Whitney Houston's Daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, Found Unresponsive in Bathtub


NBC News

Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, was found unresponsive in a bathtub in her Georgia home Saturday, police said. Brown's husband, Nick Gordon, and a friend found her in the tub in the morning and started CPR, the Roswell Police Department said in a statement. Police and rescue personnel arrived at the home, north of Atlanta, at 10:25 a.m. and performed "life-saving measures" before Brown, 21, was brought breathing to the nearby North Fulton Hospital.
The incident remains under investigation, police said. It comes less than two weeks before the third anniversary of Houston's death. The Grammy-winning singer was found submerged in a bathtub in a Beverly Hills, California, hotel on Feb. 11, 2012. She was later pronounced dead. Brown is also the daughter of R&B singer Bobby Brown.
Houston, 48, had struggled for years with cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her behavior had become erratic. Authorities examining Houston's death found a dozen prescription drug bottles in the hotel suite. They concluded that she accidentally drowned. Heart disease and cocaine use were also listed as contributing factors in her death.
Earlier this month, Lifetime released the biopic, "Whitney," which focused on the "I Will Always Love You" singer's drug use. Houston's sister-in-law, Pat Houston, released a statement blasting the film and said neither her mother, Cissy Houston, or Bobbi Kristina Brown, were consulted.

One Man Dead, Two Others Injured After Accident on the Set of Martin Scorsese's New Film Silence

by Brett Malec
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon
A tragedy has stuck the set of Martin Scorsese's latest film.
One Taiwanese worker died and two others were injured Thursday when a scaffolding structure collapsed on the Taipei set of Silence, the 72-year-old director's upcoming movie starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver.

Leslee Dart, a spokesperson for the production of Silence, confirmed the sad news, telling E! News in a statement, "Today there was an unfortunate accident at CMPC Studios in Taiwan, where the Martin Scorsese film, Silence, is in pre-production. An existing structure on the CMPC backlot had been deemed unsafe by the production, and accordingly a 3rd-party contractor was hired to reinforce and make it safe prior to any production-related work commencing in this building. Sadly, during this process, the ceiling collapsed, resulting in the death of one of the contractor's employees and injuries to two others."

The rep added, "Everyone is in shock and sorrow and expresses their deepest concern and sympathy to the families of the individual who died and those who were injured."

Immediately after the accident occurred, the three workers were rushed to the local hospital. One was pronounced dead upon arrival while the other two men sustained leg fractures and head injuries, the Taipei City Fire Department confirmed to the Taipei Times. All three men involved were in their 50s.

Silence follows the story of two Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to spread Christianity in the 17th century.

Gary Sinise tells off Howard Dean: The ‘American Sniper’ flaps still haven’t ended

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Bradley Cooper appears in a scene from “American Sniper.” (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Keith Bernstein)

The box-office success of
“American Sniper” continued in its second weekend of wide distribution, with $64.4 million in ticket sales. That’s on top of the estimated $107.2 million the Clint Eastwood film took in the previous weekend.

The movie, based on Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s life and four combat deployments to Iraq, is a massive commercial success. But the reaction to it — already inflamed — has become even more polarized, as celebrities, pundits and veterans all continue to weigh in (and sometimes respond to each other).

The latest flap erupted following comments by former Gov. Howard Dean (D.-Vt.) on Friday night. They came on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” in which the show’s host ripped the movie for its lack moral ambiguity and Kyle for writing previously that he didn’t care about Iraq and hated the “savages” there.

“‘Hurt Locker’ made $17 million because it was a little ambiguous and thoughtful,” Maher said, citing the opening weekend sales of another Iraq War filmed released in 2008. “And this one is just ‘American hero. He’s a psychopath patriot, and we love him.’”

Dean said Maher had made a “very interesting point.”

“There’s a lot of anger in this country, and the people who go see this movie are people who are very angry,” Dean said. “And this guy basically says ‘I’m going to fight on your side.’ … I bet you if you looked at a cross-section of the Tea Party and the people who go to see this movie, there’s a lot of intersection.”

That prompted a reaction today from actor veterans advocate Gary Sinise that has gone viral. He noted that he has seen the movie, and does not consider himself to be angry person.

“You certainly have a right to make stupid blanket statements, suggesting that all people who see this film are angry, but how is that helpful sir?” Sinise wrote, on the celebrity website WhoSay. “Do you also suggest that everyone at Warner Brothers is angry because they released the film? That Clint Eastwood, Jason Hall, Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller and the rest of the cast and crew are angry because they made the film? Chris Kyle’s story deserved to be told.”

Sinise continued that the movie shows how the stress of multiple deployments affected Kyle’s family, which is “a family representative of thousands of military families.”

SAG Awards 2015

Wait, which one are the SAG Awards again? Next in the long march of award season, the Screen Actors Guild Awards is the only trophy show where actors (or at least, anyone in the SAG-AFTRA union) vote for each other in movie and TV categories. You might recognize it because the ceremony always starts with charming anecdotes from stars about why they decided to become actors — it’s also the one that awards casting ensembles.

