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The latest news from Entertainment

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    fast and furious

    Editor's note: On Friday afternoon, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson posted to Instagram and Twitter saying that the alleged interview with the UK's Daily Star "never happened." Business Insider quoted the interview in this story. We regret the error.

    His full statement from an Instagram video is below:

    "I can't believe I have to do this again and set the record straight on something, but I'm happy to do it. Earlier today online, an interview dropped with me — apparently it was with me — where I was insulting and criticizing millennials. The interview never took place. Never happened, never said any of those words, completely untrue, 100% fabricated. I was quite baffled when I woke up this morning.

    "You know, I've gained such a great trust and equity with all you guys all around the world over the past couple of years, and you know it's not a real D.J. [Dwayne Johnson] interview if I'm ever insulting a group, a generation, or anyone. Because that's not me, and it's not who I am, and it's not what we do.

    "So to the millennials, the interview never happened. To the plurals, the baby boomers, the snowflake generation — I don't even know where that term came from — the tequila generation! That's a generation I just started. That's a good one. You want to join it. I always encourage empathy, I encourage growth, but most importantly I encourage everybody to be exactly who they want to be. Have a good day."

    SEE ALSO: 'Aquaman' is expected to cross $1 billion at the global box office — here were the 4 movies to hit that milestone in 2018

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How actors fake fight in movies


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    black mirror

    • The children's book publisher Chooseco filed a lawsuit against Netflix on Friday accusing it of trademark infringement over the "choose your own adventure" style of its interactive movie, "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch."
    • The lawsuit claimed that the "grim content" and "dark and violent themes" of the movie "tarnishes" the "choose your own adventure" trademark.
    • The suit alleged that Netflix pursued a license in 2016 and had been in negotiations with Chooseco but never received one.

    Netflix's new interactive "Black Mirror" movie, "Bandersnatch," has led to a lawsuit.

    Chooseco, the children's book publisher that owns the trademark for "choose your own adventure," filed a lawsuit against the streaming giant in Vermont on Friday alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin, and dilution.

    The company is seeking $25 million in damages or Netflix's profits from "Bandersnatch," whichever is greater, as well as attorney fees and costs.

    Netflix declined to comment to Business Insider about the lawsuit.

    "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch" follows a programmer in the 1980s named Stefan Butler who is tasked with making a video game based on a "choose your own adventure" book called "Bandersnatch."

    Read more: 'Black Mirror' creator tells fans to 'f--- off' if they don't like making choices during Netflix's 'Bandersnatch'

    The lawsuit pointed to a scene in the movie that directly referred to "Bandersnatch" as a "choose your own adventure" book.

    The suit said:

    "Butler's father remarks that Davies must not be a good writer because Butler is 'always flicking backwards and forwards in that.' This feature — flipping back and forth — is a hallmark of a CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE book. Butler responds next that Bandersnatch is a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' book."

    The lawsuit also alleged the association of "choose your own adventure" with the "grim content" of the movie "tarnishes Chooseco's famous trademark."

    The suit said:

    "Overall, Bandersnatch is a dark film and the videogame that Butler creates in it based on its fictional inspiration is equally dark. Nearly every narrative fork includes disturbing and violent imagery. The movie has a rating of TV-MA, which means the content is specifically designed to be viewed by adults. Depending on the choices the viewer makes, it can include references to and depictions of a demonic presence, violent fighting, drug use, murder, mutilation of a corpse, decapitation, and other upsetting imagery.

    "These dark and violent themes are too mature for the target audience of Chooseco's CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE BOOKS."

    The lawsuit claimed that Netflix pursued a license to "choose your own adventure" in 2016 for films and interactive cartoons and had been in negotiations with Chooseco but did not receive one.

    Chooseco sent Netflix a cease-and-desist letter before the release of "Bandersnatch" on December 28 asking Netflix to stop using "choose your own adventure" in "connection with its marketing efforts for another television program," the lawsuit said.

    Netflix dabbled in interactive storytelling before "Bandersnatch" with animated children's programs like "Puss in Book" in 2017 and "Minecraft: Story Mode," a series based on the popular video game, in December.

    SEE ALSO: Netflix's 'Black Mirror' season 5 was delayed because 'Bandersnatch' took so long to make, but it's still coming in 2019

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Watch the extreme workout regimen of a professional ballerina


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    patrick whitesell

    As co-CEO of talent agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME), Patrick Whitesell is one of Hollywood's top power players. 

    Along with his co-CEO, Ari Emanuel, Whitesell represents actors, musicians, and comedians. His clients include Michelle Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jude Law, John Krasinski, Whoopi Goldberg, Conan O'Brien, and Amy Schumer.

    Whitesell has been married to ex-TV anchor and pilot Lauren Sanchez since 2005, but they reportedly separated in the fall of 2018. Sanchez is now reportedly dating Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO and the world's richest person, who announced his divorce from his wife, MacKenzie, on Wednesday. 

    Here's a look at Whitesell's life and career.

    SEE ALSO: 6 things you need to know about Lauren Sanchez, the former TV anchor and pilot reportedly dating Jeff Bezos

    DON'T MISS: After her divorce from billionaire Jeff Bezos, MacKenzie Bezos could become the world's richest woman

    Patrick Whitesell is the co-CEO of prominent Hollywood talent agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, known as WME.

    Source: Business Insider



    Whitesell's partner and WME's other CEO is Ari Emanuel, who was reportedly the inspiration for the character Ari Gold on "Entourage."

    Source: ABC News



    Whitesell has been married to Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor, since 2005, and they have two children.

    Source: Business Insider, Us Weekly



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    us

    • Jordan Peele's "Us" will now open on March 22, a week later than originally scheduled.
    • That moves it further away from expected hit, "Captain Marvel," which comes to theaters March 8.
    • Peele's last movie, "Get Out," was a box-office sensation. Distancing the two movies is beneficial for both, BoxOffice.com chief analyst Shawn Robbins told Business Insider.

    Writer and director Jordan Peele's follow-up to "Get Out, called "Us," is distancing itself from another highly anticipated blockbuster, "Captain Marvel."

    Universal moved the release date for "Us" this week from March 15 to March 22. As Exhibitor Relations tweeted on Thursday, that gives "Captain Marvel" — the next installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that opens March 8 — a "free pass to rule the box office" for at least two weeks. 

    READ MORE: 'Green Book' writer apologizes for anti-Muslim tweet as the Oscar frontrunner continues to be rocked by controversy

    "Us" stars Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke as a couple that brings their children to a summer beach house. But their vacation is interrupted by violent doppelgangers.

    Peele's last movie, "Get Out," was a box-office sensation in 2017, and grossed $255 million worldwide off of a $4.5 million production budget. Peele won the best screenplay Oscar last year for the film.

    captain marvel

    Universal likely hopes to replicate the success of "Get Out," and moving it as far away from "Captain Marvel" is a safe bet. Pre-sale tickets for "Captain Marvel" outpaced "Captain America: Civil War" in the first 24 hours at online-ticketing service Fandango, only behind last year's "Black Panther" and "Avengers: Infinity War."

