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Issa Rae Pitching Dystopian Sci-Fi Drama As Part of Diverse Writers’ Scheme

Issa Rae, star of HBO’s Insecure, is pitching a dystopian sci-fi series to broadcasters and streaming after launching a diverse writers’ initiative. Rae’s production company ColorCreative.TV, which she runs with Deniese Davis, has taken out The Awoken from Katelyn Howes after the newcomer beat more than 2,000 others to win the Fresh Wave scheme.

The scheme was set up by Rae, Sky Vision, the international distribution division of the UK pay-TV broadcaster, and Talos Films, the fledgling New York-based company set up by former MTV exec Elli Hakami and History’s former scripted exec Julian Hobbs.

The Awoken is a bold sci-fi drama following Alabine Rivers, a young adult who is resurrected from cryogenic preservation in 2103, a very different world from 201, the year she left behind. Rivers is forced to join an underground network of rebels fighting for the basic human rights of The Awoken, others like her who have been frozen and then resurrected, who are ruthlessly hunted down by a regime has restricted scientific advancement and technology and returned the country to an agrarian dystopia.

A 10-minute pilot presentation, produced by ColorCreative.TV and Talos Films and funded by Sky Vision, was shown to buyers today, Wednesday 13 December, at an event in Hollywood. The team are also set to pitch half-hour comedy pilot Court For Short from LaDarian Smith, runner up of the initiative.

Rae, who earlier this week received a best actressGolden Globe nomination for Insecure , was keen to help other new writers after being discovered by posting episodes of her autobiographical series Awkward Black Girl on YouTube, where it received over 20M viewers. She said that providing a platform for “underrepresented” voices was extremely important to her, “particularly with so many polarizing views dominating the mainstream right now”. “I’m so pleased that Fresh Wave has produced not just a fantastic winner in Katelyn, but a wealth of new voices amongst the other finalists, showing that there is a huge amount of diverse young talent out there ready to light up our screens,” she added.

Sky Vision Managing Director Jane Millichip told Deadline that The Awoken will have huge international appeal. She said that show would be appealing to a number of broadcasters and could work as either a big-budget drama or with a smaller budget due to its “low tech dystopia”. “The best sci-fi shows are about alienation rather than just aliens and spaceships. We don’t necessarily need a spaceship budget but the show has scale and scope,” she said.

Millichip added that Sky’s involvement in the diverse talent scheme was not an act of altruism but rather a commercial based on the idea that diversity offered new opportunities for storytelling. “The world has finally woken up to social mobility and this scheme is a way that Sky Vision can get involved. But there’s also a commercial aspect, why would we do this just to get brownie points?,” she said.

The Awoken creator Katelyn Howes added that she was thrilled to have been given such an “amazing opportunity”. “The producers and mentors of Fresh Wave have provided a thoughtful and unique program that has allowed a female created sci-fi world to come to life. With The Awoken, I set out to write about privilege and how you can only really see it once it’s taken away. It’s a story about growing up. It’s a story about memory. And of course, at it’s heart, it’s a story about love.”

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Morgan Spurlock Confesses Indiscretions: “I Am Part Of The Problem”

With the growing storm cloud of sexual harassment allegations hovering over Hollywood, Academy Award-nominated documentarian Morgan Spurlock has come forward and posted revelatory essay saying that he is “part of the problem.”

Spurlock posted a link to the lengthy manifesto of sorts giving his thoughts on sexual harassment and how heroes have fallen for their indiscretions asking, “when will they come for me?”

He shared his own personal stories from his past including one during college when a one-night stand was turned into rape accusations and how he settled a sexual harassment allegation at my office eight years ago when he referred to a former employee as “hot pants” and “sex pants.” The former employee asked for a settlement and he paid it.

He goes on to talk about how has been unfaithful to every girlfriend and said: “I would look each of them in the eye and proclaim my love and then have sex with other people behind their backs.” He adds, “I hurt them. And I hate it. But it didn’t make me stop. The worst part is, I’m someone who consistently hurts those closest to me.”

In admitting his faults and confessing all his own indiscretions, he closes by saying that he “will do better” and “The only individual I have control over is me.”

Read his entire statement below.

As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realization of their past indiscretions, I don’t sit by and wonder “who will be next?” I wonder, “when will they come for me?”

