers of the Pistol Annies, which Lambert said means “everything” to her and her bandmates.

Indeed, Presley said she was blown away when Yearwood — whose music she “used to sing so hard into my hairbrush that I knocked my tooth out one time” — visited the group backstage after a recent taping for a CMT special.

But then that was just one of many places Presley can’t believe her songwriting has taken her over the past eight years.

“My house was getting repossessed when this band started,” she said, adding that “Housewife’s Prayer,” from the Pistol Annies’ debut, was “literally me thinking about burning it down so I could get the insurance money before they took it away from me.”

“That’s why we love her,” Lambert said.

“How you like me now?” Presley went on, waving at her glossy surroundings. “Sitting by a coffin-shaped pool in California, eating manchego cheese.”

It sounded like the first line of a new song.

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So…hurry up April!!!!

‘Game of Thrones’ reveals final season air date

It’s official: The end of “Game of Thrones” is coming in April.

On Tuesday, the show’s official Twitter account posted a video announcing that the eighth and final season will air in April 2019.

The season will contain just six episodes, although they will reportedly be supersized — some as long as feature films.

The video teases, “Every battle. Every betrayal. Every risk. Every fight. Every sacrifice. Every death. All #ForTheThrone.”

It’s not a trailer with new footage, but it sure beats that time “Game of Thrones” made everyone spend an hour watching a block of ice melt, in order to find out the Season 7 air date.

It emphasizes the impending conflict between Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), who is currently Queen, Daenerys Targaryen (Emila Clarke), who’s come to Westeros to stake her own claim on the Iron Throne, and the current King in the North Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who doesn’t even know that he also has a claim to the throne — since nobody’s told him who his real parents are, yet.

HBO didn’t specify the exact date in April, but if the show continues the pattern of airing on Sundays, the choices are April 7, 14, 21 or 28.

And now our watch begins.

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I know that the first AVATAR is still the highest grossing film of all time, but I honestly could care less about these sequels.

James Cameron: The ‘Avatar’ Sequels Have Wrapped Production

This just in from Pandora: James Cameron says the Avatar sequels have reached a major milestone with the completion of all principal photography involving main cast members.

In a video message, the director of the two highest-grossing films of all time (Avatar and Titanic) praised the ensemble of actors who have been filming Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 since September 2017.

“Hi, James Cameron here and today I’m coming to you from the set of the Avatar sequels — and behind me you can see our performance-capture stage. Today we’re capturing some stunt scenes filming some stunt scenes but our principal cast are all wrapped: Sam [Worthington], Zoe [Saldana], Sigourney [Weaver], Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet.”

The Oscar-winning filmmaker added: “They’re done now but they gave us incredible performances. And I can’t tell you how proud I am of the work that they did on these films.”

Avatar 2 is due in theaters on December 18, 2020, and will be followed by Avatar 3 on December 17, 2021. Two additional sequels are planned after that if the first pair deliver the kind of box-office success that Fox and Cameron are expecting.

In the video message, Cameron then turned to a different project as he explained the ambition and artistry of Alita: Battle Angel , which reaches theaters in February.

Cameron fell in love with the namesake source material, the cyberpunk saga created by Yukito Kishiro in the 1990s, and flirted with making it into a movie in the mid-2000s but ultimately set it aside in favor of making the first Avatar.

In 2015, director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Spy Kids) came on board as director for Alita with Cameron producing (along with his longtime partner, Jon Landau). The film’s approach — a dreamy futuristic setting yet with photorealistic anime visuals — is being billed as a game-changer (not unlike Cameron’s Terminator 2 and Avatar) but that could be an elusive sell to moviegoers.

Which explains why Cameron was using his Avatar publicity and social media megaphone to tether the two franchises and boost the fledgling Alita.

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“Who Year’s Day”, I like that!!

‘Doctor Who’ Will Have A New Year’s Day Special Instead Of Christmas Night

BBC America is going to ring in 2019 with Doctor Who. Breaking away from the traditional Christmas Day timeslot, the popular series will have its first-ever “Who Year’s Day” which will include a marathon of all the Christmas specials that will pave the way to the aforementioned New Year’s Day special

The marathon will begin 12pm ET/PT on December 24 and lead into Christmas Day. After that, it will be a celebratory marathon of all the Doctors tarting with Peter Capaldi, followed by Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith, leading straight into the New Year’s special on January 1.

The all-new episode is written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Wayne Yip (Preacher, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency). As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring from across the centuries of Earth’s history. Will the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Ryan (Tosin Cole), Graham (Bradley Walsh) and Yaz (Mandip Gill) be able to overcome this threat to Planet Earth?

Showrunner Chris Chibnall said, “We’re thrilled to be starting the New Year with a bang, as Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and friends face a terrifying alien threat in an action-packed, hour-long special adventure for all the family.”

Whittaker made history as the first female Doctor in the franchise. It has since become a hit with viewers. The current season of Doctor Who is averaging nearly one million viewers per episode, up 54 percent from the previous season and ranking as the fastest-growing scripted series of the year across all key demos.

The finale of the current season will air on December 9th.

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He has given me – and many of my friends – so much. Thank you, Stan The Man and may you Rest In Piece.

Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee dead at 95

Stan Lee, who dreamed up Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk and a cavalcade of other Marvel Comics superheroes that became mythic figures in pop culture with soaring success at the movie box office, died at the age of 95, his daughter said Monday.

As a writer and editor, Lee was key to the ascension of Marvel into a comic book titan in the 1960s when, in collaboration with artists such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he created superheroes who would thrill generations of young readers.

Lee’s daughter C.J. Lee confirmed the death to Reuters. Lee is survived by his daughter and his younger brother, Larry Lieber, who also worked in comics.

