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How Movies Receive Their Ratings

Many Americans use the MPAA’s formalized rating system as a guide for which films to see. The Onion provides a step-by-step view into how these ratings are chosen:

‘Winnie-The-Pooh’ Turns 90

Winnie-The-Pooh, the A.A. Milne series featuring a stuffed bear and his toy animal friends, debuted 90 years ago this week. Here are some milestones from the franchise’s nearly century-long run:

50 Years Of ‘Star Trek’

Star Trek, the science-fiction show about the crew of the starship Enterprise, premiered 50 years ago today on NBC, spawning a cult following and decades of spin-offs. Here are some milestones from the franchise’s 50-year history

How Big-Budget Movies Flop

Despite the recent box-office failures of Exodus, Ben-Hur, and Gods Of Egypt, studios continue to fund big-budget movies they hope will achieve blockbuster success. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how one of these movies becomes a flop:

Your Horoscopes — Week Of August 30, 2016

ARIES: Sometimes in life, you just need to stop whatever it is you’re doing and take a step back. Actually, maybe it’s two steps back. Yeah, that’s good. Keep going. The stars will let you know when you’re far enough.

‘Rugrats’ Turns 25

This August marks the 25th anniversary of the premiere of Rugrats, the beloved Nickelodeon cartoon about intrepid baby Tommy Pickles and his group of toddler friends. Here are some milestones from the show’s nine-season run

Your Horoscopes — Week Of August 9, 2016

ARIES: Your life’s story will soon play out in front of movie theater audiences across the country, though it’ll only last about 30 seconds and advertise free soft drink refills in the main lobby.

Director Has Clear Vision Of How Studio Will Destroy Movie

LOS ANGELES—Saying he can already picture exactly what the finished cut will look like on the big screen, Hollywood film director Paul Stanton told reporters Wednesday he has a clear vision of how studio executives will totally destroy his upcoming movie.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 14, 2016

ARIES: Once the laughter dies down, the party favors are put away, and the monkeys led back inside their cages, you’ll finally be given a chance to explain your side of the story.

Lost Jack London Manuscript, ‘The Doggy,’ Found

RYE, NY—Workers inventorying the estate of a recently deceased Westchester County art dealer earlier this month reportedly stumbled upon a draft of a previously unknown Jack London novel titled The Doggy, and the work is already being hailed by many within the literary world as a masterpiece.

Guide To The Characters Of ‘The Force Awakens’

The highly anticipated seventh episode in the ‘Star Wars’ series, ‘The Force Awakens,’ which will be released December 18, will feature several returning characters as well as a host of new ones. Here is a guide to the characters of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’

Robert De Niro Stunned To Learn Of Man Who Can Quote ‘Goodfellas’

‘Bring Him To Me,’ Actor Demands

NEW YORK—Immediately halting production on his latest project after hearing of the incredible talent, legendary actor Robert De Niro was reportedly stunned to learn Wednesday that Bayonne, NJ resident Eric Sullivan, 33, can quote the critically acclaimed 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas at length.

Timeline Of The James Bond Series

This week marks the release of the 24th film in the James Bond franchise, Spectre, featuring Daniel Craig in his fourth appearance as the British secret agent. Here are some notable moments from the film series’s 53-year history
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Entertainment

Gigli Focus Groups Demand New Ending In Which Both Affleck And Lopez Die

HOLLYWOOD, CA—Focus groups at advance screenings for Gigli, a romantic comedy starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez set to open nationwide July 30, have demanded a new ending in which both stars die "in as brutal a manner as possible," sources at Sony Pictures said Tuesday.

Focus-group participants suggest possible violent deaths for characters played by Lopez and Affleck (left).

"The movie is pretty good, I guess," read one comment card from a test-screening audience in Culver City, CA. "I liked the Al Pacino character, but I had a hard time buying Jennifer Lopez as a lesbian. I also really, really wanted [Affleck and Lopez's characters] Larry and Ricki to die, to get shot or blown up or run over by something. I would prefer to see the blood and the looks on their faces."

On Monday, 3,000 people in markets as varied as Dallas, Chicago, Albany, Atlanta, and Seattle screened Gigli, a gangster-themed romantic comedy written and directed by Martin Brest, in which lowly thug Affleck lets his love for hitwoman Lopez get in the way of a high-risk mob assignment. Of those viewers, 2,965 "strongly agreed" that the ending should be changed to include a graphic scene in which its main characters die.

"Many participants wrote 'shot to death' in the space provided for comments, probably thinking that it fit in with the gangster characters' stated realities," Columbia Pictures director of marketing Peter Zitterman said. "Some comments showed a lot of careful thought, such as 'point blank through head from right side,' 'both at once with single shot from elephant gun,' and 'several hundred times, with multiple camera angles showing their bodies jerking as they're shredded with a heavy hosing of lead, spraying the lens with gobbets of meat and bone and blood, with the sheer number of fist-sized exit wounds obviously precluding any sequel.' And shootings weren't the only ideas suggested, believe me."

According to the exit cards, other popular methods of achieving Lopez and Affleck's on-screen demise included car bombs, multiple stab wounds, acid baths, rabid wolf attacks, lightning strikes, and, in one case, a "hammer party."

"We never expected this kind of reaction," Zitterman said. "We've had odd results from focus groups before, but I don't recall an audience ever agreeing on such a sweeping change. If only we had done this survey in pre-production."

Although the various test audiences differed on the preferred methods of death, they seemed unanimous on one point.

"We were very surprised at how many viewers thought that, no matter what, Affleck and Lopez should not be entwined in a romantic embrace at the time of their deaths," Zitterman said. "Everyone was perfectly clear on that."

Although Brest said he is satisfied with the final cut of Gigli, he briefly considered incorporating some of the test audience's ideas into the film.

One of the many focus-group comment cards calling for Gigli characters' deaths.

"The danger here is succumbing to what people in the business call 'option paralysis'—being caught with so many good ideas that you're not sure which one to use," Brest said. "Getting shot is fine, but what about an automobile fire in which Ben and Jennifer are shown perishing in a slow-motion montage, their newfound love discarded as they try desperately to claw their way past each other's melting bodies, while slowly roasting to death in their own fat? You'd be surprised at how many people came up with that one. Or having them crawl through a field of broken glass while a safely booted and gloved Christopher Walken casually advances on them with a spray bottle of acid and a pair of bolt-cutters? I must say, a part of me loves the idea of them chewing each other to death during a 14-minute dolly shot."

Added Brest: "Believe me, after the singular experience of working with these two for several months, it would be a joy to get back together just to make these changes."

Even if time were not prohibitive, Columbia executives remained skeptical about the validity of the focus-group results.

"I find it hard to believe that audiences would harbor hostility toward such major media figures as J. Lo and Ben," Zitterman said. "With her magazine covers, clothing and perfume lines, and constant radio presence; his roles in Daredevil and Project Greenlight; and their recent joint appearances on Dateline NBC and numerous entertainment shows, how could anyone wish for anything but a resolution that unites these two attractive, highly visible celebrities?"

Insiders confirm that time constraints will prevent the much-requested death-scene additions to Gigli, which already underwent several days of fine-tuning when earlier focus groups noted a lack of romantic chemistry from the real-life couple. In light of the results, however, director Kevin Smith has said he will consider adding a gruesome double homicide to his Affleck-Lopez comedy Jersey Girl, due in theaters next year.

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