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The latest news from Entertainment

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    Franck Ribéry of Bayern Munich

    • FC Bayern Munich obliterated provincial side FC Rottach-Egern in a pre-season friendly.
    • The Bundesliga champions beat the amateur side 20-2.
    • Four Bayern players scored hat-tricks in the game.
    • Scroll down to watch all the goals.

    In his bestseller, "David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants," Malcolm Gladwell outlines why he never roots for the underdog.

    If the underdog loses, Gladwell says, "the underdog feels very little distress because [he] expected to lose."

    However, if the favourite loses, they are desolate, crestfallen, crushed.

    Therefore, as humans who strive to be empathetic, we should root for the favourites — as they will suffer the most distress in the grips of defeat.

    According to Gladwell then, we should all have been rooting for 27-time Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich as they took on amateur side FC Rottach-Egern in a pre-season "friendly."

    If you think FC Bayern took it easy on the Zugspitze Regional League A-Klasse side, think again.

    The men in red racked up a comical 20 goals against Rottach-Egern, with no less than four different players bagging themselves hat-tricks.

    "15 minutes left in Bayern Munich's latest friendly... They're leading 16-2. Part of me thinks that it might be tricky for FC Rottach-Egern to get back into this game," BBC sports reporter John Bennett wrote.

    Bayern showed no remorse as they toyed with the amateur side, dancing around defenders, chipping the goalkeeper, and peppering the goal with volleyed efforts.

    Rottach-Egern did manage to get on the scoreboard in the first half, scoring consecutively to make it 5-2.

    But the match was quickly put back to bed by Bayern's talisman striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored three and assisted two over the course of the match.

    Despite the utterly ruthless performance from Bayern Munich, the mood at the countryside match-up was jubilant as Rottach-Egern residents had the opportunity to meet and take photos with some of their country's most famous sportsmen, and the players were able to share the pitch with some of their idols.

    You can watch all the goals here:

    SEE ALSO: Ronaldo's $130 million arrival means Juventus may have to sell big-name players like Dybala or Higuaín

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Brazil's empty $300 million World Cup stadium

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    Crazy Rich Asians Movie 2

    • "Crazy Rich Asians" is an extravagant, hilarious, and poignant examination of Asian American and Asian cultures. 
    • It is a new kind of rom-com for many reasons.
    • The cast is wonderful, and shows that Constance Wu and Henry Golding can carry a movie with their charm and outstanding talent in both comedy and drama.
    • Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh are other highlights. 

    It’s a shame that it took decades of filmmaking to get a delightful yet poignant movie like “Crazy Rich Asians” made. It’s an incredible, moving, and hilarious film that is just as rich in details and clever social satire as Kevin Kwan’s 2013 best-selling novel of the same name.

    Director Jon M. Wu says that “Crazy Rich Asians” is “not just a movie, it’s a movement.” It’s also an experience — of lavish food, culture, interiors, fashion, and Singapore itself. You might look up flights to Singapore as you walk out of the movie, like I did.

    The film is hilarious, emotional, and educational as it examines the differences between Rachel Chu (played by Wu, a natural lead), an Asian American woman who grew up with a Chinese single mom, and her boyfriend, Nick Young, who comes from and incredibly wealthy and traditional Singaporean family. The problem? Nick never bothered to tell Rachel about his family.

    crazy rich asians

    Though screenwriters Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim take some narrative departures to make the story tighter, the movie follows the book's story quite religiously. After some convincing, Rachel accompanies Nick to Singapore for his best friend's wedding which, unbeknownst to her, is basically a Singaporean royal wedding.

    Rachel visits her best friend from college Goh Peik Lin, played by a scene-stealing Awkwafina, and then she meets Nick's family. Once that happens, there's tension between Rachel and Nick's mother Eleanor Sung-Young (played by Yeoh). Rachel quickly realizes that friends and family look down on her for being an Asian American and assume that she's just after Nick's money. 

    awkwafina crazy rich asian comedian rapper

    The beloved characters from the book are brought to life by its perfect cast: from Constance Wu to Michelle Yeoh to its all-Asian supporting characters and extras. Everyone involved in this film had the time of their lives filming it, and that joy shows in every frame.

    “Crazy Rich Asians” is not only significant as the first major theatrical release starring Asian Americans in 25 years, since 1993’s “Joy Luck Club,” but for its vast and entirely Asian cast.

    Crazy Rich Asians

    What’s also refreshing is its story. Movies, especially romantic comedies, often tell the same story: a workaholic 26-year-old white blonde woman, who is played by an actress in her 30s, can’t find love because she’s too obsessed with her job. Then, in comes a white man played by an actor in his 40s to make her reconsider her personality.

    “Crazy Rich Asians” ignores many tropes set for rom-coms. At the beginning of the movie, the main characters have already been dating for over a year. And their relationship's obstacles  family and money  are more real than most romantic comedies.

    crazy Rich Asians

    If Hollywood listens, “Crazy Rich Asians” absolutely has the potential to bolster a change for Asian actors, filmmakers, and stories. It’s a necessary push for inclusivity in the film industry. Like February’s “Black Panther,” it makes a lot of people who’ve largely been ignored feel seen. It also proves these specific stories work for everyone, even if they don’t look the same as the people on screen.

    “Crazy Rich Asians” is a blast, and within minutes it will immerse you into its extraordinary extravagance and extraordinary talent.

    The movie comes to theaters August 15.

    SEE ALSO: 'Crazy Rich Asians' star Henry Golding hadn't acted before the movie, and was suggested by an accountant who recognized his charm

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why the World Cup soccer ball looks so different

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    shark tank lollacup

    • When she appeared on "Shark Tank" with her husband, Mark Lim, Hanna Lim was incredibly nervous.
    • They were pitching their startup, Lollacup, which produced safer sippy cups for kids.
    • But Mark told Hanna to remember that the investors were their equals, not their superiors, and that alleviated some of her anxiety.

    Hanna Lim clearly remembers trying out for "Shark Tank."

    There she was with her husband, Mark Lim, pitching their fledgling startup, Lollacup. The company produced safer sippy cups for kids, though it's since expanded into other products for infants and toddlers and is now called Lollaland.

    "I was literally shaking while holding the sippy cups," Hanna told me.

    By the time they were scheduled to appear on the "Shark Tank" stage, in 2012, Hanna's nervousness still hadn't abated.

    But as the doors to the tank were opening, Mark said something to Hanna that calmed her down.

    "He was like, 'Listen. We're here pitching to investors who are essentially our equals. We're not here for a handout; we're not here to beg. This is an investment. We're potentially handing over part of our company that we've built.'"

