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‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ First Toys Unveiled in YouTube Videos
Disney, hoping to ignite fan excitement for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” merchandise and the upcoming movie, kicked off a rolling series of toy unboxings Wednesday evening featuring YouTube creators around the world.
The toy unboxing event will span an 18-hour block, with YouTubers in Disney’s Maker Studios network in 15 cities in 12 countries offering a first look at the range of merchandise from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Among the first toys revealed: large-size action figures of villain Kylo Ren and a First Order Stormtrooper; Poe Dameron’s X-wing fighter from Lego (pictured above); Hot Wheels’ Escape from Jakku Starship playset; and the BladeBuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber from Hasbro. (See below for more product images.)
The first reveal was in Sydney, Australia, by The Bratayleys, a family of digital stars affiliated with Maker, who unboxed the Jedi Master Lightsaber on a set overlooking Sydney Harbour. The event rolls through Asia, »
- Todd Spangler
'Big Brother': Vanessa Rousso back on top as predicted winner of #BB17
The last couple months of "Big Brother" have been a flip-flop battle for first place on our winner's chart between poker player Vanessa Rousso and rock star dentist John McGuire. As of Week 10, Vanessa seems to be holding the royal flush as she's back on top by a fairly large margin (see chart above). Do you agree or disagree with our rankings? Hurry - make your "Big Brother" predictions for a chance to win our $100 Amazon gift certificate. It’s fun and easy, so start now by scrolling down to predict who will be evicted Thursday night. -Break- Who will win 'Big Brother'? See exclusive predictions According to exclusive Gold Derby odds that are derived from predictions made by users like you, Vanessa now has leading 37% support to win while John has 21% of the vote. When those numbers are translated into racetrack odds, Vanessa towers over her competitors with 17/10 odds, »
Mel Gibson Won’t Be Charged for Shoving News Corp. Photographer
Mel Gibson won’t be charged for an incident in which he allegedly shoved a News Corp. Australia photographer last month, according to the actor’s lawyer. “Police have completed a thorough investigation of allegations made by a Sydney photographer and have concluded there is no evidence to substantiate any charge against my client Mel Gibson,” the actor’s attorney Christopher Murphy told People Wednesday. The “Lethal Weapon” star was accused of physically attacking a female photographer when she attempted to snap pictures of him in Sydney, Australia. Also Read: Mel Gibson Denies Shoving News Corp. Photographer in Australia “I »
- Debbie Emery
Watch The Biebs Explain What the Deal Was With All Those Vma Emotions, Forgetfully Reveal His New Album's Release Date
Justin Bieber gave an emotional comeback at the MTV VMAs this past weekend — i.e., he did not get booed and he put "everything on the line." Here, he explains to Fallon exactly why this year's awards show meant so much to him. (Hint: It had less to do with the harness suffocating his junk, and more to do with the fact that he was surrounded by knuckleheads and cameras the last few years. And if you don't believe him, he might just scoff and point a finger at you!) Also of note: The Biebs forgetfully revealed, with all the mysteriousness and distant cool of a Twilight character, that his new album drops November 13. Or something. »
- Sean Fitz-Gerald
Venice Market on Upward Trajectory Thanks to Co-Prod Mart and Stronger Fest
Venice – The Venice Film Market is not making any quantum leaps this year, but it looks set on a path of progressive consolidation with a robust representation of industry professionals, comprising more producers than in the past, plus high-ranking European Commission honchos lured to the Lido for the first time, and enough fresh mostly European auteur fare to ensure that some business will get done.
Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera candidly admits that the fourth edition of this informal mart, which starts the post- summer dealmaking season before the Toronto juggernaut, was “not able to make the big steps forward that we hoped for.” That is because “our plans to build new market infrastructure were blocked by the fact that the mayor of Venice was arrested [on corruption charges] last year.”
Well, that’s Italy for you.
