Men in Black: International leads quiet North American box office

The new Men in Black sequel has climbed its way to the top of the North American box office. Men in Black: International, starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, has debuted with a disappointing $28.5 million (£22.6 million), falling short of an…

The new Men in Black sequel has climbed its way to the top of the North American box office.

Men in Black: International, starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, has debuted with a disappointing $28.5 million (£22.6 million), falling short of analysts’ $30 million (£23.8 million) expectations.

It also marks the lowest opening to date for a film in the sci-fi/action franchise – each of the first three movies, which originally starred Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, earned at least $50 million (£39.7 million) in its launch weekend.

The latest release, which was hurt by less-than-positive reviews, fared better outside of the North American market, picking up $74 million (£58.8 million) to take it to number one on the international box office chart.

Despite its slow start, the Men in Black 3 sequel grossed enough to take pole position in North America, forcing its closest competitor, the animated The Secret Life of Pets 2, to slip to number two with a second weekend take of $23.8 million (£18.9 million).

Aladdin, Dark Phoenix, and Elton John biopic Rocketman round out the new top five, respectively.

Men in Black: International wasn’t the only sequel to suffer from sluggish box office sales this weekend – Shaft, the sequel to Samuel L. Jackson’s 2000 movie of the same name, only managed to snag sixth place with a dismal $8.3 million (£6.6 million).

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Famed filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli dies

Oscar-nominated director Franco Zeffirelli has died at the age of 96.The Italian filmmaker passed away at his home in Rome on Saturday after a battle with pneumonia. “He had suffered for a while, but he left in a peaceful way,” Zeffirelli’s son, Lucian…

Oscar-nominated director Franco Zeffirelli has died at the age of 96.

The Italian filmmaker passed away at his home in Rome on Saturday after a battle with pneumonia.

“He had suffered for a while, but he left in a peaceful way,” Zeffirelli’s son, Luciano, told America’s CBS News.

Born Gian Franco Corsi Zeffirelli, he began his adult life as an architect, but was inspired to pursue a career in entertainment after watching Laurence Olivier’s 1944 adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Henry V.

He enjoyed some early work as an actor and set designer, before he was taken under the wing of director Luchino Visconti, who instilled his love of opera in the young Zeffirelli.

He went on to stage more than 120 opera productions during his lifetime, including Placido Domingo’s La Traviata and Otello in the 1980s, while also taking charge of notable films like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s 1967 version of The Taming of the Shrew, and 1968 hit Romeo and Juliet, starring Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director.

Zeffirelli later reunited with Hussey for 1977 TV mini-series Jesus of Nazareth, in which the actress portrayed the Virgin Mary.

Taking to Instagram, Hussey paid tribute to the director and uploaded several photos of them together.

“RIP dearest Franco. You take a piece of my heart with you. Thank you for one of the most beautiful times of my life,” she captioned the snaps.

Zeffirelli’s love of Shakespeare’s works also led him to work with Mel Gibson in Hamlet, which was released in 1990.

His other movie credits include Jon Voight’s The Champ in 1979, Endless Love, which marked Tom Cruise’s big screen debut in 1981, and Tea with Mussolini in 1999, which starred singer Cher.

“My dear friend and brilliant artist, Franco Zeffirelli… has passed,” she wrote on Twitter, alongside a collage of images, including stills from the film.

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Matt Bomer dug deep to make breakdown in Papi Chulo believable

Matt Bomer studied hard to make sure his onscreen nervous breakdown in Papi Chulo was believable.The 41-year-old plays weatherman Sean, who falls apart live on-air after his relationship with his partner breaks down. He is forced by his boss to take a …

Matt Bomer studied hard to make sure his onscreen nervous breakdown in Papi Chulo was believable.

The 41-year-old plays weatherman Sean, who falls apart live on-air after his relationship with his partner breaks down. He is forced by his boss to take a sabbatical from work, where he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Mexican labourer Ernesto, played by Alejandro Patino.

Bomer was most concerned with capturing the raw emotions of his character’s experience and delved deep into the Internet to make sure he got it right.

“I don’t want to say it’s there for your viewing pleasure because I’m not about laughing at the expense of others, but there are some documented breakdowns on camera that people have had,” he told Variety. “There’s one, and he’s very open about this on so I feel okay sharing about this, Dan Harris specifically had a nervous breakdown on camera. So I watched a lot of that.”

Harris was an ABC News anchor, and while reading the news headlines on U.S. TV show Good Morning America in 2004, he had a panic attack live on-air in front of an audience of more than five million people.

