Tom Cruise: ‘I Make Movies For The Big Screen’

US actor Tom Cruise poses during a photocall for the film “Top Gun : Maverick” at the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 18, 2022. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP)

 

 

Tom Cruise made it clear there was no chance “Top Gun: Maverick” would be released first on a streaming platform despite multiple pandemic delays, as he visited Cannes on Wednesday. 

“I make movies for the big screen… I love this experience and I want other filmmakers to have that experience,” Cruise told an audience at the Cannes Film Festival.

He was speaking ahead of the European premiere of the much-anticipated sequel to his 1986 blockbuster.

The film was supposed to have its first big screening in Cannes way back in 2020 before the festival was cancelled by the Covid pandemic, which was followed by a series of postponements to the film’s release.

Asked if he had considered debuting “Top Gun: Maverick” on a streaming platform — as happened with several big productions in 2020 and 2021 — Cruise was emphatic: “That was not going to happen, ever.”

“Look at us all together, we’re all united, we all speak different languages, different cultures… but we’re able to come together around a shared experience,” he said of his love for movie theatres.

“Cinema is my love, my passion. I always go to movies when they come out. I’ll put my cap on and sit in the audience with everyone. I’ve spent a lot of time with theatre owners.”

 

US actor Tom Cruise poses during a photocall for the film “Top Gun : Maverick” at the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 18, 2022. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)

 

Cruise has become an ambassador for cinemas — even sneaking into a screening of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” at the height of the pandemic in summer 2020 in a bid to boost sales.

With “Top Gun” out worldwide next week, and two “Mission: Impossible” sequels due in 2023 and 2024, Cruise hopes to play a key role in helping theatres recover from the ongoing slump triggered by the pandemic.

“I go to cinemas and there’s people there who are serving the popcorn and running these theatres. I tell them: ‘I know what you’re going through, just know we’re making ‘Mission: Impossible’, ‘Top Gun’ is coming out…”

Tear-Jerker Chinese Film Proves Massive Box-Office Success

Jia Ling’s time-travel comedy “Hi, Mom” has seen its cumulative earnings exceed 4 billion yuan ($617 mln) as of Sunday.

 

 

Audiences are cramming into Chinese cinemas to watch a sentimental comedy that has rapidly become one of the most popular films of all time in the country and marks a triumphant debut for its female director.

Since its release a fortnight ago, Jia Ling’s “Hi, Mom” has become the fourth best-selling film ever in China with ticket sales of at least 4.3 billion yuan ($670 million), according to box-office tracker Maoyan.

If it continues its monumental success, “Hi, Mom” could become the highest-grossing movie ever by a female director.

Jia also plays the lead role as the daughter who travels back to 1981, before she was born, and tries to give her mother a better life than the one she had the first time around.

The film is partly biographical and an ode to Jia’s mother, who died in an accident when Jia was 19.

“Mum, don’t go, don’t leave me,” Jia says in the film — dissolving many in cinema audiences into tears, even though it is for the most part a comedy.

Chinese cinemas are largely back to normal after the country wrestled down coronavirus infections to a comparative trickle, and the film has given many a renewed appreciation of their mothers.

“I have never thought before that my mum was also a young girl in the past,” said college student Yu Yanting after seeing the film in Shanghai.

Thirteen-year-old Vittoria and younger sister Valeria, 11, were inconsolable after watching it with their mother.

“I hope they will appreciate mummy more now,” said their mother Elaine, holding her two daughters close.

Overcoming her tears after a few minutes, a red-eyed Vittoria said behind her face mask: “All my friends are crying to this film, but maybe not as much as me.”

– ‘Mother’s love like air’ –
Jia, who prior to this was best-known as a comedian in the male-dominated world of Chinese comedy, said that she was “tormented” when her mother died suddenly.

But she hopes that rather than thinking of it as a sad film, audiences will appreciate her mother’s spirit and optimism.

“Our mum’s love for us is like air — it is there since we were born, so we often ignore it,” Jia told state television.

“But when we lose it, we experience a sense of suffocation and helplessness.”

Film critic Jing Runcheng said that “Hi, Mom” has become an outlet for Chinese people to let their pent-up emotions flow, and knowing it is based on a true story gives it an extra impact.

“Chinese people are really introverted and not good at expressing their feelings,” said Jing.

“You never imagine Chinese people will suddenly, after watching a movie or reading something, run to their mothers and tell them they love them.

“But after watching this film, it helps give you that opportunity.”

“Hi, Mom” has been trending on Twitter-like Weibo, with one hashtag relating to the film drawing more than 1.5 billion views.

