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Peter Dinklage Cast in Hunger Games Prequel Movie, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

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By ANI | Updated: 19 July 2022 10:09 IST

Peter Dinklage — best known for playing Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones — has been cast as Casca Highbottom, dean of the Academy, in the upcoming prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Produced by Lionsgate, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is an adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ novel of the same name.

Back in 2014, when the four-film Hunger Games franchise wrapped up, it had earned over $3 billion (about Rs. 24,000 crore) globally. Now Lionsgate is looking to extend the lifespan with the adaptation of Collins’ latest entry in the dystopian series.

Dinklage will star in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes opposite Tom Blyth, who plays the young Coriolanus Snow, and Rachel Zegler, as tribute Lucy Gray Baird.

Josh Andrés Rivera, Hunter Schafer, and Jason Schwartzman are also part of the cast, as Snow’s close friend Sejanus Plinth, Snow’s cousin and confidante Tigris Snow, and 10th Hunger Games host Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman, respectively.

Francis Lawrence, who directed three of the four Hunger Games movies, is back in the helmer’s seat with franchise producer Nina Jacobson and her partner Brad Simpson back as producers. Michael Lesslie wrote the latest draft of the screenplay.

The prequel’s logline from Lionsgate reads: “Years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is the last hope for his fading lineage, a once-proud family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With the 10th annual Hunger Games fast approaching, the young Snow is alarmed when he is assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird, the girl tribute from impoverished District 12.”

“But after Lucy Gray commands all of Panem’s attention by defiantly singing during the reaping ceremony, Snow thinks he might be able to turn the odds in their favor. Uniting their instincts for showmanship and newfound political savvy, Snow and Lucy’s race against time to survive will ultimately reveal who is a songbird and a snake,” it continues.

Dinklage most recently starred in Cyrano for director Joe Wright. His upcoming work includes Brothers opposite Josh Brolin and Brendan Fraser, and She Came to Me opposite Anne Hathaway and Marisa Tomei for writer-director Rebecca Miller.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set to hit theatres worldwide on November 17, 2023.

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Netflix Co-Founder Reed Hastings Steps Down as CEO, Streaming Service Adds Over 7 Million Subscribers in Q4 2022

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Bela Bajaria, Netflix's head of global television, was named chief content officer.
By Reuters | Updated: 20 January 2023

Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings announced on Thursday he will step down as chief executive, handing the reins of the streaming service to his longtime partner and co-CEO, Ted Sarandos, and the company’s chief operating officer, Greg Peters.

Sarandos and Peters will share the title of chief executives, with Hastings serving as executive chairman. The change is effective immediately, representing the culmination of a decade of succession planning by the board. Both Peters and Sarandos were promoted in July 2020, amid a challenging time for the company.

“It was a baptism by fire, given Covid and recent challenges within our business,” Hastings wrote in a blog post announcing his departure. “But they’ve both managed incredibly well … so the board and I believe it’s the right time to compete my succession.”

Hastings makes his exit on a high note. Netflix reported it added 7.66 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, beating Wall Street forecasts of 4.57 million with help from “Harry & Meghan” and “Wednesday” in the battle to attract streaming television viewers.

The streaming video pioneer has been under pressure from restrained consumer spending and competition from Walt Disney, Amazon.com and others spending billions of dollars to make TV shows and movies for online audiences.

Netflix lost customers in the first half of 2022. It returned to growth in the second half, but new customer additions remains below the pace of recent years.

To kickstart growth, Netflix introduced a cheaper, ad-supported option last November in 12 countries. It also has announced plans to crack down on password sharing.

The company’s global subscriber base hit 231 million at the end of December.

Audiences flocked to Addams family tale “Wednesday,” the third-most watched show in Netflix history, the company said. Murder mystery “Glass Onion” and British royals documentary “Harry & Meghan” also were hits during the quarter.

Net income fell to $55 million (roughly Rs. 446 crore) or 12 cents per share, from $607 million (roughly Rs. 4,932 crore) or $1.33 per share (roughly Rs. 100) a year earlier. Revenue rose 1.9 percent to $7.85 billion (roughly Rs. 63,778 crore), in line with expectations.

Bela Bajaria, Netflix’s head of global television, was named chief content officer.

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Women’s IPL: Viacom18 Bags Media Rights for 2023-27 Cycle for Rs. 951 Crore

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The first match of the Women's Indian Premier League (WIPL) is scheduled to take place in March.
By ANI | Updated: 16 January 2023

Viacom18 secured the Women’s Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights value for the 2023-2027 cycle for a whopping Rs. 951 crore which means per match value of Rs. 7.09 crore for the next 5 years. The BCCI will unveil the five WIPL franchises on January 25.

