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‘Abby’s’ Star Natalie Morales: ‘I Didn’t Grow Up With Anybody Like Me on Television’

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Ever wish you could go to a bar where everybody knows your name?

No, we’re not talking about “Cheers.”

“Abby’s” is a new NBC comedy about a makeshift backyard bar where San Diego locals come to drink and find camaraderie. 

Leading lady Natalie Morales is believed to be the first Cuban star of a broadcast comedy since “I Love Lucy’s” Desi Arnaz and is playing one of the few openly bisexual characters of color on broadcast television.

‘Late Night’: Natalie Morales Tells an Embarrassing Story

[NATL] 'Late Night': Natalie Morales Tells an Embarrassing Story

When asked about the personal significance that holds, Morales said it was a “huge huge thing” for her. 

“I didn’t grow up with anybody like me on television, so it’s really incredible to be a part of that and maybe there’s some brown queer kid out there who’s watching TV and going like ‘Oh, that’s cool,'” she said. “That’s like a normal person, and it’s okay and it’s fine and they’re on television so it must be normal and fine. And they’re living their life and they have friends and people who love them. I think the more we normalize the people around us, the less divided we’ll be.”

Morales, like her character, also identifies as bisexual. In 2018, Morales was featured on Out magazine’s Out 100 list. The Abby character was written before casting, so her sexual orientation was already decided, but her Cuban heritage was added after Morales came onboard. 

‘Tonight’: Natalie Morales Gets Confused for NBC Name Twin

[NATL] 'Tonight': Natalie Morales Gets Confused for NBC Name Twin

Previous credits for the star include the HBO series “The Newsroom” as well as “Girls” and “Parks and Recreation,” in addition to films like “Battle of the Sexes” and Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Morales also starred in “Santa Clarita Diet” and recently directed an episode of “Room 104.”

But throughout her career, she has often been confused with NBC anchor Natalie Morales.

“It happens constantly,” she said. “It happened last week! The “Today” show tweeted at me thinking it was her. Her own show!”

As for the comparisons between her character and Ted Danson of “Cheers,” Morales feels that while flattering, the similarities end with the bar setting. “We are outdoors in San Diego as opposed to underground in Boston,” she said.

“There are a lot of hospital shows and a lot of courtroom shows, so I feel like we’re okay to have another show set in a bar 35 years after ‘Cheers,'” Morales added.

In the show, bar owner Abby (Morales) is a former staff sergeant in the Marines who still has a penchant for rules, as long as they’re of her own making. Cell phones are strictly not allowed and patrons must earn their seat at the bar. Sugary drinks are doled out as punishment for losing “challenges.”

Morales said what she likes about the show is that it depicts the characters as well-rounded and multi-faceted people. 

“I think that often times vets are depicted as though that’s the only thing about them and they’re rich, full people like everybody else,” Morales said. “That’s a big part of their lives, but it’s not the only thing.”

For the pilot, Abby’s bar comes under threat when the new landlord Bill (Nelson Franklin), drops in and discovers the illegal set up. With a bit of coaxing from the bar patrons, he agrees to let Abby keep the bar, as long as she makes a few changes.

The show is a 10-episode multi-camera sitcom filmed entirely outdoors in front of a live studio audience. The outdoor studio is located on the Universal Studios lot, beside Burbank airport. 

“Luckily it never rained, so that’s nice,” Morales said. “There are some sound issues sometimes, planes flying over and such but most of the time we really luck out.”

“Abby’s” was created by Josh Malmuth, a San Diego native. Abby’s bar primarily serves beer, something that the city of San Diego prides itself on. As an homage to the city’s craft beer culture, viewers may spot a few local San Diego beers on the tap. 

In real life, Morales prefers an old fashioned, she said. 

In addition to her acting career, Morales is an activist, advocating on behalf of Best Friends animal society and Everytown for Gun Safety’s Creative Council.

“It’s not about taking people’s guns away. It’s just about gun sense and gun safety,” Morales said.