Many people have taken to Weibo to celebrate their mothers, posting pictures of themselves together or snaps of their mums when they were young.

The film has also sparked discussion online about what people would tell their mothers if they could go back in time, like in the film.

Many said they would tell their mothers not to marry their fathers or have children.

Marriage breakups have surged over the last two decades in China as divorce laws were liberalised and women became more financially independent.

‘Wonder Woman’ Sequel To Launch On HBO Max Streaming And Theaters

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in “Wonder Woman 1984.”
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

 

The much-delayed Warner Bros. superhero sequel “Wonder Woman 1984” will premiere on HBO Max and in theaters simultaneously from Christmas Day in the United States, the studio announced Wednesday.

The decision to release the eagerly awaited movie on the company’s own recently launched streaming platform represents a gamble for a film that cost a reported $200 million, and comes as Hollywood scrambles to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It wasn’t an easy decision and we never thought we’d have to hold onto the release for such a long time but COVID rocked all of our worlds,” wrote star Gal Gadot on her social media accounts.

She added: “You can watch it IN THEATERS (they’re doing an amazing job keeping it safe) and you can also watch it on HBOMAX from your homes. Sending you my love. Please keep safe and wear a mask.”

The movie, which was originally due to launch in June, will hit theaters in other countries a week earlier starting on December 16.

Before the pandemic, blockbuster movies ran only on the big screen for a theatrical window of 90 days, but with theaters closed in many parts of the US, including New York and Los Angeles, distributors have been forced to innovate.

The move comes after Disney released “Mulan” on Disney+ in September, but unlike that launch “Wonder Woman 1984” will be offered at no extra cost to subscribers of Warner’s rival streaming platform for one month.

“As we navigate these unprecedented times, we’ve had to be innovative in keeping our businesses moving forward while continuing to super-serve our fans,” said WarnerMedia studios and networks chairwoman Ann Sarnoff.

The sequel to 2017’s $800-million-grossing “Wonder Woman” will see Gadot reprise the title role as one of the comic book universe’s biggest female superheroes.

Chris Pine also returns for the sequel, which is set in the 1980s, decades after the World War I-set first movie. Patty Jenkins returns to direct.

The original “Wonder Woman” received the best reviews of any of the inter-connected DC Universe superhero movies from Warner Bros., which also include the latest Superman and Batman films.

FilmOne To Distribute Disney Films In West Africa

People buy tickets for Disney’s Mulan film at a cinema inside a shopping mall in Bangkok on September 8, 2020. – Disney’s “Mulan” remake is facing fresh boycott calls after it emerged some of the blockbuster was filmed in China’s Xinjiang, where widespread rights abuses against the region’s Muslim population have been widely documented. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

 

Nigerian film distributor, FilmOne Entertainment, has signed an exclusive theatrical distribution agreement with The Walt Disney Company Africa to distribute the Disney film slate in Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia.

The deal, which came into effect on September 1, covers titles from all of the Walt Disney Studios divisions, which include Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures and Blue Sky Pictures.

“We are proud to be Disney’s film distribution partner for West Africa and see this as the beginning of an exciting new chapter for both companies in the region,” Kene Okwuosa, Moses Babatope and Craig Shurn, directors of FilmOne Entertainment, said in a joint statement announcing the deal.

“Our expertise and knowledge of the market, coupled with the unrivalled quality of Disney’s titles, will drive box-office growth for many years to come.”

The partnership with Disney adds to a list of high-profile relationships FilmOne has with industry leaders, including ones with Warner Bros, Netflix, Empire Entertainment (South Africa) and Huahua (China).

Reacting to the deal, Christine Service, Senior Vice President and General Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa, said “With their in-depth knowledge of the region and expertise in bringing theatrical releases to fans, we are thrilled to welcome FilmOne as our distribution partner for this territory.”

According to FilmOne, with the gradual easing of the COVID-19 restrictions, the partnership with Disney Africa will present a packed slate of films that audiences are patiently waiting to see. Among the most anticipated releases are: Mulan, The New Mutants, The King’s Man, Death on the Nile, Black Widow, Soul, Free Guy, The Last Duel and Eternals.

Vibez: M.I’s Bollywood Romance, Wizkid’s Album And Olamide’s Big Deal

 

Tonto Dikeh, Churchill Bring Back The Drama

Grab your popcorn guys! Because it appears the drama between actress, Tonto Dikeh and her estranged husband, Olakunle Churchill is far from over.

The latest twist in the bitter breakup, see them claim the number five spot on our trends this week.

