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Summer Movie Preview: Releases from May through August

This summer at the movies there will be aliens, evil and friendly, pirates, scantily-clad lifeguards, ladies letting loose, a few classic superheroes in fresh suits, an evil mummy, two King Arthurs and a few very different war films.

Here's a monthly rundown some of the summer's highlights. Dates are subject to change.



"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (May 5)

"Risk" (May 5)

"The Dinner" (May 5)

"Chuck" (May 5)

"King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" (May 12)

"Snatched" (May 12)

"The Wall" (May 12)

"Paris Can Wait" (May 12)

"Alien: Covenant" (May 19)

"Everything, Everything" (May 19)

"Wakefield" (May 19)

"Baywatch" (May 25)

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" (May 26)

"War Machine" (May 26)



"Wonder Woman" (June 2)

"Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" (June 2)

"The Mummy" (June 9)

"Beatriz at Dinner" (June 9)

"The Hero" (June 9)

"Megan Leavey" (June 9)

"My Cousin Rachel" (June 9)

"All Eyez on Me" (June 16)

"Cars 3" (June 16)

"Rough Night" (June 16)

"The Book of Henry" (June 16)

"Transformers: The Last Knight" (June 23)

"The Beguiled" (June 23)

"The Big Sick" (June 23)

"Baby Driver" (June 28)

"Okja" (June 28)

"Despicable Me 3" (June 30)

"The House" (June 30)



"Spider-Man: Homecoming" (July 7)

"A Ghost Story" (July 7)

"War for the Planet of the Apes" (July 14)

"Dunkirk" (July 21)

"Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" (July 21)

"Girls Trip" (July 21)

"Landline" (July 21)

"Atomic Blonde" (July 28)

"An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" (July 28)

"Brigsby Bear" (July 28)

"The Emoji Movie" (July 28)



"Detroit" (Aug. 4)

"The Dark Tower" (Aug. 4)

"Ingrid Goes West" (Aug. 4)

"Wind River" (Aug. 4)

"Annabelle: Creation" (Aug. 11)

"Trip to Spain" (Aug. 11)

"The Only Living Boy in New York" (Aug. 11)

"The Hitman's Bodyguard" (Aug. 18)

"Logan Lucky" (Aug. 18)

Summer Movie Preview: Highlights from May through August

This summer at the movies there will be aliens, evil and friendly, pirates, scantily-clad lifeguards, ladies letting loose, some classic superheroes in fresh suits, an evil mummy, two King Arthurs and a few very different war films.

Here's a monthly rundown some of the summer's highlights. Dates are subject to change.



"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (May 5) — Chris Pratt's Star Lord and his band of misfits, including a too-cute Baby Groot, return for some more intergalactic adventures — and heartfelt family drama — set to another toe-tapping mixtape.

"Risk" (May 5) — Laura Poitras takes on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a documentary that includes recent developments from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"The Dinner" (May 5) — Laura Linney, Richard Gere, Steve Coogan and Rebecca Hall gather for a tense meal to discuss what their sons have done in this thriller.

"Chuck" (May 5) — Liev Schreiber plays the real man who inspired "Rocky" in this boxing drama.

"King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" (May 12) — The classic Excalibur tale gets a kinetic reimagining from director Guy Ritchie, with Charlie Hunnam as Arthur.

"Snatched" (May 12) — A freewheeling daughter, Amy Schumer, and her uptight mother, Goldie Hawn, get kidnapped on vacation in this raucous comedy.

"The Wall" (May 12) — With an Iraqi sniper in shooting distance, two American soldiers try to survive. John Cena and Aaron Taylor-Johnson star in the Doug Liman pic.

"Paris Can Wait" (May 12) — A picturesque French travelogue starring Diane Lane and Alec Baldwin as a married couple on the rocks, from Eleanor Coppola.

"Alien: Covenant" (May 19) — Director Ridley Scott takes audiences on a new terrifying trip to space with Katherine Waterston and Michael Fassbender.

"Everything, Everything" (May 19) — A teen romance based on Nicola Yoon's novel about a sick girl (Amandla Stenberg) unable to leave her home and her interested neighbor, Nick Robinson.