“It’s an epidemic in our country and I think if we all come together on that and start to realize that and put people before weapons, I think we can get somewhere great.”

“Abby’s” airs on NBC Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET. 

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company to NBC and this station.

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Discounts on Mattresses, Electronics and More – NBC4 Washington

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Our editors take care to highlight sales and deals on items that we think you’ll enjoy — and at prices we think you’ll like. Shop TODAY has affiliate relationships so we may get a small share of the revenue if you buy something through our links.

Presidents Day is a great time of the year to save big on some of your favorite items.

We’ve created a list of your favorite stores (Amazon, Target, Nordstrom and more) that have great sales and deals for Presidents Day weekend. Whether you’re looking for a few new spring outfits or wanting to splurge on something larger like a TV or mattress, we’ve got you covered with plenty of options!

The below list has deals by category. To quickly jump to the category you’re looking for, click on the links below:

Scroll through our extensive list to check out the best Presidents Day 2020 sales you don’t want to miss!

Presidents Day bedding and mattress sales

1. Mattress Firm

You can save 20% off pillows, protectors and sheets. The store is also offering 60% off Sleepy’s accessories until March 10, and 40% off select Serta mattresses during President’s Day only.

2. Casper

If you purchase a mattress, you will receive 15% off select orders through Feb 17.

3. Nordstrom

Revamp your bedroom and save up to 50% off on select bedding from Nordstrom.

Vera Wang Zigzag Cotton Sateen Duvet Cover & Sham Set

This Vera Wang duvet set will make your bedroom feel like a hotel room in seconds! The minimalist white bedding is detailed with zigzag lines of stitching for a modern feel.

4. Brooklinen

If you’re in the market for new sheets, take advantage of Brooklinen’s 15% off sale from Feb. 13-17.

5. Allswell Home

From now until Feb. 18, Allswell Home is offering 15% off mattresses and 20% off bedding (excluding toppers), bath and spa items with the code PREZ.

6. Walmart

Walmart is offering up to 30% off on select mattresses, including this popular gel foam mattress from Modern Sleep.

7. Zoma

Take $150 off any mattress and get two free Zoma pillows using the code PRES150 until Feb. 23.

8. Brooklyn Bedding

Brooklyn Bedding is having a 25% off sale on the whole site until Feb. 17.

The Brooklyn Signature Hybrid Mattress

Presidents Day technology sales

1. Amazon

Get up to 40% off Apple AirPods, Fitbit trackersKindle tabletsEcho Dots and more during the website’s annual Presidents Day sale.

Apple AirPods with Charging Case

If you’ve been wanting a new pair of wireless headphones, now is the perfect time! You can now snag a pair of Apple Airpods for $30 off.

2. Walmart

Save big on Samsung TVs, smartwatches, cameras and more for a limited time at Walmart.

3. Target

Get awesome deals on various Apple products, smart TVs, headphones and more.

Presidents’ Day beauty sales

1. Dermstore

Receive 20% off Jane Iredale makeup with the code JANE0220 until Feb. 17.

2. Urban Decay Cosmetics

Save big on items like the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette that has been a beauty favorite for years.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

Although this fan-favorite eyeshadow palette debuted eight years ago, people still can’t get enough! The palette comes with 12 pigmented and creamy shadows to create dozens of looks.

Presidents Day clothing and accessories sales

1. Old Navy

Until Feb. 21, you can save 40% off of Old Navy’s jeans and T-shirts.

2. Hush Puppies

Hush Puppies is offering 20% off select styles from Feb. 16-18. This would be the perfect time to splurge on some quality shoes.

3. Lilly Pulitzer

Lilly Pulitzer is offering some free gifts with purchase until Feb. 17. You can receive an exclusive Lilly Pulitzer sunglasses case with a purchase of $75 or more, an exclusive Lilly Pulitzer beach pack with a purchase of $200 or more, or a Lilly Pulitzer Beach Towel Blanket with a purchase of $500 or more.

