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The director of HBO's Andre the Giant documentary explains how he debunked some major myths and got Vince McMahon to cry


Andre The Giant WWE

The director Jason Hehir spent over a year doing the ultimate deep dive into the life of the legendary professional wrestler Andre the Giant to separate the man from the myth for his HBO documentary, "Andre the Giant."

The journey took Hehir all over the globe and face-to-face with some of the biggest names in wrestling.

Business Insider talked to Hehir to break down some of the biggest revelations, talk  about his emotional encounter with Vince McMahon, and ask why the Samuel Beckett story isn't in the movie.

SEE ALSO: The 32 movies coming out this summer you can't miss

Finding Andre's real hometown.

Until the day "Andre the Giant" aired on HBO, the wrestler's Wikipedia page stated that he was born and raised in Grenoble, France. Like most of the world, whoever contributed that piece to his Wikipedia page thought the hometown given during his introduction to the ring was the truth. But that was just one of many inaccuracies about Andre Roussimoff.

Hehir discovered that Andre was born in Moliens, a small village of 40 people 6 miles outside Paris. The wrestling backstory of Andre's coming from Grenoble was created early in his wrestling career when he was touted by promoters as a friendly lumberjack found in the mountains.

"The most recognizable town in the Alps to a North American audience was Grenoble because they hosted the Olympics," Hehir said.

Once Andre's real hometown was discovered, Hehir and his crew traveled to Moliens with a few pictures of Andre with family friends.

"We literally went door-to-door and just walked the streets of that village showing these photos to people via a translator, because the people there spoke zero English," Hehir said.

They also found Andre's two brothers. One let Hehir and his crew into the family's home where Andre grew up, and there they found a treasure trove of old photos and wrestling memorabilia of Andre's that had never been seen by the public. They also filmed the giant chair for Andre in the kitchen, which is featured in the documentary. Andre's mother had it specifically made for him.

"Andre the Giant is a mythical character, but Andre Roussimoff is a mother's son, and she wanted him to be comfortable when he came home," Hehir said. "She had that made for him. He was still her baby though he could barely fit through the door."

Vince McMahon's emotional recollection of Andre.

One of the most shocking moments of the documentary is toward the end when the WWE owner Vince McMahon begins to choke up and hold back tears during an interview in which he discusses how much Andre meant to him and his company (despite the two having a falling out at the end of Andre's career).

Hehir said that wasn't the first time McMahon, known for his tough-guy swagger, showed a softer side in front of him.

"He got emotional when no cameras were there," Hehir said. "The first meeting I had with him I mentioned that Andre had a really close relationship with his daughter, and he got pretty emotional there."

Hehir said McMahon agreed to a 45-minute interview for the movie, with Hehir allowed to come back later in production to shoot any follow-ups. The 45-minute shoot turned into a three-hour interview.

McMahon getting emotional on camera was hard to film, Hehir said.

"Vince seemed to be trying to keep it together, and as an interviewer it's excruciating because your instinct is to turn the camera off," he said. "But you have a responsibility to the viewer to let them experience this feeling vicariously through the person who knows the subject well, so we included that in the film."

That was really Hulk Hogan's handwriting on the choreographed outline of his WrestleMania III match with Andre.

For wrestling die-hards, the recollections by Hulk Hogan of the lead-up to his match with Andre at WrestleMania III are something special. One great detail is his explaining how he wrote out the entire match on a yellow legal pad McMahon gave him when McMahon asked the wrestler how he thought the match should go down. Hogan scripted the entire match — but left how it would end empty for Andre to decide. Andre didn't reveal the ending until during the match, according to Hogan.

In the movie, while Hogan is telling the story, there are shots of yellow legal-pad sheets with handwriting on them. Hehir said that was really Hogan's handwriting of the match.

"That yellow legal pad is crucial to the telling of that story," he said. "But that has been long crumbled and thrown into the trash. Probably the night of the event. So for months I tried to get Hogan to re-create to the best of his recollection what he wrote down."

Hehir interviewed Hogan for the movie in April of last year. He said he finally got the pages from Hogan in the middle of December on the final day they could possibly get it in the movie before handing a finished version over to HBO.

"When we got it you could feel your heart beat opening the envelope," Hehir said. "I told Hogan even if he could write a few lines, we could shoot them really tight. He ended up writing all those pages you see in the shot — two single-spaced pages. And he wrote it as if he was in the moment, so if you freeze-frame it, you can see it says something like, 'Don't let Andre see this.'"

"Any of us could have written those pages and no one would know whose handwriting it was," Hehir continued. "But I just thought it would be a cool wink to people who do know this world that they would recognize Hogan's handwriting."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Rock's 'Rampage' beats out 'A Quiet Place' to top the box office — and does even better overseas (TWX)


Rampage Warner Bros

  • "Rampage" wins the domestic box office with an estimated $34.5 million.
  • A big reason for that is because of the movie's star, Dwayne Johnson, who is one of the few actors in today's Hollywood who bring audiences to the theaters. 
  • And he draws even bigger bucks overseas. In China alone the movie took in $55 million.
  • "A Quiet Place" earned a solid second place finish putting its total domestic earnings to $99.6 million (it was made for $17 million).

Dwayne Johnson proved this weekend that he really is bulletproof.

There's no question that The Rock is the biggest action star in the world, but he proved this weekend with Warner Bros.'s "Rampage," an adaptation of the popular 1980s video game, that if his name is on the project people are going to run to the theater to see it — a lot of people.

Despite the movie sporting a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and last weekend's box office hit, "A Quiet Place," looking to have a strong second weekend in theaters, the Johnson brand went into overdrive leading to "Rampage" winning the weekend at the box office with an estimated $34.5 million, according to boxofficepro.

