How will Star Wars do in China? No one knows

The Star Wars franchise just isn’t as well known over in China.

The world’s second largest movie market is a big question mark for the Star Wars franchise.

While there’s no doubt that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be a blockbuster hit here in the States, the leaders of the largest cinema chains in China have no idea how the film is going to perform, according to a Hollywood Reporter report.

In North America, ticket sales cracked the $50 million mark a solid month before it was even set to open, and some are projecting it to score $2.7 billion at the box office worldwide. But a lot of that is dependent on how the movie performs in China, and how it does will be critical for shareholders.

The film doesn’t open there until Jan. 16.

Although Star Wars is a globally famous franchise, it’s actually not terribly well known in China. The original three films were never got wide theatrical release, meaning that China just doesn’t have the Star Wars nostalgia that everywhere else has.

If anything, the Chinese know the Star Wars prequels a good bit better. The original trilogy came smack dab during the Cultural Revolution in China in 1977, whereas the prequels came when China had emerged as the global economic power that it is today.

Musk: Falcon 9 rocket is ready to fire again after landing

It will probably go on display instead, but SpaceX will test it to make sure it could go again if need be.

It’s certainly been quite a year for Elon Musk and SpaceX, and 2016 should be just as exciting. One of the last announcements of the last year showed just how incredible 2015 is — on Dec. 30, Musk said the Falcon 9 rocket they had just landed was ready to fire again.

Musk posted a photo of the rocket as it say parked in its hangar at Cape Canaveral in Florida, noting that there had been no damage in the landing, according to an NBC News report.

The landing is an incredible feat that could save the space industry untold billions, allowing it to reuse rocket launchers rather than dumping them into the sea after a launch.

The Falcon 9 rocket successsfully delivered 11 communications satellites into orbit on Dec. 21, and meanwhile the first-stage booster descended back to Earth and landed upright and intact on the launch pad.

Although it’s ready to go again, this particular rocket won’t ever fire off again. Instead, it will probably end up on display, because Musk sees it as a significant thing that could change everything going forward, and the public should be allowed to check it out. They will confirm with some tests that it can fly again, however.

SpaceX was founded 14 years ago by Musk, a former founder of PayPal as well as Tesla motors. In creating the company, Musk was intent on developing technologies that would reduce the cost of space transportation and help realize a goal of colonizing Mars, leading to the development of the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles. SpaceX launched Falcon 1 into orbit for the first time in 2008.

Macklemore’s “White Privilege II” draws praise and criticism

Macklemore released his newest single “White Privilege II” on Thursday, and it is getting just as much criticism as it is praise

The last year race has become a hot button topic in the United States. With movements like #BlackLivesMatter still well under way it is no surprise that hip hop artist Macklemore’s latest single is bringing in praise and criticism.

According to New York Daily News, his recent single, “White Privilege II,” was released late Thursday. The nine-minute track is a mix of thoughts and opinions spurred by the #BlackLivesMatter movement and racial injustices the United States still seen today, including the numerous shootings of unarmed black men by police.

“This song is the outcome of an ongoing dialogue with musicians, activists, and teachers within our community in Seattle and beyond,” wrote Macklemore on the song’s official release page. “Their work and engagement was essential to the creative process.”

The rapper’s latest release has drawn out a slew of supporters as the song climbs to No. 1 on Billboard.

“Macklemore is practicing what he preaches, as he preaches it,” wrote Spencer Kornhaber in The Atlantic. “He also spotlights the voices of actual black activists. Who could attack him for that?”

The praise and success he is receiving is met with just as much criticism. In the 24 hours since “White Privilege II”‘s release, the song has been called hypocritical.

“When you allow yourself to continue benefiting from the same system you claim to question, you haven’t done anyone a service,” wrote Nora Rahimian on her Twitter account. Rahimian manages a Liberia-based rapper and runs the music festival for Hip Co.

The song is the sequel to Macklemore’s “White Privilege,” released in 2005. “White Privilege II” is rumored to be released on his upcoming album This Unruly Mess I’ve Made.

Jenna Fischer: ‘The Office’ chemistry with John Krasinski was real

In addition to talk about Krasinski, Fischer also talked about her other co-stars.

Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski portrayed love interests Jim and Pam on “The Office” — but it may have been more than just an on-screen thing.

The Office went off the air three years ago, and Jenna Fischer was on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live to reminisce about her time on the popular NBC show. It was there that she dropped some secrets about her co-star, according to an E Online report.

A fan of the show called into Andy Cohen’s show to ask Fischer about her on-screen chemistry with Krasinski. Fischer didn’t hesitate when she said she had real chemistry with him, stating somewhat cryptically that there was a real part of her that was Pam and a real part of him that was Jim, and those parts were “genuinely in love.”

