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All 37 Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson movies, ranked from worst to best


skyscraper the rock

It might surprise you, but Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wasn’t always the most bankable action star in the world.

There was a time when the pro-wrestler-turned-actor was trying to stay afloat doing sequels to bad franchises and playing the lead in straight-to-DVD movies.

Looking at Johnson’s filmography over the last 17 years is a testament to his hard work to elevate from playing the tough guy, and being known mainly for his WWE persona, into a worldwide movie star.

Leading up to Johnson’s latest blockbuster, “Skyscraper” (opening Friday), we look back on all his movies (even the ones where he makes cameos) and rank them from worst to best.

SEE ALSO: The Rock uses dizzying heights and dad strength in "Skyscraper" to give audiences a thrilling ride

37. “Jem and the Holograms” (2015)

Yes, The Rock is in “Jem and the Holograms.” The disastrous movie has a scene where big names like Chris Pratt and Alicia Keys say how much they love the band and Johnson is among them. Either he was doing this as a favor or someone involved with the movie really has something on The Rock.

36. “Longshot” (2001)

Yeah, we’ve never heard of this movie, either. But Johnson is in it for a split second playing a mugger. It was never released theatrically in the US, instead finding a home on the Disney Channel and DVD hoping to attract fans of Britney Spears and NSYNC, who also make cameos.

35. “Why Did I Get Married Too?” (2010)

Johnson has another blink-and-you’ll-miss-him cameo is this Tyler Perry movie. Johnson shows up at the very end of the movie as a dashing philanthropist who introduces himself to Janet Jackson’s character. The movie ends implying that sparks may be flying between the two. At this point in his career, Johnson was desperately trying to show Hollywood he could play more than just the tough guy.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Dwayne Johnson explains why he stopped going by 'The Rock,' then brought the nickname back


Dwayne Johnson The Rock

  • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson explains why he briefly dropped "The Rock" from his name, in a new interview for Jamie Foxx's digital series "Off Script."
  • "I reached a point in my career where I was tired of trying to be something I wasn't," Johnson said.

In the mid 2000s, when Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson moved from WWE wrestling into a full-time career as a Hollywood star, there was a brief period of time where Johnson dropped his wrestling moniker. 

Johnson explained why he nixed and subsequently returned to "The Rock" as a nickname in a new interview for Jamie Foxx's Grey Goose-sponsored digital series, "Off Script."

As Entertainment Weekly notes, Johnson dropped "The Rock" from his persona before the release of his 2005 movie "Southland Tales."

Johnson told Foxx that he wanted to quickly switch back to "The Rock" afterward. 

"I reached a point in my career where I was tired of trying to be something I wasn't," Johnson said of switching back to the nickname. "I was told at that time, 'Listen, you can't talk about wrestling. You can't go by The Rock. You can't be as big."

Johnson explained that his relationship with his fans — which he called "the most important relationship I have"— led him to see the light, and go by "The Rock" again.

"So finally I reached a point where I said, 'Alright, two things have to happen: I'm gonna surround myself with a different group of people, different management, and then I'm gonna make sure that I just gotta be me," he said.

Watch the clip below and catch the full interview at Grey Goose's website tomorrow:

SEE ALSO: All 37 Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson movies, ranked from worst to best

Join the conversation about this story »

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A fan noticed the subtle ways Disney fixed the animation in 'Christopher Robin' — see if you can spot the difference


Pooh Bear before and after photo Christopher Robin trailer Disney

  • Disney just released a new trailer for its live-action Winnie the Pooh movie, "Christopher Robin." 
  • Compared to the first teaser from March, the design for Pooh is starkly different.
  • The changes became clear after one person shared GIFs on Imgur of each version.
  • Pooh is now more saturated, and moves with a bouncy cheerfulness that was missing.
  • See comparisons of the scene in question below:

Disney's "Christopher Robin" is a reboot of the beloved Winnie the Pooh stories many grew up with as children. In the newest trailer, the familiar cheerful bear can be seen having an adventure with the grown-up Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) in London.

But one eagle-eyed fan noticed something new about Pooh. In the latest footage, the animation and coloring on Pooh has changed. First shared by SlashFilm's David Chen on Twitter, and the reported by Chris Evangelista for the site, the GIFs reveal Pooh's evolution since the first teaser trailer was revealed in March of this year.

We've made our own versions of the GIFs from the scene in question, where Pooh first surprises his old pal by saying "Christopher Robin!"

Here's how Pooh looked in the very first teaser trailer:

At the time, many film critics and fans alike on Twitter remarked that Pooh appeared colorless and almost creepy due to his small mouth and unmoving limbs.

But by the third trailer, released on Monday this week, Pooh was closer to the yellow and red bear many knew from the storybooks:

The change is subtle, but it's there. Pooh is more saturated, and the animation of his movement appears to have been completely changed to make him less stiff and more cuddly.

You can see all three versions of Pooh in this scene on Imgur where user LRidge first posted the different GIFS.

It's common for movie studios to make adjustments to footage, especially for CGI and coloring, between the time the first trailer for the film premieres and the actual movie debut. Sometimes whole scenes can get cut, or else are crafted intentionally for a trailer to throw off fans

Representatives for Disney didn't immediately respond to INSIDER's request for comment.

Watch the full new trailer for "Christopher Robin," arriving in theaters on August 3, below. 

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MoviePass says you'll be able to see Imax movies with your subscription by Labor Day (HMNY)


MoviePass card

  • MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe told Business Insider that subscribers would be able to order premium movies (like Imax and Real 3D) through the app by Labor Day.
  • Those movies will have an added charge of $2 to $5.
  • Lowe also said surge pricing would be introduced across the US by the end of July.

In the wake of MoviePass' launch of surge pricing, in which the movie-ticket subscription service charges $2 to $6 extra for popular movies on the weekends, there's now some news that subscribers are sure to find more favorable: You'll get to see Imax movies with MoviePass soon.

In a conversation with MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe on Wednesday, he told Business Insider that by Labor Day the app would allow subscribers to select, for $2 to $5, the option to see movies in premium formats like Imax or Real 3D.

Currently, MoviePass allows its subscribers to see only standard 2D movies.

"Imagine you're a customer and now you can go to what typically might be a $17 or $18 ticket for an extra $5?" Lowe told Business Insider. "That's going to be extremely valuable."

