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Eddie Murphy's much-anticipated Coming to America sequel, Coming 2 America, was sold by distributor Paramount Pictures to Amazon Studios for a reported $125 million.

The sale was made to Amazon Studios as more theaters face bankruptcy amid ongoing closures during the coronavirus lockdown.

Paramount Pictures weighed numerous options for the movie's Christmas premiere -- including selling the rights to Viacom's steaming service CBS All Access.

The expected streaming premiere date is December 18, sources tell Variety.

The original Coming to America, starring Murphy, Shari Headley and John Amos, grossed $300 million in theaters worldwide.

BACKGRID

In the sequel, Prince Akeem is set to become king of the fictional African country of Zamunda when he discovers he has a son in America. Akeem learns he fathered the boy, named Lavelle, with a Queens, NY native (Leslie Jones).

BACKGRID

Akeem and his loyal assistant Semmi (Arsenio Hall) depart for America to find Akeem's son, whom he has never met. Apparently, Akeem kept the NY Yankees bomber jacket he purchased during his first trip to Queens in 1988.

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The movie's supporting cast includes Jermaine Fowler (Lavelle); Tracy Morgan, and Wesley Snipes.

Coming 2 America was filmed on location in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Controversial French film Cuties has spawned more backlash against streaming giant Netflix, with critics alleging it over-sexualizes children.

The film tells the story of an 11-year-old Senegalese girl in Paris who joins a "free-spirited dance clique" to escape family dysfunction.

Despite the outrage, the movie earned praise when it debuted at January's Sundance Film Festival in Utah for how it addressed the hypersexualization of young girls.

Netflix previously apologized for a promo poster of the child stars posing in their dancing outfits. After the film premiered on Netflix on 9 September, the backlash continued as the hashtag "#CancelNetflix" was the top trending topic on Twitter in the U.S. the following day.

A petition on Change.org was also launched, calling on Netflix customers to cancel their subscriptions over the flick on the streaming service "that exploits children and creates a disturbing vibe".

"From cuties to Big Mouth to other movies mocking religions and exploiting children Netflix is no longer the family friendly streaming service I once believed it to be," reads a message on the campaign, which currently has over 600,000 signatures.

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Barack and Michelle Obama, who signed a multimillion dollar production deal with Netflix, have remained silent amid the controversy.

The backlash prompted Netflix officials to issue a statement, insisting the film, "Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children.

"It's an award-winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up — and we'd encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie," they told Variety of the Maimouna Doucoure-directed flick.

But critics complained about the many close up shots of the young girls' body parts, and one scene where a girl exposed her breasts on camera.
 

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Netflix

Angry parents accuse Netflix of normalizing pedophilia in its new movie, 'Cuties.'

Nearly 60,000 people signed a Change.org petition demanding Netflix "remove the new movie Cuties as it promotes pornography."

The French movie, which premieres Sept. 9, features preteen girls dressed provocatively and twerking in a "coming-of-age tale from Maïmouna Doucouré."

"Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew," the original promotion read. "Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family's traditions."

In response to the controversy, Netflix apologized on Thursday for the film's promotional photo that shows four preteen girls striking poses in revealing dance attire.

"We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties," Netflix said. "It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We've now updated the pictures and description."

Normally the French and Americans have different attitudes toward sex. The French tend to be less conservative when it comes to sex.

But Twitter users point out the stark differences in the movie posters.

One Twitter user wrote:

"Just compare the original French poster for the 'Cuties' film, and the image @netflix has chosen.

Anyone want to point out the difference?"

Netflix plans to premiere the movie in September despite the backlash on social media.
 

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Screengrab: YouTube

Stacey Abrams dropped the official trailer for her upcoming voter suppression documentary from Amazon Studios titled "All In: The Fight for Democracy."

Abrams maintains she was robbed during her failed gubernatorial attempt in Georgia in 2018. She refuses to concede defeat to Gov. Brian Kemp.

The 102-minute film documents the various voter suppression restrictions and techniques they claim the GOP have up their sleeves.

The Democrats claim the Republicans have voter suppression measures in place to disrupt the 2020 election, including a "war" on the U.S. Postal Service.

From a press release:

Hi there and Happy Monday!!!

