Category: Entertainment

Box office: ‘Madea Family Funeral’ overperforms; ‘Green Book’ surges after best picture win

Tyler Perry’s final Madea release was not enough to unseat Universal’s “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy-ender at the box office this weekend.

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” maintained the top spot after two weekends at the box office, adding $30 million for a cumulative $97.7 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.

Lionsgate’s “A Madea Family Funeral” opened at No. 2 with $27 million, above analyst predictions of $18 million to $20 million. It earned a 24% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “Madea,” however, on 1,800 fewer screens, had the higher per-screen average, $11,077, to “Dragon’s” $7,010.

The final movie in the long-running series, “A Madea Family Funeral” is Perry’s biggest opening since 2010’s “Why Did I Get Married Too?” opened with $29 million. The previous year, “Madea Goes to Jail” opened with $41 million, his highest opening.

Perry’s Lionsgate deal kicked off with 2005’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” which grossed $50 million despite having a micro budget. “A Madea Family Funeral” is the 11th theatrical film to feature Perry as Madea over the course of 14 years. The Madea films have grossed more than $500 million to date.

In third place, Fox’s “Alita: Battle Angel” added $7 million in its third weekend for a cumulative $72.2 million.

At No. 4, Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” added $6.6 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $91.7 million.

Following three Oscar wins, including best picture, Universal’s “Green Book” crept back into the top five after 16 weekends in theaters, adding 1,388 locations (the largest theater increase a best picture nominee has ever received the weekend following the ceremony) and $4.7 million for a cumulative $75.9 million.

This weekend’s haul is the third biggest weekend gross for the film. Ticket sales were at a high during the film’s initial wide release expansion in late November and again in late January in the wake of its five Oscar nominations.

Other Oscar winners that saw a notable bump this weekend include Sony’s animated feature winner “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which added 1,661 locations (for a total of 2,404) and $2.1 million in its 12th weekend for a cumulative $187.4 million and Warner Bros.’ “A Star Is Born,” which added 490 locations and $1.8 million in its 22nd weekend for a cumulative $213 million.

Also new this week, Focus Features’ “Greta” opened at No. 8 with $4.6 million, just below analyst predictions of a soft $5-million opening.

The dark mystery stars Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz as a pair of New York transplants who bond over a sense of loneliness. It earned a 58% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In a limited IMAX release, Neon released the documentary “Apollo 11” in 120 locations with $1.6 million, a per-screen average of $13,750. The film opens in traditional theaters next week.

A24 released Gasper Noe’s “Climax” in five locations with $121,655, a per-screen average of $24,331.

Next week, Disney debuts the highly anticipated “Captain Marvel,” starring Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, which is expected to give the box office a much-needed jolt. The year-to-date total now trails 2018 by 25.8%.

HBO Film Revives Lurid Claims, Imperiling Thriving Michael Jackson Estate

Michael Jackson’s damaged reputation began to recover the day he died.

The lurid accusations of child molestation that had dogged him for years fell to the background as fans around the world celebrated the entertainer who had gone from pop prodigy to global superstar over a four-decade career. Flash mobs from Stockholm to the Philippines re-enacted his video scenes, and his music sales again broke chart records.

Now, nearly 10 years after his death, the dark side of Mr. Jackson’s legend has returned through a documentary that rocked the Sundance Film Festival and is being championed by Oprah Winfrey. In addition to delivering a hit to his mended reputation, the film poses a significant risk to the Jackson estate, which has engineered a thriving posthumous career, including a Broadway-bound jukebox musical.

The four-hour documentary, “Leaving Neverland,” to be broadcast on HBO in two parts on Sunday and Monday, focuses on the wrenching testimony of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who say Mr. Jackson abused them for years, starting when they were young boys. While the accusations are not new, their revival in the #MeToo era, with its momentum of accountability for figures like R. Kelly, Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, gives them new meaning.

