Netflix film ‘Army of the Dead’ will be released in theaters first, as cinemas and streaming adapt.

In the clearest sign yet that theaters are softening their stance toward Netflix, Cinemark, the country’s third-largest chain, announced on Tuesday that it would show the streaming service’s upcoming zombie flick, “Army of the Dead” from director Zack Snyder, in more than 250 of its theaters on May 14, a week before the film will become available online.

The movie will also open in a smattering of regional chains like Harkins Theatres, Landmark Theatres and Alamo Drafthouse, bringing its total theater count to about 600 — the largest theatrical release yet for a Netflix film.

Last year, when the pandemic was raging and the majority of theater chains were closed, Netflix and Cinemark tested the release strategy in a handful of theaters with three Netflix films: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Midnight Sky” and “The Christmas Chronicles 2.” The results were encouraging enough for them to try a wider release at a time when the majority of the country’s theaters have reopened.

“Zack Snyder fans will love seeing the action in an immersive, cinematic environment with larger-than-life sight and sound technology,” Justin McDaniel, Cinemark’s senior vice president of global content strategy, said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to offer consumers the opportunity to watch this highly anticipated film in theaters and on Netflix,” Netflix’s head of distribution, Spencer Klein, said in a statement.

“Army of the Dead” stars Dave Bautista (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) and centers on a group of mercenaries who travel to Las Vegas to pull off a casino heist in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

While neither company would say whether this was part of a larger agreement involving more films, the two did say they “anticipate there will be more to come.”

The pandemic forced theaters and studios to re-evaluate how movies are distributed in theaters and on streaming platforms. Traditionally, theaters pushed for an exclusive 72-day window between when a film was released and when it could become available for at-home viewing, whether through streaming or video-on-demand services. But so many movies debuted in the home because of the pandemic, and audiences have become used to having that option, forcing Hollywood to adjust to a new reality.

View Source

Celebrities Are Endorsing Covid Vaccines. Does It Help?

Pelé, Dolly Parton and the Dalai Lama have little in common apart from this: Over a few days in March, they became the latest celebrity case studies for the health benefits of Covid-19 vaccines.

“I just want to say to all of you cowards out there: Don’t be such a chicken squat,” Ms. Parton, 75, said in a video that she posted on Twitter after receiving her vaccine in Tennessee. “Get out there and get your shot.”

This is hardly the first time public figures have thrown their popularity behind an effort to change the behavior of ordinary people. In medicine, celebrity endorsements tend to echo or reinforce messages that health authorities are trying to publicize, whether it’s getting a vaccine, or other medical treatment. In 18th-century Russia, Catherine the Great was inoculated against smallpox as part of her campaign to promote the nationwide rollout of the procedure. Almost 200 years later, backstage at “The Ed Sullivan Show,” Elvis Presley received the polio vaccine in an effort to help reach at-risk teenagers.

But do the star-studded endorsements really work? Not necessarily. Epidemiologists say there are plenty of caveats and potential pitfalls — and little scientific evidence to prove that the endorsements actually boost vaccine uptake.

History of Vaccines website, a project of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

and among the weirdest — online rituals of the Covid era.

To help track the phenomenon, New York Magazine over the winter kept a running list of newly vaccinated celebrities that includes Christie Brinkley (“piece of cake”), Whoopi Goldberg (“I didn’t feel it”) and Mandy Patinkin (“One of the few benefits of being old”). Journalists in India have done the same for Bollywood film stars.

getting their shots while shirtless have generated a bunch of memes. An epidemiologist in Oregon, Dr. Esther Choo, joked on Twitter that the French health minister, Olivier Véran, was carrying out a public-relations campaign that she called “Operation Smolder.”

stubbornly persistent in the United States and beyond. The rapid-fire testimonials by Pelé, Ms. Parton and the Dalai Lama in March, for example, collectively reached more than 30 million followers and prompted hundreds of thousands of engagements across Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. In April, the singer Ciara hosted a star-studded NBC special meant to promote vaccinations, with appearances by former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jennifer Hudson, Matthew McConaughey and others.