    Moving the "Us" release date is beneficial for both movies, BoxOffice.com chief analyst Shawn Robbins told Business Insider.

    "'Captain Marvel' is breaking an important glass ceiling for Marvel and looks poised to deliver blockbuster-level numbers," Robbins said. "'Us' could similarly capture cultural intrigue as Jordan Peele's follow-up to 'Get Out.' If audiences respond well to both films, they'll be able to co-exist and dominate the box office in March."

    If both movies do succeed, it could be a good sign early on for this year's box office after a record-breaking 2018, when the North American take was nearly $12 billion.

    SEE ALSO: 'Green Book' has become an Oscar favorite, but controversies including an anti-Muslim tweet and genital flashing have piled up

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Watch the extreme workout regimen of a professional ballerina


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    bird box


    Netflix investors have too much confidence in the stock and lack adequate judgment, the short-seller Andrew Left's Citron Research said Friday. 

    "NFLX investors at this level as blind as Bird Box," Citron Research wrote in a tweet. The firm said shares would fall back to the $300 level — more than 10% below Netflix's Friday closing price. Bird Box is a Netflix movie that stars Sandra Bullock as a mother who's trying to protect her children after a supernatural force that kills you if you see it wipes out most of humanity.

    Shares of the video-streaming giant have been on a roller-coaster ride in recent months. 

    On October 16, the company posted strong third-quarter earnings and subscriber growth, but shares tanked more than 36% over the following two months as the broader tech sector came under pressure. At the time, Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger linked the rising interest-rate environment, which tends to penalize companies, like Netflix, that are short of cash. 

    After bottoming at $231.23 on December 24, Netflix shares have rebounded by more than 40%. The gains have come after the Federal Reserve said its future rate hikes were not on a preset course.

    The stock's recent rally is too much, in the eyes of Left. Netflix's market capitalization has soared by $45 billion over the past 12 days, the equivalent of 12 DreamWorks Animations, 12 Lionsgates, 10 Rokus, or 5 Hulus, Citron said. 

    But Wall Street is bullish on the tech giant.

    "After six months of stock underperformance & key debates emerging about competition, margins & [free cash flow], we think these debates are better understood by investors and reflected in the current stock price," UBS analysts said on Thursday. The bank has a "neutral" rating and $400 price target.

    Netflix was up 56% in the past twelve months.

    Travis Clark contributed to this story.

    Now read:

    Netflix

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The equity chief at $6.3 trillion BlackRock weighs in on the trade war, a possible recession, and offers her best investing advice for a tricky 2019 landscape


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    Donald Trump

    • As a businessman, President Donald Trump was never afraid to offer a piece of his mind in private, in press conferences, and on Twitter.
    • Since running for and being elected president of the United States, Trump's reputation for sharing his thoughts hasn't changed at all.
    • Trump's quotes are funny, historic, controversial — and all of them are memorable.
    • To commemorate Trump's second anniversary since he took office on January 20, here are 30 of his most famous quotes since being elected president.

    Jenny Cheng and Pat Ralph contributed to an earlier version of this post.

    SEE ALSO: 14 of George H.W. Bush's most presidential quotes

    DON'T MISS: 9 quotes that famous people didn't actually say

    Trump brought the country together in trying to decode what he meant in a late night tweet with the word "covfefe".

    Source: Twitter



    After meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump once again reiterated his belief that his campaign did not coordinate with Russia during the 2016 election.

    Source: CNN



    In a press conference at his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump doubled down on his support for the US intelligence community.

    Source: CNN



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Robert K. Wittman, author of the book "Priceless," founded the FBI's Art Crime Team and has helped recover more than $300 million in stolen works.
    • There are many art heist movies involving elaborate schemes like "Ocean's 8" and "The Thomas Crown Affair," but these films aren't very accurate.
    • Insider asked Wittman how the real life heists he's witnessed compare to those made up by Hollywood.

    Narrator: They're popular in Hollywood, and we've all seen them before. The art heist film. The movies involve elaborate schemes to steal priceless paintings, jewelry, and artifacts.

    Debbie Ocean: It's over six pounds of diamonds.

    Narrator: But they're not very realistic.

    Robert Wittman: I think they've glamorized it to the point where people may think it's sexy.

    Narrator: This is Robert Wittman. He spent twenty years with the FBI's National Art Crimes Team, helping to recover more than $300 million worth of stolen pieces. He told us that these heist films are far from how these heists go down in real life.

    While each of these movies has its own twists and turns, films like 1999's "The Thomas Crown Affair" and 2018's "Ocean's 8" follow a pretty similar formula. A mastermind decides what to steal from where. They may act alone, or assemble a team of specialists perfectly suited for their mission. The glamorous criminals crack an uncrackable safe or cleverly sneak past the guards to remove the valuable items. The thieves butt up against the law enforcement officers trying to track them down or stop them.

    Turns out, these movies get every single one of these aspects wrong.

    Let's start from the beginning: the location of the heist.

    Movies like "Ocean's 8" aren't all wrong. Oftentimes, heists do take place at museums, just not usually the big ones like the Met. Art theft is more likely to take place at smaller museums or historical societies where security isn't so tight, and the success rate is higher.

    Robert: It's much more difficult to get through the security system at the Met or at the Louvre than it is to get in through a small house museum. It's a whole different situation.

    Narrator: So, while there have been thefts in the past from these places, they are rare.

    Who are the the thieves?

    Robert: And we found that 90% in the United States were done in-house. In other words, someone who had access to the collection. Could have been a worker there, or a curator, or even an expert going in and doing their research.

    Narrator: So they're not typically the Thomas Crown-type. No sharply dressed billionaire with a passion for art and a lot of free time on their hands. Just someone who has easy access on a daily basis.

    How they pull off the heist.

    In heist films, you often see thieves hacking security systems, weaving through laser beams, or lowering themselves down from the ceiling. But this is a bit extreme.

    Robert: Usually it's a crime of passion, or a crime of opportunity. It's quick-in, quick-out, usually breaking doors. Not going through security systems, not turning things off.

    Narrator: This sort of heist wouldn't make a very long or interesting film, but it's much more likely. While the Met claims to have a very sophisticated security system in place, it's also not quite what you see in "The Thomas Crown Affair."

    Robert: In "[The] Thomas Crown Affair," they had the movable walls closing up the paintings at the museum. I think they had a sprinkler system or something going on as well, with water coming down. That usually is not what's gonna happen at a museum. I don't know of any museum that has movable walls that come together.

    Narrator: The pursuit. Law enforcement isn't as dumb as they might come off in the movies, when it comes to tracking down the stolen works. And cops will often spend a lot of time undercover with the criminals to recover the stolen art. There are less armed robberies of art in the United States than in Europe, where thieves have a few advantages.

    Robert: The countries have open borders, are very close to one another, so it's easy to get away, and the security systems in a lot of the older museums are basically outdated.