“There has always been this shadow or cloud about Michael,” said Charles Koppelman, a longtime music executive who once served as a financial adviser to Mr. Jackson. “With this documentary about to be shown to millions and millions of people, and all the notoriety that it’s now getting, I think it will have a detrimental effect to the legacy and the estate.”

The estate has already begun its war on “Leaving Neverland.” It issued a series of fiery statements around the time of the film’s Sundance debut in January and has filed a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court for arbitration, seeking $100 million in damages from HBO. In making its case, the estate — whose beneficiaries are Mr. Jackson’s mother and three children, as well as children’s charities — portrays Mr. Robson and Mr. Safechuck as “serial perjurers” for whom HBO has become “just another tool in their litigation playbook.”

The debate over the film is likely to be intense in black communities, where figures like Mr. Jackson and Mr. Kelly have their strongest defenders, said Yaba Blay, a professor at North Carolina Central University whose specialty is black racial and cultural identities.

“If you think R. Kelly tore black America apart, this is going to destroy us,” Dr. Blay said.

On Monday night, after the conclusion of “Leaving Neverland,” HBO and the Oprah Winfrey Network plan to broadcast Ms. Winfrey’s interview with Mr. Robson, Mr. Safechuck and the film’s director, Dan Reed.

In “Leaving Neverland,” Mr. Robson, 36, and Mr. Safechuck, 41, tell parallel stories of being drawn into Mr. Jackson’s inner circle as boys. Mr. Robson met Mr. Jackson on tour in Australia at age 5 and moved to the United States two years later to be near his idol. Mr. Safechuck was 8 when he was cast in a Pepsi commercial and met Mr. Jackson.

Both men say Mr. Jackson abused them while charming their families at his 2,600-acre Neverland compound in Los Olivos, Calif. He also warned them to keep their sexual relationship secret, the men say. READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/03/business/media/leaving-neverland-michael-jackson-estate.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Farts&action=click&contentCollection=arts&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

Rolling in the deep: HBO film looks at roller skate culture

NEW YORK >> First-time documentary filmmakers Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler lugged their cameras to Central Park in New York one day to capture the last few people still passionate about roller skating. Rinks across the country were gone. The activity seemed dead.

“We were shooting a piece about what we thought was the end of the era of skating with what we thought were the last men standing,” said Winkler. “We thought, ‘Who roller skates anymore?’”

They may have come for a funeral but they found something else entirely. Two young African-American skaters approached them and asked them what they were doing. “They said, ‘Skating’s not dead. It just went underground,’” Winkler recalled.

Winkler and Brown decided to go find it. Five years and 500 hours of footage later, they’ve emerged with the HBO film “United Skates,” a fascinating look at the rich African-American subculture of roller skating, which is under threat.

“We hope that our viewers will learn something they didn’t know about, fall in love with something they didn’t know about, and maybe be compelled to care enough to protect it,” Winkler said.

The documentary explores how roller rinks were the sites of some of the earliest fights of the civil-rights era and how they later became the launching pads for hip-hop artists.

It shows how unofficial segregation lives on, with so-called “adult nights” that feature metal detectors and masses of police, something not used when whites come to skate. It also shows how rinks are being closed as communities chase more revenue by rezoning for retail use.

“There’s a bigger story to tell and we can use the joyous beauty of roller skating as the sugar to spoon-feed some of these bigger issues. That’s when we started to peel back the layers,” Winkler said.

That day in Central Park changed the trajectory — and the lives — of the filmmakers. The young skaters they met invited the women to come and see what had happened to skating. And so they got on a night bus to Richmond, Virginia.

The duo — one Australian, one American — approached a roller rink at midnight. It was far from funereal: There was a line down the block, music was pumping, skaters were dressed to kill and everyone seemed to know each other.

“We stepped into this world,” said Winkler.

They soon learned that each city had different skate dance styles — Baltimore has “Snapping,” Atlanta has the “Jacknife” and in Texas you do the “Slow Walk” — and how such a tight fellowship among skaters is forged that they will fly across the country to get together.