"Wakefield" (May 19) — An ordinary suburban man, Bryan Cranston, disappears suddenly, but continues observing the life and family he left. Based on an E.L. Doctorow short story.

"Baywatch" (May 25) — Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron and Alexandra Daddario bare most in this raunchy big screen update of the cheesy '90s television show.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" (May 26) —Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow, with newcomer Brenton Thwaites, for a fresh adventure in the long-running franchise.

"War Machine" (May 26) — Brad Pitt stars in this satire about a fictional four star general charged with ending the war in Afghanistan.



"Wonder Woman" (June 2) — After over 75 years of being one of the most popular superheroes, the Amazonian warrior finally gets a big screen origin story, set in World War I, with Gal Gadot.

"Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" (June 2) — An animated one for the kiddies, based on the hugely popular book, with the voices of Kevin Hart and Ed Helms.

"The Mummy" (June 9) — Tom Cruise is helping to launch Universal's monster movie universe with a reboot of the action/adventure classic.

"Beatriz at Dinner" (June 9) — Salma Hayek gives a buzzy performance in this comedy about a Mexican immigrant and a billionaire (John Lithgow) who meet at a dinner party.

"The Hero" (June 9) — Sam Elliott plays an aging Western actor rethinking his life choices.

"Megan Leavey" (June 9) — Based on the true story of a young marine and her combat dog, starring Kate Mara.

"My Cousin Rachel" (June 9) — A mystery based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier about a young man (Sam Claflin) who falls for his possibly murderous cousin (Rachel Weisz).

"All Eyez on Me" (June 16) — A dramatic biopic about the late rapper Tupac Shakur starring unknown Demetrius Shipp Jr.

"Cars 3" (June 16) — Lightning McQueen is back for a new installment in the popular Pixar franchise.

"Rough Night" (June 16) — Comedians Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell and Ilana Glazer join Scarlett Johansson and Zoe Kravitz for a disastrous bachelorette party in Miami. Yes, there's a dead stripper involved.

"The Book of Henry" (June 16) — Before he heads off to direct "Star Wars: Episode IX," ''Jurassic World's" Colin Trevorrow goes small again with this drama about a single mom (Naomi Watts) and her son (Jaeden Lieberher) who try to help their young neighbor.

"Transformers: The Last Knight" (June 23) — Anthony Hopkins joins Mark Wahlberg in the 5th Transformers, from Michael Bay, which looks at the role the autobots played in King Arthur's time.

"The Beguiled" (June 23) — A wounded Union soldier is stranded at an all-girls school in the South in this remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood-starrer from director Sofia Coppola. Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst star.

"The Big Sick" (June 23) — "Silicon Valley" star Kumail Nanjiani uses his real life as the template for this sweet and smart comedy about how he met his wife.

"Baby Driver" (June 28) — Director Edgar Wright takes to the roads for an edgy thriller about big time crooks and their music-loving driver. With Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm.

"Okja" (June 28) — Tilda Swinton reteams with "Snowpiercer" director Bong Joon-ho for an action pic about young girl trying to protect her giant animal friend from a powerful corporation.

"Despicable Me 3" (June 30) — Steve Carell gets double voice duty as Gru and his twin brother Dru.

"The House" (June 30) — Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell try to recoup college funds by starting a gambling ring in their home.



"Spider-Man: Homecoming" (July 7) — There's a new web-slinger in town, Tom Holland, and he's just trying to survive high school (and save the world).

"A Ghost Story" (July 7) — An unconventional grief tale from "Pete's Dragon" director David Lowery, starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck.

"War for the Planet of the Apes" (July 14) — In this third installment, Caesar (Andy Serkis) takes a dark turn after the apes suffer massive losses.

"Dunkirk" (July 21) —Visionary director Christopher Nolan takes us to the beaches of France in 1940 to tell the story of the evacuation of nearly 400,000 Allied soldiers.

"Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" (July 21) — "The Fifth Element" director Luc Besson adapts his favorite French comic book into an ambitious, eye-popping spectacle about two special operatives, Dan DeHaan and Cara Delevingne, maintaining order in space.

"Girls Trip" (July 21) —Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah get rowdy in New Orleans.

