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The top 10 movies on the iTunes Store

iTunes Movies US Charts:

1. Passengers (2016)

2. Moana (2016)

3. Patriots Day

4. Fences

5. Why Him?

6. Sing

7. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

8. Doctor Strange (2016)

9. Arrival

10. Hacksaw Ridge

iTunes Movies US Charts - Independent:

1. Fittest On Earth: A Decade of Fitness

2. Moonlight

3. Manchester By the Sea

4. My Scientology Movie

5. 20th Century Women

6. Solace

7. Mean Dreams

8. Captain Fantastic

9. Knight of Cups

10. Loving

__

(copyright) 2017 Apple Inc.

'Cars 3' characters rev up for cross-country tour

Get your engines started, Lightning McQueen is racing into a city near you.

A life-size replica of the "Cars" character and his pals Cruz Ramirez and Jackson Storm are revving up for a 27-city tour across the United States in advance of the June 16 release of "Cars 3." The Walt Disney Company said Tuesday that the Road to the Races tour kicks off Thursday at Walt Disney World with pit stops in Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Denver, Los Angeles and more.

The tour will also feature a sneak peek at "Cars 3," a look at the science behind racing, and activities ranging from street art to a tire changing operation from sponsors like Alamo Rent a Car and Coppertone.

More information is available at www.cars3tour.com.

Beauty and the Beast will not return to cinemas in Kuwait

Disney's new Beauty and the Beast will not be returning to cinemas in Kuwait after the country's largest cinema company pulled the movie from its theaters.

Kuwait's National Cinema Company said Tuesday it would not be bringing the film back to audiences "in tandem with our values and responsibility toward our younger audiences."

The film, which has grossed more than $180 million overseas, has what has been called Disney's first "gay moment" for a character.

Beauty and the Beast had been playing in the predominantly Muslim country of Kuwait since Thursday, but Kuwait's National Cinema Company cancelled Monday's showings after the Ministry of Information's censorship department raised concerns.

Initially, a company official said the movie would return to cinemas after edits. Officials from the company declined to comment further Tuesday.

'Beauty and the Beast' to be shown in Malaysia without cuts

The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday its movie "Beauty and the Beast" will open in Malaysia on March 30 without the cutting of a gay scene as had been ordered by film censors.

The re-telling of the animated classic was originally scheduled to start showing on March 16 but was postponed after Disney refused to edit the film.

"We are pleased to announce that Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' has now been approved to be released in Malaysia with no cuts, with a PG13 rating" on March 30, the Walt Disney Co. (Malaysia) said in a brief statement. No details were provided.

Malaysia's top two cinema chains also announced that advance tickets for the March 30 showings would be on sale soon.

Film Censorship Board chairman Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid had earlier said the movie was approved with a minor cut involving "a gay moment" because scenes promoting homosexuality were forbidden. He said the film was given a PG13 rating, which requires parental guidance for children under age 13.

Abdul Halim couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

A government official said the reversal came after a film appeal committee reviewed the movie and decided that the scene wasn't offensive. The official, who declined to be identified because he wasn't authorized to speak to the media, said the appeal committee had different members than the earlier group that wanted the scene cut. He declined to provide further details.

The film's characters include manservant LeFou, who plays the sidekick to villain Gaston, and, according to director Bill Condon, "is confused about his sexuality." Condon has described a brief scene as a "gay moment."

Russia approved the movie but banned children under 16 from watching it without the accompaniment of someone over 16.

Malaysia's censors in 2010 loosened decades of restrictions on sexual and religious content in movies, but still kept a tight leash on tiny bikinis, kisses and passionate hugs.

The new rules allowed depiction of gay characters, but only if they show repentance or are portrayed in a negative light.

Sodomy, even if consensual, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and whipping in Malaysia.

'Beauty and the Beast' debut weekend earnings revised up

Disney's live-action "Beauty and the Beast" was an even bigger hit than first thought.