It's sure to be a welcome sight for subscribers living in major markets like New York or Los Angeles. In New York City, seeing a movie in Imax or Real 3D ranges from $20 to $24 a ticket, so MoviePass subscribers, who generally pay $10 a month, would be saving money even with an added price as high as $5.

Lowe also said a bring-a-friend option, which he said the company had been testing with its e-ticketing partners, would most likely be rolled out at the same time as the premium Imax pricing. The feature would allow subscribers to buy a second ticket when selecting their movie at the theater. Lowe added that if the friend you bring becomes a MoviePass subscriber within 24 hours of seeing the movie, you will receive a refund for that person's ticket on MoviePass.

This all comes on the heels of MoviePass' announcement of implementing peak pricing for popular movies. It was introduced for the first time in a handful of cities this past weekend and charges the MoviePass subscriber extra for seeing a movie the company deems popular at a specific showtime. Lowe said it would take effect for all US MoviePass subscribers by the end of July.

Each month, a subscriber is allowed to waive one peak fee.

Lowe suggested the best way to avoid the surge price was to see popular movies on weekdays.

"Our whole mission is to reenergize the occasional moviegoer, those people who were only going four or five times a year, now they are going nine, 10, 12 times a year with MoviePass," he said. "They will likely not have a surge pricing because every customer gets one free pass a month. If you go once a month, you won't pay a surge price. It's only if you go more than once and you happen to go to a film that may be within surge pricing on a given weekend. So if you see a movie on a Tuesday, the same film that on a Friday may be under peak pricing, you won't have that charge."

SEE ALSO: All 37 Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson movies, ranked from worst to best

Join the conversation about this story »

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Every movie The Rock has starred in, ranked by how much money they made at the US box office


Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is one of the highest-paid (and busiest) actors working today.

In 2017, he starred in three blockbusters: "Baywatch,""The Fate of the Furious," and "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle." And he raked in $65 million, second only to actor Mark Wahlberg.

Johnson has starred in at least one movie every year since his feature debut in 2001 in "The Mummy Returns"— an impressive accomplishment for the wrestler turned actor.

But how much have his movies made?

With "Skyscraper" coming to theaters this weekend, Business Insider ranked every movie Johnson has starred in by domestic box-office performance, adjusted for inflation — including April's "Rampage." We also included the original domestic gross and the original worldwide gross for comparison.

We excluded movies Johnson only has a cameo in or doesn't play a prominent role, like "Reno 911!: Miami." He also had a starring role in "Empire State," but it was a straight-to-DVD release.

Johnson has starred in box-office disappointments, but he's also been the face of blockbusters such as the "Fast and Furious" franchise and last year's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," which blew away expectations and has reached almost $1 billion worldwide.

Below is every movie Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has starred in, ranked by domestic box-office performance:

SEE ALSO: All 37 Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson movies, ranked from worst to best

30. "Southland Tales" (2007)

Adjusted domestic gross: $366,600

Original domestic gross: $275,380

Original worldwide gross: $374,743

29. "Faster" (2010)

Adjusted domestic gross: $26,586,400

Original domestic gross: $23,240,020

Original worldwide gross: $35,626,958

28. "Doom" (2005)

Adjusted domestic gross: $40,315,900

Original domestic gross: $28,212,337

Original worldwide gross: $55,987,321

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

From a 7-figure bidding war to last-minute reshoots: How The Rock's thrilling summer movie 'Skyscraper' was made


skyscraper the rock

  • "Skyscraper" is the second time director Rawson Marshall Thurber and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson have worked together, the first being the hit comedy "Central Intelligence."
  • Thurber explained to Business Insider how he worked with Johnson on "Skyscraper."
  • This included insight on the bidding war for the movie, and why the two felt the ending needed to be reshot.

The idea for “Skyscraper” came to director Rawson Marshall Thurber while editing his 2016 hit, “Central Intelligence.” The premise was simple: a guy has to get through a burning building full of terrorists to save his family. And looking at the screen in the editing suite, Thurber knew just the guy to play him.

“Skyscraper” marks the second time Dwayne Johnson and Thurber have worked together, but this is a very different project than “Central Intelligence,” an action comedy where The Rock and Kevin Hart throw out jokes while dodging bullets. This time, Thurber was looking for something different from his star.

Mixing “The Towering Inferno” with “Die Hard,” Thurber envisioned Johnson playing a man who is so determined to save his family that he will do insane things to save them, like jump off a crane hundreds of stories in the air, hold up a bridge on his own, and scale the outside of the building with just duct tape stuck to his hands.

Oh, and one other thing: “I told him, ‘You’re missing your left leg,’” Thurber recalled to Business Insider about his first talk with Johnson regarding the character. “And he just sat up in his chair and said, ‘I’m in,’ and we developed it together.”

Rawson Marshall Thurber Dwayne Johnson AP finalWhat they came up with is a thrilling edge-of-your-seat summer movie that follows former FBI agent Will Sawyer (Johnson) who, after a horrific blast that took his leg, has rebuilt his life as a family man and skyscraper security assessor. His latest job is assessing the 240-floor Hong Kong skyscraper, The Pearl — touted as the largest building in the world. Will, with his family along for the business trip — becoming the first-ever residents of The Pearl — runs into trouble when terrorists show up to take over the building. And that’s when Will has to go into poppa bear mode.

The idea quickly became one of the hottest projects in Hollywood when Thurber and Johnson began pitching it to studios in May of 2016. Besides having the biggest action star in the world attached to it, an added bonus was that Thurber set the movie in China, a region studios have become obsessed with as it's the fastest growing movie market in the world (and will surpass the US in the years to come as the biggest).

Needless to say, Thurber and Johnson were playing with house money.

“We went around town to 10 different buyers, and typically when you try to sell any pitch you get one, maybe two, offers, but on this one nine out of 10 places bid on it and the tenth didn't bid because it was already priced out of their range,” Thurber said, noting the production budget on the film was around $125 million.

The eventual winner was Universal and Legendary Entertainment, for a reported seven-figure deal. Along with both co-financing the project, Legendary has ties to the Middle Kingdom as it’s owned by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda, so the movie would definitely have top exposure there. Universal handled worldwide distribution.

But now Thurber was hit with a sudden jolt of panic: “You go into these rooms and you say here's my story and they say, ‘Great go make it,’ and then you kind of go, 'Oh s--t, I have to go make it!'”