    Narrator: Regardless of the location, once the art is stolen, it's actually nearly impossible to sell it. It's not as simple as waltzing to the black market and finding a seller, especially if it's a famous piece. For example, the Mona Lisa was actually stolen in 1911 by a man named Vincenzo Peruggia. He hid it at his home for two years before trying to sell it to a curator, who eventually turned him in to the police.

    There was also a heist in 2000 at Stockholm's National Museum in Sweden by robbers armed with machine guns. Wittman set his own trap with the thieves, who tried to sell more than $30 million worth of art by Rembrandt and Renoir. He set up a deal to buy the pieces for just $250,000.

    Robert: It took 'em five years and all they found, these thieves, all they found were the police that were interested in buying it.

    Narrator: Instead of selling the pieces, thieves will occasionally use stolen paintings as bargaining chips with cops, as a sort of of "Get Out of Jail, Free" card. In the end, all of that work and planning you see from thieves in movies is typically all for naught.

    Robert: So really it's a silly crime to commit.

    Narrator: And we all lose when a piece of art is stolen, says Wittman.

    Robert: Stealing a Manet is much different from stealing a Chevrolet. A Chevrolet can be recovered, or it can be replaced. You cannot replace a Manet or a Rembrandt. Once it's gone, it's gone. And we all suffer that loss.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    randy pitchford gearbox

    • Video game studio Gearbox Software is engaged in contentious legal battle with the company's former general counsel, Wade Callender.
    • Gearbox initially filed a lawsuit against Callender alleging that he misused company funds for to pay for tuition, a home loan, and other personal expenses.
    • In a countersuit, Callender leveled multiple serious allegations against Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford, accusing Pitchford of taking a $12 million bonus that was intended as an advance against profits of "Borderlands 2," its blockbuster video game. 
    • Callender's suit also alleges that Pitchford once left a USB drive in a Dallas restaurant containing underage pornography — though Pitchford separately told a podcast interview that the model featured in the video was "barely legal." 
    • In a statement issued to Kotaku, Gearbox said the allegations have "no basis in reality or law," and the company plans to settle the matter in court.

    A messy split between a video game Gearbox and its former general counsel has led to a legal battle, resulting in some serious allegations against Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford. 

    Kotaku reports that Wade Callender, former general counsel for Gearbox Software, has filed a lawsuit against Pitchford over several allegations involving the video game studio, as well as a co-owned joint real estate venture. Among other things, Callender alleges that Pitchford secretly took a $12 million bonus from publisher Take-Two Interactive that was intended to fund development of Gearbox's blockbuster game, "Borderlands 2." 

    More seriously, Callender's lawsuit also makes allegations of improper personal conduct against Pitchford, including claims that Pitchford once left a USB drive in a Dallas restaurant that contained confidential Gearbox documents, as well as info belonging to business partners including Sega, Sony, and Microsoft — and that "upon information and belief," Randy Pitchford’s USB drive also contained Randy Pitchford’s personal collection of ‘underage’ pornography," says the lawsuit. 

    The suit also says that Pitchford hosted parties where “adult men have reportedly exposed themselves to minors, to the amusement of Randy Pitchford.”

    Gearbox shared the following statement with Kotaku in response to the allegations: "The allegations made by a disgruntled former employee are absurd, with no basis in reality or law. We look forward to addressing this meritless lawsuit in court and have no further comment at this time.”

    Later on Friday, Gearbox also told Kotaku that it would pursue action against Callender directly over his claims about Pitchford's personal conduct:

    "Gearbox will be filing a grievance with the State Bar of Texas against our former general counsel Wade for disciplinary proceedings for filing a lawsuit that includes accusations that he knows to be untrue," reads the statement, in part. 

    Gearbox did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

    The background of the case

    Callender joined Gearbox in 2010 and served as general counsel and vice president of legal affairs until August 2018. Callender and Pitchford were long-time friends for over 40 years, but the friendship fell apart over the last two years, according to Callender's lawsuit. An old Twitter post from Pitchford appears to back up that assertion. 

    In November, Gearbox filed a lawsuit against Callender, claiming that he had violated the company's trust and used company funds for tuition, a home loan agreement, legal fees, and other personal expenses. The suit claims that Gearbox had agreed to pay Callender's tuition for an MBA program and home loan in exchange for his continued employment at the firm, but he left less than a year after obtaining his degree. 

    Gearbox is asking for more than $1 million in damages, accounting for money Callender allegedly spent on firearms and family vacations, as well as other expenditures. 

    "As an executive with the company and fully knowing that Gearbox’s special trust in him would result in Gearbox’s assured payment of his personal charges passed off as business expenses," Gearbox's lawsuit reads. "From 2016 up until his resignation in July 2018, Callender incurred thousands of dollars’ worth of charges from Disneyland, Frisco Gun Club, Gun Gear To Go, and sixpackshortcuts.com, just to name a few."

    In December, more than a month after Gearbox filed its original suit, Callender countered with his own lawsuit, with claims that he had been "shamefully" exploited by Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford. He claims that he was instructed to help hide from employees the $12 million payment, which had been intended as an advance on "Borderlands 2" royalties.

    The USB drive

    In an interview with "The Piff Pod," a stage magic podcast, Pitchford gave what appears  side of the story with regards to the USB flash drive. The podcast episode was uploaded a day after Callender filed his lawsuit. 

    According to a report in Ars Technica, Pitchford said that he left a USB stick containing confidential documents at a Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament restaurant. The stick was found by an employee, who accessed the drive, which contained information about future Gearbox projects — as well as pornographic material, he said.

    However, it was a video featuring a model who goes by the online handle "Only 18," he said. Pitchford, a stage magic enthusiast, told "The Piff Pod" that he had saved this particular video to the USB drive because he believed that the model used a sexually-explicit magic trick in the video, and he was trying to crack the secret. He described it as "barely legal porn," seemingly in an attempt to refute allegations that it was child pornography. 

    Callender also alleged that Pitchford used Gearbox funds to host "Peacock Parties" at his home, where adult men had exposed themselves to minors. As the Dallas Morning News reports, Pitchford and his wife made a regular habit of hosting a private "Peacock Theater" in their home, featuring magicians and variety acts, though the content is not described as sexually explicit.

    SEE ALSO: 'Red Dead Redemption 2' is getting a 'Fortnite'-style battle royale mode

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We put the 7 best smartphones of 2018 head-to-head and there was a clear winner for the best value


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    black friday shopping target tvs

    • The vast majority of televisions available today are "smart" TVs, with internet connections, ad placement, and streaming services built in.
    • Despite the added functionality, TV prices are lower than ever — especially from companies like TCL and Vizio, which specialize in low-cost, high-tech smart TVs.
    • There's a simple reason that smart TV prices are so low: some TV makers collect user data and sell it to third-parties, which can offset the cost.


    Massive TVs with razor-thin frames, brilliant image quality, and streaming services built-in are more affordable than ever thanks to companies like Vizio and TCL.

    If you want a 65-inch 4K smart TV with HDR capability, one can be purchased for below $500 — a surprisingly low price for such a massive piece of technology, nonetheless one that's likely to live in your home for years before you upgrade.