“These kind of endorsements might be especially important if trust in government/official sources is quite low,” Tracy Epton, a psychologist at the University of Manchester in Britain who has studied public health interventions during the coronavirus pandemic, said in an email.

That was the case in the 1950s, when Elvis Presley agreed to receive the polio vaccine to help the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis reach a demographic — teenagers — that was “difficult to educate and inspire through traditional means,” said Stephen E. Mawdsley, a lecturer in modern American history at the University of Bristol in Britain.

“I think Elvis helped to make getting vaccinated seem ‘cool’ and not just the responsible thing to do,” Dr. Mawdsley said.

had a colonoscopy live on the “Today” show in 2000, for example, the number of colorectal screenings in the United States soared for about nine months.

experiment that when 46 celebrities agreed to tweet or retweet pro-immunization messages, their posts were more popular than similar ones from noncelebrities. That was especially true when the celebrities delivered the message in their own voices, rather than citing someone else, researchers found.

“Their voice matters,” said Vivi Alatas, an economist in Indonesia and a co-author of that study. “It’s not just their ability to reach followers.”

For the most part, though, the science linking celebrity endorsements to behavioral change is tenuous.

One reason is that people generally consider those within their own personal networks, not celebrities, the best sources of advice about changing their own behavior, Dr. Najera said.

He cited a 2018 study that found few gun owners in the United States rated celebrities as effective communicators about safe gun storage. The owners were far more likely to trust law enforcement officers, active-duty military personnel, hunting or outdoor groups, and family members.

among the first in the country to receive a Covid shot in January. “Don’t be afraid of vaccines,” he told his Instagram followers, who numbered nearly 50 million at the time, almost a fifth of the country’s population.

That night, he was spotted partying without a mask, and accused of breaking the public’s trust.

“Please you can do better than this,” Sinna Sherina Munaf, an Indonesian musician, told Mr. Ahmad and her nearly 11 million followers on Twitter. “Your followers are counting on you.”

View Source

BAFTA Rescinds Award for Actor Noel Clarke

LONDON — The body that awards Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars has suspended a prominent actor and director weeks after he received one of its top awards, following accusations of sexual assault, sexual harassment and bullying from 20 women.

Producers, actresses and production assistants said the actor, Noel Clarke, secretly filmed auditions in which they were naked, groped or forcibly kissed them, and sent unsolicited intimate pictures. The testimonies were detailed in a lengthy exposé published by The Guardian on Thursday evening.

Mr. Clarke, 45, grew up in London and established himself as an actor in the 2000s with the television series “Doctor Who.” He is well-known in Britain as a filmmaker and performer for his trilogy “The Hood,” about the lives of teenagers in West London, and for the TV police dramas “Bulletproof” and “Viewpoint.” His production company, Unstoppable Film & Television, has made more than 10 movies and television shows.

Mr. Clarke denied the all accusations through his lawyers, according to The Guardian, with the exception of an episode in which he was accused of making inappropriate comments about a woman. He said he later apologized in that case.

revelations about Harvey Weinstein in The New York Times that touched off the #MeToo movement. Mr. Clarke is one of the first prominent actors to face such allegations in Britain.

In a statement provided to The Guardian, Mr. Clarke said, “In a 20-year career, I have put inclusivity and diversity at the forefront of my work and never had a complaint made against me.”

“If anyone who has worked with me has ever felt uncomfortable or disrespected, I sincerely apologize,” Mr. Clarke said, denying any sexual misconduct or wrongdoing, and dismissing the accusations as false.

The extent of the potential consequences for Mr. Clarke became clear on Friday when the television network ITV took the unusual step of saying in a statement that it would not air the finale of “Viewpoint,” a drama starring the actor, on its main channel Friday night because of the accusations against him.

rising star award in 2009, said in an earlier statement, released shortly after the article was published, that it had suspended his award and membership of the academy “immediately and until further notice.”

