Tuesday, April 23, 2019

News Briefs

Displaying 1 - 10 of 3529
  • Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2019
Twitter says 1Q profit triples on ad demand, daily users up
In this Feb. 8, 2018, file photo, the logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Twitter reports financial results Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 

Twitter Inc. on Tuesday said earnings in the first three months of the year more than tripled on strong ad demand while user numbers posted healthy growth.

The company said the number of daily users rose 11% to 134 million for the first quarter of 2019, thanks to both "organic growth as well as ongoing product improvements and marketing."

The San Francisco company started disclosing its daily user base in the previous quarter. These are users who log into the site at least once a day and see advertisements on the platform. Twitter says daily metric will replace its monthly user count, which it will stop disclosing.

The company posted profit of $190.8 million, or 25 cents per share, for the first quarter. After adjusting for one-time gains and costs, earnings came to 9 cents per share, short of Wall Street expectations. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research forecast earnings of 15 cents per share.

Revenue came in at $786.9 million in the period, beating analyst forecasts of $774.9 million.

Twitter said advertising demand in the first quarter grew strongly, led by the U.S., where ad revenue rose by a quarter.

Operating expenses rose 18% to $693 million

For the current quarter ending in July, Twitter said it expects revenue in the range of $770 million to $830 million. Analysts surveyed by Zacks had expected revenue of $821 million.

In premarket trading, Twitter shares soared 8 percent. The stock has increased 20% since the beginning of the year.

Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on TWTR.

  • Monday, Apr. 22, 2019
News groups fight to keep Harvey Weinstein's hearing open
In this Jan. 25, 2019, file photo, Harvey Weinstein, left, leaves court with attorney Ron Sullivan in New York. Both sides in Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault case want the media and the public barred from the disgraced movie mogul's next court appearance. News organizations including Thee Associated Press are fighting to keep the hearing open plan to file a petition Monday, April 22, with the court. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

News organizations are going to court in hopes of pulling back the curtain on Harvey Weinstein's next court appearance in his sexual assault case.

The organizations, including The Associated Press and The New York Times, are filing court papers on Monday that argue New York City prosecutors and Weinstein's lawyers haven't met a high legal standard for barring the media and the public from Friday's hearing.

Prosecutors contend the hearing should be closed to protect Weinstein's right to a fair trial and for the privacy of women whose allegations against him are not part of the underlying criminal charges. Weinstein's lawyers say news coverage could taint the jury pool.

Prosecutors want the women to testify at Weinstein's June 3 trial to show he has had a pattern of violating women. They also expect to discuss evidence that could be used against Weinstein if he testifies.

A lawyer for the news organizations, Robert Balin, argues that holding the hearing behind closed doors would do nothing to safeguard Weinstein's right to a fair trial because allegations against him from more than 80 women have already been widely reported.

Many of those women, such as actresses Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd, have agreed to be identified publicly.

"Clearly, there is no rational basis — let alone 'compelling circumstances' — that could justify the Parties' effort to suppress this information now that it is in the public domain as a result of widespread news reporting," Balin wrote in the filing.

Balin called closing the courtroom an "extreme remedy" and argued that as much as possible the hearing should be held in open court.

Weinstein is charged with raping an unidentified female acquaintance in his hotel room in 2013 and performing a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006. Those women have not agreed to be publicly identified. The Associated Press does not identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly.

Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex. He pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail. His trial is scheduled to begin June 3.

In January, Weinstein hired Casey Anthony's lawyer, Jose Baez, to lead a remade defense team after his previous lawyer lost a hard-fought bid to get his case thrown out. Anthony was acquitted on charges of killing her young daughter.

Judge James Burke said he would hear arguments from the news organizations' lawyers just before the start of Friday's hearing. The lawyers, in their filing, asked to be heard sooner so that they may appeal if he rules against them.

The news organizations are also requesting that documents filed under seal in the case be made public and that all future filings, even ones made under seal, be listed on the case docket so that "the press and public receive prompt notice that such materials exist."

  • Saturday, Apr. 20, 2019
Polanski asks court to restore his film academy membership
In this Oct. 30, 3017 file photo director Roman Polanski poses a photo prior to the screening of "Based on a true story" in Paris, France. Roman Polanski is asking a judge to restore his membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences after he was expelled for misconduct last year. Lawyers for the 85-year-old director filed documents Friday, April 19, 2019 requesting that a court compel the academy to make him a member in good standing again. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Roman Polanski asked a judge Friday (4/19) to restore his membership in the organization that bestows the Academy Awards nearly a year after he was expelled from it for sexual misconduct.