Plus, it’s a good predictor of who has the Oscar race locked up. Though the SAG Awards lack the glitz of the Academy Awards and the booze of the Golden Globes, A-listers still take this one pretty seriously. Here’s everything you need to know.

Where to watch:

The two-hour show airs Sunday, Jan. 25 on TNT and TBS at 8 p.m. (All times Eastern.)
Or, watch live on the SAG Awards Web site. You can also use the Watch TNT and Watch TBS apps for iOS or Android, though for that option, you must sign in with a TV service provider user name and password.

If your Sunday night TV schedule is still too crowded, fear not — after the show concludes at 10 p.m., it airs immediately again on TNT.

The hosts:
No hosts! There are a lot of categories to get through and again, only two hours.

Who’s going to win:
On the movie side? Probably “Birdman,” which leads with four nominations, or “Boyhood,” close behind with three nods. As for TV, ABC’s “Modern Family” got lots of love, but HBO dominated per usual with noms for “Game of Thrones,” “True Detective,” “The Normal Heart” and “Boardwalk Empire.”

The red carpet:
At 6 p.m., the SAG red carpet pre-show streams live on the SAG Awards site along with People.com.
Also at 6 p.m. you can tune into E!’s “Live from the Red Carpet” as Maria Menounos, Kelly Osbourne and Ross Mathews interview all the celebs.

Judging the fashion:
E! is on it. Monday night at 9 p.m., the “Fashion Police” team (Kathy Griffin, Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and Brad Goreski) analyzes all of the dresses.

Who’s nominated:
Here’s a complete list of nominees.

Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“The Theory of Everything”

Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Noton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”
Naomi Watts, “St. Vincent”

Rob Lowe Burns President Obama for His Interviews with Youtube Stars and Twitter Roars in Approval

On the heels of the dust-up over the news that the President will not be meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he speaks to a joint session of Congress in March, actor Rob Lowe asked a very pertinent question via Twitter.

The context of his question is the President’s interviews Thursday with three different YouTube “personalities” to discuss issues raised in his State of the Union address. The interviews have received a lot of press, and not just because it was his first post-address meeting with the media.

The event didn’t include any members of the traditional or mainstream media. It was promoted by the White House and others with the hashtag #YouTubeAsksObama.

One of the participants, GloZell Green, is a comedian with 3.3 million YouTube subscribers, who is most famous for her video while taking a bath in milk and Froot Loops cereal. And eating the cereal while in the bath.

For those that didn’t understand last night’s tweet, Lowe tweeted this today as a follow up:

The conclusion that Lowe is making is obvious. And the Twitter responses were quite strong.
Here are a few examples:

‘American Sniper’ Looking At Record $59.3M 2nd Weekend

Noon industry estimates are flying in, and Warner Bros’ American Sniper is looking at another enormous record-setting weekend with a projected $59.3M. If that number holds through Sunday, it would be the second-highest weekend ever for a film in January, after Sniper‘s gigantic FSS of $89.3M. Friday alone looks to be $17.45M, which is just under what the Clint Eastwood film posted on MLK Monday ($17.9M). By the end of the weekend, American Sniper will be short of $200M by $5M in its domestic cume — again, just jaw-dropping numbers for this war-hero film. One exhibitor chief told Deadline, “American Sniper is playing everywhere, not just the flyover states. There’s a been a little controversy about the film from blue and red audiences, but that’s what makes it great: It’s a film that has moviegoers talking.”

‘Listen To Me Marlon’ Reveals Intimate Brando, In His Own Words – Sundance


With the blessing of Brando’s estate and help from Searching For Sugar Man’s John Battsek (who produced alongside George Chignell and R.J. Cutler), Riley put Brando’s own intimate thoughts on Brando to film in Listen To Me Marlon, which premieres Saturday in competition at Sundance in the World Cinema Documentary program.

Listen to Me Marlon is one of two Showtime documentaries set to air on the cabler after debuting first in Park City, where both will court theatrical deals. The other is Amy Berg’s Prophet’s Prey, a feature documentary about polygamous FLDS cult leader and convicted child sex abuser Warren Jeffs whose exec producers include Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Dustin Lance Black.

Bruce Willis Set For ‘Extraction’

Willis plays a former CIA operative who hasn’t been the same since his wife was murdered. His son is a fresh young CIA operative following in his footsteps and with his father they are working on the development of a super-weapon called the Condor, when dad is kidnapped by a terrorist group. 

Learning that there is no plan for his father to be saved, Harry launches his own rescue operation. It leads to a conspiracy that will change his life forever. Tim Sullivan, Brandon Grimes and Gus Furla as co-producers.

Willis is repped by CAA, Miller by UTA and Aperture and EFO by WME. 

EFO’s in pre-production on Martin Scorsese’s Silence, which Paramount releases, and just began shooting 90 Minutes In Heaven. EFO exec produced the Sundance-premiering Mississippi Grind and the Universal climbing disaster pic Everest.

