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‘Red Sparrow’ Is No Box Office Match for ‘Black Panther’

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The 20th Century Fox thriller “Red Sparrow” flew low at the domestic box office over the weekend, collecting an estimated $17 million and becoming the third lackluster opening in a row for Jennifer Lawrence.

“Red Sparrow,” starring Ms. Lawrence as a Russian intelligence operative who specializes in sexual manipulation, ran into stronger-than-expected competition from “Black Panther,” which remained a huge No. 1 at North American theaters in its third weekend. “Black Panther” (Disney) collected about $65.7 million, for a new domestic total of $501.1 million; worldwide ticket sales now stand at roughly $900 million.

But the R-rated “Red Sparrow,” which cost Fox at least $100 million to make and market, divided critics and received a lukewarm B grade from ticket buyers in CinemaScore exit polls. “Red Sparrow” had the hardest time attracting young adults; 79 percent of its audience was over the age of 25, according to Fox.

Ms. Lawrence, one of Hollywood’s most popular and highest-paid actresses, was last seen in Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!” Released in the fall by Paramount, “Mother!” failed in wide release. Before that, Ms. Lawrence co-starred with Chris Pratt in Sony’s expensive “Passengers,” which arrived to a wobbly $14.9 million in 2016. Sony ultimately pushed “Passengers” to about $100 million in domestic ticket sales.

The weekend’s other new wide-release movie, “Death Wish” (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), sold an estimated $13 million in tickets, according to comScore, which compiles box office data. A remake of the 1974 movie of the same name, “Death Wish,” starring Bruce Willis, cost at least $30 million to produce and received withering reviews. The film, which celebrates a vigilante shooter, arrived in the wake of the school massacre in Parkland, Fla. Some people complained on social media that trailers advertising “Death Wish” continued to run in theaters.

Then came “The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight) with $57.4 million in domestic ticket sales; “Darkest Hour” (Focus Features) with $55.4 million; and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” with $52 million. “Lady Bird” (A24) followed with $48.3 million.

The least-seen were “Phantom Thread” (Focus), which collected about $20 million, and “Call Me by Your Name” (Sony Pictures Classics), which put together roughly $17 million.

By art house standards, all were quite successful. But none of these prestige-minded movies was widely embraced by mainstream ticket buyers — as when the 2011 best picture nominee “Black Swan” collected about $120 million, after adjusting for inflation; or Mr. Spielberg’s “Lincoln” reached nearly $200 million in 2013.

The other two films nominated for best picture at Sunday’s Academy Awards arrived outside of the awards corridor and were both domestic blockbusters. “Get Out,” which was released a year ago, generated $176 million in ticket sales. “Dunkirk,” a summer release, had $188.4 million.

Black Panther’s massive opening weekend made Marvel history

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The film is expected to make $218 million over the holiday.

Wakanda forever.

In a record-setting precedent, Marvel’s Black Panther has hauled in one of the largest opening weekends of all time, dominating the US box office earning an estimated $192 million in its debut weekend (Friday through Sunday) and an estimated $218 million for the holiday weekend (including Presidents Day on Monday).

To put that in perspective, Black Panther’s three-day, $192 million opening is the fifth largest in history behind Star Wars: The Force AwakensStar Wars: The Last JediJurassic World, and Marvel’s first superhero team-up movie, The Avengers, according to Box Office Mojo.

That means it’s surpassed the opening weekends of nearly all of Marvel’s other superhero flicks, including The Avengers: Age of Ultron, both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, and solo vehicles like Captain America: Civil WarIron Man, and Thor: Ragnarok. As Variety notes, the initial estimates and expectations prior to the film’s release had Black Panther making around $100 to $120 million in its opening weekend — a figure that looks positively meager compared to the final figures.

Because Black Panther is the first solo superhero movie to feature a black star and predominantly black cast since Marvel Studios launched its cinematic universe with Iron Man in 2008, there’s been an immense interest in how well it will ultimately perform at the box office. The idea is that box office success for a movie centered on a nonwhite superhero and cast could inspire Marvel to produce and create more movies like Black Panther in the future (the studio’s previous 16 films have all featured white men as the superhero leads).

