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BBC Sport's Michael Johnson assesses European sprint champion Dina Asher-Smith's potential to win global championships. | 8/12/18
BBC Sport's Michael Johnson assesses European sprint champion Dina Asher-Smith's potential to win global championships. | 8/12/18
Several athletes have criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel's absence from the athletics championships in Berlin. They accuse Merkel, who was at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, of giving special treatment to soccer. | 8/12/18
Marvin Bheka competed on the European athletics circuit after moving to Wales from Zimbabwe. | 8/12/18
As the new European soccer season opens, there are more ways than ever for an American fan to watch. Maybe too many. | 8/10/18
BBC Sport pundit Michael Johnson feels Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake has a bright future ahead of him after finishing second in the European Championships 200m final. | 8/10/18
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah joined regulars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on UEFA's shortlist for the best forwards who played in Champions League last season, soccer's European governing body announced on Thursday. | 8/9/18
Great Britain's Tim Duckworth misses out on a medal as Germany's Arthur Abele wins gold in the men's decathlon and his country's first athletics gold medal of the championships. | 8/8/18
Britain's athletics captain Dai Greene withdraws from the European Championships because of a hamstring injury. | 8/6/18
Britain's athletics captain Dai Greene withdraws from the European Championships because of a hamstring injury. | 8/6/18
BBC Sport looks at how Great Britain has turned into a European sprint powerhouse before Berlin 2018. | 8/5/18
Bayern Munich forked over at least $13.5 million for Vancouver’s Alphonso Davies. M.L.S. hopes this is the start of a windfall. | 8/2/18

Google is working on a return to China, with the tech giant developing a censored search engine to appease the country’s laws, according to a report from The Intercept on Wednesday.

The search engine would “blacklist sensitive queries,” according to a company whistleblower, who told the outlet he was concerned about the precedent this move would set.

“I’m against large companies and governments collaborating in the oppression of their people, and feel like transparency around what’s being done is in the public interest,” the whistleblower told The Intercept. “What is done in China will become a template for many other nations.”

Also Read: Jimmy Kimmel Accepts Ted Cruz's One-on-One Basketball Challenge - and He's Got Jokes (Video)

Google’s clandestine plans have been spearheaded by CEO Sundar Pichai since early 2017, according to the report. The project, operating under the name “Dragonfly,” is limited to a few hundred employees, The Intercept reports. The search engine would strictly be a mobile app when it launches, potentially within the next six to nine months, according to the report.

“We provide a number of mobile apps in China, such as Google Translate and Files Go, help Chinese developers, and have made significant investments in Chinese companies like But we don’t comment on speculation about future plans,” a Google spokesperson told TheWrap.

Also Read: Ex-Google Engineer Sues Company for Sexual Harassment, Says She Was Slapped at Company Party

China’s “Great Firewall,” as it has facetiously been dubbed, has stifled free speech online for years through a network of moderators, technical restraints and legislative regulations. The Chinese government blocks access to pornography and news stories that are overly critical of its Communist regime, as well as major sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Google’s new search engine would scrub results for topics the government doesn’t allow, like the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, along with certain images, per The Intercept. A parallel online universe exists in China, with popular social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo, a Twitter-esque communication app, filling the void of their blocked Western analogs.

President Xi Jinping has made it clear in recent years he isn’t in favor of a free press.

“All news media run by the party must work to speak for the party’s will and its propositions, and protect the party’s authority and unity,” Xi said in 2016.

Also Read: Logan Paul Gets YouTube Downgrade: Ousted From Google Preferred, Booted From 'Foursome'

Google operated a censored version of its search engine in China between 2006 and 2010. The Mountain View, California-based company pulled out of China as its online censorship became increasingly severe. Attempts “to further limit free speech on the web,” said the company in 2010 had given it reason to back away from the country entirely.

