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With HBO throwing in the towel on boxing, one of its biggest fighters is heading to online streaming.

Canelo Alvarez has signed a five-year, 11-fight deal with DAZN, the sports streaming service led by former ESPN president John Skipper. The company claims Alvarez’s deal is the richest sports contract for any athlete in history.

ESPN reported it’s for $365 million, which would surpass the 13-year/$325 million contract that baseball star Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Miami Marlins in 2014 (he’s since been traded to the New York Yankees). A representative for DAZN did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for clarification on the actual dollar amount of the contract.

Also Read: HBO to Throw in The Towel on Live Boxing Matches After 45 Years

The deal begins with the Dec. 15 bout at Madison Square Garden against Rocky Fielding for his WBA Super Middleweight World Title.

“We are thrilled to be exclusive partners with Golden Boy Promotions and Oscar De La Hoya,” said Skipper, DAZN Group Executive Chairman. “By bringing Canelo’s fights to DAZN, we will turn his pay-per-view success into a growth engine for subscribers – a truly transformational moment for our business and the entire industry.”

Skipper, who resigned from ESPN after 27 years last December, joined DAZN’s parent company Perform Group as executive chairman in May. DAZN was launched just two years ago, and made its U.S. debut earlier this year.

Also Read: Ex-ESPN Boss John Skipper Lands New Job

As part of the deal, Golden Boy Promotions — Alvarez’s management company led by Oscar de la Hoya — will put on up to 10 fights each year on DAZN beginning in 2019. The DAZN-Golden Boy deal includes a large production element, which places Oscar De La Hoya as executive producer of the live fight nights.

Alvarez and Golden Boy were one of HBO’s biggest boxing draws. In 2014, HBO pried Alvarez and Golden Boy away from rival Showtime in a huge exclusive deal. But last month, HBO said it would no longer feature live boxing matches beginning next year, which had a programming staple for 45 years.

The deal between Alvarez and DAZN in landmark in another way: It will take one of boxing’s biggest draws off Pay-Per-View, where the sport makes the most of its money. The fights will be available in all DAZN markets, including the United States, Canada, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan. The service is available for $9.99 per month.

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www.thewrap.com | 10/17/18

The tug-o’-war between 21st Century Fox and Comcast for British pay-TV company Sky PLC is finally over, with Comcast submitting a winning bid of roughly $39 billion in an auction on Saturday.

The fate of Sky was decided during a three-round auction held by the U.K. Takeover Panel, a rarely-used tactic in handling mergers and acquisitions in the U.K. Comcast’s triumph came after the company offered  £17.28 (roughly $22.59) per share for the company in the final round, handily outbidding Fox’s offer of  £15.67 (roughly $20.49).

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

“We note the increased cash offer for the fully diluted share capital of Sky by Comcast, and that it has been recommended by the Independent Committee of Sky,” Fox said in a statement. “21CF is considering its options regarding its own 39 percent shareholding in Sky and will make a further announcement in due course. Sky is a remarkable story and we are proud to have played such a significant role in building the incredible value reflected today in Comcast’s offer.”

U.S. companies have been looking more frequently internationally for a way to further build scale to compete against the rising tide of deep-pocketed tech companies — like Amazon and Netflix — invading their turf. This made Sky an attractive asset.

Sky’s businesses could grow Comcast’s international revenue from 9 percent of its overall revenue to 25 percent. Sky counts nearly 23 million customers in key parts of Europe, including Germany, Italy and Austria, along with the U.K. and Ireland.

Sky should fit in nicely with Comcast’s other assets, namely NBCUniversal, with its mix of entertainment, sports and news content. In February, Sky extended its rights deal with the English Premier League through 2022, among the world’s most popular (and thus, valuable) sports leagues. That would work well with Comcast, which holds the U.S. TV rights for the British soccer league via NBCUniversal, also through 2022.

Also Read: Dana Walden Touts 'Complete Independence' of 'New Fox' After Disney Merger

Winning Sky serves as a pretty nice consolation prize for Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, who had attempted to outflank Disney in its pursuit of Fox, before eventually bowing out to focus on acquiring the British pay-TV company.

The U.K. Takeover Panel, which oversees all mergers and acquisitions, sets a deadline that, if there are still multiple suitors for a company, will trigger an auction to determine the winning bidder.

The Takeover Panel set the auction deadline to ensure that the company being acquired wasn’t “under siege” for too long, while giving the shareholders for the potential buyers enough time to review all relevant materials from the proposal. Per the U.K.’s Takeover Code, that deadline was 46 days after the most recent offer was formally published with the U.K. Stock Exchange.

The Takeover panel will publish details of each side’s offer after the auction no later than Sept. 24.

Reps for Comcast did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.

