Critics groups disqualify Disney from year-end awards consideration
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Critics groups disqualify Disney from year-end awards consideration due to LA Times ban

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Disney disqualified from awards.

Disney has lifted its ban on The Los Angeles Times and will continue to give the paper access to press screenings, interviews, and more. The studio issued following the statement via The New York Times on Tuesday afternoon: “We’ve had productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at The Los Angeles Times regarding our specific concerns, and as a result, we’ve agreed to restore access to advance screenings for their film critics.”

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Earlier this month, The Los Angeles Times revealed that they had been blacklisted from attending press screenings of Disney films due to what the company called “unfair coverage of its business ties with Anaheim.” Since then, multiple outlets, including The A.V. Club and Flavorwire, have come forward and announced that they will no longer give Disney films advance coverage until the LA Times can too.

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Fast forward to this morning, and Disney’s attempt to blackout the press has backfired even further as four major critics groups from across the nation, including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics, and the National Society of Film Critics, have voted to disqualify all Disney films from year-end awards consideration.

“It is admittedly extraordinary for a critics’ group, let alone four critics’ groups, to take any action that might penalize film artists for decisions beyond their control,” the organizations said in a joint statement. “But Disney brought forth this action when it chose to punish The Times’ journalists rather than express its disagreement with a business story via ongoing public discussion. Disney’s response should gravely concern all who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included.”

Even filmmakers such as Ava DuVernay, whose A Wrinkle in Time is scheduled to be released by Disney on March 9, took to Twitter on Monday to express her support for “the film journalists standing up for one another” and says she is standing with them. Jake Tapper of CNN called Disney’s boycott of the LA Times “unprofessional and journalistic,” saying that it makes the company “look small.”

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‘Incredibles 2’ opens with a record-breaking $18.5 million from Thursday night previews

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Incredibles
DISNEY/PIXAR

Disney and Pixar’s Incredibles 2 is off to an excellent start at the domestic box office as the long-awaited animated sequel leaped into theaters with a record-breaking $18.5 million on Thursday night, making it the biggest preview ever for an animated film.

The record was previously held by Finding Dory, which earned $9.2 million from Thursday previews in 2016. However, Dory still holds the record for best opening weekend ever for an animated film with $135 million—whether Incredibles 2 can break that record as well is still to be determined, but it’s chance look promising.

Incredibles 2 launches in 4,410 theaters across the U.S. starting today and, according to estimates from box office analysts, could gross anywhere between $125 million and $140 by Sunday.

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Still, the preview is an impressive feat for Incredibles 2, beating out Beauty and the Beast ($16.3 million), Spider-Man: Homecoming ($15.4 million), and Thor: Ragnarok ($14.5 million), while almost matching the $18.6 million preview number Deadpool 2 earned just mere weeks ago.

Incredibles 2 picks up just after the events of the 2005 original and finds the Parr family back again, but Helen (Holly Hunter) is off on important crime-fighting business, leaving Bob (Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of parenting life.

Brad Bird returned to write and direct the sequel, which also stars Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Jonathan Banks, Sophia Bush, Isabella Rossellini, and Samuel L. Jackson.

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‘Aquaman’ first look reveals Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta

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Aquaman
WARNER BROS.

This week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly offers our first look at Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta in James Wan’s highly anticipated Aquaman, which is due out in theaters this winter. The EW cover photo also features Jason Momoa as the titular superhero and Amber Heard as Mera.

While specific plot details are being kept tightly under wraps by the studio, the EW cover story features an interview with Wan where he teases what’s to come in the next installment in the DC Extended Universe, which, according to a new report, is currently undergoing some big changes behind the scenes amid a recent shakeup of DC’s top executives.

“The water world my movie takes place in is so separate and so far apart from previous DC movies it’s like I’m making my own sci-fi fantasy film,” the director said, adding that Aquaman will be “a whole new underwater world nobody has seen before in live action.”

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The cover story also details the “great white sharks, giant octopi, seven different underwater kingdoms, trench-dwelling cannibals, and even sea dragons” that are present throughout the film, which will find Aquaman going head to head with his archnemesis, Black Manta, and half-brother, Ocean Master (Patrick Wilson).

Written by Will Beall, Aquaman also stars Dolph Lundgren as Nereus, Temuera Morrison as Thomas Curry, and Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, and will hit theaters on December 21. You can check out the EW cover photos below.

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‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ tracking a solid $75 million opening weekend at domestic box office

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Ant-Man and the Wasp
MARVEL STUDIOS

Ant-Man and the Wasp is looking to outgross its predecessor when it debuts next month as the upcoming Marvel Studios sequel is heading toward a solid $75 million opening weekend over the July 6-8 weekend, further proving the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is showing no sign of losing momentum due to so-called “superhero fatigue.”

If these early figures are correct, this would put the sequel roughly 30% higher than Ant-Man‘s $57 million opening weekend total in 2015. The original went on to earn more than $180 million at the domestic box office and $339 million overseas, bringing its worldwide haul to a whopping $519 million.

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The latest Marvel adventure, which takes place in the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War but before the events of Avengers: Infinity War, follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) as he grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero and a father. However, when Scott is confronted by Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) with an urgent new mission, they must work together to uncover secrets from their past.

Ant-Man and the Wasp also stars Michael Pena, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Laurence Fishburne, and Michelle Pfeiffer, who joins the cast Hope’s mother and the original Wasp, Janet van Dyne, who Marvel revealed for the first time in a set of a character posters released for the film earlier this month.

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