The Guardian report cited nearly two dozen women in the movie industry who said they had been subjected to a range of abuses that include unwanted physical contact, groping and forced kisses, as well as unsolicited sexual behavior on set, including eight on the record.

The Norwegian film producer Synne Seltveit said Mr. Clarke slapped her buttocks in 2015, and later sent an unwanted explicit sexual picture. The actress Gina Powel said Mr. Clarke exposed himself to her in a car and later groped her in an elevator, also in 2015. Anna Avramenko, an assistant film director, said Mr. Clarke had forcibly kissed her on set in 2008 and had tried several times again after the incident.

intimacy coordinators,” are becoming a common presence on set. Their job is to ensure sex scenes don’t compromise or exploit the performers, and recent British and Irish shows like “It’s a Sin” and “Normal People” have featured intimacy coordinators among their crew.

Onscreen, the plots of some recent British hits, like “Sex Education” and “I May Destroy You,” have turned on questions of sexual consent.

The British actress and writer Michaela Coel, who created “I May Destroy You,” in which she plays a young Londoner who investigates her own rape, said in a statement she supported the women who accused Mr. Clarke.

“Speaking out about these incidents takes a lot of strength because some call them ‘gray areas.’ They are, however, far from gray,” Ms. Coel said.

“These behaviors are unprofessional, violent and can destroy a person’s perception of themselves, their place in the world and their career irreparably.”

In his speech at the BAFTA Awards this month, Mr. Clarke, who is Black, dedicated his award to the “underrepresented, anyone who sits at home believing that they can achieve more.”

last year announced a series of changes in its nomination and prize-giving process.

For this year’s awards, BAFTA’s 6,700 voting members had to undergo unconscious bias training and watch every nominated movie before they could cast their ballots for each category — an attempt to deter voters from focusing on the most hyped films.

In the statement on Friday, BAFTA said it had asked individuals to come forward with their accounts and identify themselves.

“We very much regret that women felt unable to provide us with the kind of firsthand testimony that has now appeared in The Guardian,” it said. “Had we been in receipt of this, we would never have presented the award to Noel Clarke.”

View Source

BAFTA Suspends Award for Actor Noel Clarke Amid Harassment Allegations

BAFTA said in a statement on Friday that in the days following an announcement that Mr. Clarke would be awarded the prize, it received emails accusing him of sexual misconduct.

The allegations, the organization said, were either anonymous or second- or third-hand accounts via intermediaries, adding that it would have responded differently if the testimonies had come directly from the accusers.

“No names, times, dates, productions or other details were ever provided,” BAFTA said. “Had the victims gone on record as they have with The Guardian, the award would have been suspended immediately.”

BAFTA, which had previously honored Mr. Clarke with its rising star award in 2009, said in an earlier statement, released shortly after the article was published, that it had suspended his award and membership of the academy “immediately and until further notice.”

The Guardian report cited nearly two dozen women in the movie industry who said they had been subjected to a range of abuses that include unwanted physical contact, groping and forced kisses, as well as unsolicited sexual behavior on set, including eight on the record.

The Norwegian film producer Synne Seltveit said Mr. Clarke slapped her buttocks in 2015, and later sent an unwanted explicit sexual picture. The actress Gina Powel said Mr. Clarke exposed himself to her in a car and later groped her in an elevator, also in 2015. Anna Avramenko, an assistant film director, said Mr. Clarke had forcibly kissed her on set in 2008 and had tried several times again after the incident.

Helen Atherton, an art director on “Brotherhood,” which is part of “The Hood” trilogy, said Mr. Clarke had violated norms for the ethical filming of sex and nude scenes, including the hiring a nonprofessional actress to perform a scene in which intimate parts of her anatomy were visible.

View Source

Biden, in Georgia to Promote Economic Agenda, Visits Carter

President Biden visited former President Jimmy Carter, an old friend, as he traveled to Georgia on Thursday to pitch his $4 trillion economic agenda.