We are so excited to share the official trailer for the upcoming Stacey Abrams voter suppression documentary from Amazon Studios titled ALL IN: The Fight for Democracy.

At a time where voter suppression efforts are at an all-time high in this country (especially with the current war on USPS), this documentary couldn't be more timely.

 

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The disaster movie Contagion beat The Ten Commandments to the top of the FandangoNow top 10 film countdown list this week.

Director Steven Soderbergh's 2011 hit movie Contagion is still topping pay-per-view movie charts in the U.S. as film fans try to make sense of the coronavirus pandemic.

The film, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne and Kate Winslet, has led FandangoNow's Top 10 Catalog Films countdown for the past two weeks and now tops beloved religious classic The Ten Commandments, which movie goers are paying to rent and buy on the streaming platform with Easter approaching.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is America's third most-watched non-new-release movie this week, ahead of Trolls and Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone.

Shrek, Selena, Home, Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets, and Spider-Man: Homecoming complete the top 10.

Meanwhile, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence's Bad Boys sequel has ended The Invisible Man's reign at the top of FandangoNow's overall video-on-demand service.

Americans on lockdown raced to view Bad Boys For Life over the weekend, giving the action comedy the edge over another new release, Sonic The Hedgehog.

Source: WENN.com

Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Disney/Pixar's animated film 'Onward' is banned in multiple Middle East markets due to a lesbian reference by male-identified screenwriter Lena Waithe, 35.

In the movie, about two teenage elf brothers in a mythical world, there is a passing reference to a lesbian relationship uttered by Waithe's genderless character, a purple unicorn cyclops officer named Specter.

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Disney/Pixar

Middle East censors objected to the line: "It's not easy being a new parent - my girlfriend's daughter got me pulling my hair out, okay?"

Waithe's animated cyclops officer made history as Disney's first openly homosexual character, according to Deadline.com.

But censors in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have banned the film from showing in any theaters within their territories.

Russia, which is notoriously anti-homosexual, changed the word "girlfriend" to "partner" and allowed the movie to show in theaters.

Onward earned $2 million in Thursday previews in North America, according to Deadline.com. The movie tracking $37 million - $40 million in opening weekend ticket sales.

Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Tamar Braxton says she relates to the "Crazy Kinda Love" she sings about in her new single featured in True to the Game 2, the sequel to the best-selling urban novel by Teri Woods.
 

 

The Grammy-nominated singer released a snippet of her song exclusively with Billboard.com. The full single arrives on digital streaming platforms on Friday, March 6. The 42-year-old reality TV star says singing about crazy relationships made her fall in love with music all over again.

Photo by Photo by BACKGRID

Tamar, who divorced Vincent Herbert after 11 years of marriage, is currently dating financial guru David Adefeso.

True to Game 2 stars Vivica A. Fox, Andra Fuller, Erica Peeples, Jeremy Meeks, Iyana Halley and Lil Mama. With appearances by Rotimi, Braxton, Faith Evans, Waka Flocka, Bernice Burgos, and more.

Produced by Manny Hailey and directed by Jamal Hill, True to the Game 2 picks up a year after the first installment of True to the Game (2017). Separating herself from Philly's dangerous scene while still mourning the death of Quadir (Columbus Short), Gena (Erica Peeples) has reinvented herself as a journalist, living and working in NYC.

True to the Game 2 is in select theaters in Spring 2020.
 

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Screen grab: YouTube.com

Jordan Peele released the gory first trailer for his thriller 'Candyman'. The MGM/Universal Pictures remake was released on Thursday and tells the story of an artist fixated on finding a mysterious hook-handed killer, who appears when his name is repeated 5 times.

Jordan's version of Candyman is set in 1992 in Chicago's notorious Cabrini-Green housing projects. The last of the buildings that comprised Cabrini-Green Homes was demolished in March 2011.

The area where the projects once stood is now a landscape of gleaming high-rise buildings and upscale townhouses on the gentrified Near North Side of Chicago.

According to urban legend, "Candyman" is summoned when anyone repeats his name 5 times in a mirror.

"The urban legend is, if you say his name five times while looking in the mirror, he appears in the reflection and it kills you," says Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who plays artist Anthony McCoy.

Candyman's murderous rampage begins when a group of girls says his name five times in a mirror and are promptly murdered.