Embraced by the community, Winkler and Brown never paid for a hotel room or car rental or a meal while crisscrossing the country interviewing some 100 skaters. The skaters themselves opened their homes and drove them around.

The documentary features interviews with hip-hop legends like Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio and Vin Rock of Naughty by Nature. John Legend is an executive producer and the film received the Documentary Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The cameras also follow Reggie Brown, a roller-skating ambassador and community advocate. In a phone interview, he explained that roller skating teaches patience, athleticism, purpose, positive reinforcement, determination — and getting up after a fall.

“Roller skating is a little bit more than going in circles on a couple of wheels,” he said. “It’s fun. It’s an enjoyable exercise. It’s healthy and there are a lot of great benefits. But the socioeconomics benefits to roller skating are higher than anybody can think of.”

“Name me another activity that’s family-affordable, that you can go to on a Saturday and take five members of your family and you can skate for four hours and everybody can have a good time and exercise.”

“United Skates” is a documentary made partially by the subjects themselves. Winkler and Brown, who began the project as beginner skaters, enlisted skaters to shoot scenes and used their rink skills to help capture footage.

“They would push us from behind at these high speeds and we would just focus on the camera and just pray,” said Winkler. “It really was collaboration. They like to say we taught them how to shoot and they taught us how to skate.”

The cameras capture one suburban Chicago family-owned rink’s gut-wrenching decision to shut its doors — among thousands that have done so in the past decade — and the filmmakers are not shy about hoping their film can stem the tide of closures.

“Obviously if we could save one rink, if we could have one rink reopen because of this film, that’s a huge step forward for this community and we hope that will have a ripple effect,” said Brown.

A decade later, Drake’s ‘So Far Gone’ mixtape hits streaming services

On the heels of his Grammy win for Best Rap Song, Drake revealed on Instagram that his 2009 mixtape So Far Gone is coming to streaming services for the first time. Though it was originally available for free online, this marks the first streaming availability for the 18-track collection that features cameos from Lil Wayne, Santigold, Trey Songz, Bun B and more. The mixtape also includes the single “Say What’s Real,” which was produced by Kanye West.

So Far Gone not only turns 10 on February 13th, but it’s also a body of work that helped put Drake on the map. These early works don’t always make it to your go-to streaming service, especially when it comes to hip hop mixtapes, so it’s always nice when they do. You also won’t have to wait to get re-acquainted as Champagne Papi explained that the mixtape will be available to stream tomorrow, February 14th.

GQ interviews Leon Grey the guy you should be listening to right now

We know it’s almost Valentine’s Day and people will go out and get expensive gifts. We found the perfect gift for you in the form of an artist you will need on your Valentine’s Day playlist, Leon Grey. We discovered the British artist on the Gram, a few months and we have been obsessed with his banging tunes since. We managed to get a hold of him and chatted everything from music, style and some cool Instagram tips. 

GQ: In 2016 you were featured on a couple of online sites, but the focus was mainly on how hot you are and your Instagram profile is. What are your Instagramming secrets? How do you get that perfect shot and perfect profile?LG: Yes, throughout the years I have been featured on a few platforms which is great, and I am truly humbled! In terms of my Instagram secrets, there isn’t much to it! I am always myself and try and be natural and confident. Lighting and background are important, but the main thing is to have fun with it.
GQ: We follow you on Insta so we know you are a singer, and after reading this, many will know as well. Tell us about your musical journey? How did it start and where are you wanting to take it?LG: Music has always been a huge part of my childhood and growing up, professionally it started in 2011 when I was part of a music group called The Goods which was made up of my three close friends. After a few years, I decided to focus on going solo with the great help of my good friend/producer Duncsuei.
I am constantly working on my music, writing and recording daily. I am fortunate enough to be working with talented Producer Max Herman who provides me with valuable guidance. I am hugely dedicated to my craft and I hope in the future that more people from all around the world will love and appreciate my music.
GQ: How would you describe the kind of music you sing?LG: My music is a combination of reggae, soul and R&B. its Leon Grey vibes! It’s taken me a few years to find my sound and I do feel as an artist your sound will always develop, change and grow with you.
GQ: Who inspires you musically?LG: The list is endless Michael Jackson, Maxwell, Bob Marley, Dennis Brown and my mother of course just to name a few. My mixed heritage (Jamaican & Greek) has also played a big role. It’s not only who inspires me by what inspires me, a lot of my inspirations also come from emotions, the sea, the mountains, bustling cities, sounds – I often listen to array of genres from all around the world, it fascinates me how drum patterns and sounds can differ from each town let alone continent!
GQ: What’s your dream for yourself as an artist?LG: My dream would be to create music that can positively impact on someone, whether it’s for a second, a day or a lifetime.  Another dream of mine is to educate the next generation and reassure them the world doesn’t always have to be a negative place. I hope to do this through my music but more so through my voice as a young black man that has been thrown very tough challenges throughout my life.