4. Nine West

Take 25% off the whole site, plus an extra 40% clearance from Feb. 15-17.

Nine West Cara Pointy Toe Pump

These chunky velvet heels would look great at the office or a date night! The heel comes in nine other colors and patterns.

5. Fossil

Until Feb. 17, save up to 30% off your entire purchase with the code LOVE30.

6. Macy’s

From Feb. 14-18, you can take 15% off clearance suits, coats, dresses and shoes.

7. Nordstrom

Get up to 40% off beauty, 50% off men’s clothing and 60% off on women’s and children’s clothing.

8. Volcom

Take an extra 40% off sale items from Feb. 14-17 with the code YEAHBUD.

9. J. Crew

Take 30% off select items and an extra 50% off all sale styles for a limited time with the code WEEKEND.

J. Crew Mockneck Sweater

This J. Crew sweater seems like the perfect transition top for the beginning of spring. This salmon pink color would look great with a pair of jeans and brown booties, but there are also over a dozen other options to choose from.

10. Aéropostale

The fashion brand is offering 60% off the entire website, including jeans and new arrivals for a limited time.

11. Taryn Rose

Taryn Rose is offering 25% off the site on Feb. 17.

12. Lou & Grey

Take 40% off select items, an additional 40% off sale styles and get free shipping until Feb. 18.

13. Cole Hann

Score an extra 40% off sale items until Feb. 18 with the code EXTRA40.

14. Gap

Get 30-50% off everything, including 50% off all T-shirts and sweaters until Feb. 18.

15. Jones New York

Take 50% off all items from Feb. 17-23 with the code LOVE50.

16. Nautica

Nautica is offering 20% off $100 or more with the code PRES20 until Feb. 18.

Presidents Day home sales

1. Best Buy

Save up to 40% on home appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers, and more until Feb. 26.

2. Walmart

You can score up to 30% with the brand’s “Saving Spotlight” holiday rollback event. You can score deals on items such as TVs, mattresses, pressure cookers and more!

Ninja Foodi 4-in-1 Indoor Grill

This Ninja product has become wildly popular! Not only is it an air fryer, but it can also roast, bake and grill whatever you want. For a limited time, you can snag this item for a great discount.

3. Home Depot

Get up to 40% off select appliances and bath items, up to 30% off select furniture and up to 35% off select storage solutions.

4. Nordstrom

Save up to 40% on bath and kitchen items and up to 50% on home technology, luggage and travel.

5. Bed Bath & Beyond

Until Feb. 17, save 25% on comforters, $20 off select Cuisinart items and up to $150 off select Dyson products. If you have your eye on a fancy Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, you can also receive $100 off!

Dyson V8 Animal Cord-Free Stick Vacuum

This Dyson vacuum might make cleaning your home much simpler. It’s cord-free (offers up to 40 minutes of cleaning) and has almost 1,000 positive reviews on Bed, Bath & Beyond, so you know it’s well-loved.

6. Pottery Barn

Take up to 40% off select storage and organization items, 25% off select bedding and bath products, and 20% off select sofas and sectionals.

7. Overstock

Overstock is offering up to 70% off thousands of items, plus free shipping on most orders! Deals include patio furniture starting at $99, rugs starting at $49, mattresses starting at $199 and living room chairs as low as $99.

8. Wayfair

Save up to 70% off on living room furniture, wall décor, lamps and more until Feb. 18.

9. Ashley Furniture

Ashley Furniture is offering up to 30% off on select furniture and up to 60% off dining.

10. Pier 1

Enjoy 30% off select categories including rugs, wall decor and chairs.

For more recommendations, check out:

To discover more deals, shopping tips and budget-friendly product recommendations, download the new TODAY app and subscribe to our Stuff We Love newsletter!

This story first appeared on TODAY.com.

