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Loved it! It was amazing!! Can’t wait to see it again!!!

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood scores Tarantino’s biggest opening with $40 million

The Lion King is still reigning at the multiplex, but Quentin Tarantino is poised for a personal best.

The filmmaker’s 1969-set tale Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is on track to earn an estimated $40.4 million at 3,659 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday, claiming the No. 2 spot at the box office and notching the biggest opening of Tarantino’s career, not adjusted for inflation. His previous high was $38.1 million, for 2009’s Inglourious Basterds.

It’s a solid start for Hollywood, the rare adult-oriented, R-rated, non-franchise summer release. Sony Pictures is distributing the film, Tarantino’s first made without the involvement of now-disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein. Heading into the weekend, the film was projected to earn between $30 million and $40 million; it cost about $90 million to make. Reviews have been strong, though audiences gave it a middling B CinemaScore.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood marks Tarantino’s 10th movie as a director (or ninth if you count both volumes of Kill Bill together, as he does). It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as fading TV star Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt as his stunt double and pal Cliff Booth, who navigate a changing town and also cross paths with rising actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie).

Meanwhile, Disney’s photorealistic Lion King remake will take in an estimated $75.5 million million in its second weekend, dominating the competition once again. That figure represents a 61 percent decline from its massive debut, and brings the film’s domestic total to about $350.8 million after 10 days in theaters. Internationally, it will add about $142.8 million this weekend, for a worldwide haul of $962.7 million.

Rounding out the top five are Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, with about $12.2 million; Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4, with about $9.9 million; and Paramount’s Crawl, with about $4.4 million.

Overall box office is down 6.6 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. Check out the July 26-28 numbers below.

1. The Lion King — $75.5 million million
2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — $40.4 million
3. Spider-Man: Far From Home — $12.2 million
4. Toy Story 4 — $9.0 million
5. Crawl — $4 million
6. Yesterday — $3 million
7. Aladdin — $2.8 million
8. Stuber — $1.7 million
9. Annabelle Comes Home — $1.6 million
10. The Farewell — $1.6 million

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It must be done.

MTV to remove Michael Jackson’s name from award: Report

MTV is reportedly set to rename the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award following the string of allegations made against the late pop star in the controversial Leaving Neverland documentary.

The HBO feature focused on disturbing sexual abuse claims by two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who alleged Jackson groomed them when they were children.

The King of Pop’s estate denied the allegations and subsequently filed a US$100 million lawsuit against the U.S. network.

According to the New York Post’s Page Six gossip column, MTV is considering cutting ties with the Smooth Criminal hitmaker’s name for its annual Video Music Awards, which are set to take place in August.

The outlet claimed there are “heated discussions” between network bosses over how to handle the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, with concerns over who would present it, and who would accept it with Jackson’s name still on the prize.

The late pop star received the Vanguard Award in 1988, and MTV renamed it in his honour in 1991.

Some of the music stars to be honoured with the prestigious gong include Rihanna, Beyonce, Kanye West, Britney Spears, U2 and Jennifer Lopez, who took home the trophy last year.

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Come on, Eddie!! Do it, Eddie!!!!

Eddie Murphy, Netflix close to $70M deal for standup comeback: report

Eddie Murphy is gearing up to get raw again.

The reclusive comedy legend, 58, hasn’t been on the standup stage in years, but he’s reportedly in talks with Netflix for a series of comedy specials, sources close to Murphy tell TMZ.

The streaming giant’s big lure: a whopping $70 million paycheck.

TMZ admits they’ve been “unable to firmly confirm the exact figure” at this point, but that dollar amount is certainly in line with what headliners of the “Beverly Hills Cop” legend’s caliber can demand from the streaming giant.

Dave Chappelle raked in $20 million for each of his three award-winning specials, Chris Rock banked $40 million for his two-show package and Amy Schumer reportedly asked for — and received — more than $11 million for her last Netflix showcase.

Let us not forget that the former “Saturday Night Live” star — and Oscar nominee for “Dreamgirls” — actually helped pioneer this game. His popular — albeit ultra-raunchy and possibly homophobic — live specials “Eddie Murphy: Delirious” and “Eddie Murphy: Raw” paved the way for this format back when Chappelle and Rock were doing bit parts in B movies.

The prolific baby-maker has been teasing a return to the live stage for some time, and even stoked the flames of fandom during his recent surprise appearance on Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

“You know that you not doing stand-up drives people crazy — you know that, right?” Seinfeld, 65, asked “The Nutty Professor” star.

Murphy admitted that the “last time he saw” Don Rickles shortly before his death in 2017, the legendary insult comic pushed him to step up to the mic again.

