Tag: Eddie Murphy

International Hits “Moonlight,” “Hidden Figures,” and “Straight Outta Compton” Disprove Hollywood Myth That “Black Films Don’t Travel”

(image via latimes.com)

article by Tre’vell Anderson via latimes.com

On his way to winning a best picture Oscar for “Moonlight,” a film made for a minuscule $1.5 million, writer-director Barry Jenkins took time between awards-season red carpet appearances for a six-city European promotion tour. It was time well spent.

“Moonlight,” about a poor black boy living in the projects of Miami and struggling with his sexuality, wasn’t supposed to be the kind of movie that wins the best picture Oscar. Its modest coming-of-age narrative, unconventional story structure and outsider characters with no mega stars made it, as filmmaker Mark Duplass said recently with admiration, “a bit of a miracle” that it even reached U.S. theaters. Certainly, it’s not the kind of movie that was expected to make money overseas. After all, says a longstanding Hollywood myth, black films don’t travel.

Yet as of Tuesday, “Moonlight” has made $28.6 million at the international box office — more than its $27.5 million domestic take — for a worldwide total of $56.1 million. With the film still in theaters, even more is expected.“This black film is definitely selling overseas,” Jenkins said to The Times on the red carpet for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, just after he’d returned from Europe.

“Every time there’s a success, it gets swept under the rug,” says Jeff Clanagan, president of Lionsgate’s Codeblack Films, which primarily produces films with African American casts. “It’s almost like there’s an asterisk on it. They chalk it off as an anomaly.”

For 1988’s “Coming to America,” the anomaly was the comedic genius of Eddie Murphy, who “transcended race” when the film grossed $160.6 million internationally for a $288.8 million worldwide take. (Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Will Smith, Kevin Hart, Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle are other box office champs for whom the “transcended race” label has been applied.)

For 1995’s “Bad Boys” and its 2003 sequel — which together pulled in a combined $210.3 million internationally and $414.7 million worldwide — it was the fact that the film was an action flick, never mind leads Smith, Martin Lawrence and Gabrielle Union. For 2015’s “Straight Outta Compton,” a $40.4 million payoff internationally (and $201.6 million worldwide), it was the popular music of rap group N.W.A.

Even as three-time Oscar nominee “Hidden Figures,” with its predominantly black cast, has so far made $48.8 million internationally — helping to push its $166 million domestic sales to nearly $215 million worldwide and counting — the myth persists.

When asked about the myth, Octavia Spencer, Oscar-nominated for her “Hidden Figures” role, responded simply: “I have two words for you: Will Smith.”

“He was told the same thing [at the beginning of his career] — that he wasn’t going to be taken to promote his film,” she said at the annual pre-Oscars Sistahs Soiree honoring women of color in the industry. “Had he not paid for himself to fly all over the world that very first time, he would not be an international box office star. So they have to start investing and taking black actresses and actors across the world just like they do with unknown white actors. They need to do the same thing for black actors. If you don’t know ’em, why would you go support the film?”

To read full article, go to: Disproving the ‘black films don’t travel’ Hollywood myth – LA Times

Eddie Murphy Honored with Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize

Eddie Murphy Emmy Awards
Eddie Murphy (photo via GETTY IMAGES)

Thirty-five years ago an unknown teenager from Brooklyn made an uncredited cameo in a lackluster episode of a network variety show on the verge of collapse. By the next episode that kid got his first real shot on screen and he never looked back. Soon enough, the only thing keeping “Saturday Night Live” from dying in the post-Lorne Michaels era was legendary-comedian-in-the-making Eddie Murphy.

Within two years Murphy was performing standup on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson, and turning in iconic parodic performances on “SNL” as Buckwheat, Gumby and Mr. Robinson in sketches that would be forever emblazoned in the annals of American pop culture. By 1984, Murphy was a hugely bankable movie star, making his mark in comic masterpieces like “48 Hours,” “Trading Places” and “Beverly Hills Cop,” which catapulted Murphy to international fame and spawned two sequels.

