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Tuesday
Feb192019

'Black Panther' director Ryan Coogler making movie about real-life Black Panther member

Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) -- Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is ready to make a film about a real-life Black Panther.

Deadline has learned that Coogler is producting Jesus Was My Homeboy, a film about legendary Black Panther member Fred Hampton.

The film, to be released through Warner Bros., is set to be directed by Newlyweeds director Shaka King. Da niel Kaluuya, who starred in Coogler's Black Panther as W'Kabi, and Sorry to Bother You's LaKeith Stanfield are currently to in talks to star. The two previously starred in Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning film Get Out.

Deadline reports that Kaluuya would play Hampton, while Stanfield would play William O'Neal, the man who worked with FBI to betray him. The film will focus on how the FBI infiltrated the Black Panthers and O'Neal's part in bringing down the young leader.

Fred Hampton was a respected civil right activist who led the Illinois chapter of the Panthers. His popularity, however, made him target of the FBI.  In 1969 he and fellow Panther Mark Clark were killed during a controversial raid ordered by the Chicago Police Department in tandem with the FBI.

Although their deaths were ruled to be justifiable, a number of investigations "pointed to state-sponsored assassination" and subsequently led to civil lawsuits and settlements. Hampton’s funeral was attended by thousands and he was eulogized by civil rights leaders Jesse Jackson and Ralph Abernathy.

O’Neal later committed suicide in 1990, with some speculating that he was haunted by his part in Hampton's death.

This is the latest project for Coogler, who is on board to produce Warner Bros' Space Jam 2 and the highly anticipated sequel to Marvel's Black Panther.

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Tuesday
Feb192019

Cardi B vents about Jussie Smollet's allegedly staged attack: "Why would you do that?"

ABC/Image Group LA(LOS ANGELES) -- As the Internet continues to question the legitimacy of Jussie Smollett's alleged attack plot in light of new evidence, plain-spoken rapper Cardi B has taken to Instagram Live to flame him.

The latest reports now claim that Smollet staged the assault after he became upset that a now-suspicious letter allegedly threatening him, which was sent to Empire's studio, did not get enough attention. 

"So, I'm really disappointed in Jussie Smollet, [sic]" the Grammy-winning rapper began. "I feel like he f***** up Black History Month, bro."

However, Cardi did not completely dismiss the seriousness of the Empire star's claims.

She continued, "I don't want to completely blame him. You know, police in Chicago are racists. So, they probably tryna' frame him and make him look like he's a liar."

"But, if he's not...then bro you f***** up for real. Why would you do that?"

Cardi's comments follow the news that the two men implicated in attacking Smollett -- brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo -- told police the actor paid them to help him orchestrate and stage the January 29 attack.

Meanwhile, the FBI and the US Postal Inspection Service are currently investigating whether Jussie Smollett played a role in sending that letter -- which was addressed to the actor at Empire's Chicago studio prior to the alleged attack, two federal officials confirm to ABC News.

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Tuesday
Feb192019

'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' getting feature-packed home video release

Sony Pictures Animation © 2018 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved. (LOS ANGELES) -- Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is pulling out all the stops for its Oscar-nominated animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The film will be released on digital Tuesday, February 26 and on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on 3/19.

The movie, which features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Lily Tomlin, Mahershala Ali, Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, and Zoe Kravitz, has made more than $355 million worldwide, and is in the running for Best Animated Feature Film at this weekend's Oscars.

The movie centers on a device that tears the fabric of reality and unites different versions of the web-slinging hero from various dimensions in the Brooklyn, New York home of a young Spider-Man named Miles Morales.

The company has also announced that the film will come packaged with a host of special features, including a showcase of the movie's diverse characters; a look into the film's unique visual style; a tribute to Spider-Man's co-creators, the late Stan Lee and Steve Ditko; character design breakdowns, and more.

In addition, the release features an all-new original short Spider-Ham: Caught In a Ham, centering on a pig version of Spidey who was voiced by comic John Mulaney.

There are also a pair of lyric music videos for two songs from the soundtrack: "Sunflower" by Post Malone and Swae Lee and "Familia" by Nicki Minaj & Anuel AA (feat. Bantu).