"Landline" (July 21) — The follow-up to their charming indie "Obvious Child," director Gillian Robespierre and star Jenny Slate take us back to '90s New York as two sisters try to find out if their father is cheating.

"Atomic Blonde" (July 28) — Charlize Theron is a stone cold killer in this 80s-set spy pic.

"An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" (July 28) — Ten years after "An Inconvenient Truth" shed light on climate change, Al Gore returns with an update that's equal parts horror and hope.

"Brigsby Bear" (July 28) — Before he returns as Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," Mark Hamill steals scenes with SNL's Kyle Mooney in this indie about a man-child and his favorite television show.

"The Emoji Movie" (July 28) — (backslash)_(?)_/ .



"Detroit" (Aug. 4) — Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow reteams with "The Hurt Locker" and "Zero Dark Thirty" writer Mark Boal for this drama about the 1967 riots in Detroit starring "The Force Awakens'" John Boyega and Anthony Mackie.

"The Dark Tower" (Aug. 4) —This adaptation of Stephen King's classic sci-fi Western features Idris Elba as Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey as Walter Padick.

"Ingrid Goes West" (Aug. 4) — A dark as night social media satire about an obsessive loner (Aubrey Plaza) who befriends an Instagram celebrity (Elizabeth Olsen).

"Wind River" (Aug. 4) — "Sicario" writer Taylor Sheridan makes his directorial debut with a wilderness-set thriller about a rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) and a seasoned local (Jeremy Renner) investigating a murder.

"Annabelle: Creation" (Aug. 11) — The terrifying possessed doll just won't go away.

"Trip to Spain" (Aug. 11) — Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon set off on another trip full of food and Michael Caine impressions.

"The Only Living Boy in New York" (Aug. 11) —His father's mistress complicates life for an aimless college grad. With Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan and Kate Beckinsale.

"The Hitman's Bodyguard" (Aug. 18) — Ryan Reynolds has to protect Samuel L. Jackson in this action pic.

"Logan Lucky" (Aug. 18) — "Ocean's Eleven" director Steven Soderbergh insisted he was retiring from film after "Behind the Candelabra," but he's already back with a heist comedy set around a NASCAR race with Channing Tatum and Adam Driver.

Amid wall-to-wall blockbusters, sands of summer are shifting

Does the summer movie season still exist?

It was once an air-conditioned oasis that drew lines around the block of audiences eager for the roller-coaster ride of "Indiana Jones," the shark bite of "Jaws" and the buzz of a lightsaber. But in a time where the mega-movie business is year-round, that once hallowed season of moviegoing — maybe the quintessential big-screen, popcorn-eating experience — no longer means the same thing.

The summer blockbuster didn't wilt away. It grew too big to content itself just with just May through August. Studios, seeing open real estate elsewhere on the calendar, have in recent years begun spreading out their spectacles through the year. Like a King Kong that broke its chains, the summer movie now lumbers down every avenue. It's blockbuster gentrification. There's a Godzilla on every block.

This year has already seen one $1 billion movie ("Beauty and the Beast") and "Fate of the Furious" isn't far behind. Others await the cool, vaguely more 'serious' breezes of fall, including "Thor: Ragnarok," ''Justice League" and "Blade Runner 2049." Even "Star Wars," as if saying goodbye to the kiddie table, has fled summer and taken up residence in December.

Notwithstanding some very anticipated movies, that's left a summer movie season without the same sunny glow it once had.

"What's missing this summer is something out of leftfield that blows people away," said Jeff Bock, senior box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. "We haven't had that for a few summers, to be honest — that true blockbuster that comes out of nowhere. What we get is pretty known commodities and huge franchises."

For a great many of the summer's biggest movies — "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2," ''Alien: Covenant," the fifth installments in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Transformers" franchises, "Wonder Woman," ''Cars 3," ''Despicable Me 3," ''Spider-Man: Homecoming" — the main objective will be to satisfy fans of the franchises.

Others are hoping for something fresher.

Edgar Wright, the British writer-director of "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz," is a battle-scarred veteran of that machine, having spent years writing and developing Marvel's "Ant-Man" before departing it over creative differences. This summer, he returns with "Baby Driver" (June 28), his "musical car chase movie" about a fresh-faced getaway driver who obsessively soundtracks his high-speed chases.