You see, I’ve come to understand after months of these revelations, that I am not some innocent bystander, I am also a part of the problem.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this thought, but I can’t blindly act as though I didn’t somehow play a part in this, and if I’m going truly represent myself as someone who has built a career on finding the truth, then it’s time for me to be truthful as well.

I am part of the problem.

Over my life, there have been many instances that parallel what we see everyday in the news. When I was in college, a girl who I hooked up with on a one night stand accused me of rape. Not outright. There were no charges or investigations, but she wrote about the instance in a short story writing class and called me by name. A female friend who was in the class told be about it afterwards.

I was floored.

“That’s not what happened!” I told her. This wasn’t how I remembered it at all. In my mind, we’d been drinking all night and went back to my room. We began fooling around, she pushed me off, then we laid in the bed and talked and laughed some more, and then began fooling around again. We took off our clothes. She said she didn’t want to have sex, so we laid together, and talked, and kissed, and laughed, and then we started having sex.

“Light Bright,” she said.

“What?”

“Light bright. That kids toy, that’s all I can see and think about,” she said … and then she started to cry. I didn’t know what to do. We stopped having sex and I rolled beside her. I tried to comfort her. To make her feel better. I thought I was doing ok, I believed she was feeling better. She believed she was raped.

That’s why I’m part of the problem.

Then there was the time I settled a sexual harassment allegation at my office. This was around 8 years ago, and it wasn’t a gropy feely harassment. It was verbal, and it was just as bad.

I would call my female assistant “hot pants” or “sex pants” when I was yelling to her from the other side of the office. Something I thought was funny at the time, but then realized I had completely demeaned and belittled her to a place of non-existence.

So, when she decided to quit, she came to me and said if I didn’t pay her a settlement, she would tell everyone. Being who I was, it was the last thing I wanted, so of course, I paid. I paid for peace of mind. I paid for her silence and cooperation. Most of all, I paid so I could remain who I was.

I am part of the problem.

And then there’s the infidelity. I have been unfaithful to every wife and girlfriend I have ever had. Over the years, I would look each of them in the eye and proclaim my love and then have sex with other people behind their backs.

I hurt them. And I hate it. But it didn’t make me stop. The worst part is, I’m someone who consistently hurts those closest to me. From my wife, to my friends, to my family, to my partners & co-workers. I have helped create a world of disrespect through my own actions.

And I am part of the problem.

But why? What caused me to act this way? Is it all ego? Or was it the sexual abuse I suffered as a boy and as a young man in my teens? Abuse that I only ever told to my first wife, for fear of being seen as weak or less than a man?

Is it because my father left my mother when I was child? Or that she believed he never respected her, so that disrespect carried over into their son?

Or is it because I’ve consistently been drinking since the age of 13? I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years, something our society doesn’t shun or condemn but which only served to fill the emotional hole inside me and the daily depression I coped with. Depression we can’t talk about, because its wrong and makes you less of a person.

And the sexual daliances? Were they meaningful? Or did they only serve to try to make a weak man feel stronger.

I don’t know. None of these things matter when you chip away at someone and consistently make them feel like less of a person.

I am part of the problem. We all are.

But I am also part of the solution. By recognizing and openly admitting what I’ve done to further this terrible situation, I hope to empower the change within myself. We should all find the courage to admit we’re at fault.

More than anything, I’m hopeful that I can start to rebuild the trust and the respect of those I love most. I’m not sure I deserve it, but I will work everyday to earn it back.

I will do better. I will be better. I believe we all can.

The only individual I have control over is me. So starting today, I’m going to be more honest with you and myself. I’m going to lay it all out in the open. Maybe that will be a start. Who knows. But I do know I’ve talked enough in my life … I’m finally ready to listen

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‘Mr. Robot’ Season 3 Finale Shocker: Sam Esmail On Tonight’s Revelation, Surprise Guest & What’s Next In Season 4

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details about tonight’s season 3 finale of  Mr. Robot on USA

Holy cow. Everyone take a deep breath, because that had to be the most nail-biting season finale to date in Mr. Robot‘s three-season run.