That decision appears to be reconsidered under Pichai’s stewardship.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Google Hit With Record $5 Billion Fine by European Union

Breitbart and Drudge Hit by Google Cloud Issue, Go Offline

Google Unveils 'More Inclusive Vegan Salad' Emoji | 8/1/18
The new multi-sport European Championships begin on 2 August - here is a guide to the sports and the British stars in action. | 8/1/18
The new multi-sport European Championships begin on 2 August - here is a guide to the sports and the British stars in action. | 8/1/18
Details of BBC Sport's live TV, radio and online coverage of the inaugural European Championships in Glasgow and Berlin. | 7/31/18
Alexandra Bell says she has been "let down" by British Athletics after not being selected for the women's 800m at next month's European Championships. | 7/28/18
Alexandra Bell says she has been "let down" by British Athletics after not being selected for the women's 800m at next month's European Championships. | 7/28/18
The governing body of world athletics maintained Russia's ban from track and field over mass doping, just 10 days before the start of the European Championships in Berlin. | 7/28/18
On Thursday, July 26, many Russians could see the phantom of the good old iron curtain falling between Russia and the West. The news came from the press secretary of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, Irina Tyurina. Last week, United Russia MPs proposed amending the federal law about the procedure to leave and enter the territory of the Russian Federation. In accordance with these amendments, the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs should hold mandatory accreditation of all companies rendering intermediary visa registration services to Russian citizens. In order to obtain accreditation, a visa issuance company is supposed to have representative offices in at least 20 regions of the Russian Federation, whereas the share of foreign participation in the authorized capital of the company should not exceed 20 percent. In addition, applicants should have certified technical means to process confidential information (including biometric personal data). The amendments also require at least three years of experience in collecting and processing documents for obtaining visas on behalf of diplomatic missions and consular missions.According to the press secretary of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, Irina Tyurina, none of  existing operators can meet the criteria proposed in the draft law. For example, it is unclear how they should comply with the requirement of foreign participation. Presently, there are six companies that run visa service centers in Russia: VFS Global, GVCW - Greece, VMS - Italy, BLS - Spain, India, TLS - Great Britain, Switzerland, Belgium and Pony Express. The information on each of these companies is available to the public in the state register of legal entities.It is unlikely that these companies can be replaced with Russian ones: even if they meet all other requirements, Russian companies will not have three years of experience in rendering visa services. Needless to say that the adoption of amendments will trigger a mirror response from other countries. In this case, big plans to attract foreign tourists to Russia, especially after the World Cup, may not materialize.To make matters worse, residents of Russians regions will have to come to Moscow to get a visa to a foreign country. They will also have to spend many hours standing in long lines to visa departments of foreign embassies, as it was practiced during the 2000s. In a nutshell, all this is nothing but bad news that, if it becomes real, will complicate the lives of all Russian travelers. The news triggered countless "iron curtain" discussions in social media in Russia. The "iron curtain" has many holes in it as Russia has visa-free regime with many countries. Yet, the curtain would be very strong when it comes to a trip to Europe or to the States. Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Physical Culture, Sport, Tourism and Youth Affairs, Sergei Krivonosov, (United Russia) said that the Russian authorities, on the contrary, seek to minimize visa restrictions."At the initiative of the president, we are currently preparing proposals to simplify visa procedures. There are a number of countries that have already simplified the procedure to issue visas for Russian citizens. I haven't heard of the initiative that you're talking about. The State Duma's Subcommittee on Tourism (Sergei Krivonosov heads it - ed.) works to simplify visa procedures," the MP told Pravda.Ru. "We do want to make the procedure simpler, because we've had problems with bankruptcies of tour operators. We believe that an electronic visa can help. I am sure that there is no iron curtain of any type involved," Sergei Krivonosov added. Oleg ArtyukovPravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
Elite sports stars will converge on Glasgow next week for the first multi-sport European Championships. | 7/26/18
British Athletics will send its biggest team to a major championships in more than a century as it names 102 athletes for August's European Championships. | 7/24/18
The BBC will broadcast the first multi-sport European Championships next month across its television, radio and online platforms. | 7/24/18
The BBC will broadcast the first multi-sport European Championships next month across its television, radio and online platforms. | 7/24/18
Italian giants AC Milan have had their one-year ban from European football for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations overturned. | 7/20/18

Discovery Communications announced on Wednesday that it has extended CEO David Zaslav’s contract through 2023.