    But that low price comes with a caveat most people don't realize: Some manufacturers collect data about users, then sell that data to third-parties. That data can include what type of shows you watch, which ads you watch, your approximate location, and more. 

    TCL P-series, Roku TV ad

    A recent interview on The Verge's podcast with Vizio CTO Bill Baxter did a great job illuminating exactly how this works.

    "This is a cutthroat industry. It’s a 6% margin industry," Baxter said. "The greater strategy is I really don’t need to make money off of the TV. I need to cover my cost."

    More specifically, companies like Vizio don't need to make money from every TV they sell.

    Smart TVs can be sold at or near cost to consumers — which is great for consumers — because Vizio is able to monetize those TVs through data collection, advertising, and selling direct-to-consumer entertainment (movies, etc.) — which is less great for consumers.

    Or, as Baxter put it: "It’s not just about data collection. It’s about post-purchase monetization of the TV."

    And there are a few different ways to monetize those TVs post-purchase.

    TCL P-series, Roku TV ads

    "You sell some movies, you sell some TV shows, you sell some ads, you know. It’s not really that different than The Verge website," he said.

    It's those additional forms of revenue that helps make the large, beautiful smart TVs from companies like Vizio and TCL so affordable. 

    Without that revenue stream, Baxter said, consumers would be paying more upfront cost. "We’d collect a little bit more margin at retail to offset it." 

    The exchange is fascinating and worth listening to in full — check it out right here.

    SEE ALSO: Samsung's absurd 219-inch TV takes up an entire wall — thus its name, 'The Wall'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I cut Google out of my life for 2 weeks, but the alternatives prove why Google is so much better


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    tim sweeney epic games fortnite

    • Improbable and Unity — two big names in the world of video game development — are engaged in a public spat, being carried out via back-and-forth blog posts.
    • The core of the matter: Unity seemed to have changed its terms of service to forbid customers from also using Improbable's SpatialOS tech, which helps developers run cloud-based gaming services.
    • The change frightened some Unity customers, who had been using Improbable's SpatialOS to power their online games — one developer actually shut down its game's servers, for fear of violating Unity's terms of service. 
    • But Unity says that Improbable misrepresented the situation, and customers can continue using SpatialOS as they've been. 
    • Epic Games, the maker of "Fortnite," then got involved when it announced a partnership with Improbable for a $25 million fund for developers who might be in "legal limbo" over the situation. The two companies have called on Unity for more clarity and a renewed commitment to openness. 
    • Epic and Unity are long-time rivals — Epic's Unreal Engine and Unity are two of the most popular video game engines in the world, and big business for both companies.

    Epic Games, the creator of "Fortnite," has inserted itself into the middle of a back-and-forth feud between $2 billion British startup Improbable and $2.6 billion Unity Technologies. 

    The beef began on Thursday, when Improbable announced that SpatialOS, a cloud gaming service, was no longer compatible with Unity after a change to the latter's terms of service.

    This was a big deal: Unity, the flagship gaming engine from Unity Technologies, is the foundational software behind many modern video games — games like "Pokémon Go," "Hollow Knight," and "Cuphead" were all built with Unity at the core. Similarly, Improbable, a prominent British technology company, is the proprietor of SpatialOS, which helps developers quickly and easily deploy the underlying plumbing for online multiplayer features. 

    Improbable's announcement created ripples throughout the industry — one Improbable customer, Spilt Milk Studios, reacted to the news by shutting down the online servers for its Unity-based game "Lazarus," for fear of violating Unity's terms of service.

    hollow knight

    Then, Unity responded, saying that Improbable had misrepresented the situation, and that developers using Unity with SpatialOS had nothing to worry about. It pledged to clarify its terms of service.

    But then, later in the night, Epic Games, the $15 billion gaming giant, got involved. It announced that it had partnered with Improbable to create a $25 million fund for developers stuck in "legal limbo" over the situation. And Improbable issued its own "final statement," calling on Unity to  

    Although the clash was between Improbable and Unity, Epic Games decided to jump in because it believes that game developers should have the freedom to use whatever tools they want. Of note is that Epic Games and Unity are long-time competitors: Epic makes the Unreal Engine, a direct competitor with Unity. Game engines are big business for both companies

    "The principle at stake here is whether game developers are free to mix and match engines, online services and stores of their choosing, or if an engine maker can dictate how developers build and sell their games," Tim Sweeney, co-founder and CEO of Epic Games, told Business Insider via a Twitter direct message. 

    Here's how things got to this point. 

    Where it started

    The roots of the feud go back to December, when Unity updated its terms of service to exclude "managed service[s] running on cloud infrastructure" that "install or execute the Unity Runtime on the cloud or a remote server." The meaning of this clause is what seems to be at the center of the dispute. 

    In its original blog post, Improbable said that it was informed by Unity on Wednesday that SpatialOS would be in violation of those terms. In other words, Improbable wrote, all Unity-based games using SpatialOS — including those in development, as well as those released to the world with paying customers — were themselves in violation. 

    Improbable also said that its own license for the Unity Editor software has been revoked. 

    ultimate gaming pc fortnite

    "Overnight, this is an action by Unity that has immediately done harm to projects across the industry, including those of extremely vulnerable or small scale developers and damaged major projects in development over many years," Improbable wrote in its blog post.

    At the time, Improbable said that it would set up an emergency fund to aid SpatialOS developers on Unity, as well as make its code for the SpatialOS Game Development Kit for Unity available as open source.

    "Live games are now in legal limbo," Improbable wrote.

    Developers in limbo

    Improbable's blog post sent the gaming industry into a tizzy, with many expressing concern that Unity would seemingly make such an aggressive, sudden move to block developers from hosting multiplayer games in the cloud. 

    Sweeney himself questioned the logic of the move: "You couldn't operate Fortnite, PUBG, or Rocket League under this terms," he tweeted. 

    Unity developers expressed shock and dismay over the change, as well. 

    Spilt Milk Studios, whose game "Lazarus" uses both Unity and  SpatialOS, briefly shut down its servers after Improbable published its blog post. Boss Studios, the proprietor of "Worlds Adrift," came close to making the same move, though ultimately kept its servers online. 

    The move seemed to endanger in-progress projects, as well. 

    "I don't know how many hours I've sunk into these projects and the plans to start a game company utilizing this technology but it's a huge portion of my time over the last two years," user AtomiCal posted on the Unity forums. "Today I woke up to a message essentially pulling the rug from under my feet saying that I can't do that anymore. Unity won't let it happen."

    Later, Improbable wrote another blog post apologizing for the uncertainty created by the situation, and suggested that the industry should standardize on some rules for how to handle situations like this. 

    "In the near future, as more and more people transition from entertainment to earning a real income playing games, a platform going down or changing its Terms of Service could have devastating repercussions on a scale much worse than today," Improbable wrote.

    Unity calls Improbable 'incorrect'

    Unity finally responded when CTO Joachim Ante wrote a blog post saying that Improbable's blog post was incorrect, and pledged that the company was working on clarifying its terms of service around cloud-hosted gaming. 