Lawyers for the 85-year-old fugitive director petitioned Los Angeles Superior Court to compel the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make him a member in good standing again.

In May, the academy made the rare move of expelling Polanski and Bill Cosby, months after ending the membership of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Polanski appealed the decision, and in January the academy rejected his appeal.

Friday's five-page filing states that by not giving Polanski sufficient notice of his expulsion, and not giving he or his lawyer to argue his case in person during the appeal, the academy "failed to comply with its own rules, policies and regulations."

The academy responded with a brief statement saying, "The procedures taken to expel Mr. Polanski were fair and reasonable. The Academy stands behind its decision as appropriate."

The filing also alleges that the expulsion violated a California law that requires corporations to give a fair hearing before removing a member, calling it a "prejudicial abuse of discretion."

Polanski's attorney Harland Braun said at the time that Polanski was "blindsided" by his removal, and learned of it through media reports.

The filing says that the academy's decision is final and the director has no recourse for reconsideration outside of the courts.

Polanski, who won a best director Oscar for "The Pianist" in 2003, remains a fugitive after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in 1977 and fleeing the United States the following year. He has been living in Europe since.

He had been an academy member for nearly 50 years at the time of his expulsion, and his films had been nominated for 28 Oscars.

But he had long been one of the organization's more divisive members. At the 2003 ceremony, Polanski's win — his first — received a standing ovation. He was not in attendance. He'd previously been nominated for writing his adaptation of "Rosemary's Baby," and directing "Chinatown" and "Tess."

Polanski's ouster from the group means he can no longer vote for nominees and winners, but he and his films can still win Oscars.

After expelling Weinstein, the academy implemented revised standards of conduct for its over 8,400 members. The standards said the organization is no place for "people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates standards of decency."

The code allowed the academy's board to suspend or expel those who violate the code of conduct or who "compromise the integrity" of the academy.

There have been no reports of Weinstein or Cosby appealing their expulsions from the academy.

Before Weinstein, only one person is thought to have been expelled from the academy: Carmine Caridi, a character actor who had his membership revoked in 2004 for lending DVD screeners of films in contention for Oscars.

AP Film Writer Jake Coyle contributed to this report from New York.

  • Saturday, Apr. 20, 2019
"Boys N the Hood" director John Singleton hospitalized with stroke
In this Feb. 3, 2018 file photo, John Singleton arrives at the 70th annual Directors Guild of America Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. The "Boyz N the Hood" director suffered a stroke last week and remains hospitalized, according to a statement from his family on Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

"Boyz N the Hood" director John Singleton suffered a stroke last week and remains hospitalized, according to his family. Additional details, including his condition, were not immediately available.

In a statement released Saturday, Singleton's family announced that the 51-year-old filmmaker was in ICU and "under great medical care."

"On Wednesday, April 17th our beloved son/father, John Singleton, suffered a stroke while at the hospital," the statement reads. "We ask that privacy be given to him and our family at this time and appreciate all of the prayers that have been pouring in from his fans, friends and colleagues."

Author Neil deGrasse Tyson and actor Omar Epps have been among those tweeting wishes Saturday for a quick recovery.

Singleton became the first black filmmaker to receive an Oscar nomination when he was cited for his debut feature, "Boyz N the Hood," set in his native Los Angeles and released in 1991. His other films include "Poetic Justice," which starred Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur, and "Rosewood."  Singleton's recent projects include the TV series "Snowfall," a crime drama set in 1980s Los Angeles.

  • Friday, Apr. 19, 2019
"All in the Family," "Jeffersons" rebooted for live special
In this May 15, 2018 file photo, Jimmy Kimmel attends the Disney/ABC/Freeform 2018 Upfront Party at Tavern on the Green in New York. All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” are coming back to TV, live and for one night only. Norman Lear, who created “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons,” and Kimmel will host the primetime special airing live May 22, 2019, on ABC. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

"All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" are coming back to TV, live and for one night only.

Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes will star in re-creations of episodes from the influential sitcoms born in the 1970s.