USA Network

The biggest sweat of the night involved Bobby Cannavale’s Dark Army gopher/used car salesman Irving. If we ever wondered just how far he could go before he lost it, well, tonight clearly showed that in a scene that rivaled any of Cannavale’s bloodcurdling scenes as Boardwalk Empire don Gyp Rosetti. In a scene where we clearly thought that honest FBI agent Dom DiPierro (Grace Gummer) would finally meet her maker, Irving opts to chop up her double agent associate Santiago (Omar Metwally) outside of a barn in the country, thus selecting her as the next Dark Army hacking group’s inside FBI snitch. Elliot (Rami Malek) and Darlene (Carly Chaikin) look like they’re next with Leon (Joey BadA$$), the Dark Army’s hitman, waiting for his directions to kill from Dark Army mama White Rose (BD Wong).  But White Rose opts to take the life of Grant, her lover/associate, sparing Elliot and his sister so that they can continue to do the Dark Army’s bidding. But life is about to get more complicated for Elliot in season 4 when a blast from his past enters: the Brave Traveler (read on).

Meanwhile, Angela (Portia Doubleday), who has just about lost after participating in a terrorist attack against the nefarious company she works for, E-Corp, has a Luke Skywalker-Darth Vader revelation of her own from her E-Corp boss Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer). Looks like father and daughter will revolt against White Rose side-by-side in season 4, which Esmail revealed on Instagram this morning he was already working on. Below is our interview with Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail about USA’s Mr. Robot season 3 finale “Shutdown R”

What great timing. As Bitcoin hits the futures trading market this past week, it’s Mr. Robot‘s season 3 finale. Did you know this was coming down and timed the show’s end to this point in time?

I didn’t that was happening specifically. I would say that I’m one off the first prognosticators of cryptocurrency, but there are a lot smarter people in the know before I was. One of the reasons why we have it in the plot line is in regards to how it impacts the world’s economy.

I read that Bitcoin is only controlled by 1,000 people currently.

That’s the crazy part of the cryptocurrency in general. It’s that consolidation of power behind the currency and there’s not a lot of transparency necessarily around that.  Obviously, the goal is to keep ledgers. It’s a tricky thing given the power around Bitcoin. We’re at the mercy of these people in terms of its value. But we’re trending toward a world to pay bills and buy goods and services with it, and being controlled by these consolidated powers, that’s scary.

Michael Parmelee/USA Network

You left a great out for Bobby Cannavale’s Irving to return. Is he coming back?
I’ll just say that I loved working with him, he’s one of my favorite characters and favorite people to work with. And if there’s any opportunity to work with him again, I’ll do that.

Let’s talk about what we saw tonight. Elliot is still bent on taking down the 1% of the world, but his dilemma is that he’s now in the pocket of WhiteRose.
The way we are ending the third season is that we’re coming back to the original promise: Elliot’s mission to take down secret organizations who are controlling things behind the scenes. It’s the first time that Elliot has exposed them and seen their true identity in that they’re being led by White Rose and the Dark Army. It’s an interesting predicament: He has leverage of them, but they have leverage over him as well. It’s an interesting Mexican standoff.

Elliot’s decision to reverse the 5/9 hack: Is this just a means to ease his own guilt after blowing up all those E-corp buildings?
Yeah, I think that with the journey of Elliot, we started the series with this guy in an immense amount of pain. Instead of facing that, he blamed it on society and externalized to the world around him what needed to be fixed, when in fact, he was avoiding facing the problem within. That’s what this moment in this season was about: His realization that what he wanted was not co-opted by the very people he was trying to take down; that it was wrong.  There are a few internal struggles he also faces in regards to his relationship with Mr. Robot and its evolution.

Angela learning that she was Phillip Price’s daughter. Why was this important to establish and was this something you knew going into the season? 

The thing about that revelation is that what I always thought was interesting in regards to the entire chain reaction of things that led to the 5/9 hack and the global catastrophe is that it all started with broken family ties. And really the chain reaction of Price who is estranged from his daughter her whole life, and reaching out in the distance, by hiring this (small) cybersecurity company which has no business representing E-Corp; then because of that, Elliot joins the company to avenge his father’s death — that strategy to attack E-Corp, that spiraling out of control, is in essence about broken family ties. Now (Price and Angela) are trying to heal that tragedy and trauma that comes out of it. We planned this very early on; at the end of the first season Price takes Angela in.

There’s a lot of gore, especially when Bobby Cannavale goes nuts. And it’s a great face off at the barn in the country. What were your cinematic inspirations?
Black Sunday. I always go back to the 1970s. But in general, it’s sort of this classic good guy versus bad guy standoff. I always felt that the show was always building toward that, but never did one before, because that’s the nature of hacking. You don’t have personal standoffs like that. We finally had the opportunity and it made sense to return to the place where Stage 2 was really created and birthed.