Remember last year when Tonto made shocking allegations in a YouTube interview that Churchill was an internet fraudster as well as a ritualist?

Well, Churchill has now slammed her with a N500 million lawsuit for what he described as her ‘malicious statements’ which he claims have ruined his political ambition.

Tonto has not directly responded to the lawsuit, yet, and we’re just as curious as you are to see how this all unfolds.

 

US Rapper Pop Smoke Killed

At number four is the sad news of the killing of yet another musician, pop smoke.

The 20-year-old New York rapper was killed after two men wearing hoodies and masks invaded his home and fired multiple shots at him.

Pop smoke is the latest in a spate of us rappers to be violently killed.

XXXtentacion was killed in a similar manner in June 2018, while Nipsey Hussle was shot dead in 2019.

 

‘Queen Of Katwe’ Actor Dies At 15

It was more gloom for the showbiz world and we are sad to see the number three spot on the trend occupied by news of another death – this time, a brilliant child star.

15-year-old Nikita Pearl Waligwa, one of the young stars of Disney’s critically acclaimed Queen Of Katwe died after a 4-year battle with brain cancer.

Although she died on Saturday, February the 15th, news of her death made the rounds on Sunday, opening the week with sadness as stars paid tributes to her.

The actress played Gloria in the 2016 film, based on the life of chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi, which also starred Madina Nalwanga, Lupita Nyong’o And David Oyelowo.

Our condolences go to the family and friends of the young departed souls.

 

BBNaija’s Nina Gets Engaged

To some more cheery news at number two, wedding bells are ringing and this time it’s for Big Brother Naija reality star, Nina.

While many hoped that the Miracle, Nina #MINA love story from the BBNaija house would blossom into something more serious, it appears that ship never really got going.

An excited Nina took to social media to share photos of her traditional marriage ceremony while stating that her bride price was paid in full.

Although she has yet to disclose the identity of her husband, congratulatory messages have been pouring in from friends and fans of the reality tv star.

 

Olamide Signs Deal With Empire Distribution

Just last week, Nigerian rapper Olamide, dropped his latest project ‘999’ to the delight of his fans. This past week, he’s served up more good news, making it to our number 1 spot.

The YBNL boss has signed a joint-venture deal with American music distribution and record label, Empire Distribution.

He made the announcement on Twitter, declaring that he’s now ready to take the world by storm.

Olamide’s new feat puts him among Nigerian artistes aiming to take over the global music industry by signing international deals.

Those are our top five stories for the week. We also have some exciting news in the movies, music and fashion world.

 

Wizkid Completes ‘Made In Lagos’ Album

If you have been waiting for some new music from Wizkid, your wait may end any moment now as Wizzy is set to release his long-awaited album, ‘Made In Lagos’.

Star boy who has been a bit off the radar, took to Twitter to announce that he’d been working on the album and he is finally done.

In addition to hitting you with the music, the singer says he’s also been working on his spirit and he’s happy for his growth.

While we’re not exactly sure what that means, we probably can expect a new improved version of him.

 

Falz, Charly Boy Take Shots At Fake Pastors

Meanwhile, veteran artiste Charly Boy has dropped the visuals for his Falz-assisted track ‘God Of Men: Fake Pastors’.

On the track, the duo draw attention to the evil deeds of false pastors and prophets.

The video for the uptempo track features actor Segun Arinze portraying the titular fake pastor.

 

M.I Aims For Bollywood With ‘Namaste Wahala’

Sensational rapper M.I Abaga is about to set lights and cameras rolling with his movie production debut, a Bollywood/Nollywood collaboration.

Nollywood is set to meet Bollywood with a new movie titled ‘Namaste Wahala’.

M.I. Who is an associate producer on the film shared the news on Instagram, while also revealing that Richard Mofe Damijo, Ini Dima-Okojie and Osas Ighodalo are amongst the cast.

Director Hamisha Daryani Ahuja, says the movie which is set to hit theatres on April 24 tells a story with a lot of laughter and a few tears about love and family.

 

Nollywood’s First-Ever Time Travel Film ‘DOD’

Away from M.I’s Bollywood romance, we’re set to take a trip back in time with one of Nollywood’s latest feature films titled ‘DOD’.

The adventure drama produced by Anthill Studios is based on two teenagers who through magic, are able to go back in time and reverse the financial situation of their family.

The cast includes a rich array of actors such as Jide Kososko, Nobert Young, Ireti Doyle, Ini Dima- Okojie, Blossom Chukwujekwu, Denola Grey among others.

 

Burna Boy, Stormzy Shine On Brit Awards Red Carpet

Top music talents and international acts graced the 40th edition of the Brit Awards, looking all glam.

