King Lebron Reigns Again As New ‘Space Jam’ Tops North America Box Office

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JULY 12: (L-R) Sonequa Martin-Green, Harper Leigh Alexander, Ceyair Wright, Don Cheadle, Cedric Joe, LeBron James, and Malcolm D. Lee attend the premiere of Warner Bros “Space Jam: A New Legacy” at Regal LA Live on July 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by KEVIN WINTER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)



New Warner Bros. release “Space Jam: A New Legacy” rocketed to the top of the North American box office over the weekend, taking in $31.7 million in the best showing of a family film since Covid first hammered the industry.

The live-action/animated movie — a sequel nearly 25 years after the original “Space Jam” with Michael Jordan — has NBA superstar LeBron James teaming up with Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes characters in a high-stakes basketball game against a rogue artificial-intelligence entity threatening his son.

The film’s strong performance, which came despite middling-to-terrible reviews — the New York Post called it an “abomination” — propelled it past last weekend’s leader, Disney superhero film “Black Widow.”



That Marvel Studios production, starring Scarlett Johansson, took in $25.8 million in the Friday-through-Sunday period, down sharply from its $80.4 million opening, according to industry watcher Exhibitor Relations.

In third place was Sony’s psychological thriller “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions,” at $8.8 million. Taylor Russell and Logan Miller, reprising their roles in 2019’s “Escape Room,” face a series of deadly traps and puzzles set by the evil Minos.

Fourth place went to Universal’s “F9: The Fast Saga,” at $7.7 million, bringing the four-week domestic total of the Vin Diesel/John Cena action thriller to almost $155 million.

And in fifth was Universal’s animated “Boss Baby: Family Business,” at $4.7 million.


Copyright: © 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Caption: (L-R Backs to Camera) SYLVESTER, DAFFY DUCK, LOLA BUNNY, (Center frame) LEBRON JAMES, and TWEETY BIRD in Warner Bros. Pictures’ animated/live-action adventure “SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.


Further down the top 10, “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain” — the Focus Features/CNN Films movie about the world-traveling chef — had the best opening of a documentary this year, at just short of $2 million.



Rounding out the top 10 were:

“The Forever Purge” ($4.1 million)

“A Quiet Place: Part II” ($2.2 million)

“Roadrunner” ($2 million)

“Cruella” ($1.2 million)

“Pig” ($970,000)



(FILES) In this file photo basketball player/actor LeBron James arrives at the Warner Bros Pictures world premiere of “Space Jam: A New Legacy” at the Regal LA Live in Los Angeles, California, July 12, 2021.  (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JULY 12: (L-R) LeBron James, Zhuri Nova James, and Savannah Brinson attend the premiere of Warner Bros “Space Jam: A New Legacy” at Regal LA Live on July 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by KEVIN WINTER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

‘Hollywood Ripper’ Sentenced To Death

'Hollywood Ripper' Sentenced To Death
In this file photo taken on August 6, 2019, Michael Gargiulo, 43, also known as the Hollywood Ripper, listens during closing statements in his capital murder trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Lucy Nicholson / POOL / AFP



A man known as the “Hollywood Ripper” was sentenced to death Friday for the gruesome killings of two women in their homes in the early 2000s.

Michael Gargiulo, 45, was convicted in 2019 of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Among his victims was 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, who was found in her Hollywood home with 47 stab wounds in February 2001. On the night of her murder, Ellerin had been due to go on a date with actor Ashton Kutcher, who testified at the trial.

The second murder victim was Maria Bruno, a 32-year-old mother of four and neighbor of Gargiulo who was attacked in her sleep in December 2005 and “quite literally butchered,” prosecutors said.

“In this case, everywhere that Mr. Gargiulo went, death and destruction followed,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler said Friday as he announced the sentence.

Prosecutor Dan Akemon said Gargiulo targeted women who lived near him and waited for the perfect opportunity to attack them at night in or near their homes in “totally planned killings.”

Gargiulo again insisted he was innocent at Friday’s sentencing session.

He was arrested in 2008 following an attack on a woman in her apartment in Santa Monica, near Los Angeles. She survived and testified at the trial.

Gargiulo also faces murder charges in Illinois stemming from an attack in 1993.

But Gargiulo will not be executed, at least not for now. California is famously liberal and Democratic and Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on executions in 2019.

Prior to that, the death penalty was last carried out in California in 2006, when it was halted by a federal court order.