On Oct. 18, the man with one of the most infectious laughs in comedy will receive the 18th annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.  Kathy Griffin, who will present clips of Murphy’s 1982 “Tonight Show” debut at the Kennedy Center gala event, says Murphy’s brilliance stems from his gutsy approach to standup comedy.

“In an era when everyone is apologizing for everything, it is fun and liberating to go back and watch him express anything that he thinks is funny without filters,” she says. “He is not a safe comedian and isn’t that what standup comedy is really about?”

Of course, Murphy is also one of the most commercially successful African-American actors in film history. His movies have averaged $100 million at the box office, including such hits as “Coming to America,” “Shrek” and “The Nutty Professor.” Although he’s been absent from the big screen for several years, Imagine Entertainment is reportedly developing a Netflix comedy feature with Murphy.

“Eddie is an icon and a terrific actor who has been making us laugh for 35 years,” says Cappy McGarr, executive producer of the Mark Twain Prize.  He adds that Murphy’s early films were brilliant not only because they were funny, but also because they tackled themes of racism in America. “Trading Places,” released in 1983, explored the divide between the haves and have-nots.

“That movie is just as relevant now as when it was made,” McGarr says. “Like Richard Pryor, who received the first Mark Twain Prize, Eddie has been an incredible influence on all those who followed him.”

Comedians Murphy influenced and inspired include Arsenio Hall, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, who’s called Murphy his “idol.” He will be among the presenters at the Kennedy Center ceremony, along with fellow “SNL” alumni Will Ferrell, who received the Mark Twain Prize in 2011, and Tina Fey, who was honored with the award in 2010.

Griffin says the Mark Twain Prize is the ultimate award for comedians, especially since they are typically overlooked at the Oscars. (Murphy’s one nomination is for his dramatic turn in Bill Condon’s 2006 musical “Dreamgirls.”)

“This is a huge honor for Eddie,” Griffin says. “Everyone in comedy wants this. The ones that have it all brag about it and the ones that don’t are pissed. This is it.”

Per McGarr, the Mark Twain Award may not be enough validation for a genius such as Murphy: “I just wish we could give him more than one medal.”

article by Stuart Miller via Variety.com

Eddie Murphy Joins Cast of Richard Pryor Biopic Directed by Lee Daniels

Eddie Murphy Beverly Hills Cop
(PHOTO: GABRIEL OLSEN/FILMMAGIC)

Eddie Murphy is in talks to join the cast of Lee Daniels’ untitled Richard Pryor biopic, sources confirm.  He will play the late comedian’s father, LeRoy “Buck Carter” Pryor, a boxer and WWII veteran, in the Weinstein Co. drama.

Mike Epps is attached to star as the legendary comedian.

Daniels teased the Murphy casting Thursday night on Instagram with a photo of himself and the actor.

Murphy, who recently appeared in the “SNL” 40th Anniversary special, grew up idolizing and impersonating Pryor as a comedian in the ’70s.

“Richard’s the one that made me want to do comedy,” he previously said. “When I was little I used to sneak into my basement and put his albums on.”

Daniels is riding the success of his hit TV drama “Empire,” which Fox just renewed for a second season. He also directed “The Butler” for the Weinstein Co.

Murphy can be seen next in the culinary drama “Cook.”

article via Variety.com

TV Ratings: Larry Wilmore’s “Nightly Show” Makes a Solid Entry

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R.I.P. Tony-Award Winning Dancer, Actor and Artist Geoffrey Holder

Geoffrey Holder, the dancer, choreographer, actor, composer, designer and painter who used his manifold talents to infuse the arts with the flavor of his native West Indies and to put a singular stamp on the American cultural scene, not least with his outsize personality, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 84.

Charles M. Mirotznik, a spokesman for the family, said the cause was complications of pneumonia. Few cultural figures of the last half of the 20th century were as multifaceted as Mr. Holder, and few had a public presence as unmistakable as his, with his gleaming pate atop a 6-foot-6 frame, full-bodied laugh and bassoon of a voice laced with the lilting cadences of the Caribbean.