Nigerian artiste Burna Boy, who was nominated for best international solo artist, but lost to Tyler The Creator, walked the red carpet dressed aptly for winter, wearing a striking aquamarine coat.

Others who made the best-dressed list include Eva Apio, Joy Crookes, Lizzo, Vick Hope and Stormzy.

‘Farewell’ Rebukes Oscars With Spirit Award Win

Winner of Best Feature for “The Farewell” (L-R) Peter Saraf, Daniele Melia, Lulu Wang, Andrew Miano, a guest and Anita Gou pose in the press room during the 35th Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California, on February 8, 2020.
Jean-Baptiste Lacroix / AFP

 

Chinese-American film “The Farewell” delivered a rebuke to its Oscars snub at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, as South Korea’s “Parasite” added a final burst of momentum to its much-hyped Academy Award challenge.

The awards, held on a beach outside Los Angeles a day before the Oscars, honor films with smaller budgets, and are often held up as an antidote to the Academy’s more mainstream — and less diverse — tastes.

“The Farewell,” about a family that reunites to visit a grandmother in China who doesn’t know she’s dying, won best picture, having missed out on any Oscars nominations.

Lulu Wang, the film’s director, told AFP that “so many people said nobody is going to want to see the film (because) it’s not Chinese enough, it’s not American enough.”

“For people to just see it as a family story, as a universal story, that’s really meaningful.”

Lulu Wang

 

Wang was one of several acclaimed female directors who failed to win Oscars recognition, but said she was not surprised by her omission.

“When you win an award it is given to you by a group of your peers. When I look at the Academy, and the makeup of the voting body of the Academy, they are not my peers,” she said.

“That is the biggest problem. If my peers were represented in the Academy voting body then they would be voting for films that represent their lives and their stories.

“That’s always how it is. So I’m not surprised by any of it.”

Academy membership is 84 per cent white and 68 per cent male.

In the Spirit Awards’ biggest shock, Jennifer Lopez missed out on best-supporting actress for her turn as a wily stripper in “Hustlers” to Zhao Shuzhen, who plays the grandmother in “The Farewell.”

Zhao was, however, unable to travel from China due to the novel coronavirus outbreak gripping the country.

Meanwhile “Parasite,” a rare crossover foreign language success that could become the first non-English film to win best picture at the Oscars in Hollywood on Sunday, won best international film.

Director Bong Joon-ho said subtitles were no barrier for his dark comedy because its message about widening class inequality would resonate with “people living on Mars.”

“I didn’t create this film to make a grand contribution to international cinema,” said Bong.

“The deeper you delve into what surrounds you, what is near you, the more universal and broader the story can become,” he told journalists backstage.

‘Douchebags’

Brothers Josh and Benny Safdie won best director for their frenetic, anxiety-ridden thriller “Uncut Gems,” about a compulsive New York jeweler whose gambling addiction lands him in ever-deepening trouble.

The film’s star and audience favorite Adam Sandler won best actor, poking fun at his “quote-unquote snub” at the Oscars, saying: “Let all those feather-haired douchebag… (actors) get their Oscars tomorrow night.”

Olivia Wilde, whose female-focused teen comedy “Booksmart” won best first feature, said she hoped the win could “inspire more ladies to get out there and direct.”

“The Film Independent Spirit Awards is so much cooler than the Oscars — it’s the daytime, we’re on the beach, we recognize female directors,” joked host Aubrey Plaza as the show opened in Santa Monica.

Noah Baumbach won best screenplay for divorce tearjerker “Marriage Story,” which is also in the race for best picture at the Oscars — as is his partner Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women.”

“Even though she made a movie too expensive for the Spirit Awards, she’s no less independent than anyone here,” Baumbach said.

Renee Zellweger further cemented her Oscar frontrunner status by winning best actress for “Judy.”

Best documentary went to “American Factory,” the first film from Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, about a US rust belt factory reopened by a Chinese billionaire.

“Even though it’s sort of sponsored by the Obamas, a lot of Republicans and people living in rural areas are watching it in the privacy of their homes,” director Julia Reichert told AFP, citing Netflix data.

“They might not tell their friends. But it’s really happening. So that’s really cool. We’ve got to get to those people because we’re in an election year.”

BBNaija’s Sir Dee, Teni To Make Acting Debut In Rom-Com ‘Dear Affy’

 

Big Brother Naija 2019 housemate, Sir Dee and Nigerian singer and entertainer, Teni are taking new strides in their career as they make their acting debut in Nollywood’s latest romantic comedy, ‘Dear Affy’.