Conversely, if Black Panther’s opening weekend had turned out to be a flop, it might have fueled the belief held by some Hollywood execs and insiders that black and nonwhite superhero movies aren’t worth the effort — in the past, poorly received female superhero movies like Catwoman and Elektra have been cited as a reason not to create more superhero movies centered on female characters. Wonder Woman’s success at the box office last year was an important step toward changing that mentality, and Black Panther’s could be too.

The next thing to look for with Black Panther will be how it performs at the box office in its second weekend in theaters. Superhero movies usually experience a massive drop in their second week, but a strong showing for the film, as we saw with Wonder Woman, could indicate that the movie could make even more history.

Fans petition for “Crocodile Dundee” reboot after Super Bowl commercial

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Fans were excited after several trailers dropped for a “Crocodile Dundee” sequel starring Danny McBride as Brian Dundee, the long-lost American son of Mick Dundee, but it turned out that “Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home” was too good to be true — for now, at least. A petition hopes to bring the film to life. A trailer for the supposed sequel aired during Super Bowl LII, only to reveal that it was all a publicity stunt for Tourism Australia. Melbourne-born star Chris Hemsworth played McBride’s sidekick, Wall Jr., in the video and there was even a cameo by Paul Hogan, the original Dundee. The commercial promoted Australia’s beaches, wineries and food scene.

Though the movie was revealed to be an expensive, elaborate spoof, fans are still hopeful. Australian news site NT News started a petition to get Hogan to #BringBackDundee. The petition had 3,000 signatures as of Monday. Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner told NT News he would welcome a Dundee sequel, pointing out that the original movie “showcased the beauty, adventure and fun of the NT — it was great for international tourism and created local jobs.” “We want to see more movies showcasing the NT and supporting our talented people like Miranda Tapsell, Jess Mauboy, Rob Collins and Warwick Thornton … there is no better place than the NT to make a movie,” he said.The petition also rounded up more filmmakers and tourism operators who said the reboot would be good for the Northern Territory.

Is Marvel Finally Getting Serious About a Black Widow Movie?

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The company may have selected the right screenwriter for the job.

When it comes to superhero movies, Marvel is one hell of a hot streak. But there’s one long-awaited project they still have yet to tackle. The super-spy Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow—who debuted in 2010’s Iron Man 2 and is played by Scarlett Johansson, one of the most bankable actresses in the world—always seemed like an obvious choice for a standalone spinoff movie. And Marvel itself seemed to agree; the intriguing hints about Black Widow’s past in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron seemed like a teaser for the movie to come.

And then…*crickets.* Fans have watched with frustration as Marvel has announced movie after movie while relegating Black Widow to a supporting role. And while the company is actively working to even out its lopsided gender dynamics—Ant-Man and the Wasp will be Marvel’s first movie with a female superhero billed in the title, and the Brie Larson-starring Captain Marvel will arrive in the following year—it’s still galling that Black Widow hasn’t gotten her own standalone adventure. Which is why it’s such big news that the company seems to be moving closer to making the Black Widow movie a reality. Marvel’s Kevin Feige met with several screenwriters before tapping Jac Schaeffer, whose credits include the 2009 fantasy-romance TiMER and the Frozen short “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure,” to work on a proposed Black Widow movie.

To clarify: This doesn’t mean the Black Widow movie is happening-Yet. But Kevin Feige has been talking about a Black Widow movie for nearly four years—reiterating in 2016 that the company is “creatively and emotionally” committed to making a Black Widow movie—and this is the surest sign yet that Marvel is nearing a green-light. And as fans try to figure out which of the Avengers will be killed off in next summer’s Infinity War, it’s a hopeful sign that Marvel still has big plans for Natasha Romanoff.

