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‘The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part’ tops weekend box office with disappointing $34.4 million

Warner Bros. Pictures(NEW YORK) — The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part topped the weekend box office with a an estimated $34.4 million opening, though that figure is far below the $50-55 million the film was expected to capture. It’s also well below the $69 million the first film debuted with in 2014, and the $53 million opening for The LEGO Batman Movie in 2017.

Overseas, the animated feature — starring the voices of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell and Tiffany Haddish — earned an estimated $18.4 million.

What Men Want, starring Taraji P. Henson, opening in second place, delivering an estimated $19 million. Third place belonged to another debut, Liam Neeson’s Cold Pursuit, exceeding expectations with an estimated $10.8 million.

In fourth place was The Upside, grabbing an estimated 7.2 million. The Kevin Hart-Bryan Cranston comedy has earned a total of $85.8 million stateside and is likely to end up hitting $100 million before its finishes its run.

Rounding out the top five is M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller Glass, adding an estimated $6.6 million over the weekend to bring its domestic earnings to $98.4 million.  It’s earned upward of $221 million worldwide.

The weekend’s other new release, the horror film Prodigy, starring Taylor Schilling, delivered an estimated $6 million in its debut, slightly below expectations.

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

1. Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, $34.4 million
2. What Men Want, $19 million
3. Cold Pursuit, $10.8 million
4. The Upside, $7.2 million
5. Glass, $5.8 million
6. The Prodigy, $6 million
7. Green Book, $3.567 million
8. Aquaman, $3.3 million
9. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, $3 million
10. Miss Bala, $2.7 million

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Kacey Musgraves, Childish Gambino, Lady Gaga win big at 61st Annual Grammy Awards

Lady Gaga performs at the Grammys; Monty Brinton/CBS(LOS ANGELES) — Hey, remember last year, when everyone complained that there were barely any women on the Grammy Awards, and that deserving hip-hop artists kept getting snubbed? 

What a difference a year makes.  The 61st Annual Grammy Awards, held Sunday night in Los Angeles, were all about hip hop and women — and sometimes both.

Edgy country artist Kacey Musgraves was the night’s big winner, taking home four trophies, including the prestigious Album of the Year prize for Golden Hour.  She also won Best Country Album, Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance.  In one of her many acceptance speeches, she thanked “all of the fans who have done nothing but spread positivity and love about this album…you really gave it wings.”

Meanwhile, Cardi B and Childish Gambino, the latter aka actor Donald Glover, made Grammy history with their wins. Childish Gambino’s politically charged #1 hit “This Is America” was named Record and Song of the Year — the first time a hip-hop track had ever won in those two categories.  “This Is America” also won for Best Rap/Sung performance, and its galvanizing video was named Best Music Video.  Gambino wasn’t on hand to accept his trophies.

Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy was named Best Rap Album, making her the only solo female to win in that category. The rapper was overcome by emotion at the podium, but still managed to joke, “The nerves are so bad, maybe I need to start smoking weed!” 

Cardi then gave a memorable speech, specifically thanking her 7-month-old daughter, Kulture. She explained that wen she found out she was pregnant, it gave her the impetus she needed to finish her album and shoot the videos before she started showing. She also thanked her estranged husband, Offset, who was onstage with her, for encouraging her.

The night’s other big winners included Brandi Carlile, who won three trophies, and Lady Gaga, who also took home three: two for “Shallow” and one for her song “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?)”  Accepting the award for Best Pop/Duo Group performance, a tearful Gaga thanked Bradley Cooper and her fans, and then spoke about the importance of mental health issues, especially in the music industry.

“If you see someone that’s hurting, don’t look away,” she said. “And if you’re hurting, even though it might be hard, try to find that bravery within yourself to dive deep and go tell somebody and take them up into your head with you.”