Still, reflecting a strong 72nd edition of the fest, execs and companies expected to attend the »
- Nick Vivarelli
Venice: The Match Factory Buys Rights to Alper’s ‘Frenzy’ (Exclusive)
Rounding up its Venice sales slate to four features, one of the biggest on the Lido, Michael Weber’s Match Factory has acquired international rights to Venice competition entry “Frenzy.”
A political thriller, “Frenzy” marks the second feature from Turkish writer-director Emin Alper, whose 2012 debut, “Beyond the Hill,” established him as a talent to track, winning the Berlin’s Forum’s Caligari Film Prize and best picture at Asia-Pacific Screen Awards. Pic was produced Nadir Operli, Liman Film, in co-production with Paprika Films and Insignia Yapim. The pickup of “Frenzy” reteams the Match Factory with Turkish producer Operli, after it sold 2011’s “Our Grand Despair,” from Seyfi Teoman, which Operli produced.
Inspired by “numerous violent histories of the modern world and a story whose relevance “increased as politics in Turkey stubbornly stick to old means,” said director Alper, “Frenzy” turns on “contemporary anxiety in the face of paranoia unleashed by political violence, »
- John Hopewell
Justin Bieber Gets Real With Jimmy Fallon About Why He Cried at MTV VMAs (Video)
Following his emotional performance at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Justin Bieber looked a lot more relaxed when he visited old friend Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday. Needless to say, the “Tonight Show” host asked the pop star what made him tear up at L.A.’s Microsoft Theater, where he broke down crying after flying on a harness at the end of his two-song performance. “It’s got to be a lot of pressure, not only to appear in front of your peers but to fly in a harness,” a sympathetic Fallon said. Also Read: Justin Bieber Flies »
- Debbie Emery
Please Adjust Your Book Club Schedules: Gucci Mane's Autobiography Is on the Way
Gucci Mane continues to make productive people (yes, especially including those not in jail) look like huge procrastinators, as it was announced Wednesday that the busy-body rapper will release an autobiography within the next year. Gucci, who is doing time on federal gun charges, had his team (or himself talking in the third person) make the announcement via Twitter, noting, among other things, that "he has been called the most influential artist of this generation and definitely is one of the most prolific." True. Over the course of his sentence, originally slated to last till 2017, Gucci has already released numerous mix tapes, appeared as a guest on a slew of tracks, and even pushed a out new movie. How? Maybe you are thinking, Gucci Mane is so productive because he doesn't have distractions! Wrong. He does. He is the Trap God. So, how? It is a true wonder why this »
- Sean Fitz-Gerald
‘Mr. Robot’ Finale Caps Mind-Bending Season, With Some Glitches (Spoilers)
How strange that the summer’s most-buzzed-about show, creatively speaking, would come from a network generally known for solid but unspectacular original dramas, a novice showrunner and a low-profile star. Yet “Mr. Robot,” the USA network series that completed its 10-episode run Wednesday night, fits all those descriptions, instantly giving producer Sam Esmail and star Rami Malek seats at TV’s cool-kids table. What the show can possibly do for an encore is anybody’s guess, and frankly, therein resides at least half the fun.
Although the series featured a major reveal in its superior penultimate episode (and Spoiler Alert if you haven’t watched them all), the question of whether Mr. Robot existed, or was rather just a “Fight Club”-like figment of the protagonist’s imagination, was just one major wrinkle in a run filled with them. Amid a sea of dramas that lean heavily on narration, this »
- Brian Lowry
‘Mr. Robot’ Season Finale Scares Up Social Media: ‘I’m Still in Shock’
(Spoiler alert: Please do not read on if you haven’t watched Wednesday’s season finale of “Mr. Robot“) The season finale of “Mr. Robot” aired Wednesday after being postponed following last week’s horrific on-air murder of a TV news reporter and photographer in Roanoke, Virginia. When the final episode of the USA Network drama finally aired a week later than planned, it got a warm response from fans who praised the striking and terrifying show. “I’m still in shock about who #MrRobot is,” wrote one fan on Twitter. Also Read: 'Mr. Robot' Season Finale Postponed »
- Debbie Emery
NBC Sports Site Relaunch Highlights Video for Pay-tv Subs
NBC Sports next week will unleash its first major website redesign in five years — a rejiggering of the digital furniture largely designed to promote live-streaming video available only to authenticated subscribers of the Peacock’s pay-tv partners.
