Wednesday, May 22, 2019

News Briefs

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  • Monday, Apr. 29, 2019
MTV Video Music Awards is heading to New Jersey
This Aug. 20, 2018 file photo shows a statue of the MTV Moon Man on the red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards has a new home: New Jersey.

The network announced Monday that its annual awards show will take place Aug. 26 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

The VMAs are typically held in New York, though it has also taken place in Los Angeles, Miami and Las Vegas.

Last year's show took place at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

  • Monday, Apr. 29, 2019
Google stock drops amid slowing ad-revenue growth
In this Dec. 17, 2018, file photo a woman walks past Google offices in New York. Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google, reports financial results on Monday, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 

Google parent Alphabet beat analyst earnings expectations but reported slowing revenue growth amid tougher competition in the online advertising market. Alphabet shares dropped more than 7% in after-hours trading.

Google's advertising revenue, its key moneymaker, grew by 15 percent to $30.7 billion — slower than investors had hoped. Google's digital-ad rivals include Facebook and Amazon, the latter of which has been steadily gaining ground.

The results sparked concerns that Google's enormously profitable advertising machine might be starting to sputter. Some analysts suggested it's a signal that Google might need to diversify its business more quickly.

"Does this put more pressure on Google to make more aggressive bets on cloud?" asked Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives.

Google executives highlighted the company's cloud-computing business as one of its fastest growing segments during a call with analysts Monday. But the cloud currently accounts for only a small slice of overall revenue. Google reported $5.4 billion in "other" revenue, which includes cloud, hardware and Play store purchases.

Alphabet reported a first-quarter profit of $8.3 billion, down 6% from $8.9 billion in the year-earlier period. Profit amounted to $11.90 per share, well above Wall Street estimates of $10.60.

That figure doesn't include an expected charge of $1.7 billion to account for a European Union antitrust fine. The fine was imposed in March for anti-competitive practices in Google's advertising business, referring to a specific exclusivity practice Google now says it has ended.

Including the fine, Alphabet's profit of $6.7 billion fell short of analyst estimates.

Excluding advertising commissions that Google pays to customers, Alphabet's overall revenue was $29.5 billion — also falling short of the $30 billion analysts were expecting.

Alphabet also reported widening losses in its "Other Bets" category — a broad segment that includes experimental ventures such as self-driving car business Waymo and internet-balloon subsidiary Loon. Losses grew to $868 million from $571 million a year ago.

Alphabet once again expanded its workforce, growing to 103,459 employees — adding nearly 4,700 workers in the last three months.

  • Monday, Apr. 29, 2019
Elle Fanning, Yorgos Lanthimos join Inarritu's Cannes Film Fest jury
Director Yorgos Lanthimos (AP photo)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Actress Elle Fanning, "The Favourite" director Yorgos Lanthimos and "Cold War" filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski are joining the Cannes Film Festival jury that will decide the Palme d'Or.

The Cannes Film Festival on Monday announced the members of the jury to be led by Alejandro Inarritu, the "Birdman" director. Also on the jury are American director Kelly Reichardt, Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher, Burkina Faso actress Maimouna N'Diaye, French author Enki Bilal and French director Robin Campillo.

Campillo scripted the 2008 Palme d'Or winner "The Class."

The Cannes Film Festival will open May 14 with the premiere of Jim Jarmusch's "The Dead Don't Die." The festival runs through May 25.

  • Monday, Apr. 29, 2019
John Singleton to be taken off life support by family Monday
In this Feb. 24, 2008 file photo, director John Singleton arrives at the 80th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The family for Singleton says the filmmaker will be taken off life support Monday, April 29, 2019, after suffering a stroke almost two weeks ago. In a statement Monday, Singleton’s family said it was “an agonizing decision, one that our family made over a number of days with the careful counsel of John’s doctors.” (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The family for John Singleton said the Oscar-nominated filmmaker will be taken off life support Monday after suffering a stroke almost two weeks ago.

"It is with heavy hearts we announce that our beloved son, father and friend, John Daniel Singleton will be taken off of life support today," read the statement. "This was an agonizing decision, one that our family made, over a number of days, with the careful counsel of John's doctors."

The 51-year-old director of "Boyz n the Hood," ''Poetic Justice" and other films has been in intensive care in a Los Angeles hospital since he had a stroke on April 17. A court filing last week by his mother, Shelia Ward, requested that she be appointed Singleton's temporary conservator in order to make medical and financial decisions while he is incapacitated.

Ward's filing said that Singleton was in a coma. But on Friday, Singleton's daughter Cleopatra Singleton, 19, filed a declaration disputing that account. She maintained that her father was not in a coma and that doctors did not "have a concrete diagnosis." She opposed her grandmother becoming conservator, or guardian.

John Singleton was nominated for an Oscar for 1991's "Boyz N the Hood." His recent projects include the TV series "Snowfall."

As news that Singleton would be taken off life support circulated, many paid tribute to the director. Jordan Peele, the "Get Out" and "Us" director called him "a brave artist and a true inspiration."

"His vision changed everything," said Peele.