The movie tells the intriguing story of a career woman whose well-laid out plans to marry the man of her dreams is frazzled by life.

Other stars featured in the film include: Enyinna Nwigwe, Kehinde Bankole, BBNaija’s Anto Lecky, Odunlade Adekola, Bimbo Ademoye, Toyin Abraham, Chinedu Ikedieze, Bimbo Ademoye, Chiwetalu Agu, Ali Nuhu and Hafiz Oyetoro.

The movie is expected to hit cinemas on February 14, just in time for Valentine.

Enjoy the trailer below.

 

‘Game Of Thrones’ Breaks Record With 32 Emmy Nominations

 

The divisive final season of “Game of Thrones” smashed the record for most Primetime Emmy nominations by a drama series in a single year, earning a whopping 32 nods on Tuesday.

HBO’s fantasy epic enraged fans with its bumpy conclusion but still trounced the competition to strengthen its iron grip on the small-screen equivalent of the Oscars.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” — Amazon’s story of a 1950s housewife-turned-stand up comic — was a distant second on 20 nominations.

“Thrones” is the most decorated fictional show in the awards’ seven-decade history, and now has 161 nominations overall — including 47 wins.

“For those who will be adding 2019 to their long list of nominations and or wins from other years — it never gets old!” said Television Academy chairman and CEO Frank Scherma.

The show about families vying for the Iron Throne broke a 25-year nominations record for a drama series in a single year previously held by “NYPD Blue,” which earned 27 nods in 1994.

Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington were recognized in the lead acting categories, while eight other “Thrones” cast members swept the board in the supporting and guest acting categories. The shortened eighth and last season also won a slew of technical awards.

“Thrones” capitalized on a threadbare year for drama, with several big hitters such as “The Handmaid’s Tale” missing from the main categories. The next highest-placed drama — AMC’s “Breaking Bad” prequel “Better Call Saul” — managed just eight nominations.

HBO’s acclaimed limited series “Chernobyl” placed third overall this year with 19 nominations, ahead of perennial Emmys powerhouse “Saturday Night Live” on 18.

Dark hitman comedy “Barry,” also from HBO, was joint fifth overall on 17 nods, tied with FX mini-series “Fosse/Verdon.”

HBO Reclaims Crown

This year’s nominations saw HBO reclaim its title for most-nominated network from web streaming giant Netflix, which last year had ended its 17-year winning streak.

HBO claimed 137 nods to Netflix’s 117 – a record for each, meaning the pair tighten their joint stranglehold on the prestigious awards.

Netflix’s “When They See Us,” the true story of five men wrongly accused of raping a Central Park jogger, earned 16 nominations including eight acting nods.

“Thank you to the real men for inviting me to tell their story… Love you, brothers,” tweeted series creator Ava DuVernay.

Amazon Prime enjoyed a stellar year, more than doubling its haul to reach 47 nods, just behind NBC with 58.

As well as “Maisel,” dark British comedy “Fleabag” performed well for Amazon, with five of its actresses receiving nominations including lead Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Waller-Bridge, who is currently rewriting the upcoming 25th James Bond film, also received a writing nomination for “Fleabag.”

“CRYING AND DYING … I cannot speak!!!!!! Our whole team is in bits,” tweeted Sian Clifford, who earned supporting actress recognition.

But there was disappointment for the final season of CBS ratings smash “Big Bang Theory,” which failed to register in any main categories.

A-listers Julia Roberts and Jim Carrey were shunned by voters, who ignored their respective performances in Amazon’s “Homecoming” and Showtime’s “Kidding.”

While Netflix/BBC thriller “Bodyguard” earned a drama series nod, its lead actor Richard Madden was a surprising omission.

Record Entries

The Emmys recognizes shows that were on in the 12 months to May 31.

That meant several voters’ favorites were absent from main categories this year, including Hulu’s new season of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The former drama series winner still managed to pick up 11 nominations in technical categories, for episodes submitted from the tail-end of its previous season.

“Big Little Lies” and “Stranger Things” also just missed the cut-off this time around.

The Television Academy’s 24,000 members sifted through a record number of entries for this year’s Emmys.

The nominations were announced in a livestreamed presentation from Los Angeles hosted by “The Good Place” actress D’Arcy Carden and “The Masked Singer” panelist Ken Jeong.

Final-round voting will now begin to pick winners who will be revealed at a glitzy Los Angeles show on September 22.