George Lucas On ‘Star Wars': Disney Didn’t Use My Ideas For New Movies

George Lucas told Cinema Blend in an interview posted yesterday that when he sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, along with the company came some of his ideas for a new Star Wars trilogy. But it sounds like none of them will be part of the new Star Wars universe of movies that Disney will roll out beginning with the seventh installment, the JJ Abrams-directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is set to hit theaters December 18.

Lucas told Cinema Blend when asked about some of those ideas, he responded: “Well, the ones that I sold to Disney and everything, they came up to the decision that they didn’t really want to do those. So they made up their own. It’s not the ones that I originally wrote.”

I’m as much of a Star Wars fan as the next guy — being in my 40s it was right in my young-boy wheelhouse when the first pic came out. But let’s be honest: Lucas nearly killed the golden goose with second three installments of the saga and the Ewoks-heavy Return Of The Jedi was already suspect. They were rough enough that it put a lid on 3D-conversion plans for the franchise that otherwise would have made a mint. Then Disney bought Lucas’ Lucasfilm for $4 billion-plus — and apparently told Lucas thanks much, we’ll take it from here.

So should fans be bummed about Lucas being essentially shut out of his own creation or kinda OK with it?

Nicolas Cage To Star As Osama Bin Laden-Hunter In ‘Army Of One’

Nicolas Cage is set to star in Army of One, the bizarre true tale of Gary Faulkner’s mission to single-handedly hunt down Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Borat‘s Larry Charles is directing the Condé Nast Entertainment and Endgame Entertainment production inspired by a 2010 GQ article about Faulker, the Colorado man who made headlines, and hit the late show circuit, for his quest to take down al Qaeda’s #1. Bob and Harvey Weinstein acquired North American rights to Army of One for their TWC-Dimension label after relaunching it with the international hit Paddington. Pic is scripted by Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph (Draft Day). Filming will begin in Q1 of this year. 

Actor Joe Mantegna Is Pushing Hard For Veterans’ Issues On ‘Criminal Minds’

by Blake Stilwell,Contributor

If not for a high draft number, Joe Mantegna might have chosen a career in the military instead of a forty-year career in entertainment. On Criminal Minds, Mantegna portrays David Rossi, an ex-FBI agent who was also once a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War. This aspect of his character is especially important to Mantegna, who comes from a military family and is very passionate about military and veterans’ issues.

In the video above, Mantegna talks about his experiences with the military and why veterans mean so much to him. He and freelance writer Danny Ramm also talk about how and why they decided to highlight the plight of homeless veterans in multiple episodes of one of the biggest shows on television.

The CBS procedural is the second highest rated drama on the network. In its tenth season, its ratings are actually rising. The Hollywood Reporter says it is “aging most gracefully” as one of the top ten shows of the Fall of 2014. Mantegna and Ramm decided to use Rossi’s background as a Vietnam veteran to highlight the struggles of homeless veterans.

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs estimates there more than 8,000 homeless veterans living on the streets of Los Angeles. This is the largest population in the United States. They struggle with substance abuse problems, post-traumatic stress, and many chronic health issues.

Two past episodes of Criminal Minds feature subplots about the man who was Rossi and Mantegna’s commanding officer in Vietnam, Harrison Scott, played by the late Meshach Taylor. On the show, Scott is a homeless veteran who transitions with help from the New Directions shelter in Los Angeles. Through Rossi, we get to know Scott, his issues, and the every day problems he and those like him face, living on the streets. Mantegna and Ramm also wanted to bring attention to the New Directions shelter.

New Directions was founded in 1992 to provide services to help these homeless veterans. These services include substance abuse treatment, counseling, education, job training and placement, and parenting classes. Veterans leave New Directions with a savings account, housing, a job, and most importantly, a sense of confidence in the future and a support system to see them through.

A third episode of Criminal Minds will air Wednesday, January 21st with another story about Harrison Scott. In this episode, Rossi discovers his friend has died. He flies to Los Angeles to make funeral arrangements and lay his friend to rest with the honor he deserves. It is also a tribute to actor Meshach Taylor, who died of cancer last year. The episode also feature two real-life three-star generals as well as real veterans instead of extras, with an emphasis on Vietnam-era vets.

Mantegna is also the national spokesman for the campaign to build the National Museum of the United States Army (museums for the Air Force, Marines, and Navy already exist).
Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS and can be watched at CBS.com

Barbra Streisand Goes Platinum for Historic 31st Time With 'Partners'

Barbra Streisand Goes Platinum for Historic 31st Time With 'Partners'


Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Once again, Barbra Streisand is making history.

With her latest album Partners reaching Platinum certification, Streisand extends her record for the most Platinum album certifications for a woman in RIAA history. 

Incredibly, Partners is her 31st album to ship more than 1,000,000 copies in the U.S. The closest competition? Reba McEntire, who has 19 Platinum-certified albums.