‘Superman’ Director Richard Donner Dies At 91

(FILES) Richard Donner, a prolific filmmaker who directed the first “Superman” movie, “The Goonies,” and other blockbusters hits, died on July 5, 2021 at age 91, US media reported. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)




Richard Donner, a prolific filmmaker who directed the first “Superman” movie, “The Goonies,” and other blockbuster hits, died on Monday at age 91, US media reported. 

Donner’s other credits include the 1976 horror classic “The Omen,” the “Lethal Weapon” cop franchise with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover starting in 1987,  “Scrooged” (1988) and his final movie in 2006, “16 Blocks.”

He also directed episodes of iconic 20th century television shows such as “Get Smart,” “Perry Mason,” “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Twilight Zone,” according to IMDB, and took on a producer role for blockbuster hits including “X-Men” and “Free Willy.”

The Hollywood Reporter cited Donner’s assistant in confirming his death, while Deadline said there was no cause of death revealed by Donner’s business manage or producer wife, Lauren Schuler Donner.

“Richard Donner had the biggest, boomiest voice you could imagine,” “Goonies” star Sean Astin said on Twitter.

“He commanded attention and he laughed like no man has ever laughed before. Dick was so much fun. What I perceived in him, as a 12 year old kid, is that he cared. I love how much he cared,” Astin tweeted about his time acting in the 1985 teen treasure hunt movie.

Fellow director Steven Spielberg, who wrote the story on which “The Goonies” was based, said in a statement that Donner had a “powerful command of his movies.”

“Being in his circle was akin to hanging out with your favorite coach, smartest professor, fiercest motivator, most endearing friend, staunchest ally, and — of course — the greatest Goonie of all,” Spielberg said in the statement tweeted by his production company Amblin.

Donner was born in the Bronx and grew up in New York before attending New York University and joining the US military, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

‘Empire’ Star Bryshere Gray To Serve Jail Time After Pleading Guilty To Assault

Bryshere Gray


Bryshere Gray, who played Hakeem Lyon on Fox’s Empire series created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, has reportedly been sentenced to serve time for domestic violence.

As part of his plea agreement, according to TMZ the latest report, Gray will be required to spend a brief period of time in jail.

The rapper and actor was sentenced to 10 days in county jail in Arizona, plus three years of probation, according to TMZ.

Gray was also reportedly ordered to pay damages to his wife Candice Jimdar, enroll in a domestic violence offender treatment program, and submit to drug and alcohol testing.

The rapper will not be able to possess any kind of firearm and will need a written permission from a probation officer to interact with anyone with a criminal record.

Shortly following the final episode of the Empire series, the 27-year-old was arrested at his home in Arizona on July 13, 2020. Gray was charged with aggravated assault, domestic violence and disorderly conduct.

Authorities said that officers responded to a 911 call by a citizen at a nearby gas station. His wife claimed she had been assaulted “for several hours” by her husband, who she identified as Gray.

With visible wounds, Jimdar was treated and released for non-life-threatening injuries at nearby hospital, according to the Goodyear police department.

The final episode of Empire aired in April of last year after a six-season run on Fox. As of late last year, a spinoff focused on Taraji P. Henson’s character was no longer moving forward at Fox and was instead being shopped around to potential homes including Hulu and ABC.

Miss Mexico Crowned Miss Universe 2021

Miss Mexico Andrea Meza is crowned Miss Universe 2021 onstage at the Miss Universe 2021 Pageant at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on May 16, 2021, in Hollywood, Florida. PHOTO: Rodrigo Varela /Getty Images via AFP


Miss Mexico was crowned as Miss Universe on Sunday in Florida, after fellow contestant Miss Myanmar used her stage time to draw attention to the bloody military coup in her country.

Sunday night marked the Miss Universe competition’s return to television after the pageant was cancelled in 2020 for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrea Meza, 26, finished first ahead of the Brazilian and Peruvian finalists in a flashy televised event, hosted by American actor Mario Lopez and television personality Olivia Culpo.

Former Miss Universe contestants Cheslie Kryst, Paulina Vega and Demi-Leigh Tebow (who won the title in 2017) served as competition analysts and commentators, and a panel of eight women determined the winner.

Miss Mexico has crowned Miss Universe on May 16, 2021, in Florida. PHOTO: Rodrigo Varela /Getty Images via AFP


Dressed in a sparkling red evening gown, Meza tearfully walked the catwalk as Miss Universe for the first time, before rushing back for a group hug with the other competitors.

Meza beat more than 70 contestants from around the globe in the 69th installment of Miss Universe, which was held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

In the days leading up to the final competition, Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin, who made the top 21, made waves when she used her time in the spotlight to bring attention to the coup in her country.

“Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day,” she said during her biographical video, which showed photos of her taking part in the anti-coup protests. “Therefore I would like to urge everyone to speak out about Myanmar.”

She also won the award for best national costume: during that competition segment on Thursday, she wore an outfit beaded in traditional Burmese patterns and held up a sign that said, “Pray for Myanmar.”

Myanmar has been in uproar since February 1, when the army ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since then, according to a local monitoring group, while nearly 4,000 people are behind bars.

Miss Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong — who did not make the top 21 — also used the national costume portion to make a political statement.

Dressed in a glittering red bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots, she turned around to reveal her cape — in the colors of the Singaporean flag — was painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate.”

“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence?” she wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of her outfit.

The United States in particular has seen a surge in anti-Asian violence in the past year, which activists have blamed on former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, especially his repeated description of Covid-19 as the “China virus.”

The pageant has also drawn criticism in the past for objectifying the contestants.

In recent years, the competition has shifted image, focusing more on female empowerment and activism.


Thandie Newton Becomes Thandiwe Newton, Reverting to Original Spelling

British actress Thandie Newton poses on May 15, 2018 during a photocall for the film “Solo: A Star Wars Story” at the 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. (Loic Venance , AFP)



“That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine,” she said.

Thandie Newton will revert to her original name ‘Thandiwe’ in what she describes as ‘taking back’ what is rightfully hers.

The British-Zimbabwean actress says her original Zulu name “Thandiwe” was misspelled in a crediting error dating back to her first feature film in 1991.

Newton, born to a British father and Zimbabwean mother of Shona royalty, revealed her intentions in a recent interview with British Vogue saying “That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine.” Adding that all of her future film and TV work would be credited with the name Thandiwe (pronounced “tan-DEE-way”) Newton.

In 1991, the newbie actor Newton starred in Flirting, her first feature film starring alongside Nicole Kidman and Noah Taylor. However, the film’s credits misspelled Newton’s name by omitting the “w”. Thereafter, the actress went on to use the altered version of her name for the next three decades in a number of major roles including The Pursuit of Happyness, Half of a Yellow Sun, 2012, For Colored Girls, and a bunch of other motion pictures.

In 2006, she won a BAFTA award in the best-supporting actress category for her role in Crash.

Newton also told Vogue that she welcomed how much the representation of ethnic minority groups has improved in the entertainment landscape.

“The thing I’m most grateful for in our business right now is being in the company of others who truly see me. And to not be complicit in the objectification of black people as ‘others,’ which is what happens when you’re the only one,” she said.

The phenomenon of misspelt or even mispronounced names, especially among celebrities, is nothing new. Perhaps one of the most popular instances of the latter is that of was television producer and host Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey was originally named “Orpah” after a Biblical character by her aunt. However, the rest of her family reportedly pronounced the name as “Oprah” although the change was never made on the actual birth certificate.

UK Appeal Court To Consider Depp’s Libel Case In March

A combination of pictures shows US actress Amber Heard (L) and her former husband US actor Johnny Depp (R) arriving on the second day of Depp's libel action against News Group Newspapers (NGN), at the High Court in London, on July 8, 2020. ISABEL INFANTES / AFP
A combination of pictures shows US actress Amber Heard (L) and her former husband US actor Johnny Depp (R) arriving on the second day of Depp’s libel action against News Group Newspapers (NGN), at the High Court in London, on July 8, 2020. ISABEL INFANTES / AFP


Hollywood star Johnny Depp’s bid to overturn a British court’s high-profile libel ruling that he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard will be considered next month, it emerged on Tuesday.

The Court of Appeal in London will hear the application brought by the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor to review the libel case against a UK newspaper group in the second half of March, it said.

In an order issued Monday, judge Nicholas Underhill said the appeal bid and an attempt to introduce new evidence not heard at last July’s trial would both be considered at the hearing between March 15 and 31.

Depp, 57, lost his High Court libel claim in November against the publishers of The Sun newspaper over a 2018 article that branded him a “wife-beater”.

He was ordered to pay News Group Newspapers £628,000 ($857,000, 713,000 euros) in legal costs from the trial, which laid bare the actor’s chaotic lifestyle and battles with alcohol and drug addiction.

Judge Andrew Nicol, who heard the case, refused him grounds to appeal but said he could apply directly to the Court of Appeal to overturn his judgment, which Depp subsequently did.

In documents since filed with the Court of Appeal, Depp’s lawyer David Sherborne claimed Nicol’s judgment was “plainly wrong”.