“A dynamic, creative, and passionate leader, David is a builder and an innovator, laser focused on creating value,” Discovery chairman Robert Miron said in a statement. “This multi-year commitment affirms our confidence in David’s leadership, and on behalf of the entire Board of Directors, we are excited for David and his strong management team to drive further success and growth in this next chapter of the new Discovery.”

Zaslav joined Discovery as president and CEO in 2007. The contract extension ensures Zaslav will remain in the role for the next five and a half years.

Also Read: Discovery Boss David Zaslav's Pay Rose Above $42 Million Last Year

Earlier this year, Discovery acquired Scripps Networks Interactive, home to brands including HGTV, Food Network, and Travel Channel. Discovery also signed a partnership with the PGA Tour to create a first-of-its kind international golf service, including global television and multi-platform live rights, outside the United States, to all PGA Tour media properties.

“I am thrilled. Leading Discovery is my dream job,” Zaslav said in a statement. “I would like to thank Discovery’s board of directors, fantastic management team, business partners, and all of our passionate superfans around the world for helping to make Discovery the unparalleled company it is today. Together, we are building something special.

“The new Discovery has the leading IP portfolio of beloved brands in the world, reaching viewers globally on every screen and service,” he continued. “Being at Discovery for the past 11 years has been the privilege of my career.  I am confident our brand strength, global platform and marketplace differentiation will ensure that Discovery continues to grow and deliver value to our viewers, partners and shareholders for many years to come.”

Also Read: Discovery's David Zaslav Calls US Skinny Bundles 'Overstuffed Turkeys'

Zaslav’s new contract is through Dec. 31, 2023. Zaslav has committed to hold the majority of his equity from stock grants to term, furthering the alignment of shareholder and management interests, the company said in a release.

“David has done a masterful job leading and growing Discovery over the last decade. He is a visionary, a strategic builder and all around great guy,” said John Malone, Discovery director and chairman, Liberty Media Corporation and Liberty Global, Inc. “Under David’s leadership, Discovery has scaled new heights becoming the leader in sports across Europe, building the leading global IP portfolio of high quality content, and positioning Discovery for continued global growth. We are lucky to have him.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Charter in Talks to Pick Up 'Manhunt' Anthology Series From Discovery

Discovery Orders Documentary on Thai Soccer Team Cave Rescue

Discovery Hooks PGA Tour Rights Outside the US for $2 Billion | 7/18/18
BBC Sport meets Matt Nicolle, one of Europe's top long drive golfers, to find out how he hits a ball more than 400 yards. | 7/17/18

After Donald Trump accepted Russian President Vladmir Putin‘s denial of interfering in the 2016 presidential election—despite the findings of  Trump’s own U.S. intelligence agencies that Putin’s forces launched a cyber attack on the U.S. with the intent of disrupting the election—even the president’s usual supporters lambasted him.

At the normally Trump-friendly Fox News, analyst Brit Hume tweeted that when Trump was asked about who he believes on Russian interference, Trump’s “vague and rambling non-answer, with renewed complaints about Hillary’s server” was a “lame response, to say the least.”

Trump, finally asked whom he believes on Russia interference, gives a vague and rambling non-answer, with renewed complaints about Hillary’s server. Says he trusts US intel but made clear he takes Putin’s denials seriously. Lame response, to say the least.

— Brit Hume (@brithume) July 16, 2018

Fox News’ chief political anchor Bret Baier tweeted that he thought the press conference was “surreal.”

Guy Benson, a Fox News contributor, called Trump’s answer on whether he believed U.S. intelligence or Putin “atrocious.”