Johnson (who in a rare occurrence was not on set of another movie while his latest is in theaters) spent Saturday surprising audiences at an AMC theater in Burbank, California and he's been posting video messages on his Instagram reminding his fans to go out and catch the movie.

rampageThat led to "Rampage" taking in $13.8 million on Saturday, a 20% hike from its $11.5 million on Friday.

But where Johnson really flexed his muscles is overseas.

"Rampage" opened in 61 markets abroad and is doing strong across the globe, but especially in China. The second-largest movie market in the world is constantly a major focus by Hollywood because of its incredible growth over the last decade, and this weekend proved that they love Dwayne Johnson over there as the movie took in $55 million its opening weekend in the Middle Kingdom when the estimates come in.

"A Quiet Place" had a strong second place finish with $32.6 million. The surprise horror hit for Paramount saw a minuscule 35% decrease in sales from its $50 million opening weekend. The movie, made for $17 million, now has a total domestic gross of $99.6 million.

SEE ALSO: The 32 movies coming out this summer you can't miss

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Hollywood insiders are split on whether Netflix's war with Cannes will hurt its business (NFLX)


Ted Sarandos Cannes AP

  • Netflix has pulled its titles from playing at this year's Cannes Film Festival following a rule change.
  • The industry has conflicting thoughts on this latest bold move from the streaming giant.

Since Netflix began releasing its own movies, it’s disrupted the industry by going against decades-old exclusivity agreements with exhibitors. It's also used film festivals as a platform for its titles, putting them on the site soon after they screen, and not giving them a run in theaters before streaming.

The latter is what got the exhibitor community in France angry last year when the renowned Cannes Film Festival showed two Netflix films in competition. It led to a rule change going into this year that no movie could be shown in competition if it had no plans for a theatrical release in France.

Last week, Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos fired back, announcing that the company would not screen any of its titles at this year’s Cannes Film Festival due to the rule change. This has sparked directors, producers, and even the Cannes head programmer Thierry Fremaux to ask Netflix to reconsider.

Some in the industry are even wondering if the streaming giant has finally crossed the line.

“Fundamentally, I believe Netflix does not see value in the existing domestic film community infrastructure to audiences, but they seem to want the credibility that this infrastructure lends to their prestige projects without having to fully participate in the community,” a veteran film festival director told Business Insider. “This is clear in the current Cannes dispute.”

And if it’s perceived Netflix has a lack of interest in the film community, will this make filmmakers think twice about working with them?

The Olther Side of the Wind NetflixProducer Filip Jan Rymsza, who had been toiling for years to get Orson Welles final movie “The Other Side of the Wind” to audiences, admitted that if it weren't for Netflix that dream would never have become a reality (it will be available on the site later this year). But the movie’s coming-out party was to be this year’s Cannes (where Welles was beloved), and with the ban he said that the appreciation he had for Netflix’s deep pockets didn't “lessen my disappointment and heartbreak.

And there are plenty of other filmmakers who have said that if it weren't for Netflix, their movies would not have been made — from Duncan Jones (“Mute") to Martin Scorsese (his upcoming “The Irishman”).

But it’s uncertain if the latest move by Netflix will lose them future talent.

“In some sense it becomes a question of ego versus practicality,” one producer told Business Insider. “The money will still be there aside from the prestige.”

“I think it’s overblown, I don’t think it’ll have a huge effect on filmmakers,” another industry insider said. “It would really affect business if it were a Sundance ban.”

This brings the question: Why does Netflix need any film festivals? It might be that despite the company’s constant boasting about trailblazing a new path for moviegoers and filmmakers, Netflix still wants to be respected by the industry. And part of the reason for that could be because film festival prestige can please shareholders.

“The Monday after ‘Icarus’ won the Oscar, Netflix’s stock popped,” a festival veteran noted. “So the value of participating in the film community and playing by community rules might just make economic sense for them.”

As Cannes is mostly made up of established filmmakers who are at their peak, or are legends in business, for filmmakers just getting their break Netflix is a godsend and all of this Cannes ban talk is just noise.

Ryan Koo, whose debut feature “Amateur” is a Netflix original that recently went live on the site, believes the company is giving opportunities to filmmakers like himself that were never possible before. This means not just financing his work, but also making it available to millions worldwide instantly.

“For film to survive and thrive, we need to be more inclusive and expand the definition of what a movie is, not restrict it and be more precious by saying ‘only these films are eligible for awards or competition,’” Koo told Business Insider. “Everyone in the industry knows that there is no difference in the way a theatrical film is made versus a streaming one. In many cases, during production, you don't even know who's going to pick it up and how it's going to come out. You're simply making a movie. And everyone in the real world — actual human beings who enjoy watching movies — don’t care about any of this. A movie is a movie is a movie.”

SEE ALSO: The mystery behind why a beatiful movie theater in the town created by Disney World has been closed for almost a decade

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How The Rock conquered the China box office and proved he's the biggest movie star on the planet (TWX)


Rampage 3 Warner Bros

  • With its $55 million opening weekend take in China, Dwayne Johnson's latest movie, "Rampage," proved that the star is one of the few actors who can bring in major coin across the world.
  • But his dominance in China, the second-largest movie market in the world, has been years in the making.

For many studio heads these days, glancing at how their latest movie did in China is in some ways more important than how it did in North America. That’s because things are changing drastically for an industry where the domestic box office has been considered the true indicator of a movie’s worth for over a century.

Since the early 2000s, the movie industry in China has gone from almost non-existent to the second-largest market in the world. And by 2020 it could surpass the US to become number one, as movie theaters continue to be built at a hurried pace to feed the interest of not just the Hollywood titles, but the country’s burgeoning homegrown production industry.