The news comes as a massive development for women’s cricket on Monday as Women Indian Premier League (WIPL) media rights was auctioned. The news was confirmed by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah on his Twitter account on Monday.

“Congratulations @viacom18 for winning the Women’s @IPL media rights. Thank you for your faith in @BCCI and @BCCIWomen. Viacom has committed INR 951 crores which means per match value of Rs. 7.09 crores for next 5 years (2023-27). This is massive for Women’s Cricket,” Jay Shah tweeted on Monday.

Viacom has pledged Rs. 951 crore, and Rs. 7.09 crore for each match, for the next five years.

The Women’s T20 Challenge was initially held as an exhibition tournament, but the BCCI last year eventually made the decision to introduce the WIPL, with the first season’s opening match scheduled for March. The BCCI has not officially released the tournament’s schedule, but it is widely believed that the first season, which would consist of 22 matches, will take place between March 5 and March 23.

Uncapped cricketers have been given two alternatives, while players with caps–those who have represented India or are currently on a central contract–can select either Rs. 30 lakh, Rs. 40 lakh, or Rs. 50 lakh as their base pricing (Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 20 lakh).

Before the WIPL, the base price has been separated into five categories, ranging from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 50 lakh. The auction’s registration cutoff date is January 26.

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Golden Globes 2023 to Stream in India on Lionsgate Play on January 11: All Details

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Comedian and actor Jerrod Carmichael will host the 2023 Golden Globes, along with presenters Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, and Tracy Morgan.
By Press Trust of India | Updated: 4 January 2023

The 80th edition of the Golden Globe Awards will stream exclusively on Lionsgate Play in India, the streaming service announced on Wednesday. Lionsgate Play subscribers in the country can catch the annual award ceremony live from The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California at 6:30am IST on January 11, according to a press release.

The red carpet coverage of the event, which will see pan-India blockbuster RRR contend in best picture — non-English and best original song — motion picture (for Telugu song Naatu Naatu) categories, will begin at 5:30am IST. The Golden Globe Awards will also stream exclusively on Lionsgate Play in Malaysia and the Philippines.

Amit Dhanuka, executive vice president, Lionsgate, said after a phenomenal year for Lionsgate Play in India, the platform is happy to add Golden Globes to its award event line-up which already boasts of Emmy Awards and American Music Awards.

“The Golden Globe Awards are viewed in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, Lionsgate Play is delighted to announce the exclusive live streaming in India, Malaysia and Philippines of the prestigious event for their landmark 80th anniversary,” Dhanuka said in a prepared statement.

From Lionsgate Play, political series Gaslit has bagged one nomination for lead star Julia Roberts in the limited series actress category.

“We remain committed to providing premium and diverse content to our audiences, and events such as the much-awaited Golden Globes stand testament to that – the nominations and performances are widely spoken about across the globe, and this year’s ceremony will be record-breaking in a true sense. We are excited for Julia Roberts’ nomination for Gaslit, look forward to her win,” he added.

The nominations for the 2023 Golden Globe Awards were announced on December 12 last year. The awards, conducted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), honour the best in film and American television.

Among Black talent, Niecy Nash’s nomination (Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story) could put her on the path to becoming one of the first Black actresses to win a Globe for any limited series.

Jenna Ortega (Wednesday) is the second youngest competitor in the history of the category for best performance by an actress in a musical or comedy series. Other notable nominations include father-and-son acting stars Brendan and Domhnall Gleeson flying the flag for Ireland this year at the awards with The Banshees of Inisherin and The Patient, respectively.

There are 41 first timers in this year’s nominations pool, including RRR music composer M M Keeravani, Julia Garner (Ozark), Adam Scott (Severance), Aubrey Plaza (The White Lotus), Austin Butler (Elvis), Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin), Selena Gomez (Only Murders in the Building), Zendaya (Euphoria), and Emma D’Arcy (House of the Dragon).

Comedian and actor Jerrod Carmichael will host the event which has the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, and Tracy Morgan named as presenters for the ceremony.

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Trial by Fire: Netflix Series on 1997 Uphaar Cinema Fire Sets January 13 Release Date

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Based on an eponymous book that chronicled a couple's lengthy legal battle for justice.
By Press Trust of India | Updated: 14 December 2022

Trial by Fire, a limited series based on the 1997 Uphaar Cinema fire in Delhi which claimed 59 lives, is the next Indian original series from Netflix. It will start streaming from January 13, 2023.

Inspired by the bestseller book Trial by Fire: The Tragic Tale of the Uphaar Fire Tragedy by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, the upcoming Netflix show is directed by Prashant Nair, who also served as the showrunner.