Bomer also revealed that he believes Papi Chulo, written and directed by John Butler, has a message about humanity which is relevant during the turbulent political time in the U.S.

“In a time where people are building up walls and separating off and cordoning themselves off from each other and different cultures and different ideologies, more than ever this was about a friendship that forms in the most unlikely of ways – that it’s our shared humanity that is really the only thing that can really save you from loneliness,” the actor explained.

Papi Chulo is now showing in U.S. cinemas.

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Octavia Spencer championed Diana Silvers for Ma role

Diana Silvers will be eternally grateful to Octavia Spencer for championing her for a role in Ma.The actress is quickly becoming one to watch in Hollywood, having taken on the part of Hope in 2019 coming-of-age comedy Booksmart, and as Maggie opposite …

Diana Silvers will be eternally grateful to Octavia Spencer for championing her for a role in Ma.

The actress is quickly becoming one to watch in Hollywood, having taken on the part of Hope in 2019 coming-of-age comedy Booksmart, and as Maggie opposite Octavia in Tate Taylor’s new horror film. Now, Diana has credited the Oscar-winning actress with helping her to win over producers and shared that she gets a little emotional whenever she thinks about the situation.

“At the (Ma) premiere party, I walked up to Octavia and was like, ‘You have no idea how grateful I am that you gave me this opportunity, and that you fought (on my behalf),’” she recalled in an interview with Refinery29. “She kept saying, ‘You earned it.’ But she took a chance on someone who had not done anything before. She’s someone I admire and respect, and I hope that one day I do that for someone else if I’m in that position.”

Diana briefly studied at New York University, but after a family emergency, was forced to return home to California. And she is amazed at the series of events that have led to her pursuing an acting career full time.

“The universe really just worked itself out in a very twisted strange way. I know I wouldn’t have made the callback for Ma if my father’s house had not burned down because I would have been in finals. My teachers would not have been chill with me leaving in the middle of my Medieval Magic final,” the 21-year-old smiled.

Diana is next set to appear in Tate’s next film, Eve, which also stars Jessica Chastain, Geena Davis, and John Malkovich.

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Richard E. Grant to play drag queen in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie movie adaptation

Richard E. Grant has signed up for the movie adaptation of the hit West End musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.The Oscar-nominated actor will play the role of Hugo and his drag queen alter ego Loco Chanelle, who supports gay 16-year-old schoolboy…

Richard E. Grant has signed up for the movie adaptation of the hit West End musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

The Oscar-nominated actor will play the role of Hugo and his drag queen alter ego Loco Chanelle, who supports gay 16-year-old schoolboy Jamie as he struggles with the prejudice he faces at school and pursues his dream of becoming a drag queen.

According to director Jonathan Butterell, the Can You Ever Forgive Me? star has been preparing for the role by watching reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race.

“It is extraordinary, that vision of Richard,” Butterell told Britain’s The Daily Mail newspaper. “By the time he’s got heels and a wig on he’s about 8 foot tall. I had to go to the art department and ask if the ceiling in his dressing room scenes is high enough.

“Richard’s loving it. It’s something he’s never done before. He has now watched, I think, a thousand million episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race to learn how the kids are doing it, and also studying the story of the drag queens of the late Eighties and Nineties.”

The musical is based on the documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, which followed the story of Jamie Campbell, a British teenager who wasn’t allowed to wear a dress to his high school prom. He defied his teachers, and with the support of his family and friends, he gained the confidence to debut his drag queen persona, Fifi la True, at the bash.

Catastrophe actress and writer Sharon Horgan will portray Jamie’s teacher Miss Hedges, while Happy Valley star Sarah Lancashire has signed up to play the teen’s mother, Margaret.

Newcomer Max Harwood, 21, will play the role of Jamie, and the movie is expected to begin filming in Sheffield, England later in June.

Butterell directed the stage musical, which features songs by The Feeling’s Dan Gillespie Sells, when it originally opened in Sheffield in 2017. It transferred to London’s West End later that year and is currently playing at the Apollo Theatre.

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Brian May slams airline for ‘hacking’ Bohemian Rhapsody

Brian May has blasted executives at Oman Air for “hacking” the in-flight version of Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.The musician recently travelled to Zanzibar, the birthplace of his late Queen bandmate Freddie Mercury, for a holiday, and on the trip ho…

Brian May has blasted executives at Oman Air for “hacking” the in-flight version of Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

The musician recently travelled to Zanzibar, the birthplace of his late Queen bandmate Freddie Mercury, for a holiday, and on the trip home, realised the 2018 film was available to watch.