He argued the judge had “failed to examine the competing accounts” of each incident of alleged violence by Depp towards Heard, or “explain whether he found them proved and, if so, on what basis”.

However, Adam Wolanski, the lawyer representing NGN, countered that Nicol had conducted “a painstaking analysis of the evidence”.

“There is no basis to conclude that the judge failed to examine the evidence or provide reasons for his findings,” he added in his submission.

After the November ruling, Depp said he had been asked to step down from his role in the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise based on the book by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

He is also suing Heard in the United States over a 2018 Washington Post article in which she claimed to be a victim of domestic violence.

Prince Akeem Meets Son In ‘Coming 2 America 2’ Trailer

Eddie Murphy with Shari Headley in ‘Coming 2 America’.



The countdown for the highly-anticipated sequel of Coming 2 America is set to be released on March 5th.

The trailer shows Prince Akeem portrayed by Eddie Murphy, going to New York City to meet the son he never met. Akeem’s son resisted but he was hilariously persuaded to head to Zamunda to claim his position as the heir.

Eddie Murphy in an interview said, “This is the perfect time to return to Zamunda because it’s been a while since we’ve had a great comedy that everybody can enjoy. Zamunda is a very funny place, and the world needs that right now.”

Murphy also revealed that he’s been excited about reuniting with the cast and “making a movie that’s as good as the first one,” he said in a statement. “Getting everybody together, including Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, John Amos, James Earl Jones and the rest of my royal family, and making a really great movie, that’s my favorite part.”


Photo Courtesy of Amazon Studios/ Quantrell D. Colbert/ Amazon Studios


The highly anticipated sequel to the 1988 classic will premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video the same day the soundtrack will be available via Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, and all streaming platforms.

Up first from the soundtrack: rapper Bobby Sessions and Megan Thee Stallion will release their new original collaboration “I’m a King” on Friday. A snippet of the song can be heard in the new trailer released Wednesday in the 1:00 minute marker in the trailer. This isn’t the first time the duo has teamed up: Sessions was a co-writer on Meg’s hit “Savage.”

“From watching Coming to America as a kid in Pleasant Grove to being apart of the #Coming2America trailer!! Manifestation is REAL,” Sessions wrote in a tweet.


James Earl-Jones in Coming 2 America courtesy Amazon Studios


The original Coming to America soundtrack boasted songs by The Cover Girls, Chico DeBarge, Mel & Kim, Sister Sledge and many more. The System’s title track, “Coming to America,” co-written by Nile Rodgers.


James Earl Jones (King Jaffe Joffer), Shari Headley (Queen Lisa), John Amos (Cleo McDowell), and Louie Anderson (Maurice) make a repeat performance their roles in the 2021 film for Murphy and Hall’s all-new adventure from the make-believe African nation of Zamuda to the Queens, New York. Teyana Taylor, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Wesley Snipes, and more join the cast this time around.


Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall (Photo: Amazon Studios)


Teyana Taylor and Wesley Snipes in Coming 2 America.


Arsenio Hall and Tracey Morgan in the sequel of the 1988 blockbuster.


Garcelle Beauvais stars in Coming 2 America


Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy star in the famous barber scene.


Eddie Murphy in Coming 2 America.


The film was set to release in theaters from Paramount Pictures. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film’s distribution rights were sold to Amazon Studios in October 2020.

Golden Globes Nominations Ceremony Begins

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 09, 2019 Golden Globe trophies are set by the stage ahead of the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards nominations announcement at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills. (Photo by Robyn BECK / AFP)


The unveiling of Golden Globes nominees began Wednesday in a remote ceremony that offers an important, early glimpse into the movies leading this year’s unique and much-delayed Hollywood awards season.

The announcement, co-hosted by “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker and Taraji P Henson, whittles down the list of films and stars headed for the Globes ceremony later this month — itself seen as a bellwether for the Oscars in April.

Pandemic-related theater closures and blockbuster delays are expected to boost smaller, stay-at-home movies this year, including Netflix’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “Mank” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

READ ALSO: Netflix’s ‘Mank’ Tops Globes Noms As Female Directors Break Through

Rival streamer Amazon Prime is campaigning hard for “One Night in Miami,” while Disney-owned Searchlight looks set to fly the flag for Tinseltown’s traditional major studios with “Nomadland.”

The 78th Golden Globes, which also honor the best in television and are voted for by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, will be broadcast on February 28.

