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'Wonder Woman' wows, Affleck makes appearance at CinemaCon

Wonder Woman is here to save the world, and, possibly the future of Warner Bros. DC Comics universe.

New footage featuring actress Gal Gadot's lasso-wielding superhero stole the show Wednesday night at CinemaCon, which also featured some peeks at "Aquaman" and "Justice League." It also marked Ben Affleck's first public appearance since acknowledging he'd recently completed rehab for alcohol addiction.

The "Batman" star didn't say anything, but just stood alongside his "Justice League" director Zack Snyder and co-stars Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller.

But it was Wonder Woman's show, even though Gadot wasn't in Las Vegas. The sepia-soaked extended clips highlighted the World War I espionage thrills as Diana/Wonder Woman adjusts to life with mortals.

Co-star Chris Pine, who plays an American soldier, said the Patty Jenkins-directed film had a "Casablanca" feel.

Even the new "Justice League" footage spotlighted Gadot's Wonder Woman as she breaks into Affleck's supposedly secured bat cave with ease and informs the caped crusader that they would need to assemble to defeat a threat.

"Wonder Woman" hits theaters June 2 and "Justice League" bows Nov. 17.

Visceral 'Dunkirk' footage gets hearts racing

A propeller stops midair. Soldiers packed like sardines on a pier cower in fear of an unseen threat.

Those are the images Christopher Nolan left CinemaCon audiences hanging onto Wednesday as he premiered new footage from "Dunkirk," his long-awaited epic about the storied World War II evacuation.

"It's something British people grow up with. It's in our DNA," Nolan said. "It's something that's been close to my heart for a long time."

Nolan told the audience of theater owners that he wanted to tell the story in the most visceral way possible, putting audiences on the beaches, in the air and running with the troops.

The "Interstellar" and "Dark Knight" director shot the film entirely on large format celluloid and said theaters are the only way to experience the suspenseful survival story.

"The only platform I'm interested in talking about is theatrical exhibition," Nolan said. "I want to thank you all for everything you've done for my films. Without you there is no audience."

The film's large eclectic ensemble cast includes veterans like Kenneth Branagh and Mark Ryland, Nolan mainstays Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy, pop star Harry Styles and a few newcomers like Fionn Whitehead.

It arrives in theaters on July 21.

First reactions from 'The Fate of the Furious' screening

"The Fate of the Furious" is in, and it's good according to first reactions to the upcoming film.

Universal Pictures surprised CinemaCon audiences on Wednesday with an unannounced screening of the eighth film in the franchise and praise spread quickly on Twitter.

The Hollywood Reporter's Rebecca Ford said it was perfection, while the trade publication's Aaron Couch said it is "exactly what you buy your ticket for," calling out Jason Statham's film-stealing sequences.

Couch also noted that there are a few "so bad they're good moments" that the improbable franchise has become known for, including a particularly over-the-top sequence with a submarine.

IMDB's Keith Simanton said director F. Gary Gray, a newcomer to the franchise fresh off of "Straight Outta Compton," is "up to the task."

Slashfilm's Peter Sciretta wrote that it "takes the ridiculousness to a whole new level, but feels very different."

And Steven Weintraub of Collider.com singled out Dwayne Johnson in particular who he called a "straight up superhero." Johnson, among other things, deadlifts concrete and coaches a girls soccer team.

"The Fate of the Furious" reunites the Los Angeles street racers, including Michelle Rodriquez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, and Nathalie Emmanuel, taking them to the streets of Cuba, New York, Berlin and to the frozen Russian landscape. Charlize Theron joins as a dreadlocked baddie with nuclear ambitions and Scott Eastwood teams up with Kurt Russell as an agent in training.

Official reviews are embargoed until April 10 before it races into theaters on April 14.

Book: Angelina Jolie was drug-tested for 'Tomb Raider'

To help shed her early reputation, Angelina Jolie agreed to be drug tested during production of 2001's "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," according to a new book.

The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday released an excerpt from an upcoming biography of the former studio head Sherry Lansing, "Leading Lady." Lansing stepped down as Paramount Pictures chairman and chief executive in 2005.

When casting the then 24-year-old Jolie for "Lara Croft," Lansing had concerns about Jolie's stability. This was shortly before the actress wed Billy Bob Thornton.