    First of all, Ante said, Unity developers using SpatialOS won't be affected, whether their games are in production or live. 

    "We have never communicated to any game developer that they should stop operating a game that runs using Improbable as a service," Ante wrote.

    Unity's issue is specifically with Improbable, as a company — Ante writes that Improbable had been "making unauthorized and improper use of Unity’s technology and name in connection with the development, sale, and marketing of its own products." As such, Unity revoked Improbable's license keys for Unity Editor, one of its commercial products, such that the startup can no longer use Unity tech to build its services, he says. 

    worlds adrift bossa studios

    What's more, Ante wrote that Improbable had already been in violation of its terms of service for over a year, and it had told Improbable this both in person and in writing months ago. In other words, this should not have been a surprise to Improbable, as it's known about this for many months, Ante said. 

    Also, Unity said it had been clear with Improbable that no games currently in production won't be affected.

    "We would have expected them to be honest with their community about this information," Ante wrote. "Unfortunately, this information is misrepresented in Improbable’s blog."

    Epic Games swoops in

    The saga didn't end with Unity's blog. That same day, Epic's Sweeney and Improbable CEO Herman Narula penned a blog post together saying that they were starting a $25 million fund to assist developers "who were left in limbo." 

    "Epic Games’ partnership with Improbable, and the integration of Improbable’s cloud-based development platform SpatialOS, is based on shared values, and a shared belief in how companies should work together to support mutual customers in a straightforward, no-surprises way," they wrote in the blog post.

    Sweeney tells Business Insider that developers shouldn't be locked into Unity-approved services just because of some changes in the terms of service.

    "As a new operator of a store and online services, Epic’s ability to serve developers depends on whether they’re free to choose us, or if Unity can say they’re locked into Unity-approved services," Sweeney said.

    Improbable speaks out again

    On Friday, Improbable made another blog post, saying this was its "final statement." In the post, it clarified that it had received verbal confirmation from Unity that it was not in breach of Unity's terms of service. It also said that although SpatialOS games based on Unity can stay live, the fact that Unity revoked its license keys means that Improbable cannot legally provide support to those games' developers, which includes fixing bugs.

    "We regarded this as the end of the matter and proceeded with commercial discussions. Until the recent change, neither we nor Unity had reason to believe there was any issue for developers," Improbable wrote.

    herman narula improbable 2

    It also said that the terms of service cast too wide of a net, as the terms could put any cloud-based multiplayer solution or cloud-based streaming solution at risk of being in violation. After Unity clarified that Improbable was in violation of its terms of service, Improbable decided to put a public notice, says the blog post.

    Finally, Improbable said that Unity should either unsuspend its Unity Editor license, or else clarify its terms and conditions — something that, again, Unity has pledged to do. 

    "We urgently need clarity in order to move forward. Everyone requires a long term, dependable answer from Unity on what is and is not allowed, in a documented legal form," Improbable wrote. "More broadly, developers are asking about other services, not just Improbable’s. This urgently needs resolution."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    mario kart Kauffman Stadium Jumbotron

    • The helicopter for a local Kansas City TV station captured a game of "Mario Kart" being played on the jumbotron at Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals.
    • Aerial footage showing the game on the screen was posted to Twitter on Tuesday, where the post has recieved more than 10,000 retweets and 44,000 likes.
    • Although Twitter users had many theories about who was playing "Mario Kart," the game was actually organized as a way to raise money for the Royals' beneficiary foundation, Royals Charities.

    Some lucky "Mario Kart 8" players were recently able to duke it out on an 100-foot jumbotron screen in a 40,000-seat stadium. 

    Aerial footage posted to Twitter on Tuesday captured an excited Super Mario crossing the finish line on the massive jumbotron screen at Kauffman Stadium, home to the Kansas City Royals baseball team. The game being played seems to be "Mario Kart 8," the latest iteration in Nintendo's fan-favorite franchise. 

    The video was captured by a helicopter for the local news channel KCTV, while en route to Arrowhead Stadium, where the Kansas City Chiefs play in the NFL. The tweet from KCTV sports reporter Tom Martin has gotten more than 50,000 reactions at the time of publication. 

    The jumbotron, named CrownVision, sits out in center field, measuring approximately 85 feet wide and 106 feet tall. Which is to say, it's a much bigger screen than most people have in their living rooms. 

    The mystery of who was actually playing the game was the question of the day on Twitter. Was it employees, taking a video game break? Was the stadium the victim of a break-in from game-loving burglars?

    The real culprit, it turns out, was Royals Charities, the Royals' team beneficiary foundation. The Twitter account for the charity responded to the video to say the Mario Kart was being played as part of a fundraiser. Royals Charities also teased that a "video game party" could happen again sometime in the future as the prize for a charity auction.

     

    SEE ALSO: 33 of the best and wackiest photos from the biggest tech convention of the year

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Drive FilmDistrict

    On Thursday, Amazon’s movie and TV database, IMDb, unveiled its free streaming video channel, IMDb Freedive

    The ad-supported channel is available on the IMDb site or through Amazon Fire TV devices, and is the latest destination where you can watch a collection of movies and TV shows for free, like Crackle or the Roku Channel.

    We looked through its current library of movies and it’s not too shabby.

    Along with TV shows like "Fringe" and "Heroes," there are a bunch of movies ranging from the 1980s ("Body Double," "Short Circuit") to the mid 2010s ("Blue Jasmine," "Drive").

    Here are 31 movies on Freedive we think are worth your time:

    SEE ALSO: The 43 biggest movies coming out in 2019, which could propel the box office to another record-breaking year

    “1941” (1979)

    It's the movie that showed Steven Spielberg he wasn't bulletproof. After making "Jaws" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" he made this comedy (penned by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis) set in California days after the invasion of Peal Harbor, as hysteria is high that a similar attack could happen on American soil (sound hilarious, right?). With a huge cast of known stars at the time (Dan Aykroyd, James Belushi, Nancy Allen, John Candy), the movie is an interesting watch at something going off the rails before your eyes.  



    “2 Days in Paris” (2007)

    An underappreciated gem of the early 2000s, Julie Delpy directs, writes, and stars in this dramedy starring opposite Adam Goldberg as a couple trying to rekindle their relationship in Paris. The problem is, because it's the hometown of Delpy's character, everywhere they go she runs into old boyfriends. Then there's Delpy's real-life father playing her dad in the movie, who steals every scene.



    “Awakenings” (1990)

    One of the best in the filmography of the late Penny Marshall, Robin Williams plays a doctor who discovers that a new drug awakens patients of his who were catatonic. Robert De Niro plays one of those patients, and the two give incredible performances as a friendship builds while De Niro's character tries to get a handle on the world after decades of being in a hospital bed. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Kingdom Hearts Steamboat Willie

    • "Kingdom Hearts" is a beloved video game franchise that blends the worlds of Disney's films with characters and gameplay from the "Final Fantasy" universe.
    • Due out on January 25th, "Kingdom Hearts III" is one of the most anticipated games of the decade, and the first true sequel in the series since 2005.
    • From Mickey Mouse to Wreck-It Ralph, memorable characters from more than 30 Disney films appear across the "Kingdom Hearts" games.

