‘War Room’: A Box Office Surprise That Shouldn’t Have Been

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Pretty much every box office report posted yesterday has some variation onthe notion that War Room‘s strong performance was something of a surprise. In truth, the only surprise about the strong $11 million debut weekend of Alex Kendrick’s War Room is that anyone was shocked in the first place. The “Nobody could have seen this coming!” narrative is a prime example of how we compartmentalize box office analysis and how we refuse to let go of our old presumptions about what does or doesn’t make money. There are any number of reasons why its strong opening makes perfect sense. To presume otherwise suggest selective amnesia and an emphasis on box office rank over box office gross.

Austin redux: Barbecue, country music and start-ups

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There’s plenty to be impressed with upon meeting Austin-based fashion designer Isabella Rose Taylor. She began writing and painting as young as age 4. She launched her own eponymous clothing line at age 10, then graduated high school just a year later. And at age 13, the young prodigy hosted a show at New York Fashion Week, landing her designs in Nordstrom.

But one of her more recent accolades was being awarded 2015’s Emerging Woman-Owned Business of the Year by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Not bad for a 14-year-old.

“There’s so much local support here in Austin,” Taylor points out. She gained traction, thanks in part to Austin-based computer giant Dell, who through its Women’s Entrepreneur Network sponsored her New York Fashion Week show. “I feel so lucky to have grown up here and launched my business here,” she said.

She’s also proved it’s possible to launch a viable business while still in your teens and make a name for yourself in fashion without uprooting to New York or Los Angeles.

Wes Craven, Master Horror Movie Director, Dies At 76

Wes Craven, the legendary horror director behind the A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream franchises, has died at 76.

His verified Twitter account posted about his deathSunday evening. The Associated Press reports that he had brain cancer and died in his Los Angeles home, according to a statement from his family.

Craven’s early life didn’t presage a career in horror films. He was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist household, and went to a Christian college — one where, he told the Los Angeles Times in 2010, “you would be expelled if you were caught in a movie theater.”

See Kelly Clarkson Sing Tinder Profiles on ‘Kimmel’

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Kelly Clarkson appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday night confirmed two things: The girl can nail any style of music, and Tinder’s reputation as a hook-up site is still intact.

Accompanied by a pianist and a trio of back-up singers, the three-time Grammy-winner put melodies to five profiles lifted from the popular dating website — where members swipe right if they’re interested, left to move on.

Clarkson gives Pat, 27, a Patsy Montana-esque yodel while he tells potential partners he’s “at the Westin in Fort Lauderdale.” Justine, 25, gets a clap-along gospel soundtrack to her words, “I love my hairless cat, baking cookies & smoking blunts.” And Alvin, 32, is gifted with an upbeat pop melody that takes the grimace out of his profile: “I have a foot fetish and willing to pay for your mani pedi.”

 

7-year-old piano prodigy rocks every Taylor Swift song by heart

Taylor Swift is always down to give props to fans (like Ryan Adams) who cover her songs, and now she’s highlighted 7-year-old piano prodigy Jacob Velazquez, who plays an outstanding medley of tracks from 1989.

Velazquez was diagnosed with autism at age 4, and the foundation Autism Speaks tweeted out his video, which Swift retweeted. “I’m your biggest fan and I hope you can sign this for me one day,” he says while holding up a copy of 1989. “I hope we can jam and I can play something for you and it goes something like this.”

He then jumps into “Bad Blood,” “I Know Places,” “I Wish You Would,” “Blank Space,” “Welcome To New York,” and “Shake It Off”

“I sometimes sit with him at the piano and call out track numbers from her most recent album. Jacob will play the song that corresponds, without ever being taught the music notes,” his mother Tia wrote on Autism Speaks’ blog with a plea for her son to meet Swift. “Taylor inspires Jacob to keep striving to be his best.”

‘Minions’ Headed To $1 Billion And Top 10 All-Time Box Office

Most box office attention lately has been focused on the continued record-shattering success of Jurassic World, the strength of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation from week to week, the face-plant performance of Fantastic Four, and the big opening performance of Straight Outta Compton. But while everyone’s been distracted by those admittedly interesting and worthwhile discussions, one other film is breaking records and climbing the all-time box office ladder to comparatively (and oddly) muted media attention.

Minions, the third entry in the Despicable Me franchise, had another big week in which it took at least $35 million in global receipts. The cartoon comedy has now passed $960 million at the worldwide box office. It’s managed this feat without yet having finished its rollout in Europe, and it won’t open in China until next month. At this rate, the film will fly past $1 billion and looks like it might break into the top ten highest grossing films of all time.

Nick Jonas Can’t Wait For Miley Cyrus To Host The MTV VMAs

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Nick Jonas heads out of Craig’s Restaurant after grabbing a bite to eat on Tuesday night (August 4) in West Hollywood, Calif.

The 22-year-old “Jealous” singer walked with older brother Joe and younger brother Frankie back to their waiting car.

“The more I think about the VMAs the more I think about how much @MileyCyrus is gonna kill it as the host. #greatchoicemtv @MTV,” Nick wrote on Twitter, supporting his former girlfriend as the hosting choice.

Nick also gave a shout out to his fans for voting. Check it below!

Universal Pictures Sets Industry Box Office Record

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Universal Pictures has had an incredible 2015, setting records left and right with five months still to go

Universal Pictures today announced that the studio has grossed $5.53 billion, marking the highest-grossing year ever for a studio in industry history. In just seven months, Universal Pictures bested the record previously held by 20th Century Fox (which ended 2014 with $5.52 billion). To date, Universal Pictures has grossed $3.59 billion internationally and $1.94 billion domestically and is poised to cross $2 billion at the North American box office later this month.

“At Universal we are fortunate to have the best team in the business,” said Jeff Shell, Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. “This tremendous success is a result of continued strategic decision-making from our production, marketing and distribution teams, along with strong dating choices. I’m tremendously proud of the success we’ve been able to achieve together.”

“We are in business with some of the most talented people in the industry and the success of our slate this year is a testament to the creativity and vision of our filmmakers,” adds fellow Chairman Donna Langley. “With five months remaining in 2015 and ten films still to come, we look forward to celebrating even more record-breaking milestones.”