“I’m gonna do it again. It’s just, you know, everything has to be right,” Murphy told Seinfeld. “The only way I can get, like, an act is I gotta go to the clubs and work out.”

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Been waiting for this announcement for months!! AWESOME!!!

Marvel Phase 4 Plan Revealed, But Comic-Con’s Big Winner is Disney Plus

In a triumphant return to the San Diego Comic-Con main stage, leadership at Marvel Studios managed some splashy surprises and showed off risky creative bets for the next two years of content coming from the superhero operation.

But the biggest takeaway from the Saturday presentation inside Hall H was how important Marvel will make Disney Plus, the new digital streaming product and Netflix rival that the Walt Disney Company is launching in November.

While Variety previously reported that Marvel’s TV series would share the same worlds of the cinematic universe, it was made abundantly clear by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige that a Disney Plus subscription will be essential for keeping current on the narratives fans will see in theaters.

When the sequel “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” hits in May 2021, Benedict Cumberbatch will be joined by his fellow Avenger Elizabeth Olsen, aka Scarlet Witch. But to understand the events that led her to the big screen, you’ll need to watch the Disney Plus original “Wandavision,” coming in the spring of 2020.

Likewise, a civilian unfamiliar with the MCU who wants to check out Tom Hiddleston in the Disney Plus original “Loki” will need to rewatch “Avengers: Endgame,” for a blink-and-miss moment that explains Loki’s return after his demise in “Infinity War.”

The mere visual of Disney Plus programs occupying equal space on a graphic timeline of upcoming Marvel movies — projected wide in Hall H — lent the service a kind of cachet that earlier looks at the platform failed to inspire.

Marvel has long rejoiced in making audiences students in their craft, hiding easter eggs in films and even training a generation of moviegoers to stay glued to their reclining seats through end credits for bonus scenes that tease the next adventure. Their Disney Plus efforts take that myth-building to the next level, and it’s a lucrative one as the service will cost $7 a month to start.

While this hulked-up new content pipeline is a brilliant corporate strategy, it should not suggest that Marvel’s shows will merely be bridge content for tentpole films. Feige said “Wandavision” was the most out-there piece of content the studio has ever made. It was also the title that revealed the least in Hall H, only showing an animated logo in a vintage-looking font that came accompanied by the sounds of radio frequencies.

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” will see Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan face off against “Captain America: Civil War” villain Daniel Bruhl, and Jeremy Renner’s “Hawkeye” looks to be making his standalone series a family affair (his bow-wielding children were referenced often in the final two films of the Infinity Saga).

All of those titles are anchored by legacy characters introduced in the 11 years that Marvel has risen to cultural dominance. The theatrical slate, on the other hand, is highly experimental. While sequels to “Black Panther,” “Captain Marvel” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” were all confirmed to be in development, the next eight films dated through 2022 have some compelling wildcards.

The most curious could arguably be “Eternals,” based on a trippy Jack Kirby comic series about 35,000-year-old alien beings. It’s entirely new intellectual property that takes Marvel back to the drawing board. They’re relying on one of their signature moves to establish that film, in hiring hot young talent and A-list names no film fan could refuse.

Kumail Nanjiani and Brian Tyree Henry got pop-star-level reception in the room when the cast was revealed, as did a fierce and maternal Salma Hayek. But it was when Feige introduced Angelina Jolie as the final member of the “Eternals” ensemble that the hall ignited. Fans stood on their feet, and Jolie seemed winded telling the crowd how excited she was to be there. Currently in production, the title is scheduled for a November 2020 release.

Equally interesting was director Scott Derrickson’s plan for Doctor Strange. Speaking with Feige on stage, he said he would only return to the franchise if they could explore the darker edges of the sorcerer’s comic narratives — to the point of labelling it the MCU’s first horror film. That’s for May 2021.

The most on-brand Marvel offering was also its most culturally significant, with “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” Long brewing as the first ever superhero film to feature an Asian lead, this portion packed additional punch by introducing its just-cast star Simu Liu, and additional casting in Awkwafina and Tony Leung. The character Shang-Chi is known as the master of kung-fu, and will hit in February 2021.

Marvel did trot out some familiar faces: Scarlett Johansson is mid-shoot on “Black Widow,” a gritty prequel that some social media users likened to the Bourne series for its brutal, naturalistic violence. Chris Hemsworth will also return for a fourth go at “Thor,” in a sequel titled “Love and Thunder.” That reteams him with director Taika Waititi and costar Tessa Thompson. His founding love interest Natalie Portman returns, but this time as a female version of Thor.

