Lucasfilm officially denies that a digital Carrie Fisher will be in the next ‘Star Wars’ movies (DIS)

Princess Leia

Lucasfilm is officially shooting down rumors that they will use a digital body double of the late actress Carrie Fisher in future “Star Wars” movies, after her death at age 60 in December 2016.

We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa,” says an official blog post on StarWars.com.

Earlier, Lucasfilm had confirmed that Fisher had already finished shooting her scenes for 2017’s “Episode VIII,” the next film slated for release in the “Star Wars” saga.

But rumors about a digital version of Fisher in other yet-to-be-made Star Wars films were borne out of the most controversial part of 2016’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” where a computer-animated body double of the late Peter Cushing was used so his character Grand Moff Tarkin could play a supporting role in the film. 

It should be noted that “Rogue One” also used a digital body double of a younger Carrie Fisher in the final shot of the film, as her character Princess Leia receives the plans for the sinister Death Star megaweapon.

Rogue One Tarkin final

“We’re not planning on doing this digital re-creation extensively from now on,” John Knoll, chief creative officer of ILM and visual effects supervisor on “Rogue One,” told The New York Times. “It just made sense for this particular movie.”

SEE ALSO: All of Carrie Fisher’s scenes have already been filmed for ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’

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Netflix climbs to an all-time high ahead of earnings (NFLX)

Reed Hastings

Netflix closed at an all-time high of $133.70 on Friday, up 3.5% on the day.

The rise shows investor confidence is high heading into Netflix’s quarterly earnings report on January 18.

Variety points out that some Wall Street analysts have issue optimistic forecasts, which could be boosting the stock. Deutsche Bank’s Bryan Kraft upped Netflix from “Sell” to “Hold” in a note distributed on Thursday. Kraft thinks Netflix will present strong international growth results, adding 4.35 million international subs, to the company’s guidance of 3.35 million, buoyed by strength in Western Europe.

Kraft said the increased international demand was “catalyzed by original content (e.g. Luke Cage – Sept. 30 release, The Crown, Gilmore Girls, and Fuller House).”

Other analysts are predicting results more in line with Netflix’s guidance.

Netflix“We are estimating 1.46 million net new U.S. streaming subs and 3.75 million net new international streaming subs, roughly in line with guidance,” RBC’s Mark Mahaney wrote in a note distributed on Thursday.

Netflix was the darling of Wall Street in 2015, finishing as the best performer in the S&P, though it had a rockier 2016 after under-delivering, at times, on subscriber growth. Since its 2002 IPO however, Netflix’s stock is way up, as is clear on the chart on the right.

The numbers to watch during Netflix’s earnings are domestic and international subscribers, which have provoked wild swings of the stock after recent earnings reports.

SEE ALSO: Here are the Netflix and Amazon TV shows that have gotten the best buzz over the last few years

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The famously gruesome ending of ‘Seven’ almost didn’t make it in the movie

Seven New Line Cinema

The ending of David Fincher’s 1995 classic psychological thriller “Seven” is one of the greats, with John Doe (Kevin Spacey) delivering the head of Detective Mills’ (Brad Pitt) wife in a box.

But if everything had gone as planned, that ending would never have seen the light of day.

The screenwriter of “Seven,” Andrew Kevin Walker, recently told the Hollywood Reporter that it was a mix-up in the draft Fincher got when being offered the movie that led to the movie being made with Walker’s original ending.

Before Fincher, the script, which Walker wrote on spec while working at Tower Records in New York City in the early 1990s, was optioned by “Christmas Vacation” director Jeremiah Chechik. And Chechik wanted the ending changed.

Walker doesn’t go into detail on what he changed the ending to, but there was definitely no head in a box.

Chechik moved on from the project and the script kicked around Hollywood until it got to Fincher, but it was the original version with the head-in-a-box ending that was given to him.

“[Fincher] expressed some interest, but in expressing his interest to them, had mentioned there was a head in the box,” Walker told THR. “And they were like, ‘Oh, no, no, no. We sent you the wrong draft.’ And then they sent him the vastly rewritten, Jeremiah Chechik draft, which had a completely different ending and Fincher said, ‘No, I wouldn’t be interested in doing that.'”

But then Fincher got his way and the original conclusion came back. And the rest is history. 

“Seven,” thanks to its insane ending, became a classic, and Walker had himself a career. Walker has since done uncredited work on Fincher-directed projects like “The Game” and “Fight Club,” and most recently he wrote the screenplay for the animated movie “Nerdland.”

But let’s look back one more time at that great ending of “Seven.”