The 24 Biggest Questions We Have After Seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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One of the best things about StarWars: The Last Jedi is that it solves several mysteries raised by The Force Awakens, but it also presents plenty of its own. Here are all the questions we had after we watched The Last Jedi—as well as our educated guesses as to their answers.

Who is the Broom Kid at the end of the movie?

The last scene of The Last Jedi is a group of poor kids who work in the stables of Canto Bight telling the tale of Luke Skywalker vs. the First Order. It’s then revealed that at least one of these kids can use the Force, as he Force-grabs a broom to sweep up. The identity of this character isn’t revealed and the credits just call him “Stable Boy,” played by actor Temirlan Blaev. While there’s no telling if he’ll return in future movies, our guess is he’s no one in particular. He’s just a young boy with a connection to the Force who “doesn’t have a place in the story,” exactly like Kylo Ren says about Rey. His anonymity is crucial to the message of the film and what’s coming in the future—that anyone can rise up and become a hero. Maybe even a Jedi, too.

Is Rey really a Jedi now? Will she teach others to be a Jedi?

With Luke Skywalker now gone, Rey is left as one of the most powerful and experienced, if not the most powerful and experienced, user of the light side of the Force. Since Luke is the titular last Jedi of the film, presumably Rey isn’t quite a Jedi yet, but Luke clearly thinks she will be in the future. Rey also has the sacred Jedi texts from Ahch-To, so we assume she not only wants to learn more herself, she wants to pass it on. Exactly when she took the books or how useful they’ll be is unclear. Yoda makes it seems like the books are kind of worthless. Nevertheless, we tend to think a link can be made between Luke’s assertion and the fact that Rey has the books, to conclude that Rey is the key to the future of the Jedi.

What was up with Luke’s projection of himself onto Crait?

The Last Jedi shows us many new uses for the Force. One of them is that Luke, somehow, projects a version of himself onto the planet Crait—all the way from the planet Ahch-To—to help save the Resistance. This is a new Jedi power (or, at least, in the movies it is; as people are pointing out, Luke actually force-projected a vision of himself to Han and Leia during the events of Dark Horse’s Dark Empire comics in the old expanded universe), and it’s more than an elaborate mind trick. His projection has physicality, which we see when he gives Han’s dice to Leia and kisses her on the forehead. On the other hand, he doesn’t actually touch Kylo, he doesn’t make footprints in the salt ground of Crait, and he’s using his original blue lightsaber, which had been destroyed earlier in the film. Either way, the interstellar projection is so difficult and draining, it seems like it contributes to his death.

 Since Leia survives, how will her role be handled in Episode IX?This is one of many “too soon to say” questions, but here’s one guess: Episode IX could jump forward several years in the future, giving time for Rey to continue learning the ways of the Jedi, and for the Resistance to rebuild itself a bit. Then the third film in the trilogy could begin with characters at her funeral, reflecting on another decade of helping fight the First Order, or Leia having passed in the interim.

How did Leia survive in space?

At one point in The Last Jedi, Leia and many of her fellow Resistance leaders are blown into the vacuum of space, but, after floating briefly she sails back onto the ship. This almost certainly has to be Leia using the Force to pull herself back onboard, but does the Force also explain how she survived the beyond-freezing temperatures and airlessness of space? We have to assume so, given that the Force does many new things in The Last Jedi that we haven’t seen in the other movies.

Will Luke appear as a Force ghost in Episode IX?

This question is impossible to answer at the moment but it’s certainly worth asking. With Carrie Fisher no longer with us, it feels like there still needs to be some kind of original trilogy presence in the next film—someone to continue acting as a mentor to Rey, or at least to help bring a nine-film story to a conclusion. Yoda is a possibility, especially since he shows that even a dead Jedi master can have an impact on the real world. But we think it would be very surprising if Luke didn’t show up in Episode IX, even if it’s just a quick cameo, like Anakin at the end of Return of the Jedi.

So, Jedi can just talk to each other across the galaxy now?