Partners debuted at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 in Sept. 2014. It was her 10th album to top that chart, making her the only act to notch a No. 1 album in each of the last six decades.

Her collaborative release ended up the seventh-biggest selling album of 2014 according to Nielsen Music, and her best-selling effort since 2001's Christmas Memories.

Of course for someone with two Oscars, five Emmys, 10 Golden Globes, eight competitive Grammys, two special Grammys and a special Tony, this is just another day in the life of Barbra. 
Still, having 31 albums to reach Platinum status is a nice way to start the week. 

Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield.

Darren Shahlavi, Martial Artist in ‘Mortal Kombat’ and ‘Arrow,’ Dies at 42


Darren Shahlavi, a martial artist who appeared fighting in such works as the “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” TV series and “Arrow,” has died, his agent has confirmed. He was 42.


According to his agent, Shahlavi died in his sleep Jan. 14. A cause of death was not revealed.

Shahlavi recently finished shooting on “Pound of Flesh” with Jean-Claude Van Damme, and is also known for his work in “Ip Man 2″ (2010), “Watchmen” (2009), “300” (2006) and “Alone in the Dark” (2005).

Shahlavi began martial arts training when he was 7 years old in Manchester, England. He cut his teeth by moving to Hong Kong in the early ’90s and becoming a stuntman in kung fu films, before he was discovered by director Yuen Woo Ping, who cast him as the villain in kung fu film “Tai Chi Chuan.”

Shahlavi then broke into Hollywood, scoring supporting roles as a boxer fighting Eddie Murphy in 2002’s “I Spy” and 2004’s “The Final Cut” with Robin Williams. In TV, he was a guest star in “Sanctuary,” “Human Target” and “Reaper.”

Shahlavi returned to Hong Kong action films in 2010, co-starring with Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung in “Ip Man 2,” the semi-autobiographical tale of Bruce Lee’s real-life kung fu master Ip Man. 

Shahlavi played the evil British boxing champ the Twister. The movie would go on to become the most successful Asian film at the box office in 2010.
In 2011, he appeared as Kano in “Mortal Kombat: Legacy.”
In the past few years, Shahlavi had a guest role in the CW’s “Arrow,” appeared in 2012’s “Metal Hurlant” and had a starring role in 2012 TV movie “Aladdin and the Death Lamp.”


Big data tops humans at picking 'significant' films: study

By Sharon Begley
(Reuters) - In the escalating battle of big data vs. human experts, score another win for numbers.

The most accurate predictions of which movies the U.S. Library of Congress will deem "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" are not the views of critics or fans but a simple algorithm applied to a database, according to a study published on Monday.

The crucial data, scientists reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are what the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com) calls "Connections" - films, television episodes and other works that allude to an earlier movie.

For 15,425 films in IMDB.com examined in the study, the measure that was most predictive of which made it into the Library of Congress's National Film Registry, which honors "significant" movies, was the number of references to it by other films released many years later.

The 1972 classic "The Godfather," for instance, is referred to by 1,323 films and television episodes, which as recently as 2014 quoted the "offer he can't refuse" line, referred to the famous horse-head scene, or played the theme music, for instance. "Godfather" made the registry in 1990.

The number of references to a film more than 25 years after its release was a nearly infallible predictor of whether it would make the registry, topping 91 percent accuracy, said applied mathematician and study author Max Wasserman of Northwestern University.

Critics' judgments, Oscar wins, and box-office numbers did not come close.

Films are nominated for the registry by the public and chosen by the Librarian of Congress in consultation with a board of experts including critics, academics, directors, screenwriters and other industry insiders.

By the 25-year-lag rule, the 1971 box-office disappointment "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" should be in the registry: IMDb lists 52 long-lag citations to it, the 37th most in the Northwestern analysis.

In December, six months after the scientists submitted their paper, the Library added "Willy Wonka" to the list of 650 cinematic immortals, just as the research predicted.

"Experts have biases that can affect how they evaluate things," said physicist and co-author Luis A.N. Amaral of Northwestern. "Automated, objective methods don't suffer from that. It may hurt our pride, but they can perform as well as or better than experts."

 Other movies identified by the Northwestern algorithm as likely to make the Registry include "Dumbo," "Spartacus" and "The Shining."

Of course, humans are not entirely superfluous: flesh-and-blood creators must decide to refer to an earlier gem in order to establish the crucial IMDb "connections."

(Reporting by Sharon Begley; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

DreamWorks Animation plans substantial layoffs

Stung by a series of box office misfires and failed sale attempts, DreamWorks Animation plans a substantial number of layoffs, two people familiar with the matter said.

In a move to cut operating costs, the Glendale studio intends to significantly reduce the size of its workforce, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the plans.
"Penguins of Madagascar"
While the precise number of people who will lose their jobs has yet to be finalized, the number is expected to exceed the 350 layoffs that occurred in 2013 after the studio shelved production of the movie "Me and My Shadow."

