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Nicki Minaj Expands The English Language On Her Version Of Blueface’s ‘Thotiana’

Nicki Minaj remains one of the hottest rappers in the industry right now, but she continues to show that she’s hungry to be even bigger. Out of nowhere, Nicki has dropped her own version of viral rap sensation Blueface‘s single “Thotiana.” Listen to Nicki’s version – christened “Bust Down Barbiana” – below.

Nicki’s rendition of Blueface’s jam gets imaginative with its wordplay. Throughout its two-minute runtime, Nicki creates a plethora of words such as “Cockiana,” which means cocky; “Topiana,” which means top; and “Sloppiana,” which means sloppy. She name drops the “Thank U, Next” sensation Ariana Grande (“Thank you next, Ariana”), gives a verbal head nod to Teyana Taylor (“Flow tailor-made, like Teyana”), and shouts out Yves Saint Laurent (“Then shut down Yves Saint, Lauriana”), all in the name of rhyming.

For more Barbie bars, you’ll want to check out “Barbie Goin Bad” and “Barbie Drip,” her own versions of “Going Bad,” by Meek Mill and Drake, and “Drip Too Hard,” by Lil Baby and Gunna, respectively. She dropped the freestyles on her Queen Radio show earlier this week.

Nicki is getting ready to head on out a European tour with Juice WRLD in March. Her last studio album, Queen, came out in August. Last Friday, she released a spooky video for one of the album’s cuts, “Hard White.”

As for Blueface’s “Thotiana,” get prepared to hear more of it. YG just hopped on the remix, and Cardi B was recently filmed in the studio laying down some raps over the instrumental. Who knows who else will put their spin on it.

Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin Waited Until Marriage to Have Sex

Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin’s whirlwind romance was one of the most buzzed-about celebrity stories in 2018. The couple became engaged in July after just a few weeks of dating, and by September they officially tied the knot at a New York courthouse. (A formal ceremony is still TBD.) Bieber and Baldwin open up about their relationship in Vogue’s March cover story and reveal a new tidbit of information, as well: They waited until marriage to have sex.

According to Vogue, Bieber was more than a year into “a self-imposed tenure of celibacy” when he and Baldwin started dating. His reasoning? He had a “legitimate problem with sex” and decided to forgo it to strengthen his relationship with God.

“[God] doesn’t ask us not to have sex for him because he wants rules and stuff,” Bieber tells Vogue. “He’s like, ‘I’m trying to protect you from hurt and pain.’ I think sex can cause a lot of pain. Sometimes people have sex because they don’t feel good enough. Because they lack self-worth. Women do that, and guys do that. I wanted to rededicate myself to God in that way because I really felt it was better for the condition of my soul. And I believe that God blessed me with Hailey as a result. There are perks. You get rewarded for good behavior.”

A desire to have sex is partially what prompted Bieber and Baldwin to quickly marry at the courthouse last fall—but they had other reasons, too. “When I saw her last June, I just forgot how much I loved her and how much I missed her and how much of a positive impact she made on my life,” Bieber says. “I was like, ‘Holy cow, this is what I’ve been looking for.’”

This confession effectively debunks any speculation Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin married because she was pregnant. In fact, it’s clear from this interview they both thought carefully before saying “I do.” “I prayed to feel peace about the decision, and that’s where I landed,” Baldwin tells Vogue. “I love him very much. I have loved him for a long time.” Read more of their candid interview over at Vogue.com.

‘Things Are Just Blurry’: Auction Houses Brace for a Volatile Year

The art market held its own last year, but the world’s chief auction houses are bracing for an unpredictable season ahead.

Christie’s International sold $7 billion of art last year, up 6% from 2017. The London-based company said on Wednesday it auctioned $6.3 billion in art, a 6% increase due in part to the $835 million estate sale of banking billionaire David Rockefeller and his wife, Peggy. The house sold an additional $653.3 million in art in privately brokered deals, up 7%. Its online-only art sales rose 20% to $86.6 million.

Avengers: Infinity War Has A Crazy Small Number Of Shots Without Visual Effects

Joe and Anthony Russo’s Avengers: Infinity War is not just a narrative epic – bringing together more than 20 established characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe – but also a remarkable visual effects feat. The depiction of Thanos, brought to life via Josh Brolin’s motion capture performance, is revolutionary all by itself, and it’s a blockbuster that transports audiences from an alien-invaded Greenwich Village, to the expanses of Wakanda, to the vastness of the cosmos.

