Entertainment

MILAN -Sales at Italian fashion group Prada bounced back sharply in 2021 as pent-up demand for luxury handbags and clothes helped push revenues above pre-pandemic levels, the company said on Tuesday. In an unscheduled trading update, Prada said group sales last year rose by 41% at constant exchange rates to 3.364 billion euros ($3.83 billion), and stood 8% above 2019 levels. The figure was above an estimate of 3.28 billion euros in an analyst consensus cited by UBS and indicates a revamp strategy, which aims to move Prada upmarket and increase the share of online sales, is paying off. Prada last November set itself a medium-term sales goal of 4.5 billion euros. The Hong Kong-listed group, which had not been due to disclose full-year results before March, said sales had particularly accelerated in the second half of last year thanks to its retail network, which grew by 27% compared to 2020 and by 21% compared to 2019, including e-commerce. Core profits also showed a "significant increa...
By Sudipto Ganguly MELBOURNE - U.S. Open finalist Leylah Fernandez lost 6-4 6-2 to local wildcard Madison Inglis at the Australian Open on Tuesday to continue her run of first-round exits at Melbourne Park. Fernandez had exited the hardcourt major without a win in her two previous appearances but the world number 24 would have hoped to get past the first obstacle this time around against her 133rd ranked opponent whom she beat in both prior meetings. But Inglis seized the advantage with a break in the seventh game to take the opening set and then opened up a 4-0 lead in the second with a double break. The 19-year-old Canadian, who accumulated 30 unforced errors, had two of her three breakpoint opportunities in the sixth game of the second set but failed to convert as Inglis stayed solid to secure victory on her third match point. It was the first Grand Slam main draw win at the fifth attempt for the 24-year-old from Perth.   (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Peter Rutherford)....
By Sudipto Ganguly MELBOURNE - The absence of "The King of Melbourne Park" hung heavy over the Australian Open for fans of Novak Djokovic on Monday as the Grand Slam tournament got underway without the nine-times champion and world number one. Djokovic was ushered onto a flight to Dubai on Sunday after losing a Federal Court appeal against the cancellation of his visa to enter Australia. There were still representatives around Melbourne Park of the local Serbian community that has so vocally backed Djokovic to his many triumphs and some were not impressed. "Djokovic was going to win his 21st Grand Slam and now he doesn't have the chance. I think it was embarrassing on behalf of the Australian government," Alek Drakoo told . "100% the Australian Open has lost it's value. Whoever wins it now, doesn't really count. Because Djokovic is the number one. That's the guy, you need to beat him to win it." Djokovic had been scheduled to play compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in the opening match of h...
By Brent Lang LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Scream," a reimagining of a horror franchise that appeared to have run out of steam, dominated the box office, earning a scary good $30.6 million. The sequel is projected to earn $35 million over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, a spectacular result considering that "Scream" only cost $25 million to produce. It also represents some positive news for the bruised and battered cinema industry, considering that "Scream's" success comes amid a spike in COVID-19. It helps that "Scream's" target demographic is younger, which means that they may not have been as spooked by the highly contagious omicron variant that is fueling the latest iteration of a seemingly endless pandemic. Paramount and Spyglass Media backed the reboot, which marks the first new chapter in the "Scream" series in a decade and shares a title with the 1996 original -- the "Scream" saga is apparently so over integers. The film al...
By Ian Ransom MELBOURNE - A Grand Slam accustomed to the iron rule of Novak Djokovic will emerge blinking into a brave new world on Monday as rivals jostle to fill the power vacuum left by the departed Serbian superstar at the Australian Open. The winner of a record nine titles at Melbourne Park, including the last three in succession, Djokovic's hopes of continuing his dynasty and claiming a record 21st Grand Slam title lay in ruins on Sunday after he lost a court case to stay in the country. Many Australians will be glad to be rid of an athlete who had become a hero of the anti-vaxxer movement, while players will be relieved the spotlight can shift back to tennis. But the loss of the world number one is a blow for a men's tournament which was already lacking star power after the withdrawals of Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem. Djokovic's exit from Australia may have major repercussions for his tennis career, particularly if he continues to snub COVID-19 vaccination. But for the playe...
MELBOURNE - Emma Raducanu has struggled to live up to sky-high expectations since winning her maiden Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows last year but the Briton says she is not worried about her poor form and will play without pressure at the Australian Open. Raducanu, who faces American Sloane Stephens in the first round at Melbourne Park, became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam in the Open era when she defeated Leylah Fernandez in New York last September. But she struggled to get close to that form in subsequent tournaments with a series of early exits prompting criticism, while testing positive for COVID-19 at Christmas also impacted her preparations for the new season. "I feel, because of the last few months I've had, maybe I haven't played as much as I would have liked to and trained so much," said Raducanu, who is ranked 17th in Melbourne. "I feel like there's actually no pressure on me. I'm just happy to be here and have a swing. I had to jump a few hurdles to play here, so...