Layoffs are expected to include animators, story-board artists and other production personnel and support staff at the studio's Glendale and Redwood City facilities, which employ about 2,200 workers.

A spokesman for DreamWorks said the company "does not comment on rumor and speculation."

The restructuring comes after a turbulent period for DreamWorks Animation, which has been attempting to diversify its operations following a rocky period at the box office that has eroded profits and caused a sharp decline in the company's share price.

The company, founded two decades ago, has struggled to replicate the success of its earlier "Shrek," "Kung Fu Panda" and "Madagascar" movies.

The company has reported three write-downs in the last two years for "Mr. Peabody & Sherman," "Rise of the Guardians" and "Turbo."

The studio's most recent release, "Penguins of Madagascar," also has underperformed since its premiere in November.

The layoffs follow a recent management shakeup at the studio that saw the departure of longtime DreamWorks executive Bill Damaschke, the studio's chief creative officer. Veteran producers Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria have taken over as co-presidents of feature animation.

CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has been in discussions to sell the studio, but his efforts have recently been rebuffed by several companies including Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank Corp., Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and toymaker Hasbro Inc.

‘American Sniper’ Targets Record Jan. $105.2M

A+ CinemaScore across the board among males, females and over/under 25.  Everyone always knew the film was going to be the highest opening for an MLK release, beating last year’s opening record set by Kevin Hart‘s Ride Along ($41.5M 3-day, $48.6M 4-day). Audience make-up was 57% guys/43% women with 63% over 25. American Sniper also earned the best take for an R-rated IMAX film with an estimated $11.5M over the four-day, beating Fox’s Prometheus, which made $9M.  

American Sniper’s per theater: an amazing $25,374 over three days and $29,592 over four-days. 
While the competition did well this weekend against the titan American Sniper, some executives griped that the Eastwood film shaved off dollars off their initial projections.

“It felt like we opened against a Marvel movie,” said one studio executive about Sniper‘s presence. 

“The people portrayed in American Sniper – these are real-life heroes to people in the same way that Marvel characters are heroes to fanboys. But it’s the Marvel concept for adults.”

Selma MLK Jr Oscar snubGiven its prime spot on MLK weekend, Paramount’s Selma held very well, bolstered by a best picture Oscar nomination (it also received one for best song) with the studio reporting a 26% dip, to an $8.3M three-day and a $10.3M four-day. The movie’s domestic cume by tomorrow will stand at $27.96M.

While this would have seemed the prime weekend to go wide, Paramount smartly did so a week earlier, counter-programming Taken 3and dodging the market power of The Wedding Ringeranother African-American-oriented movie that, like Selma, drew mostly females.

Said Warner Bros. domestic distribution chief Dan Fellman on Sniper’s success: “The film played from small towns to big cities, red to blue states. The story touched on so many things dear to the American public – patriotism, service to your country. It hit that core.”

Warner Bros. saw an early cut of the film last year. VFX weren’t even ready, but execs were blown away. Commenting on why the studio chose to go wide in January versus December, Fellman said, “It gave us an opportunity to let the movie breathe.”

Warner Bros. implemented a very textured and layered marketing campaign for Sniper. In a time when an even a low-budget political comedy can create an international furor, Warner Bros. always felt they had a film that cut through the politics of war.

“It can be a very compelling, often sad or cathartic experience for people” said Sue Kroll, Warner’s president of worldwide marketing and international distribution.  “The film completely connects with people at this point in time in our culture. With the horrors of war every day in the news, this film hits closer to home.”

taya kyleThe trailers and TV spots were specifically made to emphasize the emotional tones of Chris Kyle’s story. While some focused on the intense scene featuring Kyle taking a slow aim at an Iraqi woman and child, 60-second TV spots featured soundbites from Chris Kyle’s widow Taya Kyle, actress Sienna Miller and screenwriter/executive producer Jason Hall talking about NAVY seal hero Chris Kyle. 

There were longer featurettes on line as well.

“With everything that was going on, they made people stop and take notice,” said Kroll.

Further making American Sniper compelling and more real were Taya Kyle’s eloquent interviews with such outlets as Fox News and TODAY. Screenwriter Hall’s experiences resonated with trade publications during awards season regarding the film’s path to the screen; how he was working on the script prior to Kyle’s murder – and how Chris Kyle’s murder on a Texas gun range impacted the story.

The studio tapped Glover Park Group, a leading DC-based marketing and PR group with deep experience in government affairs work. They created the military press program and screenings.

“It’s always tricky when you have a movie that’s about war, but after the first screening, we were all moved at the studio and quickly rolled it out on a limited basis before the end of the year,” Kroll said. 

“The movie is a soldier’s story and the universality of the toll that war takes on the soldier and those he left behind. That perspective in American Sniper differentiates it from other war films. It has made it more mainstream and relatable. And more emotional.”