"It ended up being very fortuitous to come out of a heartbreaking experience and jump straight into something I had already written and I really wanted to do and was my dream movie," said Wright. "Maybe the day after I left the other movie, literally one of the first emails I got from (production company) Working Title just said 'Baby Driver next?'"

Following its enthusiastic reception at SXSW in March, "Baby Driver" was pushed by Sony Pictures from August into the heart of the summer. "It won't be like anything else that's out in the cinema at that time," said Wright. "It's up against the behemoths like 'Transformers,' 'Despicable Me' and 'Spider-man,' but it's not like any of those movies."

Others are trying to reorient the summer movie. Christopher Nolan, who enjoys a rarified position in Hollywood given his successes, will trot out his World War II tale "Dunkirk," about the British evacuation in France. Largely shot with IMAX cameras, "Dunkirk" is the kind of grand historical epic that rarely appears in summer, let alone any other time of year.

Some films find reinvention in a shift in perspective. Sofia Coppola's "The Beguiled" (June 30), adapted from the 1966 Civil War novel by Thomas P. Cullinan, takes a more female view of the story of a Union soldier who takes shelter in a Confederate girls boarding school than the 1971 version starring Clint Eastwood. Kumail Nanjiani's "The Big Sick" (June 23) is a funny and tender rom-com, only told with more realism than usual in the genre and a less familiar cultural context. Nanjiani plays a Pakistani-American stand-up trying to evade an arranged marriage, and is inspired by Nanjiani's meeting of his wife and collaborator, Emily Gordon.

New players are also shaking up the summer. Kathryn Bigelow's "Detroit" (Aug. 4), about the city's 1967 riots, will be the first summer film distributed by Megan Ellison's acclaimed Annapurna Pictures. That, too, is untraditional summer programming, but Bigelow has made a career out of turning complex subjects into heart-pounding cinema. The timing, Bigelow said, has less to do with the summer season than the 50th anniversary of the unrest.

But the most significant new entrant to the season is Netflix, which will be rolling out its most ambitious efforts yet. Bong Joon Ho's sci-fi fantasy "Okja," with Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, arrives June 28. And with David Michod's Afghanistan war satire "War Machine," starring Brad Pitt as a fictionalized Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the streaming service will take a significant step up in scale (it paid $50 million for the film) and star power.

"This is a Netflix film and there's something about that that really excites me," said Michod. "Maybe this isn't the kind of movie the studios would put into a wide release in this time of year. There's something about the Netflix revolution that makes me feel: Why not?"

It's the kind of subject matter and style — a see-sawing, absurdist tone inspired by films like "Catch-22" and "M-A-S-H," that today's studios likely wouldn't touch. But Michod ("Animal Kingdom," ''The Rover") said the world — and the summer movie season — "could use more wild and unusual movies."

"We needed freedom and we needed to be working with people who embraced the risk of the venture," said the Australian director. "And all of that has certainly proved to be true with our experience with Netflix. Something about making films for traditional, arguably staid theatrical rollouts has steadily crushed risk-taking on a grand scale."

So, no, the summer movie season isn't the same. But in the shadow of superheroes, a new kind of summer movie — on screens big and small — might be growing.


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at:

Burt Reynolds makes rare public appearance at film festival

Robert De Niro helped Burt Reynolds onto the red carpet for the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of his new movie "Dog Years" Saturday night in New York. It was a rare appearance for the 81-year old actor, who at times struggled to walk.

Reynolds was given a chair on the red carpet, so that he could speak to a limited number of press outlets about the film.

He was overjoyed at the turnout.

"Great to see Mr. De Niro, who I love, and ... you know, all the people that I know," Reynolds said. "It's very sweet."

In the film, which is still shopping for distribution, Reynolds portrays an aging movie star who realizes his best days are behind him. The actor sees similarities in the character with his own life.

Reynolds laughed at the obvious parallel with his own life, though he said, "I guess I'm doing all right. I think because it's a hell of a turnout."

Written and directed by Adam Rifkin, the film also stars "Modern Family's" Ariel Winter, Chevy Chase and Nikki Blonsky.

