NEW ‘STAR WARS: EPISODE IX’ FOOTAGE DEBUTS AT D23
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy says that “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker” is going to be an incredibly good time.
Nearly 7,000 people got a look Saturday at a new poster and some new footage from the film at the Walt Disney Co.’s biannual D23 fan convention in Anaheim.
The film which opens in theaters nationwide Dec. 20 closes out the over 40-year-old Skywalker saga. Kennedy was joined on the convention stage by writer-director J.J. Abrams and stars including Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels.
R2-D2 evoked the most applause from the excited audience.
Abrams said that the late Carrie Fisher is also part of “Episode IX” thanks to unused footage from “Episode VII.”
OBI-WAN, LIZZIE MCGUIRE JOIN NEW DISNEY PLUS PLATFORM
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Ewan McGregor is reprising his “Star Wars” role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new series.
The Disney Plus project with McGregor drew big cheers when it was announced Friday at the D23 Expo fan event.
The untitled series is among a number of splashy projects that Disney is banking on to make its new streaming platform competitive.
The audience of about 6,000 people voiced enthusiasm for another “Star Wars”-related series, “The Mandalorian,” which producers said is set in a yet unexplored time for the space saga.
Disney Plus also announced that Hilary Duff will return as a grown-up version of the title character in “Lizzie McGuire.”
And new movie set for the streaming service is coming in November: A live-action remake of 1955’s animated film “Lady and the Tramp.”
‘BLACK PANTHER 2’ GETS RELEASE DATE
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Writer and director Ryan Coogler says that “Black Panther 2” will hit theaters on May 6, 2022. Coogler made an appearance Saturday at the Walt Disney Co.’s D23 fan convention in Anaheim.
Coogler said he wasn’t ready to reveal a title or a plot yet for the highly anticipated sequel to “Black Panther,” which became a cultural phenomenon and grossed over $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige also announced that Kit Harington is joining the cast of “The Eternals,” which will reunite him with his “Game of Thrones” co-star Richard Madden. Harington is playing a non-Eternal named Dane. “Crazy Rich Asians” star Gemma Chan has also joined the cast of the Marvel project which includes Angelina Jolie.
SPIDER-MAN TOM HOLLAND TELLS FANS: ‘I LOVE YOU 3000’
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Tom Holland has made an appearance at a Disney fan convention amid the news that Spider-Man will no longer be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the cross-studio partnership between Disney and Sony, which allowed Holland’s Spider-Man to appear in Marvel films, was ending. Marvel also helped produce the stand-alone Spider-Man films such as this summer’s “Far From Home.”
Holland was not at D23 Saturday on behalf of Marvel however, but Pixar. He’s voicing a role in the upcoming animated film “Onward.”
The nearly 7,000 people in the audience screamed wildly for Holland. He did not address Spider-Man specifically but told the audience that it’s been a crazy week and cryptically quoting Tony Stark in “Avengers: Endgame,” added: “I love you 3000.”
JAMIE FOXX, TINA FEY JOIN CAST OF PIXAR’S ‘SOUL’
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey are lending their voices to the new Pixar film “Soul.”
Director Pete Docter announced the cast for the upcoming jazz-themed film Saturday at Disney’s D23 fan convention in Anaheim that also includes Questlove, Daveed Diggs and Phylicia Rashad.
Docter, in his first appearance on stage as the chief creative officer of the shop behind “Toy Story,” says that “Soul” imagines that every human attends a pre-birth seminar where they’re given quirks, interests and passions.
Foxx voices the lead character Joe, who is a jazz musician and middle school band teacher.
Jon Batiste is contributing original songs for the film and Oscar-winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are doing the score.
“Soul” hits theaters in June 2020.
TARGET TEAMS UP WITH DISNEY TO OPEN SHOPS
NEW YORK (AP) – Target is hoping to bring the magic of characters like Mickey Mouse and Elsa to its own customers by creating permanent Disney shops at a cluster of stores starting this fall.
As part of its collaboration with The Walt Disney Co., the Minneapolis-based discounter says it will open 25 Disney-branded stores starting Oct. 4, with 40 additional locations opening by October 2020.
Target is also launching a Disney-focused online experience on its site. And it plans to open a new store near the entrance of the Walt Disney World Resort in 2021.
The moves come as Target aims to build on its strong sales momentum. Disney, which operates 300 stores globally, is looking for new ways to reach its fans.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
NEW ‘MOANA’ ATTRACTION, ‘STAR WARS’ HOTEL AT DISNEY WORLD
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Disney officials say they plan to open an attraction based on the animated film “Moana” at Walt Disney World, and they announced the name of a “Star Wars”-themed hotel being planned for the Florida resort.
The hotel will be called “Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.” It will resemble a spaceship, and visitors will get to interact with performers dressed as storm troopers and Chewbacca.
The “Moana” attraction, called “Journey of Water,” will be at Epcot park in Florida and is part of the park’s revamping.
The announcement comes a week before the Florida resort is opening its much anticipated “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” land. A similar attraction opened in California this summer.
DWAYNE “THE ROCK” JOHNSON TAKES HONEYMOON TO D23
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – The Rock is honeymooning at a Disney convention.
Dwayne Johnson got married last weekend to longtime partner Lauren Hashian – and then spent Saturday promoting “Jungle Cruise” at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California.
He says his new wife didn’t mind and added that the ceremony in Hawaii was “wonderful.”
Johnson partnered with Emily Blunt to make the movie based on the Disneyland ride, set to be released next year.
JOLIE SHARES PRIDE IN SON MADDOX, JOINING MARVEL MOVIE
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Angelina Jolie (an-joh-LEE’-nuh joh-LEE’) says she’s “so proud” that her 18-year-old son is leaving home to study biochemistry in South Korea.