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www.thewrap.com | 9/22/18

The battle between 21st Century Fox and Comcast for British pay-TV company Sky PLC appears headed for a little-used aspect of how mergers and acquisitions are handled in the U.K.: An auction.

In the event that 21st Century Fox and Comcast find themselves at auction for Sky, here’s how the process plays out.

The U.K. Takeover Panel, which oversees all mergers and acquisitions, sets a deadline that, if there are still multiple suitors for a company, will trigger an auction to determine the winning bidder. The Takeover Panel does this to ensure that the company being acquired isn’t “under siege” for too long, while giving the shareholders for the potential buyers enough time to review all relevant materials from the proposal. Per the U.K.’s Takeover Code, that deadline is 46 days after the most recent offer is formally published with the U.K. Stock Exchange.

In this case, Fox and Comcast have until Saturday, 5 p.m. local time to either bow out or make their “best and final offer” for Sky. In the meantime, the three companies will negotiate the rules of the auction, which the Takeover Panel will formally announce on Friday.

Also Read: Comcast Drops Bid for Fox Assets to Focus on Sky Instead

Typically, the auction would last for five consecutive days, but the Panel allows for the parties to figure out the process themselves, as long as it doesn’t skirt any official rules. There have only been three British takeover situations since 2007 that have involved auctions handled by the regulator, per an analysis by Reuters.

The reason for Sky to take this to the auction stage would be to maximize the value for its shareholders, hoping the auction-style setting will force Comcast and Fox to keep one-upping each other.

Currently, Comcast holds the superior bid at $34 billion (£25.9 billion), roughly $2 billion higher than Fox’s offer of $32.5 billion (£24.5 billion). Comcast’s all-cash offer translates to £14.75 a share, which is roughly five percent higher than Fox’s £14 a share bid. Comcast’s offer has been recommended by the Sky Independent Committee of Directors.

Also Read: Comcast Increases Bid for Sky to $34 Billion

However, since Fox already owns 39 percent of the company, it needs only to convince another 12 percent to vote in its favor, whereas Comcast has to convince 51 percent of the board to vote in its favor.

With this headed towards an auction, it begs the question: Why does everyone want Sky so much?

More and more, U.S. companies have been looking internationally for a way to further build scale to compete against the rising tide of deep-pocketed tech companies — like Amazon and Netflix — invading their turf.

Sky’s businesses would grow Comcast’s international revenue from 9 percent of its overall revenue to 25 percent. Sky counts nearly 23 million customers in key parts of Europe, including Germany, Italy and Austria, along with the U.K. and Ireland.

Also Read: Fox and Disney Shareholders Vote to Approve $71.3 Billion Merger

Sky would fit in nicely with Comcast’s other assets, namely NBCUniversal, with its mix of entertainment, sports and news content. In February, Sky extended its rights deal with the English Premier League through 2022, among the world’s most popular (and thus, valuable) sports leagues. That would work well with Comcast, which holds the U.S. TV rights for the British soccer league via NBCUniversal, also through 2022.

Fox’s stake in Sky is part of its $71.3 billion sale of film and TV assets to Disney. CEO Bob Iger has previously referred to Sky as the “crown jewel” of Fox assets. Disney could use Sky’s broadband services to launch its upcoming service, which will debut at the end of 2019, in Europe.

Also, there’s a bit of corporate gamesmanship involved. Comcast made its own bid to buy the Fox assets instead of Disney, which forced Disney to increase its offer from its initial $52.4 billion that Fox accepted last year.

You can imagine that Iger would love to return the favor.

21st Century Fox declined to comment for this story, while representatives for Comcast and Sky did not return TheWrap’s request for comment.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Comcast Drops Bid for Fox Assets to Focus on Sky Instead

British Government OKs Fox's Bid to Buy Sky

Comcast Increases Bid for Sky to $34 Billion

www.thewrap.com | 9/20/18

Despite his massive success as a songwriter, Ed Sheeran has managed to keep his personal life away from the spotlight.

But in a new documentary, the 27-year-old “Shape of You” singer gives peeks into corners of his world that he usually keeps tightly under wraps — including his family, his relationship with fiancée Cherry Seaborn and his creative struggles — all through his cousin Murray Cummings’ camera lens.

“It kind of came by surprise,” Sheeran told PEOPLE exclusively on Monday about the film, available now on Apple Music. “Murray had all the footage. It wasn’t something that I planned but I’m excited to get it out and see what people think — well, see what the fans think. I don’t really care what anyone else thinks!”

It’s clear from the film the star is a perfectionist when it comes to his songwriting, and his standards may be some of the highest in the business. At one point, he’s heard telling his team he doesn’t want to be the “male Adele,” but rather “be Adele.”