Reynolds joked about working with younger co-stars.

"You don't learn from young actors," Reynolds said. "You just tell them how to behave."

'The Fate of the Furious' laps new films at box office

"The Fate of the Furious" sped into first place at the box office again, leaving new thriller "Unforgettable" and historical drama "The Promise" in the dust.

Universal Pictures' eighth installment in "The Fast and the Furious" franchise earned $38.7 million in North American theaters over the weekend, down 61 percent from its debut, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The newcomers could not compete with the high-octane film, which had the biggest worldwide opening of all time last weekend. It has earned $908.4 million globally so far and is expected to cross $1 billion this week.

Holdovers dominated the charts on this quiet weekend in theaters. "The Boss Baby" took second place with $12.8 million, and "Beauty and the Beast" landed in third with $10 million.

Disney's animal documentary "Born in China" opened in fourth place, with $5.1 million from 1,508 locations. The two other new movies fared worse.

Warner Bros. thriller "Unforgettable," starring Katherine Heigl as a jealous ex-wife and Rosario Dawson as the new fiancee, opened at No. 7 with just $4.8 million. Critics were tough on the film, and audiences gave it a deathly C CinemaScore rating.

The directorial debut of longtime producer Denise Di Novi cost only $12 million to make, but the meager result still disappointed.

"Unfortunately, the movie just missed the intended audience," said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.' president of domestic distribution. "We had higher expectations, and we're disappointed we didn't achieve them."

There is a silver lining for the studio. The buddy comedy "Going in Style," starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, is chugging along after three weeks in theaters, taking fifth place with $5 million.

Meanwhile, the historical epic "The Promise," starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, bombed with a mere $4.1 million from 2,251 theaters.

The movie delves into the mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey that many countries and most historians call genocide. Turkey still denies genocide, saying the deaths stemmed from civil unrest and war.

It's not a surprise the film, which was estimated to cost around $100 million to make, failed to gain traction, comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said.

"It didn't really jump out as anything that would be a surprising box-office hit," Dergarabedian said. "But it wasn't really about the box office."

Made outside the studio system and distributed by Open Road Films, the point of "The Promise" was to raise awareness around a global event that many know nothing about, he said.

Celebrities from Kim Kardashian West to Cher promoted the film on social media. Its makers said they will donate all proceeds to nonprofits and intend to use the PG-13-rated film as an education tool in schools.

"It was a tough weekend in general for the newcomers," Dergarabedian said, noting that many moviegoers are likely saving up for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," which hits theaters May 5.

"It's a quiet period," he added. "This is the interlude between the spring movie season and what promises to be the biggest summer movie season ever."

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

1."The Fate of the Furious," $38.7 million ($163.4 million international).

2."The Boss Baby," $12.8 million ($30 million international).

3."Beauty and the Beast," $10 million ($22.9 million international).

4."Born in China," $5.1 million ($100,000 international).

5."Going in Style," $5 million ($4.6 million international).

6."Smurfs: The Lost Village," $4.9 million ($21.4 million international).

7."Unforgettable," $4.8 million ($1.7 million international).

8."Gifted," $4.5 million.

9."The Promise," $4.1 million.

10."The Lost City of Z," $2.1 million.


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

1. "The Fate of the Furious," $163.4 million.

2. "The Boss Baby," $30 million.

3. "Beauty and the Beast," $22.9 million.

4. "Smurfs: The Lost Village," $21.4 million.

5. "Mr. Pride vs Miss Prejudice," $7.7 million.

6. "Going in Style," $4.6 million.

7. "The Shack," $4 million.

8. "Ghost in the Shell," $3.7 million.

9. "Life," $3.4 million.

10. "A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella," $3 million.


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.


Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at:

Hillary Clinton makes surprise appearance at Tribeca Fest

The premiere of a virtual reality short by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow was already a high-profile event at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday night. And then Hillary Clinton walked onstage.

Clinton was an unannounced panelist, there to discuss the scourge of elephant poaching — the subject of Bigelow's eight-minute film "The Protectors: Walk in the Rangers' Shoes," about park rangers trying to save elephants in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

She spoke about her work to save elephants from poachers slaughtering them for their ivory tusks, both as secretary of state in the Obama administration, and later with her family foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative.