What it’s like to work with The Rock

Thurber may be known for comedies like “Central Intelligence,” “We’re the Millers,” and “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” but he said he’d wanted to make an action movie since he was eight, when his mother took him to see “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” With Johnson as his wing man he finally could do it. And the biggest challenge was making sure audiences would understand that they weren’t walking into an action comedy. As Thurber put it, “You don’t want to stop and do dick jokes in a movie like this.”

However, he admitted at first he did write more jokes than you usually find in a disaster movie like "Skyscraper." They were supposed to be tension relievers.

“But in the editing process we tried moments of levity, more than jokes,” he said, realizing that “a little goes a long way” when it came to being lighthearted in this kind of movie.

He said what helped greatly in finding the right tone was the story-first attitude Johnson brought to the movie. Thurber had seen it in “Central Intelligence,” but it really stood out while making “Skyscraper.” It was never about Johnson's ego being stroked, or making sure a big speech of his, or a major scene, didn't get cut — all the star cared about was what was right for the story.

That was most evident when making the ending of “Skyscraper.”

In March, Johnson posted on his Instagram that following a test screening it was decided to reshoot what he called in the post, “pivotal scenes.” Thurber told Business Insider that it was, in fact, the ending of the movie.

I need tequila 🥃 All weekend we shot some big new scenes for this summer’s SKYSCRAPER. This all sparked from me talking with our audience after our test screening we had a few months ago when we all watched the movie together. Whenever we test my films, I always want the fans to feel empower to help me make the movie better, because in the end, whether it’s a JUMANJI, a RAMPAGE or SKYSCRAPER, the most important thing is sending the people home happy. Amazing how a few great notes from fans, can spark such a bigger creative conversation that ultimately leads to me saying “Let’s do this” and weeks later we’re on set shooting these new pivotal scenes. No rest for the wicked. Great weekend of work. Now where’s my tequila? #SKYSCRAPER JULY 13th.

A post shared by therock (@therock) on Mar 25, 2018 at 12:19am PDT on

“The original ending is very similar to what’s in the final version,” he explained. “The original was a little bit more poetic and smaller and a little more quiet, it didn’t give me or anyone on the film what you want to feel.”

And Thurber said Johnson was leading the charge in going back and redoing the ending to give the audience a more “Rocky” ending, as the director described it. In reality, Johnson could have just moved on to his next movie and let Thurber figure it all out in post with the existing footage. But Thurber said that’s why Johnson is at the level he’s at today, because he will go the extra mile.

“When you’re sitting at the top of the heap and you’re the biggest movie star in the world you don’t have to be vulnerable, you don’t have to take chances like this,” Thurber said. “It’s a real credit to him that he did.”

And the Thurber/Johnson collaboration will not end with “Skyscraper.”

When the two were wrapping up on “Skyscraper” in the beginning of the year, they went and sold another movie idea to Universal and Legendary. This one was an action/comedy heist movie called “Red Notice” (it was later reported Johnson will get paid $22 million to star, plus major bonuses for both he and Thurber if the movie is successful).

“He’s spoiled me for all other actors — but don’t tell him I said that,” Thurber said with a laugh.

SEE ALSO: All 37 Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson movies, ranked from worst to best

Join the conversation about this story »

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'Ant-Man and the Wasp' was always going to ignore the events of 'Avengers: Infinity War' as much as possible


ant man and wasp paul rudd

Warning: There are some spoilers ahead for "Ant-Man and the Wasp."

If you headed into "Ant-Man and the Wasp" with expectations that you were going to learn more about "Avengers: Infinity War," you may have been a bit bummed. 

No one from the Avengers attempted reaching out to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) at any point and we didn't get any updates on the whereabouts of Hawkeye after "Captain America: Civil War." The film largely played as a standalone sequel which tied into the events of "Infinity War" only at the movie's very end and, according to the director, that was the plan all along.

"It was really the story of Scott and Hope, and their partnership, and are they going to be able to come together and work together on this specific mission to rescue Janet [Hope's mom]. So that would feel pretty self-contained," "Ant-Man and the Wasp" director Peyton Reed told the A.V. Club

ant man wasp evangeline lilly

And the entirety of "Ant-Man and the Wasp" is its own self-contained movie for the most part. It follows Scott and Hope's falling out after the events of "Civil War" and carries on from there with Hope's mission to save her mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the Quantum Realm. 

Reed said he knew the movie was going to come after "Infinity War," but it wasn't until late in the movie-making process that they knew they were going to add a nod to it. He didn't want the big summer movie looming over the "Ant-Man" sequel the entire movie.

"Because that’s such a huge dramatic event that happens at the end of 'Infinity War.' If you deal with it early on in this movie, it really threatens to hijack the whole movie, and I think we knew—particularly after seeing 'Infinity War' — I think we knew audiences would come to this movie looking for clues and looking for ways it tied in, and when we don’t give them anything for a long while, they just sort of settle back and start to experience this story and get involved in this story so that by the time we actually get around to dealing with it ['Infinity War'], you know, in our very specific Ant-Man and Wasp way, hopefully it has some impact, but a very different kind of impact from the end of 'Infinity War,'" Reed continued.

At the end of "Infinity War," Thanos wipes out half of the galaxy from existence with the snap of his fingers. In an end-credits scene for "Ant-Man and the Wasp," the movie finally catches up to the events from that film as Hope Van Dyne and her parents Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne turn to dust. (You can read more on the consequences of that scene here.)

While "Infinity War" wasn't addressed until the very end of "Ant-Man and the Wasp," Reed told Jason Guerassio of our sister site, Business Insider, that they did consider sprinkling in some clues about "Infinity War" taking place at the same time as the events of the sequel. But again, it probably would have taken audiences out of the film a little.

Thanos with gauntlet Avengers Infinity War trailer

"There were versions early on where we put these little things in the background, these little Easter eggs to hint that in the world at large "Infinity War" is going on during this movie, but then we finally landed on what we inevitably did to address it," Reed told Business Insider. "And that was very late in the game of writing. Doing that allowed us to tell this standalone story and then put our little twist to connect 'Infinity War.'"

You can read Business Insider's full interview with Reed here and his full interview with the A.V. Club here.

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Tom Cruise defies age and gravity in 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout,' the best action movie you'll see this year


Mission Impossible Fallout Paramount final

  • "Mission: Impossible - Fallout" does not disappoint in the thrills department.
  • There are around five sequences where Tom Cruise pulls off incredible stunts.
  • If you're looking for a good action movie, you won't find a better one this year.

