Desi Talk – that’s all you need to know 22 ENTERTAINMENT January 8, 2021 Theaters Look To Bond And Black Widow To Spark 2021 Moviegoing -LOS ANGELES M ovie theater operators, after a year of dismal ticket sales during the pandemic, are hoping a lineup of superheroes, fighter pilots and cinema’s most famous spy will help them stage a comeback in 2021. Roughly two-thirds of theaters remain shut in the United States and Canada, normally the world’s largest filmmarket. Box office receipts in 2020 plunged 80% from a year earlier. But theater owners and industry analysts see reason for optimism as COVID-19 vaccines roll out and James Bond, BlackWidow and other heroes star in new block- busters set to begin lighting up screens in the spring. “I think we’ll see a lot of improvements throughout 2021, but I do think it will take some time to get there,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst with BoxOfficePro. com. “It won’t be an overnight return to normal by any means.” The timing of any rebound is uncertain, as debut dates could change. Hollywood executives have repeatedly shuffled their schedules as they try to judge when the pandemic will fade. Initial excitement over vaccines has been tempered by slow distribution. And audiences will have more choices to stream at home. Currently, studios plan to send theaters a heavy lineup of big-budget movies that were yanked from the 2020 schedule. James Bond thriller “No Time to Die,” fromMGM and Comcast Corp’s Universal Pictures, is scheduled for April. “BlackWidow,” fromWalt Disney Co’s Marvel Studios, and Universal’s new “Fast & Furious” installment are set for May. Anticipated summer movies include “Top Gun: Maver- ick” fromViacomCBS Inc’s Paramount Pictures, Univer- sal’s animated “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” and Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” The theater business was buoyed by the turnout for “WonderWoman 1984” over the Christmas holiday. While far short of a normal action movie debut, ticket sales for the movie from AT&T Inc’sWarner Bros. came in higher than expected, even though U.S. audiences could stream the film at home on HBO Max. Warner Bros. plans the same dual-release strategy in 2021 for 17 films, including a “Dune” remake and “Godzilla vs. Kong.” The performance of “WonderWoman 1984” demon- strated an appetite for the big screen, B. Riley analyst EricWold said in a research note. “This helps support the thesis that when consumers are allowed back to theaters with attractive content, they will once again become moviegoers,” saidWold, who follows major chains including AMC Entertainment and Cinemark. B&B Theatres, which operates in nine states, sold out some of its “WonderWoman 1984” showtimes on Christ- mas Day, executives said. But they offered only 25% to 50% of seats, depending on the state, to ensure social distancing. “We’re seeing week after week our attendance go up,” said executive vice president Bobbie Bagby Ford. But she added she did not expect the industry to hit “any semblance of normal” until vaccinations expand and attendance limits can be lifted. “It’s probably going to be the holidays of 2021 before I see us back to full swing,” she said. - ANI Pak Authorities Approve 23 Million Pakistani Rupees To Buy Ancestral Houses Of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor In Peshawar F or the purchase of the ancestral houses of legendary Indian actors Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor located in the walled city of Peshawar, the Khyber Pakh- tunkhwa Chief Minister has approved an amount of PKR 23.56 million, The Express Tribune reported. The amount will soon be released to the Deputy Com- missioner (DC) for payment to the landowners. The Raj Kapoor’s ancestral haveli at Ander Shaher Bazaar will be bought for Rs 15 million and Dilip Kumar’s house in Mo- halla Khudadad will be acquired for Rs 8.56 million. To turn the havelis into museums to attract tourism, the government has planned to acquire the properties and renovate them, as both are in bad shape. As the once magnificent haveli of Kapoor family is in ruins and not inhabited due to the depleted condition, the local inhabitants of Peshawar were demanding the acquisition of both houses for a long time. The Express Tribune reported that for a long time the owners were not willing to sell these houses as the government was reportedly not willing to pay the market prices. On the other hand, the government claimed that the owners were demanding exorbitantly higher prices and blackmailing the authorities due to the importance of these houses in the eyes of local residents. Now, the government has fixed a price on its own and it remains to be seen whether it will be acceptable for the owners as the landlord of the Kapoor’s haveli was plan- ning to build a shopping mall and demolish the building when he failed to reach a consensus with the authorities over the pricing. While on the one side, the government was offering a very small sum for both the houses in the past. For a long time, the prices of the houses remained a bone of conten- tion as the landowners were also demanding billions and a far higher price than that of the market average. Director Archaeology Department Dr Abdul Sumad said they were trying to estimate the cost of renovation of both the buildings as the department has declared these houses national assets, reported The Express Tribune. Philanthropist and veteran actor Dilip Kumar also known as ‘The Tragedy King’ has been credited for bringing the Method acting technique to Indian cinema. Kumar, whose career spans over five decades, has worked in over 65 films. The legendary star is known for roles in films such as the romantic ‘Andaz’, the swashbuckling ‘Aan’, the social drama ‘Daag’, the dramatic ‘Devdas’, ‘ Azaad’, the epic his- torical ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, ‘Gunga Jamuna’ and the comedy ‘Ram Aur Shyam’. Actor, producer and director of Indian cinema, Raj Kapoor is widely regarded as the greatest showman in the history of Indian cinema and entertainment. During his lifetime, the actor was two-time nominee for the Palme d’Or grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his films Awaara and ‘Boot Polish’. His hit films includ- ing ‘Awaara’, ‘Shree 420′,’Jagte Raho’, ‘Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai’ and ‘Mera Naam Joker’ are loved by audience till date. - ANI Photo:Twitter Reuters/Mark Makela Dilip Kumar Shoppers walk past an advertisement for the upcoming James Bond film “NO TIME TO DIE” whose release has been delayed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at the Christiana Mall in Newark, Delaware U.S. November 19, 2020. Discovery+ Streaming Service To Launch On Roku, Amazon Fire TV And Others D iscovery+, the new streaming service from Dis- covery Inc., will launch Monday in the United States on services and platforms that include Amazon Fire TV and Roku, according to a source familiar with the company - two deals that eluded streaming rivals Peacock and HBO Max at their respective launches. Discovery+ will also be available to Vodafone TV and mobile customers in 12 European markets with promo- tions that will vary by market, according to the source. AT&T Inc- ownedWarnerMedia launched HBO MAX in May, but not being accessible through Roku and Amazon challenged its growth. HBO Max did not become avail- able on Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets until Nov. 17 and on the Roku streaming platform a month later. Comcast Corp-owned NBCUniversal’s Peacock stream- ing service, which launched on July 15, did not become available on Roku until Sept. 21. It is still not available on Amazon Fire TV. Distribution deals for streaming services have been complicated by issues such as which company controls user data that can be used to create more targeted - and therefore more expensive - ads. Discovery had previously announced a U.S. distribu- tion deal with Verizon Communications Inc that will make the service available to 50 million customers on day one, following a similar deal struck by Verizon and Walt Disney Co for the launch of the Disney+ streaming service. Discovery has also distribution deals with British broadcaster Sky in the UK and Ireland, Telecom Italia in Italy and Megogo in Eastern Europe. The new service will feature an emphasis on un- scripted programming and include 55,000 episodes from Discovery channels including HGTV, Food Network and Animal Planet. It will cost $4.99 per month with ads, or $6.99 per month ad-free. - Reuters By Helen Coster