McCoy becomes obsessed with finding out if the Candyman is real. He takes photos around the old Cabrini-Green neighborhood, basing his art exhibit on the elusive slasher, as bodies begin piling up.
 

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Promo photo: Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures has one of the biggest flops in movie history on its hands. On opening day, Cats took in just $2.6 million, which doesn't scratch the surface of the film's $95 million production budget. The musical earned a total of $6.5 million on opening weekend.

In an unprecedented move on Friday, Universal notified theaters that it was pulling the film and replacing it with an updated version with "improved visual effects."

The swap was made via digital download in a satellite uplink on Sunday, Dec. 22.

For theaters that couldn't access the server, Universal shipped digital prints on hard drives that will arrive by Tuesday, Dec. 24.

Movie managers tell The Hollywood Reporter that swapping out a major theatrical release in mid-run is unheard of.

Cats stars Jennifer Hudson (pictured above), Taylor Swift, Dame Judi Dench, and Francesca Hayward in the CATastrophic film adaptation of the long-running Broadway musical.

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Promo photo: Universal Pictures

According to published reports, Universal's "improved visual effects" include the removal of human hands from at least one of the cats. Other improvements include blurring the creepy photorealistic cat fur that appears to grow from human skin.

The 1st trailer revealing the film's nightmare-inducing "digital fur technology" resulted in a massive backlash on YouTube. Cat lovers were horrified by house cats with human faces and hands.

Moviegoers say the star-studded cast resemble escapees from a laboratory that conducts animal experiments.

Fans of the Broadway musical wondered why Universal didn't use CGI cats with voiceovers by the star-studded cast.

Imagine the uproar if Disney plastered Beyonce's face on Nala in the Lion King.

Remember last week when director Tom Hooper laughed at the negative reaction to the trailer? He isn't laughing now.

Variety.com writes, "At the end of the day, one wonders whether Hooper has even spent much time around cats."

Photo by Nicky Nelson/WENN.com

Queen & Slim director Melina Matsoukas says she wasn't surprised that her film was snubbed by Golden Globes voters.

The film stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner Smith as an unlikely couple who go on the run after killing a cop.

Queen & Slim didn't receive a single nomination in any of the 14 film categories voted on by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

Photo by Nicky Nelson/WENN.com

Matsoukas, pictured right with screenwriter Lena Waithe, said, "It's extremely discouraging. It's extremely infuriating. And it just represents an archaic system that is full of people who don't value us.”

Matsoukas tells Variety.com that the members skipped multiple screenings of Queen & Slim that was set up for them.

Matsoukas said only 4 members of HFPA attended the screenings.

"We held three screenings for the HFPA and almost no members attended," Matsoukas said. "For me, it's reflective of their voting body. It's not reflective of the society in which we live in or the industry as it stands today."

She added, "They don't value the stories that represent all of us, and those stories are so often disregarded and discredited, as are their filmmakers."

But critics say the film missed the mark. It is widely believe that Queen & Slim was written James Frey, a white male who has a reputation for being a liar. The movie was promoted as a film written and directed by 2 Black females.

Waithe was dragged on Twitter.com when someone leaked the original script which contained questionable references to slavery.

One Twitter user wrote:

"It was cheap and manipulative to play off of the very real hurt going on in this country right now. Lena should be ashamed of that raggedy ass script."

An HFPA representative told Variety that "Queen & Slim was in the conversation amongst the membership."

The 2020 Golden Globes airs on Jan. 5, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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Photo: Universal Pictures

If you were creeped out by the trailer for the star-studded movie adaptation of the Broadway musical Cats, you're not alone.

Twitter was so creeped out by the swishing tails and twitching whiskers on the human cast, that the producers were forced to respond to the backlash.

It's one thing to see people dressed up as cats onstage, but transforming humans into cats using computer-generated imagery is just unsettling.

"It would be a little less unsettling if they didn't have human hands, feet, and faces," said one YouTube viewer.

Another viewer wrote: "I imagine this is what a cat sees when overdosing on catnip."

The $100 million movie stars Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden and Judi Dench as feline-ized humans.

Producer Eric Feliner is unimpressed with the backlash on Twitter. "What does one say? The reality is that 100 million people or more saw the trailer, and, yes, there were some people that didn't like it," said Feliner. "As is the world we live in, those who didn't like it were the most vociferous."