“Mission: Impossible - Fallout” marks the sixth time Tom Cruise has played IMF agent Ethan Hunt, and I know it’s hard to believe, but this may be his most action-packed adventure yet. 

It almost boggles the mind that Cruise, at 55 (when he shot the movie), is doing things in “Fallout” that actors in their 20s wouldn’t dream of. But one of the main draws to the franchise now is seeing what death-defying stunt Tom Cruise can pull off, as he is determined not to disappoint. And in “Fallout” there are about five, not just one, that will leave you in disbelief. 

In the movie, Hunt and his team — played by Ving Rhames, who has been in all the movies in the franchise alongside Cruise, and Simon Pegg, who has been on since “M:I III” — are once again up against insurmountable odds. I mean, should I even go on? Do you even remember the plot of the last movie? I don’t. Okay, let’s get to the good stuff.

The action director Christopher McQuarrie (who also directed 2015’s “Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation”) has masterfully crafted what I promise you will not be topped the rest of the year. 

Ethan Hunt does an insane skydive, a blitzing motorcycle ride through Paris (including driving the wrong way on the Arc de Triomphe), a helicopter chase in Kashmir, and then hangs off a cliff when his helicopter crashes … into another helicopter. And it wouldn’t be a Tom Cruise movie if there wasn't lots and lots of running. 

Mission Impossible Fallout 2 Paramount finalNow just imagine how good this movie would have been if they had slipped in a little storytelling.

“Fallout” really has no connective tissue. As much as McQuarrie tries, when there’s a break in the action it’s more just to catch your breath than pay attention to what the characters are doing. We’ve really veered far away fom Brian De Palma’s first “Mission: Impossible” movie back in 1996 (yes, that’s how long Cruise has been doing these darn movies) when it made a little sense storywise why Hunt would do a crazy stunt. Now the basic reply Hunt gives when he’s about to do something insane is simply, “I’ll figure it out.” That is literally said about three times in “Fallout.”

This makes it all the more puzzling why the runtime for this movie is two and a half hours. There’s not a lot to explore. However, the action sequences and build-up are lengthy and done so well you definitely won’t feel like you got short changed. 

Rebecca Ferguson returns as Ilsa Faust, who was the scene stealer in “Rogue Nation.” She once again gives a great performance, but the standout this time is newbie to the franchise, Henry Cavill, as a CIA operative who joins Ethan’s team. He’s big, tough, and sporting that now-infamous mustache

There are moments between the action in this movie that make you sit back and applaud McQuarrie for doing something a little creative with the story, specifically some flashback scenes and dream sequences (that’s right, there are dream sequences in this movie).

But who am I kidding, the stunts man! We see Tom Cruise jump out of a plane, get struck by lightning, save a man in free fall, and do it all in one single shot.

Go. See. This. Movie.

SEE ALSO: Inside how the director of "Skyscraper" and The Rock teamed up to make a thrilling summer movie

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11 hidden gem movies currently in theaters you should see, especially if you have MoviePass


eighth grade

It's easy to forget about some great movies while they are in theaters, especially during the summer movie season.

Some smaller-budget films go under the radar when up against blockbusters like "Infinity War" or "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom."

That's why Business Insider has gathered all of the potentially overlooked movies currently playing in theaters that you can choose from for the weekend.

Some may be harder to find than others, but these movies are the perfect watch if you are looking for plans, especially if you have MoviePass, which lets you see any movie you want in theaters for about $10 a month. It's a nice way to get you in the theater for movies you may not have considered otherwise.

We'll add movies to this list every week to keep you up-to-date on what you may be missing out on at the theater. 

Below are all of the hidden gem movies currently in theaters you should see with MoviePass:

SEE ALSO: This chart shows Netflix's dramatic growth in Emmy noms since 2012, from 0 to beating HBO as the top network

"Eighth Grade"

Release date: July 13 (limited)

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 98%

Bo Burnham is one of the most creative, thought-provoking, and funniest comedians working today. And he's behind the camera for this coming-of-age tale that is getting widespread acclaim. 

Description:"Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school—the end of her thus far disastrous eighth grade year—before she begins high school."

"Don't Worry He Won't Get Far On Foot"

Release date: July 13 (limited)

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 75%

Director Gus Van Sant ("Good Will Hunting") has recruited an impressive cast that includes your next Joker Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, and Jonah Hill.

Description:"After Portland slacker John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix) nearly loses his life in a car accident, the last thing he intends to do is give up drinking. But when he reluctantly enters treatment – with encouragement from his girlfriend (Rooney Mara) and a charismatic sponsor (Jonah Hill) – Callahan discovers a gift for drawing edgy, irreverent newspaper cartoons that develop a national following and grant him a new lease on life. Based on a true story, this poignant, insightful and often funny drama about the healing power of art is adapted from Callahan’s autobiography and directed by two-time Oscar nominee Gus Van Sant."


"Sorry to Bother You"

Release date: July 6 (limited)

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 94%

"Sorry to Bother You" is being praised as an ambitious, funny, and trippy commentary on race that stars "Atlanta's" Lakeith Stanfield and the always-great Tessa Thompson.

Description:"In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a macabre universe."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Rock's new movie bombs while 'Hotel Transylvania 3' wins the weekend box office


skyscraper light universal final

  • "Skyscraper," starring big box office draw, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, had a very poor opening weekend at the box office.
  • The movie only took in $25 million, coming in third place.
  • A sequel is king once again this summer as Adam Sandler's "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation" took in $44.1 million.

Dwayne Johnson's latest solo effort was no match for the summer movie sequels.

Universal always knew putting The Rock's movie, "Skyscraper," a homage to thrilling disaster movies like "Die Hard" and "The Towering Inferno," up against a slew of sequels would be a challenge, but the studio didn't know it would turn out this bad.

The movie, on just over 3,700 screens, only took in an estimated $25.5 million, putting Johnson's latest in a disappointing third place at the box office this weekend.

That's the worst opening in the last three years for a movie where The Rock is the sole draw.

Beating out "Skyscraper" to win the weekend was Adam Sandler's "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation" (playing on over 4,200 screens), with an estimated $44.1 million, the latest from Sony's successful animated franchise.