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Tuesday
Feb192019

Director Robert Rodriguez says thanks to producer James Cameron, going big for 'Alita' felt small

(L-R) "Alita" star Rosa Salazar, director Robert Rodriguez/Courtesy 20th Century Fox(NEW YORK) -- Director Robert Rodriguez got his start literally bleeding for his art, undergoing medical tests to raise the $6,000 to make his debut film, the action movie El Mariachi.  But when director James Cameron approached Rodriguez to take over for him on his pet project Alita: Battle Angel, the guy who once described himself as "El Cheapo Productions" found himself overseeing a $200 million project.

Regardless of the budget, Rodriguez told ABC Radio he's always had one goal: "Keep that spirit, that independent spirit no matter what you do."

He said of Cameron, who got his start as a special effects guy on low-budget horror films, "Jim's from that world, you know...scrappy do-it-yourself. And that's why he knows every job [on a movie set] so well."

Rodriguez said working with Cameron and producer Jon Landau was a dream come true.

"I had the support team that you could only dream about because it's the guys that they've vetted and worked with for all these years on cutting-edge technology and cutting-edge movies," he told ABC Radio.

"And it's always...story first, character first. It's got the heart and mind in the right place, so I was blessed to be in the right situation."

Based on the beloved graphic novel series, the sci-fi film is currently the number one movie in America. 

Alita: Battle Angel has made $94.3 million worldwide since its release last week.

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Tuesday
Feb192019

Iconic designer Karl Lagerfeld dead at 85

Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images(PARIS) -- Karl Lagerfeld has died. Considered by many to be the most prolific designer of the 20th and 21st centuries -- at the same time a self-described "caricature" and the groundbreaking creative force behind luxury fashion labels Chanel and Fendi for decades -- would have been 85 in September.

The outspoken designer, who also created his own eponymous fashion label, was as famous for look -- pitch-black shades, starched white shirts, black jeans and white ponytail -- as for his contributions to the runway world.

On Tuesday morning, twitter feed showed a picture of the designer, who dressed celebrities like Princess Diana, Oscar winners like Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett and Madonna, along with the memorial caption, "Rest in peace, Karl. Love forever from your TeamKarl family."

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Tuesday
Feb192019

It's a wrap! Principal photography ends on 'Star Wars: Episode IX'

ABC/Randy Holmes(LONDON) -- J.J. Abrams hit up Twitter on Friday to announce the completion of principal photography on Star Wars IX.

The film is said to be the final installment of the Skywalker family saga, which launched in 1977. The movie stars series newcomers Keri Russell, Naomi Ackie, and Richard E. Grant, along with he main cast from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, led by Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, and Joonas Suotamo.

Original trilogy cast members Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams also return, as does Carrie Fisher, who will appear posthumously using previously unreleased footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Star Wars IX, due out in December from Lucasfilm, is still untitled.

Lucasfilm is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

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Tuesday
Feb192019

'The Walking Dead' recap: "Omega"

AMC/Gene Page(NEW YORK) -- (SPOILERS AHEAD) Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead kicked off with a flashback to 23 days since the walker outbreak began. A father, mother, and their little girl are hunkered down in a basement with some others while emergency broadcasts blare and hell breaks out outdoors.

Back in the present, we learn the little girl grew up to be Lydia, the Whisperer whom Daryl locked up. She and Henry keep chatting while Daryl eavesdrops from outside. Lydia makes plain that her mom, one of the Whisperers, is someone you don't mess with.

Meanwhile, Tara and some of the Hilltoppers search for Luke and Alden, who were taken by Whisperers. Along the way, they come upon a band of walkers, and after confirming they're actually the undead and not humans in disguise, Tara tells the group to fall back to Hilltop for safety.

In the prison, Henry keeps chatting with Lydia, until he breaches security by talking about the Kingdom. Daryl bursts in and marches him out, revealing that he and the others have been using him to get info from her. Eventually, Daryl comes into the cell and questions her about her mom.

In the flashback, we see one of the survivors panic and try to escape their shelter. Lydia's mom tries to quiet him down, and eventually breaks his neck to protect the survivors. In a role reversal, her shocked dad tries to comfort the little girl.

In the cell, Lydia has been recounting that story to Daryl: "Your mom did what she had to." He offers her medicine for an ear infection and some water, and she promptly tries to grab him through the bars instead. He notices her forearms are scarred from abuse.  Daryl tries to bond with Lydia over their shared experience of being victims of parental abuse. "What my mom does she does for a reason," she says of her scars. "When you stay soft, people die."