"We've got to bust this market so it can't come back," she said of the illegal ivory market.

Before Clinton and the three other panelists were interviewed by Bigelow, the audience donned virtual reality headsets at their seats and experienced — in 360 degrees — what it's like to be one of the 200 rangers fighting well-armed poachers in the park the size of Delaware. The film gives the viewer both the experience of being in the grass and searching for poachers, and up in the air looking down. A wrenching scene shows the rangers arriving at the carcass of a slaughtered elephant.

"I realized that there was an intersection between poaching and terrorism, which led me to this project," Bigelow said. The director of "The Hurt Locker" and "Zero Dark Thirty" directed the short along with Imraan Ismail, a virtual-reality veteran, who also was on Saturday's panel. "They're outmanned and outgunned and they're putting themselves in the line of fire," Ismail said of the rangers.

Clinton told the audience that she first became focused on what she called "the horrific slaughter of elephants" when she was secretary of state.

"It became clear to everyone that this was not just a terrible crisis when it came to the elephant population, it was a trade, a trafficking that was funding a lot of bad folks, a lot of bad actors," she said. "It was being used to take ivory and sell it in order to buy more weapons, and support the kind of terroristic activity that these and other groups were engaged in."

Clinton noted that while China was the biggest market for illegal ivory, the United States was the second-biggest. "So China is going to be a key player but we are, too," she said.

The former Democratic presidential candidate noted that Saturday was Earth Day, "and we are marching on behalf of science," referring to marches throughout the U.S. on Saturday.

"And part of science is understanding the intricate relationships that we share with all those on this planet and particularly large mammals like elephants, who have a role to play both in reality and in our imaginations," she said.

Clinton told Bigelow that her virtual reality film was "so critical, because it is a portal — a portal that people can go into and think about, 'Here we are in New York, what can I do?' And there is a lot that can be done — stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand. And part of that is protecting these rangers, who are up against some of the most ruthless killers anywhere on the planet right now, and doing the very best they can."

The Tribeca appearance was one of a series Clinton has made lately in New York, including turning up at several Broadway shows, speaking at a recent women's conference, and accepting an award this week from an LGBT community group. Audiences have greeted her with loud cheers and ovations, as they did on Saturday night.

National Geographic will release Bigelow's short on May 1 on the virtual reality app Within, and on YouTube and Facebook360 the following week. The film is a co-production of the virtual reality company Here Be Dragons and the film production company Annapurna Pictures.

'Avatar' sequels now scheduled to start in December 2020

James Cameron has set the release dates for the next four "Avatar" sequels, with the first coming in 2020.

The movie's Facebook page Saturday posted a photo of Cameron and his massive film crew, who have been working on all four films simultaneously. The post said "Avatar 2" will hit theaters Dec. 18, 2020, and "Avatar 3" comes a year later, on Dec. 17, 2021.

The franchise then takes a three-year hiatus before returning with "Avatar 4" on Dec. 20, 2024, and "Avatar 5" on Dec. 19, 2025. The first sequel had been expected in 2018 but Cameron this year said that timetable wouldn't be met.

The original 2009 "Avatar" film has netted over $2.7 billion, centering on the conflict between humans and the blue-skinned alien race Na'vi of Pandora.

Actress Octavia Spencer to speak at Kent State commencement

Kent State University's first universitywide commencement will get a touch of Hollywood as Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer speaks to graduates of the northeastern Ohio school.

Spencer recently starred as mathematician Dorothy Vaughan in the drama "Hidden Figures." The film tells the true story of several female African-American mathematicians at NASA key to the 1960's era space race between the United States and Russia.

Spencer says it's an honor to share her personal story at Kent State.

She says she hopes her message "inspires others to dream big, never give up and pursue their passion despite the obstacles that might get in the way."

The May 13 ceremony will be the first where all graduates from the eight-campus system are honored in one place.

Kathryn Bigelow on VR after her first try: 'I love it'

As a filmmaker drawn to the most visceral forms of cinema, it was probably inevitable that Kathryn Bigelow's high-adrenaline curiosities would lead her to virtual reality.