    Looking back, Hanna told me, "I think that was very powerful in shaping the way I personally approached the pitch and our 90 minutes of negotiation." (The "Shark Tank" episodes are edited so that each company only gets a limited amount of air time.)

    Mark said he learned that lesson in business school, at the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management. As part of the program, he and his classmates pitched ideas, concepts, and business plans in front of professors and working venture capitalists.

    Interestingly, Mark's advice to Hanna sounds similar to real-estate mogul and "Shark Tank" investor Barbara Corcoran's advice to entrepreneurs. As Laura Woods at GOBankingRates reported, Corcoran has told entrepreneurs to remember, "I [the entrepreneur] have just as much right to be here as you [the investor], I'm just as smart as you are. You might not think I'm smart, but I know I'm smart. Guess what, I've done a lot. Don't you dare look down on me."

    Ultimately, the Lims struck a deal with Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec: $100,000 for 40% of the company. Since then, Lollaland has passed $2 million in sales.

    Mark summarized what he learned in business school. "When you're going into a deal, you keep your eyes forward," he said. "Not up or down. You're not looking down on someone, nor are you begging. It's a two-way exchange."

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' entrepreneurs who won $100,000 decided to audition the night before casting, waited 7 hours in line, and typed out their answers to every question ever asked on the show

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 'Shark Tank' star Barbara Corcoran shares her keys to making a good first impression

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    Roku CEO Anthony Wood

    • Roku topped Wall Street's earnings expectations on Wednesday, posting a financially neutral quarter where analysts had anticipated a 14 cent loss per share. 
    • The streaming company's ad business helped fuel the beat — an area Netflix and Amazon ignore. 
    • Shares surged more than 14% when markets opened Thursday and set a new record high. 
    • Follow Roku's stock price here. 

    Shares of Roku opened up more than 14% Thursday morning, hitting an all-time high of $54.37, after the company reported second-quarter earnings on Wednesday that blew Wall Street’s expectations out of the water.

    Here are the important numbers:

    • Revenue: $156.8 million. Analysts were expecting $141.5 million.
    • EPS: 0 cents a share. Wall Street was looking for a loss of 14.6 cents a share.
    • Revenue forecast (Q3): $164 million to $172 million. Analysts had previously predicted it would post $166.5 million in sales in the third quarter.
    • Net loss (Q3 forecast, non-GAAP): $3 million to $8 million. Wall Street's prior estimate was an adjusted net loss of 11.6 million for the period.
    • Subscribers: 22 million. That’s up from 20.8 million in the first quarter and 15.1 million in the same quarter of 2017.

    Thursday's surge easily topped its previous record high of $52.70, set back in February.

    The earnings report also solidifies Roku’s clear delineation from its streaming competitors like Netflix and Amazon: advertising. The two elephants in the room don't advertise, and instead, the giants rely on subscriber numbers to fuel nearly all of their revenue. 

    "It's a mainstream ad business," CEO Anthony Wood told analysts on a conference call. More than half of the top 200 advertisers listed by Ad Age now advertise via Roku, he said.

    That bump in advertising helped Roku’s revenue climb to $16.60 per user on a 12-month trailing basis, up from $11.22 a year ago.

    "The shift to streaming is really happening," Wood said. "It's a big opportunity for us."

    Wall Street analysts have ratcheted up their estimates for Roku following the earnings report, and now have an average price target of $53, according to Bloomberg, up from $45 before the report. Shares were flat since the beginning of the year before Thursday’s pre-market surge.

    Troy Wolverton contributed to this report. 

    Now read:

    Roku stock price

    SEE ALSO: The CEO of Roku explains the master plan that led it to blow away Wall Street expectations

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I tried the newest BlackBerry phone for a week

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    minority report tom cruise

    At its best, science fiction can present a captivating, inventive picture of societal trends and flaws.

    The Metacritic data we compiled here to track the most critically acclaimed sci-fi movies of all time traces a lineage of great films from Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" through the Tom Cruise-led "Minority Report" and Spike Jonze's "Her."

    The resulting list includes all of the highest-rated movies that feature a "sci-fi" tag on the site, which turned out to be a wide-ranging categorization.

    Here are the 100 best science fiction movies of all time, according to critics:

    100. "Movement and Location" (2015)

    Critic score: 74/100

    User score: 8.6/10

    What critics said: "Despite its sci-fi hook, 'Movement and Location' turns out to be a surprisingly resonant film about how impossible it is for most people — no matter their cosmic time zone — to carve out a life that's emotionally honest." — Village Voice

    99. "Serenity" (2005)

    Critic score: 74/100

    User score: 8.4/10

    What critics said: "As challenging as it must have been to pilot Joss Whedon's space opera from the TV junk pile to the big screen, the finished product is a triumph." — San Francisco Chronicle

    98. "Inception" (2010)

    Critic score: 74/100

    User score: 8.8/10

    What critics said: "As engrossing and logic-resistant as the state of dreaming it seeks to replicate, Christopher Nolan's audacious new creation demands further study to fully absorb the multiple, simultaneous stories Nolan finagles into one narrative experience." — Entertainment Weekly

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    les moonves

    • CBS' controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone, is looking for a candidate to replace CEO Les Moonves, according to an NBC News report.
    • The CBS board has hired multiple law firms to investigate recent sexual-harassment allegations against Moonves.
    • Moonves, 68, has been allowed to stay in his position as chief executive for the time being.

    The investigation into sexual-harassment allegations against CBS CEO Les Moonves is just getting started, but it looks as if the company's controlling shareholder has little faith the 68-year-old will be vindicated.

    According to NBC News, CBS' controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone, is already asking around about a possible replacement for Moonves, who has worked at the company for 23 years.


    Two people close to Redstone, who asked to remain anonymous since they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, told the outlet she had been asking people to suggest candidates who could run the network.

    One executive who spoke with NBC News said Richard Parsons, the former CEO of Time Warner, was helping come up with a list of possible replacements for Moonves.

    Business Insider contacted CBS, its parent company National Amusements, and representatives for Parsons on Thursday morning but did not immediately receive a response.

    Representatives for all three declined to comment to NBC News, according to the original report.

    Moonves has been allowed to stay in his position while law firms hired by CBS investigate the allegations made in a New Yorker exposé earlier this month.

    Six women came forward in the report, including four who said Moonves had forcibly touched or kissed them.

    The other two accused the executive of sexual misconduct and harassment.

    Moonves partially admitted to misbehavior in a statement to the magazine.

    "I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances," he said. "Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that 'no' means 'no,' and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone's career."

    Redstone and Moonves have had bad blood recently over Redstone's plans to merge CBS with her other family-owned company, Viacom.