“A lot of people call out the competitive side of me, but if you’re a basketball player, you should be better than LeBron James,” he explains. “You can’t just be like ‘Oh, I’m happy in my lane.’ You have to aim for the top. I don’t think any artist will do what Adele’s done. I don’t think I could do what Adele’s done, but if you don’t aim there then you won’t get there.”

Despite breaking multiple records with his albums and selling out tickets to his world tours over the years, the Grammy winner doesn’t foresee himself ever losing his competitive streak.

“I make music for me, but when it comes to a career, what is the fun of not ?” he says. “People get very confused with me as competitive because they think I’m making the music for that and to get bigger, but it’s just work ethic.”

Currently in the midst of another sold-out tour for his album ÷, the singer — who took a year-long break in 2016 — has learned to take more time for himself and his loved ones.

RELATED VIDEO: No Sword This Time! Ed Sheeran Honored by Prince Charles at the Palace — without a Scratch

“It’s quite weird being a touring ‘celebrity’ because people assume you’re living the best f—ing life in the world, but you don’t really get to live any life because you work the whole time,” he says. “I got to the end of and I was like ‘F—, I’m 25 and haven’t really lived. I needed to have a year off and spend it with friends and family and Cherry and actually become a human being rather than a touring celebrity.”

Now, the star makes sure to fit in some play in between tour stops — like when he recently traveled to Napa Valley and dined at upscale restaurant The French Laundry.

RELATED: All the ‘Perfect’ Things Ed Sheeran Has Said About His Romance with Cherry Seaborn

“ bumped into Sam Smith there randomly! We were sat on the same table and went out for a drink after that. It was really weird because it’s such a small restaurant, so to bump into someone that you know really well, it was good,” he says about his quick getaway with Seaborn, 26.

Seaborn — whom the star is fiercely protective of — provided footage from her travels to Australia, Italy and Fiji with Sheeran for the documentary and is seen supporting her future husband during the recording of his most recent album.

“I was against having her in the documentary just because I like to keep my personal life private, but I think it’s such a split second of it and it does just capture what she’s like,” he says about including his Duke-educated fiancée in the documentary. “It’s nice for people to see a little bit of that.”

 

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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
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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.

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Discovery and the PGA Tour have struck a massive $2 billion deal for tournament rights outside of the United States through 2030. That’s a lot of green — and we’re not just talking about the putting surfaces.

The pricey (and lengthy) alliance, which tees off next year, will result in about 2,000 hours of content annually and nearly 150 tournaments, including The Players Championship, the FedExCup Playoffs, and the Presidents Cup. It will grant Discovery the exclusive non-U.S. television and multiplatform rights to all PGA Tour golf events by 2024 — here is a timetable for implementation:

Date
Markets
2019
Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain
2020
Poland, South Korea
2021
Belgium, China, Germany, South Africa
2022
Denmark, Finland, India, Norway, Sweden, UK
2024
France

Also Read: Former 'Deadliest Catch' Skipper Blake Painter Found Dead at 38

About those multiplatform rights: Together, Discovery and the PGA Tour will develop a new PGA Tour-branded OTT video streaming service to serve 220 markets and territories.

“Today is a fantastic day for golf fans around the world as Discovery proudly partners with the PGA Tour to create something that has never been done before,” David Zaslav, president and CEO, Discovery, said. “The long-term partnership between the PGA Tour and Discovery will create the new global Home of Golf, including delivering over 2000 hours of live content year-round and this prestigious sport’s greatest moments, stories and athletes. Following our successful first Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Discovery will contribute its strong global distribution and promotional infrastructure, in-market relationships, global sports expertise with direct-to-consumer platforms and brands to create a valuable new long-term Home of Golf offering in every market outside the U.S.”

“This is an exciting next step for the PGA Tour, which presents a tremendous opportunity to accelerate and expand our media business outside the United States, better service our international broadcast partners, and drive fan growth with a deeply experienced strategic global partner,” added Jay Monahan, commissioner, PGA Tour. “This partnership aligns very well with the opening of PGA Tour offices in London, Tokyo and Beijing in recent years and will support our long-term objectives of growing the game of golf. It also will deliver more value to our sponsors as it presents a tremendous opportunity to engage new and diverse audiences around the world.”

Also Read: Jon Hamm's Impression of Ray Romano Playing Golf Is Simply the Best (Video)

The partnership will be led by Discovery’s Alex Kaplan, who is president and general manager of the new Discovery and PGA Tour venture. His management team will include the PGA Tour’s Thierry Pascal as head of distribution.

Kaplan previously was an executive vice president at Eurosport Digital, where he helped grow the Eurosport D2C business to over 1 million subscribers. Prior to joining Discovery, Kaplan was a senior vice president of global media distribution for the NBA.