And coming in second place was Disney/Marvel's "Ant-Man and the Wasp," with around $30 million in its second weekend in theaters.

This weekend proved that even the star appeal of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has its limitations. You can chalk up the weak opening for "Skyscraper" to the success of sequels. Along with the new release of "Hotel Transylvania 3," holdovers like "Ant-Man and the Wasp,""Incredibles 2,""Jurassic World 2,""The First Purge," and "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" are still finding audiences.

That's a lot of options for moviegoers, and most are going to go spend their money on movies they have a familiarity with rather than an untested original, even if it stars The Rock.

"Hotel Transylvania 3," the remaining Sandler franchise in the studio system (everything else of his is pretty much being released through Netflix), earned the second-best opening ever for the franchise. Its $44.1 million take bests the 2012 original ($42.5 million) but not the $48.4 million opening the sequel did.

"Skyscraper" had a weak 51% score on Rotten Tomatoes, but Johnson's scores have been lousy historically, so that's not the issue here.

Could we be entering a stage of The Rock fatigue?

hotel transylvania 3 sonyWhat it came down to is that Universal took the gamble that Johnson's name could carry an "original" movie in the sequel-heavy summer movie season and lost. It just so happened that every sequel released this summer is working like gangbusters.

Things were different back in 2015 when Johnson was the face of the summer original release "San Andreas."

There were fewer sequels to worry about then, and it didn't have as many box office hits (movies like "Tomorrowland,""Aloha," and "Entourage: The Movie," surrounded the opening weekend for "San Andreas"). Warner Bros. won the opening weekend with "San Andreas" with $54.5 million.

Warner Bros. also had a strong result earlier this year with a Johnson movie with "Rampage." The April release won its weekend with $35.7 million.

"Skyscraper" bombing (it was made for around $125 million) this weekend is likely less due to two movies starring The Rock coming out in the span of three months and more just a bad release date.

But if we are in a stage of "The Rock fatigue", we'll know after the movie opens wider internationally.

Johnson really promoted the movie in China, the second-largest movie market in the world and a region where he's found success. It opens there this Friday, and if it plays soft there (the movie is set in Hong Kong), then team Johnson will be in panic mode. And Warner Bros. will be looking at a major loss.

SEE ALSO: Critics love "Mission: Impossible - Fallout" as much as Tom Cruise loves outrageous stunts

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Bruce Willis settled whether or not 'Die Hard' is a Christmas movie once and for all


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  • Bruce Willis has settled the debate about whether or not "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie.
  • The 1988 action movie takes place during a Christmas party, leading some fans to declare it a holiday movie.
  • During a taping for "The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis," the actor took the stage to say it is not a Christmas movie.
  • According to IndieWire, Willis said, "It’s a g*****n Bruce Willis movie!" 
  • The full roast will air on Comedy Central July 29.

During a taping of The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis over the weekend, the Die Hard star and man of the hour took a tough stance by stating the film is not a Christmas movie. Released in 1988, Die Hard being a Christmas movie has become a point of contention among fans over the years thanks to its clear action-thriller nature and Christmas setting.

bruce willis comedy central roast

Die Hard focuses on Willis’ character John McClane, an NYPD officer visiting his wife in Los Angeles. While attending a Christmas party at her office in Nakatomi Plaza, McClane is forced into action after German terrorists, led by Alan Rickman’s iconic Hans Gruber, take over the building. The non-holiday tone and plot paired with the clear Christmastime setting has created much online debate as to whether or not the film itself is a Christmas movie. Some fans argue that not only does it qualify for the category, but it’s actually among the best.

Related: Die Hard Could Have Included Wesley Snipes Or Gene Hackman

According to coverage of the taping from THR, Willis has his own opinion on the matter and is clearly in the non-Christmas movie camp.

While Willis only took the stage briefly, as is customary for the subject of a roast, he did use the opportunity to close the ceremonies with the strong declaration that "Die Hard is not a Christmas movie!"

A report from IndieWire suggests he went even further by doubling down with "It’s a g*****n Bruce Willis movie!" When questioned after the show about how he thought his fans might react, Willis only replied, "We’ll see."

comedy central roast bruce willis

The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis, which airs July 29, was hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Willis’ co-star in the films Looper and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and featured roasters Nikki Glaser, Jeff Ross, Lil Rel Howery, Edward Norton, and Dennis Rodman – but not Kevin Smith.

Willis’ ex-wife, actress Demi Moore, also made a surprise appearance, getting in a few jabs about the difference in his quality of work both during and after their marriage. Besides Willis and their co-performers on stage, many of the roasters chose to take shots at Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and Kevin Spacey.

With a filmography that not only includes the Die Hard franchise – which Willis has confirmed as recently as February is churning out a sixth installment – but also films like RED, The Expendables, The Fifth Element, and many others, it’s hard to argue that the actor wouldn’t know an action film when he sees one. Does the film being set on Christmas Eve affect this assessment? Not according to Willis.

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The director of 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' says the shocking end-credit scene was influenced by secret details about the 'Infinity War' sequel


ant-man and the wasp

  • "Ant-Man and the Wasp" director Peyton Reed explains how they decided on the shocking end-credit scene.
  • He said one thing that helped was that he knew key things that will happen in the "Infinity War" sequel.

Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Ant-Man at the Wasp.”

By now you probably know that something devastating happens during the end-credit scene of “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

Director Peyton Reed was able to make the whole movie light and funny, with pretty much no reference that at the same time it’s taking place, the other Avengers are battling Thanos with half of humanity in the balance in “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Reed told Business Insider that through much of the making of “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” the amount they were going to address "Infinity War" kept changing. They finally landed on playing with the audience’s knowledge of what happened in the previous MCU release by pushing it all aside and just have fun telling the latest adventure of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and his daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly).

Ant Man and the Wasp Peyton Reed Disney finalBut when it came time to figure out what to do for the end-credit scene, which has become a tradition in MCU movies, Reed had to address “Infinity War.”

Reed said the breakthrough moment on what to do came when he got some insight from the “Infinity War” sequel screenwriters.

“We went through all these different permutations and it so happened that Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were writing ‘Infinity War’ and ‘Avengers 4,’ so there were a couple of key things that we knew were probably going to happen in those movies which led to us being able to tee it up correctly in ours,” Reed told Business Insider.