A day after using his first address to Congress to urge swift passage of his plans to spend heavily on infrastructure, child care, paid leave and other efforts meant to bolster economic competitiveness, Mr. Biden was set to hold a drive-in car rally in Duluth, Ga., for his 100th day in office.

White House officials indicated that the president would promote the $1.9 trillion economic aid bill he signed into law in March and pitch the two-part plan for longer-term investments in the economy that he has rolled out over the past two weeks.

Mr. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the president’s cabinet are embarking on a post-speech tour to push the economic plans through next week. Administration officials said the focus would include celebrating the increased pace of Covid-19 vaccinations since Mr. Biden took office and the rebound in economic activity.

free community college, universal prekindergarten and expanded efforts to fight poverty.

“He and the first lady are returning to Georgia to talk about getting America back on track,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the principal deputy press secretary, told reporters as they traveled to the state.

First, though, Mr. Biden took a detour to Plains, Ga., where Mr. Carter lives with his wife, Rosalynn Carter. Mr. Carter, the longest-living former president, is 96 years old and a cancer survivor. He has remained largely out of the public view during the coronavirus pandemic, although he appeared at a parade in October for his birthday. He did not attend Mr. Biden’s inauguration in January, and the president had promised to visit him.

“This is a longstanding friendship,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said. “They said that they were going to try to see each other after inauguration.”

Mr. Biden was the first senator to endorse Mr. Carter’s presidential bid in 1976, when Mr. Carter was the Georgia governor and not considered the favorite for the Democratic nomination. Mr. Biden recalled that endorsement as part of a brief video message he taped this month for the film crew behind “Carterland,” a documentary on the Carter administration.

“Some of my colleagues in the Senate thought it was youthful exuberance,” Mr. Biden said in the video. “Well, I was exuberant, but as I said then, ‘Jimmy’s not just a bright smile. He can win, and he can appeal to more segments of the population than any other person.’”

In the message, the president hailed Mr. Carter’s work in office and after his defeat to Ronald Reagan in 1980, praising Mr. Carter for working to eradicate disease and house the poor while still finding time to teach Sunday school. Mr. Biden said Mr. Carter had called him the night before his inauguration to wish him well and say he would be there in spirit.

“Simply put,” Mr. Biden told Mr. Carter and Mrs. Carter at the end of the video, “we love you, and God bless you both.”

The visit between the two families on Thursday lasted less than an hour. Mr. Biden’s motorcade arrived at the Carters’ home from Jimmy Carter Regional Airport at 2:30 p.m. A pool reporter glimpsed Mrs. Carter, in a white top and using a walker, on the front porch. There was no sign of Mr. Carter.

Zach Montague contributed reporting.

View Source

Anthony Hopkins’ Oscar Win Ends Night Highlighted by Diversity

LOS ANGELES — In a break with tradition, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided to end its Oscars ceremony on Sunday with the prize for best actor instead of the one for best picture.

It was easy to understand why. The late Chadwick Boseman, nominated for his visceral performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” was the runaway favorite, and an acceptance speech by his widow was sure to be an emotional moment. Further, the best actor prize had gone to a Black man only four times in 93 years, and celebrating Mr. Boseman at the night’s climax — after a year in which racial justice was at the forefront of the country’s consciousness — would put an exclamation point on the academy’s aggressive diversity and inclusion efforts over the past few years.

It backfired in spectacular fashion.

The film establishment instead went with Anthony Hopkins, rewarding his performance in “The Father” as a man suffering from dementia. Apparently certain that Mr. Boseman would win, Mr. Hopkins had decided not to attend the ceremony. With no one there to accept the award, the Oscars telecast abruptly ended, leaving the academy to face questions about whether it had misjudged its voting body.