In his parting words, Feige revealed that Oscar winner Mahershala Ali was joining the family to reboot “Blade,” about a human with vampire strength. He also alluded to getting to work on developing the Marvel properties he inherited when Disney acquired 20th Century Fox earlier this year, including the Fantastic Four and mutants of X-Men.

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I’m sure I’ll see it someday. Just not today. Or tomorrow…

The Lion King rules the box office with $185 million opening weekend

The Lion King has conquered the box office in emphatic fashion.

Disney’s photorealistic remake of its beloved 1994 animated movie is on track to earn an estimated $185 million at 4,725 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday, dominating the competition and scoring the biggest domestic launch ever for a PG-rated film. It also marks the highest July opening ever.

Heading into the weekend, The Lion King was projected to open in the $150 million to $175 million range. Overseas, it will add about $269.4 million through Sunday. The film opened in China last week and has earned $98 million there, bringing its worldwide total to about $531 million.

Directed by Jon Favreau, The Lion King features a star-studded voice cast that includes Donald Glover, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, and Alfre Woodard. Reviews have been mixed, but audiences gave the film an A CinemaScore.

The Lion King’s strong start comes on a banner weekend for Disney, as its Avengers: Endgame will also pass Avatar as the No. 1 film of all time at the global box office.

Overall box office is down 7.3 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. Check out the July 19-21 numbers below.

1. The Lion King — $185 million
2. Spider-Man: Far From Home — $21 million
3. Toy Story 4 — $14.6 million
4. Crawl — $6 million
5. Yesterday — $5.1 million
6. Stuber — $4 million
7. Aladdin — $3.8 million
8. Annabelle Comes Home — $2.7 million
9. Midsommar — $1.6 million
10. The Secret Life of Pets 2 — $1.5 million

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I liked FAR FROM HOME. It wasn’t great, but it was very good.

‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ swings to massive $185 million Fourth of July weekend

The box office’s spidey senses are tingling.

Sony’s Spider-Man: Far From Home catches a sizable box office crown in its web over its six-day Fourth of July release. Since its debut Tuesday night, the film has raked in an estimated $185 million across 4,634 theaters. Its total for the weekend is $93.6 million, a near record for the Fourth of July weekend coming in just behind 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon weekend total of $97.9 million. However, it does mark the biggest six-day July Fourth opening of all time, beating another web-slinging title Spider-Man 2 for the title.

Second and third place go to two holdovers with Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4, which holds steady in second place with an estimated $34.3 million across 4,540 theaters. Toy Story 4 now boasts a global total of $650 million to date. Musical Beatles fantasy Yesterday takes third place with an estimated $10.8 million across 2,614 theaters. It’s a solid hold for Yesterday in its second week, declining by only a minimal 37 percent from its opening weekend.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is a triumph at both the global and domestic box office, marking the best six-day opening for a Sony film in history. The film is a follow up to 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and features Tom Holland returning as the earnest Peter Parker, aka your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, as well as Zendaya reprising her role as love interest MJ. The film picks up after the events of this spring’s Avengers: Endgame as Peter Parker attempts to adjust to life post-snap without Iron Man and several other trusted Avengers. It is the final entry in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film also features Jon Favreau, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Jake Gyllenhaal, Martin Starr, Michael Mando, and Cobie Smulders. Jon Watts returns to direct this follow-up to his 2017 spidey film.

The partnership between Sony and Disney-owned Marvel marked a major boost for a listless summer box office, coming in ahead of expectations. It also easily swings past 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming three-day opening of $117 million. Combining its international debut of $395 million with its domestic earnings, the latest Spider-Man film boasts a global total of $580 million. With the added bonus of a six-day opening scheme, the film marks the highest debut for any Spider-Man film ever made. Its likely to keep netting high totals over the coming weeks given extremely positive reviews and a sterling A CinemaScore.

This long holiday weekend’s other new release also exceeded expectations. A24’s Midsommar, another title from lauded Hereditary director Ari Aster, takes sixth place with an estimated $6.7 million across 2,707 theaters for the weekend and a total of $10.9 million in ticket sales since its Wednesday debut. Counting the full five days, A24 say this marks the best debut for an indie film in 2019.

The horror flick follows a group of vacationers whose Swedish holiday takes a sinister turn when villagers invite them to join in traditional solstice festivities that grow increasingly disturbing and bizarre. Will Poulter, Jack Reynor, Florence Pugh, Ellora Torchia, William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgranand Archie Madekwe star from a script by Aster. Despite positive reviews, the film is not resonating with audiences, earning a dismal C+ CinemaScore.

