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'Hate U Give' Actor Dropped From Movie After Racially Charged Remarks

Gabriel Olsen/WireImage Kian Lawley

Kian Lawley's role will be recast in the YA adaptation.

by Mia Galuppo
After a video surfaced online of actor Kian Lawley making racially charged jokes, 20th Century Fox has decided to remove him from the upcoming release The Hate U Give.

“Due to the controversy surrounding his past comments and behavior, Kian Lawley will no longer appear in The Hate U Give.  The studio plans to recast the role of Chris and reshoot scenes as needed," a studio rep said Monday in a statement.

The Hate U Give is based on the young adult novel by Angie Thomas. The story follows Starr, a young woman drawn to activism after she witnesses the police shooting of her unarmed friend. The story is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg leads a cast that also includes Regina Hall, Common, Issa Rae and Anthony Mackie. In the feature, Lawley was cast as Starr's white boyfriend.

"Words have power and can do damage. I own mine and I am sorry. I respect Fox’s decision to recast this role for The Hate U Give as it is an important story, and it would not be appropriate for me to be involved considering the actions of my past," said Lawley in a statement of his own. "I understand the impact and I have grown and learned since then. From now on I plan to use my voice for positive change."

While the film has not yet been given a release date, filming on Hate U Give wrapped in November. Fox's choice to recast Lawley so far into production parallels Sony's decision to replace Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer on Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World.

Lawley is best known as a YouTuber, but has tried to make the transition to acting, co-starring on the Fullscreen series H8TERS and appearing in AwesomenessTV features Before I Fall and Shovel Buddies.

Lawley is the latest social media star to land in hot water with creative partners after racial and culturally insensitive remarks were published online.

After Logan Paul posted a video on Dec. 31 that featured images of a suicide victim, YouTube put its original projects on hold with the actor and internet personality, including a sequel to the YouTube Red sci-fi thriller The Thinning. And Disney’s Maker Studios severed ties with YouTube gamer PewDiePie, aka Felix Kjellberg, after he released a series of anti-Semitic posts to his 53 million subscribers.

Justin Timberlake backed out of using Prince hologram at the last minute

Justin Timberlake was “100 percent ready to use the hologram” for his Prince tribute during his Super Bowl halftime show performance on Sunday, sources say — but backed out at the last minute.

“He was 100 percent ready to use the hologram but nixed it due to backlash from social media and Prince fans. That’s why he had that sheet up like in your mama’s backyard,” sniped one insider.

Prince’s longtime pal Sheila E. had tweeted that Timberlake was not going to use a hologram after they spoke on Saturday. “Family, I spoke w/Justin 2nite and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans . . . There is no hologram.”

But in an interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” she also hinted that she had nixed the hologram idea personally. “I just said no. I just felt that it was too soon,” she told ET. “The hologram was weird, and Prince did tell me [to] make sure nobody ever does a hologram [of him] . . . He thought it was very demonic and that’s his spiritual beliefs.”

However, a source close to Timberlake told us the hologram plan was never fixed: “There’s no way Justin would ever disrespect Prince’s legacy. He didn’t change his performance.”
 
Prince fans were also upset about Timberlake hosting his “Man of the Woods” album listening party at the late icon’s Paisley Park and allowing alcohol to be served, but the source told us he had previously gotten the Prince estate’s blessing.

Timberlake’s rep didn’t comment.

Prince’s estate said in a statement: “Justin Timberlake, the NFL and the City of Minneapolis used the stadium and the city to give a beautiful hometown tribute to Prince. The two pieces of footage that appeared on the screens were licensed from the ‘Purple Rain’ movie and a vintage performance in Syracuse, NY.”

Beckham's new MLS franchise glitz, glamour and growth potential

 USA Today
by Paul Tenorio
MIAMI -- Before the confetti fell on David Beckham and his partners and before the throng of Miami fans cheered an announcement that was four years in the making, evidence of the glitz of a Major

League Soccer franchise in South Florida rolled on projection screens on the stage.

Celebrity endorsers from across every different entertainment field spoke into the camera to welcome MLS to Miami -- from actress Jennifer Lopez and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to rapper Jay Z, Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt and Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.

If there was any doubt Miami was bringing a certain cachet to Major League Soccer, it ended when that reel was played for the audience of several hundred fans who had gathered downtown to welcome MLS back to the region.

That prestige is part, but not all, of what makes Miami such a perfect fit for MLS. And it's part of the reason why, for four years, the league and Beckham were so intent on making it work here, even when it seemed the team would never materialize.