He also tweeted that Trump’s support of support of Putin is “rooted in an embarrassing, juvenile, insecure, consuming obsession over his own legitimacy.”

“Easily one of his worst days as president,” he wrote.  “And again, juxtapose that performance with how he just treated our European & North American allies.”

Appalling moral equivalence & equivocation — rooted in an embarrassing, juvenile, insecure, consuming obsession over his own legitimacy. Easily one of his worst days as president. And again, juxtapose that performance with how he just treated our European & North American allies.

— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 16, 2018

Fox Business Network’s Neil Cavuto called Trump’s news conference — during which he never criticized Putin — “disgusting,” adding that “It’s not a right or left thing. It’s just wrong.”

Neil Cavuto of Fox Business calls Trump's press conference "disgusting", "That sets us back a lot."

— Axios (@axios) July 16, 2018

Even Fox and Friends anchor Abby Huntsman was piqued, tweeting: “No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.”

Top Republicans in Congress, known not to criticize Trump — at least publicly — are also slamming him.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, issued a press release contradicting Trump, saying “there is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world.”

“That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.”

Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican and daughter of the arch-conservative former Vice President Dick Cheney, says she is “deeply troubled” by how Trump sided with Putin.

“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. & his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia,” she tweeted. “Russia poses a grave threat to our national security.”

Senator Lindsay Graham Tweeted that Trump should check the soccer ball which Putin gave at their meeting for “listening devices.”

He also wrote: “Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections.”

Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections.

This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves. (1/3)

— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 16, 2018

Senator John McCain said in a powerful statement that today’s press conference in Helsinki was “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin,” McCain said. “He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan took the criticism even further, writing on Twitter that Trump’s performance at the Helsinki press conference “rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin.”

And Brennan, who served in the administrations of both President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush, had a simple, urgent question to GOP lawmakers and media influencers who were also troubled on Monday:  “Republican Patriots: Where are you???” | 7/17/18

Dwayne Johnson got his 2018 off to a huge start when “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” became Sony’s biggest hit in years with $961 million grossed worldwide. But he’s followed it with two straight box office underperformers: First New Line’s “Rampage” in April and now Universal’s “Skyscraper,” which opened this weekend to $25 million domestic and just $65 million worldwide from 57 countries.

With a $120 million budget before marketing costs, Universal and Legendary face an uphill battle toward profitability for this action film. (“Rampage” had the same reported budget and topped out under $100 million domestically — though it grossed an impressive $327 million overseas.”)

While audiences who did see “Skyscraper” were fairly positive with a B+ on CinemaScore, that’s below the A given to previous Johnson films like “Rampage” and “San Andreas,” meaning word-of-mouth is weaker.

What led to this disappointing result for Hollywood’s biggest box office star? There are several factors…

1. Weak pre-release buzz

“Skyscraper” may be the only major July release that isn’t attached to a pre-existing franchise, but the trailers failed to draw up any pre-release buzz for the film. In addition, critics said that outside of Johnson’s performance as an amputee former FBI agent trying to stop terrorists, there’s not much to separate the film from previous high-rise action thrillers like “Die Hard.”

Also Read: Dwayne Johnson's 'Improbable' Crane Jump in 'Skyscraper': 'We Did the Math,' Says Director

“‘Die Hard’ endures — and has spawned scores of imitators — because it had top-notch action, great characters (including one of the most charismatic villains in screen history), palpable suspense and a heroic story of one good guy facing insurmountable odds taking on a team of baddies,” said Detroit News’ Adam Graham. “Director John McTiernan brought it all to a steady boil with a kinetic, fluid sense of motion and delivered an action movie classic. All ‘Skyscraper’ has going for it is a tall building.”

That sense of “I’ve seen this before” can be poison to a film’s box office chances, especially when you’re facing…

2. Heavy competition

“Hotel Transylvania 3” probably didn’t cut all that much into “Skyscraper”‘s totals, considering Sony’s animated film caters mostly to out-of-school kids and their families. But “Skyscraper” was going up against a second-weekend “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” which made $29 million this weekend, while June hits “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and “Incredibles 2” continue to endure at the box office with $16 million each.