By Lisa Richwine LOS ANGELES - Actor Alec Baldwin has handed over his cellphone to investigators who are looking into the fatal shooting on the New Mexico set of the film "Rust" in October, his attorney and a law enforcement official said on Friday. A search warrant for Baldwin's iPhone was issued in December. The Santa Fe County, New Mexico, sheriff's office had said earlier this week that it was still trying to obtain the device from the "30 Rock" actor. On Friday, sheriff's department spokesperson Juan Rios said via email that Baldwin's phone had been turned over to authorities in Suffolk County, New York, who were in the process of downloading relevant data to send to investigators in Santa Fe. Baldwin was rehearsing a scene on the set of the Western "Rust" when the gun he was holding fired a live bullet that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The actor has said he did not pull the trigger and is heartbroken by the...
- Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, which has co-produced 'Joker' and 'The Matrix', is considering taking on an investor or selling itself, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter. Village Roadshow's controlling shareholder, Vine Alternative Investments, has tapped PJT Partners Inc and held talks with potential buyers, the report said, adding that the process may not result in a deal. The company, which has reportedly been making original content as streaming platforms begin to take centerstage, has been under pressure with Netflix Inc, Walt Disney Co's Disney+ and AT&T Inc's HBO Max spending billions of dollars on content. Village Roadshow has in the past collaborated with Disney and AT&T's Warner Bros and recently was behind the Metaverse-themed movie 'Ready Player One' and Morgan Freeman-starrer 'Going In Style' The company is among many production houses to consider strategic options as valuation of their content has been ris...
PARIS - French film director Jean-Jacques Beineix died on Thursday at the age of 75, his family told Agence France Presse on Friday. Beineix came to prominence with his first film, "Diva", in 1980, and achieved wider international fame in 1986 with the movie "Betty Blue", starring Jean-Hugues Anglade and Beatrice Dalle. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Hugh Lawson)...
JOHANNESBURG - Backed by silky synthesizers and down-tempo electronic beats, South African singer Msaki's new Afropop album revisits the 2012 killing by police of dozens of striking mine workers that she says inspired her to protest against social injustice. Singing in her Xhosa mother tongue, Msaki's lilting voice aims to capture the sadness and disappointment felt by many after the showdown between police and strikers at the Marikana platinum mine 110 kms (68 miles) northwest of Johannesburg. Forty-four people died there in the most violent police crackdown since the end of white minority rule. 'Platinumb Heart Beating' was released at the end of last year. The title is a play on words, referring to South Africa's platinum belt but also to "the emotional state of numbness" that many felt after witnessing such police brutality, she said. "The first song I wrote was 'Blood, Guns and Revolutions' which was about Marikana and...
- UK's Cineworld said on Friday its box office sales recovered in December to nearly 90% of pre-pandemic levels, helped by the success of Marvel superhero film "Spider-Man: No Way Home", sending its shares 3% higher in early trade. The world's second-largest theatre operator said its cash flow turned positive in the fourth quarter after sales improved. Some movie delays hurt footfall in November and global curbs to contain the Omicron coronavirus variant kicking in later also hit viewers coming out for the movies. "Spider-Man: No Way Home" became the sixth-highest grossing movie ever at the U.S. box office, raking in $668 million so far and surpassing "Titanic". The film was the first one in the pandemic-era to smash $1 billion sales globally. The sales update brings is likely to bring some relief for Cineworld after it was ordered last month to pay C$1.23 billion ($985 million) in damages to rival Cineplex for abandoning a planned t...
- England reduced Australia to 85-4 as their seamers gave the tourists a dream start in the fifth and final Ashes test at Hobart's Bellerive Oval on Friday. Having already lost the series following heavy defeats in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne, England's all-seam attack reduced Australia to 12-3 inside 10 overs. Marnus Labuschagne, who capitalised on an early reprieve to make a breezy 44, and Travis Head arrested Australia's slide with a counter-attacking stand of 71 off 74 balls. Head was batting on 31 at the break with Cameron Green on two at the other end. Earlier, England captain Joe Root won an important toss and elected to field under an overcast sky hoping his bowlers would exploit the conditions. The all-seam attack, minus veteran James Anderson, did not let him down. Usman Khawaja had forced his retention after his twin hundreds batting in the middle order in Sydney but walked out to open the innings alongside David Warner as Head recovered from COVID-19 to reclaim his nu...