She flashes back again, and we see her mom, her hair now cut short, as the survivors decide they need to dispose of the guy she killed. Little Lydia wakes up, and so does the dead guy. She screams and her dad tries to protect her. Instead, he got bit.  In the present, she resents her loving dad for being soft.

Back at Hilltop, Yumiko and the other newcomers vote to sneak out to find their comrade Luke.The newbie Hilltoppers sneak out on their rescue mission.

Henry lets Lydia out of her cell so she can see Hilltop is "a good place with good people." She eventually freaks out, thinking about what she's been through, and asks to get put back. 

The next morning, Lydia is presented with food and asks for the medicine she previously turned down. She explains how her clan works, and that her mom wouldn't come looking for her.  She also admits that her mom lied about their family. Her mom had programmed in her for years that it was the little girl's fault her dad was bitten and killed. In fact, he wasn't bit at all, her mom killed him when he refused to join her in fleeing that basement.

"Some people ain't meant to be parents," Daryl later tells Henry, who's surprised Daryl offers to let her stay.

Back at Hilltop, the newbies try sneaking back in, but Tara lets Yumiko know she was well aware her group tried to sneak off.  Just then, a group of Whisperers approach Hilltop. A bald woman walks through them.

"I am Alpha," she says. "And we only want one thing from you: my daughter."  It's Lydia's mom.

The Walking Dead returns Sunday, February 24 on AMC.

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Tuesday
Feb192019

Source: Brothers implicated in Jussie Smollett plot tell police the 'Empire' actor was upset that threatening letter didn't get enough attention

ABC(CHICAGO) -- The two brothers who were interrogated by police investigating the alleged attack on actor Jussie Smollett claim they helped him concoct the assault after he became upset that a now-suspicious letter threatening him, sent to Empire's studio, did not get enough attention, sources told ABC News on Monday.

Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo also told investigators that Smollett paid them to help him orchestrate and stage the January 29 attack that he said occurred near his Chicago apartment, sources said.

A letter threatening Smollett was sent January 22 to the studio in Chicago where Empire is filmed, police said. The letter contained threatening language and was laced with a powdery substance investigators believe was likely crushed-up Tylenol.

Detectives are actively investigating the account of Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, but thus far police have not independently verified the allegations, a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told ABC News.

The Osundairo brothers agreed to cooperate with authorities after detectives confronted them with evidence that they bought the rope -- allegedly used in an attack that Smollett described to police as laced with racial and homophobic slurs -- at a Chicago hardware store, sources said.

Smollett also claimed the attackers shouted "MAGA country," an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again."

"We are not racist. We are not homophobic and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens," Osundairo brothers said in a statement to CBS Chicago affiliate WBBM which has been confirmed by ABC News.

Detectives have now shifted the investigation towards determining whether Smollett made up the entire story, sources said.

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Tuesday
Feb192019

'The Bachelor' recap: As rumors fly about two of the women, Colton follows his heart

ABC/Craig Sjodin(NEW YORK) -- On Monday’s episode of The Bachelor, Colton Underwood hoped to gain some clarity after rumors involving two of the women had him conflicted over what to believe.

The first one-on-one date featured Colton showing Tayshia the sights of his hometown of Denver. The date took a serious turn when Tayshia told Colton she believed Cassie and Caelynn were the women to whom Katie, Sydney and Demi were referring last week when they warned him that he was being deceived. Tayshia and Colton also discussed their expectations for the upcoming hometown visit, in which she warned him that he might not get a warm reception from her father, in light of her of her previous failed marriage. The meeting will take place regardless after Colton offered her the date rose.

The next one-on-one date went to Caelynn, who hit the slopes for a snowboarding lesson from the Bachelor. Things got heavy, though, when Colton confronted her about Tayshia’s accusations about not being ready and, in particular, the suggestion that Caelynn was only interested in being the next Bachelorette. Caelynn assured him that she was “100 percent ready to be engaged.” Over dinner, Colton told her that he couldn’t meet her family until he was absolutely sure of his feelings for her. After she once again assured him that her intentions were true, he handed her the rose. The date ended with a private concert from country star Brett Young, who performed his hit “Here Tonight.”

Hannah B. won the next one-on-one date with Colton, but not before a little drama took place back at the mansion between Caelynn and Tayshia. Tayshia assured Caelynn that she wasn’t trying to throw the former Miss North Carolina under the bus, insisting that Colton simply asked for her opinion and she gave it to him straight.  