“At 83 years old, I did not expect to get this award — I really didn’t,” Mr. Hopkins said in a video speech released Monday morning from his hometown in Wales and during which he paid tribute to Mr. Boseman.

all-white slates of acting nominees in both 2015 and 2016. It has scrambled to enact diversity-focused reforms, most notably inviting about 4,000 artists and executives — with a focus on women and people from underrepresented groups — to become members. The organization now has about 10,000 voters. It says that about 19 percent of its members are from underrepresented racial and ethnic communities, up from 10 percent in 2015.

This year’s ceremony had a chance to be a showcase for those efforts. Going into Sunday night, some awards handicappers predicted that movie history would be made, with all four acting Oscars going to people of color for the first time. Along with Mr. Boseman, Viola Davis was seen as a leading contender for the best actress prize for playing a blues singer in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Best actress instead went to Frances McDormand for playing a dour van dweller in “Nomadland.” It was her third best-actress statuette.

Daniel Kaluuya, who played the Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” and Yuh-Jung Youn, for her comically cantankerous grandmother in “Minari.” She was the first Korean performer to win an acting Oscar, and only the second Asian woman. Chloé Zhao, who is Chinese, took home the best director prize, only the second woman to do so in Oscar history and the first woman of color.

Two Black women, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, won Oscars for makeup and hairstyling for the first time. Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) was the first woman to take home a solo screenwriting Oscar in 13 years. And the director Travon Free was the first Black man to win in the best live-action short category. He was recognized for “Two Distant Strangers,” a film about police brutality that he made with Martin Desmond Roe.

revealed that he did not accept the academy’s overtures.

Last year, the academy announced a plan that will require films to meet diversity criteria to be eligible for a best-picture nomination, starting with the 2024 awards.

Still, those who have been critical of the way the film industry operates are not ready to heap too much praise on the academy’s efforts.

“What we have to constantly recognize is that an institution like the academy didn’t give anything to Black people,” said Rashad Robinson, president of the racial justice organization Color of Change. “What the academy has done over the years is have a system and a set of rules that has stalled Black careers, which has prevented people from being able to be fully seen, which has had an economic impact on folks. Now that they are working to make some changes, let’s acknowledge those changes but let’s not give them any awards that they haven’t earned.”

resigned from the academy’s board in 2018.

“We have settled on numeric answers to the problem of inclusion, barely recognizing that this is the industry’s problem far, far more than it is the academy’s,” Mr. Mechanic wrote in his resignation letter, which was leaked to the news media. “Instead we react to pressure. One governor even went as far as suggesting we don’t admit a single white male to the academy, regardless of merit!”

At the same time, some people have turned away from the Oscars because of its lack of diversity. Under 10 million viewers tuned into Sunday night’s telecast, according to Nielson, a 58 percent drop compared with last year. One member of the academy’s board of governors, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality rules, said that market research had shown that people of color, upset about the racial disparity of nominees (and tired of seeing many of the same people get nominated over and over), had become less interested in the ceremony. A couple of smaller civil rights groups have called for viewing boycotts.

That was the case for April Reign, the campaign finance lawyer who originated the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag in 2015. Despite the changes at the organization, she said she believed the academy’s efforts to diversify its voting body had fallen short.

“It’s still a popularity contest among all the white men,” she said.

Others see reason for optimism in this year’s Oscars, no matter how they ended.

“To have a film about Fred Hampton that doesn’t demonize him but instead celebrates him, and provides this broader story from a group of Black filmmakers is, you know, kind of hard to believe that it would even be made much less be nominated,” Mr. Boyd said of “Judas and the Black Messiah.” “And we could go through each of these examples. It’s great. It’s wonderful. I just don’t want it to be an isolated incident.”

View Source

Oscars Ratings Plummet, With Fewer Than 10 Million Tuning In

LOS ANGELES — For the film industry, which was already fighting to hold its place at the center of American culture, the Nielsen ratings for Sunday night’s 93rd Academy Awards came as a body blow: About 9.85 million people watched the telecast, a 58 percent plunge from last year’s record low.

Among adults 18 to 49, the demographic that many advertisers pay a premium to reach, the Oscars suffered an even steeper 64 percent decline, according to preliminary data from Nielsen released on Monday. Nielsen’s final numbers are expected on Tuesday and will include out-of-home viewing and some streaming statistics.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences declined to comment.