It was a job that took an immense effort to create by teams of post-production artists, and I recently learned from Visual Effects Supervisor Dan DeLeeuw that there are only 80 shots in Avengers: Infinity War that don’t include some form of CGI:

What will happen is the [Russo] bros will work on the movie with Jeff Ford, our editor, and then we’d come in on the weekends and then we’d scrub through the film and see what they’ve done, and see what’s tweaked and what’s not. And so during the scrub, if we hit a shot that doesn’t have a number on it yet – because the number means there’s visual effects on it – if you hit a shot and there’s no number on it, you kind of check it out and make sure there’s no effects, and we’re like, ‘Yeah!’ We got to cheer like 80 times. Eighty out of… well, there’s 2,623 visual effects shots in the film.

To save you from doing the math yourselves, that’s 97% of a film with a two hour and forty minute runtime.

I had the chance to dig into the making of Avengers: Infinity War earlier this week when I had the pleasure of sitting down with not only Dan DeLeeuw, but also directors Joe and Anthony Russo, and visual effects supervisors Russell Earl and Kelly Port on the Walt Disney lot in Burbank, California. Understanding the breadth of the work done by the teams making the film, I asked what material in the movie didn’t include CGI elements, and the short answer to the question was “not much.”

As extreme as it may be, this ratio at the same time isn’t overly surprising, given that we’re talking about a movie filled with visual effects-manipulated/created characters – including Thanos, Rocket, Groot, Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight, Corvus Glaive, Cull Obsidian, Eitri, and Hulk. However, it’s even just scenes with those characters, and those set on other planets that required work from Industrial Light and Magic, Digital Domain, and Weta Digital. Even small little details in the film required their assistance.

A perfect example of this came up with Joe Russo was searching for an example of a shot without CGI. His suggestion was one of the earliest shots of Scarlet Witch in the movie – where she is featured on a bed in a hotel room in Edinburgh, Scotland – but Dan DeLeeuw pointed out even one of those shots required visual effects. This is because the wide angle featured a production crane in one of the hotel windows, and it had to be digitally erased.

There really is no exaggerating the incredible importance and influence of visual effects on Avengers: Infinity War, and the uniqueness of the situation was something that Dan DeLeeuw stressed. He admitted that sometimes the aforementioned numbers in a discussion of a blockbuster can be a bit overstated, but that’s not the case with the 2018 Marvel Studios film. Said DeLeeuw,

That was the thing about this movie, because a lot of times those numbers, you know, you can kind of inflate those numbers. But this movie was no joke. All those shots are real shots. It’s just not small stuff. There’s a handful of really complicated shots.

Rightfully so, Avengers: Infinity War is nominated for an Academy Award this year in the Best Achievement in Visual Effects category – with Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl, and Daniel Sudick specifically up for the prize. Given our collective affinity for the feature here at CinemaBlend, it’s a part of the show we’re very much interested in, as we’re curious if it will result in Marvel Studios winning its first Oscar. We’ll find out the results when the Academy Awards air on February 24th – and before then you can rewatch Infinity War on all home media platforms, including digital, 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD.

Blended From Around The Web

 

The Reinvention of Jason Wu

After Michelle Obama wore an embroidered silk chiffon one-shoulder gown by Jason Wu to her husband’s inaugural ball in 2009, the young designer was set up to become the next star of the American fashion industry.

But things didn’t turn out that way. Clothing trends moved toward edgy, casual looks, away from Mr. Wu’s demure, ladylike styles. Luxury-goods sales slumped in 2015 and 2016, hitting retailers across the globe. Today, 140 stores world-wide carry Mr. Wu’s fashions and he employs 35 people, but the buzz is muted.

Why J.K. Simmons Isn’t A Big Fan Of Biopics

If you look over J.K. Simmons’ body of work, you’ll see that he has one of the most impressive resume in Hollywood nowadays, both in the amount of projects he’s acted in and the versatility of his roles. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll also notice that he hasn’t done that many biopics, i.e. movies based on true stories. Simmons recently told me that for the most part, he’s intentionally stayed away from acting in such movies, with last November’s The Front Runner being one of the few exceptions. When I asked if there was a particular reason for this avoidance, he answered:

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with J.K. Simmons ahead of the home release of The Front Runner, the political thriller chronicling the collapse of Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart’s (played by Hugh Jackman) campaign after reports of an extramarital affair surfaced. J.K. Simmons played Hart’s campaign manager, Bill Dixon, and The Front Runner marked the latest of Simmons’ long collaboration with director Jason Reitman. But aside from joining the movie to keep working with Reitman, Simmons also felt that The Front Runner was different from other biopics because, in keeping with Reitman’s other movies, it wasn’t preaching a specific message. The moviegoer gets to interpret the events in their own way.