Rounding out the top five are two holdovers — horror sequel Annabelle Comes Home and Disney’s live action update of Aladdin. In its second week in theaters, Annabelle Comes Home takes fourth place with an estimated $9.8 million in ticket sale. After seven weeks in the box office, Disney’s Aladdin continues to be a monster success for the studio, taking fifth place with an estimated $7.6 million across 2,758 theaters. Its worldwide total is gradually approaching the billion dollar mark, now boasting a global haul of $921.7 million.

Overall box office is down 8.4 percent to date, according to Comscore, an improvement by an entire percentage point from last weekend thanks to the high Spider-Man returns. Check out the July 5-7 numbers below.

1. Spider-Man: Far From Home — $93.6 million
2. Toy Story 4 — $34.3 million
3. Yesterday — $10.8 million
4. Annabelle Comes Home— $9.8 million
5. Aladdin — $7.6 million
6. Midsommar — $6.7 million
7. The Secret Life of Pets 2— $4.8 million
8. Men In Black International— $3.6 million
9. Avengers: Endgame — $3.1 million
10. Rocketman— $2.8 million

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I saw YESTERDAY and Luc Besson’s ANNA this weekend. The first one I enjoyed but didn’t love. The latter is just a retread of his classic LA FEMME NIKITA. Don’t bother with it.

Toy Story 4 takes second consecutive box office victory in sluggish summer weekend

The battle of the toys at the box office continues — and Toy Story 4 emerges victorious once again.

After coming in ahead of the Child’s Play remake on both of their opening weekends, now Toy Story 4 beats out haunted toy horror flick Annabelle Comes Home for a second consecutive weekend in the number one box office slot. The Disney-Pixar franchise film wins the weekend with an estimated $57.9 million in ticket sales across 4,575 theaters. Two new releases round out the top three with horror franchise entry Annabelle Comes Home taking second place with an estimated $20.4 million in ticket sales and Beatles-musical fantasy Yesterday landing in third place with an estimated $17 million take.

Though Toy Story 4 fell by 52 percent in its second weekend, it still is raking in impressive numbers, posting an estimated cumulative domestic total of $236.9 million in only two weeks in theaters. The continued adventures of Buzz and Woody are performing well overseas, bringing the animated film’s global total to $496.5 million.

Annabelle Comes Home debuts in second place in keeping with expectations for the New Line horror entry. This is the third entry in the Annabelle franchise, an extension of the Conjuring Universe, after 2014’s Annabelle and 2017’s Annabelle: Creation. With an opening weekend total of $20.4 million, it marks the lowest opening for any film in the Conjuring franchise, including both previous Annabelle titles which opened to $37.1 million and $35 million respectively.

The R-rated Warner Bros. title finds Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprising their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren from the Conjuring films, and it also stars Mckenna Grace, Steve Coulter, Katie Sarife, and Madison Isema. As one might expect, the film follows the horrific turn of events when Ed and Lorraine welcome the demonic doll known as Annabelle into their home. Gary Dauberman, who wrote the first two Annabelle films, makes directorial debut. Neither critics nor audiences have responded warmly to the film with tepid reviews and a disappointing B- CinemaScore.

Despite the clear franchise fatigue that has been driving box office numbers lower this summer, original title Yesterday lands in third place with an estimated $17 million in ticket sales. The title exceeded expectations, marking a win for fresh material at a box office dominated by franchise entries and remakes. It also marks director Danny Boyle’s best opening ever, coming in ahead of 2000’s The Beach opening take of $15.3 million.

With a script from rom-com vet Richard Curtis, Yesterday tells the story of Jack Malik (Hamish Patel), a young man who wakes up after an accident to find he’s the only person on Earth to remember the music of The Beatles. With the support of childhood friend Ellie (Lily James), he sets out to pass the songs off as his own in an attempt to gain the success he’s craved as a singer-songwriter. Kate McKinnon and Ed Sheeran (as himself!) also star. Despite mild reviews, the film seems to be clicking with audiences, earning a solid A- CinemaScore.

Two films continued to rake in global box office dollars to hit major milestones. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum crossed the $300 million mark worldwide this weekend, while Avengers: Endgame returned to theaters in a renewed bid to pass Avatar as the highest-grossing film of all time. Avatar still holds the crown with a global total of $2.79 billion, but Avengers: Endgame is hot on its heels with a global total of $2.76 billion after adding $5.5 million to its stores this weekend.