This led to what we see in the end-credits (STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN “ANT-MAN AND THE WASP”), Ant-Man stuck in the Quantum Realm while trying to retrieve quantum particles.

Turns out, when Ant-Man is about to be brought back to normal size by Pym, Hope, and her mom, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), after going subatomic to get into the Quantum Realm, the Thanos snap occurs in “Infinity War” and all three of them turn to dust. Ant-Man is left floating subatomic in the Quantum Realm with no way of getting back to normal size.

Reed said Markus and McFeely wrote a version of the end-credit scene, which he and his team then reworked.

“I was concerned that anything that happens has to be true, you can’t do something to Scott Lang that feels out of character, so it was something that we had free rein to decide,” Reed said. “Leaving Scott hanging literally and figuratively, that was something we knew we were going to do, but what else happens?”

Namely, who was going to survive the Thanos snap, other than Ant-Man, and who wasn’t?

Ant Man and the Wasp Disney finalReed said he was given full control of that decision and didn’t have to coordinate with the executives at Marvel Studios. But, he was reminded by them that there was a little math involved.

“There's a certain percentage issue that's set up with Thanos' plan in ‘Infinity War’ and we had to deal with that,” Reed said. “There was a point where we wondered how many of our characters are we going to have in that end-credit scene. Is Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) going to be there? Is Luis (Michael Peña) going to be there? That was part of our decision. We couldn't fudge this percentage issue too much. So there were all these issues that went into that decision. But we discussed it ad nauseam during the process.”

We’ll have to wait to see if in fact Dr. Foster and Luis did survive the Thanos snap, and how Scott Lang gets out of the Quantum Realm. But Reed said there was one certainty through all of this: the giant ant was going to live.

The post end-credit scene takes place back in Scott’s apartment after the Thanos snap. The entire place is empty except for the giant ant, who during the movie has Scott’s ankle bracelet on and impersonates his actions around the apartment so as not to tip off the authorities that Scott is out doing Ant-Man things. There are shots of empty rooms until finally there’s a shot of the giant ant still playing the drums.

“We knew for our second scene we wanted to be more comedic than the first one, but we also didn't want to ignore the events,” Reed said. “We were like, well, what if this ant just got used to living in Scott's apartment and found that he dug playing the drums? We were just like, ‘This is really, really dumb and we love it,’ and we put it in the movie.” 

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is currently playing in theaters.

SEE ALSO: The director of "Ant-Man and the Wasp" explains how the ramifications of "Infinity War" affected the making of the movie

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The 50 most iconic kisses of all time


prince harry meghan markle kiss royal wedding

Kissing is a big part of life — everyone wants to know if they're good at it, bad at ittips on how to do it better, etc.

It is no wonder, then, that kissing is also a big part of pop culture.

From Britney Spears and Madonna's infamous lip lock at the 2003 VMAs, to the moment Harry and Sally finally get together in "When Harry Met Sally...," some kisses stay with us forever.

We've rounded up the 50 most iconic kisses in history. Keep scrolling to see if your favorite smooch made the cut.

The kiss between a soldier and a nurse celebrating the end of World War II.

Greta Zimmer and George Mendonsa had never met before their famous kiss, and had no idea that they had been photographed until years later. But their kiss made the cover of Life to celebrate the end of World War II, has inspired countless copycats that visit Times Square, and has even been recreated as a giant statue in both Sarasota, Florida and San Diego, California, called "Unconditional Surrender."

That said, the picture isn't without its controversies. Some believe the kiss depicts sexual assault, as the two were perfect strangers. Further, the man was drunk and the woman allegedly had no idea he was there until he had his arms around her and began kissing her.

"I felt that he was very strong. He was just holding me tight. I'm not sure about the kiss," the woman in the picture said during her interview with the Veterans History Project. "It was just somebody celebrating. It wasn't a romantic event."

The famous rain kiss between Noah and Allie in "The Notebook."

There are many things to love about 2004's "The Notebook," but the most enduring moment of the film is when ex-lovers Noah and Allie reunite amid a thunderstorm after years of being apart due to class differences and World War I. The whole movie up to that point had been building up to their reunion, so obviously it had to be epic — and it was.

The recreation of the famous rain kiss in "The Notebook" by stars Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards.

One of the reasons that "The Notebook" became so beloved was possibly due to the real-life love story of its stars Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. The chemistry between the two of them was palpable.

When the two won the 2005 MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss they decided to recreate said kiss... and it was amazing.

The audience's reactions, plus everyone's obsession with the real-life romance, makes this the most widely-remembered MTV Movie Awards moment ever.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 12 most popular movies for MoviePass subscribers this summer, who have bought millions of tickets (HMNY)



Though MoviePass is losing millions every month and its parent company’s stock continues to plunge, it can’t be denied that the service is popular.

The 2018 box office is on an incredible run, as it’s up over 8% from this time last year, and it’s hard to ignore that MoviePass may have helped in that spike.

Yes, the movies this year, especially the summer releases, are performing beyond expectation. But could the bump in box office numbers also be due to the over 3 million MoviePass subscribers hitting the multiplexes on a daily basis?

MoviePass’ CEO Mitch Lowe thinks so.

“We bought over 5% of all tickets in the first half of the year, and 70% of the time our subscribers were bringing people who don’t have MoviePass,” Lowe told Business Insider, citing company data. “We think we’ve played at least some role in energizing moviegoing.”

And it looks like over the summer MoviePass is dishing out some major coin for all the movies its subscribers are going to see.

Here’s a breakdown of the top 12 titles MoviePass has bought the most tickets for this summer:

(Note: The range is from April 27 - July 13)

SEE ALSO: The director of "Ant-Man and the Wasp" says the shocking end-credit scene was influenced by secret details about the "Infinity War" sequel

12. "Sicario: Day Of The Soldado" - Over 300,000 tickets

11. "Book Club" - Over 300,000 tickets

10. "Life of the Party" - Over 300,000 tickets

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Rock was the highest-paid actor in the history of Forbes' Celebrity 100 for this year's list at $124 million


dwayne the rock johnson

  • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson earned the highest-ever total for acting earnings in the history of Forbes' Celebrity 100 for the outlet's 2018 list.
  • Johnson earned $124 million from June 2017 to June 2018, nearly double the earnings he posted on 2017's list. 
  • He moved up to 5th overall on the list from 22nd last year.

In the past year, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has brought home the highest-ever total for acting earnings in the 20-year history of Forbes' Celebrity 100 list, the outlet reported on Monday.

