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'The Forever Purge' release delayed by pandemic; what summer films are still scheduled to open?

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Still from “The First Purge”; Universal Pictures(NEW YORK) — You can now add The Forever Purge to the list of movies being pulled from scheduled release as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps theaters closed.

Variety reports that the fifth film in the Purge franchise, set in a dystopian near future where murder is legal for one night every year, has been delayed indefinitely from its previously scheduled July 10 opening.

With the summer movie season traditionally beginning Memorial Day weekend, studios with major releases scheduled for the summer have been waiting as long as they can before yanking releases from their schedules.  Some studios are opting to release films on streaming and on-demand platforms, as DreamWorks Animation and Universal did last month with Trolls World Tour, and IFC Films did last weekend with the lower-profile How to Build a Girl.

What remains to be seen is what, if any, additional scheduled releases will follow the streaming/on-demand route, as states slowly begin to re-open businesses but limit the numbers of people allowed in them.  Many theater owners say with caps on audience numbers, they won’t be able to make any money even if they are allowed to open.

While more than a few films are still scheduled to open in limited release from now through August, only a handful of major releases remain on the summer domestic release schedule, including Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, Disney’s live-action Mulan, and the much-anticipated sequel Wonder Woman 1984.  For now, studios continue to take a wait-and-see approach.

Here are the films still scheduled for a wide release through August, according to Box Office Mojo:

July 1 — Unhinged
July 17 — Tenet
July 24 — Mulan
August 7 — The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
August 14 — Wonder Woman 1984
August 14 — The One and Only Ivan
August 21 — Let Him Go
August 21 — Antebellum
August 21 — Bill & Ted Face the Music

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Star-studded 'American Idol' finale is Sunday night; find out who Katy Perry's rooting for

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Courtesy ABC(LOS ANGELES) — This Sunday night, American Idol will air its very first remote finale.  And while all the judges agree that the remaining contestants are very talented, Katy Perry isn’t shy about revealing who she’s rooting for.

“If I can be completely honest about my favorites, Jonny West and Julia Gargano,” Katy tells ABC News. “Those are my picks. But it’s up to America to vote for who they want…it could easily be Francisco [Martin] or it could be Louis Knight, or Arthur [Gunn]. We’ll see!”

Judge Lionel Richie is also a big fan of the guitar-strumming, raspy-voiced Arthur Gunn, telling ABC News, “He has that sound all by himself.”  But he believes that all seven — Arthur, Jonny, Julia, Just Sam, Louis, Francisco and Dillon James — will go on to have successful careers.

Everyone has their specialty that I’m loving…it’s not even a competition between each other anymore,” Lionel says. “It’s just all about, ‘How great can you be on the next thing you do?'”

On Sunday, the Top Seven will be whittled down to the Top Five, after which each contestant will sing two numbers: One they’ve previously performed, and the single they’ll release if they win the title.  Ryan Seacrest will announce the winner live.

In addition, Lionel Richie will sing the all-star 1985 charity single “We Are the World,” which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson, performing with the judges and American Idol alumni Alejandro Aranda, Gabby Barrett, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler and Lauren Alaina, and past winners Jordin Sparks, Laine Hardy, Phillip Phillips, Ruben Studdard and Scotty McCreery.

Additionally, Katy will sing her new song, “Daisies,” and Luke Bryan will perform his current hit, “One Margarita.”  There may be other surprises, but here’s what’s in store for now:

–Cynthia Erivo and the Top 11 perform a medley of Aretha Franklin songs.
–Lauren Daigle and the Top 5 will sing her hit “You Say.”
–Superstar country group Rascal Flatts will sing “Bless the Broken Road.”

The American Idol season finale airs Sunday, May 17, at 8 p.m. ET. The series has officially been renewed for a season four.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Yvette Nicole Brown, Hugh Jackman and more turning out for the Motion Picture & Television Fund COVID-19 Emergency Relief fundraiser tonight

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ABC/Bob D’Amico(NEW YORK) — The Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) is holding a star-studded fundraiser today to benefit the MPTF COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, helping those in Hollywood who lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

Avengers: Endgame actress Yvette Nicole Brown is producing — and co-hosting — the special, along with Tom Bergeron. She caught up with ABC Audio, to tell us about the event. “We’re gonna have people like George Clooney and Leslie Odom, Jr. [and] Hugh Jackman.” 