Producer Tim Bevan had a different take on the controversy. He believes the people who hated the trailer just aren't cat people in general.

"They were probably people who didn't know 'Cats', and the fact is they were either anticipating something animated or something that was on four legs," Bevan theorized. "Among people who know 'Cats', the reaction was pretty solid."

Cats is in theaters this Christmas.

Watch the trailer below. But it might creep you out if you're not a cat person.
 

Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty

Universal Pictures' film Queen & Slim landed in 5th place at the box office behind Sony's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers, the beloved TV personality who had an "emotional" relationship with his producer Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys).

According to Box Office Mojo, Queen & Slim took in an estimated $11.7 million over the three-day weekend and an estimated $15.8 million over five days. The film's budget was $18 million, which doesn't include the tens of millions of dollars spent on TV, Internet and print advertising.

Queen and Slim is a typical Hollywood propaganda film that, according to social media activist Tariq Nasheed, was intended to make white people "feel good", while portraying Black people as “buffoons" who kill each other for no reason.

Tariq says there was only one "bad" white person in the movie (the cop who was killed at the beginning). Every other white person is depicted as good people on some "Underground Railroad sh*t".

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty

Queen & Slim was written by Lena Waithe, a male-identified lesbian (pictured right), and directed by Melina Matsoukas, left, best known as a music video director. Matsoukas' father is of Greek and Jewish descent, and her mother is African-Cuban and Jamaican.

According to Tariq, Waithe and Matsoukas portray Black people as either ghetto "buffoons" or impulsive wannabe heroes with poor insight and bad judgment.

Tariq was particularly annoyed that Matsoukas and the film's stars, British actors Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, are Non-Foundational Black Americans in the ADOS movement for reparations.

The majority of glowing film reviews were written by white movie critics who fell for the lie that Waithe and Matsoukas are somehow experts on the Black experience in the Deep South.

The improbable, unlikely story of a defense attorney throwing her career away for a guy she just met on the Tinder app is couched in a "love story" that is about as believable as Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Tariq notes that Queen & Slim's terrible choices led to their ultimate demise at the end.

Though Queen & Slim received an "A-" CinemaScore, the movie did not meet box office expectations.

Celebrities and Black Instagram bloggers were recruited at the last minute on Saturday to plead with Black people to rush to the theaters to support the film.

Watch Tariq's hilarious movie review HERE.

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Photo: Universal Pictures

The NY Times contributor Carvell Wallace penned an emotional review of the new movie Queen & Slim, in theaters everywhere on Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Wallace, a Black father of two teenagers, urges moviegoers to give Queen & Slim a chance. He says they might be among "the great love stories of all time."

Queen & Slim is about a Black couple who meet on Tinder and go out to a Cleveland diner for their first date.

The man (Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya) is a minimum wage Costco cashier whose deep faith in God is reflected on his vanity license plate that reads: "TrustGod."

Queen (played by British newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith) is an uptight defense lawyer and atheist. The date is a disaster from the start. The only reason she went out with him, she says, is because he looked sad in his profile photo, and she felt sorry for him.

Queen has an attitude because one of her clients was sentenced to die on Ohio's death row.

"Was he innocent?" Slim asks. "Does it matter?" she snaps. "The state shouldn't decide who lives or dies."

The movie's flimsy plot line is based on that argument.

After dinner, Slim drives Queen home. On the way, his car is pulled over by an aggressive white cop.

Slim is polite and courteous at first. But Queen, the defense lawyer, knows her rights and just won't stop talking (the film's director, Melina Matsoukas, was "haunted" by the footage of Sandra Bland's arrest).

When Slim asks the cop to hurry it up because he's cold, the cop draws his weapon, because, you know, he fears for his life.

Queen reaches for her cell phone to record the encounter while Slim and the cop struggle over the gun. The gun discharges, grazing Queen on the thigh. Now fearing for his life, Slim kills the cop.

Slim wants to call his folks and turn himself in. He has a good case for self-defense. But Queen, the defense lawyer, decides to throw her law career away by ordering Slim to go on the lam with her.

Matsoukas, who directed Beyonce's music video "Lemonade", takes the couple on a meandering journey from the Midwest to the Deep South.