Americans were familiar with superheroes before Lee, in part thanks to the 1938 launch of Superman by Detective Comics, the company that would become DC Comics, Marvel’s archrival.

Lee was widely credited with adding a new layer of complexity and humanity to superheroes. His characters were not made of stone — even if they appeared to have been chiseled from granite. They had love and money worries and endured tragic flaws or feelings of insecurity.

“I felt it would be fun to learn a little about their private lives, about their personalities and show that they are human as well as super,” Lee told NPR News in 2010.

He had help in designing the superheroes but he took full ownership of promoting them.

His creations included web-slinging teenager Spider-Man, the muscle-bound Hulk, mutant outsiders The X-Men, the close-knit Fantastic Four and the playboy-inventor Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man.

Dozens of Marvel Comics movies, with nearly all the major characters Lee created, were produced in the first decades of the 21st century, grossing over $20 billion US at theatres worldwide, according to box office analysts.

Spider-Man is one of the most successfully licensed characters ever, and he has soared through the New York skyline as a giant inflatable in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Lee, as a hired hand at Marvel, received limited payback on the windfall from his characters.

In a 1998 contract, he wrestled a clause for 10 per cent of profits from movies and TV shows with Marvel characters. In 2002, he sued to claim his share, months after Spider-Man conquered movie theatres, saying the company cheated him out of millions in profits. In a legal settlement three years later, he received a $10 million one-time payment.

Hollywood studios made superheroes the cornerstone of their strategy of producing fewer films and relying on big profits from blockbusters. Some people assumed that, as a result, Lee’s wealth had soared. He disputed that.

“I don’t have $200 million. I don’t have $150 million. I don’t have $100 million or anywhere near that,” Lee told Playboy magazine in 2014. Having grown up in the Great Depression, Lee added that he was “happy enough to get a nice pay cheque and be treated well.”

In 2008, Lee was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest government award for creative artists.

Captain America actor Chris Evans was among those who mourned the loss on Twitter: “There will never be another Stan Lee. For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!”

Black Panther actor Winston Duke also took to Twitter to pay his respects: “You gave us characters that continue to stand the test of time and evolve with our consciousness. You taught us that there are no limits to our future as long as we have access to our imagination. Rest in power!”

Lee was born as Stanley Martin Lieber in New York on Dec. 28, 1922, the son of Jewish immigrants from Romania. At age 17, he became an errand boy at Timely Comics, the company that would evolve into Marvel. He got the job with help from an inside connection, his uncle, according to Lee’s autobiography Excelsior!

Lee soon earned writing duties and promotions. He penned Western stories and romances, as well as superhero tales, and often wrote standing on the porch of the Long Island, N.Y., home he shared with his wife, actress Joan Lee, whom he married in 1947 and who died in 2017.

Last August, he won a three-year extension of a restraining order against a former business manager accused of subjecting him to elder abuse after taking charge of his affairs earlier in the year.

Lee and his wife had two children, Joan Celia born in 1950 and Jan Lee who died within three days of her birth in 1953.

In 1961, Lee’s boss saw a rival publisher’s success with caped crusaders and told Lee to dream up a superhero team.

Lee at the time felt comics were a dead-end career. But his wife urged him to give it one more shot and create the complex characters he wanted to, even if it led to his firing.

The result was the Fantastic Four. There was stretchable Mr. Fantastic, his future wife Invisible Woman, her brother the Human Torch and strongman The Thing. They were like a devoted but dysfunctional family.

“Stan’s characters were always superheroes that had a certain amount of humanity about them or a flaw,” said Shirrel Rhoades, a former executive vice-president of Marvel and its publisher in the mid-1990s.

“As iconic as Superman may be, he’s considered a boy scout. He doesn’t have any real flaws,” Rhoades said. “Whereas you take a Spider-Man, kids identify with him because he had his problems like they did. He suffered from great angst.”

Lee involved his artists in the process of creating the story and even the characters themselves, in what would come to be known as the “Marvel Method.” It sometimes led critics to fault Lee for taking credit for ideas not entirely his own.

He described his creative process to Reuters in outlining how he came up with his character Thor, the god of thunder borrowed from Norse mythology.

“I was trying to think of something that would be totally different,” he said. “What could be bigger and even more powerful than the Hulk? And I figured why not a legendary god?”

To give Thor more rhetorical punch, Lee gave him dialogue styled after the Bible and Shakespeare.

As for Tony Stark-Iron Man, he was based on industrialist Howard Hughes, Lee told interviewers.

Lee became Marvel’s publisher in 1972. He went on the lecture circuit, moved to Los Angeles in 1980 and pursued opportunities for his characters in movies and television.

Through it all, he kept connected with fans, writing a column called Stan’s Soapbox in which he often slipped in his catchphrase “‘Nuff Said” or the signoff “Excelsior!” In his later years, he gave constant updates via Twitter.

“Stan was a character. He was a character as much as any he ever created,” Rhoades said. “He created himself, in a way.”

He also made cameos in most Marvel films, pulling a girl away from falling debris in 2002’s Spider-Man and serving as an emcee at a strip club in 2016’s Deadpool.

The Walt Disney Co. bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $4 billion in a deal to expand Disney’s roster of characters, with the most iconic ones having been Lee’s handiwork.

By that point, Lee had all but parted ways with Marvel after being made a chairman emeritus of the company. But even in his 80s and 90s, Lee was a wellspring of new projects, running a company called POW! Entertainment.

“His greatest legacy will be not only the co-creation of his characters but the way he helped to build the culture that comics have become, which is a pretty significant one,” said Robert Thompson, a pop culture expert at Syracuse University.