Other names include Pierce Brosnan, Allison Janney, Ken Jeong, Richard Marx and Brad Paisley. Dozens of stars lined up to take part, Brown tells us. 

“I just have been amazed at how many people when you call and say, ‘Would you please…’ Like my friend Leslie Odom Jr., who won a Grammy and a Tony for Hamilton playing Aaron Burr. I just said in a text like, ‘Okay, you know, we’re doing this this fundraiser for the Motion Picture Television fund. We’re trying to create something where we can help industry members in need. Would you please –?’ And before I could get ‘Would you ple –‘ he was like, “Whatever you need. Need me to sing, need me to write, whatever you need.”

Brown says, “It just reinforces the heart that people have. You know, I don’t know anyone currently in this crisis, even the super duper rich people that aren’t suffering in some way. Right now, there are others that are suffering at the basic needs level and there’s others that are suffering. And maybe they lost a business.” 

The one-hour special, titled We All Play Our Part, will broadcast today at 9 p.m. Eastern time on the organization’s YouTube page, and on the MPTF’s website.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Michael Jordan's daughter Jasmine explains why her father did not want 'The Last Dance' to be released

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Photo credit: Ariel Perry(NEW YORK) — With the final two episodes of Michael Jordan’s intimate sport doc, The Last Dance, airing Sunday, his daughter Jasmine admits that her father is now finally breathing a sigh of relief.

The wildly popular series, which chronicles her father’s final Chicago Bulls season in 1997–98, shares rare footage of Michael’s tumultuous journey, which Jasmine reveals he hoped would not see the light of day.

“[It was] understanding his fear of wanting it to even come out,” Jasmine tells ABC Audio. “And why he was hesitant. Because now seeing so many episodes up to this point, I’m like that, ‘Dad, why wouldn’t you want this to come out? This is incredible. This is what the people want.'”

“He was concerned about the perception,” she continues. “He was concerned that people weren’t going to understand these were sacrifices. And he had to be that brute teammate, or ask that much from everybody else to become great.”

Jasmine says Michael thought viewers may not understand the tough love he gave his teammates. 

“He’s not just beating up Steve Kerr, beating up Ron Harper and constantly coming at Charles Oakley because it’s fun,” she explains. “He’s doing it because he knows their potential and he’s trying to pull it out.”

“So, with having that conversation, I said, ‘OK, I get it,'” she recalls. “‘I get why you would be concerned [about the] audience or the younger generation that didn’t watch you live during this time.”

Watching the doc in real time, Jasmine says she has a better grasp of her father’s feelings, adding that his fear was rooted in people not understanding his “mentality.”

Now, thankfully, Jasmine says Michael’s “fear has been pretty much been wavered.”

“He allowed the documentary to come to fruition… because I think everybody should be benefiting from it.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult talk royally outrageous Hulu series, 'The Great'

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Hulu(NEW YORK) — The Great is not your typical period piece. Yes, the 18th century costumes are beautiful, the sets are ornate — but don’t be surprised to hear an f-bomb fly out of a royal’s mouth.

With a biting script from The Favourite writer Tony McNamara, the royally outrageous new Hulu comedy stars Elle Fanning as the fiercely feminist Catherine the Great, who plots to overthrow her petulant husband, Emperor Peter III of Russia, played by Nicholas Hoult.

“We say it’s ‘loosely historically accurate,’ but there are certainly things the real Catherine did that we incorporate in our show and pretty astounding things like if you think about it,” Fanning, who also scored her first executive producer credit on the show, tells ABC Audio.

She adds, “I mean, she brought formal education to Russia. She brought art. She brought science. She invented the roller coaster. She overthrew her husband! Like she is the feminist icon, I would say.”

Emperor Peter, as he’s played in the show, was a bit less accomplished. Hoult says playing such an “extreme, ridiculous” character was a lot of fun and there wasn’t much that shocked him by the end of it.

“There’s an episode where my character is kind of in some ways born again and gets a new lease on life and believes that he’s changing and decides that he doesn’t need clothes for a while,” Hoult laughs. “I remember being — not shocked. I was like, ‘Oh, this is a turn…’”

The Great debuts today on Hulu.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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