    "Kingdom Hearts" is a video game franchise born from improbable circumstances: Before the first game was released in 2002, few could have imagined that Disney would be willing to hand their full library of iconic characters over to a Japanese video game developer. 

    And yet, developer Square Enix found itself with a hit in the form of "Kingdom Hearts," which marries the gameplay of its own "Final Fantasy" series with the legendary Disney pantheon of heroes and villains. 

    Due out on January 25th, "Kingdom Hearts III" is the first series sequel in more than 13 years, making it one of the most anticipated games of 2019. Square Enix has already teased a bunch of new worlds and returning characters for the game, borrowing from films including "Toy Story," Frozen," "Tangled," and"Big Hero 6."

    Indeed, in "Kingdom Hearts," players travel between different world's based on Disney films, usually accompanied by Donald Duck and Goofy. In the course of battling the villainous Heartless, hero Sora helps classic Disney heroes like Mulan, Aladdin, and Simba face familiar villains from their respective stories. Since the first game was released, "Kingdom Hearts" has incorporated characters from more than 30 Disney films.

    Below you can find every Disney movie represented in the "Kingdom Hearts" series— including the forthcoming "Kingdom Hearts III" — in the order they were released.

    SEE ALSO: 'Kingdom Hearts 3' has leaked over a month early, and outraged fans are trying to punish the person they think did it

    SEE ALSO: The 29 hottest video games you shouldn't miss in 2019

    "Steamboat Willy" (1928)



    "Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs" (1937)



    "Pinocchio" (1940)



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Los Angeles Valiant Fans Overwatch League

    • "Overwatch" is one of the most successful esports titles in the world, with the Overwatch League and other events supporting more than 200 professional players 
    • At the start of the year, a player using the name "Ellie" was added to the roster of a semi-professional team but quickly raised the suspicion and ire of male players. 
    • Skeptical "Overwatch" fans questioned whether Ellie was given preferential treatment for being a woman; some demanded that her identity be made public and threatened to find and release her personal information.
    • It turns out, Ellie wasn't a woman. And the incident underscores a disturbing problem within esports. 

    The rise of esports has given video game players a chance to turn their passion into a profession, but every once in a while there's an incident that shows just how immature the industry can be.

    For fans of the game "Overwatch," a recent controversy over a gamer posing as a woman has exposed an undercurrent of sexism that pervades the culture even as splashy corporate sponsorships and multi-million dollar prize purses have become the norm

    "Overwatch" is one of the world's most successful esports titles, and the Overwatch League is dominated by men. 

    That's why a player named Ellie attracted a lot of attention when she was added to the roster of a semi-professional "Overwatch" team called Second Wind a couple of weeks ago. Unlike the other players, Ellie's full name was not listed on Second Wind's website but her "Overwatch" account was known to be among the top ranked online. 

    Some gamers demanded to know Ellie's personal information

    Ellie's spot on the team seems to have been enough to raise the suspicion of her male rivals, who accused the Overwatch League of giving preferential treatment to a woman and questioned whether Ellie was in fact a woman. As time went on the tone of the demands grew more toxic, with some players threatening to find and release Ellie's personal information on their own.

     

    Some players and fans defended Ellie's right to privacy and accused the skeptics of targeting Ellie based on gender. But Ellie told Second Wind she would withdraw from the team due to the public reaction.

    This being esports however, that's not where the story ends. 

    It turns out that Ellie was not a woman after all.

    An investigation by Second Wind and several esports journalists determined that Ellie was a persona created by a male player using the tag "Punisher" online. "Punisher" was already known to be a top online "Overwatch" player and told friends that he convinced women to help him impersonate a female player as a "social experiment." Esports journalist Rod "Slasher" Breslau spoke to three women who said Punisher clued them into the scheme privately.

    Did the social experiment prove a point or make a bad situation worse?

    The goal of Ellie/Punisher's impersonation experiment is not entirely clear, and some worry that it may have actually provided more ammunition to skeptics who doubt the potential of female players.

    As a male-dominated industry, esports regularly faces an undercurrent of misogyny when men and women are competing with each other. Only a select few women are willing to compete within a culture that many would call toxic, and the climate surrounding Ellie and Geguri suggests that women will only face additional skepticism as they reach the top level of play.

    There is only one woman currently playing in the Overwatch League, the game's highest level of competition. Kim "Geguri" Se-yeon of the Shanghai Dragons was accused of cheating by multiple professional male players prior to her Overwatch League debut. She ultimately proved them wrong though, and three of her accusers retired.

    With only a few professional opportunities available for thousands of players, jealousy among the top ranks isn't too surprising, but the goal of esports should be to create a healthy, professional environment while preserving the spirit of competition. To avoid skepticism and toxicity, professional organizations need to practice proper due diligence and present their players in the best possible light.

    For women interested in esports, the scandal is another reminder that a portion of the community still refuses to believe that women can compete as professionals, and , they will always be playing to prove the doubters wrong.

    SEE ALSO: Eight teams paid more than $30 million each to join the Overwatch League – here's everything you need to know before the new season starts

    SEE ALSO: A 'Overwatch' hero was just revealed to be gay, and fans are freaking out

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We put the 7 best smartphones of 2018 head-to-head and there was a clear winner for the best value


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    Fortnite championship

    • "Fortnite" is a money-making behemoth.
    • The game reportedly generated just shy of $500 million in revenue in 2018 — and that's only on Apple's devices.
    • In December 2018 alone, the game reportedly made just under $70 million on Apple devices.


    "Fortnite" continues to dominate the attention of tens of millions of players around the world.

    Despite the fact that it's a free game, "Fortnite" brings in hundreds of millions of dollars through sales of virtual items, sales of virtual money, and the ever-important seasonal Battle Pass.

    The game is available on seven different gaming platforms, but it's perhaps most popular on Apple's ubiquitous iPhone and iPad.

    It's no surprise, then, that "Fortnite" is estimated to have grossed over $455 million in iOS revenue in 2018.

    Fortnite (battle pass)

    That's according to analytics firm Sensor Tower, which says 82.6 million people worldwide have downloaded the game on iOS devices since the game's mobile launch in April 2018. 

    To be all the way clear, that means "Fortnite" reportedly grossed nearly half a billion dollars on only Apple devices, and it did so in just eight months of availability. Not too shabby!

    Of course, these are only estimates. "Fortnite" maker Epic Games hasn't released any official revenue figures and remains a private company. But the latest figures appear to be in line with previous reports about the direction and momentum of "Fortnite's" revenue.

    Keeping its own cut

    Broken down further, "Fortnite" is said to have made $1.6 million each day on Apple's devices; if Apple is pulling in its standard cut of 30%, Apple made somewhere in the realm of $136.5 million on "Fortnite" in 2018.