Norman Lear, who created "All in the Family" and its spinoff "The Jeffersons," and Jimmy Kimmel are hosting the ABC primetime special airing next month, the network said Thursday.

Harrelson and Tomei will play Archie and Edith Bunker, with Foxx and Sykes as George and Louise Jefferson. Ellie Kemper, Justina Machado and Will Ferrell also will appear, ABC said, with more stars to be announced.

The original shows starred Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton as the blue-collar Bunkers, and Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford as the upwardly mobile Jeffersons.

People say "these two shows were meant for the '70s and would not work today," Lear said in a statement. "We disagree with them and are here to prove, with two great casts depicting 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons,' the timelessness of human nature."

Ferrell, Lear and ABC late-night host Kimmel are among the executive producers of "Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons.'" Sitcom veteran James Burrows will direct the 90-minute special.

"All in the Family" was a TV groundbreaker when it debuted in 1971, using comedy as a vehicle to explore racism, women's rights and other hot-button issues. "The Jeffersons" (1975-85), about a successful black family in a largely white world, featured the TV rarity of an interracial couple.

Lear, 96, was an executive producer on a recently canceled Netflix reboot of another of his hit series, the 1975-84 "One Day at a Time," which was reimagined with a Latino family.

  • Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2019
"Bridesmaids" writers Wiig, Mumolo to reunite 8 years later
This Jan. 15, 2012 file photo shows Kristen Wiig, left, and Annie Mumolo at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

"Bridesmaids" writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo are finally reuniting, eight years after their smash hit comedy.

Lionsgate announced Wednesday that it will produce "Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar" from a script by Wiig and Mumolo. They will each also co-star in the film as best friends who leave their Midwestern town for a vacation in Florida.

The film is planned for release next year, with Josh Greenbaum directing.

The filmmakers and stars of "Bridesmaids" have long shrugged off the possibility of a sequel. But the reunion of Wiig and Mumolo had been eagerly awaited. They first announced the "Barb and Star" project in 2014. It was then set up at TriStar Productions, with Wiig directing.

Made for $32.5 million, "Bridesmaids" grossed $288.4 million worldwide.

  • Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2019
Elton John biopic "Rocketman" to premiere at Cannes Film Fest
This April 4, 2019, file photo shows Taron Egerton, who plays singer Elton John in the upcoming film "Rocketman," discussing the film during the Paramount Pictures presentation at CinemaCon 2019, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) at Caesars Palace, in Las Vegas. The biopic will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next month. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The Elton John biopic "Rocketman" will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

"Rocketman" will screen May 16 at the French Riviera festival, two weeks before it's to be released in the United States. Paramount Pictures on Tuesday confirmed the premiere, which Variety first reported.

The film stars Taron Egerton as the British singer and pianist. It's directed by Dexter Fletcher, who stepped in to helm the Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" after Bryan Singer was fired. "Rocketman" is more of a musical-biopic hybrid. John is himself a producer on the movie.

The 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival runs May 14-25. Its full slate is to be announced Thursday. As previously announced, Jim Jarmusch's zombie comedy "The Dead Don't Die" will open the festival.
 

  • Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2019
Producers Guild sets sessions, additional speakers for Produced By Conference In L.A.
Actress Mindy Kaling participates in the "The Mindy Project" panel at the Hulu Summer TCA Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES -- 

 

LOS ANGELES – The Producers Guild of America (PGA) has announced its headlining sessions for the 11th annual Produced By Conference on Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9, at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles, including:

  • “Conversation With: Toby Emmerich & Peter Roth” features an in-depth discussion with the Warner Bros. heads of film and television about the future of development across platforms.
  • “Conversation With: Mindy Kaling & Nancy Meyers sponsored by Delta Air Lines” invites Mindy Kaling, the sky rocketing writer and producer of the upcoming film Late Night, to her first appearance at the Produced By Conference alongside revered director and producer Nancy Meyers.
  • “Conversation With: Michael Douglas & Danny DeVito” features a conversation with Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito discussing their favorite stories from their decades-long careers, including their current work on the award-winning Netflix series The Kominsky Method.
  • “Conversation With: Jeffrey Katzenberg & Meg Whitman” will bring the Hollywood and tech industry moguls to the stage to talk about their streaming service, Quibi, and provide insights into how disruptive technologies are changing the future of the entertainment industry. 
  • “360 Profile: When They See Us” will bring Ava DuVernay, Cindy Holland, Jane Rosenthal, Jonathan King & Berry Welsh to the stage to discuss the creation and exploration of important themes in the new Netflix drama, When They See Us, that exposes the breakdown of the U.S. criminal justice system during the Central Park Five case. 

