Hollywood producer: Conservatives need to go to the movies or lose the culture war

If conservatives want any shot at influencing the culture, they need to go to the movies. Not buy DVDs. Pay for movie tickets to right-tilting feature films. “We need your help. When a movie comes to the theaters, you have to go see it,” said Hollywood director-producer John Sullivan told the crowd at the Western Conservative Summit. “We get two weeks in the theaters and then it’s gone,” he said. “The executives in Hollywood, we could sell 20 million DVDs and they wouldn’t care. We could have 100 million YouTube [views] and they wouldn’t care. We do $10 million at the box office, and they’re all going to pay attention.” There’s a ripe opportunity with the anticipated February release of “Gosnell,” co-produced by Mr. Sullivan, which tells the story of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s 2013 trial on murder charges stemming from the deaths of a female patient and newborn infants at his Philadelphia abortion clinic. “We’re hoping to shake up Hollywood with that movie coming out,” Mr. Sullivan said. He gave an advance screening Saturday of the “Gosnell” trailer, which plays like an episode of “Law & Order,” with both a police investigation and a courtroom drama. “The fact that it’s a feature film carries more political and cultural weight than anything else,” Mr. Sullivan said. Conservative documentaries like “America” and “2016: Obama’s America,” both of which Mr. Sullivan directed with Dinesh D’Souza, have outperformed expectations, but in terms of impact, nothing beats a theatrical release.

Agreed..   So, get out there and support those efforts when you can!  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

Michael Phelps says great white shark was toughest foe ever

Michael Phelps retired from competitive swimming following the 2016 Summer Games in Rio as the most decorated Olympian of all time — with 28 medals, including 23 gold. But Phelps’ most recent race – which will air Sunday on the Discovery channel – featured his most challenging opponent — a great white shark. “It was a tough a race, probably the hardest race I’ve ever had,” Phelps told Fox News, declining to disclose the outcome. Though Phelps has lost very few races in his career, not many people gave him a chance against the shark — perhaps because great whites can reach speeds up to 25 mph, while Phelps clocks in around 6 mph, per ESPN. Not even Phelps’ Olympic teammate, Ryan Lochte, had faith that Phelps could outswim the shark. “Hell no,” Lochte told TMZ. Swimming in open water, “with current and cold water,” was also a big adjustment from the typical pool setting, Phelps said. However, Discovery outfitted the Olympian with some technology to help even the odds. “We were able to add some help with the monofin, and being able to have a wetsuit gave a little bit of help towards me,” Phelps said. “I think the odds are pretty stacked in the shark’s favor, but you guys will have to wait and see, to see what happens.” The 100-meter race took place off Cape Town, South Africa, and had been on 32-year-old Phelps’ bucket list “forever,” he said. “It was honestly just something I’ve always wanted to do, being in the water with a shark,” Phelps said. “Whether it’s in a cage, or just swimming freely in the ocean. … Having the chance to literally see these animals up close and personal in their home, it topped so many things that I’ve done — just being able to see how they truly are. “I was literally within a foot from two different sharks that were that close to my face — one in a cage, one out of the cage.” Phelps wasn’t the first Olympian to test his skill against an animal. Track and field legend Jesse Owens once outran a horse in Havana – after getting a 40-yard head start. So, who knows? Maybe Phelps has a shot after all. “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White” will air at 8 p.m. ET Sunday on Discovery, as part of the channel’s annual “Shark Week.”

Joan Lee, wife of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, dies at age 93

The wife of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee died Thursday at age 93. Lee and his family released a statement saying Joan Lee died peacefully Thursday morning. The couple had been married 69 years. Lee’s longtime publicist Dawn Miller confirmed the statement’s authenticity when contacted by The Associated Press. No additional details were provided, and the statement requested privacy. Stan Lee co-created numerous Marvel Comics superheroes including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported Joan Lee’s death, recounted the couple’s first meeting in a story last year. It said Lee met his future wife while trying to meet another woman for a date in New York. The couple was married in December 1947 and had two daughters, one of whom died days after being born. The 94-year-old Lee has credited his wife with supporting him early in his career, when he was trying to create superheroes that he and others could care about.

Was sorry to hear this the other day..  Joan certainly lived a full and long life.  We send our prayers to Stan and the rest of the Lee family.  R.I.P., Joan.

Star Wars Han Solo spinoff signs Ron Howard as new director

The Star Wars Han Solo spinoff film has found its new director: Ron Howard. Lucasfilm announced on the official Star Wars website on Thursday that Howard would be directing the yet-untitled film. “At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume the 10th of July.” The movie hit a snag earlier this week when directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller dropped out due to “creative differences.” Lord and Miller had been filming the untitled project in London since January 2017 with stars Alden Ehrenreich as the young Han Solo and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. The supporting cast includes Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and Thandie Newton. “Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project. We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this cliché is true,” the directors said in a joint statement Tuesday. “We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew.” Howard has shepherded Oscar winners like “A Beautiful Mind” and “Apollo 13.” But his recent films, including the “Da Vince Code” sequel “Inferno” and “In the Heart of the Sea,” have struggled at the box office.

..which means that this spinoff could either be a spectacular success, or it could be a total bust.  Guess we’ll see!