USA

Dom and Darlene, where does this leave them now?
Dom is at a crossroads. She’s the most noble character to her cause in the entire series. She’s now in with the Dark Army in this brutal way and we’re going to see the aftereffects of that. In terms of Darlene, she’s going to have to live and process a lot of guilt of what she’s put Dom through. There’s a genuine relationship there: They did care for one another. It’s going to be interesting though because they’re on opposite sides. We’re going to explore that relationship and whether they survive through that.

The Brave Traveler at the end of tonight’s show, that’s the drug kingpin Fernando Vera who double-crossed Elliot in season one and took girlfriend Shayla’s life. What now?
[Editor’s note, check out season 3 finale coda below] Well, he’s a crazy person, an egomaniac and hopefully very entertaining to watch. I’ll leave that as my answer. There’s a personal connection here with Elliot and out of all the global chaos that he’s been experiencing on the show, this one narrows the field a bit on a personal level. Shayla was the only true connection Elliot made when we began the series. We’ll definitely explore the blowback from all of that with her murder and how Elliot assisted in breaking Vera out of prison.

One word description of Mr. Robot‘s season 4?
Integration

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Oprah Winfrey To Be Honored With Cecil B. DeMille Award At Golden Globes

Actress, talk show host icon, producer, entrepreneur, and media mogul queen Oprah Winfrey is set to receive the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Winfrey makes history as the first black woman ever to receive the honor. The ceremony will take place at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Jan. 7, 2018 and be televised live on NBC.

The news of was announced by 2012 Cecil B. DeMille honoree Morgan Freeman tonight during the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s (HFPA) Golden Globe 75th Anniversary Special on NBC(watch the video below).  The HFPA Board of Directors gives the Cecil B. DeMille Award to a talented individual who has made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment — Winfrey more than fills those requirements based on her resume.

Meher Tatna, President of the HFPA stated, “The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is delighted to announce Oprah Winfrey as the recipient of the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award.  As a global media leader, philanthropist, producer, and actress, she has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world, making her one of the most respected and admired figures today. For generations, Oprah has celebrated strong female characters on and off screen and has been a role model for women and young girls for decades. Holding titles such as Chairman, CEO and Founder, Oprah is one of the most influential women of our time, and this honor is well deserved especially in this 75th anniversary year of the Golden Globe Awards.”

Winfrey is the fourth black actor to receive the award. Sidney Poitier received the honor in 1982; Freeman in 2012 and Denzel Washington in 2016. Out of 64 recipients of the award, 14 have been women. The 14th being last year’s winner Meryl Streep and the 15th Winfrey.

For 25 years, Winfrey was the host of the wildly-recognized, award-winning talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show. As Chairman and CEO, she’s guiding her successful cable network, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, is the founder of O, The Oprah Magazine, and oversees Harpo Films.

On the film side, she received a Globe nomination for her role in the 1985 Steven Spielberg adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. More recently, she received critical acclaim in Lee Daniels’ The Butler and produced and appeared in Ava DuVernay’s Academy Award-winning film Selma. She also earned an Emmy nod for her role in HBO Films’ The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. She reteams with DuVernay in the upcoming Disney’s adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s fantastical sci-fi novel Wrinkle in Time as Mrs. Which.

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa as they celebrate the school’s seventh graduating class. Winfrey established the school in 2007 to provide education for academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. Graduates of the school have continued on to higher education both in South Africa and at colleges and universities around the world.

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Harvey Weinstein “Does Not Recall” Pressuring Salma Hayek To Do Sex Scenes In ‘Frida’

A spokesperson on behalf of Harvey Weinstein responded to Salma Hayek’s New York Times op-ed in which she detailed his inappropriate behavior and repeated sexual demands while making the 2002 Oscar-winning film Frida. 

“Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming,” said Weinstein’s spokesperson in a statement obtained by Deadline. “However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush.”

The statement also says that Weinstein pushed for Hayek for the lead role in Frida over Jennifer Lopez and how much money Miramax shelled out for the film. It also says that “All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired.”

Read the entire statement below.

Mr. Weinstein regards Salma Hayek as a first-class actress and cast her in several of his movies, among them “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” “Dogma,” and “Studio 54.” He was very proud of her Best Actress Academy Award nomination for “Frida” and continues to support her work.