‘Spider-Man’ Flies Again To Top Box Office

In this file photo taken on June 26, 2019, a giant inflatable Spider-Man is displayed on the red carpet for the “Spider-Man: Far From Home” World premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.  Chris Delmas / AFP

 

Once again Spider-Man seems to be trapping everything that flies by: “Spider-Man: Far From Home” took in an impressive $93.6 million in North America over the US holiday weekend and has passed the half-billion-dollar mark worldwide, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations estimated on Sunday.

This latest in the Spider-Man franchise, made by Sony and Disney-owned Marvel, set a record six-day total for a Tuesday release of $185.1 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Its storyline follows on the blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame” to focus on how Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) confront a world without Iron Man. Also starring are Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal and J.B. Smoove.

Coming in second in its third week out was Disney/Pixar collaboration “Toy Story 4,” at $34.3 million. The film again features the voices of Tom Hanks as Woody, the eager but empty-holstered cowboy doll, and Tim Allen as space toy Buzz Lightyear.

In third, at $10.8 million, was Universal’s alternate-universe romantic comedy “Yesterday.” Himesh Patel stars as a struggling musician who, after a mysterious global blackout, is the only person in the world to remember the Beatles and their music — and takes full advantage of it.

Patel does his own singing; Danny Boyle, of “Trainspotting” and “Slumdog Millionaire” fame, directs.

Fourth spot went to Warner Bros. horror film “Annabelle Comes Home,” at $9.8 million.

In fifth was Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” taking in $7.6 million in its seventh week out.

Rounding out the weekend’s top 10 were:

“Midsommar” ($6.6 million)

“The Secret Life of Pets 2” ($4.8 million)

“Men in Black: International” ($3.6 million)

“Avengers: Endgame” ($3.1 million)

“Rocketman” ($2.8 million)

AFP

Real-Life Teen Drug King Inspired New Netflix Series

Real-Life Teen Drug King Inspired New Netflix Series
Actors of the TV show “How to sell drugs online (Fast)” pose during the 2019 Cannes International Series festival, in Cannes on April 6, 2019. VALERY HACHE / AFP

 

A new Netflix series billed as the teenage “Breaking Bad” is inspired by a real-life German youth who ran an online drug empire from his bedroom, its creators told AFP.

The makers of “How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)” even met up with Maximilian S. on one of his days out of prison where he is serving seven years for “running the Amazon of illegal drugs” — selling everything from MDMA to marijuana.

While his mother thought of him as a “lazy and grumpy” 19-year-old who wouldn’t leave his room, he made 4.4 million euros ($4.9 million) worth of Bitcoin in little over a year from his Shiny Flakes online store.

Police still couldn’t access all of his Bitcoin accounts when he was jailed in 2015.

“When you think of the drug business, you think of the Cali cartel and Pablo Escobar,” said the series’ makers Philipp Kassbohrer and Matthias Murmann on Sunday as the series was premiered at the Canneseries festival in the French Riviera resort.

“But this young German weirdo guy who was doing this himself was having a big effect on the European drug market.

‘Best dealer in Europe’

“He was the best dealer in Europe and he didn’t just do it in the Darknet (that part of the internet hidden from public view), he did it in the clearweb,” Murmann said.

“You could find his site on a normal browser. It had customer reviews and everything: ‘If you liked this drug, you might like to try this…'”

The young man they would later know as “Max” — who was treated as a juvenile by the courts — turned up one day at their offices when the series was still being shot after he heard his story had been picked up.

“We thought he was making it up. But it was him,” said Murmann, a self-confessed geek himself.

“He had to sleep in jail but he could travel around during the day. It was interesting to get his mindset,” and to find out how proud he was of the “customer experience”.

He even showed the director “how he arranged the MDMA in boxes. ‘No, I did it like this,’ he said. It as a real headspin for the actors,” Murmann recalled.

By that point, shooting had already begun of the show, which they had turned into a buddy story of a 17-year-old high school student who sets up a drugs site with his wheelchair-bound best friend to try to win back his girlfriend, who has returned for a year out in the US as pill-popping party animal.

‘He was a bit too smart’

“It was inspired rather than based on him because when we dug into his true story we found it was very short and boring,” Kassbohrer added.

“He was a little bit too smart. He only made one big mistake and that’s why he got arrested… but when he turned up, it was a weird bridge with reality.”

The pair, whose BTF studio makes late-night TV shows and computer games, used fast editing and smartphone-style pop-ups to recreate the superconnected lifestyles of Generation Z teenagers.

Kassbohrer said “Max” was like many of this age group, trying to make their mark but in his own terribly misguided way.

“He really is a nice guy but you cannot forget that he did something very criminal and he was connected to people who were doing even bigger criminal things.