    The two disagreed over who would act as Moonves' deputy if the two companies were merged. Sources familiar with the deal told CNBC in April that Redstone was likely to replace Moonves if the two companies merged because of this disagreement.

    SEE ALSO: Samantha Bee blasts CBS for not firing CEO Les Moonves over sexual misconduct allegations

    DON'T MISS: Howard Stern called out 'shark' CBS CEO Les Moonves in a revealing rant about their history

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

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    Discord Store

    • The world's largest chat platform for gaming, Discord, has over 150 million users.
    • On Thursday, the company announced a new digital storefront for games — a major move aimed at taking on the biggest game store in the world, Steam.
    • Discord's store is limited to start, with only a small handful of games from a few publishers.

    With over 150 million users, Discord is the world's largest gaming chat platform. 

    Though the service is used by lots of different groups, the focus for Discord is gaming: It offers both text and voice chat. On Thursday morning, that service expands into an entirely new area — Discord is opening a digital game storefront.

    That's an especially big deal because of Discord's huge user numbers — it's one of the few services online that has a large enough gaming audience to reasonably take on the Valve-owned gaming juggernaut Steam, the world's largest game store. 

    Chances are, if you've bought a game on a PC or Mac in the last decade, you bought it on Steam. The service boasts over 200 million users — and it has no real competition. 

    That said, it sounds like Discord doesn't intend to take on Steam directly — at least not at first.

    As the company said in a press release on Thursday morning, the Discord Store is intended as a "kind of cozy neighborhood book shop," but for games instead of books.

    Strand bookstore books manhattan

    More specifically, the Discord Store aims to curate a group of games that come with personal recommendations. Rather than the firehose approach that digital stores like Steam and the Apple App Store take, Discord intends to recommend and sell only "the hottest and newest games." 

    For starters, the storefront is pretty slim on offerings — just under a dozen games are up for sale as of Thursday. They are as follows:

    • "Dead Cells"
    • "Frostpunk"
    • "Omensight"
    • "Into the Breach"
    • "SpellForce 3"
    • "The Banner Saga 3"
    • "Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire"
    • "Hollow Knight"
    • "Moonlighter"
    • "This is the Police 2"
    • "Starbound"

    Moreover, only 50,000 randomly chosen Discord users in Canada will be able to access the store in its "beta" period.

    Discord promises availability will grow over time, but it's not clear when the storefront will exit beta and open up to all of the service's hundreds of millions of users.

    SEE ALSO: Everything you need to know about Discord, the app that 135 million gamers all around the world are using to talk to each other

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This conveyor belt can move in any direction

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    08 crazy rich asians.w710.h473

    Critics are gushing over "Crazy Rich Asians," which has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

    The film, which comes to theaters August 15, is funny and romantic all while telling an important story about an Asian American protagonist and her boyfriend's family in Singapore.

    It captures the spirit of the greatest romantic comedies of all time from filmmakers like Nora Ephron, but has its own unique twist. There's also lots of decadent food, fashion, and real-estate in a way that captures the spirit of Kevin Kwan's 2013 novel on which the movie is based. 

    Critics agree that "Crazy Rich Asians" is an excellent movie that is a turning point for the studio romantic comedy.

    Here's what critics said about "Crazy Rich Asians":

    SEE ALSO: 'Crazy Rich Asians' is an extravagant, hilarious, and poignant examination of Asian American and Asian cultures that revolutionizes the studio rom-com

    "The film's arrival is undeniably momentous. But it's nearly as vital that Crazy Rich is a romantic comedy -- a genre that relies on charisma above all else. The film's stereotype-busting approach is multifarious."

    Inkoo Kang, Slate

    "The entire film heavily leans into its specificity with a zest that's infectious. 'Crazy Rich Asians' is here to celebrate in a big way."

    Anne Cohen, Refinery 29

    "Seeing this kind of onscreen representation is incredibly satisfying, especially via Kwan's rich page-turner, loaded with cattiness but also plenty of Asian diversity, from wholesome friends and wise confidantes to jealous mean girls and scheming parents."

    Danny Yu, Time Out

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    2018 has been a great year for quality movies in a range of genres, from superhero blockbusters to horror to documentaries. 

    But a select group of movies has managed to win universal praise from critics and land a 100% critic score on review-aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. These movies also fall into a diverse assortment of genres, from a new take on the studio romantic comedy to a dramatic look at PTSD.

    Some acclaimed movies this year just missed the mark, like "Won't You Be My Neighbor" and "Eighth Grade," which have a 99% and 98% critic score, respectively. Crowd-and-critic pleasing blockbusters "Black Panther" and "Mission: Impossible — Fallout" were also close, both with 97%.

    Below are the six movies with a 100% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes in 2018 so far:

    SEE ALSO: 'Crazy Rich Asians' is an extravagant, hilarious, and poignant examination of Asian American and Asian cultures that revolutionizes the studio rom-com

    "Crazy Rich Asians"

    How you can watch: Coming to theaters August 15

    Description:"The story follows New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. Not only is he the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families, but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh) taking aim. It soon becomes clear that the only thing crazier than love is family, in this funny and romantic story sure to ring true for audiences everywhere."

    What critics said: "What makes it feel fresh, of course, is context: the mere fact of a major studio release completely rooted in Asian characters and settings. And in a movie generally not long on nuance, those facts still matter — both onscreen and in the much bigger sense of what kinds of stories Hollywood chooses to present to the world." — Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

    "Leave No Trace"

    How you can watch: Currently in theaters

    Description: "Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), have lived off the grid for years in the forests of Portland, Oregon. When their idyllic life is shattered, both are put into social services. After clashing with their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a harrowing journey back to their wild homeland. The film is directed by Debra Granik from a script adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini and based on the novel 'My Abandonment' by Peter Rock."

    What critics said: "The script dodges many of the clichés that viewers might expect from such a story. It refuses to descend into outright bleakness or violence. And Granik doesn’t render nature with some kind of poetic transcendence: She sees beauty in the woods as well as the harshness of life there." — David Sims, The Atlantic


    How you can watch: Currently playing in select theaters (visit the official website for showtimes)

    Description: "A personal look at the extraordinary life, career and artistry of Alexander McQueen. Through exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family, recovered archives, exquisite visuals and music, McQueen is an authentic celebration and thrilling portrait of an inspired yet tortured fashion visionary."

    What critics said: "'McQueen' makes the case that its subject was an artist whose clay was clothing. It also, despite giving short shrift to psychoanalysis, reminds us that everything you might want to know about the artist can be found in the art." — Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Fortnite on Android

    • "Fortnite" arrives on Android on Thursday.
    • The game is free as always, but only available on a handful of Samsung devices at first.
    • It's coming to a variety of other Android devices in the coming days, including Google's Pixel line and LG's G phones.