 

 

SEE ALSO: The “Deadpool” writers reveal everything you want to know about the sequel

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Here’s when your favorite TV shows are coming back this year

the walking dead season 6 amc.JPG

Whether you prefer to watch TV live, on streaming services, or on your DVR, it’s time to jump into the winter/spring TV season show returns and premieres.

That includes addictive dramas like “The Walking Dead,” “Empire,” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” Also, what about the return of comic-book series “The Flash” and “Arrow”?

And let’s not forget this season’s new offerings, such as HBO’s “The Young Pope,” Fox’s “24: Legacy,” and FX’s “Feud: Bette and Joan.” Plus there’s Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” that just dropped on Friday.

Here are the upcoming return and premiere dates for all your favorite (and your soon-to-be favorite) shows: 

SEE ALSO: 8 TV shows you need to watch if you love ‘The Walking Dead’

DON’T MISS: The 22 most exciting new shows of 2017 you have to see

Friday, January 13

3 a.m. “A Series of Unfortunate Events” series premiere (Netflix)
3 a.m. “Sneaky Pete” series premiere (Amazon)
8 p.m. “The Vampire Diaries” (CW)

 

Sunday, January 15
9 p.m. “Homeland” season-six premiere (Showtime)
9 p.m. “The Young Pope” series premiere (HBO)

Tuesday, January 17
10 p.m. “Teacher” season-two premiere (TV Land)
10:30 p.m. “Throwing Shade” series premiere (TV Land)

Wednesday, January 18
10 p.m. “Six” series premiere (History)

Thursday, January 19
8 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)
9 p.m. “Scandal” season-six premiere (ABC)
10 p.m. “How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)
10 p.m. “Baskets” season-two premiere (FX)

Friday, January 20
3 a.m. “Frontier” series premiere (Netflix)
10 p.m. “Real Time With Bill Maher” season-15 premiere (HBO)

 

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You should wait until holiday 2017 to buy Nintendo’s new console — here’s why

After months of anticipation, amid the roiling waves of rumor after rumor, Nintendo finally revealed details about its new video game console on Thursday evening.

If you haven’t already seen it, this is the Nintendo Switch:

Nintendo Switch

You may have already noticed that the console (above, on the right) looks like someone shoved a tablet into a plastic toaster. The “toaster” in this case is actually a dock — you dock the tablet and, voila, it’s on your television.

What you see above is how the console looks when you’re playing it on a television, but that’s not the only way to use the Switch. The tablet can be lifted out of the dock and two controllers get attached. 

Like so:

Nintendo Switch

It’s a home console; it’s a portable console. It’s both, actually!

On Thursday night, Nintendo announced the price and release date of the Switch: It’s $299, and it arrives on March 3. On top of that, Nintendo announced that a brand new game in the “Legend of Zelda” series will launch with the system — it’s called “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” and it looks fantastic.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

So! All of that said, if you’re thinking about buying a brand new Switch console… maybe don’t. Not yet, anyway. Hear me out!

When the Switch launches on March 3, it will have a single major game: “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” And in fairness, it looks like an excellent game. But if you’re one of the 13 million people who own a Wii U, you can play it there, too.

And if you’re not one of those people, are you willing to spend $300 to play a single game? If you don’t play the new “Zelda” game in March, it doesn’t sour. It’ll still be there if you decide to buy the system later, waiting for you. And there are tremendous benefits to waiting, like several other games coming out that look fantastic.

“What games?!” you ask. Well let me tell you!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch)

This is “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” and it arrives on April 28. It’s a game that already came out on the Wii U (where it was simply called “Mario Kart 8”), but the version coming to the Nintendo Switch includes all the additional (paid) content that came out after the game launched, as well as a revamped Battle Mode.

To be clear, it looks excellent. When I played it briefly at a press event in New York City on January 13, it was a ton of fun. But if you played it already, it’s not a brand-new game. 

That said, even if it thrills you, it’s not there at launch — it arrives nearly two months later.

Splatoon 2

After that, in the summer, “Splatoon 2” arrives (seen above).

Like the first “Splatoon,” it’s a third-person shooter that’s focused on competitive play over, say, a traditional single-player campaign. Simply put: You play “Splatoon 2” online against other people. 

Like “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” “Splatoon 2” is a ton of fun to play — I also played it at the January 13 event in New York City. Also like “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” “Splatoon 2” doesn’t release with the console at launch on March 3. It doesn’t even have a solid release date actually, just “summer 2017.”

Bummer!

Super Mario Odyssey

Last up, “Super Mario Odyssey” is the gorgeous, sandbox-style 3D Mario game that fans have wanted for years. Just look at that grinning Mario above. His excitement is infectious!