From June 2017 to June 2018, Johnson earned $124 million, nearly double the earnings total of $65 million he posted on 2017's list. 

Johnson ranked 5th overall on 2018's Celebrity 100, up 17 spots from his ranking of 22nd on last year's list.

Though Forbes has labeled him "Hollywood's highest-paid actor" in a recent profile, "The Rock" technically earned less in the past year than a fellow actor, George Clooney.

But Clooney made his way to No. 2 on the list largely through the $700 million sale of his tequila company, Casamigos, to the British liquor company Diageo, while "the vast majority" of Johnson's $124 million came from acting earnings, the outlet said.

Forbes reported that Johnson earned his record total "thanks to giant upfront paychecks and a cut of profits on blockbusters including 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.'" He also negotiated a previously reported seven-figure salary for posting about his films on his own social media pages.

On Tuesday, Johnson shared his Forbes profile on Twitter, recalling how he was "the dude who started w/ $7bucks." He added: "I'm awestruck ($124M) grateful & hungry."

SEE ALSO: Tyrese Gibson regrets taking his 'Fast and Furious' feud with the The Rock public, but hints he wasn't the only one with beef

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The 100 best drama movies of all time, according to critics


taxi driver robert de niro

As a cinematic genre, "drama" has taken many forms over the decades. 

The Rotten Tomatoes' list we compiled here from the site's most critically heralded drama movies includes the most acclaimed films that feature a "drama" tag. This resulted in a list that spans classic drama films, contemporary dramas, and dramadies of all sorts.

The list ranks movies by an adjusted critical score that Rotten Tomatoes derived from a weighted formula to account for the variation in number of reviews for each film.

It includes classic dramas like "Citizen Kane" and "Taxi Driver," along with recent titles like the Best Picture-winning films "Spotlight" and "Moonlight." At the top, there's a conspicuous lack of movies made in the 1980s and 1990s, with the most acclaimed titles falling into either the oldies or more recent films.

Here are the 100 best drama films of all time, according to critics:

SEE ALSO: The 100 best horror movies of all time, according to critics

100. "Love & Friendship" (2016)

Critic score: 97%

Audience score: 60%

What critics said: "Following many staid and treacly Austen adaptations, this sublime period romp adds a thrilling splash of bemused, acidic humor."— Minneapolis Star-Tribune

99. "The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu)" (1939)

Critic score: 98%

Audience score: 90%

What critics said: "The word 'Mozartean' ... gets thrown around a little too eagerly by critics, but one movie, as almost everyone agrees, deserves this supreme benediction -- Jean Renoir's 'The Rules of the Game.'"— The New Yorker

98. "City Lights" (1931)

Critic score: 98%

Audience score: 96%

What critics said: "Excruciatingly funny and terribly, terribly sad."— New York Daily News

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Critics love 'Mamma Mia 2,' but trashed the original when it came out 10 years ago


mamma mia here we go again

Despite a painfully self-aware title, Greece in green screen, and very little Meryl Streep, critics love "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again."

2008's "Mamma Mia!," based on the 1999 musical of the same name, is a musical comedy featuring music from ABBA. The movie, starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, and Colin Firth wasn't a hit with critics, with a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

But it was a box-office hit, and audiences loved it as much as they loved the hit Broadway musical. The movie made $615 million on a $52 million budget, and was the fifth-highest-grossing film in 2008. "Mamma Mia!" follows a young woman about to be married in Greece who wants to find out who her real father is before the wedding. 

Exactly ten years later down to the week, "Here We Go Again" is gaining the same positive attention it got a decade ago. Except now, with an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, critics love it, despite its flaws. Critics love the music, Cher, and Lily James, who plays the young version of Streep's character, Donna. 

Here's what critics are saying about "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again":

SEE ALSO: The 12 most popular movies for MoviePass subscribers this summer, who have bought millions of tickets

"It mostly succeeds in its own glittery, aggressively winsome way..."

Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly 

"Swede Jesus, they've done it."

Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post

"It's as if you were watching the CliffsNotes to an old studio weeper that happened to be carried along by some of the most luscious pop songs ever recorded. Yet the feeling comes through, especially at the end..."

Owen Gleiberman, Variety

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Armie Hammer says he can easily spot a 'Call Me by Your Name' fan because they give him peaches


armie hammer on late show with stephen colbert

  • Armie Hammer appeared on CBS' "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" on Monday.
  • The actor talked about fan encounters outside the Broadway show he's starring in, called "Straight White Men."
  • Hammer said that the people who wait to meet him at the play hand him "at least a peach or two after" almost every performance, as a reference to his role in "Call Me by Your Name."


Armie Hammer gained attention in early 2018 for his role as Oliver in "Call Me by Your Name," and the actor says that nowadays, fans regularly give him peaches in real life. 

Hammer appeared on CBS' "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" on Monday and discussed the Broadway show that he's currently starring in, titled "Straight White Men." When asked if "CMBYN" viewers have attended the play, the 31-year-old said yes — and revealed how he can identify such attendees. 

'The people who come, you can usually spot them right away," Hammer said. "And the biggest, dead giveaway is they will normally hand me a peach. I get handed at least a peach or two almost every stage door."

Those who saw the Oscar-winning film know that the fruit is part of an intimate scene that involves Oliver and Elio (played by Timothée Chalamet)

Hammer went on to say that although it has become normal for fans to give him peaches outside the Helen Hayes Theater, he was puzzled the first time someone approached him with one. 

The "Sorry to Bother You" star explained that he initially thought the fan was giving him a peach to keep. But instead, they wanted him to sign it.

Hammer said that he was confused because "they're going to put that peach on a shelf because it has my signature and in 10 days, it's going to putrefy and their entire place is going to be full of fruit flies." 

Previously, Hammer's co-star, Chalamet, appeared on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and joked about his fear that peaches will haunt him in his old age.  

"I'm worried that 50 years from now, I'll be singing peaches behind a desk," he said. 

Watch the video o Hammer on "Colbert" below (he talks about his fans at 3:47).

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13 on-screen best friends that reportedly hated each other in real life


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Acting is a unique profession in which you can find yourself sequestered with your co-workers for 15 hours a day, seven days a week. So it makes sense that personalities clash and drama ensues.

