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Entertainment

    Madonna’s twins got their first Barbie dolls this weekend and the entertainer is sharing it with the world. >> Read more trending news The “Material Girl” posted adorable video of newly adopted twin daughters, Estere and Stelle playing with the dolls. In the short video posted on Instagram, the girls sang the Finger Family song in unison while sitting on their beds. As they sing, the girls waved their new toys in front of the camera. “What happens when you get your first Barbie Doll!” Madonna wrote. “Pikachu is left in the dust!” In February, Madonna confirmed the rumor that she had adopted the girls also in an Instagram post. “I can officially confirm I have completed the process of adopting twin sisters from Malawi and am overjoyed that they are now part of our family,” she wrote alongside a photo of herself walking with her girls.
  • Not all reboots are created equal. This weekend at the box office, nostalgia-driven fare was everywhere, from 'Beauty and the Beast' to 'Power Rangers' and 'CHIPS,' producing both successful and underwhelming results. On the high end, Disney's live-action 'Beauty and the Beast' continued enchanting audiences in its second weekend in theaters, easily topping the charts with $88.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. On the low end, Warner Bros.' raunchy, R-rated 'CHIPS' debuted in seventh place with $7.6 million. In the middle was Lionsgate's 'Power Rangers,' which earned a solid $40.5 million to grab the No. 2 spot. The PG-13 take on the campy 1990s television show tells the origin story of the Power Rangers with a diverse teenage cast of relative newcomers. Its audiences were 60 percent male, while 'Beauty and the Beast' crowds remained largely female. The divide allowed both to succeed in the crowded marketplace. 'Power Rangers' didn't get the best reviews, but audiences gave it a promising A CinemaScore, suggesting that it might have staying power in the coming weeks. 'CHIPS,' on the other hand, underwhelmed audiences, critics and the studio. Dax Shepard wrote, directed and starred in the action comedy based on the 1970s and '80s TV show about the California Highway Patrol. Costing $25 million to produce, 'CHIPS' wasn't the biggest risk, but its $7.6 million debut disappointed. The film also got a deathly B- CinemaScore from audiences. 'Brand recognition will get you far — it gives you a leg up before you even start — but at the end of the day, it comes down to the movie itself,' said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. 'No matter how much brand equity they have with a particular title, the real test is: How do critics and audiences respond to that film? 'You still have to deliver a solid movie that will entice people to spend their hard-earned money to go see something that they already know, or already know about,' he said. That's where Disney has succeeded, with its latest remake earning $317 million in just 10 days in North American theaters and $690.3 million worldwide. 'With 'Beauty and the Beast' there have been decades of goodwill and the Disney brand and so many more elements going into it than just the intellectual property,' Dergarabedian said. 'Disney makes it look easy. Others have had more challenges.' Also this weekend, the sci-fi thriller 'Life' failed to connect with audiences, debuting in fourth place with $12.6 million behind holdover 'Kong: Skull Island' with $14.4 million. The R-rated space film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds as astronauts who discover that the alien life form they have brought on board might be dangerous. With a $58 million price tag, Sony and Skydance's 'Life' has a long journey to profitability. Dergarabedian said that part of the reason for its muted launch might be that recent space films, such as 'Passengers' and 'Arrival,' are available for home viewing. The much-anticipated 'Alien: Covenant' and 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' also are on the horizon. Despite some flops, the March 2017 box office, which crossed $1 billion this weekend, has become the biggest March of all time, with help from the strength of 'Logan,' ''Kong: Skull Island,' ''Get Out' and 'Beauty and the Beast.' Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday. 1.'Beauty and the Beast,' $88.3 million ($119.2 million international). 2.'Power Rangers,' $40.5 million ($18.7 million international). 3.'Kong: Skull Island,' $14.4 million ($93 million international). 4.'Life,' $12.6 million ($16.1 million international). 5.'Logan,' $10.1 million ($12.1 million international). 6.'Get Out,' $8.7 million ($2.2 million international). 7.'CHIPS,' $7.6 million ($1.9 million international). 8.'The Shack,'$3.8 million. 9.'The Lego Batman Movie,' $2 million ($1.2 million international). 10.'The Belko Experiment,' $1.8 million. ___ Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore: 1. 'Beauty and the Beast,' $119.2 million. 2. 'Kong: Skull Island,' $93 million. 3. 'Power Rangers,' $18.7 million. 4. 'The Boss Baby,' $16.3 million. 5. 'Life,' $16.1 million. 6. 'Logan,' $12.1 million. 7. 'The Prison,' $8.3 million. 8. 'Split,' $5.2 million. 9. 'Sing,' $4.6 million. 10. 'A Dog's Purpose,' $4.1 million. ___ Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr
  • Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini's legacies included abolishing encores at La Scala. So it was a playful touch when one of the maestro's musical heirs included a Verdi encore during a tribute at the Milan opera house marking the 150th anniversary of Toscanini's birth. The Saturday night concert was part of a series of celebrations and commemorations planned across Italy to honor one of the 20th century's most enduring conductors, a man who defied Fascist leader Benito Mussolini, brought discipline and decorum to La Scala and popularized symphonic orchestral music in the United States. Unlike composers whose works can be played and reinterpreted over time, the contribution of conductors 'is written in water in a certain sense,' said Harvey Sachs, a Toscanini biographer who helped curate an exhibit on the conductor at La Scala's museum that runs through June 4. But Toscanini's fame has endured due to the musical rigor he imposed on orchestras and the fact that he was one of the first major conductors whose work was both recorded and broadcast live, Sachs said. During his lifetime, Toscanini enjoyed renown around the world but particularly in his native Italy, where his focus was opera, and in the United States, the second home where he devoted his career to broadcasting symphonic music. 'In 1935, Time magazine published a statistic that 9 million Americans listened to his broadcast of the New York Philharmonic each week,' Sachs said. 'That was 7 percent of the population of the United States, adults and children, at that time. That would be like 22 million people tuning into a broadcast of symphonic music. It is almost unthinkable today.' He worked at La Scala both as principal conductor, for a decade from 1898, and musical director in the 1920s, and is credited with improving the discipline of musicians, expanding the repertoire and improving the behavior of unruly audience members. It was Toscanini who installed an orchestra pit to help balance the sound of the musicians with the opera singers. He also had the lights turned down during performances and demanded silence from the audience, etiquette that is now the norm but then was a revolution, according to Toscanini expert Franco Pulcini, who collaborated on the La Scala exhibit. By 1929, he'd had enough of fighting with theater directors over the expensive staging of operas and decided to focus on symphonic work. He shifted his career to the United States, where he was conducting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the time and had previously conducted the Metropolitan Opera. 'He realized that moving to the United States by conducting symphonic music, he had a much bigger audience for classical music,' Pulcini said. He went back and forth between Italy and the United States until his anti-Fascist political views — which included refusing to conduct the Fascist anthem — got him into trouble with Mussolini, and his passport was revoked. In 1938, he went into self-exile in the U.S., where a year earlier he had taken the helm of the NBC Symphony Orchestra that was created for him. He continued there for 17 years. His political views also led him to refuse in 1933 to return to the Bayreuth Festival dedicated to performances of operas by Richard Wagner, where he had been the first non-German conductor to appear. Toscanini, who declined to attend because of the Wagner family's sympathies for Nazism, told Wagner's anti-fascist granddaughter, Friedelind, 'This is the greatest sorrow of my life.' In a nod to Toscanini's strong politics, Italian conductor Riccardo Chailly closed Saturday's tribute concert with Verdi's 'Hymn of Nations,' which incorporates the Italian, French and British anthems and was seen at the time of its 1862 premier as presenting a view of European harmony. The encore brought the audience, which included Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, to its feet. The Toscanini anniversary tributes also included a sold-out concert in Bologna, the city where Toscanini was attacked by anti-Fascists in 1931, and with the opening of a new musical production center in Parma, the city of his birth. Concerts by the La Scala Chamber orchestra are being performed this week in Washington and New York to coincide with the publication of the book 'Toscanini, The Maestro: A Life in Pictures.
  • Spanish film star Antonio Banderas says he has recovered from a heart attack that he had in January. The 56-year-old Banderas tells Spanish media that 'I suffered a heart attack on Jan. 26, but it wasn't serious and hasn't caused any damage.' Banderas says he underwent a procedure to place three stents in his arteries, adding that 'it hasn't been as dramatic as some have written.' Banderas' visit to a Swiss clinic had led to speculation about the health of the star known for roles in such films as 'The Mask of Zorro,' ''Desperado,' ''Philadelphia' and the animated 'Puss in Boots.' Banderas spoke Saturday at a film festival in his hometown of Malaga in southern Spain, where he received a lifetime achievement award for his career as an actor, director and producer.
  • Former Girls Aloud star Cheryl and her partner Liam Payne of One Direction fame have announced the birth of their first child. Cheryl said on Instagram Saturday night that their son was born Wednesday and has not been named. She says 'although he still doesn't have a name he is already stealing hearts. We are all madly in love and overwhelmingly happy with our little arrival.' Payne, who is now also a solo artist, said he was 'incredibly happy' and posted a photo of himself with the baby. Cheryl was known as Cheryl Cole when she was in Girls Aloud. She has also been a judge on the 'The X Factor,' the show that Payne competed on before he was placed into One Direction.