All three franchise films have had better word-of-mouth than “Skyscraper” and ended up serving as major four-quadrant competition for the action film both in the U.S. and internationally. But those films weren’t the only entertainment options available this weekend.

Also Read: Dwayne Johnson's 'Skyscraper' Performance Praised by Critics as Support for 'Silly' Movie

3. The World Cup Final

This is more for the film’s overseas launch than it is for its North American performance, but with Belgium and England competing in the third place match of the FIFA World Cup, and France and Croatia competing for the title this weekend, soccer was likely on the minds of many potential moviegoers.

Disney has held back the release date of “Ant-Man and the Wasp” in Western Europe until next weekend, while “Skyscraper” did not earn more than $5 million in any single overseas market. The film opened to $2.3 million in the U.K., while Korea was the top international market with $4.6 million. The film now turns to China, where Legendary East will handle distribution when it comes out next weekend.

Also Read: Dwayne Johnson Explains Why He Stopped Going by 'The Rock' for a While (Video)

4. Too much Dwayne?

It would be an overreaction to say that audiences are growing tired of Dwayne Johnson. The runaway success of “Jumanji” is proof of his box office draw in an era of franchises. But “Skyscraper” may have shown the limits of his drawing ability, and the fact that this is his fifth film in 14 months might have had something to do with it.

“Dwayne’s work ethic is second-to-none in this industry right now. The guy ensures that there’s no lack of his presence with ‘Ballers’ on TV and several films coming out each year,” said comScore’s Paul Dergarabedian.

“But as with any popular franchises or stars, there can be too much of a good thing. ‘Jumanji’ had a very long run in theaters to start off the year, and then Johnson was right back in theaters with ‘Rampage,'” Dergarabedian continued. “Audiences might have already gotten their fill of him for now, and the weaker reviews for ‘Skyscraper’ served as a sign for audiences that there’s no need to go right back to theaters for another round.”

After “Skyscraper,” Johnson will be absent from cinemas for about a year. But in July 2019, he will be back with Universal to release “Hobbs & Shaw,” a spin-off of his and Jason Statham’s “Fast & Furious” characters that will serve as the studio’s summer tentpole. Expect The Rock to get back to his money-making ways then.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Dwayne Johnson's 'Improbable' Crane Jump in 'Skyscraper': 'We Did the Math,' Says Director

Dwayne Johnson: Feud With Tyrese Over 'Fast & Furious' Spinoff Is 'One-Sided'

Dwayne Johnson's 'Skyscraper' Performance Praised by Critics as Support for 'Silly' Movie | 7/16/18
France’s appearance in soccer’s World Cup final is giving its leader, Emmanuel Macron, an unexpected chance to talk to Vladimir Putin about major issues for Europe. | 7/15/18
Croatia's march to the World Cup final is nothing short of a miracle and reflects the efforts of European soccer's governing body to develop the sport across the continent, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said on Saturday. | 7/14/18

Comcast has increased its offer for British pay-TV company Sky PLC to $34 billion (£25.9 billion), roughly $2 billion higher than Fox’s most recent offer.

Earlier on Wednesday, Fox raised its own offer for the media giant to $32.5 billion (£24.5 billion). Comcast said that its increased offer has been recommended by the Sky Independent Committee of Directors.

Comcast’s new all-cash offer translates to £14.75 a share, which is roughly five percent higher than Fox’s £14 a share bid.

Also Read: Fox Raises Sky Bid to $32 Billion, Besting Comcast Offer for British Media Giant

“Comcast has long admired Sky and believes it is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast,” the company said in its release about the new offer. “Today’s announcement further underscores Comcast’s belief and its commitment to owning Sky.”

