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Jason Statham’s “The Meg” Tops Box Office With $40M Debut Weekend

“The Meg” hit theaters this weekend and is set to nab the No. 1 spot at the box office with an estimated $40 million from 4,118 North American locations. The estimate is significantly higher than earlier predictions. The Warner Bros. film took in $16.5 million on Friday and stars Jason Statham as a scientist who, along with his team, tries to stop a prehistoric 75-foot Megalodon shark from terrorizing a beach. “The Meg” has received mixed reviews from critics and carries a 50% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie is based on the 1997 book “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror” by Steve Alten and was in development for over two decades. “The Meg” carries a $150 million price tag, so it will need substantial overseas business from China, Russia, Spain, and the U.K.  This weekend it earned $26.7 million on Friday from 42 overseas markets and opened to $16.2 million in China on Friday. ...Read more

U.S. Appeals Court Orders EPA To Ban Pesticide Said To Harm Children

 A federal appeals court on Thursday ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban a widely-used pesticide that critics say can endanger children and farmers. The 2-1 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle overturned former EPA commissioner Scott Pruitt’s March 2017 denial of a petition by environmental groups to halt the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops such as fruits, vegetables and nuts. Pruitt’s ruling had reversed a 2015 Obama administration recommendation to extend to food a 2000 ban on chlorpyrifos that covered most household settings. “This shows that the EPA can’t just ignore the science that this pesticide damages children’s brains,” Marisa Ordonia, a lawyer for Earthjustice, which represented the petitioners, said in an interview. “The Trump administration has to follow the law, as does everyone else.”  ...Read more

Vice President Pence Outlines Plan For New Space Force By 2020

Vice President Mike Pence has announced plans for a new, separate U.S. Space Force as sixth military service by 2020. Pence says it’s needed to ensure America’s dominance in space amid heightened competition and threats from China and Russia. He says that while space was once peaceful and uncontested, it is now crowded and adversarial.President Donald Trump has called for a “separate but equal” space force. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has endorsed plans to reorganize the military’s space warfighting forces but has previously opposed launching an expensive separate new service. However, any proposal to create a new service would require congressional action. ...Read more

Casey Affleck Apologizes For ‘Unprofessional’ Behavior After #MeToo Backlash

Actor Casey Affleck is speaking out publicly for the first time since sexual harassment allegations resurfaced against him last year.  “I behaved in a way and allowed others to behave in a way that was really unprofessional. And I’m sorry,” Affleck told The Associated Press in an interview published Thursday.  The actor was accused of verbal and physical harassment in 2010 by two women who worked with him on the set of “I’m Still Here,” a hoax documentary-style film directed by Affleck and starring Joaquin Phoenix. Affleck denied all the allegations at the time and later settled two lawsuits filed by the accusers for undisclosed amounts. Both women reportedly signed nondisclosure agreements.  The allegations against Affleck resurfaced last fall when the actor was receiving critical acclaim for his starring role in “Manchester by the Sea.” Affleck was deemed controversial in light of the past allegations, however still received the Oscar for Best Actor.  Affleck chose to skip the Oscars earlier this year and backed out of presenting the award for Best Actress.  ...Read more

Tom Brady And New England Patriots To Add Performance-Based Incentives To Contract

The New England Patriots reportedly will add a number of performance-related incentives into his contract for the 2018 and 2019 seasons; the incentives will allow the five-time Super Bowl winner to earn up to $5 million more this season. According to reports, Brady’s base salary of $14 million for the 2018 season puts him fifth in the NFL among quarterbacks behind Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins ($22.5 million), Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers ($19.8 million), Seattle’s Russell Wilson ($15.5 million) and Carolina’s Cam Newton ($14.5 million). Thus Brady’s contract represents a bargain for the Patriots, considering that the 41-year-old was the league’s MVP last season—the third time he’s won the award.   ...Read more

New Toronto Raptors Forward Kawhi Leonard Breaks Silence To Thank San Antonio Spurs And Gregg Popovich

New Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard said farewell to San Antonio and the Spurs into two words: “Thank you.” In a letter submitted to the San Antonio Express-News, Leonard thanked the Spurs organization, his former teammates, coach Gregg Popovich and the team’s fans. “I have been going back and forth the last few weeks trying to figure out the right things to say, and it comes down to two simple words: THANK YOU!” Leonard wrote. Leonard’s exit from San Antonio had been tumultuous. He appeared in nine games for the Spurs in 2017-18, last playing on Jan. 13 before sitting out the rest of the season with a quad injury. Leonard was traded to the Raptors in July, along with Danny Green, in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick. ...Read more

Demi Lovato Cancels Remaining Dates Of Tour After Checking Into Rehab

Demi Lovato won’t be embarking on the rest of her tour as she continues her recovery process. The 25-year-old singer was scheduled to perform in Mexico in September in addition to visiting six cities in South America in November, but she has canceled the remaining shows of her Tell Me You Love Me tour, according to a statement released by her promoters. In a statement, Live Nation and Lotus Productions wrote that they “Wish Demi Lovato the best now and in the future and we hope to see her soon in South America,” the outlet reported, adding that refunds will be issued for all ticket holders. The news comes five days after multiple sources confirmed that Lovato was released from Cedars-Sinai to seek in-patient treatment following an overdose on July 24.  On Sunday, the singer made her first statement following her overdose and hospitalization, as she shared that she would “need time to heal and focus on my sobriety and road to recovery.” ...Read more

‘Catfish’ Co-Host Max Joseph Leaving Show To Pursue Filmmaking

Catfish host Nev Schulman is losing his longtime TV partner and co-host, Max Joseph, to life behind the camera. Joseph announced he is leaving the MTV show which he helped create and co-host for 7 years to pursue his budding career in filmmaking. Said Joseph: “For a while now I have been straddling two careers as TV host and filmmaker and, while this level of busy-ness is a dream come true, my life can no longer sustain it. With ‘Catfish’ still going strong after 7 seasons, 115 episodes, 31 specials and showing no sign of slowing down, I feel it is finally the time for me to make my exit.” MTV has not said if it is going to cast a replacement host for Max. ‘Catfish’ is in the middle of airing its seventh season right now. Max’s final episode will air August 22 ...Read more