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UPI NewsTrack Entertainment News

Jan. 12, 2013 at 2:00 PM   |   Comments

White House denies Death Star petition

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The White House rejected a petition to build a Death Star, saying it would cost $850 quadrillion and the United States "does not support blowing up planets."

The "We the People" program allows U.S. citizens to create petitions on any topic through the White House website. The Obama administration has promised to consider and respond to any petition that receives at least 25,000 signatures within 30 days.

As of Friday, a petition to "secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016," had more than 34,000 signatures, The Hollywood Reporter said.

The Death Star is an enormous, globe-shaped space ship and weapon built by villain Darth Vader to destroy planets in the "Star Wars" film franchise.

Paul Shawcross, the chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget posted a statement at the website saying the Obama administration "shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon."

"The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000," Shawcross wrote, advising petitioners the administration is "working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it."

Also, he said, "The Administration does not support blowing up planets."

Finally, Shawcross wrote, "Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?"

For a fuller explanation of that reference, see the "Star Wars" movies.


Grauman's Theatre gets name change

HOLLYWOOD, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Hollywood's Grauman's Chinese Theatre will now be called TCL Chinese Theatre in a $5 million deal with a Chinese manufacturer, the Los Angeles Times said.

Chinese television manufacturer TCL is obligated to fund improvements to the 1927 structure on Hollywood Boulevard as part of a deal that also includes a marketing campaign to promote Hollywood and the theater in exchange for the name change, the Times reported.

The deal is part of the company's attempt to gain a foothold in the American entertainment market, The Hollywood Reporter said Friday.

"This is one of the landmarks of North America," Hao Yi, vice president of TCL Group, said. "It can be a bridge to link the cultures of China and North America."

Grauman's Chinese Theatre has long been the favored spot for red carpet movie premieres in Tinseltown, and was declared a landmark in 1968. It was built with Chinese architectural details, including bells and pagodas, the Reporter said.

Producers Ellie Samaha and Don Kushner bought the theater from Warner Bros. and Viacom in 2011.


'Jurassic Park 4' to open spring 2014

HOLLYWOOD, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Universal Pictures has set a spring 2014 release date for "Jurassic Park 4," though the film has no director or cast yet attached, The Hollywood Reporter said.

The studio settled on June 13, 2014, as the opening date of the film produced by Steven Spielberg and Frank Marshall.

Spielberg directed the first two installments of the dinosaur franchise, and though no director has signed onto the fourth film, Spielberg has said his "Robopocalypse" project won't be his next, The Hollywood Reporter said Friday.

Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who wrote "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," are onboard to pen the "Jurassic Park 4" screenplay.

Marshall said in a July interview the franchise would keep using animatronic dinosaurs despite enhancements in computer technology since the first film.


Louis C.K. in talks for Russell film

HOLLYWOOD, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. comedian Louis C.K. is in talks to star in director David O. Russell's next project as an FBI agent investigating corruption, The Hollywood Reporter said.

Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams are already onboard the as-yet untitled period drama, which begins production next month.

The film was written by Eric Singer and focuses on con artist Mel Weinberg in a corruption case that stretched from Atlantic City, N.J., to Washington, The Hollywood Reporter said Friday.

Charles Roven and Richard Suckle, of Atlas Entertainment, will produce along with Annapurna Pictures' Megan Ellison and Ted Schipper.

Jon Gordon, who produced Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook," will executive produce along with Cooper and Singer.

A tentative release date for the film is set for late 2013.

Louis C.K.'s most recent film performance is in Woody Allen's upcoming comedy, "Blue Jasmine."

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