Everyone in Hollywood is trying to figure out how to navigate this sea change. What stories work best? Which are complete duds? And which movie stars can rake in the cash?

That last one has become an easy answer: Dwayne Johnson.

His latest CGI (and testosterone) heavy blockbuster, “Rampage,” won the US box office over the weekend with a $34.5 million take for its studio Warner Bros. But what the movie did in China has the studio ecstatic, as it took in $55 million to go along with its $114.1 million international gross.

But this is far from an overnight success. The Rock has been big in China for a while.

Dominance years in the making

Johnson’s elevation to a global box office draw came when he joined the “Fast and Furious” franchise with 2011’s “Fast Five.” But the potential of his worth in China came with the success of “Furious 7” in 2015.

In 2013, “Fast & Furious 6” became the first-ever movie in the Universal franchise to play in China (though there were undoubtedly years worth of bootlegs of the previous movies floating around the country). It took in a respectable $66.5 million there. But when “Furious 7” played there in 2015, it went gangbusters, taking in a $391 million total in China. A few months later, Johnson proved he didn’t need the “Fast” fam to make it in China, as “San Andreas” opened there and went on to earn $103.2 million.

fate of the furious the rockThe next movie with Johnson in it that went to China was 2016’s “Moana” ($32.7 million), and then in 2017 “The Fate of the Furious” once more found incredible success there with a $392.8 million total, going on to help the movie earn a $1.2 billion worldwide total.

With audiences in China already getting a glimpse of Johnson this year with “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” when the movie opened there in January ($78 million), the $55 million “Rampage” opening proves it doesn’t matter if he’s with an ensemble or solo: They want to see Dwayne Johnson.

"Johnson continues to prove that he is the most bankable star in the world with his growing global appeal,” comScore box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Business Insider. “It's hard to imagine any other star who could have catapulted 'Rampage' to a nearly $150 million worldwide debut.”

But in an indication of just how important China is, The Rock made sure to spend some time there before “Rampage” opened.

Mr. Johnson goes to Shanghai

It’s pretty standard to tour the globe for publicity on a major Hollywood release, but when you’re a huge star like Dwayne Johnson, the hustle can be narrowed down to some key regions. And Warner Bros. made sure one of Johnson’s stops was in China.

Johnson went on a promotional tour in Shanghai for “Rampage,” the first time he ever visited the country’s largest city, a studio source told Business Insider.

And the way he was treated, he's certain to return.

The movie’s press conference in the city was live-streamed through multiple partners across the country, there was a fan screening in Shanghai’s biggest theater, and Johnson extended his likability across all ages after he befriended three kids who were dressed as the three monsters from the movie during the press conference (the movie is based on a popular video game in which giant monsters destroy cities).

“Dwayne, or ‘Johnson’ as they call him in China, was in great spirits and charmed all of the audiences with his signature enthusiasm and humor,” said the source.

Along with the $55 million opening weekend, "Rampage" took in $15.7 million its opening day in China, the third-highest opening day ever for a Warner Bros. movie in the country.

"Dwayne Johnson and giant monsters — that’s the perfect recipe for a hit in China these days," Jeff Bock, senior analyst for Exhibitor Relations, told Business Insider. "In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that was the tipping point for 'Rampage' getting greenlit in the first place."

In an era when the mega movie stars are considered less of a draw than a good superhero movie with "regular" stars, Johnson is proving he's an exception to the current trend. He's already a household name in the US and he's ahead of most stars in conquering China.

SEE ALSO: All the Marvel Cinematic Universe details you need to remeber before seeing "Avengers: Infinity War"

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos just put your weekend to shame — and it includes a shoutout from The Rock


amazon jeff bezos matt damon chris hemsworth

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had a fun weekend, which he documented on Twitter.
  • Bezos' festivities included making pancakes with singer Ciara and her husband Russell Wilson, going to the movies, and tweeting with The Rock.

Even the CEO of one of the most valuable tech companies in the world needs to let his invisible hair down every once in awhile.

This past weekend, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made pancakes with singer Ciara and her husband Russell Wilson, the quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks.

The reason for the breakfast shindig is still unclear: Business proposition or just a bonding of breakfast lovers?

Bezos also took his kids to see Rampage, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's latest action flick, and snapped a photo of his best impression of the wrestler-turned-actor.

Smolder = The Rock-approved.

As you can see, Bezos (and his recent Twitter game) reminds us that he is, in fact, a regular joe. Just another regular joe, with a net worth of $119 billion. 

SEE ALSO: A day in the life of the richest person in history, Jeff Bezos — who made $6.44 billion in one day and still washes the dishes after dinner

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11 movies everyone needs to watch this spring


spring movie preview

Technically, the first blockbuster of the summer is "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom."

But in reality, blockbuster season has inched earlier and earlier every year. This spring will see the release of "Avengers: Infinity War,""Solo: A Star Wars Story,""Ocean's 8," and "Incredibles 2"— which are all but guaranteed to be among the biggest movies of the year.

Also scheduled are smaller thrillers, comedies, and documentaries that promise to be hits, like "Breaking In,""Life of the Party," and "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

There's a lot to look forward to this spring. Here are 11 movies you need to watch.

All of our favorite Marvel superheroes will team up in "Avengers: Infinity War."

What it's about: For a decade now, Marvel has methodically built separate storytelling strands with different Avengers superheroes on Earth as well as a few galactic guardians in space.

As Thanos, the grand villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, seeks the infinity stones, the storylines converge into one great war against him. This is the movie Marvel fans have been waiting for.

Release date: May 4

Watch the trailer here.

Charlize Theron gives a darkly funny performance as a mother in "Tully."