The new NBCSports.com, slated to go live Monday, Sept. 7, will provide a “clean, streamlined experience” that will more prominently feature live and short-form video in the left rail, including upcoming events, as well as player news.
“From a content consumption and monetization standpoint, video is a point of emphasis,” said Rick Cordella, senior VP & G.M. of digital media for NBC Sports Group. He added that NBCSports.com was “certainly due” for a refresh.
In 2015, NBC Sports Digital properties will live-stream 2,700 events, representing more than 6,000 hours of actual gameplay. Next year, the Peacock will pitch more than 10,000 hours of live video from the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Virtually all »
- Todd Spangler
'America's Got Talent' jawdropper: Frontrunner Siro-a eliminated in semifinals'
Did you predict that Siro-a would be eliminated on "America's Got Talent" Wednesday night? If you saw this jawdropper coming, then you should be taking place in our weekly prediction contest. Hurry -- make your predictions and you could win our prize of a $100 Amazon gift certificate. It's fun and easy, so start now by scrolling down and predicting the five acts that will get the go-ahead on next Wednesday's show. -Break- Who will win 'America's Got Talent'? See exclusive predictions According to exclusive Gold Derby odds that are derived from the predictions made by users like you, Siro-a was one of the five acts predicted to sail through to the finals. In addition, they were Gold Derby's #2 pick to win the entire season, proving this to be one of the most unpredictable years ever. Congratulations to our user Greg White for earning the top score in this week's contest. »
'The Transporter Refueled': Film Review
If nothing else, the reboot of the Transporter franchise should do wonders for Audi sales, not to mention car safety. Every passenger who sets foot in the tricked-out, gleaming German automobile driven by the titular character is immediately ordered to fasten their seat belt. It's sound advice, because The Transporter Refueled is a cinematic bumpy ride. Arriving seven years after the final installment of the trilogy originally starring Jason Statham, this latest version, inexplicably set in 2010, features a younger, slighter Frank Martin as played by Ed Skrein (Game of Thrones). It's a real diminishment, and not just in
- Frank Scheck
‘Mr. Robot’ Finale: Creator Sam Esmail Talks Series Plan, Elliot’s New Foes (Spoilers)
Spoiler Warning: Don’t read on if you haven’t watched the “Mr. Robot” season finale.
Sam Esmail admits he remains “100 percent surprised” that USA network allowed him the creative latitude that resulted in “Mr. Robot,” perhaps the summer’s most creatively heralded series, which concluded its first season Wednesday, after a one-week delay triggered by the live-tv killings in Virginia.
Looking ahead, the season finale seemingly paved the way for a new set of challenges for Elliot (Rami Malek), the troubled hacker, whose plot to bring down “Evil Corp” was ostensibly successful, but which revealed two potentially formidable antagonists, played by Michael Cristofer and Bd Wong.
“Two great actors. I’m really lucky to have them,” Esmail said.