GQ: You are a well-groomed gent. What’s your grooming routine? And what tips can you give to the GQ guy?LG: Thank you! My locks take a lot of grooming! I wash and retwist and style them myself every couple of weeks using natural oils such as lavender and chamomile, which I also use on my beard. I always use Aloe Vera that I extract from my actual plant I also use this on my body. One of my favourite hair products is the Jamaican Black Castor oil from Rooted Treasure they use traditional hand-crafted processes to create this product. 
My daily skin care routine consists of Kiehls facial fuel wash followed by my favourite face cream Origins ‘Save the males’. I love body oils and strong scents; Jo Malone Oud & Bergamot body oil is so good! My go-to fragrances are One Molecule, All Creed perfumes (I’m addicted) and Tom Ford Noir Extreme has been a firm favourite. In terms of grooming tips, take care of yourself and keep to your skincare/hair routine. What’s on the inside is the most important – Drink water high in PH, work out, eat nutritiously and meditate!
GQ: Outside of music what else does Leon do?LG: Well… I do get up to quite a lot! I love fitness and training and eating well. I am a huge anime fan especially Dragon Ball Z. Travel is a huge passion of mine, if I could I would probably sing and travel the world constantly –  there’s just so much to see. I am yet to see much of Africa which is at the very top of my list.

GQ: You live in London which many believe is the best place to have a great turn up. What are your favourite places to party in London?LG: London is such a great city, so much to do. Due to always being in the studio I don’t get time to party as much as I would like. I’m a fan of bars, pubs and restaurants. Birthdays in Dalston has good hip hop vibes, True Craft in Tottenham have the best sourdough pizza’s, beer and always play the best tunes. A favourite place of mine has to be Kiln in Soho where my very good friend Meedu is Head Chef, a must when you are visiting London.
GQ: At GQ we are all about embracing your personal style, what’s your personal style and how has it evolved over the years? LG: I agree GQ are such advocates of embracing personal style. Dressing how you want is hugely important I have always loved colour and statement pieces since I was a child. I am a 90’s child to colour runs through our veins. I am more about the look of the item than where it’s from or who its designed by, I like to be comfortable but also stand out of the crowd. Jewellery is my main stylistic element I would say, over the years I have collected silver rings (which I wear on every finger) from all over the world some of which are a huge significance to me. 

READ MORE: https://www.gq.co.za/culture/entertainment/gq-interviews-leon-grey-the-guy-you-should-be-listening-to-right-now-19175191


The “Game Of Thrones” Season 8 Photos Are Finally Here And THEY LOOK GOOD

April 14 might be a couple months away, but the first official cast photos of Games of Thrones Season 8 are here!

And let me just tell you this: EVERY. CHARACTER. LOOKS. AMAZINGLY. STOIC.

The final season of Game of Thrones premieres on Sunday, April 14. You can currently watch all seven seasons on HBO NOW, HBO GO, and HBO On Demand.