“I am incredibly excited to work with David Zaslav and JB Perrette to take international coverage of PGA Tour golf to the next level,” Kaplan said. “We can’t wait to get started and build a world-class global platform and long-term distribution strategy to turn the vision of this partnership into a reality. By joining forces with the outstanding PGA Tour team, led by Jay Monahan and Rick Anderson, we have a unique opportunity to build an amazing product that will serve the fans with the golf content they love on every screen.”

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We now know what Cate Blanchett’s jury thought of the films that screened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival: “a very strong year,” she said at the jury’s festival-ending press conference. And we know what buyers thought of the festival lineup: not bad, judging by the deals.

But what will Oscar voters think?

That’s always a tricky question, because the connection between the world’s most prestigious film festival and the world’s most celebrated film award can fluctuate wildly. In 2011, for example, three of the films that screened at the festival — “The Artist,” “The Tree of Life” and “Midnight in Paris” — landed Best Picture nominations, with “The Artist” winning.

But the success rate hasn’t approached that since then, although 2016 had an impressive across-the-board showing: One Best Picture nominee (“Hell of High Water”), the Best Foreign Language Film winner (“The Salesman”), six other nominees in the Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Feature categories and eight more films submitted by their home countries in the foreign language race.

Also Read: 'Shoplifters' Wins Palme d'Or at 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Last year, though, was more typical: two foreign nominees (“The Square” and “Loveless”), one supporting actor nominee (Willem Dafoe for “The Florida Project”) and one documentary nominee (“Faces Places”), with no winners among them.

Realistically, this year’s crop of Cannes films will probably fare similarly once Oscar voters get a look at them. The only film that screened at the festival or one of its sidebars that has a significant chance of landing a Best Picture nomination is Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” which could well be in the conversation once U.S. audiences get a look at it later this summer.

Lee’s film, which mixes humor with incendiary anger and looks at the state of America today through a story set in the 1970s, is timely enough and strong enough to be a real player, though it will likely divide critics and audiences in America more than it did in Cannes.

Also Read: 'BlacKkKlansman' Cannes Review: Spike Lee Looks Back - and Forward - in Anger

Otherwise, Ron Howard’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” seems destined for below-the-line categories at best, while a surge of attention for Paul Dano’s understated “Wildlife,” which premiered at Sundance but also screened in Cannes’ Critics’ Week sidebar, could make it a dark-horse contender in the adapted screenplay category.

A few Cannes documentaries could also have a shot, foremost among them Kevin Macdonald’s “Whitney,” which drew headlines out of Cannes for its allegations that Whitney Houston was sexually abused as a child by a relative. Wim Wenders’ “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” will likely be in the conversation, and so might be “The State Against Mandela and the Others” and “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache.”

But really, the most fruitful connection between Cannes and the Oscars this year will likely come in the foreign language category. Only six of the 93 countries that submitted films to the Oscars last year chose Cannes entries, but we could easily see double that many submissions come from this year’s festival.

While the individual committees that select each country’s entry can be making their decisions on the basis of politics, cronyism and lots of other factors, a Cannes berth is a powerful sign that the film might have international interest.

Also Read: 'Capharnaum' Film Review: Nadine Labaki's Searing Drama Brings Tears, Ovations

Among the no-brainer selections: Lebanon’s “Capharnaum,” the Jury Prize winner and the film that received the longest and loudest ovation of the festival; Poland’s “Cold War” from director Pawel Pawlikowski, whose last film, “Ida,” won the foreign language Oscar; Belgium’s “Girl,” which won the Camera d’Or and the Un Certain Regard performance award; Colombia’s “Birds of Passage,” from a director (Ciro Guerra) whose last film was an Oscar nominee; and Turkey’s “The Wild Pear Tree,” whose director, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, has been responsible for four previous Turkish submissions.

Kenya’s “Rafiki,” a same-sex romance that is the first Kenyan film ever accepted to the Oscars, would be an easy choice if it hadn’t been banned in its home country — though if the submitting committee is independent enough to choose it, the ban could give it a boost. First-time director A.B. Shawky’s “Yomeddine” seems likely to be the Egyptian entry, while the Cannes acting award that went to Samal Yesyamova should be enough to put “Ayka” at the top of Kazakhstan’s submission list.

The Icelandic film “Woman at War,” which was bought by Magnolia for the U.S., comes from Benedikt Erlingsson, whose brilliant “Of Horses and Men” was the country’s 2013 submission, though it may have been too weird for Oscar voters. Portugal’s soccer story “Diamantino” seems a logical choice, as does Hungary’s “One Day.”