The move by Comcast is the latest volley between CEO Brian Roberts and Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch over who gets the keys to Sky, which counts nearly 23 million customers in key parts of Europe, including Germany, Italy and Austria, along with the U.K. and Ireland.

In the U.S., Comcast is still battling with Disney to buy the film and TV assets from Fox. Fox’s stake in Sky is part of its proposed merger with Disney, though the deal was not contingent on that. Fox has set a July 27 shareholder meeting to formally vote on the Disney sale, which has already received approval from the Department of Justice.

Also Read: If Comcast Loses Fox to Disney, CEO Brian Roberts Still Has Options

Sky’s businesses would grow Comcast’s international revenue from 9 percent of its overall revenue to 25 percent. For Fox, Sky is a bit of a passion project for Rupert Murdoch, who founded the satellite broadcaster in 1990, and already owns 39 percent of the company and has had his eye on gaining full control for years.

The UK government had already approved Comcast earlier offer in June, with Matt Hancock, then-secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, who said at the time that “the proposed merger does not raise public interest concerns.”

However, Fox was given the go-ahead to continue efforts to purchase Sky as well, on the condition that Fox sells off Sky’s 24-hour news channel to Disney in the planned sale of certain Fox film and television assets to the Mouse House. Disney has pledged a 15-year, $2 billion commitment to fund Sky News if it acquires the channel in the Fox deal.

Also Read: Why Do Comcast and Fox Want to Buy Sky So Much?

Hancock, meanwhile, resigned amid a British cabinet shakeup this week and has been replaced in his role by Jeremy Wright.

According to Bloomberg, the British government has already signaled willingness to approve Fox’s offer, with its final decision due Thursday.

Related stories from TheWrap:

If Comcast Loses Fox to Disney, CEO Brian Roberts Still Has Options

Why Comcast Still Has a Chance at Fox After DOJ Approved Disney's $71.3 Billion Deal

Disney vs Comcast Showdown: Who Needs the Fox Assets More? | 7/11/18
Five-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft will lead a 52-strong British squad at next month's World Para-athletics European Championships. | 7/11/18

Filed under: Audi,Sedan,Wagon,Luxury

This is the European model, but America should get the changes, too

Continue reading 2019 Audi A4 revealed with new styling, sport package

2019 Audi A4 revealed with new styling, sport package originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Jun 2018 09:45:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments | 6/27/18
A row over broadcasting of the World Cup in Saudi Arabia has escalated, with Riyadh denying an allegation by European soccer's governing body that a television channel it says is illegally showing matches is based in the kingdom.

Was it a Hollywood extravagance or a turning point in world history, maybe even with a future impact on Iran? Of course, only time will tell. All the praise or criticism of Trump is sheer speculation.

Naturally, Israel hopes it will also affect Iran's drive for nuclear weapons. Leading Israeli experts, such as Menashe Amir, see signs that the ayatollahs are worried that Trump may parlay the Singapore summit to mobilize greater pressure on Tehran. His scrapping of the 2015 deal has already forced several big European concerns to cancel lucrative deals with Iran for fear of being sanctioned by Washington. Most notably, the Nike decision to bar the Iranian soccer squad from wearing Nike sports shoes at the current World Cup. It's no contest when having to choose between doing business in the American and Iranian economies.

Read More... | 6/17/18
It hasn't been a good month for Pro Evolution Soccer. Back in May, UEFA ended its partnership with Konami, a deal that allowed PES to include the biggest annual club tournament in Europe. And, perhaps more importantly, the teams that qualified for it... | 6/14/18
From borrowing boots as a child to following his teen sweetheart to Europe, BBC Sport looks at the making of Luis Suarez. | 6/14/18
From borrowing boots as a child to following his teen sweetheart to Europe, BBC Sport looks at the making of Luis Suarez. | 6/14/18
A chain of crises made Russia’s World Cup charm offensive a tough sell, but President Trump’s strains with Europe improved its chances. | 6/14/18
BBC Sport Wales meets Alan Jones - the 71-year-old going for gold at judo's Veteran European Championships. | 6/12/18

Next week, the FIFA World Cup will kick off in Russia and, inevitably, monopolize the attention of countless millions of soccer fans worldwide. So if you’re a Hollywood studio with a major summer blockbuster coming out over the next four weekends, how do you work around the biggest single-event sports competition in the world?