While Jennifer Lopez was interested in playing Frida and at the time was a bigger star, Mr. Weinstein overruled other investors to back Salma as the lead. Miramax put up half of the money and all of the P&A; the budget was over 12 million.  As in most collaborative projects, there was creative friction on “Frida,” but it served to drive the project to perfection. The movie opened in multiple theaters and was supported by a huge advertising campaign and an enormous Academy Awards budget.

Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming. However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush. The original uni-brow used was an issue because it diverted attention from the performances. All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired.

Ed Norton, who was Ms. Hayek’s boyfriend at the time, [worked with Mr. Weinstein on the rewrite of the script in Mexico] did a brilliant job of rewriting the script and Mr. Weinstein battled the WGA to get him a credit on the film. His effort was unsuccessful to everyone’s disappointment.

By Mr. Weinstein’s own admission, his boorish behavior following a screening of “Frida” was prompted by his disappointment in the cut of the movie—and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit, alongside the very skilled director Julie Taymor.

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Disney’s Nutcracker Movie Brings in Captain America Director for Reshoots

Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is undergoing some significant reshoots, with director Joe Johnston being brought on to take the helm of these additional scenes. While, lately, a move like this is often a sign that the original director was fired, that isn’t the case here, with this new report claiming original director Lasse Hallstrom simply cannot direct the reshoots due to scheduling conflicts. Lasse Hallstrom is not being “sidelined” by this move, and he will still be involved in the post-production process.

Fans who attended Disney’s D23 Expo this summer got the first glimpse at The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, with Disney showcasing the first Nutcracker and the Four Realms footage while announcing a November 2, 2018 release date. The D23 Expo presentation featured Los Angeles-based dancer Lil Buck, who hit the stage to demonstrate the kind of street dancing called jookin that informed the way his character moves in the film. The performance earned a standing ovation, although it isn’t clear when the footage will be unveiled. Fans can watch the entire D23 live-action presentation in its entirety, though.

This new report reveals that the studio is gearing up for just over a month of reshoots, with 32 days of additional photography set, using new material written by Oscar winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight). The original screenplay adaptation was written by Ashleigh Powell in her feature writing debut, based on the ballet by Peter Tchaikovsky and the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann. There has been no indication as to what caused the need for over a month of reshoots, but in a brief statement to The Hollywood Reporter, original director Lasse Hallstrom made it clear he thinks his film is in the right hands.

“The film is in very good hands in London while I’m away. I will return to postproduction after the holidays.”

Despite the lengthy reshoots, it seems unlikely this will have any impact on the November 2, 2018 release date, where the Disney live-action adventure will have quite a bit of competition. Also hitting theaters on that date are 20th Century Fox’s X-Men spin-off X-Men: Dark Phoenix, plus an untitled Paramount event film. The film largely takes place in a strange and mysterious parallel world-home to Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. But it’s the ominous Fourth Realm where Clara must take on a tyrant called Mother Ginger as well as a gang of mice who’ve stolen a coveted key from Clara.

Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, newcomer Mackenzie Foy as Clara, Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger, Morgan Freeman as godfather Drosselmeyer, and featuring a special performance by Misty Copeland, the movie is inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is directed by Lasse Hallstrom and produced by Mark Gordon and Larry Franco, with Sara Smith and Lindy Goldstein executive producing. The film will open in U.S. theaters on Nov. 2, 2018. We reported last month that the highly-anticipated Narnia adaptation The Silver Chair will be Joe Johnston’s last film as a director. His other directorial credits include Captain America: The First Avenger, The Rocketeer and Jurassic Park III. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news on Joe Johnston directing The Nutcracker and the Four Realms reshoots earlier today.

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First Look Inside Disneyland’s Incredible Millennium Falcon Ride

We’ve just been given our first look inside the Millennium Falcon ride that will take over Disneyland and Disney World in 2019. The theme park attraction is set to be one of the pillars of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the massive Star Wars themed land that is being added to Disney’s theme parks in the near future. Now, thanks to Disney Parks, the first look at the Star Wars attraction has been revealed. It may not be much, but it’s enough to get fans excited.

The image shows the inside of the Millennium Falcon. Specifically, we’re seeing the corridor leading to the cockpit. A location very familiar to Star Wars fans. The ride is going to be a flight simulator of sorts, allowing visitors to take control of the fastest ship in the galaxy for themselves. So seeing the corridor leading to the cockpit of the ship that did the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs is pretty cool. Though, we’ll probably never see it this empty, as the attraction will literally be flooded with people once it’s actually open.