What it's about: "Tully"— a caustic comedy directed by Jason Reitman, who made "Up in the Air" and "Juno"— was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, particularly for its performances by Theron, as a struggling mother of three children, and Mackenzie Davis, who plays a nanny she receives as a gift.

Release date: May 4

Watch the trailer here.

Gabrielle Union stars in the home invasion revenge thriller "Breaking In."

What it's about: When four criminals break into a mother's home to steal her money and threaten her kids, she fights right back.

Release date: May 11

Watch the trailer here.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

14 movies playing at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival that should be on your radar


tully focus features

Beginning on Wednesday, the Tribeca Film Festival kicks off another year of spotlighting fascinating movies, TV shows, and the latest projects from the world of virtual reality.

That isn't even mentioning the anniversary screenings of treasured classics like “Schindler’s List" and “Scarface,” accompanied by talks with the legends behind the works.

But not everyone can make it to New York City to take in all the fun. Here are 14 movies showing at the fest that you should seek out when they are eventually released in theaters and streaming.

SEE ALSO: "Westworld" season 2 is even better than the first and transcends the last sci-fi tropes holding it back

“The American Meme”

This documentary looks at the people who are famous for being famous — Paris Hilton, The Fat Jew, Emily Ratajkowski, among others — and dissects what you really have to do to become a social media brand. [Seeking distribution]


Following up his best foreign film Oscar for “A Fantastic Woman,” Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio gives us the story of a taboo romance set in North London’s Orthodox Jewish community, starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams. [Released by Bleecker Street on April 27]

“The Fourth Estate”

Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Liz Garbus (“What Happened, Miss Simone?”) looks at the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency from inside one of the papers he criticizes the most: The New York Times. [Airing on Showtime May 27]

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

SLOW BURN: The 13 movies that took the longest time to make $100 million at the box office


pulp fiction

Most record-setting blockbuster films reach nine-figure grosses by getting off to a hot start, as Marvel's "Black Panther" did at the start of this year.

But many other films, like Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction," have instead raked in money on a slow burn. 

To find out which movies took the most time to reach the nine-figure mark at the domestic box office, we turned to Box Office Mojo for its ranking on the subject.

Here are the 13 movies that took the longest to reach $100 million at the US box office, ranked by the number of days they took:

SEE ALSO: The 10 highest-grossing movies of all time

13. "Die Hard: With A Vengeance" (1995) — 143 days

Days to $100 million: 143

Domestic gross: $100,012,499

Global gross: $366,101,666

12. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (2002) — 148 days

Days to $100 million: 148

Domestic gross: $241,438,208

Global gross: $368,744,044

11. "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989) — 150 days

Days to $100 million: 150

Domestic gross: $106,593,296

Global gross: $145,793,296

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

How America's sweetheart Jennifer Garner went from small town girl to Hollywood badass


Jennifer Garner 2018 Oscars

Jennifer Garner has come a long way since her days on ABC's "Alias."

Since she was a teenager, Garner has been steadily climbing her way to A-list status. For years, she's starred in movies and shows that prove her flexibility as an actress, from roles in comedies to those in dramas. She's also a Golden Globe winner, mother of three, activist, and a viral meme.  

In honor of Garner's 46th birthday, keep reading to learn all about her life and career thus far — from her childhood in West Virginia to her stardom in Hollywood.

April 17, 1972: Jennifer Garner was born in Houston, Texas. She grew up in Charleston, West Virginia.

Garner is one of three daughters (she's the middle child), and credits her demeanor to her upbringing. 

"I feel so fortunate to have grown up in a place where people look out for each other,"Garner told Southern Living in 2015. "Community is the one thing people crave most, and it's hard to come by. I grew up with such an excess of it that now wherever I go, the first thing I do is build my group."

Before becoming an actress, Garner's jobs included babysitting, working at a men's clothing store, and "building sets and cleaning toilets" at a theater. 





Garner started landing acting roles when she was a teenager.

She had roles on TV shows like "Law and Order,""Significant Others," and "Time of Your Life." 

In October 2000, Garner married Scott Foley — who she met on the set of the TV show "Felicity."

Unfortunately, their marriage didn't last too long.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

9 groups of famous friends who keep gracing the screen together


Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Rachel Dratch

As much as we may love our co-workers, sometimes it would be nice if we could just work with our best friends. Well, if you're an actor whose best friends are also actors, you can easily make that happen.

Have you ever noticed some actors seem to always appear in movies together? Well, that doesn't happen on accident. Hollywood is full of groups of friends that, luckily for us, keep working together and bringing their real-life chemistry to the big screen.

Here are 8 famous squads that keep gracing the screen together.

Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Paul Rudd, and Jonah Hill

This friendship started when Seth Rogen and Jason Segel first met on the set of the short-lived, Judd Apatow-produced "Freaks and Geeks." The show may have only had one season, but it created an acting squad that would stand the test of time.

Other key players have been added to the group over the years, including Jay Baruchel and Jonah Hill, who played a fictionalized version of Rogen in the 2007 film "Superbad" and Paul Rudd who appeared in "Knocked Up" and "This is 40." Other notable films from this squad include "Knocked Up,""Pineapple Express,""This Is the End,""Forgetting Sarah Marshall."

Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey

This group of best friends and former-"Saturday Night Live" cast members have collectively been in nine projects together, despite the four of them never appearing on-screen at the same time. The group often splits two sub-groups — Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who starred in "Sisters,""Baby Mama,""Mean Girls," and "Anchorman 2" together, and Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, who appeared in "MacGruber,""Bridesmaids,""Friends with Kids," and "Big Mouth" together. "Sisters" also featured a performance with Rachel Dratch who had recurring roles in "30 Rock" with Fey and "Parks and Recreation" with Pohler. While the ladies often cameo in each other's projects, we're still waiting on the comedy queens to join forces on a film.