Going into the show, host Alicia Keys said she felt that this year’s Grammys was “one billion percent” the year of the woman.  Indeed, in addition to Cardi, Kacey, Brandi and Gaga, nearly every other winner or performer of the night was female, from R&B stars H.E.R. and Janelle Monae, Latinx stars Jennifer Lopez and Camila Cabello, rock star St. Vincent, and pop stars Miley Cyrus and Dua Lipa.  Even Michelle Obama put in an appearance.

Most of the star-studded Grammy “moments” were female-centric: There were tributes to Dolly Parton and Aretha Franklin, and Diana Ross took center stage to wish a happy 75th birthday to herself with a performance.  Even a Motown tribute was mostly performed by Jennifer Lopez.

Dua Lipa, who was named Best New Artist, even said in her acceptance speech, “I guess this year, we really stepped up.”  It was a not-so-subtle diss of Recording Academy president Neil Portnow, who last year was publicly slammed for suggesting that women in the music industry needed to “step up.”

Unfortunately, the biggest female pop star in the world right now, Ariana Grande, declined to attend after feuding with the producers.  Disappointing, considering that in ceremonies prior to the broadcast, she won her first Grammy: Best Pop Vocal Album, for Sweetener.

As for the men, there were performances by Post Malone, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Shawn Mendes and Travis Scott and, briefly, Smokey Robinson and Ne-Yo, but the most notable male appearance came from Drake, who normally avoids award shows like the plague.  He was on hand to accept his Grammy for Best Rap Song, for “God’s Plan,” and gave one of the most pointed speeches of the night.

Noting that awards are often decided by those who “might not understand” where hip-hop stars like him are coming from, the rapper continued, “You’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word. If you’re a hero from your hometown. If there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and the snow, spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows”

Gesturing to his Grammy, Drake added, “You don’t need this right here.  I promise you, you already won.”

Fans were furious that Drake’s speech was seemingly cut short by a commercial, but backstage, it was explained that he was given the opportunity to continue afterward, but declined, saying he’d made his point.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Walking Dead’ star Danai Gurira says the survivors’ new enemies are the “scariest yet”

AMC(NEW YORK) — Danai Gurira is gearing up for the return of the second half of The Walking Dead‘s ninth season, which premieres Sunday night.

The series recently underwent major shifts in story development and cast, with actor Andrew Lincoln — and his hero Rick Grimes — leaving the post-apocalyptic drama.

“It’s been a big transition this year with the Rick character leaving and then we leaped six years forward, which was kind of thrilling to do,” Gurira told Good Morning America.

“But there’s a lot of information, a lot of mystery around what happened in those six years and we have a new enemy that’s kind of the scariest yet.

The ninth season ended halfway on a cliffhanger, with Gurira’s Michonne and the other heroes discovering — with near fatal results — a faction known as The Whisperers.

The baddies disguise themselves as walkers by wearing the faces of the undead as masks.

Danai said, “We can’t tell when they’re coming at us so it’s a whole new thing.”

Gurira, who also starred in the Oscar-nominated blockbuster Black Panther, said she’s excited about the movie’s upcoming appearance as a Best Picture nominee. “We just came into it really wanting to make something that was alive and resonate and we poured all we had into it,” Gurira said of the film. “We knew it was an unusual moment. It was a new platform to create something like this…we just committed every day fully and we were such a team, which was such a blessing. We became a family.”

The Walking Dead returns Sunday night at 9 p.m. on AMC.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

André Holland shares his solution to lack of black NBA ownership in ‘High Flying Bird’

Netflix/Peter Andrews(NEW YORK) — André Holland had one burning question on his mind when he approached his new Netflix sports-drama, High Flying Bird.

The actor, who also serves as an executive producer on the film, plays Ray, a sports agent who has a bold solution during an NBA lockout. Holland tells ABC Radio his intention was to explore the idea of black ownership and what it would mean if black athletes took back the sport they made so popular.

“I think the big question that we asked ourselves is, ‘What would it be like if all the black players in the NBA got together and said, ‘You know what, we’re going to start our own league’?” says Holland.

Holland also says the film is a response to the rhetoric aimed at NFL players who take a knee in protest of unarmed black shootings.