Universal and Disney have adopted differing release strategies for their respective “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and “Ant-Man and The Wasp” to deal with the singular World Cup challenge. Particularly in Europe, where several major markets have teams expected to make runs deep into the tournament. For Universal, that’s a large reason why “Fallen Kingdom” is being released this week in 48 countries, well before American audiences get to see it.

Duncan Clark, Universal’s head of international distribution, says Europe will get “Fallen Kingdom” two weeks ahead of the U.S. in order to give the film eight days in theaters before the World Cup kicks off. Eight of the countries in this first release wave will have teams competing in the Cup’s opening weekend, including defending champion Germany.

Also Read: 5 Reasons Why 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Crumbled at the Box Office

“The first couple of weeks there are games every day, but once you get to the playoff rounds the matches happen every three days or so,” he said. “Sometimes you have a matchup at that point between two major teams, but on the flipside you could have a top country in a match that isn’t a must-win or is against a nominal opponent.”

One territory that studios won’t have to worry about is South America. Even though Argentina and Brazil are perennial World Cup contenders, the time zone difference — the farthest-west part of Russia is 6 hours ahead of Brazil — means that those countries will be watching Neymar and Messi compete in the morning, well before primetime for movie theaters.

Disney, meanwhile, has two films that will be competing against the World Cup: “The Incredibles 2” and “Ant-Man and The Wasp.” For the Mouse House, working their release dates around Europe’s passion for footy is a simple repeat of the release strategy it used three years ago when the first “Ant-Man” hit theaters in July.

Also Read: 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Ready to Finish Off 'Solo'

Back then, “Ant-Man” came out in the U.S. three weeks after Pixar’s “Inside Out,” a film that grossed $857 million worldwide. Disney always puts out summer Pixar films during weekends that coincide with kids in different countries being out on school break.

This meant that for “Ant-Man,” Disney had to treat the film differently than they do for most Marvel movies, where release dates are kept close together — in part to mitigate spoilers — and the film is released in the U.S. after a large suit of other countries. Instead, the U.S. was part of the first wave of release in mid-July, with 25 other countries getting “Ant-Man” in the following weeks.

So for “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” which will come out in the U.S. on the same weekend as the World Cup quarterfinals, Disney will stretch out the overseas dates to give Scott Lang some distance from “Incredibles 2.” Most notably, major soccer nations like France, Netherlands, Germany, the U.K., Spain, and Portugal will get the film after the World Cup final takes place on July 15.

Also Read: New 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Teaser Unleashes Ghost (Video)

Clark says that while the World Cup is always something that can’t be ignored when releasing summer flicks, the rapid popularity growth of sports over the past decade has given him and his peers plenty of experience dealing with it.

“For a long time now, we’ve been used to competing with sports events  as the broadcasting deals for the World Cup and the Olympics and other big sports have gotten bigger and bigger,” he said. “Two years ago, we were scheduling our films around the Olympics and the Euro Cup, and we did well with ‘The Secret Life of Pets.'”

“Sports have become so pervasive year-round, but they have a pretty fixed schedule and we know how to handle them.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Film Review: Dinos Return in a Sequel Drained of Suspense

'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Ready to Finish Off 'Solo'