“He didn’t think it through, he was just focusing on the user experience and the technical side,” Kassbohrer added.

In fact, he was so proud of his “customer experience” that he gave an interview to “a journalist friend of ours when he was still dealing and told her that he even had a customer services and marketing department, when it was just him in his room.”

He had that “Steve Jobs thing” of not fully thinking through the consequences, Kassbohrer said, “just like Jobs hadn’t worried about people dying in China to make iPhones.”

“How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)” goes online on May 31.

AFP

Top 10 Nollywood Movies People Loved In 2018

 

2018 was yet another big year for Nollywood as the industry continues to get better and better.

With a lot of movies increasingly hitting the big screens and receiving more recognition globally, many say the Nigerian movie industry is now truly coming into its own.

Here are 10 of the most liked and successful movies of the year according to Google’s viewer ratings, in no particular order.

“Merry Men”

 

This movie tells the story of four young men, considered to be Abuja’s most eligible, as well as notorious bachelors.

They have thriving businesses, fast cars, massive homes and the attention of women in no short supply.

While they are known as the Merry Men, the ladies call them the Real Yoruba Demons.

The movie stars, Folarin Falana, Ayo Makun, Ramsey Nouah and Jim Iyke.

Directed by Toka McBaror and produced by Ayo Makun, the movie was released in September 2018 and is liked by 98% of the viewers.

Read Also: 2018: The Year Of Wakanda, Assurance, Fever, And Hard Goodbyes

“New Money”

Starring Jemima Osunde as Toun Odumosu, the movie tells the story of a young lady, who goes from being a shop girl to a billionaire,after her absentee father leaves her his empire to run.

Directed by Tope Oshin, the movie was released in March 2018 and liked by 92% of the viewers.

The star-studded movie features Folarin Falana, Osas Ighodaro, Wofaifada, Daniel Etim Effiong, Adeolu Adefarasin, Kalu Ikeagwu.

“Lion Heart”

Veteran actress Genevieve Nnaji stars in this flick as Adaeze Obiagu, a young lady who has to step up to the challenge when her father is no longer able to handle the company due to health issues.

Her father Ernest Obiagu (Pete Edochie), leaves the company in the hands of an uncle and both of them have to fight to save the company from a huge debt or lose it altogether.

An inspiring drama which addresses issues around family values, succession, and female empowerment, “Lion Heart” marks Nnaji’s directorial debut.

“It highlights the various challenges faced by women, particularly in male-dominated industries,” she told Women and Hollywood.

Online movie streaming platform, Netflix, also announced that it acquired the worldwide rights for the movie.

According to Google, 96% of viewers liked the movie.

“Up North”

This movie tells the story of a young rebellious heir, Bassey Otuekong (Banky Wellington), who is sent to Bauchi for his NYSC assignment as a punishment and as a way of humbling him, while also being groomed to take over his father’s company.

It explores love, friendship and family politics, all of which collide, creating memories to last a lifetime.

Directed by Tope Oshin, the movie features Rahama Sadau, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Adesuwa Etomi Wellington, Hilda Dokubo.

It hit cinemas in December 2018

“Wedding Party 2”

The romantic comedy starring Banky W as (Dozie) and Adesua Etomi as (Dunni) is a sequel to ‘The Wedding Party’, which became a monster hit after its release in December 2017.

The story is about two people genuinely in love and the unnecessary interference of family members as well as the hassles of inter-cultural marriages.

While the first movie explores the flamboyant Nigerian wedding culture, the sequel, which is also full of humour and warmth, captures the concept of destination weddings, which is gradually gaining ground among Nigerians.

The movie has remained a favourite for many, despite being released on December 15, 2017, and is one of the top trending movies of 2018.

Directed by Niyi Akinmolayan, it was liked by 93% of viewers according to Google.

 

“Royal Hibiscus Hotel”

In this romantic comedy, a disillusioned London chef, Opeoluwa (Zainab Balogun), visits Nigeria and struggles with her matchmaking mother as well as in restoring the family’s rundown hotel.

She’s heartbroken as she discovers her new lover, Deji (Keneth Okoli), is working on a deal to buy the hotel.

An Ebony Life Films production, the movie which was directed by Ishaya Bako had its world premiere on September 9, 2017.

It was then officially released in February 2018 and is liked by 94% of the viewers.

“Esohe”

Nigerian Immigrant Gary Barbar (Jimmy Jean-Louis), works as a teacher in the United States and is quite successful.

However, from time to time, he suffers violent flashes of visions and nightmares of a past that he knows nothing about.