Countries like France and Italy always have a plethora of choices, which holds true this year even if they don’t consider anything except Cannes movies. Italy, for example, could opt for Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” which won the festival’s best actor award and is from the director of the acclaimed “Gomorrah” (which Oscar voters didn’t go for); or Alice Rohrwacher’s “Happy as Lazzaro,” a fable that won the screenplay award and was widely thought to be a real Palme d’Or contender.

Also Read: 'Happy as Lazzaro' Film Review: Alice Rohrwacher Charts the Course of a Holy Fool

And France has a variety of possibilities, including Christophe Honore’s “Sorry Angel,” Stephane Brize’s “At War,” Vanessa Filho’s “Angel Face,” Gilles Lellouche’s audience-friendly “Sink or Swim,” Camille Vidal-Naquet’s “Sauvage” or even Gaspar Noe’s hallucinatory “Climax.”

But France could also opt for Eva Husson’s “Girls of the Sun,” a tough but mainstream war movie about an all-female unit fighting terrorists. It didn’t fare well with Cannes critics, but it could easily become a favorite of the Academy’s foreign language voters.

The biggest question marks might surround the Asian films. Japan, China and South Korea swing between submitting critical favorites and trying to second-guess Oscar voters by choosing less daring movies or big epics. So while China has strong candidates in Jia Zhang-Ke’s “Ash Is Purest White” or Bi Gan’s rapturously received “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” it’s anybody’s guess as to whether their selection committee will deem those films acceptable. Likewise with South Korea and Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning,” which was clearly the hit of the festival, and Japan with Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters,” which won the Palme d’Or.

Also Read: 'Shoplifters' Cannes Review: Is the Seventh Time a Charm for Hirokazu Kore-eda?

The director of the last of those films has been down this road before. In an interview with TheWrap in 2014, Kore-eda admitted that he was disappointed when “Like Father, Like Son,” which won the Jury Prize in Cannes, was passed over in favor of “The Great Passage” when Japan made its 2013 Oscar submission.

“But honestly, given the track record of how that committee in Japan decides on their films, I was not surprised,” he said. “The committee isn’t particularly interested in the world’s criteria on these films.”

Oh, one more thing:

Lars von Trier’s “The House That Jack Built”? Not a chance.

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www.bbc.co.uk | 4/27/18

Now that Comcast has formally thrown its hat into the ring to acquire Sky PLC, the U.K. broadcaster could find itself in the middle of a bidding war between Comcast and 21st Century Fox.

Which begs the question: Why does everyone want Sky so much?

More and more, U.S. companies have been looking internationally as a way to further build scale to compete against the rising tide of deep-pocketed tech companies — like Amazon and Netflix — invading their turf.

Also Read: Comcast Makes Formal $31 Billion Cash Offer for Sky, UK Company Scraps Fox Deal

Sky’s businesses would grow Comcast’s international revenue from 9 percent of its overall revenue to 25 percent. Sky counts nearly 23 million customers in key parts of Europe, including Germany, Italy and Austria, along with the U.K. and Ireland.

Sky has “a tremendous distribution network around Europe,” Eric Schiffer, CEO of The Patriarch Organization and chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, told TheWrap. “These large companies [like Fox and Comcast] have to do more with distribution in the battle against streaming giants like Netflix, and now Amazon, and there are not many things that you can acquire today to give you that power and ability.”

In discussing the proposal on its first-quarter earnings call Wednesday morning, Comcast chairman and CEO, Brian L. Roberts attempted to beat back any assertions that Comcast needed to buy Sky. “I don’t think we have to do this,” he said, but added that it makes sense with such similarities between the two companies.

Also Read: Stocks Soar for Comcast and Sky After $31 Billion Offer

“I think it is a unique asset in Sky’s case that fits well within the mix of businesses that we’ve already got,” Roberts continued. “A benefit is that you would get new geographies and additional scale, which gives you optionality for future things to consider.”

Sky would fit in nicely with Comcast’s other assets, namely NBCUniversal, with its mix of entertainment, sports and news content. In February, Sky extended its rights deal with the English Premier League through 2022, among the world’s most popular (and thus, valuable) sports leagues. That would work well with Comcast, which holds the U.S. TV rights for the British soccer league via NBCUniversal, also through 2022.

There’s also a bit of corporate gamesmanship going on.

Also Read: Comcast Tops Q1 Earnings Estimates Thanks to Winter Olympics and Super Bowl

Comcast’s proposal, which caused Sky’s independent directors to withdraw their recommendation that shareholders accept the Fox offer, would also complicate Disney’s impending purchase of Fox assets, of which Sky was supposed to be a major part. If Fox doesn’t get Sky, Disney would be on the hook to make an offer itself for all of Sky.

“The Machiavellian view is that Comcast is doing this to try to blow up Disney’s deal,” Schiffer added. “It’s jamming a competitor.” However, a Fox insider told TheWrap the deal with Disney is not contingent on what happens with Sky.