Well, obviously. We’ve already seen Luke partially contact Leia in the original trilogy. Vader and Luke had a connection and briefly communicated, too. We’ve seen ghosts of Jedi come back and speak to the living. If all that is possible, why couldn’t two people, strong with the Force, somehow communicate with each other across the galaxy? Actually seeing each other isn’t a huge jump after that. It’s yet another of those new uses of the Force we keep talking about.

If Snoke was connecting Kylo Ren and Rey, how did they talk after he died?

The Last Jedi explains the talking-across-the-galaxy thing as a plan by Snoke, who connects the two through the Force, knowing Ren would draw Rey to him. Well, Snoke’s gone now and yet Rey and Kylo see each other one more time at the end. How? Just because Snoke opened the door doesn’t mean he also closed it. The door is going to remain open if both sides want it to. Rey closing the ramp on the Falcon seemed like a strong indication she doesn’t.

Why didn’t Holdo just tell Poe her plan?

It’s pretty obvious things would have been much more simple if Holdo simply told Poe they were drifting to Crait to sneak away from the First Order. Almost no one would have died if she just told him. However, with Leia hurt, Holdo is new to the top spot in the Resistance. She needed respect and authority more than she needed Poe’s okay or permission. He’s impulsive and aggressive. These are not great leadership traits and those traits kill lots of people in The Last Jedi. By not telling him, Holdo was asserting her leadership.

Why couldn’t the First Order ships just catch up to the Resistance ships?

Half of The Last Jedi rests on the belief that the Resistance’s ships can stay continually—but barely—out of range of the First Order. But can’t the First Order just speed up? Well, we’re told that the Resistance ships are lighter and faster than the First Order’s, and that they’re going at their top speed. The First Order ships can’t jump to lightspeed because they’d wildly overshoot the Resistance ship. All they can do is continue to pursue them until they run out of fuel.

Why doesn’t anyone answer the Resistance’s distress call?

Trapped on Crait, the Resistance sends another distress call to their allies across the galaxy, but no one comes. Sure, not a lot of time passed, but with lightspeed you don’t need a lot of time; plus, we definitely know these “allies” got the message. Leia’s explanation is that the galaxy has lost hope and that’s as good an answer as any. Word of the Resistance’s predicament probably spread across the galaxy and allies probably felt their defeat was inevitable. It’s cowardly, but understandable.

Are we getting a Rey/Finn/Rose love triangle?

By the end of The Last Jedi, at least two things seem obvious: Finn has strong feelings for Rey and Rose has equally strong feelings for Finn. Depending on when the story picks up in Episode IX, this could easily be ignored, but it seems more likely those characters will have to deal with those feelings at some point. On the other hand, Poe and Rey did have a nice little moment there at the end, right?

Did they really just kill Admiral Ackbar offscreen?

Yes. Ackbar was on the bridge when the First Order attacked. Leia was the only survivor. It’s a slightly disappointing end for such an iconic character but, hey, all’s fair in love and war.

How do the First Order and Resistance continue from here?

Well, we’ll find out in Episode IX. But The Last Jedi does do a masterful job of taking both factions, the Resistance especially, and shaking them to their core. There aren’t more than a handful of people left, and yet their survival on Crait with the help of Luke Skywalker is a story that’ll be told forever. They are the “spark that will light the fire,” as Holdo says. Lots of people are going to have to join the Resistance to form a new Rebellion (or New New Republic) and take down the First Order, and these stories and legends will help.

As for the First Order, they’re still pretty well-equipped. Their losses weren’t catastrophic in this film, at least not logisitically. Internally, though, losing Snoke puts the leadership of the First Order in question. Kylo Ren is Supreme Leader now, but Hux definitely doesn’t trust him. It’ll be interesting to see how that power struggle continues.

How did Yoda create lightning as a Force ghost?

Just another one of those “the Force can do more than we’ve seen in other movies” questions. Yoda hints that he’s discovering new powers in the afterlife, so the fact that he can physically impact the real world seems like a plausible one. Although it’s canonicity is vague, the recent From a Certain Point of View anthology book included a story about Qui-Gon Jinn’s Force ghost, who had begun to master the ability to tangibly interact with the real world as a spirit. So maybe it’s just building on from there.