His entire life and aspirations eventually hinge on finding the truth and meaning behind the nightmares.

In trying to find answers, he returns home to Benin City but is totally unprepared for the complications that await him.

Esohe, directed by Charles Uwagbai, is an epic film that explores themes of reincarnation, love and the supernatural.

It features Jemima Osunde, Chris Attoh and Toyin Aiyemakun.

“King Of Boys”

This movie follows the story of Alhaja Eniola Salami (Sola Sobowale), a businesswoman and philanthropist with a promising political future.

As her political ambitions see her outgrowing the underworld connections responsible for her considerable wealth, she’s drawn into a power struggle that threatens everything she holds dear.

To come out of this on top, she is caught up in a game of trust and ruthlessness.

The movie was directed by Kemi Adetiba and is her second film after her directorial debut, The Wedding Party.

It was released in October 2018 and is liked by 97% of the viewers.

“Chief Daddy”

The movie tells the story of billionaire industrialist Chief Beecroft, a flamboyant benefactor to a large extended family of relatives, household staff and assorted mistresses.

He lives extravagantly, until the day he dies suddenly and the ‘bullion van’ stops.

“Chief Daddy” also explores the chaos caused by having numerous children from different women who were not aware of the existence of one another, until their father’s death.

Directed by Niyi Akinmoloyan, the movie was released on December 14, 2018.

According to Google, it is liked by 96% of viewers.

“God Calling”

This is a movie that explores themes of faith, spirituality, and self-discovery.

Starring Zainab Balogun, the story looks at the life of a young woman, Sade, her family, and her faith through the lens of an unconventional encounter with God in the modern age.

After suffering a personal tragedy, she is taken on a journey of self-discovery and faith which transforms the lives all those around her.

Directed by BB Sasore, the movie features Karibi Fubara, Nkem Owoh, Richard Mofe Damijo, Tina Mba, Onyeka Onwenu, among others.

It was released in December 2018 and is liked by 100% of the viewers.

 

“Lara And The Beat”

This movie tells a story about the young and beautiful Giwa sisters caught in the center of a financial scandal with their late parents’ media empire.

The sisters are forced out of their privileged bubble, and must learn to build their own future and salvage their family’s past.

Produced by Tosin Coker, the movie was released in July 2018 and it is liked by 94% of the viewers.

Cast: Seyi Shey, Vector, Somkele Iyamma, Sharom Ooja among others.

Marvel Comics Legend Stan Lee Dies At 95

In this file photo taken on October 20, 2016 Executive Director of the film, Stan Lee poses for photographers at the world premiere of Marvel Studios ‘Doctor Strange’ in Hollywood, California.
Frederic J. BROWN / AFP

 

Marvel legend Stan Lee, who revolutionized pop culture as the co-creator of iconic superheroes like Spider-Man and The Hulk who now dominate the world’s movie screens, has died. He was 95 years old.

Lee, the face of comic book culture in the United States, died early Monday in Los Angeles, according to US entertainment outlets including The Hollywood Reporter. He had suffered a number of illnesses in recent years.

“My father loved all of his fans,” his daughter told Hollywood monitor TMZ. “He was the greatest, most decent man.”

The New Yorker, known for his distinctive tinted glasses and impish grin, frequently appeared at fan events where he was revered.

Lee ended up in the comics business by accident, thanks to an uncle who got him a job when he was a teenager filling artists’ inkwells and fetching coffee.

“I felt someday I’d write the ‘Great American Novel’ and I didn’t want to use my real name on these silly little comics,” he once said, explaining why he had forsaken his given name, Stanley Lieber.

Lee rose through the ranks to become a comics writer, making millions of superhero fans dream of his fantastic universes and humans with extraordinary powers, and eventually led the Marvel empire for decades as its publisher.

From Spidey to Black Panther to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, Lee collaborated with other authors and illustrators to put his lively imagination on the page.

Iron Man, Thor and Doctor Strange would follow — and today, all three heroes have multi-film franchises that rake in hundreds of millions of dollars.

Lee has appeared in cameo roles in nearly every Marvel movie — including as a bus driver in “Avengers: Infinity War,” a film that united many of the indelible characters he brought to life.

“Awww man, heartbreaking. R.I.P. to a true pioneer and legend,” tweeted Australian filmmaker James Wan, who directed many of the “Saw” and “Insidious” movies as well as helming “Aquaman,” an upcoming superhero film based on the character by Marvel rival DC Comics.

“My youth wouldn’t have been the same without him. So grateful to have met the guy, and told him how thankful I was for his work. #stanlee”