The academy had been bracing for a sharp ratings drop. Award shows have been struggling mightily during the pandemic, and the Oscars have been on a downward trajectory for years. But some academy officials had hoped Sunday’s telecast still might crack 10 million viewers and attract as many as 15 million.

Humiliating? Certainly. But hundreds of millions of dollars are also at stake.

Under a long-term licensing deal with ABC, which is owned by Disney, the academy stands to collect roughly $900 million between 2021 and 2028 for worldwide broadcasting rights to the Oscars. The funds are crucial to the academy’s operations, especially at a time when it is spending to open a museum in Los Angeles. But some of that money is threatened. Payments to the academy include a guarantee and then revenue sharing if certain ad sales thresholds are reached.

keep ad rates high because of the fragmentation of television viewing. Oscars night may be a shadow of its former self, but so is the rest of network television; the ceremony still ranks as one of the largest televised events of the year. Google, General Motors, Rolex and Verizon spent an estimated $2 million for each 30-second spot in Sunday’s telecast, only a slight decline from last year’s pricing, according to media buyers. ABC said on Thursday that it had sold out of its inventory.

ABC does not guarantee an audience size to Oscar advertisers, thus removing any potential for so-called make-goods (additional commercial time at a later date) to compensate for low ratings.

Some people in the entertainment industry, whether out of optimism or denial or both, believe award shows are going through a temporary downturn — that declining ratings for stalwarts like the Emmys (a 30-year low) and the Screen Actors Guild Awards (down 52 percent) reflect the pandemic, not a paradigm shift. Without live audiences, the telecasts have been drained of their energy. The big studios also postponed major movies, leaving this year’s awards circuit to little-seen art films.

The most-nominated movie on Sunday was “Mank.” It received 10 nods. Surveys before the show indicated most Americans had never even heard of it, much less watched it, despite its availability on Netflix. “Mank,” a love letter to Old Hollywood from David Fincher, won for production design and cinematography.

Still, the Oscars have been on a downward slide since 1998, when 57.2 million people tuned in to see “Titanic” sweep to best-picture victory.

Game Awards, which celebrates the best video games of the year and is streamed on platforms like YouTube, Twitch and Twitter.)

In many cases, analysts say, the telecasts are too long for contemporary attention spans. The ceremony on Sunday was one of the shorter ones in recent years, and it still ran 3 hours 19 minutes. Why slog through all that when you can catch snippets on Twitter? On Sunday, video from the ceremony showing Glenn Close twerking to “Da Butt” went viral.

down 53 percent) and Golden Globes (down 62 percent). Still, the Oscars ratings plunge in recent years has been more dramatic, and the Grammys is closing in on becoming the most-watched awards show, once an inconceivable notion. It had nearly 9 million viewers for its telecast last month.

The academy itself has played a role in the show’s demise, bungling efforts to make it more relevant (hastily announcing a new category honoring achievement in “popular” films and then backtracking) and refusing ABC’s plea to reduce the number of Oscars presented during the show.

housing and health care for Hollywood seniors.

A spokeswoman for the academy said the producers of the Oscars were not available on Monday to discuss their decisions.

View Source

‘Colette,’ From the Video Game Medal of Honor, Wins an Oscar

It was a night of firsts: First Korean actor to win an Oscar, oldest performer to win best actor, first woman of color to win best director.

And, for the video game industry, its first Oscar recognition for best documentary short.

The statuette was for “Colette,” a short film featured in the Oculus virtual-reality game Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, which is also the first Oscar for Facebook. (It owns Oculus, the virtual-reality group that produced the documentary short along with EA’s Respawn Entertainment.)

Oculus TV or YouTube, or on the website of The Guardian, which later acquired and distributed the film.

“We hope this award and the film’s reach means” that the memories of all of who resisted “are no longer lost,” Doran said.

View Source