    With that kind of money at stake, it's no wonder Epic Games launched "Fortnite" on Android without Google's help — you simply download the game directly from Epic's website. That lets Epic sidestep the Google Play store cut and keep all the revenue to itself when Android users download the game on their phones. 

    We don't know how much revenue "Fortnite" has generated on Android devices. Sensor Tower's estimates are only for iOS. 

    As a general rule, Apple iPhone users tend to spend more money than Android users on mobile apps and in-app purchases. But outside of the US, Android is the dominant mobile platform, with a roughly 80% market share. That means "Fortnite's" global Android revenue, which Epic keeps 100% of, may add up to a nice chunk of change. 

    Not a bad first year for a game.

    SEE ALSO: The CEO behind 'Fortnite' is now worth over $7 billion

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Tim Cook

    • Apple CEO Tim Cook teased 'new services' expected from the company in 2019 during an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC's 'Mad Money.'
    • Those "new services" could include Apple's already-rumored video-streaming platform and a monthly news subscription service. 
    • Cook gave the interview at a time when Apple is facing intense scrutiny following its recent warning that iPhone sales during the holiday quarter were lower than previously expected, the first time in nearly 17 years the company has made such an announcement.

    During an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC’s “Mad Money” Tuesday evening, Tim Cook teased 'new services' from Apple were coming in 2019, less than a week after the company shocked global markets with a warning about lower-than-expected iPhone sales.

    Cook, however, did not go into specifics. "On services, you will see us announce new services this year," he told Cramer. "There will be more things coming. I don’t wanna tell you about what they are."

    This ambiguous snippet could mean many things. First, he may be referring to Apple's new video streaming service, reported on last October, which Apple has already sunk $1 billion into as part of its larger move into producing original content. Apple is already creating or developing at least 17 original, scripted series, ranging from a biographical drama on NBA all-star Kevin Durant's life growing up, an animated show from the creator of "Bob's Burgers," and an untitled series from M. Night Shyamalan.

    Cook could also be referencing Apple's rumored monthly news subscription service, which could look a lot like Apple's streaming-music service, Apple Music. Apple's acquisition of magazine subscription app Texture in March 2018 is reportedly related to those efforts.

    Cook told Cramer that the new services are those that Apple has been "working on for multiple years."

    Apple has been keen to stress its growing services revenue as it finds itself under intense scrutiny following its recent warning that revenue from iPhone sales during the holiday quarter would be down from previous expectations.

    Apple executives have said in the past that the company's goal is to hit $50 billion in services revenue by 2021.

    Watch Tim Cook's full interview over at CNBC.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda Hamilton Puerto Rico

    • When Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico in September, 2017, the island saw carnage and devastation.
    • More than a year later, the island has made tremendous strides toward recovery, especially in the tourism sector. However, there's still work to be done.
    • Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and original star of the hit musical "Hamilton," brought the show to San Juan, Puerto Rico for a limited run to raise funds for the island and promote the power of tourism spending here.
    • Business Insider had the opportunity to speak with Miranda at a post-show press conference on opening night. Here's what he had to say about Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria, and why you should visit the island for your next vacation.

    "I never thought I'd see winter in Puerto Rico."

    When Lin-Manuel Miranda made his first visit to the island after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria, one of the first things that stood out to him was that the trees were bare — the leaves had all been stripped by the storm's 155 mile-per-hour winds.

    Today, the summer sun is back in the sky.

    That's the message that Miranda hopes to spread as he resumes the titular role in a special, three-week run of "Hamilton" in the Puerto Rican capital city, San Juan.

    More than a year after the September 2017 storm killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed most of the island's infrastructure, Puerto Rico has made a remarkable recovery. Major resorts, severely damaged in the storm, closed for repairs and took advantage of the chance to make major renovations. Landmark properties like the superb El San Juan continue to re-open, with 75% open now, and much of the remaining lodging stock set to re-open within the next year. The island's roads are cleared and mostly fully repaired, and tourism is nearing pre-hurricane rates.

    However, stepping away from the polished beachfront resorts and cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, the island is still hurting, and likely will be for years. Blue tarps covering missing roofs are still abundant throughout residential areas, and manufacturing — the largest industry on the island by percent of GDP — remains down from pre-hurricane levels.

    That makes tourism — which already represented more than 7% of the island's GDP, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council — more vital to Puerto Rico than ever. 

    Miranda — whose father was born in Puerto Rico and who spent his childhood summers on the island — helped bring the limited-run production of his hit musical to San Juan as a fundraiser for the Flamboyan Arts Fund, a foundation run by his family to support the arts in Puerto Rico.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda

    However, he's hoping that in addition to raising money — a quarter of tickets are available for $10, but prices range up to $5,000 — the production will bring more attention to the island's ongoing recovery, its attraction as a destination, and the powerful contribution made by tourism dollars spent here.

    "People are going to come to Puerto Rico because of Hamilton, and hopefully spend a lot of money here in small businesses on the island," Miranda said at a press conference immediately after Hamilton's opening performance. "But they're also going to see how much work is left to be done."

    Several major corporate backers have joined with Miranda to contribute and raise awareness of the production. American Express brought 100 cardholders to a weekend in San Juan as part of a travel package, inclusive of flights, hotel, some meals, and tickets to the show — the package was branded as part of a "Shop Small" promotion, intended to promote spending at small businesses (AmEx provided me with access to the entire package, including transportation and lodging), while travel companies like JetBlue and Marriott donated money and held promotions and contests surrounding the show. 

    Old San Juan Chocobar

    The weekend couldn't have been a better one for the opening of the show, and culmination of the awareness campaign. Temperatures in the 80s and copious sun in San Juan — with just a few occasional clouds and quick-passing showers — highlighted the appeal of the entire island's climate during the harshest winter months in the US, while Miranda's performance was as meaningful for the crowd as it was for him, drawing standing ovations during and after the performance.

    "I think it's tied with the first one," Miranda said to reporters after the show, in answer to a question about whether the Puerto Rican opening night was the most emotional performance he's given in the role. "I just love this island so much and want them to be proud of me."

    Click here to check Hotels.com for hotels and resorts in Puerto Rico.

    Click here to learn more about the El San Juan resort in Puerto Rico.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Gladiator_Game_Of_Thrones_Ait_Ben_Haddou_Filming_Morocco (8 of 41)

    • The medieval ksar of Aït Benhaddou is a gorgeous tiny town in southwestern Morocco and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • Located in a stunning red desert landscape, Aït Benhaddou is a frequent filming location for historical and epic movies like "The Mummy," "Gladiator," "Alexander," "Prince of Persia," "Kingdom of Heaven," and, most recently, "Game of Thrones."
    • I recently visited. While it doesn't rival ancient archeological sites in places like Greece or Egypt, it is a stunning sight in its own right.

    A tiny medieval town in southwestern Morocco is one of the most iconic sights in the world. You just don't know it by name.

    The medieval ksar of Aït Benhaddou has played the part of an Egyptian town in the 1999 action movie "The Mummy," the Hindu Kush in Oliver Stone's 2004 Greek epic "Alexander," the Roman-era African city of Zucchabar in the 2000 classic "Gladiator," and, most recently, the city of Yunkai in "Game Of Thrones."