    The biggest game in the world is finally coming to the biggest mobile platform in the world: "Fortnite" launches on Android starting on Thursday.

    In a bizarre move that was previously rumored, the game's only available on Samsung's lineup of Galaxy devices (the S7 / S7 Edge , S8 / S8+, S9 / S9+, Note 8, Note 9, Tab S3, and Tab S4) initially. In the "next few days" the game will arrive on a wider variety of Android phones, from Google's Pixel phones to LG's line of G phones (and more).

    Epic Games, the maker of "Fortnite," says players can sign up for access to "Fortnite" on Android through this website.

    Fortnite (mobile)

    Unlike most Android games, "Fortnite" is skipping Google's Play Store.

    Instead, you'll download the game directly through Epic's website — updates will be served to the game directly from Epic, thus enabling faster fixes. As a major bonus to Epic Games, all the money made through "Fortnite" on Android goes directly to Epic without having to pay the 30% cut Google takes from Google Play Store games. 

    Though we've yet to play "Fortnite" on Android, it should operate very similarly to how the game already operates on iPhone.

    As seen above on an iPhone X, controls are represented as virtual buttons on-screen. It's otherwise the same insane game you can play on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One: A 100-player fight to the death in an environment that's getting smaller over time.

    Here's the full list of supported Android devices for "Fortnite":

    • Google: Pixel / Pixel XL, Pixel 2 / Pixel 2 XL
    • Asus: ROG Phone, Zenfone 4 Pro, 5Z, V
    • Essential: PH-1
    • Huawei: Honor 10, Honor Play, Mate 10 / Pro, Mate RS, Nova 3, P20 / Pro, V10
    • LG: G5, G6, G7 ThinQ, V20, V30 / V30+
    • Nokia: 8
    • OnePlus: 5 / 5T, 6
    • Razer: Phone
    • Xiaomi: Blackshark, Mi 5 / 5S / 5S Plus, 6 / 6 Plus, Mi 8 / 8 Explorer / 8SE, Mi Mix, Mi Mix 2, Mi Mix 2S, Mi Note 2
    • ZTE: Axon 7 / 7s, Axon M, Nubia / Z17 / Z17s, Nubia Z11

    SEE ALSO: When ‘Fortnite’ finally arrives on Android, it’s skipping Google’s storefront — and the CEO of Epic Games told me why

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What people get wrong about superfoods

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    red dead redemption 2

    • Rockstar Games just released an official gameplay video teasing its long-awaited western shooter, "Red Dead Redemption 2."
    • It's a prequel to the first "Red Dead Redemption" game, and the player takes control of Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linda gang.
    • The video shows off some gameplay mechanics, including gun fights, interaction with non-player characters, hand-to-hand combat, a morality system, trading, and more. 
    • "Red Dead Redemption 2" will be released on October 26, and will be available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 

    A gameplay video showing off some mechanics of the long-awaited western shooter "Red Dead Redemption 2" was just released by Rockstar Games, the makers of the "Grand Theft Auto" series.

    You can watch it right here: 

    Youtube Embed:
    Width: 560px
    Height: 315px

    The video above lays out some of the core components of "Red Dead Redemption 2," including gun fights, interaction with non-player characters, hand-to-hand combat, a morality system, trading, and horse management. Rockstar has more gameplay videos lined up before the game's release, which will get into more detail about some key features. 

    "Red Dead Redemption 2" will be available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox one on October 26. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Cinemark XD Auditorium final

    • Cinemark's $8.99 monthly movie-ticket subscription plan, Movie Club, has gained 350,000 subscribers since it launched in December.
    • Cinemark CEO, Mark Zoradi, explained to Business Insider how his team came up with the plan, which could become the blueprint for a sustainable way to do theater subscription in the US.

    Though most in the movie-theater space are annoyed by the way MoviePass has disrupted the business, they cannot deny that audiences love the movie-ticket subscription model.

    In an era when the average movie ticket is priced at around $9.38, paying a monthly fee to go to the movies has turned out to be very attractive.

    That was evident when MoviePass changed its model dramatically last August. Unveiling its $9.95 per month plan to see one movie per day, it became so popular that within a year of spending millions to pay for the tickets, it had to cap the plan at three movies per month to try and stay in business. But MoviePass was hardly the only company in the theater space to think about dabbling with a subscription model.

    For years, the biggest theater chains in the country have been thinking of a way to offer customers a deal that would attract them to multiplexes while also making financial sense (and appease the Hollywood studios).

    For close to a decade AMC Theaters, the largest exhibitor in the world, has been toying behind the scenes with a subscription model. It’s likely you can thank MoviePass’ popularity for why it finally unveiled A-List in June, the latest option in its Stubs customer loyalty plan. For $20 a month, AMC will let you see up to three movies every week (including large format showings).

    A week later, the popular Alamo Drafthouse chain announced it would begin a beta version of its subscription model, Alamo Season Pass, at its Yonkers, New York location soon (no price has been announced yet).

    However, the one subscription service that hasn’t received major attention was the first by any of the big exhibitors: Cinemark’s Movie Club. Since last December, the third-largest exhibitor in the country has offered its customers a $8.99 per month plan that gets you one standard format ticket, a 20% discount on concessions, and no fees if you order tickets online. Plus, your one movie credit will roll over to the next month if you don’t use it.

    On paper, it doesn’t sound as sexy as the other deals out there, but when you take a look behind the curtain, Cinemark might have figured out a movie-ticket subscription model that can outlast its competition.

    Attracting the casual moviegoer is key

    On an earnings call Wednesday, Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi revealed that Movie Club had 350,000 subscribers, doubling its active members since the first quarter and representing 6% of Cinemark’s box-office revenue for the year.

    If that doesn’t sound as impressive as the 3-plus million that have subscribed to MoviePass since last August, or the over 175,000 subscribers AMC has nabbed in five weeks, here’s the dirty secret about movie ticket subscription plans: having a lot of members can actually lose you more money, depending on the circumstances.

    In the case of MoviePass, it has to pay the exhibitors full ticket price at most theaters. And when exhibitors offer their own plans, a large percentage of those tickets sold go to the studios and distributors of the movies.

    Zoradi was aware of all this, and for close to eight months before Movie Club launched, his team researched a model that would be right not just for Cinemark customers, but for Cinemark.

    “Myself and members of the marketing team were just looking at the business and realized nobody had a viable subscription program in the US for theaters,” Zoradi told Business Insider on Wednesday.

