‘JOKER’ LAUGHS ITS WAY TO OCTOBER BOX OFFICE RECORD
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Warner Bros.’ R-rated “Joker” has set a new record at the October box office.
Studios on Sunday estimate that the dark spin on the classic Batman villain earned an estimated $93.5 million from ticket sales in its first weekend in North American theaters. The previous October record-holder was the Spider-Man spinoff “Venom” which opened to $80 million last year.
Scrutiny over “Joker’s” violent themes resulted in multiple theater chains banning costumes and authorities in numerous cities stepping up police patrols around theaters, but security concerns did not seem to detract audiences.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role, “Joker” surpassed industry and studio expectations as well as its $55 million production budget.
The more family friendly “Abominable” landed in second with $12 million. “Downton Abbey” took third with $8 million.
FTC HALTS ‘MISLEADING’ REAL ESTATE SEMINARS WITH HGTV STARS
NEW YORK (AP) – A court has agreed to put a temporary stop to pricey real estate seminars fronted by HGTV stars after the Federal Trade Commission said promises that the classes could make people rich were “misleading” and “bogus.”
In its complaint Friday, the FTC said that Utah-based Zurixx LLC would hold free real estate events endorsed by HGTV stars, including Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead of “Flip or Flop.” But at the events, attendees would be asked to pay for another three-day class that cost $1,997. And those who paid for those classes would be pitched additional training costing more than $41,000.
When customers complained, the FTC said Zurixx would offer refunds, but only if customers signed an agreement barring them from writing negative reviews or speaking to regulators.
‘FIXER UPPER’ STARS CHIP, JOANNA GAINES TO OPEN TEXAS HOTEL
WACO, Texas (AP) – The next redo project for former “Fixer Upper” TV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines will be a Texas hotel.
The couple on Thursday announced plans to transform a three-story office building into a boutique hotel in Waco. The site is a few blocks from their Magnolia Market at the Silos.
McLennan County owned the 91-year-old Grand Karem Shrine building. Commissioners last year agreed to sell the property, which housed health service offices, to Magnolia Vacation Rentals for $930,000. The county sold a nearby parking garage for $500,000.
No name was announced for the hotel that’s expected to open in 2021.
Chip and Joanna Gaines in June announced a more than $10 million plan for a retail village at Magnolia Market at the Silos with more shops and other attractions.
COMEDIAN ANDY DICK PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO GROPING DRIVER
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Comedian Andy Dick has pleaded not guilty to groping a driver from a ride-hailing service in California.
In Los Angeles, Dick entered the plea to one count of misdemeanor sexual battery Friday.
Prosecutors allege he groped a driver 18 months ago in West Hollywood.
His representative declined comment.
Dick, a 53-year-old native of Charleston, South Carolina, who starred in the 1990s sitcom “NewsRadio,” has been a popular and sometimes problematic guest on radio and TV shows, known for his erratic, over-the-top behavior.
He has been arrested and sued over several other groping accusations through the years, including a 2010 incident involving a bouncer and patron at a West Virginia bar.
Criminal charges were dismissed after Dick completed a pretrial diversion program.
LAUREN COHAN GIVES COMIC CON REVEAL TO ‘WALKING DEAD’ RETURN
NEW YORK (AP) – Lauren Cohan walked away from “The Walking Dead.” Now she’s headed back.
At the end of Saturday’s New York Comic Con panel for the apocalyptic AMC zombie series that has spawned its own universe, a masked cast member stood and revealed herself to be Cohan, whose return was subsequently announced.
AMC also announced an 11th season of the series, whose 10th starts Sunday night.
Cohan, who played Maggie Greene on the show starting in season two, left as a full-time cast member to pursue other projects after the eighth season then made a few guest appearances in the ninth.
The 37-year-old actress has since appeared in the short-lived ABC series “Whiskey Cavalier” and the Mark Wahlberg film “Mile 22.”
It’s not clear when or how Cohan’s character will return.
HOLLYWOOD A-LIST HITS RED CARPET AT TYLER PERRY’S NEW STUDIO
ATLANTA (AP) – Tyler Perry officially christened his massive new film studio Saturday, and beamed as his fellow entertainment industry luminaries descended on Atlanta and strode a red carpet to his sprawling complex for the opening gala.
Attendees warmly greeted Perry, a man who had once been homeless and yet now helmed his own studio which is now one of the nation’s largest.
Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, Usher, Samuel L. Jackson, Halle Berry and others all helped Perry with the christening. The 330-acre studio once served as a Confederate army base.
Winfrey praised Perry and told The Associated Press the new studio head is a force to be reckoned with.
Tyler Perry Studios has 12 soundstages, each named after seminal black actors and actresses.
IRISH EYES ON ESPN’S ‘GAMEDAY,’ WITH 2020 GAME IN DUBLIN
ESPN’s “College GameDay” will begin the 2020 season in Dublin, where Navy will play Notre Dame.
The trip outside the United State will be the first for the show since it started going to games sites in 1993. ESPN announced it would take the show to Ireland during Saturday’s episode of “GameDay” from Gainesville, Florida as part of the network’s new deal with the American Athletic Conference.
Notre Dame-Navy is one of the oldest rivalries in college football. Next year’s game will be the 94th since 1927. The Midshipmen and Fighting Irish will play Saturday, Aug. 29, at Aviva Stadium.
“GameDay” will start at 11 a.m. EDT, three hours before kickoff on ESPN.
Navy and Notre Dame last played in Dublin in 1996 and 2012.