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.

At least investors remain bullish that Fox will not give up its pursuit of Sky despite Comcast’s best efforts.

Disney, Comcast and Sky did not immediately reply to our request for comment.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Stocks Soar for Comcast and Sky After $31 Billion Offer

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Disney Must Make Offer to Buy All of Sky If Fox's Own Deal Falls Through

www.thewrap.com | 4/25/18

Richard Gere has found love again with new wife Alejandra Silva.

The 68-year-old actor married the 35-year-old activist in a secret ceremony earlier this month after first reconnecting in 2014 and dating since then. The two live together in New York and often pose together for her Instagram in sweet photos.

A source close to the couple says the two married “weeks and weeks ago” and are “extraordinarily happy.”

“They’re so comfortable with each other, have fun together and are looking forward to their future together,” the source tells PEOPLE.

Read on for what we know about Gere’s third wife.

They’ve known each other since she was young

Silva believes the universe is on her side when it comes to her relationship with the Pretty Woman star. The activist told Hola! in 2015 that Gere had been a family friend and they had known each other for over a decade. Silva said they were immediately attracted to each other the moment they reconnected years later.

“Our karma was attracted the moment we saw each other,” she said. “I’m not ignoring our age difference and what it means to be with a Hollywood star, but when there’s such a strong karmic energy, the problems disappear.”

Her dad is a successful businessman and soccer club VP

Silva’s dad, Ignacio Silva Botas, was the Vice President of Spanish soccer club Real Madrid from 1995-2000. Before that, Botas was a successful businessman who moved his family to Madrid when Silva was a child.

Silva ran in Madrid’s elite circles while she was young and attended some of the top private schools in the city. She also was close to Real Madrid players due to her dad’s affiliation and was romantically linked to player Roberto Carlos.

She runs a foundation to combat homelessness in Spain

Silva runs Rais Fundacion, a non-profit aiming to eradicate homelessness in Spain in five years (the word rais means roots in Spanish). The activist often speaks about her mission and told Hola! back in 2015 that she has gone method to understand the problems homeless people face in her country.

“I’ve slept on the street to understand the struggle of the homeless,” Silva said. “I’m not scared of rolling up my sleeves and diving into work. If I do something, I put 100% effort in. If I can’t I’d rather not do it.”

Activism is a common passion the newly-married couple share. The foundation hosted a screening of Gere’s movie The Dinner in December 2017 and he often attends events benefitting Rais with Silva. She told Hola! that Gere’s philanthropic instinct is one of the things that draws her to the actor.

“What I love most about him is his humanitarian side. He’s a very empathetic person,” she said.

She has a son from her previous marriage

Just like Gere, Silva has a son from her last marriage. She welcomed 5-year-old Albert in December 2012 with ex-husband Govin Friedland, the son of American billionaire Robert Martin Friedland. The couple used to reside in Italy with their son until divorcing in 2014.

Silva opened up about her long distance relationship with Gere in 2015, revealing that the two would see each other when they’re kids were with their exes. Gere shares 17-year-old son Homer with ex wife Carey Lowell.

“It’s hard to coordinate, but we don’t go more than 20 days without seeing each other,” she told Hola!.

Silva has since moved to New York to live with Gere, where she posts pictures of the family out on walks. She even posted an adorable shot of Gere walking with Albert on his shoulders.

The two often get cozy on her Instagram

Silva’s Instagram is filled with loving shots of the two amidst her posts about her humanitarian work.

“So grateful to have you in my life, extraordinary and special human being, you have my life, making me see what is really important. Undeniable! love you with all my heart,” she wrote about her now-husband.

 

people.com | 4/23/18
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Bradie Tennell just — does — not — fall.

And she didn’t fall this time either: the 20-year-old made her Olympic debut on Sunday afternoon in the figure skating team event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. (Just as she began, a small child was heard chanting “USA, USA, USA.”)

Skating third in the ladies’ short program at the Gangneung Ice Arena, Tennell quickly leapt to the top of the leaderboard with as technically confident a skate as she has given all season.

“I’m really happy,” she told reporters, all smiles, after competing. “I don’t think I could have asked for a better first program at the Olympics.”

Tennell’s total score of 68.94 was her best all year and kept her in the No. 1 spot for much of the competition, until a succession of skaters from Canada, Italy, Japan and Russia bumped her to fifth — but still good enough to keep the U.S. in third overall at the team event as they head into the second half.

She was hamstrung by the component score of her program, which measures composition, interpretation and performance, among other elements, and includes judgment of a skater’s artistry.

But Tennell’s technical score alone — that is, how she executed elements of her short program such as her jumps and spins — was the second best of the group, behind only Russia.