  • Saturday, Apr. 27, 2019
John Singleton's daughter disputes that he's in a coma
In this Feb. 3, 2018 file photo, John Singleton arrives at the 70th annual Directors Guild of America Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

The daughter of "Boyz N the Hood" director John Singleton disputed his mother's account that he's in a coma in a court filing Friday, saying that he's recovering from an April 17 stroke.

Cleopatra Singleton, 19, said in the declaration filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that doctors are still determining the condition of her 51-year-old father, who has been in a Los Angeles hospital since an April 17 stroke.

"My father is not in a coma," Cleopatra Singleton writes in the document. She adds that although doctors "do not have a concrete diagnosis, my dad is progressing every day ... My father is breathing on his own. He is only medically sedated to keep his blood pressure low and allow the vessels in his brain to heal."

Cleopatra Singleton said her father's mother, Shelia Ward, is misrepresenting his condition as she seeks to become his conservator and make medical and financial decisions for him.

A form from a doctor at Singleton's hospital filed with the court by Ward's lawyer Thursday says John Singleton is incapacitated and can't make his own decisions, but it doesn't address whether he's in a coma.

Cleopatra Singleton opposes her grandmother becoming conservator, and she suggests another family member, possibly his father or eldest son, assume the role.

An email to Ward's attorney seeking comment Friday was not immediately answered.

The filing suggests a rift between Singleton's mother and children that precedes his stroke.

Cleopatra Singleton, who is a college sophomore at Xavier University of Louisiana, writes that her grandmother has acted as her son's personal and business manager since the beginning of his film career, and she has mismanaged his affairs.

"She has abused this position particularly pertaining to the support of his children," the court filing says. "Sadly my father's allowed his mother to stay in that position out of fear and obligation to her."

Shelia Ward had asked in the court Thursday to immediately appoint her as conservator, saying essential financial moves must be made by the end of the month or her son will suffer significant losses.

The daughter's opposition makes an immediate decision from a judge unlikely and could point to a longer court fight.

John Singleton was nominated for an Oscar for 1991's "Boyz N the Hood." His other films include "Poetic Justice," starring Janet Jackson, and his recent projects include the TV series "Snowfall."

His friends, colleagues and admirers were wishing him well as word of his poor health spread.

Shonda Rhimes, the Rev. Al Sharpton and fellow director Ava DuVernay were among those offering prayers on Twitter.

"Lifting my highest thoughts + prayers of intercession for John Singleton," DuVernay said in a tweet that included photos of the two directors together. "His films helped form me. His kindness lifted me up. I remember him coming to the premiere of my indie years ago. Showing love/support for a fellow black director from LA. He is a lovely man. Pray with me."

  • Saturday, Apr. 27, 2019
Tribeca Fest co-founder celebrates women filmmakers
Jane Rosenthal attends the AT&T Presents: Untold Stories luncheon, in conjunction with the Tribeca Film Festival, at Thalassa on Monday, April 22, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival called on women filmmakers to keep building on the momentum of the #MeToo and Time's Up era.

This year for the first time, half of the films in Tribeca's competition categories are directed or co-directed by women. That's up from 44 percent last year.

Jane Rosenthal, who co-founded the festival with Robert De Niro, told attendees at the Chanel Tribeca Women Filmmakers Luncheon Friday that if a window has now been opened, "it's only because of all of us that that window is going to stay open," and that necessary change will be made.

Rosenthal told the crowd that they "cannot be the exception. We have to be the norm in every business."

  • Friday, Apr. 26, 2019
Sony returns to profit on game software, Spotify gains
In this Feb. 2, 2017, file photo, people are reflected on a wall of the Sony showroom building at Ginza shopping district in Tokyo. Sony has reverted to profitability for the quarter through March, boosted by robust demand for game software and network services, as well as gains from Spotify, according to its report released by Friday, April 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)
TOKYO (AP) -- 

Japanese entertainment and electronics company Sony Corp. has reverted to profitability for the quarter through March, boosted by robust demand for game software and network services, as well as gains from Spotify.

Sony reported an 87.9 billion yen ($787 million) January-March profit Friday, a reversal from the 13.3 billion yen loss racked up the previous year.

Quarterly sales totaled 2.1 trillion yen ($19 billion), up 9% from 1.9 trillion yen.

For the fiscal year, Sony reported a near doubling in profit to 916.3 billion yen ($8.2 billion), up from 490.8 billion yen. Sales rose 1% to 8.67 trillion yen ($78 billion).

Sony got a gain for its stake in Spotify, which was publicly listed in April last year. Sony owned 5.7% of Spotify at that time. Sony has sold some of its stake in Spotify over the last year, it said.

Also helping the bottom line was its semiconductors business, but the mobile phone operations continued to lag, according to Tokyo-based Sony.

Sony's film division saw a sales dip because of the strong performance of "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and "Spider-Man: Homecoming" the previous year. Such works contributed this year in television licensing and home entertainment sales.

The company said sales in its music business remained flat but profit grew as a result of the consolidation of EMI, which has a vast music catalog. Recording artists for Sony's music business include Khalid and Justin Timberlake.