However, Brian was less than impressed with the edited storyline presented, especially the removal of references to Freddie’s homosexuality and same-sex relationships.

“Great movies on this plane! Bohemian Rhapsody, eh?! I had to take a look at it – to check out how much our movie had been ‘expurgated’ for showing on Oman Air,” he began on Instagram. “Yep – they sure hacked away it – no kissing, no ‘b**locks’, and Freddie wasn’t even allowed to quite get to the point of ‘confessing’ to Mary (Austin, Freddie’s former fiancee) – though it was pretty clear what the scene was about. By the end I really did feel that a lot of the film’s message was lost. Which made me sad.”

It’s not unusual for films to be censored in conservative nations, and several minutes of Bohemian Rhapsody were trimmed when the flick screened in China and Egypt.

Yet, Brian did go on to note that similar instances of censorship occurred in Western nations in the not-too-distant past.

“Then again, a lot of the good stuff DID come across even in this version. And – you know – it’s easy to get all superior and disapproving about this stuff – but it wasn’t so long ago that The Rolling Stones were only allowed to perform on the USA’s Ed Sullivan Show if they changed Let’s Spend the Night Together to Let’s Spend Some Time Together !! Don’t believe me? Check it out on YouTube! Maybe we’re not so liberal and progressive as we think we are! Or maybe, for every nation, it takes time and tolerance and … compromise? To get to a good place,” the 71-year-old noted.

Meanwhile, in a second post, Brian also responded to some critics of Bohemian Rhapsody who questioned the “accuracy” of the storyline.

Insisting that it is impossible to explore a person’s entire journey in a film, he stated, “I can assure you all that not a single, word, action, emotion in Bohemian Rhapsody is there by accident, or for any other reason than to provide an insight, a clue to the big picture, a brush stroke in a coherent portrait of a man and his life and dreams.”

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Pedro Almodovar to receive lifetime achievement award at Venice Film Festival

Pedro Almodovar will be honoured with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival. The Spanish filmmaker will be presented with the prestigious prize in recognition of his career during the 76th annual Ital…

Pedro Almodovar will be honoured with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival.

The Spanish filmmaker will be presented with the prestigious prize in recognition of his career during the 76th annual Italian film extravaganza.

“I am very excited and honoured with the gift of this Golden Lion,” Almodovar said in a statement. “I have very good memories of the Venice Film Festival. My international debut took place there in 1983 with Dark Habits. It was the first time one of my films travelled out of Spain, it was my international baptism and a wonderful experience, as it was my return with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in 1988. This Lion is going to become my pet, along with the two cats I live with. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for giving me this award.”

Festival director Alberto Barbera called the Volver filmmaker “the greatest and most influential Spanish director since (Luis) Bunuel” and praised his portrayal of women onscreen.

“Without forgetting that Almodovar excels, above all, in painting incredibly original female portraits, thanks to an exceptional empathy which allows him to represent their power, emotional richness, and inevitable weaknesses with a rare and touching authenticity,” he said.

Almodovar will receive the award alongside The Sound of Music’s Julie Andrews, the other 2019 honouree. They follow in the footsteps of previous honourees which include Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Vanessa Redgrave, and Clint Eastwood.

The 69-year-old director remains very busy, and his latest movie, Pain and Glory, was selected for the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

His star, Antonio Banderas, took home the Best Actor award for his role.

The Venice International Film Festival runs from 28 August to 7 September.

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James Gunn turned to Elizabeth Banks after Disney firing

James Gunn turned to his close friend Elizabeth Banks after he was fired by Disney.Gunn, 52, was ditched from directing the third instalment of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise last year after offensive posts he shared on Twitter a decade ago were…

James Gunn turned to his close friend Elizabeth Banks after he was fired by Disney.

Gunn, 52, was ditched from directing the third instalment of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise last year after offensive posts he shared on Twitter a decade ago were unearthed and caused a stir online.

Fans and the Guardians cast, including Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana, urged studio chiefs to reinstate him, and earlier this year the executives decided to give the filmmaker another chance.

Gunn has now revealed that Banks – who he has been close friends with since they worked together on his directorial debut in 2006, Slither – was one of the first people he called once he’d learnt that Disney had fired him.

“I told him, ‘I love you and I want the best for you,'” Banks told The Hollywood Reporter, before admitting that she consults Gunn on her own projects: “I send him scripts and ask him to give notes.”