In second place, Sony’s Screen Gems launched their fourth straight hit with more than $20M in The Wedding Ringerstarring Kevin Hart. The studio is reporting the film at $21M in 3,003 hubs with per theater of $6,993 and a four-day take of $25M. The crowd was 58% female, and mostly young, with 49% under 30. Among R-rated January comedy openings, The Wedding Ringer is the best, beating Paramount’s 2011 kinky romantic comedy No Strings Attached with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. That film posted a $19.65M weekend.

Paddington in third is the first title to go out through the TWC/Dimension label, a combined brand intended for higher-end commercial fare. The $55M budgeted Canal Plus production, which TWC/Dimension acquired domestic on, played very strong in Middle America and suburbia, grossing a studio-reported $19.287M for the FSS and a $25.6M for the four-day, drawing 60% women, and  42% of the crowd parents with kids.

Legendary’s Blackhat distributed by Universal, the frame’s fourth wide bow, grossed $4M per the studio in 2,567 locales. Industry estimates below see the film slotting 11th for FSS. The crowd for the Michael Mann cyber-thriller was 59% male and 18% under age 25. The studio wasn’t on the hook for P&A, and the film was around before Universal’s deal with Legendary went into place.  It’s an R-rated adult-male drama, and when it was placed on the schedule, no one, including Universal, saw American Sniper coming around the corner.

20th Century Fox’s Taken 3 held the best it could against American Sniper with a studio reported $14M three-day at 3,594 and a cume of $62.8M. While that’s a 64% drop from its opening, again peg it to American Sniper picking off male moviegoers in particular.

clint eastwood

Deadline’s top 10 films per industry estimates show the three-day and four-day weekend as follows:
1). American Sniper (WB), 3,555 theaters (+3,551)/ $30.4M Fri./ $34.7M Sat. (+14%)/ $22.9M Sun. (-34%)/ 3-Day cume: $88M (+15,085%)/4-Day cume:$99.1M /Total cume: $102.5M/ Wk 4

2). The Wedding Ringer (Sony), 3,003 theaters/ $6.99M Fri./ $8.4M Sat. (+20%)/ $5.2M Sun. (-37%)/ 3-Day cume: $20.7M/ 4-Day cume: $24.6M /Wk 1
3). Paddington (TWC), 3,303 theaters / $4.6M Fri./ $8.3M Sat. (+80%)/ $M Sun. (-%)/ 3-Day cume: $19.3M / 4-Day cume: $24.1M /Wk 1
4). Taken 3 (Fox), 3,594 theaters (0)/$4.2M Fri/ $6.6M Sat. (+55%)/ $3.2M Sun. (-51%)/ 3-Day cume: $14M (-62%)/4-Day cume: $16.9M /Total cume: $65.6M/ Wk 2
5). Selma (Par), 2,235 theaters (+56) /$2.3M Fri./ $3.7M Sat. (+56%)/ $2.2M Sun. (-41%)/ 3-Day cume: $8.4M (-26%)/4-Day cume: $10.3M /Total cume: $27.9M / Wk 4
6). The Imitation Game (TWC), 1,611 theaters (+45) / $1.8M Fri. / $3.2M Sat. (+71%)/ $2M Sun. (-38%)/ 3-Day cume: $7.3M (-2%)/4-Day cume: $8.9M /Total cume: $51.6M / Wk 8
7). Into The Woods (DIS), 2,758 theaters (-75) /$1.6M Fri./ $3M Sat. (+80%)/ $2.1M Sun. (-30%)/ 3-Day cume: $6.8M (-29%)/4-Day cume: $8.9M /Total cume: $116.7M / Wk 4
8). The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies (WB), 2,220 theaters (-1182)/$1.1M Fri./ $2.2M Sat. (+89%)/ $1.4M Sun. (-35%)/ 3-Day cume: $4.8M (-49%) /4-Day cume: $5.9M /Total cume: $245.6M/ Wk 5
9). Unbroken (UNI), 2,602 theaters (-699) / $1.2M Fri. (-51%)/ $1.9M Sat. (+56%)/ $1M Sun. (-47%)/ 3-Day cume: $4.2M (-49%)/4-Day cume: $5M/Total cume: $109.4M / Wk 4
10). Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb (FOX), 2,437 theaters (-934) / $859K Fri./ $1.7M Sat. (+105%)/ $1.3M Sun. (-25%)/ 3-Day cume: $3.9M(-41%)/4-Day cume: $5.2M /Total cume: $106.5M / Wk 5
11). Blackhat (UNI), 2,567 theaters / $1.3M Fri./ $1.5M Sat. (+15%)/ $983K Sun. (-37%)/ 3-Day cume: $3.7M/4-Day cume: $4.8M / Wk 1
Birdman (FSL) 471 theaters (+243)/$403K Fri./ $715K Sat. (+77%)/ $443K Sun. (-38%) / 3-day cume: $1.5M (+160%)/4-day cume: $1.8M/Total cume: $28.5M/Wk 14
Wild (FSL), 764 theaters (-522)/ $398K Fri./ $651K Sat. (+64%)/ $408K Sun. (-37%) / 3-day cume: $1.4M (-47%)/4-day cume: $1.7M/Total cume: $33.1M / Wk 7
Spare Parts (LGF) 440 theaters/$397K Fri. / $516K Sat. (+30%)/ $413K Sun. (-20%) /3-day cume: $1.37M/$4-day cume: $1.7M/ Wk 1 1
Foxcatcher (SPC), 759 theaters (+522)/ $274K Fri./$449K Sat. (+64%)/ $276K Sun. (-37%) / 3-day cume: $979K (+82%)/4-day cume: $1.1M/Total cume: $10M / Wk 10
The Theory of Everything (FOC), 509 theaters (+101)/ $247K Fri./ $434K Sat. (+75%)/ $282K Sun. (-35%) / 3-day cume: $950K (+41%)/4-day cume: $1.1M/Total cume: $27.5M / Wk 11
Whiplash (SPC) 189 theaters (+120)/$92K Fri. /$172K Sat. (+87%)/ $107K Sun. (-38%) /3-day cume: $362K (+154%)/4-day cume: 425K/Total cume: $6.6M/Wk 15
Boyhood (IFC), 136 theaters (+116) / $55K Fri. /$103K Sat. (+87%)/ $64K Sun. (-38%) / 3-day cume: $222K /4-day cume: $264K /Total cume: $24.6M/ Wk 28
Still Alice (SPC) 12 theaters/$52K Fri. / $89K Sat. (+71%)/ $65K Sun. (-28%) /3-day cume: $206K/$4-day cume: $249K/ Wk 1
Two Days, One Night (IFC) 15 theaters (+10) / $26K Fri. /$48K Sat. (+85%)/ $31K Sun. (-35%) /3-Day: $105K (+158%)/4-day cume: $129K/ Total cume: $300K / Wk 4
Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL), 46 theaters (+30) /$6K Fri. /$16K Sat. (+166%)/ $11K Sun. (-31%) / 3-day cume: $33K /4-day cume: $40K / Total cume: $59.3M / Wk 46

Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel lead Oscars race

BBC/ Entertainment
Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel lead the race for this year's Oscars with nine nominations each.
The Imitation Game, Boyhood and American Sniper also have multiple nominations.

There was good news for British actors as Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne, Rosamund Pike, Felicity Jones and Keira Knightley are all nominated.

Up against Cumberbatch and Redmayne for best actor are Steve Carell, Bradley Cooper and Michael Keaton.

Cumberbatch, who plays codebreaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, said he was "knocked for six" by the nomination.

"So excited and honoured to receive this recognition," he said.

"It's wonderful to be included by the Academy in this exceptional year of performances. To ring my parents, who are both actors, and tell them that their only son has been nominated for an Oscar is one of the proudest moments of my life."

 Fresh his Golden Globe win on Sunday, Eddie Redmayne, again nominated for his role as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, told the BBC how he heard the news in Los Angeles.

"It's the crack of dawn and I've gone from being in a deep dark sleep to hearing this news. I can't quite articulate what I'm feeling but I feel pretty good".

He played down any rivalry with his "old friend" Benedict Cumberbatch, calling him a "lovely, wondrous, human being".

"We've been texting this morning and there have been a lot of exclamation marks of euphoria so there's definitely no competition there," he said

Redmayne revealed he would stay up to watch the Oscars as a child but would "never ever dream I'd get to go. Frankly being invited to the party is an extraordinary thing".

It is Bradley Cooper's third consecutive Oscar nomination in the best actor shortlist, this year for his role in Clint Eastwood's military biopic American Sniper.

He is the first actor to achieve this feat since Russell Crowe was nominated for The Insider, Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind at the start of the century. He won for Gladiator in 2001.

Meryl Streep is nominated for her 19th acting Oscar, breaking her own Academy Awards record. She is up for best supporting actress for Into the Woods alongside Knightley, Patricia Arquette, Laura Dern and Emma Stone.

Nominated alongside Felicity Jones and Rosamund Pike in the best actress category are previous Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon and Marion Cotillard, alongside Julianne Moore, who recently won the Golden Globe for her role in Still Alice.

Those who missed out in the category included Jennifer Aniston, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in Cake, and Amy Adams who won the Golden Globe for best actress in a musical or comedy for Big Eyes.

Films with most nominations

9 - Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
8 - The Imitation Game
6 - American Sniper, Boyhood
5 - Foxcatcher, Interstellar, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash

Speaking immediately after the announcement, Felicity Jones, nominated for her role as Stephen Hawking's first wife Jane in The Theory of Everything, admitted she was too nervous to watch the nominations live.

"It's so nerve-wracking I couldn't watch it", she told BBC 5 live. "I was just waiting and I got a phone call from my brother. He was very sweet, he just said: "you've done it, you've got it.