Aside from The Front Runner, J.K. Simmons’ other notable biopic appearances include 2013’s Jobs, where he played Arthur Rock, and 2016’s Patriots Day, where he played Sergeant Jeffrey Pugilese. And Simmons acknowledged that while he personally isn’t a big fan of biopics, there have been several he hasn’t been a part of that he’s enjoyed because they’ve taken a non-formulaic approach. In his words:

So if you’re looking for someone to lead a biopic about a historical figure’s rise to greatness throughout the decades that will inspire moviegoers, it’s unlikely J.K. Simmons will be your man. But if you are able to tell a real-life cinematic story akin to what Jason Reitman did with The Front Runner, perhaps that will catch his interest.

The Front Runner has finished its time in theaters, but you can watch it in the comfort of your own home on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD starting Tuesday, February 12. You can see J.K. Simmons on the big screen next in I’m Not Here, which opens on March 8. Be sure to look through our 2019 release schedule to learn what else is coming out this year.

The Aquaman Blu-ray Will Reportedly Have A Sneak Peek At Shazam!

With Aquaman’s record-breaking box office numbers, including its rise past $1 billion worldwide and surpassing DC’s former No. 1 hit, The Dark Knight Rises, the DC Extended Universe is riding a high wave of cash. As the underwater epic soon makes its way out of theaters and to home release, it looks like the film will be helping along the DCEU’s next installment, Shazam! with an exclusive sneak peek of the film within Aquaman’s bonus features.

Details of the German DVD release of Aquaman recently surfaced, and a three-and-a-half minute “Shazam Sneak Peek” was listed, per a recent tweet from Anton Volkov of Trailer Track.

This is exciting news! The idea of buying Aquaman on Blu-ray, DVD or Digital just got a lot easier if the final release will in fact give fans an inside look into the next DCEU film. This also means Aquaman will likely get a home release sometime in March, since Shazam! comes to theaters on April 5, and having a sneak peek doesn’t exactly make sense when it comes out after the movie is already in theaters.

While Shazam! shares the same universe with Aquaman, there isn’t expected to be much of a connection between the two films, as both are focused on telling the origin story of superheroes on the big screen for the first time ever.

The upcoming movie will follow a 14-year-old orphan named Billy Batson (Asher Angel) who is chosen by a Wizard to become “Shazam!”, an adult superhero who he transform into by shouting his name. Zachary Levi stars as the brawny, big-boy hero version of Billy, who looks like he has a blast being a hero with his friend Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) before they come across supervillain Doctor Sivana (Mark Strong).

From what we’ve seen so far, Shazam! is reminiscent of the 1998 comedy Big starring Tom Hanks, but with superheroes, which sounds awesome! The more positive outlook on the DCEU, following the success of Aquaman, could certainly propel Shazam! forward into similar territory. However, April will be jam-packed with comic book adaptations. Directly a week after Shazam! opens, Hellboy will hit theaters, and then two weeks later, the highest-anticipated film of the year Avengers: Endgame will debut. Yikes!

In addition to an up-and-coming Shazam! sneak peek, the above breakdown includes loads of bonus feature content for fans of Aquaman. It looks like the content will cover everything from the film’s groundbreaking underwater special effects, Black Manta and quite a few “scene study breakdowns” for some of the big action sequences.

Considering Aquaman was a technical accomplishment, it’s one of those films many of us could just sit and have a blast watching these behind-the-scenes looks, in addition to enjoying the movie all over again as well. There’s been no official release date set for the home release, but it’s a-coming soon! Shazam! will hit theaters on April 5.

MoviePass CEO Admits Company Made ‘A Ton Of Mistakes’

Perhaps the most fascinating saga of 2018 wasn’t some story that played out on the silver screen, but was within the industry itself with the rise and fall of MoviePass. The theatergoing subscription service shot off like a rocket before suffering some very costly and very public setbacks. Now with the benefit of hindsight, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe is able to admit that the company made some mistakes along the way. In his words:

It is interesting to hear Mitch Lowe be so humble here, admitting to the company’s mistakes when just last year, while everyone was calling the service ‘too good to be true’ and heralding its demise, MoviePass adopted an extremely defiant and somewhat cocky posture. The MoviePass of 2018 might as well have said ‘haters gonna hate’ and boasted of its invincibility, but the lessons were hard-learned and now Mitch Lowe is willing to admit that MoviePass’s errors were many.

In his sober analysis of the company’s mistakes, Mitch Lowe honed in on one in particular which might not be what you would think. Many might say charging $10 for unlimited movies was the biggest miscalculation, but speaking to The Ringer’s Andrew Gruttardo, Mitch Lowe actually sighted MoviePass’s rapid growth as part of what got them off track.