“I’ve been very, very lucky to have people like Elizabeth who, when things go up, they are there for me… When things go down, they’re there for me. I’m the same way with her. No matter what happens in her life, I will always be her friend,” Gunn added.

The pair reunited to work on horror Brightburn, which Gunn produced and Banks stars in as a woman who, along with her husband, finds an alien baby in a field. They raise the child as their own, but start to question if their powerful son Brandon, played by Jackson Dunn, was sent to this world for good or evil.

Gunn was happy to be involved on a daily basis, and candidly revealed it was more fulfilling than when he works in the same role on films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“I’ll keep producing stuff. I think at the end of the day, producing something like this (Brightburn), where I really was on set every single day and working with Dave (Yarovesky, director) and working with Elizabeth and trying to make this movie, is a little bit more fulfilling in some ways than what I do with – say Marvel – where I’m giving notes on scripts and helping them out with the character and guiding an overall thing,” he explained.

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Michael Dougherty: ‘Godzilla needs to be both familiar and new’

Michael Dougherty wanted to be faithful to movie monster Godzilla, but still bring something new to the character in his latest film.The filmmaker both directed and co-wrote Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which is a follow on from Gareth Edwards’s 2…

Michael Dougherty wanted to be faithful to movie monster Godzilla, but still bring something new to the character in his latest film.

The filmmaker both directed and co-wrote Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which is a follow on from Gareth Edwards’s 2014 Godzilla.

This time around, Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler and Millie Bobby Brown go up against a whole load of beasts, with Michael explaining to Den of Geek his intentions when it came to reimagining the fictional Japanese figure.

“I wanted to be faithful and pay tribute to the characters as they’ve been portrayed for decades, but still introduce new elements,” he mused. “I think that’s part of the tradition. Every time Godzilla comes back, he’s different. Every director makes some adjustments to his design. It’s the same thing with (monsters) Rodan, Ghidorah and Mothra. Very rarely are they identical from one incarnation to the next. They’re constantly adding new features and abilities. Their evolution is part of the tradition.”

Revealing that he has always been fascinated by big screen monsters, Michael highlighted artist Ray Harryhausen’s work on movies like Jason And the Argonauts and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad as some of his favourites. He’s also a huge fan of Steven Spielberg.

“Pretty much any movie that portrayed man versus nature, I was into. It helped if the animal was more on the monstrous side. Jaws falls in that category, for sure. Obviously, the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park,” the 44-year-old listed. “Any time there was a movie that featured man sort of messing with Mother Nature in ways that he shouldn’t I was into it, and was very squarely in Mother Nature’s corner. When a circus elephant goes crazy, and fights back against its masters, there’s a part of me that is rooting for the circus elephant.”

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is now showing in cinemas.

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Jon Favreau wanted James Earl Jones for The Lion King remake to ‘carry on the legacy’

Jon Favreau wanted James Earl Jones to reprise his role as Mufasa for the The Lion King remake to “carry on the legacy”. The director recruited an all-star cast of actors for his upcoming live-action version of the Disney classic, including Donald Glo…

Jon Favreau wanted James Earl Jones to reprise his role as Mufasa for the The Lion King remake to “carry on the legacy”.

The director recruited an all-star cast of actors for his upcoming live-action version of the Disney classic, including Donald Glover, Beyonce and Seth Rogen.

Jones was the voice of Mufasa in the 1994 animated movie, and Favreau was in no doubt that he wanted the 88-year-old onboard his remake in an effort to connect the two movies, despite being released 25 years apart.

“I see it as carrying the legacy across. Just hearing him say the lines is really moving and surreal,” he told Empire magazine.

While Glover has replaced Matthew Broderick as the grown-up Simba in the new movie, and Nathan Lane has been substituted for Billy Eichner as the charismatic meerkat Timon, it would’ve been difficult for Favreau to find another actor to voice Mufasa.

However, he was quick to explain that Jones’ voice won’t be exactly the same this time around.

“The timbre of his voice has changed. That served the role well because he sounds like a king who’s ruled for a long time,” the Iron Man star and director shared.

He previously revealed that most of the Mufasa’s dialogue – and the iconic songs from the 1994 animated classic – haven’t been changed for the new film.

“I want to highlight, really, what’s in there from the original,” Favreau told multiple outlets. “It’s the whole circle of life and bad things happen, good things happen. Not every scene in the movie is fun to watch… There’s tragedy in it, but ultimately what I like about it is that somehow, after that whole experience, you walk away feeling inspired and hopeful. Which is how I like my stories.”

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