Then-Paramount production president John Goldwyn said the studio had Jolie undergo random drug tests. Director Simon West recounts that Jolie, eager for the part and to prove herself, said she would do anything — including daily drug tests — to "prove that I'm worthy."

‘Get Out’ writer and director Jordan Peele honored with director of the year award

Jordan Peele, writer and director of the brilliant socially conscious horror film “Get Out,” is being honored as Director of the Year at CinemaCon, the gathering of the National Association of Theatre Owners, happening March 30 in Las Vegas.

>> Read more trending news

“With the phenomenon known as ‘Get Out,’ Jordan Peele has instantaneously become a force to reckon with as a gifted and enormously talented director and filmmaker,” CinemaCon Managing Director Mitch Neuhauser said in a statement. “He has audiences and critics around the globe enamored and spellbound, dare I say hypnotized, with his wildly inventive directorial debut, and we are ecstatic to be honoring him as this year’s ‘Director of the Year.’”

Related: Jordan Peele's directorial debut 'Get Out' makes impressive box office gross

“Get Out,” his directorial debut, is quite a departure from “Keanu” or the acclaimed Comedy Central sketch comedy series “Key and Peele.” The movie starts out hitting the notes of a romantic comedy, with Chris, played by Daniel Kaluuya, who is black, and Rose, played by Allison Williams, who is white, headed to a weekend at her parents’ home outside of New York and in the countryside.

Related: Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” takes on the horrors of racism

“I wrote this movie in the Obama presidency. It felt like race was not being discussed in a way I felt like it deserved to be,” Peele said during an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “For the past couple of years and especially now, racial tension and racial conversation is front and center in this country.”

The movie captivated audiences and made history when Peele became the first African-American writer-director to earn $100 million with his debut movie. Yet he knows all too well the persistent sting of racism.

“I’ve been asked to hang up coats” while attending black-tie events, he said.

“We have to look within ourselves constantly,” Peele said. “Racism is always going to be present in this country, and racism is not a one-sided dynamic. This isn’t just a black horror movie, this is a movie everyone is meant to enjoy. It’s a way to promote that conversation in a way that’s fun.”

No cellphones backstage for accountants after Oscar flub

PwC accountants won't be allowed to have their cellphones backstage during future Oscar telecasts.

Film academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs sent an email to academy members Wednesday detailing the new protocols for announcing Oscar winners developed after the best-picture flub at last month's Academy Awards. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences spokeswoman Teni Melidonian confirmed the authenticity of the email.

The academy's Board of Governors discussed its ongoing relationship with PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, and established the new controls at a meeting Tuesday night. Besides banning cellphones, the academy is adding a third balloting partner to the telecast, and bringing in PwC's U.S. chairman to provide oversight.

PwC, which has handled Oscar balloting and other academy business for 83 years, has claimed responsibility for the biggest mistake in Oscar history. Balloting partner Brian Cullinan tweeted a photo of Emma Stone backstage moments before handing presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope for best picture. They announced "La La Land" as the winner, though "Moonlight" actually won.

Boone Isaacs blamed Cullinan's distraction for the error. PwC said that both he and partner Martha Ruiz failed to follow established protocols that night and did not act quickly enough to correct the error.

Traditionally, two PwC partners have overseen Oscar balloting and are the only two people who know the winners before they are announced live onstage. They're stationed on opposite sides of the Dolby Theatre stage, each with an identical set of winners' envelopes for the show's 24 categories.

Boone Isaacs said in her email Wednesday that a third balloting partner with knowledge of the winners will sit with the telecast director going forward. Balloting partners will also be required to participate in Oscar rehearsals, she said.

She called the 89th Academy Awards "the most extraordinary and memorable Oscars ceremony in decades" and said that academy officials have been working since then to develop the new protocols adopted Tuesday.

Vin Diesel on Paul Walker: We don't want to let him down

Vin Diesel says he and the "Fast and Furious" crew do not want to let down the late Paul Walker with their new film.

The actor on Wednesday spoke to a packed auditorium at CinemaCon in Las Vegas about the eighth installment in the franchise, "The Fate of the Furious"— the first full film in the series made in the aftermath of Walker's death in 2013.

After Walker died, his two brothers helped complete action scenes in "Furious 7," which earned more than $1.5 billion globally when it was released in 2015.

A choked up Diesel said Walker had always envisioned eight movies in the series.