The Oscar-winning director on Friday at the Tribeca Film Festival premiered her first VR experience, "The Protectors: Walk in the Rangers' Shoes," an eight-minute, 360-degree plunge into the lives of the Garamba National Park rangers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Bigelow directed it with Imraan Ismail, a virtual-reality veteran, and the two used the nascent, immersive medium to give a full sense of the dangers the 200 ragtag rangers face daily in guarding the Delaware-sized park, including its hundreds of perishing elephants, from the constant plundering of poachers and gunmen.

"The most important thing was to put a human face on this issue," Bigelow said in an interview alongside Ismail in the back room of a Tribeca restaurant. "My hope was that if the eyes of the world realized and recognized the kind of sacrifice they're making, then perhaps not only could they be better equipped but it also might raise recruitment."

National Geographic will release the film May 1 on the VR app Within, and on YouTube and Facebook360 the following week. It's a co-production of the VR company Here Be Dragons and the film production company Annapurna Pictures — making it a kind of fusion of both worlds.

Even in its brief eight minutes, viewers of "The Protectors" will readily recognize the same cinematic command Bigelow brought to her Academy Award winner "The Hurt Locker" and her most recent film, the Osama bin Laden hunt thriller "Zero Dark Thirty."

"The Protectors" follows the rangers through the tall grass, on the trail of poachers and in an apparent fire-fight with attackers. In one memorable shot, a helicopter lands right on top of the viewer.

Bigelow's virtual reality debut left her excited for its journalistic potential to inform and foster empathy.

"I love it," Bigelow said of the medium. "I think it's all about content, though. It's not tech first; it's content first.

"It opens up corridors to awareness and information about social geopolitical issues that you would otherwise have very little access to," she added. "That's the beauty of journalism is to bring you to environments, stories, profiles of people that you otherwise have little or no access to. I think what's beautiful is the piece is that it's very objective. Here are these men and these are their thoughts. It's very intimate and yet what they're doing is so profound."

A number of big-name filmmakers have recently tried their hand at VR, including Jon Favreau and Alejandro Inarritu, who's to debut a virtual reality work next month at the Cannes Film Festival.

But Bigelow, 65, may be the most significant of the bunch because of her interest in getting as close as possible to her subjects and in combining storytelling with journalism. She often works in tandem with journalist-screenwriter Mark Boal, including on their upcoming feature film, "Detroit," about the 1967 riots.

Ismail, too, has a journalistic sensibility. His award-winning "The Displaced," a New York Times VR film Ismail co-directed, followed three children refugees from Syria, Ukraine and Sudan.

With "The Protectors," he said: "Hopefully we're able to tell some of that story and make this complex, abstract position something a little more granular that you can grasp. And you can be like: 'That guy, I feel for him."

So does Bigelow see great potential in virtual reality?

"Hard to say," she responds. "I think so, if the desire to use it is content-driven and you want to have it be an experiential, totally immersive, empathetic understanding of the subject, then, yes, 100 percent. Not that film can't do that. Film, of course, can do that. But the beauty of this is there is a kind of 'x factor' that it provides."

"What's exciting is how physical it is. The sound is dictating your movement. It's like, 'Oh, the helicopter is landing on top of you and then a guy is jumping out the back of it.' It pulls you around," said Bigelow. "It's not passive. I always think, though, (in movies), there is engagement. The screen asks you to lean in and you ask the screen to interact and you kind of meet in the middle. But what's great here is there is no passive opportunity to experience this."


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Greece's tireless king of slapstick comedy dies at 66

Stathis Psaltis, the gaunt, hyperactive Greek actor who gained a large following starring in dozens of low-budget comedy movies, has died in an Athens hospital. He was 66.

A statement from the state-run Agios Savvas hospital said Psaltis died Friday after being hospitalized five weeks ago for cancer treatment.

Psaltis churned out as many as four movies a year at the peak of his career in the mid-1980s, when the quality of Greece's film industry was in decline.

Fellow actors praised him Friday as a generous and talented colleague, whose standout performances in the theater and cinema never reached a wider audience.

He is survived by his wife, Christina, and daughter, Maria. He is scheduled to be buried in Athens on Monday.

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