Mr. Holder directed a dance troupe from his native Trinidad and Tobago, danced on Broadway and at the Metropolitan Opera and won Tony Awards in 1975 for direction of a musical and costume design for “The Wiz,” a rollicking, all-black version of “The Wizard of Oz.”

His choreography was in the repertory of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Dance Theater of Harlem. He acted onstage and in films and was an accomplished painter, photographer and sculptor whose works have been shown in galleries and museums. He published a cookbook.

Mr. Holder acknowledged that he achieved his widest celebrity as the jolly, white-suited television pitchman for 7Up in the 1970s and ’80s, when in a run of commercials, always in tropical settings, he happily endorsed the soft-drink as an “absolutely maaarvelous” alternative to Coca-Cola — or “the Un-Cola,” as the ads put it.

Long afterward, white suit or no, he would stop pedestrian traffic and draw stares at restaurants. He even good-naturedly alluded to the TV spots in accepting his Tony for directing, using their signature line “Just try making something like that out of a cola nut.”

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Born on This Day in 1958: Michael Jackson, the Incomparable King of Pop

Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas has launched the #MJWeAreOne campaign in conjunction with MichaelJackson.com.

Fans worldwide are urged to use Instagram by sharing videos — using the hashtag #MJWeAreOne — honoring MJ and sharing ideas of how to make the world a better place.

The MJ Global Party has fans celebrating Jackson’s birthday in live-time around the world using the hashtag #MJGBP2014. Check out the website here.

The fifth annual Michael Jackson Tribute Festival of the Arts is underway in Jackson’s birth home of Gary, Indiana. The three-day festival celebrates Jackson’s life and career while helping revitalize part of Gary.

So on this day, remember the King of Pop in your own way. Listen to your favorite MJ song. Watch your favorite Michael video for the thousandth time.

Below I’m posting one of my all-time favorite Jackson songs and videos, the John Singleton-directed “Remember The Time” and I know I’m going to shake my head (for the thousandth time) when Magic Johnson says “Behold, great Pharoah Ramses!”, laugh (for the thousandth time) when Eddie Murphy’s eyes bug out at Iman crushing on Michael, stare in awe (for the thousandth time) at the dance moves, and lose it (for the thousandth time) when Michael sings the “Rah dah /dah dah dah / What about us, girl?!” part because it is just so uniquely Michael, uniquely musical and uniquely inspiring.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

James Brown is Celebrated in “Get On Up”, Opening this Friday

Chadwick Boseman as Brown in the new biopic “Get On Up.” (Credit: D Stevens/Universal Studios)

It’s just the kind of movie clip YouTube was made for. In the 1965 Frankie Avalon vehicle,“Ski Party,” James Brown and his backing vocal group, the Famous Flames, enter a ski lodge after rescuing a frozen reveler. Resplendent in a white-and-red sweater, tight black slacks, black pointy-toed shoes and a regal pompadour, Brown performs “I Got You (I Feel Good),” giving the lily-white crowd of clapping skiers a taste of the showmanship that had made him a star on the so-called “chitlin circuit” among blacks. Even in a movie as disposable as “Ski Party,” Brown turned a corny scene into genuine entertainment.

In the biopic “Get On Up,” opening Friday, the filmmakers recreate this moment, trying to see it from Brown’s point of view. While he glides through his steps, we see slow-motion shots of the listeners as if they were creatures from another, whiter planet, one Brown is reluctantly visiting in hopes of reaching a wider audience. In that scene, Brown dances off the set. In the new film, he does a split but doesn’t come up, apparently having ripped his pants. The new moment is slightly comic but undercuts Brown’s mastery.

Depicting James Brown on screen has always been a seductive proposition. As one of the greatest stage performers of the 20th century, he has inspired documentarians, playwrights, comedians and other artists who see the outlines of his greatness. But capturing the man inside, and the meaning of his life, is a tricky business.