    It's a strange phenomenon that locations that are historical and famous in their own right sometimes become more famous for the fictional things that happen there.

    On my first trip to Philadelphia, I recall joking with my parents that Independence Hall is famously where Nicholas Cage's "National Treasure" character Benjamin Gates discovers a pair of glasses "made by" Benjamin Franklin, rather than where The Declaration of Independence was signed. "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" is half the reason I was so excited to visit the ancient city of Petra last year.

    But that doesn't make a place like Aït Benhaddou any less awe-inspiring.  Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the mud-brick structures of Aït Benhaddou date back to the 1700s and are an impressive example of Moroccan architecture.

    On a recent trip to Morocco, I decided to make a stop to check out Aït Benhaddou. Here's what it was like:

    SEE ALSO: An otherworldly desert in Jordan has doubled as distant planets in movies like 'Star Wars' and 'The Martian' — after seeing it myself, I can tell you it's just as breathtaking in person

    DON'T MISS: One of the 7 wonders of the world is a 10,000-year-old city hidden in the desert — and in real life, it's more incredible than you can imagine

    If you've ever watched Daenerys Targaryen conquer the city of Yunkai in "Game of Thrones" ...



    ... or seen Maximus Decimus Meridius become a slave and shout "Are you not entertained?" to a coliseum of bloodthirsty Romans ...



    ... then you've seen the medieval ksar of Aït Benhaddou. You may just not have known it. A few hours from Marrakech in southwestern Morocco, the fortified town is one of the premier sights in the country. That's it in the distance.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    a series of unfortunate events

    • Every week, Parrot Analytics provides Business Insider the most in-demand TV shows on streaming services.
    • This week includes new entries "Black Mirror" and "A Series of Unfortunate Events."

    Netflix's "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch" has given the sci-fi anthology series a boost and fans love that "A Series of Unfortunate Events" is back for its final season. But "Stranger Things" still reigns supreme in anticipation for its third season this summer.

    Every week, Parrot Analytics provides Business Insider with a list of the seven most "in-demand" TV shows on streaming services. The data is based on "demand expressions," the globally standardized TV demand measurement unit from Parrot Analytics. Audience demand reflects the desire, engagement, and viewership weighted by importance, so a stream or download is a higher expression of demand than a "like" or comment on social media.

    Below are this week's seven most popular shows on Netflix and other streaming services:

    SEE ALSO: Netflix has been smacked with a lawsuit over 'Black Mirror: Bandersnatch' that claims it 'tarnishes' the 'choose your own adventure' trademark

    7. "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (Netflix)

    Average demand expressions: 23,719,116

    Description:"The extraordinary Baudelaire orphans face trials, tribulations and the evil Count Olaf in their fateful quest to unlock long-held family secrets."

    Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 3): 100%

    What critics said: "A tragic story of loss, grief, and how life grows more and more unfair with each passing year lived, but the truths told in these three excellent seasons are pushed into the realm of entertainment by the enthusiasm and talent of its storytellers." — Ben Travers, Indiewire

    Season 3 premiered on Netflix January 1.



    6. "Marvel's Daredevil" (Netflix)

    Average demand expressions: 24,416,766

    Description: "Blinded as a young boy, Matt Murdock fights injustice by day as a lawyer and by night as the Super Hero Daredevil in Hell's Kitchen, New York City."

    Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 3): 96%

    What critics said: "It wasn't great, but it was the first Marvel/Netflix season in years where the ratio of what worked versus what didn't was positive — a bounceback this show, and this entire mini-franchise, very badly needed." — Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone

    Season 3 premiered on Netflix October 19. The show was recently canceled.



    5. "Narcos: Mexico" (Netflix)

    Average demand expressions: 24,830,474

    Netflix description: "Witness the birth of the Mexican drug war in the 1980s as a gritty new 'Narcos' saga chronicles the true story of the Guadalajara cartel's ascent."

    Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 1): 86%

    What critics said: "If you liked Narcos, you'll like this. But I'm beginning to find it exhausting." — Joshua Rivera, GQ

    Season 1 premiered on Netflix November 16.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Kingdom Hearts 3

    • It's time to start looking ahead to this year's big games!
    • Things kick off soon with the launch of a long-awaited sequel, "Kingdom Hearts 3," in late January.
    • Some major games are expected in 2019: "The Last of Us: Part II" on PlayStation 4 and a brand new "Pokémon" game for the Nintendo Switch are highlights of the year.


    With 2018 in the past, we're hurriedly preparing for 2019's major video game launches. 

    What does the new year bring? Plenty! The year starts with a trip into the worlds of Disney with the long-awaited arrival of "Kingdom Hearts 3" in January. Not too long after that, the folks behind "Mass Effect" have a brand-new series launching in February: "Anthem." 

    And that's just the first two months of the year! Here's a look at 2019 in games:

    SEE ALSO: Forget about 'Fortnite' — the new 'Call of Duty' makes 6 brilliant changes to the Battle Royale formula

    1. "Resident Evil 2" (re-mastered)

    The long-awaited remake of fan-favorite horror classic "Resident Evil 2" is nearly ready — it's set to arrive early in 2019, just like so many other great games currently in development.

    "Resident Evil 2" introduced the world to Leon S. Kennedy (seen above) — the main character in "Resident Evil 4." Kennedy and Claire Redfield find themselves in the middle of a surprise zombie outbreak in the fictional town of Raccoon City. It's an action-packed introduction to many of the major themes of the "Resident Evil" franchise, and it's getting gorgeously remade for modern consoles.

    Release Date: January 25, 2019

    Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC



    2. "Kingdom Hearts 3"

    Woody, Buzz, Rex and the rest of the "Toy Story" gang are moving from film to video games with "Kingdom Hearts 3," an upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 action-adventure game.

    The game is the long-anticipated third entry in the "Kingdom Hearts" series — the last major entry, "Kingdom Hearts 2," launched all the way back in 2005 on the PlayStation 2. In "Kingdom Hearts," various Disney characters and their worlds are mashed up with characters that would be right at home in a "Final Fantasy" game.

    Alongside the cast of "Toy Story" (and their Earth-like setting), "Kingdom Hearts 3" also stars Goofy and Donald Duck. You may've noticed a third character here — that's "Sora," the main character of "Kingdom Hearts 3" and who you'll play as.

    Release Date: January 29, 2019

    Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One



    3. "Far Cry New Dawn"

    A new "Far Cry" game? Didn't one of those come out, like, in 2018?

    Yep! That game was "Far Cry 5," and it came out back in late March on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The open-world first-person shooter was set in America for the first time ever, and featured a new antagonist: a maniacal cult leader with nuclear ambitions.

    "Far Cry New Dawn" is a sequel to that game, set in a post-apocalypse Montana 17 years after the events of "Far Cry 5." The trailer alludes to a period of extreme weather following a nuclear detonation, eventually leading to a new world — a world where people shoot sawblades from crossbows, apparently.

    Release Date: February 15, 2019

    Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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