The film's weekend box office earnings were revised up nearly $5 million from estimates Sunday. In final figures Monday, Disney said "Beauty and the Beast" made $174.8 million in North American theaters.

The result set numerous records. The film, directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, is not only easily the biggest hit of 2017 so far, it's the biggest opening for a PG-rated movie, the top debut ever in March and ranks among the top-10 openings ever, not adjusting for inflation.

Analysts expect the film to make $1 billion globally.

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by comScore:

1. "Beauty and the Beast," Disney, $174,750,616, 4,210 locations, $41,508 average, $174,750,616, 1 week.

2. "Kong: Skull Island," Warner Bros., $27,832,142, 3,846 locations, $7,237 average, $109,107,436, 2 weeks.

3. "Logan," 20th Century Fox, $17,815,677, 3,687 locations, $4,832 average, $184,342,562, 3 weeks.

4. "Get Out," Universal, $13,437,220, 2,979 locations, $4,511 average, $133,305,365, 4 weeks.

5. "The Shack," Lionsgate, $6,005,739, 2,825 locations, $2,126 average, $42,490,369, 3 weeks.

6. "The Lego Batman Movie," Warner Bros., $4,602,235, 2,735 locations, $1,683 average, $167,325,587, 6 weeks.

7. "The Belko Experiment," OTL Releasing, $4,137,230, 1,341 locations, $3,085 average, $4,137,230, 1 week.

8. "Hidden Figures," 20th Century Fox, $1,475,280, 1,162 locations, $1,270 average, $165,534,349, 13 weeks.

9. "John Wick: Chapter Two," Lionsgate, $1,183,506, 1,065 locations, $1,111 average, $89,774,310, 6 weeks.

10. "Before I Fall," Open Road, $985,631, 1,551 locations, $635 average, $11,246,308, 3 weeks.

11. "Lion," The Weinstein Company, $734,336, 621 locations, $1,183 average, $50,000,950, 17 weeks.

12. "La La Land," Lionsgate, $531,568, 585 locations, $909 average, $149,765,752, 15 weeks.

13. "Split," Universal, $505,540, 604 locations, $837 average, $136,864,765, 9 weeks.

14. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," Disney, $502,905, 179 locations, $2,810 average, $530,748,437, 14 weeks.

15. "The Sense Of An Ending," CBS Films, $480,406, 281 locations, $1,710 average, $533,003, 2 weeks.

16. "A Dog's Purpose," Universal, $477,890, 594 locations, $805 average, $62,932,920, 8 weeks.

17. "Fist Fight," Warner Bros., $460,166, 533 locations, $863 average, $31,537,914, 5 weeks.

18. "Fifty Shades Darker," Universal, $453,590, 607 locations, $747 average, $114,030,075, 6 weeks.

19. "Badrinath Ki Dulhania," Fox International Productions, $418,202, 156 locations, $2,681 average, $1,584,711, 2 weeks.

20. "Moana," Disney, $342,833, 264 locations, $1,299 average, $248,044,531, 17 Weeks.

___

Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

Kuwait censors pull Disney's Beauty and the Beast for edits

Beauty and the Beast was pulled from cinemas in Kuwait on Monday after censors raised concerns over the content of the new film, which includes what has been called the first "gay moment" for a Disney character.

The film, which has grossed more than $180 million overseas, had been showing in the predominantly Muslim country of Kuwait since Thursday. But those who'd purchased tickets to see the movie Monday received text messages from Kuwait's National Cinema Company informing them that screenings were cancelled due to "unforeseen difficulties." The company also promised ticket buyers a full refund.

Duaij Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah, a board member at the National Cinema Company, which operates 11 of Kuwait's 13 movie theaters, told The Associated Press a newly edited version of the movie may be in theaters later this week.

He said concerns center on a scene late in the movie involving the character LeFou, which director Bill Condon describes as an "exclusively gay moment."

"We were requested to stop the screening and further censor the movie for things that were deemed offensive by the Ministry of Information's censorship department," Al-Sabah said.