“‘We’re home.’ #starwars #galaxysedge, Learn more this Saturday at Star Wars: Galactic Nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.”

Since the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction won’t open until 2019, we haven’t seen too much from the park. But it sounds like Disney is going to open up the playbook a bit this Saturday. Hopefully, that means we’ll get a better idea of what to expect from Star Wars land and, specifically, what this Millennium Falcon ride is going to be like. Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, had this to say about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge over the summer.

“It’s unlike anything that exists today. From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100% immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.”

In addition to the Millennium Falcon ride, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will also include tons of Star Wars themed food, shops and attractions, as well as “an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.” There’s still no specific opening date for the attraction, but we do know that Disney plans to open it to the public in 2019. Be sure to check out the first look at the Millennium Falcon ride, courtesy of the Disney Parks Twitter account, for yourself below.

“We’re home.” #starwars#galaxysedge – Learn more this Saturday at Star Wars: Galactic Nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. pic.twitter.com/wGe1rUzpwH

— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) December 13, 2017

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Woody Woodpecker Trailer: It’s the Return of the Crazy One

Chaos ensues in the all-new family comedy, Woody Woodpecker, coming to DVD, Digital and On Demand on February 6, 2018, from Universal 1440 Entertainment, a production entity of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The film blends live action and CGI animation to tell the crazy and humorous story of an all-out turf war between the mischievous prankster and a big city lawyer who wants to build his dream home in Woody’s backyard. Directed by Alex Zamm (Inspector Gadget 2, The Little Rascals Save the Day), Woody Woodpecker stars Timothy Omundson (Psych), Thaila Ayala (Rio Heat), Graham Verchere (Fargo) Jordana Largy (Monster Trucks) and Eric Bauza (The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water), as the voice of Woody. The Woody Woodpecker DVD and digital features deleted scenes and an exclusive inside look at the making of the film as well as the evolution of Woody’s iconic cartoon character.

Woody Woodpecker is back with his signature laugh, wacky antics and wisecracks in his first ever live-action/animated film. Woody must protect his forest home from Lance Walters (Omundson), who starts building his dream mansion in the forest with his son, Tommy (Verchere), and fiancée, Vanessa (Ayala). To make matters worse, Woody must avoid the clutches of two grizzly poachers. With a series of crazy hijinks to sabotage their plans, Woody proves he’ll stop at nothing to defend his turf. Get ready for laughs in this hilarious comedy about everyone’s favorite woodpecker!

Woody Woodpecker is a legendary icon created by Walter Lantz in 1940. Woody Woodpecker & Friends have entertained kids for more than 75 years! Woody Woodpecker cartoons appeared in theaters until they debuted on television in 1957. Woody’s popularity resulted in new shows airing across several decades. The Woody Woodpecker Show has been broadcast in over 155 territories and 105 languages worldwide. He is one of the most memorable cartoon characters in animation history, featuring the little red-headed bird with the unforgettable laugh, who’s forever pecking his way out of trouble. Woody has evolved from a cartoon TV character to a Pop Culture Icon with his fearlessness, crazy antics and smarts.

The DVD and Digital special features include Guess Who? The Evolution of Woody, a featurette which explores how Woody’s look and personality have changed since his introduction in 1940. The Making of Woody Woodpecker features filmmakers and cast who discuss why this version of the Woody character is so appealing and how his brand of physical humor translates across audiences. Working with Woody includes filmmakers, cast and crew as they reveal the specific challenges of filming a movie whose main character is CGI.

Woody Woodpecker will be available on DVD and Digital. DVD offers the flexibility and convenience of playing movies in more places, both at home and away. Digital lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download. Movies Anywhere is the digital app that simplifies and enhances the digital movie collection and viewing experience by allowing consumers to access their favorite digital movies in one place when purchased or redeemed through participating digital retailers. Consumers can also redeem digital copy codes found in eligible Blu-ray and DVD disc packages from participating studios and stream or download them through Movies Anywhere. Movies Anywhere is only available in the United States. Take a look at the trailer, courtesy of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment YouTube, along with the DVD artwork below.