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Universal Pictures

Their first stop is the home of Queen's Uncle Earl in New Orleans. Uncle Earl (Bokeem Woodbine) is a war veteran and a pimp. Among his scantily clad hookers is Pose star Indya Moore, a cross-dresser who helps Queen remove her box braids so she will be less recognizable while on the run.

Of all the eccentric characters Queen & Slim encounter on their journey, Moore is the least memorable. Yet Wallace spends time describing the moments between the biological female Queen and the male-to-female trans Moore.

"The camera lingers on them in the intimate act of hairdressing; cool light fills the room. Queen breathes slowly, feeling protected for maybe the first time in the film."

It isn't hard to figure out where Wallace is going with this: Queen didn't feel protected when she was with Slim, a heterosexual male?

Wallace was physically and emotionally moved by Queen & Slim. After the film ended, he went into a bathroom for an ugly cry. "I put my sunglasses on because I was bawling, my whole torso heaving," he wrote.

Wallace goes overboard in his praise of the movie, over-exaggerating the "love story" between the two hapless fugitives.

Unlike the real Bonnie & Clyde, who were in a longterm relationship, Queen and Slim barely knew each other. They weren't even planning to go on a second date before the fateful encounter with the cop.

Their brief relationship is described by Wallace as "true, active, life-affirming love... He allows her anger, makes space for her hurt. Isn't this what love is?"

"If you allow it to be, Queen & Slim can be one of the great love stories of all time," Wallace writes.

If Queen & Slim is considered to be the standard for mature, life-affirming love, it is no wonder the divorce rate in America is over 70%.

Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage

Samuel L. Jackson's new movie The Banker is in jeopardy after allegations of molestation by the family of the main character's son, who produced the movie.

Jackson, 70, stars in a real-life story about Bernard Garrett, a Black businessman who hired a white man as the face of his financial business before the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed. Garrett Sr. gave loans to Black Americans at a time when few banks would accept loan applications from Black people.

The Banker, which was filmed in Atlanta, also stars Anthony Mackie, Nicholas Hoult, Nia Long, and Jessie Usher. It was written and directed by George Nolfi.

The film was set to premiere at AFI Fest in Los Angeles, CA on November 21, but the premiere was abruptly canceled by Apple+ after family members of the main character's son made serious allegations against him.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cynthia and Sheila Garrett accused one of their 8 siblings, half brother Bernard Garrett, Jr., of molesting them when they were young. Garrett Jr. is listed as a producer of the movie.

The sisters, who are about 15 years younger than their half brother, accused Garrett Jr. of sexually abusing them over the course of a few years when they were young.

Cynthia Garrett, formerly an interviewer on MTV and VH1, has since founded Cynthia Garrett Ministries and speaks to women's groups about the stigma surrounding molestation by family members.

Molestation is a serious problem in the Black community. It often goes unreported to protect the molester, who is typically a male relative.

Another sister, Grace Garett, was upset that Apple+ erased her and her mom from the film.

"Yes it's true. They omitted my mom and my siblings and I entirely. Stole our mom and our life story and did so with our abuser. It hurts. Deeply," she said.

Apple, which purchased the rights to The Banker in 2019, declined to comment on the specifics of Cynthia Garrett's allegations.

In a statement announcing the cancellation of the premiere on Wednesday, the company said:

"We purchased The Banker earlier this year as we were moved by the film's entertaining and educational story about social change and financial literacy. Last week some concerns surrounding the film were brought to our attention. We, along with the filmmakers, need some time to look into these matters and determine the best next steps."

THR reports Apple has a lot riding on The Banker, which is set for theatrical release domestically on Dec. 6. The film is getting an awards-season push.

Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images

Idris Elba has signed on to star in Jay-Z's all-Black Western flick The Harder They Fall. Elba's fans can't wait to see the hunky British actor wearing leather chaps and riding horseback.

The Harder They Fall is no Brokeback Mountain. The all-black Western for Netflix is produced by rapper Jay-Z, James Lassiter and Lawrence Bender.

The Harder They Fall stars actor Jonathan Majors as an outlaw who finds out that the murderer who killed his parents (Elba) is being released from prison.

According to Deadline.com, Elba is also starring in another Western drama, Concrete Cowboys, which began filming this year.

The 47-year-old Virgo is best known as the sexy drug kingpin Stringer Bell on HBO's The Wire.