Asked what she was thinking just before she began to skate, she tells PEOPLE: “‘You’ve done this program a million times, it’s just a million and one.’ ”

PEOPLE’s special issue The Best of Olympic Figure Skating is available now in the Time Inc. store, on Amazon and wherever magazines are sold.

Ever focused and succinct, she says there was no thought to how she might juice up the artistic parts of her program: “No, you know here when I’m competing, I just go on autopilot. I compete like I train.”

“I get butterflies right before my music starts, but then when my music starts I kind of go on autopilot and just lose myself,” she told reporters, noting that it “felt like I was doing another program at a practice session.” (Beforehand, Tennell was seen listening to what she later explained was a mix of ’80s rock songs — some of her favorites — such as AC/DC and Boston.)

Tennell’s mother, Jean Tennell, watched her from the arena seating though they had not yet met up when Bradie spoke with reporters after her skate. “But I know she’s here supporting me,” Bradie said.

Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

Essentially an unknown to the broader public a year ago, Bradie, a native of the Chicago area, made her first big splash in the sport with a third-place finish at Skate America in November. She followed that up in January with a first-place victory at the national skating championships, making her one of Team USA’s best shots at a medal in figure skating this year.

“I was injured the past two years, so it really took a toll on my skating and my consistency,” she said on Sunday, adding, “Now being healthy this entire year has really made a huge difference.”

Mom Jean, a nurse, was crucial as she healed, Bradie said: “When I was down, she was there to pick me up, and her support really got me through that.”

Did Bradie ever doubt, amidst her injury, that she would see success?

“No. Never.”

The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.

people.com | 2/11/18

The Winter Olympic Games is not frequently a showcase of Latin-American talent, but for 2018, Mexico and Puerto Rico are represented in South Korea — and there are some inspiring characters and stories to follow. Here’s a roundup.

Puerto Rico has entered its own athlete to the Winter Olympics for the first time since 1998: 17-year-old Charles Flaherty. Flaherty’s father moved the family to the island from Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2010 (an athlete is required to have lived in Puerto Rico at least three years to represent it in competition). Inspired by watching the Sochi Games in 2014, Flaherty is one of the youngest Olympians in Pyeongchang and will race the men’s giant slalom.

Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) still recognizes Puerto Rico as a country and allows it to field its own competitors. In 2002 after deeming one of its bobsled team members ineligible, the Puerto Rican Olympic Committee withdrew its recognition of the Winter Sports Federation and no athletes were allowed to represent the commonwealth for the next three Winter Games. Other territories, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam have been recognized as “independent states” by the IOC.

Mexico has four representatives at the Games, the most since the 1992 Games in France, in three different types of skiing. Each athlete symbolizes multiculturalism.

Rodolfo Dickson qualified for Alpine skiing’s men’s slalom and men’s giant slalom. Born to two Mexico-born parents, he was orphaned at 9 months and adopted by a Canadian couple living near his orphanage in Puerto Vallarta at 3. He was also diagnosed with learning disabilities, possibly stemming from foster care. During a vacation in Quebec at 6 years old, he donned skis and the rest is Olympics history. The 20-year-old also graduated high school as an “Ontario scholar” in 2015.

Sara Schleper (aka Sarah Schleper de Gaxiola), born and raised in the Colorado Rockies, is also competing in slalom and giant slalom. She was a four-time U.S. Olympic skier before retiring in 2011. In June 2014, two months after gaining Mexican citizenship, she came out of retirement at 35 to ski for Mexico. Her Mexican husband Federico Gaxiola and three children will be rooting for Schleper, 38, who supports young Mexican skiers.

German Madraza, 43, will represent Mexico in cross-country skiing, and was flag-bearer for the Opening Ceremonies. The longtime triathlete, from Queretaro, Mexico, picked up the winter sport less than two years ago because he heard it was tougher than his Iron Man competitions. He has lived in McAllen, Texas, for about a decade.

Though Robert Franco was born in California, he has dual Mexican-American citizenship due to his Guadalajaran father. Franco, who will compete in men’s slopestyle, lives in Mexico and has been known to train on gravel due to the lack of ski facilities in the country. It must be working: He qualified for the Olympics with a fifth place in the World Cup in Italy.

Team Mexico fans have something else to get excited about: fun Dia de Los Muertos–inspired uniforms.

These @COM_Mexico Dia de los Muertos alpine skiing race suits, though.

Learn more: https://t.co/XFrqG1SWp0 pic.twitter.com/Llg1xUoK62

— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 9, 2018

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Alpine skiing at the Winter Olympics consists of four main groups: downhill, super giant slalom, slalom, giant slalom. Super-giant slalom and downhill races have fewer turns and are thus faster. Slalom races have courses with short tight turns, whereas giant slalom races have courses set with wider turns.