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Kate Middleton Candidly Discusses Her Parenting Struggles in Rare Interview – NBC4 Washington

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This royal is getting candid about parenthood. Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, opened up about her pregnancies and motherhood journey in a new episode of the “Happy Mum, Happy Baby” podcast, which dropped Saturday, Feb. 15.

In the nearly 35-minute conversation, the former Kate Middleton spoke to host Giovanna Fletcher about a range of topics, including parenting guilt, difficulties during pregnancy, why she did hypnobirthing and more.

While the duchess has come to realize “it’s not totally my responsibility to do everything,” she said that she “absolutely” experiences mom guilt “all the time.” “I think anyone who doesn’t, as a mother, is actually lying,” she said with a laugh.

Through talking to other mothers, midwives and even scientists, the duchess — who’s the mother to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — has learned a ton, including how a mother’s emotional well-being, not just her physical health, can impact a baby’s development.

“What I’ve learned over the last few years, it’s so fascinating,” the 38-year-old said. “And I definitely would have done things differently, even during my pregnancy, than I would’ve done now knowing the importance of the early years.”

That emphasis on the early years is the focus of her U.K.-wide survey called “5 Big Questions on the Under Fives,” which she promoted on the podcast. It’s an anonymous survey which she hopes will start a larger conversation about parenting challenges to find solutions and ensure a better future for the next generation.

Reflecting on her own three pregnancies, the duchess shared, “I got very bad morning sickness, so I’m not the happiest of pregnant people.” Though she acknowledged that “a lot of people have it far worse,” it was still “definitely a challenge” for her and her loved ones, since she felt “utterly rotten.”

She’s not exaggerating either — she suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “occurs when there is severe, persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy — more extreme than ‘morning sickness.'” The condition can lead to weight loss and dehydration.

It’s because of the condition that she opted for hypnobirthing, explaining, “It was through hyperemesis that I really realized the power of the mind over the body, because I really had to try everything and everything to try to help me through it.” According to Parents.com, hypnobirthing is “is a childbirth education course that emphasizes natural childbirth and teaches self-hypnosis techniques to combat fear and pain during labor.”

Expanding on her experience, the duchess clarified, “There’s levels of it. I’m not going to say that William was standing there, sort of chanting sweet nothings at me. He definitely wasn’t… It was just something I wanted to do for myself. I saw the power of it.”

Whether meditation or deep breathing, she was able to use hypnobirthing techniques when she felt sick. “I realized that this was something that I could take control of, I suppose, during labor. It was hugely powerful,” she added. Because her pregnancies were so difficult, she also said, “I actually quite liked labor,” since an end was in sight.

Despite any difficulties along the way, the former Kate Middleton gushed about how “extraordinary” the human body is and how “amazing” it was the first time she held baby George, who she actually didn’t know was going to be a boy. “It was a surprise,” she said, recalling the “pure joy” on husband Prince William’s face.

That bliss was soon met with stress, though. The duchess said it was “slightly terrifying” that soon after giving birth, she had to go do the royal photo call on the hospital steps. “Everyone had been so supportive. Both William and I were really conscious that this was sort of something that everyone was excited about and we’re hugely grateful for the support that the public has shown us.” While they wanted to share that joy with the world, that excitement was “coupled with a newborn baby and inexperienced parents and the uncertainty about what that held.”

The duchess described that July 2013 day as “a bit of a blur” with “mixed emotions.” She stayed in the hospital overnight and thunderstorms prevented her from sleeping well. “I was keen to just get home, because for me… I had all the memories of being in the hospital because of being sick, so it wasn’t the place I wanted to hang around in, so I was really desperate to get home and get back to normality,” she said.

She said she “totally underestimated the impact and the change it had on our lives from that moment” on. Ultimately, they were just figuring things out as they went along, and when host Fletcher praised how seamlessly William put baby George in the car for the first time, the duchess said, “He probably didn’t think so at the time.” She recalled amidst laughs, “We’d even tried to practice with a little baby, like a little doll… but you know, it just never works out the way you planned it, so it was quite hard to do that on the world’s stage.”