The Wes Anderson Squad

Wes Anderson has made nine feature-length films, he's used the same actors for most of them. Bill Murray leads the way with eight appearances, and Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman aren't far behind with six and five appearances respectively.

Other Anderson squad members include Luke Wilson, Adrian Brody, Willem Dafoe, Scarlett Johansson, and Anjelica Huston, among others. Anderson continued this casting habit with his newest animated film "Isle of Dogs," which brings back Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, and Anjelica Huston.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Stormy Daniels just released a sketch of the man she said threatened her in 2011 — and the internet is torn over whether it looks more like Tom Brady or Willem Dafoe


The Stormy Daniels sketch

  • The porn star Stormy Daniels on Tuesday released a sketch of a man she said threatened her in a parking lot in 2011.
  • The internet quickly began identifying celebrities who seemed to bear a resemblance to the man.
  • There was disagreement. Some said Tom Brady; others said Willem Dafoe.

The porn star Stormy Daniels took to ABC's "The View" on Tuesday with her attorney, Michael Avenatti, and released a sketch of the man she says threatened her in a parking lot in 2011 to keep quiet about an affair she says she had with Donald Trump years earlier.

The internet quickly jumped on the sketch, questioning whether the man looked more like New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady — who has ties to Trump — or the actor Willem Dafoe.

Brady seemed to be a favorite pick:

Others were sure the man depicted looked like Dafoe:

Some presented both sides:

Daniels first mentioned the threat during a "60 Minutes" interview on CBS last month. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said a man approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 weeks after she agreed to tell a sister publication of In Touch magazine about what she has said was a yearlong affair with Trump that started at a Lake Tahoe celebrity golf tournament in 2006.

The story did not run because Michael Cohen, Trump's longtime personal lawyer, threatened to sue the publication, though it was published earlier this year after reports indicated Cohen facilitated a $130,000 payment to Daniels just before the 2016 presidential election.

Daniels said the man who approached her in Las Vegas told her: "Leave Trump alone. Forget the story."

She said he leaned in, looked at her infant daughter, and said: "That's a beautiful little girl — it'd be a shame if something happened to her mom."

Daniels said she took the comment as a direct threat. She never saw the man again but said she would "100%" be able to recognize him if she did. She said she did not report the incident to the police because she was scared.

SEE ALSO: Stormy Daniels' lawyer gives ominous warning to Michael Cohen's associates: 'Anyone that had any contact with this man in the last 20 years should be very concerned'

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MoviePass' auditor says there's 'substantial doubt' about its ability to stay in business — as it reports a $150.8 million loss (HMNY)


moviepass business insider

  • MoviePass' owner, Helios & Matheson Analytics, has filed its 10-K to the SEC and reported a loss of $150.8 million last year.
  • The company's independent auditor states in the filing that it has "substantial doubt" about its ability to stay in business.
  • Helios & Matheson CEO Ted Farnsworth emphasized that $110 million of the $150 million loss is non-cash.


Ever since MoviePass drastically cut its price last summer, people in the movie industry have wondered how it will stay afloat financially. Its auditors have the same question.

MoviePass owner, Helios & Matheson Analytics, faces "substantial doubt" about its ability stay in business — as the company continues to burn through cash — its auditor said on Tuesday in the company's long-awaited annual report. 

The auditor, Rosenberg Rich Baker Berman & Co., wrote that the company had "suffered recurring losses from operations and negative cash flows from operating activities," adding that this gives it "substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern."

Shares of Helios & Matheson were lower on Tuesday after earlier rising as much as 10%. The annual report filing had been delayed, concerning some analysts.

Helios & Matheson CEO Ted Farnsworth downplayed the significance of the "going concern" warning to Business Insider, saying such a warning was in "pretty much most" 10-K filings when a company is running at a loss. "If they don't raise money, they could go out of business," he continued.

Such statements, though, aren't triggered by a company's profits or losses. Instead, they reflect the auditors view on how viable a company is in the year forward. 

MoviePass has warned investors that it needs to be able to raise funds to continue growing. "Our ability to continue as a going concern will be determined by our ability to obtain additional funding in the short term to enable us to continue the development and integration of our MoviePass business," it says in the report.

Since MoviePass dropped its subscription price to $9.95 a month last summer, which allows members to see one movie per day in theaters, it has shaken up the industry. It has attracted millions of new subscribers, but many have questioned how it will continue to sustain itself financially given that it's paying most theaters full price for movie tickets.

The company recently told Variety that MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe and Farnsworth had, since last summer, together raised $280 million and secured a $375 million line of credit to fund the business.

Continuing to spend

Helios & Matheson reported a loss of $150.8 million for last year, "primarily due to the acquisition of MoviePass," according to the filing. That's compared with a loss of $7.4 million in 2016. 

Farnsworth emphasized to Business Insider that the $150.8 million wasn't an entire cash loss for the company.

"Out of the $150 million, basically $110 million is all non-cash — derivative accounting," Farnsworth told Business Insider Tuesday. "The gross loss is only $10 million cash."

MoviePass is continuing to spend. The company acquired Moviefone from Verizon in early April, reportedly paying Verizon $23 million for the movie-ticket site — $1 million in cash and a mix of Helios & Matheson stock and warrants worth about $22 million.

Farnsworth said he will continue to fund MoviePass through Helios & Matheson and that the plan is to use Moviefone as an ad sales source for MoviePass.

"I'm the biggest fan because I see what's going on from the inside and what [MoviePass CEO] Mitch [Lowe] is creating here," he said.