Of course, both Krasinski and Fischer are currently married. Fischer added the caveat that in real life they’re not the “perfect match,” but described Krasinski as someone who was a type of spouse she had for a while, and that she’ll always be close to him.

Krasinski, for his part, has been busy lately, getting roles in some major films. He stars in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Fischer noted that he “looks good” in the movie.

In addition to talk about Krasinski, Fischer also talked about her other co-stars, noting that Mindy Kaling — who now has her own show — messed up her lines the most, and Rainn Wilson had the filthiest mouth on set. She also noted her best friend from the show is Angela Kinsey. She said they often call and text each other, or go out for breakfast together.

Academy Awards under fire for lack of diversity

Similar to last year, the Academy Awards receive criticism for a list of nominees lacking in diversity

An actor holding an Oscar is the picture of an actor at the height of their career. Considered the best of the best, this years Academy Awards is being criticized for a lack of diversity.

“At the Oscars … people of color are always welcomed to give out awards … even entertain,” wrote accomplished actress Jada Pinkett Smith on Twitter. “But we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments.”

Smith isn’t the only one criticizing the awards ceremony for its continued failure in representing minorities. USA Today reports that this year’s host, Chris Rock, released a new promo for the awards show calling it “The White BET Awards.”

Smith and Rock aren’t the only ones either. They’ve been joined by big actors like Rashida Jones, Emmy Rossum, and Martha Plimpton. Will Packer, the producer of Straight Outta Compton, also voiced his disappointment. The film did receive a nominee for Original Screenplay, but gives the award to the two white screenwriters, gleaning over the many black people who worked on the film.

“The reason the rest of the world looks at us like we have no clue is because in 2016 it’s a complete embarrassment to say that the heights of cinematic achievement have only been reached by white people,” wrote Packer. “I repeat — it’s embarrassing. It’s unfair to the performers of color who sacrificed so much, laid it all on the line and delivered with their projects this year.”

While those in charge of the Academy Awards haven’t commented, there has been a movement to boycott the awards in protest. The Twitter tag #OscardsSoWhite received a revival after the nominees were announced. The movement was started last year after a similar situation occurred last year, where all 20 nominations again went to all white performers.

 

Bill Cosby countersues his accusers

Comedian Bill Cosby filed a counter-suit in Massachusetts federal court against seven of his alleged sexual assault victims claiming defamation of character.

Comedian and TV personality Bill Cosby has a had a fair share of media attention lately surrounding multiple sexual assault allegations.  On Monday, he filed a lawsuit against seven of his accusers claiming defamation of character. Cosby’s attorney Monique Pressley states that the “false… opportunistic” allegations have mortified Cosby, causing him loss of jobs and financial opportunities.

According to USA Today, Pressley released a statement on Cosby’s behalf, saying  “Mr. Cosby states plainly that he neither drugged nor sexually assaulted the defendants and that each defendant has maliciously and knowingly published multiple false statements and accusations from Fall 2014 through the current day in an effort to cause damage to Mr. Cosby’s reputation and to extract financial gains.”

Cosby’s counter-suit is directed at seven of the nearly 60 women who have stepped forward as victims of Cosby’s sexual assault.  These seven women are currently involved in an open suit filed against Cosby in Massachusetts federal court, one of more than 6 civil lawsuits filed against Cosby recently.  The women’s lawyer said, “It’s curious to me how there can be scores of other ladies who have come out, and yet Mr. Cosby has singled out seven of them to bring a claim against.  It seems a bit retaliatory to me.”  On the same day the counter-suit was filed, Boston University joined a long list of colleges and universities that have decided to revoked Cosby’s honorary degrees.

Amid all of the accusations of drugging and sexual assault, Cosby maintains his innocence and denies all charges against him.  Unfortunately due to the statute of limitations on sexual crimes, many of accusations are too old to prosecute.

Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Schumer want to grow old together in Martha’s Vineyard

Lawrence said that Schumer has always wanted to live on Martha’s Vineyard.

Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer are really good friends — so much so that J-Law wants to grow old with Schumer at Martha’s Vineyard.

In a new cover story in Glamour, the Joy and Hunger Games actress said that she was inspired by Diane Sawyer when they visited her in Martha’s Vineyard for Thanksgiving, according to a Boston.com report.

Lawrence said that Schumer has always wanted to live on Martha’s Vineyard, and they saw a house where they could grow “old and crazy together,” according to the interview.

Meanwhile, there’s reports that Amy Schumer has found herself a boyfriend. The Emmy- and Peabody-winning star of Trainwreck appears to be in a serious relationship, and they have posted photos of themselves on social media. Schumer took pictures of her man and her family while visiting the White House to support President Obama’s anti-gun violence initiative.

The press reported that the man’s name was Ben Hanisch, who is a 29-year-old furniture designer from Chicago. He is a graduate from the University of Utah and he owns The Last Workshop, a furniture design company in Chicago.