No matter how many experts or parents she has spoken to, the duchess made sure to mention: “No pregnancy is the same. No birth is the same.” The idea that parents put pressure on themselves to have things play out a certain way, leading to disappointment and guilt, is another topic they discussed.

When it comes to combating parenting pressures, simplicity is key. “Life now is so busy, so distracting, and actually sometimes the simple things like watching a fire on a really rainy day provide such enjoyment,” said the duchess, who recalled enjoying easy activities, like going for walks with her parents, as a kid.

“It’s the simple things that really make a difference,” she said. “It’s spending quality time with your children. It’s not whether you’ve done every single drop-off and every single pick-up, but actually it’s those quality moments that you spend with your child where you’re actually properly listening to them.” The duchess tries to do exactly that with George, Charlotte and Louis.

At the end of the day, she knows there’s power in people coming together.

“No matter what walk of life you’ve come from, there’s so many things that really unify parents and families in their struggles, but also in their aspirations too,” she said. Through the podcast and her survey, the duchess is doing her best to listen to other parents and conquer any challenges together.

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All-Star Weekend, as Expected, Was About Honoring Kobe – NBC4 Washington

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It has become one of the NBA’s most revered traditions: On the morning of the NBA All-Star Game, the league pays tribute to retired players with what is called the Legends Brunch. It brings together about 3,000 guests, and every year a recent retiree with ties to the game’s host city is honored.

When the game was in Los Angeles two years ago, the NBA wanted to honor Kobe Bryant.

He declined. He couldn’t attend. His reason: his daughter Gianna Bryant had a game that morning.

“That said, to us, everything about his priorities,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Sunday as he recalled that conversation with Bryant.

After a tragic helicopter crash took the lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others, they two were honored in a private funeral before a public memorial, still to come. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. 

This All-Star weekend was Michael Jordan’s longtime home of Chicago, highlighted by a game where LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo served as captains — but it was, predictably and understandably, overshadowed by the mourning of Bryant.

Jennifer Hudson, wearing the Lakers’ deep purple, performed a pregame tribute to Bryant and sang “For All We Know.” Players on James’ team wore Gianna’s No. 2 on their jerseys and players on Antetokounmpo’s team wore Kobe’s No. 24 on theirs. And all players wore a patch with nine stars, one for each victim of the crash.

Common, in his pregame tribute to Chicago, also paid homage to Bryant, saying that “even in the darkest times, you’ll feel Kobe’s light.”

Everyone at the All-Star Game on Sunday got a 24-page tribute published by Sports Illustrated devoted to Bryant’s career. On the last page of text, just before the back cover, was a quote from Jordan: “I loved Kobe — he was like a little brother to me,” it began. Next to that quote was a photo, Bryant guarding Jordan in 1997, sticking his tongue out much in the same way that the Bulls’ guard often did.

One caller even speculated with the dispatcher if the pilot faced disorientation due to the fog. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, 2020.

And when the night was over, Kawhi Leonard was the first recipient of the Kobe Bryant MVP Award, given to the player voted as the biggest star of the All-Star Game — a trophy that Bryant hoisted four times.

It’s been three weeks now since Bryant, 13-year-old Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California.

And the mourning period is still very active, very real, very necessary.

It’s a doubly somber time for the NBA, since the league is also coming to grips with the Jan. 1 death of Commissioner Emeritus David Stern — the person credited for taking a fledgling league and turning it into one of the planet’s most powerful sports brands, a multi-billion-dollar entity with a reach that touches nearly every outpost on earth. Stern was remembered as well at the Legends Brunch, and Silver drew a parallel between Bryant and his former boss.

Video captured by a Glendale, California, resident appears to show the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and six other passengers circling above Glendale half an hour before the fatal crash. David Lyudnirsky, who lives below the known flight path of the helicopter, said he started filming because of the noise of the chopper circling above his house.