SEE ALSO: 14 movies playing at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival that should be on your radar

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Amy Schumer's new movie 'I Feel Pretty' hasn't even been released yet — and people already hate it


amy schumer i feel pretty

  • Amy Schumer has a new movie called "I Feel Pretty."
  • She plays a woman with low self-esteem who gets a bump to the head and believes she looks like a supermodel.
  • Critics say it's a bizarre premise, arguing that Schumer is neither fat nor ugly.
  • Schumer herself said the movie is more about dealing with low self-esteem than body image issues.


Amy Schumer's new movie "I Feel Pretty" won't be in theaters until Friday, but people are already rolling their eyes on it.

The main complaint people have is about the movie's premise. As shown in the trailer, Schumer plays a woman who believes she's big and ugly. After she hurts her head while exercising, she comes to believe she's extraordinarily attractive and then moves through her life with more confidence.

Critics of the premise say that Schumer — a young, blonde, white woman — isn't ugly in the first place, which makes the whole conceit bizarre. She hasn't earned the confidence of people who are concerned with how body image issues are portrayed in media or convinced them that "I Feel Pretty" will handle them well.

"To me, it reads like a big flashy sign saying, 'DO YOU LOOK LIKE AMY SCHUMER? YOU SHOULD HATE YOURSELF,'"Katie Stow wrote in Cosmopolitan. "Which, frankly, is insulting to anyone and everyone — from Amy herself all the way to women that are larger, less abled-bodied, less cis and less white."

On Twitter, people have expressed the same kind of puzzlement.

Although a few people view the movie's premise more broadly, seeing it as a larger message about self-acceptance.

Schumer is aware of the backlash to her movie. She thinks critics of the movie — who largely haven't seen it — don't understand the idea behind it. To her, "I Feel Pretty" isn't necessarily about body image issues. It's about overcoming low self-esteem.

"It’s not about an ugly troll becoming beautiful, it’s about a woman who has low self-esteem finding some,"Schumer told Vulture. "Everyone’s got a right to feel that feeling, regardless of their appearance. We all struggle with self-esteem."

But there are other reasons people are hating on the movie. Some  just don't think Amy Schumer is funny.

You'll be able to judge for yourself soon enough. "I Feel Pretty" will be released in theaters on Friday, April 20.

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Saudi Arabia just screened ‘Black Panther,’ its first movie in 35 years — but 40 seconds of it were censored


saudi cinema

  • Saudi Arabia screened Marvel blockbuster "Black Panther" on Wednesday night, the first film to be shown in more than three decades.  
  • But crucial scenes in the film were censored. 
  • Despite the lifting of a 35-year ban on cinemas, movies in Saudi Arabia can expect strong censorship, particularly around scenes which feature sex, LGBT representation, and religious issues. 
  • Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is making efforts to modernize the country and make its economy more competitive on the global stage.

Saudi Arabia screened Marvel blockbuster "Black Panther" on Wednesday night, marking the country's first film screening in more than three decades.  

The screening was praised by advocates as a milestone in Saudi's modernization efforts, but attendees were reminded of the country's conservative laws when crucial scenes in the film were censored for modesty. 

The film's regional distributor, Italia Film, told The Hollywood Reporter that 40 seconds of the film had been censored, which it said was on par with edits made for screenings of the film throughout the region. 

According to Associated Press, the ending scene which featured a kiss between characters was cut, despite scenes that depicted violence being left in.

Awwad Alawwad, Saudi's minister of culture and information, attended the Riyadh premiere and told Associated Press films screened in the country need to strike a balance for Saudi audiences.

"We want to ensure the movies are in line with our culture and respect for values. Meanwhile, we want to provide people with a beautiful show and really enjoy watching their own movies," he said.

Last year, Saudi Arabia announced movies chosen for screening couldn't contradict "Sharia Laws and moral values in the Kingdom."

 Variety noted in December that movies screened in Saudi Arabia can expect strong censorship, particularly around scenes which feature sex, LGBT representation, and religious issues. 

Mario Haddad Jr., a Middle East distributor for Empire International, told Variety that films shown in the region are usually cut shorter than their international releases.

Many major blockbusters, like 2009's "Watchmen", were heavily cut for Middle East audiences, which critics said led to the movie being "near incomprehensible.

Producers of the 2011 film "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" declined to show the movie in Gulf cinemas with the requested cuts, which prompted backlash.

"Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to make the cuts that were necessary for it to be screened," Piroska Szakacs from local distributors Empire International said at the time. "The filmmakers wouldn't allow it."

But Saudi Arabia's decision to lift the 35-year ban on cinemas points to major efforts by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to modernize the country and make its economy more competitive on the global stage.

Saudi Arabia plans to open about 350 cinemas and 2,500 screens by 2030.

The culture ministry believes this will generate $1 billion in box office spend each year, making it the 11th largest film market in the world. 

SEE ALSO: Saudi Arabia ended a 35-year ban on cinemas, pointing to the Crown Prince’s hopes for modernization

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Netflix's 'Amateur' director had to navigate real-life NCAA regulations in casting a 15 year old as a basketball star


Amateur_William Gray Netflix final

Director Ryan Koo got himself the golden ticket when his directorial debut “Amateur” was bought by Netflix in the script stage to be one of its original movies. But the journey the movie took to get to the streaming giant’s millions of viewers was a challenging one.

It’s a struggle to make every movie, but Koo can make the argument that he took on obstacles that most first-time filmmakers don’t.

In “Amateur” (currently available on Netflix) we get a look inside what young basketball phenoms go through to get the attention of a big-time Division I NCAA school. Main character 14-year-old Terron Forte is a star on his school basketball team, but to get to the next level his family enrolls him in a shady prep-school. In doing so, we see firsthand the corruption behind youth athletics where the kids no longer play for the coach, or to get into college, or even the NBA — they play for the brands.