“‘What would it be like if NFL players got together and said the same thing?'” he says. “‘Will we still be arguing about the national anthem protests, or would there be space for that to exist?’ You hear things coming out of a White House, or out of offices — ‘Get those S.O.B.s off the field’ and ‘Shut up and dribble.’ All these other things that to me feel wrong. That was the sort of question that we asked.”

Holland says High Flying Bird has been a long time coming.

“Every time a lockout happens, as I found out through talking to different sports agents, there are always a group of people who say that, ‘Well, what if we just started our own thing?'” he says. “Eventually people find their way back to the table before that idea really gets too far.” 

High Flying Bird, also staring Zazie Beetz, is now available.


Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Liam Hemsworth talks about his “special” wedding with Miley Cyrus, who invited Rebel Wilson on their Valentine’s Day date

ABC(LOS ANGELES) — Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth co-star in the new rom-com, Isn’t It Romantic, but the pair might re-team again — for a triple date on Hemsworth’s first Valentine’s Day with his new wife Miley Cyrus.

About his December 2018 wedding to Cyrus, Hemsworth said on Good Morning America that it was very “intimate,” adding, “It was a really special day.”

But Cyrus isn’t apparently the jealous type: he invited Wilson along on their first V-Day date as a married couple, seeing as how well Rebel got on with Hemsworth on set.

In the film, Wilson’s character hits her head and wakes up to discover that she’s playing the leading lady in a romantic comedy with Hemsworth as her love interest.

“I don’t think I could’ve got anyone better,” Wilson said of her co-star. “Liam, not only is he just such a lovely guy, he’s so funny in the film and he sings and dances in the film too.”

In fact, one scene — which had to be performed over and over, thanks to the movie’s Groundhog Day-like plot — has a shirtless Hemsworth repeatedly diving on Wilson, who’s in bed.

“What was going on with me during that day, is two of my toenails had come off, and we were supergluing them under the bedsheets,” Wilson confessed. The injury was from a stunt gone wrong on set, the actress told Hemsworth, adding, “I didn’t want to tell you because it was such a sexy scene.”

As for that “triple date”? It was Miley’s idea. “I think she should’ve asked Liam before,” the single actress said, laughing. “If I get desperate, great option.”

Hemsworth chimed in, “I’m all for it. Absolutely.”

Isn’t It Romantic hits theaters February 13.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Real-life sisters Jemima and Lola Kirke come together in ‘Untogether’, from first-time director Emma Forrest

(L-R) Jemima Kirke, Emma Forrest, Lola Kirke (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)(NEW YORK) — Untogether, the directorial debut from writer Emma Forrest, stars real-life sisters Jemima and Lola Kirke in their first on-screen appearance together.

Jemima and Lola play Andrea and Tara, respectively, in the indie flick about two sisters dealing with messy relationships. Although most people know Jemima for her role as Jessa on Girls, Forrest says this film is her real acting debut.

“What she did in Girls was definitely a version of herself and this character was much more of a stretch and took a lot of digging and a lot of work,” Forrest tells ABC Radio. “She went to a really, really vulnerable place, so I think she also feels like this is her first true acting role.”

As for the two sisters working together, Forrest admits it may not have been the first opportunity they’d gotten — just the first time they’d agreed to it.

“We all joke…it’s like Fleetwood Mac making Rumours where the backstage relationships are so complex and painful and what ends up on the album is really beautiful,” she says. “And we love our film and we think that we did the same.”

It was a very female-centric set, with all of the film’s department heads being women. But it also features supporting turns from “male allies” Jamie Dornan and Forrest’s then-husband, Ben Mendelsohn.

“[In] their league of highly coveted male actors, they were the only ones who were prepared to play second fiddle to female leads,” Forrest says. “And it’s tricky to get male actors to even read a script where they’re not the lead, when they get to a certain level. So…that’s something A-List actors could think about.” 

Untogether is in theaters and on demand today.


Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Little’ mogul – ‘black-ish’ star Marsai Martin signs first-look deal with Universal

ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) — Marsai Martin is making history at the tender age of 14.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the black-ish star has inked a first-look production deal with Universal Pictures under her company, Genius Productions. As part of the new agreement, Martin will help to develop new scripted projects for the studio.

When the ink dried, Martin became not only the youngest person to get a first-look deal at Universal, but the youngest person to get a deal at any studio in recent memory. The new arrangement comes ahead of the release of her new Universal film Little, in which Martin co-created, stars in, and executive produced.

“I am so excited for the magic I’ll be able to create and produce with Universal,” said Martin in a statement. “My goal is to show young women and girls that our voices and ideas matter and you are never too young to dream BIG!”

The first film in development under Martin’s new pact is the forthcoming comedy StepMonster. It follows a teenage girl, played by Martin, who is “adjusting to life with a new stepmother.”

Little, starring Regina Hall and Issa Rae, hits theaters April 12, 2019.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Tom Jones’, ‘Erin Brockovich’ star Albert Finney dead at 82

Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc(LONDON) — Academy Award-nominated British actor Albert Finney has died at the age of 82.

The U.K. Mirror reports the actor, who early in his career gained fame with films like 1963’s Tom Jones, and in later years starred in movies like Erin Brockovich, two of the entries in the Jason Bourne series, and the 2012 James Bond thriller Skyfall, passed away from a chest infection at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital.  

Over the years, Finney earned five Academy Award nominations, the first in the Best Actor category for Tom Jones, which took home the Best Picture trophy that year.

Others followed for 1974’s Murder on the Orient Express, 1983’s The Dresser, 1984’s Under the Volcano and 2000’s Erin Brockovich, the film that earned his co-star Julia Roberts her Best Actress Oscar.
Finney famously never attend the ceremony in person, noting, according to the  Mirror, “It’s a long way to go just to sit in a non-drinking, non-smoking environment on the off-chance your name is called.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with ‘You Complete Me, Ho’ – Ken Jeong’s Netflix special

Netflix(LOS ANGELES) — Netflix has debuted the trailer for actor and comedian Ken Jeong’s first comedy special for the streaming service, titled You Complete Me, Ho.

The stand-up special was filmed at Pasadena, California’s Ice House Comedy Club, where Jeong got his start in comedy, and will trace his road from doctor to TV and film star, and his wife’s courageous battle with breast cancer.

You Complete Me, Ho debuts February 14 on Netflix.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part’ and ‘What Men Want’ top this week’s new releases

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures(NEW YORK) — Here are the movies opening nationwide Friday:

* The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part — The fourth film in the LEGO franchise and the direct sequel to 2014’s The LEGO Movie picks up five years after the original, with the citizens under siege from a LEGO Duplo invaders who wreck things faster than they can be rebuilt. Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman and Will Ferrell reprise their voice roles from the first movie, along with new additions Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz and Maya Rudolph. Rated PG.

* What Men Want — This loose remake of 2000’s What Women Want follows a woman played by Taraji P. Henson who, after drinking a potion given to her by a shaman, develops the ability to hear men’s thoughts. Straight Outta Compton‘s Aldis Hodge and Tracy Morgan also star. Rated R.

* Cold Pursuit — Liam Neeson plays a snow plow driver who seeks revenge against a drug dealer he thinks killed his son in this thriller based on the 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance. Also starring Laura Dern, Emmy Rossum, William Forsythe and Tom Bateman. Rated R.

* The Prodigy — This horror thriller stars Orange Is the New Black‘s Taylor Schilling as a mother who believes her son’s strange behavior is the possibly caused by an evil, supernatural force that has possessed him. Rated R.

Opening in limited release Friday:

* Everybody Knows — Penélope Cruz co-stars with her husband, Javier Bardem, in this Spanish language psychological thriller about a woman living in Buenos Aires whose trip to her hometown outside of Madrid with her children is upset by unexpected events that bring secrets into the open. Rated R.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.