"I always feel like he's looking down on us and we don't want to let him down," Diesel said.

"The Fate of the Furious" speeds into theaters on April 14.

Diesel in his usual manner promised that it will be, "The best movie you have ever seen."

Horror, adventure, stunts on display in Cruise's 'The Mummy'

Universal Pictures is going back to its roots — monsters.

The studio on Wednesday debuted footage from its upcoming adventure film "The Mummy," which opens a monster universe drawing on Universal's vault of classic properties like "Bride of Frankenstein," ''Invisible Man" and "Creature from the Black Lagoon."

Tom Cruise stars in the Alex Kurtzman-directed "The Mummy," which is equal parts action and horror as Cruise's explorer Nick Morton attempts to combat an ancient evil that has been unlocked and threatens to destroy the world.

Sofia Boutella is the Mummy, once an Egyptian princess who turned to the dark side when denied the throne.

Kurtzman and the cast, including Boutella, Annabelle Wallis and Jake Johnson, discussed Cruise's famous commitment to eye-popping stunts.

"I think I was brought onto this movie to be afraid to do stunts with Tom Cruise," Johnson said. "Tom does it all and he makes his co-stars do it too. And I do mean 'make.'"

Johnson laughed that when he would complain when he got hurt or bruised, Cruise would quip back: "Yeah, we jumped off a building dummy. It hurts!"

Cruise, who is on location for a shoot, delivered a video message to the audience.

"My love for this began with universal classic films," Cruise said. "To usher in a new age of gods and monsters is something that makes me very proud and excited."

Audiences can meet "the original monster" June 9.

Leonardo DiCaprio shares emotional tribute to 'Gilbert Grape' mom Darlene Cates

Leonardo DiCaprio is going to miss Darlene Cates.

Cates, who played DiCaprio’s mother in the 1993 film “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape," died in her sleep over the weekend. She was 69 years old.

>> Darlene Cates, 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' star, dead at 69

On Tuesday, DiCaprio shared an emotional tribute to Cates on Facebook.

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2017

“Darlene was the best acting mom I ever had the privilege of working alongside,” he wrote. “Her endearing personality and incredible talent will live on in the memories of those who knew her, and those who loved her work. My thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.”

>> See the post here

DiCaprio earned his first Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his role as Cates’ mentally impaired son. She later went on to act in small parts in “Touched by an Angel” and “Picket Fences.”

(H/T E! News)

Thailand's ex-tourism chief gets 50 years for taking bribes

The former head of Thailand's tourism promotion board was sentenced on Wednesday to 50 years in prison for accepting $1.8 million in bribes from two Hollywood producers to let them organize the Bangkok International Film Festival a decade ago.

A court established last year to hear corruption cases found Juthamas Siriwan guilty on 11 counts, each carrying a six-year sentence, but prison sentences are capped at 50 years under Thai law. Her daughter Jittisopa, into whose accounts the money was transferred, was found guilty on 11 counts for which she received a 44-year prison sentence. Juthamas was also ordered to forfeit the bribe money.

The Central Court for Corruption and Misconduct, set up to hear cases against state officials accused of graft and misconduct, is part of the Criminal Court. It denied a request to allow the women to be freed on bail.

A U.S. federal court in 2010 sentenced filmmakers Gerald and Patricia Green to six months in prison after they were convicted of conspiracy under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits making corrupt payments to foreign officials for business purposes. The sentence also called for three years of supervised release and the payment of $250,000 in restitution.

The courts found that the Greens paid bribes to Juthamas from 2002 to 2007, while she was governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, to secure the film festival rights and tourism-related deals that earned them more than $13 million in revenue.

U.S. prosecutors said the Greens created shell companies to pay off Juthamas, with the money then transferred into the bank accounts of Juthamas' daughter and a friend.

Juthamas ran for a parliamentary seat in 2007 but pulled out of the race after the allegations surfaced.

Gerald Green's career in Hollywood spanned more than 30 years. He paired with Oliver Stone on "Salvador," which was nominated for two Academy Awards, and served as executive producer on the Christian Bale-led "Rescue Dawn" in 2006. He died in 2015.

Patricia Green produced "Diamonds," a comedy starring Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall.

Under the Greens, the Bangkok International Film Festival was able to attract A-list stars to its red carpet events, including director Stone and actors Val Kilmer and Colin Farrell.

The festival is still supported by the tourism authority.

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