    So they went out and looked at various subscription models — how the movie theater subscription model is done in Europe (unlimited plans that inspired the creation of MoviePass), how Netflix is done, gym memberships, Amazon’s Audible — along with talking to consumers and the movie studios to find a deal that would work.


    Zoradi admitted that talking to the studios was an interesting chat, but he got their blessing when Cinemark divulged that a concessions discount would also be in the deal, proving this wasn’t just a way to sell cheaper tickets (which in turn meant cheaper returns back to the studios).

    And what they found from moviegoers was that a majority only wanted to go to the movies around two times a month, but they didn't want to be restricted to just that. That’s when the rollover option was born.

    “Consumers responded tremendously to it,” Zoradi said. “It gave them flexibility to say, ‘Well, there’s not a movie I want to see this month, but maybe there’s going to be two or three next month,’ and they get to roll it over. That was a real key element.”

    Zoradi believes that — along with having the option for Movie Club members to add a companion ticket for $8.99 more, and upgrading for a large format showing for an added charge of between $2.50 to $3 — covers all of his customers' wants. He's extremely happy with the service.

    “We haven’t had to make major adaptations to it since December because we researched it so well,” he said.

    And the last year has proved Cinemark did it right: keeping away from attracting the die-hard movie buffs is the most viable path to doing monthly ticket subscription in the US.

    MoviePass’ movie-per-day model proved to be too good to be true. Its CEO was clear on that when his company changed to three movies per month earlier this week, noting that MoviePass was now focused on the “occasional moviegoer.”

    "A small amount of our subscribers, that 15% that would go to four or more [per month], go to a lot of movies. A lot!" Lowe told Business Insider. "It's almost half of our cost of goods, like 40% of our cost of goods are used by that 15%."

    Because Zoradi had Cinemark’s plan cater to the casual moviegoer from day one, his company may have become the North Star in the subscription model craze.

    “The broad audience in the United States, that’s the sweet spot,” he said.

    SEE ALSO: How the director of "The Meg" set out to make the most fun movie of the summer — and not rip off "Jaws"

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    The Meg 2 Warner Bros.

    • "The Meg" director Jon Turteltaub explains how he made sure not to do a remake of "Jaws" while making his shark movie.
    • "The Meg," starring Jason Statham, is based on a novel about a massive shark known as a megalodon thought to be extinct since prehistoric times.

    “You can win an Oscar if you do a shark movie where the shark represents some grand flaw in mankind’s soul,” director Jon Turteltaub told Business Insider over the phone in a moment of contemplation. “But in this case, I wanted to do a movie where the shark represents a big f--king shark!”

    Turteltaub went into making Warner Bros.’ late-summer, $130-million-plus blockbuster “The Meg” (in theaters Friday) with one goal in mind: let the audience have fun. His favorite movie of all time is “Jaws,” and he said fun was the one thing he leaned on when deciding to take this project.

    Steven Spielberg’s three-time Oscar winning classic isn’t just the greatest shark movie ever, but also launched the Hollywood summer blockbuster season. Turteltaub knew in his gut he could make “The Meg.” But the challenge he faced was to figure out how to make a summer shark movie that audiences wouldn’t feel was just a rip-off of “Jaws.”

    The Meg Bantam Books“The Meg” is based on the 1997 Steve Alten book, “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror,” which follows the adventures of Navy deep-sea diver Jonas Taylor as he combats the thought-to-be-extinct massive shark known as a megalodon, which ruled the deep oceans in prehistoric times. (The gory sci-fi book launched a series of novels with titles like “MEG: Hell’s Aquarium” and “MEG: Generations.”)

    It was the kind of story Hollywood had to get a piece of. The rights to the book were quickly acquired by Disney, then moved over to New Line where directors like Jan de Bont and Guillermo Del Toro were attached, and finally landed at Warner Bros., where Turteltaub took the reins.

    “It was really quick, I think I signed on in March [of 2016] and we were shooting in September,” Turteltaub said. “Because of the novels, because of the many lives the project had before I joined, the ball was already rolling and some really smart work had already been done.”

    Thanks to Chinese financier Gravity Pictures coming on board to help with the costs, “The Meg” got the blockbuster treatment, with a majority of the production shot in New Zealand (doubling for Singapore) and lots and lots of work put in for CGI and 3D.

    Though Turteltaub had practically seen it all in Hollywood — having directed everything from “Cool Runnings” to the “National Treasure” movies — he was shocked by how much work had to be done in post production for the movie.

    the meg movie“When you have this much CG you know it’s going to take at least a year to finish the movie,” he said. “But you also leave a shocking amount of time to do all the 3D work. I couldn’t believe how much time and effort and expertise goes into that. We really needed five months just for that."

    Another big change in today’s moviemaking compared to years past was that America no longer dictates when a movie is released.

    “It used to be America picked the best date and then the world followed,” Turteltaub said. “Now it’s the best worldwide date and America follows.”

    That's especially true when China is behind your movie's financing.

    Turteltaub said “The Meg” was completed in the beginning of the year but because Chinese New Year is in February, the thought was it wasn’t a good time to open the movie there. So it got pushed, with August eventually being the right date.

    Turteltaub wasn’t too worried when the movie opened because test audiences had given him the only feedback he needed.

    Jon Turteltaub Getty final“I was thrilled how the word ‘fun’ was the first word out of everyone’s mouth regardless of what country we showed it in,” he said. “When someone says your movie is fun, that’s usually the word they say when they don't have something nice to say — but in this case I was going for that response. Not primarily interesting or political or emotional, primarily fun.”

    In the movie, action star Jason Statham plays the Jonas Taylor character, who has sworn off the water after previously battling a megalodon (though no one will believe that was what he actually saw). But when he gets word that his ex-wife along with the crew of an underwater research facility are in danger, and that they may have discovered the meg, Jonas has no choice but to throw back on the wetsuit and save the day.

    The movie is a mix of outlandish gory action, dark comedy, and a central theme of family, which Turteltaub believes will play well to a global audience. And in staying away from “Jaws,” he intentionally flipped the structure so the part of the movie when beachgoers are rudely visited by the meg, which suddenly appears from beneath them, comes at the end instead of the first hour of the movie.

    “It just gets bigger and more fun,” Turteltaub said of the movie. “Ultimately, I thought of this less as a shark movie and more like a monster movie.”

    SEE ALSO: "National Treasure" franchise director wants to make a third movie, but fears it would only appear on Disney's new streaming service

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    Roku CEO Anthony Wood

    • Roku announced second-quarter results on Wednesday that topped Wall Street's expectations and helped boost its stock as high as 9% in after-hours trading.
    • The company's advertising business helped drive the results.
    • Roku is benefitting from a long-term strategy to translate the success of its digital media players into creating a platform for advertising, company CEO Anthony Wood said.