The growth of MLS has come in part from the magnetism of major markets. There is a reason MLS has two teams in both Los Angeles and New York. To sell a player on tapping into the ever-profitable American audience, you need to sell the country's biggest cities: the Hollywood life on the West Coast and the "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere" lore of the Big Apple.

Beckham's move to the LA Galaxy was the first major sign of how the right market can lure the biggest stars to MLS in the "modern" era. Those marquee markets have since brought the likes of Thierry Henry, David Villa and Giovani Dos Santos. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is rumored to be the next big name to head to L.A.

Now Beckham will launch a team in a city capable of bringing more big names to the league.

Beckham reminisced Monday about the move he made from Real Madrid to MLS. It was a massive gamble, but he was betting on a young league that had plenty of growth potential -- growth from which he could benefit, too. He recalled the challenge of coming to MLS and then held out his hands and cracked that famous smile.

"And, of course, L.A. wasn't the worst city to live [in]," he said.

Miami isn't so bad, either.

There is something about Miami that pulls in stars at almost the same rate they flock to Tinseltown. It's the beaches, maybe, or the style and glam of the city. There is an air of luxury and class and exclusivity. The Miami sunshine has seduced footballers such as Cristiano Ronaldo -- arguably the game's biggest star. It's partly why so many celebrities were ready to press record on those welcome videos.

"Most players love a city like Miami," said Marcelo Claure, CEO of Sprint and a member of the Miami expansion ownership group. "Miami is a hot place, a lot of people want to be here and a lot of people want to play for David Beckham's team."

It is among the reasons MLS remained so intent on launching a franchise in the market. But the leaders involved say it's not the only one.

As MLS has grown, so too has its outlook on what can grow the league. Yes, Beckham will open doors to top players. So, too, will South Beach. But the success of markets such as Atlanta have changed the perspective on the ingredients that can yield packed stadiums and on-field results.

It's not just about the megastar signing anymore. Miami also represents what MLS commissioner Don Garber called a "gateway" to a global market in which MLS is becoming a bigger player. It's as likely to attract the Miguel Almirons of the world as it is the Beckhams.

"This is such a rich city, with the culture and support for the game," Garber told ESPN. "International games get massive attendance, the World Cup [TV] ratings [are high], the MLS ratings, even without a team, are very high.

"It's [also] a gateway city for our entire country, it's a gateway to South America. So much of our success has been driven by players who have come from Argentina and Brazil and Paraguay and Venezuela and Uruguay, and our media coverage and fan support is really strong in South America.

So, if you could make it [work] here, it will open us up to such an important part of the footballing influence in our world."
David Beckham takes time for ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes to announce his plans for a MLS franchise in Miami.
 
The culture of Miami was on display as much as anything else Monday. While the celebrity videos elicited some cheers, the Mas brothers -- Jorge and Jose Mas -- might have received the grandest ovation, arguably bigger even than Beckham's.

The Miami businessmen have strong local ties that go back generations. Their involvement in the ownership group not only pushed the franchise over the line in the eyes of MLS, but also in the eyes of fans who are waiting to see just what this team is going to look like. The fans want the megastars, sure, but they also want a team that will represent Miami.

"The city has changed already in the 10 or 15 years since the [Miami] Fusion folded, and it's even more diverse, even more representative of what's happening in the country," said Andrew Bennett, 41, a Miami native and member of the Southern Legion, a Miami MLS supporters' group that has stayed alive while a team has teetered on the brink of existence for several years.

The Mas brothers "bring a level of credibility [to the franchise] it wouldn't have otherwise," said Bennett, whose neck was wrapped in a scarf stating "MLS to Miami."

The team is two years away from stepping on the field, but already its identity is starting to become clear.

Beckham mentioned Monday that he has already fielded calls from "top players" letting him know they're in. But his most verbose answers about the future of the club were about building an academy in Miami that would produce homegrown players.

It's a market that has the potential to do it all: to buy big, to develop its stars, to attract the South American markets and to capture a massive U.S. audience, too. It also has a unique ability to elevate the league from the moment it signs its first player.

And after years of waiting, the ownership group was ready to promises it won't sit on its hands and let the market for which it fought so hard go to waste.

"We have a lot of ambition to have a great, winning team," Claure said. "None of us do this to be second. Look at the roster of owners we have; we are going to do whatever it takes to build academies [and] recruit great players. This is going to be a great team, of that I can assure you."

How Overseas Film Sales Are Saving Hollywood!