Meanwhile, Hannah B. was in for a surprise when her one-on-one date with Colton included a stop to meet his parents. During a private conversation with his dad, Colton confessed that despite Hannah's declaration of love for him, he was "not quite there yet" with her. His father advised him not to second-guess himself, and to trust his gut. The remainder of the date did little to change Colton's feelings, and she was the first woman sent packing.

Next, Hannah G., Kirpa, Cassie and Heather were invited on group date card that included an ominous message: “Saying goodbye is never easy.” A cozy rest stop provided a scenic backdrop for what turned into a stressful day for Colton and the women, as they tried to alleviate any doubts about each other before he meets their families next week. Heather made the job easier by telling Colton that she couldn’t bring him home if she wasn’t absolutely certain that he was the one, and so she left the competition.

During their private chat, Colton confronted Cassie with the rumors of her insincerity, which she tearfully denied. Her response came off as genuine and seemed to satisfy him, until Kirpa once again insisted that Cassie and Caelynn were not looking for a husband. That led to a heated confrontation between Kirpa and Cassie, which Cassie characterized as a “desperation move.” At the end of the day, Colton said he was no closer to a decision than he had been earlier.

Back at the mansion, however, Colton revealed that he was clear on at least one choice, and immediately gave Hannah G. the first rose. That left just Cassie and Kirpa vying for the last remaining spot. When Caelynn learned of this, she decided to take action.

"If Cassie goes home due to gossip and rumors and lies being spread, I would feel for Cassie the way that I would feel that I went home," she said addressing the camera. "So if she's going home because [Underwood] was fed false information, I won't be OK with that."

Caelynn then paid Colton a surprise visit to make sure he had "all the facts.” The camera cut away from them, and the next thing we saw was Cassie and Kirpa watching Caelynn walk out the door. When Colton joined the two, he handed Cassie the rose, and Kirpa was sent home.

The four remaining women are:

Caelynn, 23, Miss North Carolina 2018 from Charlotte, North Carolina
Cassie, 23, a speech pathologist from Huntington Beach, California
Hannah G., 23, a content creator from Birmingham, Alabama
Tayshia, 28, a phlebotomist from Corona Del Mar, California

The Bachelor returns Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Tuesday
Feb192019

'Alita: Battle Angel' tops worst President's Day movie weekend in 15 years

Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox(LOS ANGELES) -- There was good new and bad news for James Cameron's sci-fi adventure film, Alita: Battle Angel, which topped what will go down as the worst three-day President's Day box office weekend since since 2004.

The film, starring actress Rosa Salazar as the title character in a CGI-enhanced motion-capture performance, beat expectations by delivering $27.8 million from Friday-Sunday, with expected earnings to reach about $33 million through Tuesday. That would bring the five-day totals for Alita, which opened on Thursday, to over $40 million -- about $10 million more than anticipated.  The film earned estimated $56.1 million overseas, bringing its worldwide tally to $94.3 million.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part dropped to second place in its second week of release, grabbing $21.2 million and upward of $27 million for the long weekend.

The weekend's second debut, Rebel Wilson's comedy Isn't It Romantic, took third place with an estimated $14.2 million from Friday-Sunday and $16.5 million through Monday. That adds up to a $22-23 million six-day haul for movie, which opened on Wednesday.

What Men Want landed in fourth place, earning an estimated $10.9 million for the three-day and around $12 million for the long President's Day weekend.

Happy Death Day 2U, this week's third and final debut, collected an estimated $9.8 million for the three-day, with expectations of gobbling up just over $11 million for the four-day period. The sequel to 2017 slasher dark comedy, which bowed on Wednesday, should rack up a total of $15 million-plus in its first six days, about $5 million shy of expectations.

Fighting with My Family, produced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who also makes an appearance in the film, had an impressive debut in limited release, delivering and estimated $131,625 from four theaters. It expands nationwide next weekend.

Here are the top 10 movies from Friday through Sunday, with estimated domestic box office earnings:

1. Alita: Battle Angel, $27.8 million
2. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, $21.2 million
3. Isn’t It Romantic, $14.2 million
4. What Men Want, $10.9 million
5. Happy Death Day 2U, $9.8 million
6. Cold Pursuit, $5.965 million
7. The Upside, $5.48 million
8. Glass, $3.9 million
9. The Prodigy, $3.16 million
10. Green Book, $2.85 million

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