To capture that authentic feel, Koo cast 15-year-old actor Michael Rainey Jr. in the role of Terron. And as he explained to Business Insider, what came with that decision were a lot of restrictions that, if navigated incorrectly, could have crippled the entire movie.

SEE ALSO: The director of HBO's Andre the Giant documentary explains how he debunked some major myths and got Vince McMahon to cry

The frustrations behind finding a lead actor

Koo said a big reason why it took years for “Amateur” to get made was because of his insistence on having a real teen for the lead role.

Not only would that mean that there would be production restrictions laid on him because he was working with a minor (more on that below), but he would have to find a kid who wasn’t just skilled at basketball, but had top acting skills to carry a feature film.

“In basketball films you are working with an actor who probably had to learn how to play the sport for the role rather than come from a starting point of being a great basketball player themselves,” Koo said. “So I always assumed I was going to need to cast a basketball player who had never acted before.”

The problem Koo found in his research is a skilled high school basketball player could potentially play in college. If he were to pay that person for being in the movie that person would lose his eligibility to play basketball in college, according to the rules by the NCAA which does not allow its student athletes to be paid.

“You're talking about a weeks-long movie shoot as a full time job, which you can't pay your lead actor,” Koo said. “So we were on the phone with the NCAA a few times about this to try to figure out what we could and couldn't do and who we could cast.”

Eventually Koo got extremely lucky and found an actor who had been a talented basketball player for years.

Michael Rainey Jr. had been a working actor since 8 years old, starring along side Common in the 2012 movie “Luv” and the son of Sophia Burset in “Orange is the New Black.” But Koo learned that he had also played basketball as well, even running point on an AAU team.

Rainey got the part and Koo teamed him with a basketball trainer to hone the moves he would show off in the movie.

But things didn’t get easier for Koo going into production.

The crew’s worst nightmare: Shooting a movie in “splits”

It’s a term that gives movie crews the chills — splits. That’s when a production’s shooting day is split up between a daytime block and a night block. The “Amateur” production had to do this because it was shooting a movie with a minor, so he could only work 8-and-a-half hours per day with production required to stop at 12:30 am. And because high-school basketball games are played in the evening, there would be a lot of evening scenes.

“That gives you very little flexibility to swap things,” Koo said. “You have to make the first half of your day because you're racing daylight, and we had a hard out every night at 12:30.”

So most days would start with the production getting set up at noon on its Denver set, Rainey would show up on set at 3 p.m. and they would immediately begin shooting. They would break for lunch at 8 p.m., wait until it got dark, and then shoot the evening scenes until Rainey had to wrap at 12:30.

And because Koo and his production were racing the clock daily, the “Amateur” production never had a company move (meaning packing everything up and moving to another location). That's a rarity for any movie.

“We had no time,” Koo said. “So what we ended up doing was finding locations that we could use for many locations. In the movie it looks like Terron goes from this less well-off public school to a much nicer, posh private school. There's one school I used for at least four schools. In the gym we did painting and made it into different colors to make it look like they played in different gyms.”

A 15 year old’s remarkable poise during the drama to get the movie’s final shot

“Amateur” ends with a powerful scene where Terron breaks down and cries after thinking back on the experience he’s just gone through and what the future may bring.

For the scene, Koo wanted Rainey to show real emotion and not have him do it with fake tears. Rainey was up for it, and everyone was set up to start the scene once he gave the sign to Koo that he was ready. Koo said all was going according to plan and he thought the scene was perfect when he said “cut.” However, there was one problem.

“Our cameras didn’t work,” he said.

They tried another take, and again, the cameras didn’t work. Though Koo said both he and Rainey were upset about what was happening, the director commends his young lead actor’s composure.

“We got it on the third take,” Koo said.

Looking back Koo can’t believe they pulled it off with all the restrictions against them. But he admits he would absolutely work with a teen as the lead in his movie again.

“There is no substitute for the very real, very unique, emotions of youth,” he said. “I think that's why audiences respond to coming-of-age stories — we are aware, especially later in life, of how fleeting those moments were. We'll never be the same age again and we'll never get those feelings back. When I look at Michael in the film I feel privileged to have captured, and preserved, those emotions on-screen.”

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Amy Schumer explains why she didn't want to be retouched in her new movie: 'You see my cellulite'


Amy Schumer I Feel Pretty red carpet premiere Getty Images

  • Amy Schumer stars as a woman named Renee in the new movie "I Feel Pretty."
  • Renee acquires newfound confidence in her appearance after suffering a head injury.
  • On "CBS This Morning," Schumer said she refused to be retouched in the film.
  • "I said, 'Do not retouch me in this movie. Do not retouch anything," Schumer explained.
  • The movie is meant to send a positive message to people about loving themselves.
  • "You see my cellulite. You see my, my rolls, whatever … I feel great. And I just want [other people to feel good about themselves."


Amy Schumer stars in the new comedy "I Feel Pretty," which tells the story of a woman named Renee who magically gains confidence in her appearance after suffering a head injury. In a an interview with Gayle King on "CBS This Morning" Thursday, Schumer said she turned down any retouching on her body during post-production of the movie.

"I said, 'Do not retouch me in this movie. Do not retouch anything,'" Schumer said.

Renee bikini contest Amy Schumer I Feel Pretty movie trailer STX

"You see my cellulite. You see my, my rolls, whatever," Schumer said. "It's like, I feel great. And I just want [other people] to feel good about themselves. And I think walking out of this movie you really do."

The movie's trailer alone sparked criticism of the plot. Some felt that it sent the opposite message and reinforced the idea that people needed to be thin in order to be "beautiful."