  • The Latest on a public memorial honoring late actress Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, the mother-daughter duo who died one day apart in December. (all times local): 3:50 p.m. Fans and friends have paid tribute to Debbie Reynolds at a poignant, laughter-filled memorial for the late actresses. The two-hour ceremony Saturday was a mix of music and dance spliced with some never-before-seen footage of the mother-daughter duo reflecting on their lives. The ceremony was led by Todd Fisher, who lost his mother and sister one day apart in late December. Fisher said his mother didn't like memorials, so he was calling it a show that would reveal his loved ones like never before. Moments included a dance tribute by performers from the dance studio Reynolds founded to music from 'Singin' in the Rain,' the classic film that made her a star. The ceremony started with a video montage using 'Star Wars' music to show Fisher from infancy, displaying tender moments with her and her mother interspersed with highlights from her career. At the end of the montage, a working R2D2 unit came on stage and mournfully beeped at a picture of Fisher and at an empty director's chair with Fisher's name on it. Actress Ruta Lee delivered a touching eulogy about Reynolds and her philanthropy. As with much of the ceremony, Lee sprinkled humor throughout. Dan Aykroyd also cracked jokes, describing Fisher as a chatterbox who never let him speak during their relationship. The ceremony also featured a new song Fisher's friend James Blunt wrote in memory of her. ___ 1:10 p.m. Hundreds of fans and friends of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher are packing an auditorium for a public memorial honoring the celebrated mother and daughter. The ceremony honors the mother-daughter duo's careers at the storied Hollywood Hills cemetery that is their final resting place. Actresses Renee Russo, Anne Blythe and Beverly D'Angelo were among the stars who arrived before the ceremony's start. It will be livestreamed on www.debbiereynolds.com. The ceremony's program featured a photo of Fisher as a young girl holding her mother's hand on stage. A drawing of Fisher in a Princess Leia gown and Reynolds in a rain slicker hugging each other was on a giant projector before the ceremony, and a pair of directors' chairs with the actresses' names on them were on stage. It was also being sold on pins worn by many guests, with the proceeds benefiting The Thalians, a charitable mental health group that Reynolds supported throughout her life. Reynolds' son, Todd Fisher, wrote in a message included in the program that his mother and sister loved a good party, and Saturday's ceremony was intended to be a be a celebration they would like. The afternoon was billed as a celebration of their careers, and it included a memorabilia display of a dress worn by Fisher in the original 'Star Wars' and a life-size R2D2 unit that lights up and occasionally beeps. Two of Reynolds' dresses that she wore onscreen and her honorary Oscar were also on display. Other stars attending Saturday's ceremony were 'Dallas' actress Morgan Brittany, actor Todd Stevens and 'Brady Bunch' actress Susan Olsen. ___ 12 a.m. Stars and fans will gather Saturday for a public memorial to honor late actresses Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher. The ceremony honoring the lives of the mother-daughter duo will be held at the Hollywood Hills cemetery that is their final resting place. People will be granted attendance at the event on a first-come, first-served basis and it will also be live-streamed on www.debbiereynolds.com beginning at 1 p.m. Pacific. The ceremony is expected to feature music by James Blunt and 'Star Wars' composer John Williams. Fisher and Reynolds died one day apart in late December. Fisher died several days after falling ill on an international flight, and Reynolds died of a stroke. Stars including Meryl Streep, Tracey Ullman and Stephen Fry mourned the actresses at a private memorial in January. ___ Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP
  • Saturday Night Live' star Michael Che (CHAY) is not backing away from comments he made about Boston, when he called it the 'most racist city' he has ever visited. The Boston Globe (http://bit.ly/2n34WDF) reports that the co-anchor of 'Weekend Update' told a Boston University crowd Thursday about how he received angry messages on social media after he made the comment on 'SNL' the night before the Super Bowl. He responded to one woman by urging her to 'talk to your closest black friend and ask them to explain it to you.' He says the woman responded by answering, 'Touche.' Che, who often jokes about President Donald Trump on the NBC show, told the audience he never apologizes for language or controversial statements because he's 'just trying to be more presidential.