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<strong><em>Woody Woodpecker</em></strong> DVD Cover

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Infinity War Is the Most Viewed Trailer in YouTube History

There’s a new champion in town. A couple of weeks ago, Marvel finally did the world a favor and released the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War. It didn’t disappoint and gave fans even more reason to be excited for the massive event next year. Given the anticipation, the trailer was viewed a ton of times, to the point that it now has a pretty impressive record to its name. The Avengers: Infinity War trailer is now the most viewed trailer in the history of YouTube.

As of this writing, the Avengers: Infinity War trailer has 100,182,921 views. That tops the previous record holder, which was the first full-length trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As of this writing, that trailer has a total of 99,984,054. Considering the Infinity War trailer has only been online for a couple of weeks, that’s truly impressive. It shows just how excited audiences are to finally see Thanos duke it out with The Avengers in order to try and get his big purple hands on the Infinity Stones.

It should be noted that this is limited to views of the official trailer on YouTube. Trailers for movies are released on many different YouTube channels and across various social media platforms these days, so the official YouTube channel only accounts for a fraction of its total views. Case in point, Avengers: Infinity War amassed 230 million views in total in the first 24 hours of its release, which shattered the previous record. As long as this movie doesn’t totally suck, and it’s hard to imagine that it will, Disney and Marvel are likely to have a truly massive hit on their hands.

Avengers: Infinity War serves as the culmination of a decade’s worth of MCU movies. It’s all been building to this, folks. The movie is being billed as an unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. The good guys of the MCU must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos (Josh Brolin), before his reign of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

It’s hard to think of another movie coming out in the near future that could possibly top the numbers being put up by the Avengers: Infinity War trailer. Then again, it was hard for anyone to predict how big the IT trailer was going to be this year, so there’s always something that could surprise us all. Perhaps the most likely option is when the first teaser for Avengers 4 drops next year, which will continue the trend of Marvel pretty much only competing with itself. As pointed out by Comicbook.com, this new YouTube record is just another signifier of just how dominant Marvel is in the current pop culture landscape.

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Annihilation Trailer #2 Is Absolutely Crazy, Terrifying and Trippy

The first full-length trailer for Alex Garland’s Annihilation has arrived and it’s truly crazy, along with two new photos. Audiences have been treated to some excellent, sophisticated sci-fi in recent years and those risks studios have been willing to take have really paid off. That’s why Paramount is betting on Annihilation, but this really looks like it’s going to be something totally unique. Will the risk pay off? Who knows at this point? But this new footage is something you absolutely need to see.

Paramount previously released a teaser trailer for Annihilation, which gave a general sense of what to expect from the movie, but didn’t give much in the way of story and was very shy on giving away any of the big visuals. This trailer goes all in on both. We get a sense for this team Natalie Portman is a part of and the strange world they’re going to enter in the movie. It turns out, that world is absolutely filled with horrifying creations that wouldn’t occur naturally. Like a shark mixed with a crocodile, for example. This looks like a trippy blend of horror, thriller and sci-fi that could make it a movie on your must-see list for 2018.

Annihilation is based on the novel of the same name written by Jeff VanderMeer, which was published in 2014. The movie and the book tell the story of a scientific expedition to a mysterious environmental disaster zone known as “The Shimmer”. Led by a psychologist (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the mission team also includes a surveyor, a linguist, an anthropologist, and a biologist (Portman). As we see in the trailer, this isn’t the first time that a group of (seemingly) qualified individuals has ventured into this mysterious place where the laws of nature no longer apply. It soon becomes clear to the team just how dangerous this “The Shimmer” really is.

Alex Garland, the author-turned-filmmaker and director of Ex Machina, wrote the adaptation and directed Annihilation. Unfortunately, test screenings have not gone so well and producer David Ellison said the movie was “too intellectual” for broad audiences. But fellow producer Scott Rudin didn’t feel the need to enforce the recommended changes, so instead, Netflix is going to handle international distribution for the movie. This move didn’t make Garland too happy, but Annihilation is still going to get a theatrical release in the U.S, Canada and China.

In addition to star Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh, the movie also stars Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, Benedict Wong and Oscar Isaac. Even though many people around the world are going to see this movie on Netflix, if you’re up for some intellectual sci-fi, this very well may be worth checking out in a theater. Annihilation is set to arrive in theaters on February 23, 2018. Be sure to check out the new Annihilation trailer and photos, courtesy of Paramount Pictures YouTube, for yourself below.

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<strong><em>Annihilation</em></strong> Photo 1

<strong><em>Annihilation</em></strong> Photo 2

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