"I was just so excited. It's one of those things you never quite expect. It's just fantastic news".
The nominees in the main categories are:

Best film:

Best director:

  • Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  • Alejandro G Inarritu (Birdman)
  • Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)
  • Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)
Best actor:

  • Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)
  • Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  • Michael Keaton (Birdman)
  • Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Best actress

  • Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)
  • Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
  • Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
  • Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
  • Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
Robert Duvall's nomination for best supporting actor in The Judge makes him the oldest Oscar nominee in this category. At 84, he is two years older than the previous oldest nominee, Hal Holbrook, who was up for Into the Wild in 2008. The oldest winner in this category is Christopher Plummer, who was 82 when he picked up the Oscar for Beginners in 2012.

The Lego Movie was a surprise omission in the best animated film category, although its catchy theme song Everything is Awesome, by Tegan & Sara, is up for best song.

Also up for best song is Grateful written by Diane Warren and performed by British singer Rita Ora in Beyond the Lights, alongside John Legend, who won the Golden Globe for his song Glory from the film Selma.
Pet chickens

Civil rights drama Selma's only other nomination comes in the best picture category.
The live action short category includes The Phone Call, by British director Mat Kirkby, in which Sally Hawkins plays a helpline call centre volunteer who counsels a mystery man.

The film was shot in 2013, a week after Hawkins finished filming Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine (for which she was nominated for the best supporting actress Oscar last year). Kirkby sold his car to pay for the film.

Also in the live action short category is Boogaloo and Graham, directed by Michael Lennox. Filmed entirely on location in Northern Ireland, the film is set in 1970s Belfast and follows two young boys who discover the facts of life, aided by the help of their pet chickens. The short also picked up a Bafta nomination last week.

The nominations were announced in Hollywood by Alfonso Cuaron, who won best director for Gravity last year, alongside actor Chris Pine, Star Wars director JJ Abrams and Oscars boss Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

Television and film actor Neil Patrick Harris will host the ceremony in Hollywood's Dolby Theatre on 22 February.

You can keep up to date with our live feed of the Oscar nominations and reactions as they happen.

James Cameron Says 'Avatar' Sequel Delayed

by The Associated Press
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Director James Cameron said Wednesday that writing three Avatar sequels is such a complex job he's delaying the first new film a year and it will now be released in late 2017.

Cameron plans to film the highly anticipated sequels at one time and then release the three films over consecutive years.

The first had been due in late 2016, but he said the writing process had proved to be "very involved" and that the initial target date was probably too ambitious.

"There's a layer of complexity in getting the story to work as a saga across three films that you don't get when you're making a stand-alone film," he said in Wellington, New Zealand, where he was helping promote the local film industry with other directors including Peter Jackson.

Cameron said the goal was to have the scripts for the three movies completed by the end of this month. He's leading a team that's writing the screenplays.

"We're writing three simultaneously. And we've done that so that everything tracks throughout the three films. We're not just going to do one and then make up another one and another one after that," he said. "And parallel with that, we're doing all the design. So we've designed all the creatures and the environments."

Cameron said he thought it was important that each film linked forward to the next one in a satisfying way but also came to a resolution so that the audience wasn't left hanging.

Released in 2009, Avatar became the highest-grossing film in history, with a box-office take of nearly $2.8 billion. It also won three Academy Awards.

Cameron shot the original movie in New Zealand and is planning to shoot the sequels there.

Producer Jon Landau, who is working with Cameron on the movies, said the team is taking greater security precautions following the recent hack against Sony: "I will only say yes but will not tell you how," he joked.

The films hail from Lightstorm Entertainment and 20th Century Fox.

HBO’s ‘Girls’ Hits Season-Premiere Low, ‘Togetherness’ Debuts Soft & ‘Looking’ Falls In Return

With 2.3 million viewers and the best HBO series debut since Boardwalk Empire, last year’s True Detective lead-in helped give Girls a series high of 1.1 million. 

Written by Dunham and fellow EP Judd Apatow, the total viewership for Sunday’s debut was more in line with the Season 3 finale of March 23 last year. That airing had 670,000 total viewers. In fact, the Season 4 opener did 1% better than the Season 3 closer.

Following Girls was the series debut of Togetherness at 10 PM. The eight-episode series from brothers Jay and Mark Duplass about a couple of LA couples living in the same house had a very soft 427,000 viewers. Without a Game Of Thrones lead-in like Silicon Valley had for its series debut on April 6 last year, it is probably best to compare Togetherness’ premiere to the 872,000 beginning of Girls on April 15, 2o12, after Eastbound & Down, or the November 13, 2013 start of Getting On, which had 520,000 viewers after the fourth-season finale of Boardwalk Empire on a very competitive night. In either comparison, the new show does not have much standing.

Ending the night of premieres for HBO, the Season 2 launch of dramedy Looking drew 183,000 viewers. That’s down 45% from its January 19, 2014 debut. Following a non-premiere episode of Girls, that 10:30 show had a then-slight 338,000 total viewers. The March 9 Season 1 finale of Looking pulled about 420,000 viewers, down from the 519,000 season high of February 23, which had a particularly strong True Detective as a lead-in for that night.