Are the other Jedi students who left Luke’s academy with Ben Solo the other Knights of Ren?

The Knights of Ren were briefly mentioned and viewed in The Force Awakens, but totally absent in The Last Jedi. Or were they? In the flashbacks telling the story of Ben Solo and Luke Skywalker, we learn that Ben took several students with him. Though it’s never made explicit, it seems very likely those could be the Knights of Ren, and now that Kylo is Supreme Leader (and killed all of Snoke’s Praetorian Guards) maybe he’ll start hanging out with them more. Maybe Kylo Ren will have a posse in Episode IX.

Is Captain Phasma dead?

Boy, sure looks like it, huh? Finn bests her on the collapsing First Order Dreadnought, the floor drops beneath her, and she falls a very long way through a very big explosion. But Phasma also managed to get out of one of Starkiller Base’s trash compactors in the six minutes between Finn throwing her down there and the planet exploding. More importantly, at a recent Q&A, Rian Johnson called Phasma “the Kenny from South Park of this series,” implying she could return in Episode IX for Finn to kick her ass yet again. We’re down with that.

Is Chewbacca a Vegan now?

In one of the film’s funniest scenes, Chewbacca forgoes eating a roasted Porg when a bunch of other Porgs stare at him with horror. We don’t think Chewie is done eating meat, he’s just got a soft spot for Porgs. And who wouldn’t?

Where the hell is Snap Wexley?

Snap Wexley is a Resistance pilot played by Greg Grunberg in The Force Awakens. He helps destroy Starkiller Base and is one of the lead characters in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath novels. However, though we’re led to believe the whole Resistance is on the run in The Last Jedi, Snap is nowhere to be seen. (Though it’s rumored he appears in the background at the very beginning of the film.) So where is he? In the Visual Dictionary for The Last Jedi, there’s a small line that says the following, “Most of the surviving pilots who joined Poe in the fight against the Starkiller have since scattered to other evacuation points or been assigned to other missions.” So Snap lives!

How did Rey get onto the Falcon over Crait?

This is a question a lot of people asked after seeing the movie, but the answer is right there in the movie. Rey tells Chewie to stay just out of range until he gets her signal, then to come pick her up. And after the fight with Snoke and Kylo, we’re told she stole Snoke’s escape pod. So she woke up from the fight, grabbed the broken saber, got into an escape pod, called Chewie, and went after the Resistance ships.

What’s the “Battle of Chryon Belt” that Holdo was part of?

When Vice Admiral Holdo is promoted to head of the Resistance, Poe asks a friend if this Holdo is the “Battle of Chyron Belt” Holdo? We don’t think that battle has been mentioned before in StarWars so it’ll be interesting to find out if that ever gets explained. In all likelihood, it’s probably just a cool piece of mysterious mythology, like “The Clone Wars” in the first film.

What union dispute is Maz Kanata fighting?

One of The Last Jedi’s weirdest sequences is when Poe, Rose, and Finn ask Maz Kanata for help with their mission and Maz is fighting in what she calls a union dispute. While that probably isn’t an important battle, damned if I don’t want to know more about it and see Maz fly around with her gun…. and hear her hint at more sexual encounters with Justin Theroux’s character, the “Master Codebreaker.”

What was Snoke’s origin? Why and how did he take over the First Order?

We will likely never find out. Ever since The Force Awakens, fans have been speculating about Snoke’s origins. Where did he come from? How did he rise to power? Well, his death in The Last Jedi makes it seem pretty unlikely the movies, at least, will ever answer those questions. Maybe we’ll get more answers in a book or comic at some point? But, much like the Emperor in the original trilogy, it seems Snoke’s origins are going to remain a mystery. And that means, whatever those origins are, they are not important to the main story.

Are Rey’s parents really no one? Are they no one of consequence, or does she literally not have parents?