Hollywood Productions Shut Down Again As Los Angeles COVID-19 Cases Soar

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 25, 2017 actress Gal Gadot poses at the world premiere of “Wonder Woman” at the Pantages in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Chris DELMAS / AFP)


Most Hollywood productions have shut down again until at least mid-January, the movie industry’s acting union announced, as COVID-19 cases soar to record levels in Los Angeles.

SAG-AFTRA said the majority of entertainment productions will “remain on hiatus until the second or third week of January if not later,” in a statement to members late Tuesday.

The message comes after Los Angeles county health officials on Christmas Eve urged filmmakers to “consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in COVID cases.”

Los Angeles — the nation’s most populous county — has emerged as the latest US epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, topping 7,000 Covid hospitalizations for the first time Monday.

The sprawling county of 10 million people has suffered nearly 750,000 cases including just under 10,000 deaths.

Southern California’s “stay-at-home” order was extended indefinitely Tuesday, with multiple hospitals overwhelmed and forced to turn away ambulances.

SAG-AFTRA has steered months-long efforts to restart Hollywood since its initial March shutdown, co-signing a deal with top studios in September to ramp up on-set coronavirus safety measures for its actors, including testing.

Even so, Los Angeles entertainment productions were at less than half their usual activity levels in October, before again declining as Covid cases began to soar.

Film LA, the body that grants permits for productions around Los Angeles, said applications to film have recently sunk to “lows we have not seen since the weeks after restart of production last summer.”

Beside a few dozen indie movies, very few feature films resumed production in the Los Angeles area this year, with most filming activity restricted to commercials and music video shoots.

In contrast, high-profile productions have resumed abroad, including the latest Tom Cruise blockbuster “Mission Impossible 7” in the United Kingdom and Italy, and TV series such as “Supergirl” and “Batwoman” in Canada.

Lack of coronavirus insurance continues to hamper productions hoping to restart.

SAG-AFTRA said it would ensure “appropriate precautions for the holiday hiatus period including additional time for testing prior to the resumption of production.”

Ellen Degeneres Tests Positive For Coronavirus But ‘Feeling Fine’

US comedian Ellen DeGeneres introduces Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)


Ellen DeGeneres says she has tested positive for COVID-19 but is “feeling fine right now.”

Production on her daytime talk show has been paused until January, producer Telepictures said in a statement that followed DeGeneres’ Thursday announcement.

In a Twitter post, DeGeneres said anyone who was in close contact with her has been notified, adding that she’s following “all proper CDC guidelines,” a reference to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I’ll see you all again after the holidays. Please stay healthy and safe,” DeGeneres said in her post.

When the coronavirus outbreak hit in March, DeGeneres shifted to taping without a studio audience, as did other talk shows. When the series began its 18th season in September, her show added fans virtually into the seats, then said it would allow a few dozen people into the studio.


Friday And The Dark Knight Actor Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister Dead At 62


Tommy “Tiny” Lister, a former professional wrestler who was known for his bullying Deebo character in the “Friday” films and the DC Comics adaptation, The Dark Knight has died. He was 62.

It was reported that law enforcement was called to his home on Thursday afternoon to respond to a report of an unconscious male.

Lister’s manager, Cindy Cowan, said Lister was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this year. She said the actor overcame the virus, but fell ill about a week ago and recently had issues with his breathing.

“He was a gentle giant,” Cowan said. “He had a smile as broad as you could imagine. He’s going to be missed by so many. We’re all devastated.”

Lister started his career as a pro wrestler, standing 6-foot-5 with broad shoulders at about 275 pounds. His early roles included HBO football series “1st & Ten” along with movie appearances in “Beverly Hills Cop II,” which starred Eddie Murphy, and “No Holds Barred,” the 1989 film where his character Zeus challenged Hulk Hogan in a wrestling match.

The actor, who was blind in his right eye since birth, wrestled Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation in an actual match after the “No Holds Barred” film release.

His most notable role, however, came in the 1995 film “Friday” and its sequel five years later. He portrayed the role of Deebo, a felon who was known as the neighborhood bully who terrorized his neighbors with intimidation and fear. His character was known for his infamous line “Get knocked out like your father used to.”

“RIP Tiny “Deebo” Lister,” Ice Cube his co-star on ‘Friday’ said Thursday night on Instagram. “America’s favorite bully was a born entertainer who would pop into character at the drop of a hat terrifying people on and off camera. Followed by a big smile and laugh. Thank you for being a good dude at heart. I miss you already.”

Lister also appeared in “The Fifth Element,” “The Dark Knight” and “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”

The death was first reported by celebrity website TMZ.