By Jonathan Stempel - The man depicted as a naked baby on Nirvana's 1991 album "Nevermind" has revived his lawsuit accusing the band of sexually exploiting him, after a U.S. judge dismissed an earlier version of the case. Spencer Elden, the plaintiff, maintained in an amended complaint filed on Wednesday in Los Angeles that the "lascivious nature of his image" amounted to "child pornography" that helped the band reap tens of millions of dollars at his expense. Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic; Courtney Love, the widow of Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain; several record labels, and photographer Kirk Weddle are among the 10 defendants. Elden is seeking at least $150,000 from each. Lawyers for the defendants did not immediately respond on Thursday to requests for comment. The "Nevermind" cover art depicted Elden, then four months old, swimming naked toward a dollar bill pierced with a fish hoo...
By Lisa Richwine LOS ANGELES - A lawyer for Alec Baldwin on Thursday said the actor would hand over his cellphone as part of a probe into the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the movie set of Western "Rust," but police in New Mexico said they had yet to receive the device. Baldwin's lawyer, Aaron Dyer, said he had reached a deal with New Mexico authorities to turn in the phone after steps were taken to protect the actor's privacy regarding matters unrelated to the "Rust" investigation. "Mr. Baldwin’s phone is being turned over this week for review," Dyer said in a statement. "Mr. Baldwin has continued to cooperate with the authorities, and any suggestion to the contrary is simply untrue." The comments followed a Thursday news release from the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office saying Baldwin had not complied with a search warrant requesting he hand over the phone and that a New Mexico prosecutor was now working with th...
By Rollo Ross LOS ANGELES - Denzel Washington portrays one of William Shakespeare's most famous characters in "The Tragedy of Macbeth", a new adaptation of the 400-year-old play the Oscar winning actor says he had never seen staged before. The Hollywood star plays the titular role in Joel Coen's black and white film version of the tragedy about a Scottish general who, spurred on by his wife, commits murder to access the throne. Fellow Oscar winner Frances McDormand plays Lady Macbeth in the stage-like movie. "It just so happens as fate would have it I've never seen it. I wasn't avoiding it. I just hadn't seen it," Washington told in an interview. "I was fortunate in that Joel and Fran and myself got together close to a year out from shooting and we started reading scenes together. We got to get into the material and ask questions and bounce off of each other and act a little bit and see how we all work togethe...
- Singers Billie Eilish and Harry Styles as well as rapper Kanye West and group Swedish House Mafia are among the line-up for this year's Coachella, organisers said on Thursday, as the music festival returns after three years. One of the world's biggest music festivals, Coachella was last held in 2019 and scrapped in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organisers said in June the open-air festival, held in the California desert, would return over the weekends of April 15-17 and April 22-24 this year. Styles, Eilish and West were announced as headline acts in a line-up poster on the Coachella website and social media pages, with the former One Direction singer performing on both Fridays. Eilish and West, who changed his name to Ye last year, will perform on the two Saturdays and Sundays respectively. The festival line-up also includes singers Arlo Parks and Phoebe Bridgers, Italian Eurovision Song Contest winners Mane...
- Ronnie Spector, singer of the 1960s hits "Be My Baby" and "Baby, I Love You" has died at the age of 78, her family said in a statement on Wednesday. Spector, leader of the girl group the Ronettes, died surrounded by family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan, after a brief battle with cancer, the statement said. "Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face. She was filled with love and gratitude," the family said. "Her joyful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard or saw her," they added.   (Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese)...
LOS ANGELES - Nominations for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards were announced on Wednesday for the best performances in film and television in 2021. The winners will be announced at a televised ceremony on Feb. 27. BEST MOVIE CAST "Belfast" "Coda" "Don't Look Up" "House of Gucci" "King Richard" BEST TELEVISION DRAMA SERIES CAST "The Handmaid's Tale" "The Morning Show" "Squid Game" "Succession" "Yellowstone" BEST TELEVISION COMEDY SERIES ENSEMBLE "The Great" "Hacks" "The Kominsky Method" "Only Murders in the Building" "Ted Lasso" BEST ACTOR, MOVIE Javier Bardem, "Being the Ricardos" Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Power of the Dog" Andrew Garfield, "Tick, Tick ... Boom!"...
LOS ANGELES - Fashion family drama "House of Gucci" and dark Western "The Power of the Dog" led the field of film contenders announced Wednesday for Hollywood's Screen Actors Guild awards, landing three nominations each. (Reporting by Lisa Richwine)...
BERLIN - The Berlin Film Festival will go ahead in person next month but will use only half the available seating capacity and require attendees to adhere to strict COVID-19 protocols, organisers said on Wednesday. With the Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreading fast in Germany, the organisers of the Berlinale, as it is widely known, have been at pains to make the festival happen in a safe environment after it went online last year. The Berlinale starts on Feb. 10, culminating in an awards ceremony on Feb. 16 where the Golden and Silver Bears will be handed out, meaning the festival will be slightly shorter than planned, organisers said in a statement. It normally runs for 10 about days. For four days after that, festival films will be shown in cinemas around the capital in public screenings. To allow social distancing, seating capacity in festival cinemas will be reduced by 50% and no parties or public events will be...