Schumer, aware of the backlash (despite the movie not being in theaters yet), says that isn't the moral of this story at all. She believe the story is about self-esteem as opposed to strictly body image. 

"In the scene after the head injury, the assumption is that the woman I see when I look in the mirror is skinny, but I'm just seeing my same self and perceiving my body as beautiful," Schumer told Vulture.

amy schumer i feel pretty

"She doesn't say, 'I'm so thin!'" Schumer said. "She just says that she's amazed by her jawline, and her boobs, and her a--. If anything, that sounds like a more voluptuous woman to me."

King and Schumer also discussed how rappers like Drake and Kendrick Lamar have promoted the celebration of all shapes of women in some of their song lyrics.

"Kendrick has that line [about how] he's tired of the Photoshop," Schumer said. "He wants cellulite, stretch marks. I'm, like, 'Well, here I am, Kendrick.'"

Watch the segment from "CBS This Morning" below. "I Feel Pretty" arrives in theaters this Friday. 

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Amy Schumer's new movie 'I Feel Pretty' has a 36% on Rotten Tomatoes and is projected to bomb at the box office


i feel pretty amy schumer

Critics are tearing apart the new Amy Schumer-led comedy "I Feel Pretty," after the film's trailer spurred an online backlash this week ahead of the movie's release on Friday. 

Schumer stars as the film's lead character, Renee, "a woman who struggles with feelings of deep insecurity and low self-esteem, that hold her back everyday, [and who] wakes from a brutal fall in an exercise class believing she is suddenly a supermodel," the film's website reads.

Written and directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, "I Feel Pretty"drew criticism on social media earlier this week over its trailer, which some argued appeared to promote a negative stance on issues of body image.

Schumer has since responded to the backlash in interviews with multiple outlets. She told Vulture that audiences should see the film before judging it by its trailer, and described how "I Feel Pretty" addresses issues of "low self-esteem."

"It's not about an ugly troll becoming beautiful, it's about a woman who has low self-esteem finding some," Schumer told Vulture. "Everyone's got a right to feel that feeling, regardless of their appearance."

But film critics appear to have not found much redeeming material in "I Feel Pretty." The film currently sits at a 36% "Rotten" rating on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. 

"I Feel Pretty" is also expected to open to a slow start in theaters this weekend. The Wrap projected that the film is set for opening of $13-15 million at the box office, well below the release of Schumer's 2015 film "Trainwreck," which opened with $30 million and went on to gross $140.7 million worldwide.

Here are a few of the harshest reviews of the film so far:

SEE ALSO: The 44 worst movies made by iconic directors — from Spielberg to Scorsese

"An honest-to-God fiasco. Virtually every single aspect of this rigidly unfunny comedy is botched, from the characters to the plot, the themes to the core message."

Inkoo Kang, The Wrap

"'I Feel Pretty' takes a talented comic and casts her in the worst possible light (and I don't mean that literally. She looks fine)."

Sara Stewart, The New York Post

"Ersatz and predictable, 'I Feel Pretty' just wanders in circles of amiable confusion, and the star never finds a groove that connects the two halves of Renee into one believable woman."

Ty Burr, Boston Globe

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

18 celebrity BFFs who have starred on screen together


tina fey amy poehler sisters

While many co-stars become close friends after working together, there's something extra special about two BFFs getting the opportunity to work together after years of friendship. The chemistry between two real-life besties cannot be replicated.

Which is why people showed up at the box office year after year to see Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller star alongside each other in a dozen different movies, or why "Friends" fans were delighted to see Jennifer Aniston appear on her IRL best friend Courteney Cox's show "Cougar Town."

Most recently, longtime BFFs Michelle Williams and Busy Phillips finally got to reunite on screen — 15 years after the last episode of "Dawson's Creek," which they both starred in, aired.

Keep reading to see 18 pairs of friends-turned-co-stars that will have you reaching for your phone to convince your best friend to start working with you.

Michelle Williams and Busy Phillips have been BFF goals since their "Dawson's Creek" days, and have finally reunited on screen in 2018's "I Feel Pretty."

Williams described their heartwarming friendship best when she told People "I'm so in love with her [Phillips]. She's proof that the love of your life does not have to be a man! That's the love of my life right there." Phillips is even godmother to Williams' daughter Matilda.

The two met on the set of "Dawson's Creek" in 2001 and have been inseparable ever since. Williams appeared on Phillip's sitcom "Cougar Town" in 2013, but since then their friendship has stayed confined to social media and red carpets — until now. "I Feel Pretty," their big screen debut as besties, hits screens on April 20.

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's bromance is one for the ages, spanning more than 30 years and six movies.

Affleck and Damon have been friends since they went to school in Boston together as kids. They came up together as actors, starring in "School Ties" and "Chasing Amy," before their big break came with "Good Will Hunting."

Even though the two have remained close friends, they've only appeared in two projects together in the 21 years since "Good Will Hunting;" they starred in "Dogma" and made a cameo appearance as themselves in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."

According to Damon, they're not opposed to working together again in the future. "I'd love to work with Ben," he said. "The problem with Ben is every time he directs a movie he gives himself the best role in it, so until he's willing to give up the best role to one of his friends we're not going to get on with it."

Julia Roberts and George Clooney met on the set of "Ocean's Eleven" and have been friends and regular co-stars since. They most recently appeared in 2016 thriller "Money Monster" together.

Clooney and Roberts met on the set of "Ocean's Eleven," in which they played husband and wife. Since then, the two have collaborated in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,""August: Osage County," which Roberts starred in and Clooney produced, and were reunited as co-stars and on-screen love interests in "Money Monster."

Clooney said of his BFF, "We've been really good friends for a really long time and I just adore her."

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