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JJ Abrams’ Your Name remake fuels fears of Hollywood ‘whitewash’



Prospect of Star Wars director remaking universally acclaimed Japanese animation prompts backlash among film fans

The recent announcement that Star Wars director JJ Abrams is to make a live-action version of the record-breaking animated film Your Name has prompted a backlash among fans of the original who fear another Hollywood whitewash of a Japanese masterpiece.

Makoto Shinkais fantasy about a teenage girl living in a picturesque but unexciting village and a Tokyo schoolboy who are drawn together by gender-swapping dreams has proved a global hit since its release in Japan last year and made more at the box office than any other animated film in history.

The universally positive reception to its visual brilliance and a storyline that skilfully combines body-swapping, the search for love and a dramatic attempt to save a town from destruction have prompted talk of Shinkai as the successor to the acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki.

The prospect of a Hollywood remake of Your Name which made $350m in 90 countries has been greeted with both intrigue and concern over the possible loss of the films distinctively Japanese flavour, from its Radwimps original soundtrack to Shinkais painstakingly recreated Tokyo landmarks and scenes from Nagano prefecture, where he grew up.

Abrams production team includes Genki Kawamura, a producer on the original, but fans on social media have voiced concerns that his version will follow in the footsteps of remakes of the classic Japanese manga Death Note and the anime Ghost in the Shell.

Scarlett Johanssons casting as the cyborg heroine in Ghost in the Shell drew ridicule, while the decision to replace the Tokyo backdrop to Death Note with Seattle and use an almost all-white cast, forced its director, Adam Wingard, to deny accusations of whitewashing.

One commenter on the Japan Today website said: This just shows how bankrupt Hollywood creativity is … they are even willing to raid anime and manga.

Another wrote: Hollywood: Stop trying to profit off of the work of others by remaking old movies, or in this case, a movie that is less than a year old which is too damn soon!

One Twitter user demanded that Abrams release the names of the cast in advance so we know its not whitewashed. Another suggested the remake was being planned with unseemly haste although no release date has been announced while there was tongue-in-cheek speculation over who might be chosen to play Taki Tachibana, the Tokyo schoolboy who swaps bodies with Mitsuha Miyamizu.

Some critics saw the film as an opportunity for Hollywood to redeem itself after the controversies surrounding Death Note and Ghost in the Shell.

Simply transliterating Mitsuha and Takis star-crossed friendship into English, relocating it to the Pacific Northwest, and hoping for the best would be a disaster of its own, David Ehrlich wrote on the IndieWire website.

But, he added, the idea of borrowing and building upon narratives from other nations is considerably older than the movies themselves, and when done right can be one of the most beautiful things about storytelling.

Shinkai said he was looking forward to seeing how Abrams, the director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, would adapt his film.

Your Name was created with the innate imaginations of a Japanese team and put together in a domestic medium, Shinkai said. But he added: When such a work is imbued with Hollywood filmmaking, we may see new possibilities that we had been completely unaware of.

Abrams Bad Robot Productions will collaborate with Toho, the animes Japanese distributor, and Paramount Pictures, to remake Your Name.

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‘Fortnite’ composer Pinar Toprak will score ‘Captain Marvel’



Image: Brian To/FilmMagic

“Turkish-American composer Pinar Toprak has been hired to compose the score for Captain Marvel, which will premiere in March of next year.

Even if you’re not a film score buff, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with Toprak’s work. In addition to writing additional music for Justice League in 2017, she is responsible for some of the incredibly catchy music from Fortnite. Yes, the stuff that is stuck in your head all the time…….”

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‘Incredibles 2’ breaks box office records with a whopping $180 million



Image: disney pixar

“For every unmitigated disaster like Solo, there are multiple other box office hits for Disney. Incredibles 2 is the latest.

The 14-years-later sequel is on a pace to finish off its opening weekend with a $180 million box office haul in the United States. That’s the highest opening to date for any animated release, and for any PG-rated release as well. It’s also the eighth-largest domestic opening weekend ever, overall.

Incredibles 2 soars past another Pixar sequel, Finding Dory, the previous top animated opener. The Finding Nemo sequel launched in 2016 on the same June weekend as Incredibles 2, but it only (only!) managed to pull in $135.1 million in its first three days.

The new $180 million bar will be a tough one for future competitors to beat, though even that record is bound to eventually fall. Inflation and rising ticket prices all but ensure it.

Disney currently has three recent releases in the weekend box office top 10. Solo: A Star Wars Story comes in at #4 on this weekend’s chart, with an estimated $9.1 million. That brings its domestic total up to $192.8 million.

Solo will probably cross $200 million domestic in the next week or two, but it’s currently the lowest-earning live action Star Wars movie to date. There’s even some question at this point as to whether or not it will manage to beat The Empire Strikes Back. Not accounting for inflation, that second-ever Star Wars movie ended its box office run in 1980 with $209.4 million.

Disney’s lowest entrant on this weekend’s box office top 10 is Avengers: Infinity War, at #8. The April 2018 release is still kicking in its eight week after hitting theaters. It picked up an estimated $5.3 million this weekend…..”

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Apple and Oprah sign a multi-year partnership on original content



Apple announced today a multi-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey to produce programs for the tech company’s upcoming video-streaming service. Apple didn’t provide any specific details as to what sort of projects Winfrey would be involved in, but there will be more than one it seems.

Apple shared the news of its deal with Winfrey in a brief statement on its website, which read:

Apple today announced a unique, multi-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey, the esteemed producer, actress, talk show host, philanthropist and CEO of OWN.

Together, Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.

Winfrey’s projects will be released as part of a lineup of original content from Apple.

The deal is a significant high-profile win for Apple, which has been busy filing out its lineup with an array of talent in recent months.

The streaming service also will include a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Storiesa Reese Witherspoon- and Jennifer Aniston-starring series set in the world of morning TVan adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books, a thriller starring Octavia Spencer, a Kristen Wiig-led comedy, a Kevin Durant-inspired scripted basketball show, a series from “La La Land’s” director and several other shows.

Winfrey, however, is not just another showrunner or producer. She’s a media giant who has worked across film, network and cable TV, print and more as an actress, talk show host, creator and producer.

She’s also a notable philanthropist, having contributed more than $100 million to provide education to academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, and is continually discussed as a potential presidential candidate, though she said that’s not for her.

On television, Winfrey’s Harpo Productions developed daytime TV shows like “Dr. Phil,” “The Dr. Oz Show” and “Rachael Ray.” Harpo Films produced several Academy Award-winning movies, including “Selma,” which featured Winfrey in a starring role. She’s also acted in a variety of productions over the years, like “The Color Purple,” which scored her an Oscar nom, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time.”

Winfrey also founded the cable network OWN in 2011 in partnership with Discovery Communications, and has exec produced series including “Queen Sugar,” “Oprah’s Master Class” and the Emmy-winning “Super Soul Sunday.”

The latter has a connection with Apple as it debuted as a podcast called “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations” and became a No. 1 program on Apple Podcasts.

Winfrey recently extended her contract with OWN through 2025, so it’s unclear how much time she’ll devote specifically toward her Apple projects.

Apple also didn’t say if Winfrey will star or guest in any of the programs themselves, but that’s always an option on the table with a deal like this. CNN, however, is reporting that Winfrey “is expected to have an on-screen role as a host and interviewer.”

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