While “Super Mario 3D World” on the Wii U was an incredible 3D Mario game, it failed to capture the same type of exploration and wonder that games like “Super Mario 64” and “Super Mario Galaxy” did. When Nintendo debuted “Super Mario Odyssey” at its Tokyo event, the reaction was near-universally positive.

Frankly speaking, it looks incredibly good. 

Super Mario Odyssey

And here’s the rub (of course there’s a rub): It launches in “holiday 2017.” 

Are you starting to catch my drift? Let’s say you wait until holiday 2017 to buy a Nintendo Switch instead of rushing out to buy one in March. You’ll be buying a console that has several great-looking games instead of a console with one great-looking game, and it’s entirely possible that you’ll get to enjoy some of the benefits of waiting — like a potentially reduced price from the intro price of $299. 

By all means: Go out and buy one in March if you feel the need. You are, after all, the Koopa Troopa of your own future. But if you asked me — and, admittedly, you didn’t, but you got this far! — I’d say wait until the holiday before snagging the Switch.

SEE ALSO: You can pre-order Nintendo’s new Switch console right here, right now

DON’T MISS: The new ‘Legend of Zelda’ game will launch with the Nintendo Switch on March 3

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Here are all the musicians who declined to perform at Trump’s inauguration so far

Donald Trump’s Inauguration on January 20, 2017 has reportedly had problems booking a performer. Some dancers from the Rockettes expressed disinterest in performing, while other artists rumored to perform publicy refuted reports. Here’s a list of those artists who have confirmed that they would not perform at Trump’s inauguration.

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Here are the groups of people in the US who don’t have Netflix yet — and how the company could snag them (NFLX)

longmire

Netflix is continuing to make big gains in international markets, but there’s evidence that it might have hit a ceiling in the US, according to analysts at UBS.

“In the US, after nearly a decade of streaming service availability, it appears that penetration of streaming services has stagnated around 50% of US [broadband] homes,” the analysts, led by Doug Mitchelson, wrote in a note distributed Friday (based on a proprietary survey of 2,000).

The needle hasn’t moved in the last year, both for Netflix and for streaming services as a whole.

Here’s a chart that shows the details for Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu:

Screen Shot 2017 01 13 at 11.50.23 AM

The results show that in the last year, penetration for Netflix has stagnated at 41%, and for any streaming service at 51%. The takeaway: There seems to be only a certain amount of households that want to subscribe to a streaming service, and they probably already know about Netflix by now.

Though Netflix has tried targeting different audiences with its new original content, like “Longmire” (now-canceled) for older audiences, and “The Ranch” for those in the mid-west, the problem might simply be a natural ceiling on how many people want to subscribe to any streaming service.

Room for new entrants

The place there seems to be more room for growth is in smaller or upstart streaming services.

“Many homes that do take a streaming service are continuing to take more of them, and time spent with these services is still increasing, albeit at a slower rate,” UBS wrote. Particularly, adoption of Amazon and CBS All Access have grown in the last year.

This is further confirmation of the theory that the streaming video market isn’t a zero-sum game. In fact, there is a ton of subscriber overlap between Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Netflix’s success isn’t a bad thing for “competitors,” and you could even argue that it’s good, since it gets people used to the idea of an a la carte streaming video service.

That’s positive news for the likes of Amazon and CBS, but is there anything Netflix can do to boost its subscriber base in the US?

Growing the pie

Getting a bunch of new subscribers in the US won’t be easy, specifically because of the nature of the households Netflix still has to get to, according to UBS.

Here are a few characteristics of non-Netflix households the analysts found:

  • They skew older, “62% of them are over age 55.”
  • They skew smaller, “almost 80% are 1 or 2 person homes.”
  • They skew lower income, “~60% are below the U.S. median annual income.”
  • They are “slower adopters of technology.”

These characteristics will make it tough for Netflix, or any of its competitors, to crack into these households.

However, there is on big thing Netflix can do, which it has already started doing: getting onto people’s cable boxes.

Netflix has recently landed some huge deals to have big pay TV giants like Comcast and Liberty Global (in Europe) to put Netflix on their platforms. That may seem like going backward for a forward-thinking tech company like Netflix, but further integration of Netflix into pay TV, the way HBO or Showtime are, could provide a large upside for the company to the tune of millions of new subscribers in the US.

Of the people UBS surveyed, “15% of US pay TV homes without Netflix say they would sign up if it was bundled with pay TV.”

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Idris Elba talks about why he’s over the Bond rumors and his surprise music career

Idris Elba_Idris Elba 2x1

There’s a good chance you were entertained by Idris Elba in 2016.