Rajshri Deshpande and Abhay Deol play the roles of Neelam and Shekhar, the real-life couple who lost their two children to the tragedy, and fought a long legal battle for justice.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Nair said the Krishnamoorthys are inspiring examples of the kind of resilience and fortitude it takes to move the needle even slightly in this country.

“What happened to them and the way they have been forced to fight for justice is truly horrific and, unfortunately, there are countless other people today in similar situations. We are grateful to Netflix for being such courageous partners in telling this story,” the director added.

The fateful evening of June 13, 1997 saw the loss of 59 lives, with another 100 injured film-goers, as a fire took over the Uphaar Cinema in South Delhi.

Trial By Fire will depict their endless trials and tribulations in the pursuit of justice over 24 years while also looking at the other lives touched and destroyed by the fire.

Produced by Endemol Shine India and House of Talkies, the Netflix show also stars Rajesh Tailang, Ashish Vidyarthi, Anupam Kher, Ratna Pathak, Shilpa Shukla, and Shardul Bharadwaj.

All episodes of Trial by Fire are out January 13, 2023 on Netflix worldwide.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Announces Season 2 Cast, Currently Filming in the UK

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Sam Hazeldine (Peaky Blinders) will replace Joseph Mawle in the role of Orc leader Adar.
By Press Trust of India | Updated: 2 December 2022

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has roped in seven new recurring cast members for the forthcoming second season, which is currently in production in the UK.

Actors Gabriel Akuwudike, Yasen Atour, Ben Daniels, Amelia Kenworthy, Nia Towle, and Nicholas Woodeson have joined the show along with Sam Hazeldine (Peaky Blinders), who will be replacing Joseph Mawle in the role of Orc leader Adar.

“Since its premiere, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has been bringing audiences together to experience the magic and wonder of J.R.R. Tolkien’s magnificent Middle-earth. To date, season one is the top Original series for Amazon Prime Video in every region and has been viewed by over 100 million people worldwide, a truly global hit that speaks to the universal nature of powerful storytelling.

“We welcome these wonderful actors to our ‘fellowship’ and look forward to telling more incredible Second Age stories in season two,” Vernon Sanders, Head of Global Television, Amazon Studios, said in a statement.

The Rings of Power is primarily based on the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, specifically the description of Middle-earth’s Second Age, and includes younger versions of some of the key characters from the original trilogy.

Set thousands of years before the events of Tolkien’s famed book series, the Amazon show follows the forging of the original rings of power during the Second Age that allowed the Dark Lord Sauron to spread evil across Middle-earth.

J.D. Payne has co-created the show with Patrick McKay. Payne also serves as the showrunner.

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Gears of War Netflix Live-Action Movie, Adult Animated Series in the Works

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By ANI | Updated: 8 November 2022

Gears of War, one of the most popular Xbox video game series of all time, is coming to Netflix.

Netflix announced Monday that it will produce a feature film adaptation of the sci-fi shooter game, followed by an adult animated series. The streamer also mentions the “possibility of additional stories to follow.”

Gears of War was released 16 years ago today and to mark the occasion, Netflix has partnered with The Coalition to adapt the @GearsofWar video game saga into a live action feature film, followed by an adult animated series — with the potential for more stories to follow! pic.twitter.com/3zInFSnUu4— Netflix (@netflix) November 7, 2022

The Coalition, a video game developer that took over Gears of War when Microsoft purchased the series’ licence from original creator Epic Games, has collaborated with Netflix on the planned adaptations.

The first Gears of War game was launched exclusively on the Xbox 360 in 2006. It featured a macho team of troops known as Delta Squad as they battled the Locust Horde, a subterranean extra-terrestrial civilisation that decimates humanity.

Marcus Fenix, Dominic ‘Dom’ Santiago, Augustus Cole, and Damon Baird were the core Delta Squad members. They utilised heavy-duty guns, rocket launchers, and lancers — rifles with chainsaws attached — to dispatch the Locust swarms.

Since then, the Gears of War franchise has sold over 40 million copies across five primary entries and various spin-offs, making it one of the most popular Xbox franchises.

The games are credited with redefining the third-person shooter video game genre, including suitable options that allow players to take on the Locust Horde with a friend.

The Netflix announcement coincides with the 16th anniversary of the first Gears of War game.

Several attempts have been made throughout the years to adapt Gears of War for the big screen.

A film adaptation was temporarily lofted by New Line Cinema in 2007 before Scott Stuber, who is currently in charge of Netflix’s original content, joined Epic Games as a producer in 2014.

In 2018, Universal Pictures recruited F. Scott Frazier to write an adaptation, but no further action was taken.

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