In some predominantly Muslim countries, same-sex relations can lead to lashings, imprisonment and fines. In a few, it carries the death penalty.

Those in support of the ban on the film in Kuwait launched hashtags calling for "respect" and urging the cinema company to protect children by blocking the movie. The film was given a PG-13 rating in Kuwait.

Disney officials did not immediately respond to a request of comment.

Similar concerns over the film's brief scene prompted a drive-in theater in the U.S. state of Alabama to cancel showings. Censors in Malaysia required the scene be edited, but Disney pulled the film from release there.

Holten's Covent Garden tenure has controversial ending

Kasper Holten concluded 5 1/2 years as director of opera at Covent Garden with a shocker: Instead of a happy ending to Wagner's "Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg," Eva runs offstage in tears, horrified that her beloved Walther has accepted the male-dominated society of her father.

Holten shook up The Royal Opera with several controversial stagings, and the last of his tenure was among the more memorable. Rather than set "Meistersinger" in medieval Nuremberg, he transported it to a contemporary London men's club, where women are mostly trophy wives. Eva, to be awarded by her father to the song-contest winner, is even perched on a large chair shaped like a trophy.

"It's a piece that addresses populism versus the elite or the establishment, certainly subjects that we talk a lot about today," Holten said ahead of the opening. "I think London must be one of the last places on Earth where there are many clubs where women are not allowed, at least in the Western world, I don't think that's quite something you could imagine in Scandinavia or probably not even in America."

The 43-year-old became artistic director of the Royal Danish Opera at age 27 and after 11 years in that role succeeded Elaine Padmore as Covent Garden's director of opera in 2011. He leaves this month to return to Copenhagen as his oldest daughter, 4-year-old Anna, approaches school age. Holten will be replaced by Oliver Mears, who announces his first season in charge on April 5.

Holten's most infamous programming was Damiano Michieletto's staging of Rossini's "Guillaume Tell" two years ago, which included a naked woman molested by the military. That caused booing and a statement from Holten apologizing if some were distressed; Holten now calls the production "one of the best things I've seen in my whole life."

"Kasper always defended the production and protected the production," Michieletto said. "Personally, I was, yes, a bit surprised for the reaction."

Holten personally directed Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin," Mozart's "Don Giovanni," Cavalli's "L'Ormindo" and Karol Szymanowski's "Krol Roger (King Roger)."

"He opened the theater up to new directors and new works and successfully launched numerous co-productions with the other leading opera houses," Met general manager Peter Gelb said. "I believe that the best directorial work in opera and theater easily transfers from one country to another, regardless of the continent of origin — although audiences in New York and London might be less masochistic than audiences in some European cities."

"Meistersinger," which opened March 11 and runs through March 31, included a punkish Walther von Stolzing in a T-shirt, jeans and tailcoat, townspeople in contemporary dress and Meistersingers in traditional garb topped by huge square hats with feathers. Magdalene was an event planner with a headset and clipboard during the Midsummer's Day festival.

Townspeople typed on their phones during Beckmesser's prize song, and the disgraced town clerk was stripped of his robe and forced to watch in his underwear as his clothes were presented to Walther. Hans Sachs, sung with memorable nuance by Bryn Terfel in his first role since being knighted, maintained the traditions — content to remain in the past as society marched forward.

There was a smattering of boos momentarily when Sunday's performance ended with Eva crying in outrage rather than joy.

"I do think there is a chasm between N.Y./London and parts of Europe in terms of what audiences are expecting from new productions," said mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who sang Elvira in Holten's "Don Giovanni." ''I have seen all degrees of extremes and I think the most successful houses will be the ones who know how to take the most effective elements of 'regie theater' without abandoning the more traditional aspects, which risks losing the core audience of patrons."

Freed of administrative duties, Holten can concentrate on his own work. He is directing Bizet's "Carmen" on the floating stage of the Bregenz Festival in Austria in July and the Danish premiere of the Broadway hit "Book of Mormon" next January.