    Roku's evolution from being a seller of inexpensive streaming video boxes, to being a significant player in the world of video advertising, took another leap forward Wednesday.

    The company announced much better-than-expected second-quarter results, driven largely by its so-called platform business. Among other things, that business involves selling ads that will run on the millions of Roku video players smart TVs in use.

    The company is benefitting from the growing number of consumers who are watching video streamed from the internet and the growing number of hours of streaming television they're viewing, company CEO Anthony Wood told Business Insider.

    "The shift to streaming is really happening," he said. "It's a big opportunity for us."

    Investors cheered the results. In after-hours trading, the company's stock shot up as much as 9%. In recent trading it was up $3.95, or 8%, to $51.20.

    Roku's ad business is taking off

    Roku got its start by selling media players that allowed consumers to watch Netflix on their televisions. The company now offers a whole line of such devices and those gadgets now let consumers stream thousands of online channels. It also licenses its software to television manufacturers and pay TV providers for use in their set-top boxes.

    But its goal has always been to be more than a device maker or software provider, Wood said. The company always planned to create a direct relationship with consumers and build its business around that relationship, he said.

    Roku now has 22 million active customer accounts. That's up from 20.8 million in the first quarter, and 15.1 million in the second period last year. The company has been able to grow that number by selling more of its streaming players and convincing more consumers to buy smart TVs with its software — and then convincing those consumers to sign up for Roku accounts.

    With Roku accounts, consumers can download new channels to their devices and TVs, rent movies, or purchase programs. The company gets something too: detailed data on the viewing habits of those customers, allowing it to target ads at them.

    Roku has long sold interactive ads that run in its user interface, promoting channels or particular videos. But it's increasingly selling video ads that run before, during, or after the videos that are streamed through its service. And it's selling those ads on a growing number of the channels users watch through its players and TVs.

    Its also attracting a fair number of advertisers. More than half of the top 200 advertisers listed by Ad Age now advertise via Roku, Wood said.

    "It's a mainstream ad business," he said.

    The company's seeing success with its own streaming channel

    Thanks in large part to its advertising efforts, Roku's platform business has been growing rapidly and now accounts for more revenue than sales of its devices. In the second quarter, the platform business grew 96% from the same period a year ago to $90 million.

    Part of the reason for that is that Roku is growing the amount of money it's bringing in per user. On a trailing 12-month basis, Roku it garnered $16.60 per user, as of the end of the second quarter. A year ago, that figure stood at $11.22 per user.

    The platform business "is obviously hitting its stride," Wood said.

    Roku is also making a push to be something of a streaming provider in its own right. In September, it launched the Roku Channel, an ad-supported streaming service that offers a collection of TV shows, live news feeds, and movies. The channel has since become one of the top 5 most watched among Roku's active users. And the company is hoping to attract even more users, announcing Wednesday that consumers can watch it via a web browser on their computers after signing in with a Roku account.

    To be sure, Roku still gets much of its revenue — some 42% in the second quarter — from selling devices. That business has started to slow down as smart TVs have become more common.

    And for all the success of the Roku Channel and all the thousands of channels Roku offers through its service, Roku customers still spend a disproportionate amount of time watching one particular service— Netflix.

    "No one's even close," Wood said.

    That dependency on Netflix poses a potential threat to Roku. Consumers could see little harm in potentially replacing their Roku boxes for other devices or smart TVs, since nearly every internet-connected video box offers Netflix.

    But Roku has been decreasing its dependency on Netflix over time, Wood said. Netflix viewing has gone from 100% of Roku users streaming to less than a third today, he said.

    What customers watch "is diversifying as people stream more," he said.

    Roku's blew the doors off Wall Street's expectations

    Regardless, the company had a lot to crow about on Wednesday. Here are how its outlook and results compared to Wall Street's expectations:

    • Revenue (Q2): $156.8 million. Analysts were expecting $141.5 million.
    • EPS (Q2): 0 cents a share. Wall Street was looking for a loss of 14.6 cents a share.
    • Revenue (Q3 forecast): $164 million to $172 million. Analysts had previously predicted it would post $166.5 million in sales in the third quarter.
    • Net loss (Q3 forecast, non-GAAP): $3 million to $8 million. Wall Street's prior estimate was an adjusted net loss of 11.6 million for the period.

    SEE ALSO: Roku's isn't just a hardware company anymore — CEO Anthony Wood explains why ads are its future

    SEE ALSO: Roku's boxes offer thousands of channels — but viewers are largely just tuning in Netflix

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    Netflix's new original series, "Insatiable," generated accusations of fat shaming in the weeks before its release.

    Critics and audiences alike were offended by the trailer, but many considered giving the show a chance to prove that it was not as offensive as the trailer suggested. But it is, according to critics (including me).

    Critics have said the message the show is trying to send does not come across at all. In addition to fat shaming, the series includes other misguided plot points and jokes, such as a storyline in which a main character is falsely accused of molesting a child. 

    The TV series is a mess, and currently has an 11% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Only one critic liked it: CNN's Brian Lowry.

    Here's what critics are saying about Netflix's controversial original series "Insatiable":

    SEE ALSO: Netflix's new show 'Insatiable' is an offensive mess that goes way beyond fat shaming

    "Throughout its 12-episode run, 'Insatiable' crawls its way through a series of tired, stale gags, punching ever further downward, to finish with the most subdued of whimpers in its finale. 'Insatiable' is not only cruel and fatphobic; it’s boring, too."

    Constance Grady, Vox

    "'Insatiable' is clearly striving to be an edgy satire of our image-obsessed culture and our constant need for more, but the candy-colored veneer of the series never offers viewers an actual escape from the toxic tropes it attempts to skewer."

    Arielle Bernstein, The Guardian

    "'Insatiable,' on the surface, behaves as if it has tone - 'Look at me, being all unquantifiable and zany! I'm a TV version of whack-a-mole!' But without substance, all that clanging and banging is unsatisfying."

    Johanna Schneller, Toronto Star

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    casey affleck

    • Casey Affleck gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he publicly addressed for the first time the allegations of sexual misconduct raised against him by two women in a 2010 civil lawsuit, regarding his alleged behavior on the set of his 2010 film, "I'm Still Here."
    • Affleck settled the suits for an undisclosed amount in 2010, and the allegations resurfaced when he was nominated for (and subsequently won) the Oscar for best actor in 2017 for his performance in "Manchester by the Sea."
    • In the interview, Affleck said that the fact that he had been "involved in a conflict that resulted in a lawsuit is something that I really regret," before giving an indirect admission about how he had conducted an "unprofessional environment" on the set of the film.