  • Laughter, music and the tapping of dancing shoes reverberated throughout a public memorial to Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, which loved ones say is just how the actresses would have wanted it. There were few tears throughout the two-hour ceremony Saturday, which honored the mother-daughter duo's impact on film, culture and those who knew them with a mix of photos, videos, and anecdotes that kept the audience laughing and applauding. Todd Fisher led the ceremony, which he said was intended to bring fans an intimate view of his mother and sister. He called it a show, saying his mother hated to attend memorials. Hundreds of fans — some wearing 'Star Wars' attire — attended the public ceremony that featured numerous family photos and Reynolds' final interview reflecting on her life and philanthropy, and one of Fisher's high school friends sharing some her off-color emails to him. A troupe from Reynolds' dance studio performed an homage to 'Singin' in the Rain,' the film that catapulted Reynolds to stardom at age 19. After an opening film that was an ode to Fisher's 'Star Wars' role, a working R2D2 unit came on stage, mournfully beeped and parked next to a director's chair with Fisher's name on it. Across the stage, near a piano, sat an empty chair with Reynolds' name on it. Fisher, 60, an actress and writer who starred as Princess Leia in the original 'Star Wars' trilogy, died Dec. 27 after suffering a medical emergency days earlier aboard a flight from London. Reynolds, an Oscar-nominated actress for her role in 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown,' died the following day at age 84. Todd Fisher recounted his mother's final moments and her remark that she wanted to be with her daughter. 'It was a very peaceful exit that only my mother could have orchestrated,' he said to booming laughter. 'She was trained in Hollywood where they teach you to make a great entrance, and exit.' Fisher and Reynolds had a complex relationship, with some years of estrangement before they reunited and became close confidantes. Actor Dan Aykroyd described Fisher, his one-time fiancée, as a chatterbox who never let him speak. He described using the Heimlich maneuver on her once, and joked that if he had been on the plane where Fisher fell ill in December, he 'might have been able to save her again.' He echoed a sentiment expressed by many early in his remarks. 'We really shouldn't be here this soon,' he said. The ceremony was attended by several stars, including Rene Russo, Beverly D'Angelo, 'Dallas' actress Morgan Brittany, actor-director Fisher Stevens, 'Brady Bunch' actress Susan Olsen and actor Griffin Dunne. Dunne recounted living with Fisher in New York when they were both young actors, and her initial reactions to working on 'Star Wars.' He recounted Fisher's assessment of the film: 'It's stupid and it's terrible.' After the first screening, they both knew she had been wrong. 'We knew movies would never be the same, and you just knew Carrie's life would never be the same.' When speakers weren't delivering one-liners — some that had been uttered or penned by Fisher and Reynolds — music and dance took over the stage. The ceremony featured a new song James Blunt wrote after Fisher's death, and the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles performed a somber rendition of Cyndi Lauper's 'True Colors' that celebrated Fisher's status as a feminist icon. Actress Ruta Lee celebrated Reynolds' philanthropy in her eulogy, which included her singing to troops during the Korean War and her later efforts raising millions to help those suffering from mental illness. Carrie Fisher battled mental illness and addiction, exploring her struggles in the book 'Postcards from the Edge.' Fisher discussed her mother's charitable work in a video clip, joking: 'She sort of started what this town was going to need quite a bit of, which was treatment for the mentally ill.' Lee said it was OK to feel sadness at the deaths of Reynolds and Fisher, but not to dwell on it. 'Debbie the unsinkable and her beautiful daughter would never want us to mourn,' she said. Author Gavin de Becker, who attended high school with Fisher and recounted how his infatuation with her turned into a lifelong friendship, said his friend 'zoomed through time' and made so many people's lives better. He recounted how Fisher took him on international trips and 'gave me so many firsts.' 'The first time I had sex was at Carrie's house,' de Becker said. 'It wasn't with Carrie, but she arranged it.' It was one of many tales about the actresses that drew boisterous laughter. After the service, fans were invited to see the actresses' final resting place at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills, a storied cemetery where numerous celebrities, including Bette Davis and Liberace, are buried or interred. Many also paused to snap photos with some of the actresses' memorabilia that was displayed outside the theater, including two dresses Fisher wore while filming 'Star Wars' and 'When Harry Met Sally,' and two of Reynolds' costumes from 'Singin' in the Rain' and 'Unsinkable Molly Brown.' ___ Associated Press producer Nicole Evatt contributed to this report ___ Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP
  • President Donald Trump went old school on Friday, calling reporters from The Washington Post and The New York Times to announce that he had ordered a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare pulled from consideration in the House when it became clear there weren't enough votes for passage. One of those reporters — Robert Costa of the Post — tweeted news from the surprise phone call a minute after getting it while the president was still talking. Trump's phone calls came amid a day of drama that played out on television screens leading up to an anticipated afternoon vote on one of the Republicans' enduring campaign promises, to get rid of the insurance law enacted by former President Barack Obama. Congress was debating the measure when it was taken back before a vote. The calls to Costa and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times were surprising given the newspapers' aggressive coverage of the president. He has consistently derided their 'fake news' and mocked the 'failing' Times, which has been seeing an increase in subscriptions. Costa wrote in a first-person piece posted on the Post's web site that when his cell phone rang at 3:31 p.m. EDT, he thought it was a reader complaint because it was a blocked number. 'Hello, Bob,' came the president's voice. 'So, we just pulled it.' Costa multi-tasked, interviewing Trump while posting several updates on Twitter. 'President Trump just called me, still on phone,' he posted at 3:32. ''We just pulled it,' he tells me.' Costa, a national political reporter for the Post, tweeted a stream of updates: 'I don't blame Paul, Trump tells me' and 'What a convo. I'll type it up quick.' CNN ran a screen grab of Costa's Twitter feed, even though he's nominally a competitor: Costa also works as an NBC News analyst. Before 5 p.m., he had posted a first-person account of the conversation under the headline: 'Hello, Bob: President Trump called my cellphone to say that the health care bill was dead.' Haberman's first tweet came at 3:52 p.m.: 'TRUMP tells me in interview this is now the Democrats' fault, and that he anticipates that when Obama 'explodes,' they will be ready to deal.' She quickly corrected her typo, meaning Obamacare instead of Obama. She wrote on Twitter that Trump had shown uncharacteristic discipline in saying it was the Democrats who had let him down. Besides Twitter, a quote from her interview appeared in the Times' online coverage of the events. Trump spoke before cameras in the Oval Office about an hour after the phone conversations. It wasn't Haberman's first phone interview with the president. She wrote a piece shortly after his inauguration about life in the White House. Later, Haberman offered a Twitter observation about the president: 'Trump is not going away this weekend. He was deeply disciplined in phone interviews. The big question is what happens now when he sits in the White House residence and watches television coverage of the bill's failure.' Based on the media coverage, it won't be an easy aftermath. 'Is there a sense of how ignominious this defeat is?' CNN's Jake Tapper asked correspondent Dana Bash, calling it an embarrassment for House Republicans and the White House. 'The president just suffered a terrible defeat,' said MSNBC's Brian Williams. Fox News Channel's Bret Baier said 'the president took a hit today,' and batted away colleague Eric Bolling's attempt to pin blame on House Speaker Paul Ryan and Congress, noting Trump had pushed hard for the bill. 'When you can't tell the elevator story about what's good about the bill for middle America,' Baier said, 'you've lost.
  • Actor Harrison Ford said he was distracted and concerned about turbulence from another aircraft last month when he mistakenly landed on a taxiway at a Southern California airport after flying low over an airliner with 116 people aboard, according to an audio recording released Friday. 'I'm the schmuck who landed on the taxiway,' Ford told an air traffic controller shortly after the near-miss on Feb. 13 at John Wayne Airport in Orange County. Recordings of Ford's conversations with air traffic controllers were released Friday by the Federal Aviation Administration. The 74-year-old actor was told to land his single-engine plane on Runway 20L, but he instead landed on a parallel taxiway. An American Airlines flight was on the same taxiway, waiting to take off. A video released last month showed Ford's Aviat Husky plane from behind as it descends toward the airfield where the American Airlines Boeing 737 is slowly taxiing. 'Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?' Ford asked the air traffic control tower as he landed in the wrong spot. 'Oh. I landed on Taxiway Charlie. I understand now. Sorry for that,' Ford said. In a phone call with an air traffic controller after the incident, Ford said he 'got distracted by the airliner' and also mentioned 'big turbulence' from another plane that was landing. The American Airlines flight, with 110 passengers and six crew members, departed safely for Dallas a few minutes later. When an air traffic controller told the 'Star Wars' and 'Indiana Jones' star to take his time getting the number from his pilot's license, remarking it isn't a big deal, Ford responded: 'It's a big deal for me.' After Ford told the employee his name, the man seemed taken aback and assured Ford he won't share his phone number with anyone. Landing on a taxiway, instead of a runway, is a violation of Federal Aviation Administration regulations. The agency's probe of the incident is still underway, spokesman Ian Gregor said Friday. Ford's publicist did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon. Ford, who collects vintage planes, has a long record as an aviator. He has had several close calls and a serious accident in March 2015 when he was injured in his World War II-era trainer. It crashed on a Los Angeles golf course after engine failure. ___ Follow Michael Balsamo on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 .