Reflecting on innovations in Hollywood, the 2019 Produced By Conference will host several sessions that range from streaming, horror and social good to podcasting and OTT networks. Sessions include “The Streamers: Meet the Buyers” featuring executives from Amazon, Disney+, EPIX and Hulu; “Content with a Conscious: Social Impact Entertainment Across All Platforms” with Michael B. Jordan; and “Power of Podcasts: The Latest Way to Extend Your Story.” Additionally, popular standing room only sessions “TV: Meet the Buyers” and “The Art and Craft of Pitching” will return this year.

Harnessing the excitement for and continued dominance of horror, the 2019 Produced By Conference will feature a panel with innovative producers who are finding new ways to scare and thrill audiences in “The New Age of Producing Horror.”  Taking the stage will include Ian Cooper (Us, Candyman), Kate Krantz (The Birch, Sunny Family Cult), Trevor Macy (The Haunting of Hill House, Doctor Sleep), Sam Shaw (Castle Rock, Manhattan), Dustin Thomason (Castle Rock, Manhattan), and Marci Wiseman (Sharp Objects, The Loudest Voice).

Produced By 2019 includes a broad range of programming, from mentoring roundtables to workshops and networking events, as well as the following additional sessions:

  • The Keys to the Kingdom: Financiers & Distributors
  • Live Entertainment Evolved: Scripted, Interactive and Beyond sponsored by Blackmagic Design
  • Representation for Everyone: Why It Makes Sense Now More Than Ever sponsored by Freeform
  • The Integrated Data-Driven Production: Efficiency, Economy and Quality sponsored by Cast & Crew
  • The Collaborative Balance: Creativity, Cost & Technology sponsored by Panavision

Additional speakers have also been added to the lineup for the 11th annual Produced By Conference. In alphabetical order, the new additions are:

  • Alana Mayo, President of Production and Development, Outlier Society Productions; Annihilation, Fences
  • Berry Welsh, SVP, Production & Development, Tribeca Productions; When They See Us, The Irishman
  • Chris Thomes, Vice President, Marketing Strategy, ABC Studios
  • Daniela Hamilton; Telenovela Live
  • Danny DeVito; Actor/Director/Producer; The War of the Roses, Matilda
  • Gail Berman, President, Producers Guild of America; Chairperson, SIDECAR
  • Ian Cooper,Creative Director, Monkeypaw Productions; Us, Candyman
  • James F. Lopez, President, Will Packer Productions; Little, What Men Want
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, WndrCo; Founder and Chairman of the Board, Quibi
  • Jesse Sisgold, President & Chief Operating Officer, Skydance Media
  • Kia Kiso, Founding Member, PGA Social Impact Entertainment Task Force; Producer, Zaza Productions; Mile… Mile & A Half
  • Kip Konwiser, Co-Founder, The Money Pool; Ana, Cigarette
  • Leila Jarman, Producer/Director and Creative Director of Women’s Voices Now
  • Lucy Fisher, President, Producers Guild of America; Partner, Red Wagon Entertainment; The Great Gatsby, Divergent series
  • Meg Whitman, CEO, Quibi
  • Michael Thorn, President of Entertainment, FOX Entertainment
  • Michael B. Jordan, Principal, Outlier Society Productions; Black Panther, Creed franchise
  • Mindy Kaling, Principal, Kaling International; Late Night, The Mindy Project
  • Nancy Meyers, The Intern, It’s Complicated
  • Steven Canals; Pose, Dead of Summer
  • Tracey Edmonds, CEO and President, Edmonds Entertainment; Games People Play, Jumping the Broom
  • Tricia Melton, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Freeform
  • Vernon Sanders, Co-Head of Television, Amazon Studios

The 2019 Produced By Conference is chaired by PGA members Betsy Beers, Ian Bryce, Tracey Edmonds, Mike Farah, and Gene Stein. The Produced By Conference 2019 team is supervising producer, Barry Kaplan (EKG, Inc.), program directors, Madelyn Hammond and Javier Infante (Madelyn Hammond & Associates), sponsorship director, Diane Salerno (Six Degrees Global), and marketing consultant, Julie Giles (greenHAT digital).

  • Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2019
Walmart buys ad tech startup
This Nov. 9, 2018, file photo shows a checkout scanner at a Walmart Supercenter in Houston. Walmart says it’s buying San Francisco-based ad tech startup Polymorph Labs as it looks to better compete with online rival juggernaut Amazon in targeting shoppers online. The world’s largest retailer has been quietly building its own advertising business with a unit called Walmart Media Group though that business is still smaller than Amazon’s. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Walmart says it's buying San Francisco-based ad tech startup Polymorph Labs as it looks to better compete with rival online juggernaut Amazon in targeting shoppers online.

The world's largest retailer has been quietly building its own advertising business with a unit called Walmart Media Group, though that business is still smaller than Amazon's.

Amazon's total ad revenue in the U.S. was $3.3 billion, or nearly 4% of the total digital ad spending pie in 2017, according to research firm eMarketer. The firm expects Amazon's ad revenue to hit $19.2 billion, or 11.2%, by 2021. No numbers are available for Walmart.

Walmart Inc. said Thursday (4/11) Polymorph's technology will make advertising with the discounter easier for thousands of brands while delivering more relevant digital ads to consumers faster.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Polymorph's technology platform, which includes a high-speed ad server, will enable Walmart advertisers to quickly select audience segments based on shopping behavior. For example, brands that advertise could quickly identify cat food buyers versus dog food buyers, and then measure whether their ads influenced a sale.

"We can help brands understand if someone saw their ad on Walmart's platform or across the internet, and then purchased the product in-store or online," wrote Stefanie Jay, vice president and general manager of Walmart Media Group, in a corporate blog post. "No one else can do this at scale like Walmart."

  • Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2019
NRA sues longtime ad agency over requests for bill details
In this March 2, 2019, file photo, NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks at Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2019, in Oxon Hill, Md. The association is suing its ad agency over accusations the company has withheld crucial financial details. The lawsuit filed Friday in Virginia says Oklahoma City-based Ackerman McQueen is contractually bound to show documentation on its bills to the NRA but that the firm has "baldly ignored" requests for more information. The lawsuit says the NRA paid the company more than $40 million in 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- 

The National Rifle Association has sued its longtime advertising agency, accusing the company that has helped shape its Second Amendment advocacy of withholding crucial financial details in its billing documents.

The lawsuit filed Friday in Alexandria, Virginia, says Oklahoma City-based Ackerman McQueen is contractually bound to show backing paperwork on its bills to the NRA. But the NRA says the firm has only partly complied or "baldly ignored" requests for more information.

"Since July 2018, the NRA has provided more-than-reasonable notice of its desire to view key items," the lawsuit says. "However, the NRA's patience has run out."

The lawsuit says that in 2017 the NRA paid Ackerman McQueen and a subsidiary more than $40 million. The filing also says the ad agency refused to give information about a separate contract it had with NRA President and retired Lt. Col. Oliver North , the Marine at the center of the Iran-Contra affair three decades ago.

Ackerman McQueen said in a statement Monday that an NRA forensic auditing firm received every piece of information it requested during a three-week review.

"This flagrant misrepresentation, along with other false claims, serve as the foundation of malicious intent exemplified by this lawsuit," Ackerman McQueen's statement says.

Ackerman McQueen runs NRATV, which livestreams gun rights commentary and advocacy for the NRA. The company has worked with the NRA since the 1980s.

The lawsuit points out Ackerman McQueen helped craft some of the NRA's biggest messaging, including former organization president the late Charlton Heston's slogan about having to pry his guns "from my cold, dead hands."

In a statement, Ackerman McQueen also says NRA outside attorney William Brewer has a conflict of interest in the lawsuit because he is the son-in-law of and brother-in-law to two of the ad agency's directors.

Brewer's law firm said in a statement that his familial relationships have "no bearing whatsoever on the NRA's litigation strategy."

The NRA is a powerful U.S. lobbying force and spent millions to help elect President Donald Trump, who will speak at the group's annual meeting later this month in Indianapolis. It will be Trump's third consecutive appearance at the meeting.

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