Photographer: Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
By Anousha SakouiThe duds just keep coming this summer in North America, from “The Mummy” to “Alien: Covenant” to “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” The season has been what critics politely call lackluster for Hollywood studios -- but don’t expect them to stop churning out more bombs.

That’s because as badly as so many franchise films and reboots have done in the world’s biggest cinema market, they’ve racked up solid ticket sales elsewhere. Theater-goers in America thought Paramount Pictures’ fifth “Transformers” was pretty much a yawner, but in China they liked it. And No. 6 is already in the works.

“Look at the casualties just this summer,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a Los Angeles-based analyst for ComScore Inc. “If they only had North America, it would be a monumental disaster for the studios.”

For now at least, the rest of the world -- China in particular -- is supporting Hollywood’s love affair with series, sequels and rehashes like “The Mummy,” Universal Pictures’ new take on a story that’s been told dozens of times. The risk is that sequel fatigue will set in overseas too. Chinese moviegoers are becoming more choosy, and the fastest-growing film market is slowing down. That’s a challenge for studios such as Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros., which plan and schedule movies years in advance.

Jonathan Papish, an analyst for China Film Insider, described as a “disaster” the $250 million that “Transformers: The Last Knight” is projected to record in the world’s most-populous country. The reason: the previous version from Viacom Inc.’s film division pulled in 17 percent more, “a worrisome sign for both Paramount and other Hollywood studios who have become far too complacent thinking that Chinese audiences will swallow whatever garbage they shove down their throats.”
This “Transformers” opening in China, at least, was about 30 percent bigger than the opening for the previous one, according to Box Office Mojo.

Not every sequel or franchise entry has fallen flat in North America, of course. “Wonder Woman,” Warner Bros.’ fourth episode in the DC Extended Universe series, has taken in $346 million domestically and is one of the year’s top films. Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” topped the box office for two weeks and has taken in $383 million domestically.

And there are some big-hitters coming. Sony Corp.’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is expected to take in $301 million in North America after its release this weekend, according to BoxOfficePro.com. 

“War for Planet of the Apes,” out July 14 from 21st Century Fox Inc., could grab $165 million.

But the second-quarter domestic box office ended down 3.6 percent from a year ago at $2.7 billion, Barton Crockett, an analyst at FBR & Co., said in a note. He blamed disappointing sequels; even with a better-than-expected “Wonder Woman,” he predicts a 15 percent decline for the third quarter.

Chinese box-office sales fell in June, as local movies as well as Hollywood imports failed to meet expectations. This month, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC pushed back its forecast for China’s movie market to overtake the U.S. to 2021 from 2017.

This weekend, Universal’s “Despicable Me 3” will test the Chinese market, after opening in first place in 44 out of 46 countries, according to data from the film division of Comcast Corp. A new installment in another Universal series, “The Fate of the Furious,” enjoyed strong demand in China, taking in $393 million there earlier this year.

Even with big budget films flopping at home, movies can earn money for years to come from digital downloads and sales to Netflix Inc. and other streaming sites and cable-television channels. The latest -- and last -- “Pirates of the Caribbean” may have missed expectations when it came out May 26, but it could end up generating a net profit of $219 million, according to an estimate from Wade Holden, analyst with S&P Global Market Intelligence.

That hasn’t stopped some analysts from complaining that studios have focused too much on making big-budget features.

“There is an over reliance on sequels,” said Richard Greenfield, a media and technology analyst at BTIG LLC. The major studios “are so worried about investing in an unknown property that they are all just relying on sequels and hoping that sequels will save them.”

While Disney has had tremendous success, Greenfield said it’s not bullet-proof. “The danger is that investors are essentially assuming that a movie like ‘Star Wars’ will be successful forever.”

As much as any studio, Disney has tied its future to sequels and remakes. The company’s 2017 schedule includes eight films, of which six fit that profile, according to Box Office Mojo.

Disney said its strategy sets it apart from the competition -- in 2016 its film business had its most profitable year ever. Other studios trying to ape it have had less success. Sony, for example, tried and failed to refresh its 1984 hit “Ghostbusters” last year in the hope that it could spawn a new series.

In any event, many future slates are laden with new installments of existing worlds of characters. 21st Century Fox and Sony, which license Marvel characters, are planning more “X-Men” and “Spider-Man” chapters.

Disney has laid out several years worth of Marvel superhero offerings and at least a six-picture series of “Star Wars” movies. Meanwhile, the company is revisiting “Mary Poppins” and “Mulan.”

“Studios are rushing these sequels,” said Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations Co. “If you want to get the domestic audience back, you’ve got to do something a little outside the box.”

Gary Sinise's most important role