    Casey Affleck gave an uncomfortable interview to the Associated Press in which he addressed the #MeToo movement in relation to the civil lawsuit he settled in 2010 that included allegations of sexual misconduct.

    Affleck apologized and said he had some culpability in the situation, but stopped short of admitting to the sexual harassment he was accused of.

    The interviewer, Lindsay Barr, asked Affleck pointedly about whether the rise of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements had changed his perspective of his alleged misconduct on the set of his 2010 film "I'm Still Here," where two women accused Affleck of sexual harassment. 

    According to the complaints filed in 2010, one woman alleged that Affleck crawled into bed with her without her consent while she was sleeping, while another woman alleged that Affleck pressured her to stay in his hotel room and "violently grabbed [her] arm in an effort to intimidate her into staying" when she refused. The women also said that Affleck was verbally abusive and instructed a male crew member to expose himself to one of them. 

    Affleck settled the suits for an undisclosed amount in 2010, and the allegations resurfaced when he was nominated  for (and subsequently won) the Oscar for best actor in 2017 for his performance in "Manchester by the Sea."

    In the interview, Affleck said that the fact that he had been "involved in a conflict that resulted in a lawsuit is something that I really regret," and that he wished he "had found a way to resolve things in a different way," before giving an indirect admission about how he had conducted an "unprofessional environment" on the set:

    "I was a boss. I was one of the producers on the set. This movie was (shot in 2008, 2009) and I was one of the producers. And it was a crazy mockumentary, (a) very unconventional movie. The cast was the crew and the crew was kind of the cast and it was an unprofessional environment and, you know, the buck had to stop with me being one of the producers and I have to accept responsibility for that and that was a mistake. And I contributed to that unprofessional environment and I tolerated that kind of behavior from other people and I wish that I hadn’t. And I regret a lot of that. I really did not know what I was responsible for as the boss. I don’t even know if I thought of myself as the boss. But I behaved in a way and allowed others to behave in a way that was really unprofessional. And I’m sorry."

    Watch the interview below: 

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    james gunn rocket raccoon oreo

    • According to Deadline, Marvel Studios is having "backchannel conversations" with Disney about rehiring fired "Guardians of the Galaxy" director James Gunn.
    • Marvel is reportedly trying to find a compromise with Disney.
    • The conversations come after the entire "Guardians" cast released an open letter in support of Gunn. 


    Marvel Studios reportedly wants "Guardians of the Galaxy" director James Gunn back, and is trying to persuade its owner, Disney, to make it happen.

    According to Deadline, citing anonymous sources, Marvel Studios is having "backchannel conversations" with Disney to persuade it to rehire Gunn, who Disney fired last month from directing "Guardians of the Galaxy 3" after conservative personalities resurfaced old offensive tweets from him.

    Deadline reported that Marvel was seeking a compromise in bringing Gunn back for the third installment, which he recently finished the script for and had planned to start shooting later this year for a 2020 release date.

    The report comes after the entire main "Guardians of the Galaxy" cast recently released an open letter in support of Gunn. Many of them, including Zoe Saldana and Chris Pratt, have publicly voiced that they want to see Gunn rehired. Dave Bautista, who plays Drax in the movies, has been the most vocal against Disney, and even threatened to quit "Guardians 3" if Gunn's script isn't used. He also tweeted that it was "nauseating" to work for Disney given the situation.

    With that kind of pressure, it's not surprising if Marvel is having these conversations with Disney. Gunn's two "Guardians" movies made over $1.6 billion worldwide combined and were beloved by both critics and fans, making him a big loss for the studio. 

    But Variety also recently reported, based on anonymous sources, that Disney had no plans to rehire Gunn. It may take a lot of convincing on Marvel's end for Disney to change its mind.

    Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    SEE ALSO: Disney's upcoming Netflix competitor likely won't have its full catalog at launch, notably lacking classic 'Star Wars' movies

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    fortnite nintendo switch

    For months now, "Fortnite: Battle Royale" has kept players on their toes with weekly — and sometimes daily — updates to the game, including new character skins, limited-time game modes, and fun and interesting challenges.

    Some of those updates have been just for fun, and some actually change the way the game is played. For example, in the days leading up to the beginning of Season 5, the game hinted that a rocket launch would change the island forever. During the actual launch, the rocket caused a large rift in the space-time continuum to open up above the center of the map, and several items and landmarks throughout the island started disappearing. 

    The developers have also introduced or removed a few truly game-changing tools throughout the game's history, including jet packs, guided missiles, fast-moving vehicles, and rifts. 

    Here's everything that's been added to the island in the last two weeks:

    SEE ALSO: Parents are paying as much as $35 an hour for 'Fortnite' coaches for their kids

    NEW WEAPON: Double Barrel Shotgun

    Epic's update notes say the newest gun can be "devastating at close range," but only allows the player to take two shots before reloading.  


    Fornite's newest mode features a constantly-shrinking storm that envelopes the island in exactly 15 minutes. 

    The timed mode forces players to keep moving in close to one another, and leaves little time for looting or building and defending hideouts. It should make for some fast-paced firefights. 


    The no-pressure, no-combat Playground Mode is back this week, as rumors swirl that the sandbox style mode will soon be dubbed a permanent addition to the game.

    "Playground" is a limited-time sandbox-style mode that lets players take a break from the fast-paced battle royale formula by roaming through the island with up to three of their friends, without any opponents to shoot at or hide from.

    The mode includes the island's normal amount of loot, plus ten times the normal gather rate for building materials, and a hundred llamas scattered across the island, giving players the perfect environment to hone their combat and building skills without having to worry about scavenging for weapons and resources.

    With this new update, many of the game's resources are increased. Ammo cans now give ten times more ammo than they do in the regular battle royale mode, players are more likely to find the rare launch and bounce pads, and one hundred supply drops will fall to the island throughout each match.

    Friendly fire will be turned on, so squad members will be able to deal damage to one another. Never fear, though — players who are killed in Playground Mode will immediately respawn and parachute back onto the island.

    After 55 minutes of free play, the storm will begin to close in on the island, eventually ending each round after a full hour has gone by. Deaths outside of the eye of the storm will not result in a respawn.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Logan Paul

    • Logan Paul has expressed interest in entering the UFC octagon.
    • In an interview with TMZ, his brother Jake Paul said, "I think it'd be dope to see one of us fight McGregor," to which Logan responded, "That's what I was thinking!"
    • Logan Paul is due to fight fellow YouTuber KSI on August 25 in a boxing match that has been built up with trash talk that's gone too far at times.
    • The event will also see Jake take on KSI's brother, Deji.
    • Logan said he and his brother would have to prove themselves in the ring first before taking on the likes of McGregor.