Films in their sixth and fourth week of release respectively round out the top five for the weekend. Disney’s live action Aladdin continues to hold strong, adding $9.3 million to its total for fourth place at the box office. It now boasts a global total of $874.2 million, which makes it the highest-grossing film of Will Smith’s career on the global stage, surpassing his record of Independence Day’s $821 million haul. Animated sequel The Secret Life of Pets 2 completes the top five for the weekend, taking in $7.1 million in its fourth weekend in theaters.

Overall box office is down 9.5 percent to date, according to Comscore. With lackluster summer returns, this number continues to creep back up after Avengers: Endgame knocked it down significantly earlier this year. Check out the June 28-30 numbers below.

1. Toy Story 4 — $57.9 million
2. Annabelle Comes Home — $20.4 million
3. Yesterday — $17 million
4. Aladdin— $9.3 million
5. Secret Life of Pets 2 — $7.1 million
6. Men In Black: International — $6.6 million
7. Avengers: Endgame — $5.5 million
8. Child’s Play— $4.3 million
9. Rocketman — $3.9 million
10. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum — $3.2 million

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No one did exasperation like he did. He was brilliant!! May he rest in peace.

Max Wright, veteran TV actor and Willie Tanner on ALF, dies at 75

Max Wright, known for playing father Willie Tanner on the hit ’80s sitcom ALF, has died. He was 75.

Wright’s family confirmed his death to TMZ. The actor reportedly died at his home in Hermosa Beach, Calif., after a battle with cancer. Wright was diagnosed with lymphoma in 1995, but had been in remission for many years.

Wright was a veteran actor of the small screen, popping up on a great many shows over a three-decade career, including Cheers, Taxi, WKRP in Cincinnati, and Mad About You. He also appeared in such films as Reds and Bob Fosse‘s All That Jazz, and the miniseries adaptation of Stephen King‘s The Stand.

Wright had a substantial stage career in addition to his onscreen work. He received a Tony Award nomination in 1998 for his performance in Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov.

He is best known, however, for his role on ALF, playing a social worker and patriarch whose family plays host to a cat-eating extraterrestrial. The sitcom ran for four seasons, from 1986 to 1990, on NBC and has become a cultural touchstone.

Wright’s wife, Linda Ybarrondo, died in 2017. The couple married in 1965 and had two children together.

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This means you’re now going to see more and more and more movies about musicians as the labels try and sell music again.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ movie makes magic for Queen as music sales soar

British rock band Queen sold more albums in North America than any other artist in the first half of 2019, as music featured in movies and television sent streaming and downloads soaring.

A midyear report by Nielsen Music released on Thursday said the soundtrack to the musical Bohemian Rhapsody, which won four Oscars in February, was the best-selling rock title of the first six months of 2019, with Queen’s Greatest Hits 1 compilation coming in second.

Queen sold more than 731,000 albums — more than any other artist — as well as the most digital songs with more than 1.3 million downloads, Nielsen said.

Queen in February became the first rock band to open the Oscars when it kicked off the annual ceremony in Hollywood with a live performance of We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions.

Lady Gaga and actor-director Bradley Cooper’s steamy performance on the Oscars stage of their winning duet Shallow from A Star is Born also sent sales soaring. The romantic ballad has seen some 648,000 digital song downloads so far this year, the report said.

The Elton John biopic Rocketman fueled a 138% gain in album sales for the British singer-songwriter in the first week after the movie’s release on May 31.

Rapper Post Malone’s collaboration with Swae Lee on the song Sunflower shot to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts in January after being featured in the animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

The song saw a 170% increase in radio play, and the video had been viewed more than 642 million times on YouTube.

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Bring it on!!! Woooooooooooooo!!!

Paul Rudd joins next ‘Ghostbusters’ film

Who ya gonna call? Paul Rudd, apparently.

The “Ant Man” star has announced he will join the next installment of the “Ghostbusters” franchise.

In a video posted to social media on Thursday, Rudd said, “I can’t wait to join the cast this fall for ‘Ghostbusters.’ In fact, I’m sliming myself right now.”

Director Jason Reitman, whose father Ivan Reitman directed the first two “Ghostbusters” films, is helming the new movie.

Reitman drew criticism earlier this year after appearing to criticize the all-female “Ghostbusters” remake.

“We are in every way trying to go back to original technique and hand the movie back to fans,” he said at the time.

Leslie Jones, who was one of the stars of the 2016 “Ghostbusters,” called on Reitman to clarify his comments, which he did.

“Wo, that came out wrong!” he later said. “I have nothing but admiration for Paul and Leslie and Kate and Melissa and Kristen and the bravery with which they made Ghostbusters 2016. They expanded the universe and made an amazing movie!”

Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, and Melissa McCarthy also starred in that film.

Reitman’s “Ghostbusters” is set for release in 2020.