"When you try to do something new, you will sometimes fail. You will sometimes do things that are not appreciated or understood. You will sometimes miss the mark," he said. "The difference in a way between art and entertainment for me is that art must have a great element of risk."

'Beauty and the Beast' roars with monstrous $170M debut

Disney's live-action "Beauty" was a beast at the box office, opening with an estimated $170 million in North American ticket sales and setting a new high mark for family movies.

"Beauty and the Beast" blew past the previous record-holder for G- or PG-rated releases, according to studio estimates Sunday. Last year, Disney's "Finding Dory" debuted with a then-PG-best $135 million.

"Beauty and the Beast" felled many other records, too. It's the year's top opening so far and a new best for March releases, and it ranks seventh all-time, not accounting for inflation.

The film, made for about $160 million, is the latest effort by Disney to re-create one of its animated classics with live action and digital effects. The makeover of the 1991 Oscar-winning film follows previous live-action remakes such as "Alice in Wonderland," ''Cinderella," ''Maleficent" and last year's "The Jungle Book." Many more are on the way, too, including those for "Dumbo," ''Mulan," ''Aladdin" and "The Lion King."

"Nostalgia is a very powerful driver for these films," said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney. "What's exciting here is there is an opportunity to see these beloved stories in a way that's never been seen before, but you get to build that on the foundation of something that's very familiar.

"But you don't get to $170 million because of nostalgia," Hollis added. "You have to ultimately make these movies great."

"Beauty and the Beast," directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, found widespread acclaim and some backlash for including what has been called Disney's first openly gay character. Josh Gad plays Gaston's sidekick, LeFou, who has a very brief "exclusively gay moment," as Condon described it, late in the film.

Though many applauded the character's subtle twist as overdue progress, some derided it. An Alabama drive-in theater canceled showings before owners screened the film. And after Malaysian censors required an edit of the scene, Disney pulled the film from release in the predominantly Muslim nation. An appeal is to be heard this week.

None of that dragged down the movie's massive opening. It took in $180 million overseas, including $44.8 million in China, Disney said.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, said any backlash may have only helped "Beauty and the Beast," which he predicts will eventually top $1 billion globally.

"As quote-unquote controversies go, this was a real tempest in a teapot," Dergarabedian said. "This obviously had zero impact on the movie. In fact, those who raise awareness of a movie for whatever reason are generally only helping that movie do better business. I don't think that was going to dissuade anyone except the most narrow-minded from seeing this film."

"Beauty and the Beast," featuring the songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, also got a boost from good word-of-mouth and largely good reviews.

Other studios stayed clear of the Disney juggernaut. Last week's top film, Warner Bros.' "Kong: Skull Island," slid to second place with $28.9 million in its second week. The King Kong relaunch has thus far earned $110.1 million domestically.

Fox's R-rated "X-Men" spinoff "Logan," starring Hugh Jackman, added $17.5 million in its third week to bring its total to $184 million. With "Logan" in third place, the horror sensation "Get Out" slid to fourth and continued to drive audiences. The Jordan Peele directorial debut, from Universal Pictures and Blumhouse, earned $13.3 million, making its four-week total $133.1 million.

The only film that tried to open nationwide against "Beauty and the Beast" was the micro-budget horror release "The Belko Experiment," from Blumhouse Pictures. It earned $4.1 million in 1,341 theaters (or about a third the theaters "Beauty" played in).

Danny Boyle's "Trainspotting" sequel, "T2: Trainspotting," from Sony Pictures debuted in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles, earning $180,000 for a strong per-theater average of $36,000. The sequel to the much-loved 1996 original, which later expands nationwide, has already made more than $20 million in the U.K.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "Beauty and the Beast," $170 million ($180 million international).

2. "Kong: Skull Island," $28.9 million ($38.5 million international).

3. "Logan," $17.5 million ($31.5 million international).