    Logan Paul's war of words has finally extended beyond fellow YouTuber KSI, who he is due to fight in a highly-anticipated boxing match this month.

    Speaking to TMZ at Los Angeles International Airport, Paul expressed interest in becoming a UFC fighter, saying he doesn't want his career to be "one and done."

    Asked who he would like to fight in a mixed martial arts arena, Paul said, "Dana White, are you watching this, bro? Pick a fight for me."

    His brother Jake Paul, who is fighting KSI's brother Deji as the undercard to their older brothers' fight, said, "I think it'd be dope to see one of us fight McGregor," to which Logan responded, "That's what I was thinking!"

    "We've got to prove ourselves first," Logan said.

    You can watch the full interview here:

    The build-up to Paul's fight with KSI (real name Olajide Olatunji) has been a ludicrous affair, with insults traded between the two arguably going too far on a number of occasions.

    During a press conference earlier this month, KSI suggested he would make a better lover than Paul, who is missing part of his testicle due to a stunt gone wrong. That was to background chants of "She's a hoe!" from the crowd.

    Vlogger Logan Paul and KSI.

    In a video titled "DEAR KSI, HERE'S WHY I WALKED OFF STAGE...", Paul pointed to KSI's problematic history of making insulting and sexist remarks. He specifically referenced his ban in 2012 from Eurogamer events after he made lewd remarks to women.

    Paul's infamous filming of a dead body in Japan's "suicide forest" has also proved to be popular ammunition for KSI in their disputes.

    BBC Radio 1, which is targeted at 15- to 29-year-olds, decided not to air an interview with Logan Paul and KSI after a backlash from listeners. It was one of the few media interviews the pair were scheduled to carry out ahead of their fight, a spokesman for KSI told Business Insider earlier this month.

    The match, which takes place in Manchester Arena on August 25, will be livestreamed for $8 (£6).

    If each of the pair's collective 35 million fans watched, it would net them $280 million from streams alone.

    SEE ALSO: YouTuber Logan Paul called out KSI for his 'disgusting' remarks about women, and it's a sign their pre-fight trash talk is going too far

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    Nintendo Switch (online)

    • The Nintendo Switch Online service is scheduled to launch in the second half of September. It costs $20/year, and you'll need it to play most games online. 
    • But you'll also get some great benefits: At launch, Nintendo Switch Online will give access to a library of 20 classic NES games, upgraded with online play. 
    • You'll also get cloud saves, so you can backup and restore your saved games. 
    • It's an important step toward bolstering the Nintendo Switch's online features, which lag the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

    For years, Nintendo fans have fantasized about a paid online service that would grant access to Nintendo's rich, decades-long library of classic games. For years, Nintendo has demurred. 

    In 2018, that fantasy is finally becoming a reality, through the Nintendo Switch Online service.

    Nintendo's new service costs $20 per year ($4/month, $8/three months), and is scheduled to launch in the second half of September. With that subscription price, you'll get access to a library of classic games, the ability to play various Nintendo Switch games online, cloud saves for some games, and voice chat through the Nintendo Switch online smartphone app.

    When the service arrives next month, it'll only be available on the Nintendo Switch — Nintendo's newest game console, which operates as a portable handheld and a home console.

    Nintendo Switch

    So, what's in the classic game library? "20 games, with more added on a regular basis," Nintendo said in a press release earlier this year. 

    Nintendo also announced the first 10 of those 20 games: "Super Mario Bros. 3," "Dr. Mario," "Balloon Fight," "Donkey Kong," "Ice Climber," "The Legend of Zelda," "Mario Bros.," "Soccer," "Super Mario Bros." and "Tennis." 

    Even better: Every classic NES game on the Switch will have new online functionality. In some games, you can play co-op online with friends or go head to head, and in all games you can watch a friend play remotely. Friends can even "share" the controller online by handing off control of a game over the internet.the legend of zelda

    The classic games library only includes Nintendo Entertainment System games, at least for now — it's specifically referred to as a collection. Nintendo even gave the classic game library its own name: "NES – Nintendo Switch Online, a compilation of classic NES games."

    Perhaps a "SNES — Nintendo Switch Online" library will be added later? Or something similar for Nintendo 64, GameCube, or other Nintendo console games? Perhaps — Nintendo isn't saying. The Japanese game company told Kotaku last year, "Super NES games continue to be under consideration, but we have nothing further to announce at this time."

    But the classic game library isn't Nintendo Switch Online's primary component — the service is intended as a paid subscription for access to online gameplay. 

    Games like "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" and "Splatoon 2" rely on an online infrastructure for multiplayer, which Nintendo has yet to provide for its Switch console. Both games can be played online, but the Switch console itself lacks system-wide functionality for online interaction — stuff like joining an online party, and voice chat, barely exist on the Switch. 

    Online services are the crucial flaw of the Nintendo Switch.

    Nintendo Switch

    It lacks basic functionality that Microsoft and Sony had in their respective consoles over a decade ago. Beyond missing stuff like voice chat and parties, the Switch also doesn't have access to services like Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon. The Nintendo Switch app for iPhone and Android enables voice chat for select games, like "Splatoon 2," but it's not a feature that's built into the system. 

    It looks like Nintendo intends to remedy that situation with Nintendo Switch Online.

    More than just offering multiplayer and a classic game library, Nintendo Switch Online promises cloud saves — the ability to upload your save data to Nintendo's servers, then easily re-download it. As Nintendo puts it, "This is great for people who want to retrieve their data if they lose, break or purchase an additional Nintendo Switch system."

    One thing Nintendo didn't mention is the much requested Virtual Console service, which was a digital storefront for classic games on previous Nintendo consoles. 

    Super Mario 64 box cover

    Though the Nintendo Switch launched with a digital storefront (the "eShop"), there's no way to buy classic games through Nintendo's long-running Virtual Console service. That's an especially big shame on the Switch — a console more-than-capable of running classic games, and one you can bring with you anywhere.

    Nintendo hasn't offered details on the whereabouts of the Virtual Console service. A Nintendo representative gave us the following statement via email earlier this year:

    "There are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems. There are a variety of ways in which classic games from Nintendo and other publishers are made available on Nintendo Switch, such as through Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online, Nintendo eShop or as packaged collections."

    That doesn't mean it's never going to happen, but you probably shouldn't hold your breath in anticipation either.

    SEE ALSO: The Nintendo Switch is the hottest game system right now — here are its 18 best games

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