“The biggest thing is we saw that FSociety did accomplish their goal, they were able to take down ‘Evil Corp’ and take down their data. The coda said there are forces above that. »
- Brian Lowry
Review: 'Mr. Robot' wraps up season 1 with triumph, tragedy, and brilliance
"Mr. Robot" just concluded its first season. I spoke with creator Sam Esmail about it at length, and I have a review of the finale coming up just as soon as we use a dead puppy oven... "Come on!!!! I need to know what happened!" -Elliot What a fascinating, off-kilter, 100% "Mr. Robot" way to end this season. Everything about this show has always been off: the way characters so often are marginalized in the corner of a frame, or how we're so much inside Elliot's head that we feel like we're losing time right along with him. So it feels right — even if it may be frustrating for some — that the finale skips right past whatever Elliot and Tyrell did at the arcade, keeps Tyrell missing in action entirely, and just jumps us into the strange new world where fsociety has seemingly won and plunged the world into financial chaos. »
- Alan Sepinwall
'Mr. Robot's creator 'did everything in my power' to telegraph the big twist
For most of its first season, "Mr. Robot" has been running a half-step ahead of current events, with so many public real-world hacks seeming practically like viral marketing for the USA drama. Last week, though, the intersection of art and life became truly unfortunate, when the on-camera murders of a TV reporter and cameraman in Virginia came uncomfortably close to a scene scheduled to air in that night's "Mr. Robot" season finale. Out of both sensitivity for the real victims, and perhaps a sense that no one would be able to watch that scene on that night without thinking only about Virginia, USA delayed the finale a week, finally airing it tonight. "Mr. Robot" creator Sam Esmail supported that decision. When we spoke the day after it was made, he said he had no plans to edit the scene in any way, though he did talk in a larger sense »
- Alan Sepinwall
B.D. Wong on Why Mr. Robot’s Portrayal of a Transgender Character Is Radical
Throughout the first season of Mr. Robot, it was assumed that the omnipresent Whiterose was a man. When Whiterose first appears in episode eight, we discover that the leader of the world’s most dangerous hacking collective is a transgender woman (played by B.D. Wong) whose time is precious. Wong appears onscreen for only three-plus minutes, but the reveal, along with Whiterose’s gender identity, is central to a show that has played with the meaning of identity and reality throughout its first season. Wong made a second appearance in Wednesday night’s finale, under much different circumstances. We spoke with the longtime actor (M. Butterfly*, Law & Order) about being approached by Mr. Robot’s creator, Sam Esmail, for the role, and why the show’s portrayal of a transgender character has so far been radical.When did Sam first reach out to you about playing Whiterose?Episodes one to »
- Matthew Giles
Mr. Robot Creator Sam Esmail on His Plans for Season Two and What the Show Is Really All About
Despite the signs that USA Network’s Mr. Robot would succeed during its debut season — the pilot drew wide praise, and the show was renewed for a second season before its official premiere — Sam Esmail, Mr. Robot’s creator, had measured expectations. “I ultimately thought maybe we could [reach] a great cult status,” he said on the eve of the show’s inaugural season finale. “I imagined in my head that was the peak, but the fact that it broke out of that was a huge shock.” We spoke with Esmail about why he believes the audience connected with Mr. Robot, how he continually wants to transcend typical television storytelling, and what avenues will be explored in season two.When you were preparing for the show, and after SXSW, did you think season one would reach the heights that it did?No fucking way. There is no way anybody would have »
- Matthew Giles
Donald Trump Slams NBA Great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for Writing Critical Column
Donald Trump picked on someone way bigger than himself when he went head-to-head with NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Wednesday. The Gop presidential candidate responded to the 7’2” former Los Angeles Lakers star’s criticism of his campaign, saying he doesn’t “have a clue what has to be done to make this country great again.” Trump’s scathing comments came after Abdul-Jabbar wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post comparing him to Bernie Sanders. Also Read: Donald Trump to Visit 'Tonight Show' on 9/11 Anniversary to Plug Presidential Campaign The NBA Hall of Famer — who became a U.S. »
- Debbie Emery
Robert Pattinson’s Period Drama ‘Life’ Gets U.S. Release Date
Following its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February, “Life” will be released in select U.S. theaters and on Digital and Video on Demand on December 4, Cinedigm announced Tuesday. Anton Corbijn directs “Life,” a film that tells the true story of the unlikely friendship between photographer Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson) and James Dean (Dane DeHaan). Stock was 26 when he was commissioned to photograph Dean for Life Magazine in 1955. The assignment took the duo across America to Dean’s hometown of Indiana, where Stock snapped black-and-white photographs of Dean that would outlive his short life. “I cannot wait for the story. »
- Beatrice Verhoeven
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