4. "Get Out," $13.3 million ($2.9 million international).

5. "The Shack," $6.1 million.

6. "The Lego Batman Movie," $4.7 million ($2.4 million international).

7. "The Belko Experiment," $4.1 million.

8. "Hidden Figures," $1.5 million ($3.5 million international).

9. "John Wick: Chapter Two," $1.2 million ($2.1 million international).

10. "Before I Fall," $1 million.

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. "Beauty and the Beast," $180 million.

2. "Kong: Skull Island," $38.5 million.

3. "Logan," $31.5 million.

4. "A Dog's Purpose," $12 million.

5. "Sing," $9.1 million.

6. "Split," $6.8 million.

7. "Moana," $4.6 million.

8. "Badrinath Ki Dulhania," $4 million.

9. "La La Land," $3.7 million.

10. "Hidden Figures," $3.5 million.

___

Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP .

Bromance between Gyllenhaal and Reynolds filming 'Life'

There's a bromance brewing between actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds.

The Hollywood stars say they hit it off so well during the filming of their new sci-fi thriller called "Life" that a genuine friendship has blossomed. The movie, about a team of scientists aboard the International Space Station who find an alien life form from Mars, is premiering Saturday at the South by Southwest festival in Austin.

The "Brokeback Mountain" and "Deadpool" stars were mostly all jokes during rounds of press interviews prior to the film's premier, answering most questions with a back-and-forth comedy shtick. But they turned serious when asked about the connection formed on set.

"You do these films and get to work with really amazing people, really talented people and you think 'oh I'm going to hang out with these people afterward and see them again,'" said Reynolds. "You don't most of the time because you go on living your life. But with this guy, we've stayed friends. That's a lucky thing. It doesn't always happen."

Some of the first signs of the newly-forged bond came earlier this week when Reynolds gave high praise to Gyllenhaal on Good Morning America, calling him one of the most interesting actors currently working in Hollywood. Reynolds said Saturday that his co-star is "one the greatest actors of this generation."

"I loved working with this guy," he said. "I loved spending time with this guy. It's not often you get this experience."

Gyllenhaal was equally complimentary, saying Reynolds's role last year as a foul-mouthed superhero is exactly what he strives for —a performance so authentic that it would be nearly impossible for another actor to duplicate.

"We sort of grew up in this business together without knowing each other until very recently," Gyllenhaal said. "It's hard in a business where ... a lot of times we're pretending to get closer to the truth and to find somebody who you feel is genuine. I feel that way about him, so we're friends."

The movie plot draws some notable parallels to Ridley Scott's 1979 classic "Alien," tracking a team of scientists on a spaceship who encounter an alien life form that wreaks havoc. Their discovery— the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars_turns out to be a threat not only to the crew but to all life on Earth.

But even with the backdrop of a sci-fi heart pounder, Gyllenhaal says he and Reynolds found some levity throughout the filming.

"This experience of what's happening right now was consistent to what it felt like while we were shooting," Gyllenhaal said in between puns served as answers to questions. "We had really scary situations in the movie and scenes that were really tense, but we were laughing constantly and it was so much fun."

Ellen Page, Jennifer Garner to do live reading of 'Juno'

Ellen Page will reprise her pregnant-teen role in "Juno" during an all-female live reading of the film to mark its 10th anniversary and to benefit Planned Parenthood, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The creators will stage the reading April 8 at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles to raise money for the women's health organization. Jennifer Garner will also be back in the role of the adoptive mom, but the male leads played by Michael Cera, Jason Bateman and J.K. Simmons will go to actresses, Entertainment Weekly reported.

Jason Reitman, who earned an Oscar nomination for directing the film, once put on a series of live script readings. He stopped last April after five seasons but told the publication that the presidential election inspired him to revive them.

"Considering how much this election has done against women and what Planned Parenthood has done for women, I thought it would be cool to hear this script with an all-female voice," he said.

Reitman said he will announce the full cast on Twitter in the days before the show.

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