Even though Kylo Ren tells Rey that her parents are basically nobodies in The Last Jedi, the debate that started with The Force Awakens is sure to rage on. On one hand, the idea that Rey’s parents were insignificant drunks fits in not just with the end of the movie, but with Luke and Yoda’s early assertions that the Jedi must end. However, the cave on Ahch-To shows Rey that Rey’s parents are… Rey. That’s probably nothing, but it does add some fuel to fires of another immaculate midichlorian conception or cloning theories. But we honestly think Kylo Ren was telling the truth. Rey was a young girl, sold by her poor parents, and those parents are now dead—and that doesn’t matter at all, because anyone can have the ability to use the Force. And anyone can be a hero.

AFI Top 10 Movies Of 2017: ‘Wonder Woman’, ‘Get Out’, ‘Shape Of Water’, ‘The Post’ & More

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The American Film Institute has announced its annual AFI Movies of the Year list and the most surprising thing about it is there are no real surprises on it — even to the point of including a so-called comic book movie with Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman making the cut.

In fact, in terms of the expected names, the AFI’s list matches almost film for film with yesterday’s Best Picture list from the Critics’ Choice Awards with the exception of Wonder Woman which did not appear on CCA’s top 10 while Darkest Hour did (that British film is ineligible for AFI honors due to its UK origin).

Although indie films have dominated early critics awards, nearly half of the AFI list consists of films released by the major studios, with Dunkirk, The Post and Get Out joining Wonder Woman.  The rest of the list includes two from Fox Searchlight, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Shape Of Water; plus two from A24 which has Lady Bird and The Florida Project. Sony Pictures Classics is represented by Call Me By Your Name, while Amazon scored with The Big Sick.

Netflix was snubbed on the film side again as there was no love for their big hope Mudbound (they did score three mentions on the TV list, so Ted Sarandos will still have an invite to the AFI luncheon January 5). Other films not making the cut include Molly’s Game, I Tonya, Phantom Thread, Wonder, Logan, War for the Planet of the Apes, The Disaster Artist, Coco and Blade Runner 2049 in addition to the top-grossing film of 2017 Beauty And The Beast.

This year’s AFI list is pretty much exactly what was expected from the group and further narrows the field of serious Oscar threats to the same titles we are starting to hear over and over. However, all hope is not lost: three of the AFI’s top 10 last year did not go on to a Best Picture nomination from the Academy, though usually the correlation is fairly close between the two groups.

Last year, AFI selected seven of the eventual nine Oscar Best Picture nominees including eventual winner Moonlight (the AFI list also included Zootopia, not a Best Pic nominee but winner of Best Animated Feature).

Here’s this year’s AFI list:

AFI MOVIES OF THE YEAR

The Big Sick
Call Me By Your Name
Dunkirk
The Florida Project
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Wonder Woman

 

All eight Harry Potter movies will land on HBO Go on January 1st

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Latest In Movies – The last Harry Potter movie came out in 2011, but in that time, the best way to relive the series has been to buy the movies outright or wait for an ABC Family (er, Freeform) marathon of the films; they’ve never really been available on any major streaming service in the US.

Fortunately for Potter fans, that’ll be changing on January 1st, 2018, when all 8 Harry Potter films are coming to HBO Go and HBO Now for on-demand streaming, via Business Insider reporter Kim Renfro. HBO will also be marking the occasion by airing a straight marathon of all eight films (and Fantastic Beasts).

The availability on HBO comes alongside a shift in the basic cable rights of the Potter films from Disney, which previously owned them, to NBCUniversal, which will be airing the films on SyFy and USA Network starting in 2018. The choice of HBO as the streaming home also makes sense, given that Harry Potter is a Warner Bros. property, and both HBO and Warner Bros. are owned by Time Warner cable.

For the complete Potter experience, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is actually already on HBO’s streaming services, should you want to get an early start on your marathon.

Harry Potter Movies

1.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (also known as “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in England and the rest of the UK)(2001)

2.) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

3.) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

4.) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

5.) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

6.) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

7.) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

8.) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)


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