The actress was seen in video released several days ago dropping her son Maddox off at Yonsei University in Seoul, and holding back tears.
She says she didn’t realize cameras were on her in what she described as a very private moment.
Jolie is in two upcoming Disney movies: a sequel to “Maleficent” and Marvel Studios’ “Eternals.”
DISNEY LEGENDS HONOR PROMPTS ROBERT DOWNEY JR. POT STORY
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Robert Downey Jr. is recalling a wild Disneyland ride from his younger days.
The “Iron Man” star, among those honored Friday as Disney Legends, says his first visit to the Southern California resort included a brief detention for “smoking pot in a gondola.”
Downey said he received a stern warning and was then returned to a disappointed group chaperone.
Disney CEO Robert Iger presented the Legends trophy to the actor at the D23 Expo Disney fan event, and Downey called it a special day.
The company honor goes to those who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy. Singer Christina Aguilera, actress Ming-Na Wen, journalists Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts and directors Jon Favreau and Kenny Ortega were among those who also received trophies.
FUND BACKED BY DICAPRIO PLEDGES $5M TO AMAZON AMID FIRES
NEW YORK (AP) – A new environmental foundation backed by Leonardo DiCaprio is pledging $5 million in aid to the Amazon, which has been swept by wildfires.
Earth Alliance was created last month by DiCaprio and philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth. On Sunday, it launched the Amazon Forest Fund in an announcement on their website. The alliance is also seeking donations to help repair the Brazilian rainforest, called the “lungs of the planet.”
Brazilian federal experts reported a record number of wildfires across the country this year, up 84% over the same period in 2018.
The funds will be distributed to five local groups working to combat the problem.
LEGAL QUESTIONS LOOM AS HARVEY WEINSTEIN CASE NEARS TRIAL
NEW YORK (AP) – Can Harvey Weinstein get a fair trial in the world’s media capital?
That’s among the questions looming over the sexual assault case against the disgraced movie mogul with jury selection set for early next month.
Weinstein’s lawyers want the trial moved from New York City to Long Island or upstate New York because of a blizzard of pretrial publicity. An appeals court could rule on the request as early as Monday.
Weinstein also is due in court on Monday to be arraigned on a new indictment. Prosecutors say the indictment will allow them to bolster their case with testimony from an actress who says Weinstein raped her in the 1990s.
The 67-year-old defendant has denied all accusations of non-consensual sex.
‘THE BACHELOR’ STAR GETS SUSPENDED SENTENCE IN FATAL CRASH
INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (AP) – A farmer who appeared on ABC’s “The Bachelor” has accepted a suspended two-year prison sentence for his role in a 2017 Iowa crash that killed another man.
Court records show that Chris Soules entered written consent documents on Friday agreeing to the suspended sentence and supervised release. He also agreed to pay a $625 fine. A judge must still sign off on the sentencing. Soules had been set to appear for sentencing on Tuesday. In light of the agreement, he waived his right to appear for sentencing.
Soules pleaded guilty in November to a reduced charge of leaving the scene of a serious injury accident for the April 2017 crash that killed 66-year-old Kenny Mosher. Soules was arrested after he rear-ended Mosher’s tractor. Soules called 911, performed CPR on Mosher and waited for first responders, but left the scene before officers arrived.
Soules appeared on “The Bachelor” and “Dancing With The Stars” in 2015.
‘GMA’ HOST SPENCER APOLOGIZES FOR PRINCE GEORGE BALLET JOKE
NEW YORK (AP) – “Good Morning America” host Lara Spencer has apologized for on-air comments about 6-year-old Prince George taking ballet.
On Instagram Friday she called her comments “insensitive” and told George that when it comes to ballet or any other passion he should “GO FOR IT” and “love every minute of it.”
Spencer was reading George’s busy schedule a day earlier on “Good Morning America” and when it came to ballet she paused then said, “We’ll see how long that lasts.”
The moment brought criticism on Twitter, with some saying she was bullying the young royal.
George, the oldest child of Kate the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, is a great-grandson of Queen Elizabeth II. He is third in line for the throne behind his grandfather, Prince Charles, and his father.
FORMER US SEN. AL FRANKEN TESTS WELCOME ON SPEAKING CIRCUIT
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Former U.S. Sen. Al Franken is testing his welcome on the speaking circuit as he takes more steps into public life after sexual misconduct allegations derailed his political career.
The Star Tribune reports that tickets went on sale Friday for “An Evening with Al Franken” Oct. 2 at Revolution Hall in Portland, Oregon.
The hall says Franken will share behind-the-scenes stories from his 15 years on “Saturday Night Live” and his 8 1/2 years representing Minnesota in the Senate.
Franken recently told The New Yorker magazine that he regretted resigning from the Senate in December 2017 after several women accused him of unwanted kissing or touching, repeating his claim the allegations were false.
He’s been doing podcasts since November, rolled out a website this year and recently launched a YouTube channel.
‘ANGEL HAS FALLEN’ TOPS BOX OFFICE WITH $21.3 MILLION DEBUT
NEW YORK (AP) – “Angel Has Fallen” has easily topped the box office with a $21.3 million debut, as the action sequel became the latest mid-budget release to find modest success in the often quiet late summer.
The Lionsgate film beat expectations going into the weekend, opening similarly to the previous 2016 installment “London Has Fallen.” The film series stars Gerard Butler as a Secret Service agent protecting the U.S. president played by Morgan Freeman.
Last weekend’s No. 1 film, the R-rated comedy hit “Good Boys,” slid to second with $11.8 million. The Christian film “Overcomer” trailed in third with an $8 million opening weekend.
The acclaimed Fox Searchlight horror release “Ready or Not,” about a bride forced into a deadly game of hide-and-seek with her new in-laws, got off to a lackluster start with $7.6 million.