In an interview last year, Schumer said her requirements for a boyfriend is that he has to be funny, nice, and have a normal relationship with his mother.

Kristen Stewart plays the “Whisper Game” on the Tonight Show

The 26-year-old actress was on The Tonight Show on Jan. 5.

Jimmy Fallon has another wacky game for his celebrity guests, and this time it was Kristen Stewart on to play the “Whisper Challenge.”

The 26-year-old actress was on The Tonight Show on Jan. 5. For the Whisper Challenge, one person puts on headphones with loud music and the other reads a line. Then, the person with the headphones on has to guess what the other is saying.

For the first part of the challenge, Fallon mouthed, “Say hello to my little friend,” Al Pacino’s line from Scarface. But because of the accent he said it in, Stewart guessed “tell those M-f****ers [to] take my bathroom to the friend.”

Stewart then “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.” Fallon actually solved this one, although it took him a while.

Then, Fallon read “Kung Fu Panda.” Stewart guessed: “Call the fruit bat,” although she eventually got the right answer.

Finally Stewart read Matthew McConaughey’s famous phrase, “All right all right all right.” Fallon struggled with this one, guessing “Talk to the hand” and “Relax we’re only friends” before finally getting it.

Kristen Stewart is best known for playing Bella Swan from the Twilight Saga film series, which ran from 2008 to 2012 and grossed $3.3 billion globally. She is also known as the face of the Chanel and Balenciaga fashion brands.

Her career began to take off with her appearance as the daughter of Jodie Foster’s character in the Panic Room in 2002. She’s also been in Speak, Zathura, Into the Wild, Adventureland, The Runaways, Snow White and the Huntsman, and numerous others. She was also named the highest-earning female actress by Vanity Fair in 2010.

Victory for Cosby: No charges in Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles County District Attorney decided that too much time had elapsed.

Bill Cosby won’t get hit with two more criminal charges of sexual assault in Los Angeles County.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney decided that too much time had elapsed and there wasn’t enough evidence to hit the embattled comedian with more charges of sexual assault, according to a USA Today report.

It’s a huge victory for Cosby, one that his team desperately needs after the comedian was arraigned on other charges and continues to face an uphill battle to win back his reputation after dozens of women accused him of drugging and raping them over a period of decades.

As a result, Cosboy is only likely to be prosecuted on one charge of sexual assault out of nearly 60 accusers, an aggravated indecent assault charge brought against him in Pennsylvania last week that involved a 2004 incident. In that case, a Temple University employee says she was drugged and sexually assaulted, similar to the claims of the many other women accusing Cosby.

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is 12 years, but in California it is much shorter. Because both offenses occurred in 2008, the statute of limitations has passed in the state, and there will therefore be no prosecution, investigators said.

They considered filing other charges not barred by the statute of limitations, like sexual assault by intoxication, but they decided there wasn’t enough evidence.

Cosby also scored another victory in court when he got the court to postpone the deposition of his wife, Camille, in a defamation case that the seven accusers in Massachusetts filed against him.

Judge rules Bill Cosby sexual assault case will proceed

Despite a bid by Bill Cosby’s lawyers to have the sexual assault case dropped, a Pennsylvania lawyer determined that the case could proceed and potentially go to trial.

Despite a bid by Bill Cosby’s lawyers to have the sexual assault charges against the popular actor dismissed, judge Steve O’Neill declared that the charges would not be dropped, clearing the way for a potential trial.

Montgomery County Judge O’Neill denied Cosby’s request to dismiss the criminal case against him. The judge determined that a former prosecutor’s testimony about a promise made not to prosecute Cosby was not credible. The judge also denied a motion by Cosby’s lawyers to remove the prosecutor for the case, newly elected Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele.

Cosby has been charged with three felony accounts of aggravated indecent assault which began with a 2004 interacting involving drugs and alcohol with former Temple University basketball staffer Andrea Constand, now 42, at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania home.

The entertainer had no immediate reaction to the ruling, sitting stoically as the judge read the decision before quietly talking to an aide. Cosby’s attorneys declined to comment after the decision.

Dolores Troiani, one of Constand’s attorneys, said they were pleased with the decision.

“Obviously Andrea was very upset yesterday with the manner in which Castor testified about her. […] We feel very vindicated and are convinced now that justice will prevail in a Montgomery County courtroom,” Troiani said.

Castor testified for nearly seven hours Tuesday, where he admitted to promising Cosby that he would not prosecute the actor – ever – if he did not invoke his 5th amendment rights not incriminate himself in a not-yet-filed civil suit. He also said Constand’s attorneys signed off to the agreement in 2005, which both attorneys testified was not true on Wednesday. A preliminary hearing has been set for March 8, where another judge will determine if there is enough evidence for the case to move on to a trial.