'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Ready to Devour $130 Million on Opening Weekend | 6/8/18
The vast sprawl of suburbs and satellite towns around Paris, disdained by some as a breeding ground for crime and terrorism, is home to the greatest pool of soccer talent in Europe. | 6/7/18
A modern illustration of how nations have turned to a global diaspora to achieve success in soccer, and how resurgent nationalism in Europe is affecting their choices. | 6/6/18
[New Zimbabwe] ZIMBABWE will fork out ?1,95 million (US$2.3m) to host a group of high profile European soccer legends in the country as part of the sports tourism initiative to market the country as a safe destination. | 6/4/18
On the 50th anniversary of Manchester United's first European Cup win, BBC Sport speaks to those who were there - including a fan who risked a school beating. | 5/28/18
Gareth Bale scored twice as Real Madrid won Europe’s top club championship for the third year in a row. | 5/27/18
Price-gouging in Ukraine has fans scrambling and UEFA thinking: does the European Champions League final really have to be played in Europe? | 5/21/18
Refresh for latest…: Royal wedding mania has kicked off as guests have started to arrive in Windsor for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. There’s round the clock coverage in the UK and Europe, even the French networks are all covering the event. The BBC, ITV and Sky are all covering the event all morning, while the ceremony is set to kick off at 12pm GMT. Football fans will be pleased to hear that it will be finished before the FA Cup Final, the soccer tournament… | 5/19/18

Sport in Europe tends to be highly organised with many sports having professional leagues. The origins of many of the world's most popular sports today lay in the codification of many traditional games, especially in Great Britain. The most common sport in Europe is Association football. European clubs teams are the strongest (and highest paid) in the world, and the UEFA Champions League (the European clubs championship) is one of the sport's most prestigious tournaments. European national teams compete in the UEFA European Football Championship. The most popular and successful football leagues are the Spanish La Liga, the English Premier League, the Italian Serie A, the French Ligue 1, German Bundesliga. Rugby union is popular in southern France, parts of Great Britain, Ireland and northern Italy, with rugby league enjoying popularity in Great Britain, France and Russia and although the game is played is played in Germany, Italy, Greece and Malta it is not at a professional level. Cricket is a popular summer sport in the United Kingdom and has been exported to other parts of the former British Empire. Cricket has its origins in south east Britain. It's popular throughout England and Wales, and parts of the Netherlands. It is also popular in other areas and also played in northwest Europe. It is however very popular worldwide, especially in southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Indian subcontinent. Other team sports like basketball, handball, volleyball, Ice hockey, waterpolo and Field hockey is also popular in some European countries. Individual sports are also very important. In fact Europe was the birthplace of the Olympic Movement that has become so central to modern individual sport, with Greece being to first country to hold the Olympics in 1896. In 1972 the Olympics was held in Munich, West Germany, which was a member of the European Communities, a forerunner of the EU. The XXV Olympiad took place in Barcelona, Spain in 1992, after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty on the formation of the EU on 7 February 1992, but before the treaty came into force on 1 November 1993. The first Olympics to take place in the EU was the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens, Greece in 2004, where EU sportspeople won 81 gold medals, 101 silvers and 113 bronzes, a total of 295. The next will be the 2012 Games of the XXX Olympiad in London in the United Kingdom. The Winter Olympic Games have also been held in the EU: in 1992 the XVI Olympic Winter Games was in Albertville, France; and in 2006 the XX Olympic Winter Games was in Turin, Italy. The most prestigious and lucrative athletics and aquatics meets are in Europe, as are several major golf tournaments. Europe also compete as a single team in the Ryder Cup. Tennis is popular in most of Europe and 2 of the 4 major Grand Slam events are held here, in France and the UK. For those areas with the proper climate, winter sports are also an important. In Scandinavian and Alpine countries, various forms of skiing and snowboarding are popular. European competitors have traditionally dominated at the Winter Olympics. Other regions have games that are particular to their home, for example Gaelic games in Ireland, bandy in Russia and Scandinavia, or bullfighting in Spain. Motorsports are popular across nearly all of Europe. Formula One is traditionally dominated by European drivers and teams and many grand prix are held in Europe. Motorcycle speedway is also popular in Poland, Scandinavia, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. Some sport competitions features a European team gathering athletes from different European countries. These teams uses the European flag as an emblem. The most famous of these competitions is the Ryder Cup in golf.

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