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June 24, 2019
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BOX OFFICE – “TOY STORY 4” TOPS LIST
NEW YORK (AP) – Not even Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the “Toy Story” gang could pull the movie industry out of a disturbing trend: underperforming sequels. As expected, “Toy Story 4” was the big winner at the box office, taking in $118 million in its opening weekend. But that still falls short of the blockbuster-like numbers predicted for the latest sequel in the Pixar animated series. It was expected to take in as much as $140-150 million. Even so, the “Toy Story 4” opening ranks as the fourth highest animated film opening ever, not accounting for inflation.

 

BOX OFFICE – THE OTHERS
NEW YORK (AP) – The other movies in the box office race over the weekend can relate to the plight of some of the discarded playthings in “Toy Story 4” – nobody wanted to play with them. This past weekend’s number-two film tried to position itself as an R-rated Toy Story – but it also fell below expectations. “Child’s Play” took in just $14.1 million. It’s a remake of the 1988 original about the knife-wielding doll Chucky. The number-three movie is “Aladdin,” with $12.2 million, followed by “Men in Black International,” with $10.8 million and “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” with $10.3 million.

 

GEENA DAVIS – GENDER PARITY
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A lot of people talk about trying to achieve gender parity in Hollywood. But Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis says it can be done with just a few strokes of a pen – literally. She says to solve the problem, all screenwriters or directors need to do – is go through a script and “cross out a bunch of male first names and put female first names” in their place. Davis explained the simple solution to creating better roles for women when she spoke at a panel discussion this past Saturday in Los Angeles. She joined fellow actress Mayim Bialik to talk about how more diverse images on movie screens can inspire women to take up careers they might not have thought were off limits to them.

 

JUSSIE SMOLLETT COULD FACE CHARGES – AGAIN
CHICAGO (AP) – There’s a chance Jussie Smollett could find himself facing charges – again – in a case in which he claims he was the victim of a racist and anti-gay beating. The door to possible new charges in the case was opened this past Friday when a judge appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the decision by Cook County prosecutors to dismiss all charges against the “Empire” actor. He had been facing a string of felonies for what authorities said was his telling lies to police about the beating, which authorities say Smollett staged. The judge ruled that while Cook County prosecutor Kim Foxx was within her rights to recuse herself, she was out of bounds when she assigned a top aide to oversee the case. The judge says Foxx should have appointed a special prosecutor, instead.

 

HARVEY WEINSTEIN SEEKS REJECTION OF SEX TRAFFICKING CLAIMS
NEW YORK (AP) – Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers want to get the disgraced movie producer out from under charges that accuse him of being a sex trafficker. Weinstein’s attorneys want a judge in New York to reject the sex trafficking claim of an actress who says Weinstein raped her in 2015 after luring her to a hotel under the guise of offering her a role in a TV series. Other women have made similar claims – and have gotten judges to approve charging Weinstein under sex-trafficking laws. Lawyers for Weinstein say the sex trafficking act wasn’t deigned to handle the kind of “casting couch” claims Weinstein has been facing since being called out for his alleged mistreatment of Hollywood women.

 

“CENTRAL PARK FIVE” APPEAR AT BET AWARDS
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The men known as the Central Park Five made an appearance at the BET Awards. The five, Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise got a standing ovation as they walked to the stage of the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles last night. They introduced a performance by Grammy-winning singer H.E.R. The story of the Central Park Five was chronicled in the Ava DuVernay Netflix series, “When They See Us.” The five were exonerated in 2002 after being charged with the 1989 rape of a white woman in New York’s Central Park.

 

BET AWARDS – LIST
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A list of winners at the BET Awards. The ceremony was held last night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Best Female R&B / Pop Artist: Beyonce

Best Male R&B / Pop Artist: Bruno Mars

Best Group: Migos

Best Collaboration: Travis Scott feat. Drake – Sicko Mode

Best Male Hip Hop Artist: Nipsey Hussle

Best Female Hip Hop Artist: Cardi B

Video of the Year: Childish Gambino – This Is America

Video Director of the Year: Karena Evans

Best New Artist: Lil Baby

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award: Snoop Dogg Feat. Rance Allen – Blessing Me Again

Best Actress: Regina King

Best Actor: Michael B. Jordan

YoungStars Award: Marsai Martin

Best Movie: BLACKKKLANSMAN

Sportswoman of the Year Award: Serena Williams

Sportsman of the Year Award: Stephen Curry

Album of the Year: Invasion Of Privacy

BET Her: H.E.R. – Hard Place

 

ROB McELHENNEY MAKES APPEARANCE AT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES GAME TO HONOR RETIRED STAR
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Life imitated art for a few moments Friday – at a major league ballpark, of all places. Actor Rob McElhenney was on hand for a retirement ceremony for Philadelphia Phillies star Chase Utley. McElhenney co-created “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – and in one episode, his character has a “man crush” on Utley. The love was requited when McElhenney was asked to be on the receiving end of the ceremonial first pitch thrown by Utley. Utley played 13 seasons in Philly and helped the Phils win five straight NL East titles, two NL pennants – and the 2008 World Series.

 

DUANE “DOG” CHAPMAN’S WIFE IN MEDICALLY-INDUCED COMA
HONOLULU (AP) – Things are not looking good for the wife of reality TV bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman. Beth Chapman is in the intensive care unit of Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. And a local newspaper reports she’s in a medically-induced coma. A rep for the family says only immediate family members have been allowed to see Chapman, who is 51. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017 – and said in November the cancer had returned, despite surgery. The Chapmans starred in the reality TV series “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and “Dog & Beth: On the Hunt,” both set in Hawaii.

 

FLYING WALLENDA SIBLINGS CROSS TIMES SQUARE SUCCESSFULLY
NEW YORK (AP) – It can be a little frightening to cross the crowded streets of New York’s Times Square. It’s even scarier to do it 25 stories above the pavement. But that is exactly what a pair of siblings from the Wallenda family pulled off last night. Nik Wallenda was joined by sister Lijana for the climb. Making the stunt more nerve wracking was that it was the first time she performed with him since a near-fatal accident in 2017, when she broke nearly every bone in her face. But the siblings pulled off the high wire stunt without a hitch. To cut down on the danger, the two wore tethered safety harnesses to keep any possible fall from being fatal. The stunt was streamed live on ABC.

 

JUDITH KRANTZ – OBIT
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The writer of million-selling novels like “Scruples” and “Princess Daisy” has died. Her son is confirming the death of Judith Krantz, who got readers around the world to fawn over her often-steamy stories about the lives of the rich and beautiful. Krantz died Saturday at her home in Bel-Air, California. She was 91.

 

by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
Follow Oscar Wells Gabriel II on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OWGabriel2

AP-WF-06-24-19 0743GMT