Sony, which makes Bravia digital TVs and the Aibo robotic dog, is expecting a 500 billion yen ($4.5 billion) profit for the fiscal year through March 2020, down 45% from the fiscal year just ended.

  • Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019
Amazon's profit more than doubles on cloud computing, ad biz growth
In this Feb. 14, 2019 file photo, people stand in the lobby for Amazon offices in New York. Amazon.com Inc. reports earns on Thursday, April 25. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Amazon's push into advertising and cloud computing is paying off, helping the online shopping giant's first quarter profit more than double from a year ago.

The Seattle-based company on Thursday reported net income of $3.56 billion, or $7.09 per share, for the first three months of the year.

That beat expectations of $4.61 per share, according to Zacks Investment Research. In the same time a year ago, it reported net income of $1.63 billion, or $3.27 per share.

Revenue rose 17% to $59.7 billion, which also beat Wall Street expectations.

At its cloud computing business, called Amazon Web Services, revenue soared 41%.

The company doesn't say exactly how much its advertising business makes. Instead it lists it as part of its "other" revenue, which jumped 34% from a year ago.

For the current quarter ending in July, Amazon said it expects revenue in the range of $59.5 billion to $63.5 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $62.53 billion.

Shares of Amazon.com Inc., which are up 27% so far this year, rose 1.6% to $1,933 in after-hours trading Thursday.

Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research. 

  • Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019
John Singleton of "Boys N the Hood" in coma after stroke
In this Feb. 3, 2018 file photo, John Singleton arrives at the 70th annual Directors Guild of America Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Court papers show that "Boyz N the Hood" director John Singleton is in a coma at a Los Angeles hospital eight days after suffering a major stroke.

The 51-year-old director's condition was revealed in a court filing Thursday from his mother, Shelia Ward, who is requesting she be appointed his temporary conservator to make medical and financial decisions for him while he is incapacitated.

Singleton's family had previously announced that he'd had a stroke on April 17, but there had been no details revealed about the seriousness of his condition.

It's not clear whether the temporary conservatorship has been granted.

Singleton was nominated for an Oscar for 1991's "Boyz n the Hood." His other films include "Poetic Justice," starring Janet Jackson, and his recent projects include the TV series "Snowfall."

  • Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019
Emilio Estefan to make documentary on late star Jenni Rivera
In this Aug. 24, 2012 file photo, Jenni Rivera attends a press conference, in Woodland Hills, California. A documentary on Jenni Rivera with unseen footage from her last moments is heading to the screen under the direction and production of Emilio Estefan, it was announced Thursday, April, 25, 2019. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

A documentary on Jenni Rivera with unseen concert footage from her last performance is being developed by Emilio Estefan, who hopes to show the world the person and the friend that he got to know.

"I really want people to know her with the same admiration that I had for her as a human being, and that her fans realize how important her followers, and especially her family, were to her," the Latin music mogul told The Associated Press in an interview on Wednesday. "We had a very beautiful friendship ... I met her as a singer, as an actress, but at the same time as a person."

Estefan, who directed specials featuring Rivera, and television producer Dave Broome have partnered with the Rivera family, who gave them exclusive rights to produce the film. They expect to release it late this year, though it is unclear whether it will be a theatrical release.

Rivera's sister, Rosie, said in an email that the film will be emotional for the singer's children, who are now grown, but the family believes the time is right to show her final concert.

"It is an intimate night with Jenni," she said. "To my sister Jenni, her faith, her family and her fans were everything. Jenni would have wanted to share this moment of her life with the world."

Rivera was killed on Dec. 9, 2012 at the age of 43 in a plane crash. The night before she died, she performed in Monterrey, Mexico,  and that footage will be included in the documentary.

"I think that her story, and especially that show that's a historic concert, will surprise," Estefan said. "What surprised me from what I've seen was the premonition that she had by saying things... like 'I hope you go to church tomorrow because I am going to see God, I am going to speak with God tomorrow.' And then she takes that plane and the plane crashes."

"One can only wonder, 'Did she have a feeling? Did she think that something was going to happen? Because she said some incredible things," he added.

His idea for the film is to have the singer of hits such as "Mariposa de Barrio," ''Paloma Negra" and "De Contrabando" narrating her own story.

"You are going to see something that's really priceless. You are going to see her in concert again, but above all you will get to know much more and I think you'll be certainly surprised by many things that are going to come out, told directly by her," Estefan said.

The film will also include archival material and interviews Estefan conducted with Rivera on his past radio show. Estefan praised Rivera's courage to openly talk about her painful past, including her own rape and the sexual abuse of family members by her ex-husband.

"Many times women that have been abused or mistreated don't say anything for fear of being blamed for what had happened to them, but she was always open and she was honest," he said.

In the end, Estefan hopes not only to pay tribute to Rivera but to all "women that have been mistreated, that have been deceived, that have been abused," particularly in the #MeToo era.

"Now people are being more open about these things and it that makes me happy," he said. "I'm glad that this is happening and I hope she gets some credit for it as well."

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