But it's always sad to find out that your BFF goals couldn't actually stand being in a room together, like Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi, who played dynamic duo Alicia and Kalinda on "The Good Wife." And what hasn't been said about the legendary falling out of Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall on "Sex and the City"?

Here are 13 on-screen besties that reportedly couldn't stand each other off-screen.

Three of the four stars of "Desperate Housewives" got along great — but they all reportedly couldn't stand Teri Hatcher.

The feud between the ladies of Wisteria Lane is well-publicized. It appears to have stemmed from Teri Hatcher, who played Susan, considering herself the star of the show, though all four of the actresses were technically leads.

While Nicolette Sheridan (who played Edie before getting killed off in season five) called Hatcher "the meanest woman in the world," the drama came to a head when the cast appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair.

According to Today, an ABC rep demanded that Hatcher wouldn't be the first to get to pick her wardrobe, and wouldn't be shot in the center of the cover photo, in order to appease the rest of the group.

When Hatcher finagled her way into wardrobe first anyhow, Marcia Cross allegedly stormed off set, while Eva Longoria shot off angry texts to their rep.

The drama was seemingly confirmed by a telling omission on the wrap gifts the stars gave to the crew — Hatcher's name was completely left off the card.

And if you thought this was all in the past, you're wrong. In 2018, six years after the show ended, Longoria appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" claiming that the crew was all still "very good friends," before correcting herself with, "99% of us are."

The feud between "Sex and the City" co-stars Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker has reached a fever pitch recently.

Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker have had a long-simmering feud that recently exploded when Cattrall was blamed for "Sex and the City 3" not happening. The actress, who played Samantha Jones on the hit HBO comedy, tweeted that "The only 'DEMAND' I ever made was that I didn't want to do a 3rd film."

Things got even more heated when Parker publicly expressed her condolences when Cattrall's brother passed away. Cattrall blasted her former co-star on Instagram, ending her caption with "Let me make this VERY clear. (If I haven't already) You are not my family. You are not my friend," adding, "I'm writing to tell you one last time to stop exploiting our tragedy in order to restore your 'nice girl' persona."

Parker has yet to respond to Cattrall's comments, though she stands by the fact that in her eyes, there's no feud

For years, Jennie Garth was rumored to have gotten Shannen Doherty fired from "Beverly Hills, 90210."

Doherty and Garth are reportedly friends now, 20 years after the filming of "Beverly Hills, 90210," but at the time their drama almost came to blows.

Garth told E! News in 2014 that "there were times when we wanted to claw each other's eyes out." When Doherty's character Brenda was unceremoniously written off the show, while Kelly, played by Garth, stayed on for the show's 10-season run, people were suspicious.

However, it was revealed that a third party was responsible for Brenda's indefinite trip to London: fellow star Tori Spelling, whose father Aaron Spelling, produced the show. She admitted on a Lifetime special "Tori Spelling: Celebrity Lie Detector" that she asked her father to write Doherty off the show after Doherty and Garth almost got into a physical fight.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 'Mamma Mia!' sequel is better than the original — despite Meryl Streep's absence


mamma mia 2

Warning: Minor spoilers ahead for "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again." 

"Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again," the sequel to "Mamma Mia!," is finally coming out 10 years after the first. 

Almost all of the original cast returns for the sequel, but the movie is also a prequel of sorts, following a young Donna as she ends up on Kalokairi and meets all three of Sophie's potential dads. In the present day, Sophie is working to reopen her mother's hotel, finds out she's pregnant, and meets her estranged grandmother, played by none other than Cher. 

It's a heartwarming and worthy follow-up to the original movie. 

Why you should care: It's a sequel that's better than the first movie.

cher mamma mia 2

As many fans guessed with the first trailer, Donna (Meryl Streep) is dead. But even though her absence is felt, it doesn't make the movie any less fun. 

The flashbacks to young Donna, played by Lilly James, are interwoven throughout the movie at the right moments to add more color and context. The parallels to the first movie are fun to spot, but the new story is more fun and silly. 

There are also incredibly quotable lines coming from Tanya (Christine Baranski) and Rosie (Julie Walters), who show up to support Sophie in the reopening of her mother's hotel.

And if fans were worried, Streep is still in the movie in a small capacity.

What's hot: The new and returning cast are full of wonder. 

mamma mia 2 cast

Almost all of the cast returns in the sequel and their characters are just as silly and fun. Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper are lovely as Sophie and Sky, Streep's small turn as Donna is emotional, and Baranski and Walters are perfect as Tanya and Rosie. Then the dads — Sam (Pierce Brosnan), Bill (Stellan Skarsgard), and Harry (Colin Firth) — are just as endearing.

But with the flashbacks, new actors are introduced to play young versions of our favorite characters. Jeremy Irvine is a young Sam, Hugh Skinner is a young Harry, and Josh Dylan is a young Bill, who all woo the heart of a young Donna. Her two friends are played by Alexa Davies as young Rosie and Jessica Kennan Wynn as young Tanya. Wynn's impersonation of Baranski is spot-on and her exact mannerisms are impressive. 

Then of course there's Andy Garcia as new character Fernando Cienfuegos and Cher, who is wonderful as Sophie's estranged grandmother. 

But the standout is James. Her enthusiasm and joy for life as young Donna is projected beautifully in all of her scenes. It's easy to see how her carefree life led her to Greece and the events that would change her life. 

What's not: The timeline is a little off. 

lilly collins mamma mia 2

The best thing about the movie is that it leans into the wild and corny moments, so my only critique, as someone who isn't taking this movie too seriously, is that the timeline doesn't exactly make sense. 

The events in Donna's diary from the first movie don't line up with the flashbacks. In the sequel, she meets Harry in Paris and the two hook up there before she heads to Greece where she later meets Bill and Sam. It's unclear how many weeks or days pass, and it's a little out of wack. 

But really, none of that matters. 

The bottom line: It's the perfect movie to escape to. 

dominic cooper amanda seyfried mamma mia 2

The "Mamma Mia" movies are not Oscar-worthy films that are going to transform your life. But that's not why you watch them. 

"Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again" is an utter delight. Between the glorious soundtrack that made me dance in my seat to the corny moments that made me laugh, I couldn't stop smiling the whole time. It's fairly predictable but a pure joy to sit through. And the end may even make you tear up — it sure made me sniffle. 

Grade: A-

"Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again" arrives in theaters on Friday, July 20. Watch the full trailer below:

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