Brown at the Roseland Ballroom in New York in 2004.CreditFrank Micelotta/Getty Images

There was a fluidity to his identity that was reflected in his many stage nicknames: Mr. Dynamite, the hardest working man in show business, Soul Brother No. 1, the Godfather of Soul and the Original Disco Man, as he variously billed himself. All enduring pop stars have the ability to shift with the culture, but Brown’s moves — from staunch integrationist to proto-black nationalist and back, from civil rights role model to wife beater, from disciplined bandleader to drug addict — suggest an inner turmoil that belied his outer confidence. Shortly after his death, I helped edit a collection of articles that spanned Brown’s long career, and in reading the pieces was struck by how many journalists saw the contours of the man but struggled to truly penetrate his psyche. With a feature film about to arrive and a coming documentary, it’s time to take stock of this imposing figure.
Brown, who died on Christmas Day 2006, began his career in the ’50s under the spell of Little Richard and ended it as a major influence on current singer-dancers like Usher and Chris Brown. Michael Jackson and Prince, of course, were acolytes. Reared on gospel, blues and jazz, Brown was a dominant force in the soul ’60s, created funk, inspired disco and laid hip-hop’s foundation with his beats.

As important as Brown was on vinyl, his stage show and personality are legendary: Tilting a mike stand far forward and, before it hit the stage, pulling it back via the cord. Dropping into and rising out of splits. Feigning exhaustion and donning a regal cape before returning to sing again. Executing every new dance from the ’60s to the ’80s with deft steps and body control made Brown a dominant figure during an explosive era for pop music.

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Eddie Murphy’s Back For New ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ Film

Beverly Hills CopSeems that everything old is new again for Paramount Pictures. The studio has elected to resurrect one of its earliest and successful franchises along with its star attraction. Eddie Murphy is coming back to play Axel Foley in a new story to “Beverly Hills Cop.”

Brett Ratner will direct the film from a script by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec. Set for a March 25, 2016 release, early reports says that the film will find Axel Foley “returning to his Detroit roots.”

With the exception of “Beverly Hills Cop III,” the first two installments took in $235M in 1984 and $153M in 1987 domestically at the box office. The last one, which came seven years later, did poorly with $42M. Overall, the franchise brought in over $700M worldwide for the studio.

AFI & Walt Disney Pictures' "A Cinematic Celebration Of Jerry Bruckheimer"Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced ‘Cop’ and ‘Cop II,’ is back to produce the new film.

There were plans to bring the franchise to the small screen with Brandon T. Jackson starring as Foley’s son and Murphy possible coming in on a recurring basis, but the pilot didn’t get picked up.

Murphy’s last film was 2011′s ‘Tower Heist,’ which Ratner directed. It took in over $75M domestically.

article by Wilson Morales via blackfilm.com

Eddie Murphy Drops Video for New Single ‘Red Light’ with Snoop Lion (Watch)

eddie snoopToday, Eddie Murphy unveiled the worldwide release of the official music video for his new single “Red Light”, on VEVO from his forthcoming solo album “9”.  Featuring Snoop Lion, “Red Light,” showcases Murphy’s vocals over a laid back Reggae tune, serving as a postive anthem attempting to raise awareness about social injustice, stop violence and self-sabotage. Eddie Murphy’s “9” is slated to be released in the first quarter of 2014.

 article via eurweb.com

Kevin Hart’s ‘Let Me Explain’ Stand-Up Comedy Film Makes Big Box-Office Splash

Kevin Hart speaks onstage during the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards at Staples Center on September 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kevin Hart speaks onstage during the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards at Staples Center on September 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Kevin Hart‘s new stand-up comedy film Let Me Explain has been a surprise smash at the box office and could potentially become the most successful film of its kind ever. Hart, who has been on a winning streak following his hit film Think Like a Man and popular BET series Real Husbands of Hollywood, already has one very successful stand up film under his belt; 2011′s Laugh at My Pain.

But the performance of Let Me Explain is unprecedented. According to Deadline.com, the film has already earned $7.4 million in ticket sales during its first two days of release, which nearly eclipsed the entire run of Laugh at My Pain. And Variety reports that Let Me Explain made $29 million by Sunday night.

The movie achieved this feat while opening in 876 theaters. In comparison, Disney’s The Lone Ranger (starring Johnny Depp) opened in 3,904 theaters and yet only grossed $5 million more than Hart’s low-budget comedy.

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