He believes that MoviePass grew too fast; 50,000 subscriptions were sold on the first day of the cheap unlimited model, and that number was tripled in three to four days. MoviePass didn’t build up steam at a measured pace like a locomotive; it was a rocket ship launching into the stratosphere. But it turns out the ship wasn’t built for those kinds of speeds.

Speaking about the logistical challenges of that rapid growth, Mitch Lowe highlighted the issue of people getting their MoviePass cards in a timely fashion, saying:

The delay in MoviePass subscribers getting their cards was one of the earliest issues to plague MoviePass under the new model. Supply simply couldn’t keep up with demand. Mitch Lowe, perhaps naively, just assumed that they could make a call and fix that issue, but that was not the case.

This isn’t the only mistake MoviePass made, and Mitch Lowe would admit that there were many, but you can see why he sights this one. It provided logistical challenges that undermined the business and shook consumers’ faith in this as something that felt scam-ish from the very beginning. The company were flying by the seat of their pants the service’s wild popularity allowed little time to step back and develop things at a measured pace.

At different points MoviePass was hoping to make revenue-sharing deals with theaters to get a portion of the ticket sales or concessions because of the increase in attendance that the service spurred (admission was up 4% and presumably at least some of that was due to MoviePass and services like it). No matter how unlikely that hope was, the rapid growth had the company burning through capital like the Joker torching mob money. So the exhibitors could basically stand their ground and wait MoviePass out.

MoviePass is now adopting a new model, new strategies to be successful and a more humble attitude that shows it wants to learn from its mistakes. Whether all of its changes will help it to overcome those early blunders remains to be seen.

Whether you use MoviePass, one of its competitors, cash or just sneak in, there are plenty of reasons to go to the movies in 2019. Check them out in our release schedule.

How Star Wars: Episode IX Might Be Using The Knights Of Ren

When he turned to the dark side and became Snoke’s apprentice, Ben Solo took on a new moniker: Kylo Ren. But he’s not the only individual in the Star Wars universe to go by Ren, though with the exception of briefly appearing in Rey’s Force vision during The Force Awakens, the other Knights of Ren have not been shown onscreen. With Episode IX wrapping up the current Star Wars trilogy and the Skywalker Saga later this year, there’ve been questions about if the Knights of Ren will factor into the story. According to a new rumor, they will indeed, and the reason that they’ve been absent from the present day Star Wars events is because they were on a mission elsewhere in a galaxy far, far away.

Take this information with a grain of salt for now, but a new report claims that Star Wars: Episode IX sees the Knights of Ren returning from a location called The Beyond. No details were provided about what exactly The Beyond is, although with a name like that, perhaps it’s located in the Unknown Regions, a largely unexplored area of the Star Wars galaxy where the remnants of the Empire fled after being defeated and slowly rebuilt itself as The First Order.

Whatever The Beyond is, apparently a threat will emerge from there during Star Wars: Episode IX that will make Kylo Ren “vulnerable.” This threat will result in him and Rey reuniting and possibly working together again. Assuming this information is correct, then either the threat that’s emerged is something that Kylo Ren or Snoke learned about and sent the Knights to investigate, or its the Knights themselves who are the threat. After all, there have been plenty of instances in Star Wars mythology of dark side users betraying one another.

Another interesting detail mentioned in Making Star Wars’ report is that Star Wars: Episode IX features red stormtroopers that are called “Sith stormtroopers,” although it sounds like this is just a behind-the-scenes classification rather than what The First Order calls them. Since Kylo Ren isn’t technically a Sith, perhaps “Sith” is just being used as a synonymous term for “evil.” Regardless, it would seem that these stormtroopers answer specifically to Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren. Maybe they’ll serve in a similar capacity as Snoke’s Praetorian Guard.

You’ll recall that during Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren killed Snoke and seized control of The First Order, so now the stage is set for Han Solo and Leia Organa’s son to take control of the galaxy as Supreme Leader. However, if Making Star Wars’ speculation is correct, that could lead to one or more members of the Knights of Ren attempting to eliminate Kylo so they can control The First Order. That’s definitely one of the few scenarios where it’s plausible that Rey and Kylo would have to work with each other again. Whether any part of this rumor is verified or shot down, fingers crossed that the Knights of Ren are still involved in Star Wars: Episode IX, as they’re a story element that still hasn’t been fully resolved.

Star Wars: Episode IX opens in theaters on December 20, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage. For now, check out our 2019 release schedule to learn what other major motion pictures are arriving this year.