Google Maps stumbles upon Millennium Falcon structure, delights fans

Google Maps has released an image that contains a life-sized model of the iconic Millennium Falcon. The structure was found in a movie backlot at Longcross Studios, located just outside of London, according to Yahoo News. Yahoo reports that British website Jedi News, which touts itself as a broadcaster of Star Wars news, shared the discovery via a Tweet. “Something fun. Go on Google maps. Type in LONGCROSS studios. Zoom in. See what you can find,” Tweeted Jedi News. Fans of the franchise know that there are typically very few hints about the next films in the series. Though details about the coming films contiue to be shrouded in mystery, Yahoo speculated that the Millennium Falcon’s location makes sense given the scenes shot last year on location at Longcross Studios for “Star Wars: The last Jedi.” However, the structure’s continued presence on the backlot has some wondering if the Millennium Falcon will return for a coming sequel and the Han Solo spinoff, according to Yahoo. Yahoo added that the buzz-generating image is dated March 24, 2017. Google Maps offers navigation, satellite images and street views, among other features. After Jedi News sent out its Tweet, reactions included further close up, distinct images of the structure. “The last Jedi” has generated serious fan buzz after it drew veterans Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, who reprised their roles as Leia and Luke in the movie. “The last Jedi” will be released on Dec. 14, according to Yahoo.

Very cool!!  To see the pics, click on the text above.    🙂

Adam West, TV’s ‘Batman,’ dies at 88 after battle with leukemia, family says

Actor Adam West, famous for his straight-faced portrayal of the Caped Crusader in the 1960s “Batman” TV series, has died at 88, his family said Saturday on social media. West died Friday night “after a short but brave battle with leukemia,” the family statement on Facebook said. “It’s with great sadness that we are sharing this news,” the family said. “He was a beloved father, husband, grandfather, and great-grandfather. There are no words to describe how much we’ll miss him.” West played the superhero straight for kids and funny for adults. He initially chaffed at being typecast after “Batman” went off the air after three seasons, but in later years admitted he was pleased to have had a role in kicking off a big-budget film franchise by showing the character’s wide appeal. I’m delighted because my character became iconic and has opened a lot of doors in other ways, too,” he told The Associated Press in 2014. “He was bright, witty and fun to work with,” Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman to West’s Batman, said in a statement Saturday. “I will miss him in the physical world and savor him always in the world of imagination and creativity.” Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington, he moved to Seattle at age 15 with his mother after his parents divorced. He graduated from Whitman College, a private liberal arts school, in Walla Walla. After serving in the Army, he went to Hollywood and changed his name to Adam West, and began appearing on a number of television series, including “Bonanza,” “Perry Mason” and “Bewitched.” In April 2012, West received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Most recently he did the voice of nutty Mayor Adam West in the long-running “Family Guy” series. And in February 2016, West made an appearance on the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory’s” 200th episode, which marked the 50th anniversary of “Batman.” West was married three times, and had six children. He had homes in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, but he and his wife, Marcelle, spent most of their time at their ranch near Sun Valley, Idaho.

So very sad to hear about this earlier today!!  As a kid I grew up watching re-runs of Batman.  For more of this story, click on the text above.  Thanks for the wonderful, fun memories, Adam!  R.I.P.

Hollywood’s summer has flopped so far. Here comes ‘Wonder Woman’ to the rescue

Hollywood just suffered its worst Memorial Day weekend in 18 years, an eye-popping omen for what’s shaping up to be a bleak summer box office. All signs suggest Warner Bros. is about to deliver a much-needed hit with Diana of Themyscira, a.k.a. Wonder Woman, whose long-awaited feature film gets its wide release this weekend. But that probably won’t be enough to lift the movie business out if its funk, with summer ticket sales down 9% from the same period last year, according to ComScore. Last weekend’s debut of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” topped the charts with $77 million in the U.S. and Canada, down significantly from its 2011 predecessor “On Stranger Tides.” Paramount Pictures’ “Baywatch” wiped out with $27.6 million in five days, thanks to poor reviews. “Summer box office is off to a terrible start,” Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz said in a Tuesday note to clients. Individual movies are not the only problem, analysts say. This summer has been hampered by Hollywood’s over-reliance on tent poles and aging franchises, coupled with worsening attendance levels because of increased competition from at-home entertainment. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” started May off in a big way ($338 million to date), but it’s been mostly downhill since then. Warner Bros’ “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” was a $175-million flop, and Fox’s “Alien: Covenant” was a lackluster performer. Memorial Day weekend ticket sales totaled $173 million in the United States and Canada, the lowest result for the four-day holiday frame since 1999, according to data from ComScore. The sluggish results are validating pre-summer predictions that the season would fall as much as 10% from last year. American audiences seem to be growing weary of the preponderance of sequels and reboots of old franchises. The latest “Alien” movie opened with $36 million in ticket sales, nearly 30% lower than its predecessor “Prometheus.” The three-day opening of the latest “Pirates” was also down 30% from “On Stranger Tides,” though the movie is making up ground internationally. Growing competition from buzzed-about prestige TV and streaming shows may also be siphoning attention from summer film fare, making it harder for would-be blockbusters to lure patrons. “There are so many options for entertainment, and that certainly raises the bar,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. “But the main thing is, you need movies that keep people coming back to the theaters.” Smaller movies normally billed as “counter programming” are getting squeezed. Amy Schumer’s R-rated comedy “Snatched” did modest business, and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” also failed to register at the box office. Not even the charisma of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson could save the raunchy “Baywatch.”

Yeah, I’ve heard from friends that the Baywatch reboot was dreadful..  Anyway, to read the rest of this article by Ryan Faughnder over at the LA Times, click on the text above..