The actor voiced characters in three Disney hits — “Zootopia,” “The Jungle Book,” and “Finding Dory” — and also starred as the villain Krall in “Star Trek Beyond.” In 2017, we’ll have the luxury of seeing more of his face in “Thor: Ragnarok” and “The Dark Tower,” but before that we’ll see Elba in a small movie he’s tried to get off the ground for three years.

“100 Streets” (in theaters and On Demand January 13) follows the lives of people who live within a square mile of a London neighborhood. Elba’s character is the most complex, a former rugby star who has found himself in a drug and depression tailspin that concludes with a dramatic standoff with police.

Elba, who is also a producer on the movie, talked to Business Insider about how the project has prepared him for his upcoming feature directing debut, how his passion for music keeps him grounded (check out his appearance on a Macklemore song and his own singing and rapping), and why he no longer gets a kick out of the rumors that he’s the next James Bond.

Jason Guerrasio: What is the creative satisfaction you get producing a movie like “100 Streets”?

Idris Elba: With this particular project it was a small film that really doesn’t attract the big film financiers so I have a small production company called Green Door Pictures and basically my ambition for the company is to help smaller films come to life, especially films that explore the human condition like this film does. So I get a huge buzz out of watching that grow and seeing my little company help things move along. It’s very satisfying because it’s a passion piece and I enjoy that. It’s hard, it takes a very long time to make an independent film come alive, but the process is satisfying when people say they dug it. 

Guerrasio: Do you think if you didn’t produce this film and put your name on it that it would have gotten made?

Elba: I’m sure it would have been made one way or another eventually but for me I was determined to make it. So I can’t say it wouldn’t have been made but I —

Guerrasio: You helped it get a green light a little faster.

Elba: Yeah. Definitely. 

100 streets samuel goldwyn films

Guerrasio: Max is at a different point in his life than you are now, he’s past his prime, but can you relate to a character like this that still lives under a microscope?

Elba: I can relate to it. His is a little extreme compared to mine, but people in the spotlight tend to be scrutinized, every move they make. I guess you can say my star is rising or whatever, but what comes with that is a lot more inquisitive people who want to know who you are as a person and what life decisions you’re actually making. Because you’re an actor or sportsman people want to know that and they are curious. But it’s part of the job — if I didn’t want anyone to know anything about me, I would have probably gone for a different career path. 

Guerrasio: You were DJing and making music before your breakout role on “The Wire” in the early 2000s and you still do it. Has that become your escape from people like me who are curious about your life and what you do daily?

Elba: Yeah. I think people love music and, yes, they want to know more about that person but they only want to know more about the person if they like the music. With actors and sports people you don’t even have to know anything about what they do and you end up getting probed. But with musicians they have the veil, if the music is good. It can be obscure and you’re allowed to do different things without being overly scrutinized. I get a lot of freedom and a lot of relief when I make music because it’s faceless. 

Guerrasio: How close are you to your first feature directing effort, “Yardie”? 

Elba: Six months. I start making this film next year and I’m going into prep so I’m very close. It’s been a two-year process.

Guerrasio: Producing something like “100 Streets,” can that help prepare you at all to direct?

Elba: Yeah, as a producer you’re helping put all the elements together for the director, so yeah, I totally am seeing all the different sides of a director’s job from an actor’s point of view and now a producer’s point of view. It’s definitely given me a lot more bandwidth as a director. 

Guerrasio: We saw you do so many different things in 2016, both in the flesh and through your voice. Did you have a personal favorite?

Zootopia DisneyElba: [Laughs] I really enjoyed being a part of “Zootopia.” I enjoyed all the movies I did a voice for, but “Zootopia” was a very, very bold film and it was just really great that Disney made a film like that that really challenged young people and adults to think a little bit about our existence in the human race using animals.

Guerrasio: I have to bring this up because I want to see it happen: Can you give any update on the James Bond rumors? Have the producers on the film reached out?

Elba: Are people still talking about that?

Guerrasio: I’m talking about it!

Elba: [Laughs] No, man, I don’t know anything. Nothing, there’s no update whatsoever. 

Guerrasio: Do you get a kick out of the rumors or are you over it now?

Elba: No, I don’t get a kick out of it.

Guerrasio: But even in “100 Streets,” there are scenes where you are wearing a tux. You had to have looked in the mirror while shooting and said, “Yeah, I can play Bond.”

Elba: [Laughs] That’s a compliment, man, I appreciate that. 

Guerrasio: You are certainly a busy guy at the moment, but any chance we will see you appear in the “Pacific Rim” sequel?

Elba: I don’t think so. I don’t even know where they are starting the story, but I’m not in it. I know that much.

SEE ALSO: 30 movies we can’t wait to see in 2017

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