 

people.com | 2/11/18
When hundreds of hardcore fans of Italy's Hellas Verona Seria A soccer club chanted "Adolf Hitler is my friend" and sang that their team embraced the swastika, at a festive gathering in the summer, Italian Jewish communities complained — and waited.
www.foxnews.com | 2/9/18

Every two to four years, the broadcasters of the Olympics Opening Ceremony wax poetic about the majesty and unity that this event can bring to the world. Most often they’re a glitzy, over-produced and way too long pageant that tends to be overshadowed by some awesome athletics. But sometimes, those broadcasters aren’t exaggerating at all, and the best of the best opening ceremonies are a stunning showcase of national culture and pride. This year’s Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea are bright and early at 6 a.m. ET, so they better be as good as some of these.

2014 – Sochi

Russia’s take on the opening ceremony was elegant and graceful, if underwhelming. A little girl floats through the stadium chasing a kite and a ballet of “Swan Lake” gives way to the Olympic symbol of the Dove of Peace. There was a technical error though at one point: five snowflakes were meant to grow into the Olympic Rings, but only four expanded.

2010 – Vancouver

Vancouver’s opening ceremony was perfectly Canadian and tasteful, transforming the stage into a massive ocean of cracking ice caps and graceful whales. It also featured a performance from a fiddler and k.d. lang singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which got the audience swooning, if not with their jaws on the floor.

2012 – London

Director Danny Boyle played up Britain’s star power for the London Games opening ceremony, staging an elaborate opera of sorts in which Kenneth Branagh proclaimed the birth of a new British village. From there the humble pastures of green gave way to the industrial revolution and a bunch of Oliver Twist orphans in beds parading around stage. Mr. Bean showed up at one point too. Weirdest of all though was a bit in which James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, escorted the Queen to the ceremony and followed her as she leaped out of a helicopter, except obviously not really.

2006 – Torino

Only Italy could go from an homage to the Renaissance and Dante to a red Ferrari rally car wildly spinning out on stage. So it’s kind of a mess. But this opening ceremony earns points for featuring the final public performance from the tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who sang the aria “Nessun Dorma” magnificently not long before his death.

2002 – Salt Lake City

This was a more mournful opening ceremony than usual, as it took place in America just months after the 9/11 attacks. An American flag flown at the World Trade Center was salvaged from Ground Zero and carried through the stadium during a moment of silence. John Williams composed music for the occasion, dancers performed on ice skates center stage, and LeAnn Rimes performed “Light the Fire Within.”

2000 – Sydney

Australia kicked off the new millennium right with their impressive opening ceremony. A massive, elaborate stage with rising arms and shifting platforms called “A New Era and Eternity” was the headliner of the evening. But the real show stopper was a bizarre, levitating UFO of a stage that took flight after Australian sprinter Cathy Freeman used the torch to light a ring of fire in a cauldron full of water, which then poured out in a glorious waterfall.

2004 – Athens

The Athens opening ceremony in 2004 was historic for two reasons: it was a return to the birth place of the Olympics and its ancient tradition, but more importantly for the viewers at home, it was the first series of games broadcast in HD. So yeah, if you were lucky enough to watch it in pristine high definition before anyone else, it looked pretty majestic. This opening ceremony also set the stage for future broadcasts, with a luminous, iridescent stadium floor and advanced lighting technology that future ceremonies have tried to emulate ever since.

2016 – Rio de Janiero

Directed by Fernando Meirelles (“City of God”), the 2016 Opening Ceremony operated on a lower budget but dazzled with an acrobatic light show that charted the history of Brazil and the changing landscape of the country’s rainforests. It used parkour and a touching return for Gisele Bündchen to the catwalk to make a plea for the world to address climate change. But mostly everyone remembers it for that shirtless, oiled up Tongan flag bearer.

2008 – Beijing

Nothing will top this grand display of a country declaring its place in the world. Zhang Yimou organized exactly 2008 unpaid drummers pounding on illuminating displays in what must’ve been a years-long, meticulous and precise work of art. It was dazzling. The initial countdown was a marvelous technical display, but the real spellbinding sight was once they turned the lights on, showing you from immense angles the scope of the perfectly uniform faces and bodies that seemed to embody an entire populace. And that was in just about the first 10 minutes!

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Katie Couric to Co-Host NBC Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

www.thewrap.com | 2/8/18

Italy has a long sporting tradition. In numerous sports, both individual and team, Italy has good representation and many successes. Football is the most popular sport in Italy. Basketball and volleyball are the next most popular/played, with Italy having a rich tradition in both. Italy won the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and is currently the second most successful football team in the world, after Brazil, having won four FIFA World Cups. Italy also has strong traditions in cycling, tennis, athletics, fencing, winter sports and rugby.


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