“Just as a reminder: Who more embodies the spirit of All-Star than Kobe? … He always played hard. He didn’t care if it was an All-Star game,” Silver said. “And I think that’s what he and David had in common. They always competed. They believed in the power of sports. They believed in winning and they believed it was necessary to always give their all. And I think that’s why their losses have resonated with so many people around the world.”

Magic Johnson — like Bryant, a Los Angeles Lakers legend — had been hired two years ago to introduce Bryant at the Legends Brunch, the one that Bryant couldn’t attend because his daughter had a game that morning.

On Sunday, Johnson finally got his chance to speak at the event and pay tribute to Bryant. He told the story about how, before Bryant was drafted in 1996, Jerry West called him to say that he had seen the greatest draft workout that he could recall.

He was speaking of Bryant’s workout.

“And I said, ‘Really,'” said Johnson, who also paid tribute to Stern and Bryant at United Center before Sunday’s game by addressing fans. “He said, ‘Yes, this guy named Kobe Bryant. Just was incredible in his workout and we’re going to do everything we can to draft him.”

The rest is history. Bryant came to the Lakers in a draft-night trade and played there for 20 years, winning five titles. Johnson said he was quickly impressed with Bryant’s work ethic, how he would work for two hours before practice and then go through another two-hour session with the team.

“That’s who Kobe Bryant was,” Johnson said. “He was always thinking about ‘How can I get better? How can I lead my team to victory?’ And when you think about him scoring 81 points in a game, only second to Wilt Chamberlain, and then five NBA championships, and then to score 60 points in his last game — that was probably the greatest thing I’ve ever seen from any athlete. He said, ‘Hey, I’m going to go out Mamba-style.'”

The brunch paid tribute this year to four individuals: USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo received the Lifetime Achievement award, newly retired three-time NBA champion and Chicago native Dwyane Wade received the Community Ambassador award, retired WNBA player and another Chicago native Cappie Pondexter was the Hometown Hero recipient, and longtime Chicago Bulls star and six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen was the Legend of the Year.

Landmarks across the country lit up purple and gold, the colors of the Los Angeles Lakers, to remember Kobe Bryant. A helicopter crash killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others on Sunday.

Pippen was at his Los Angeles home when he got the news on Jan. 26 about Bryant.

“It was a weird morning,” Pippen said. “And I’m still today regretting that I didn’t get a chance to tell Kobe Bryant how great he really was.”

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JJ Watt Marries Pro Soccer Player Kealia Ohai in the Bahamas – NBC4 Washington

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J.J. Watt is officially off-the-market, y’all!

The Houston Texans defensive end has a lot to celebrate, especially now that he’s married to pro soccer player, Kealia Ohai.

On Saturday, the two lovebirds tied the knot in a romantic ceremony in the Bahamas. For their destination wedding, many of the pair’s nearest and dearest were in attendance.

In fact, North Carolina Courage and USWNT star Crystal Dunn took to social media to show off her friend’s elegant bridal gown.

In the photo, the 28-year-old soccer star looks picture-perfect in a mermaid-style wedding dress.

And instead of wearing a typical strapless design, Kealia opted for a jewel-encrusted spaghetti strap piece, which featured a fully beaded and intricately embroidered bodice. Her tulle bottom appeared to be decked out in glitzy fabric and sequins.

While the newlyweds have yet to share details about their wedding celebration, the two certainly enjoyed their tropical getaway days leading up to their big day.

J.J. Watt Is Engaged to Pro Soccer Player Kealia Ohai

“my valentine now and forever,” the NFL star captioned an Instagram post, alongside a photo of him holding onto his soccer star. 

The two appeared to be soaking up the sun on a yacht, a day before they exchanged their vows.

The news of their wedding comes less than a year after they got engaged.

Back in May, Watt got down on one knee and popped the big question. “I’m the luckiest man in the world,” he wrote after announcing the happy news.

“Still can’t believe I get to be with you forever,” Ohai shared on Instagram with a photo of the magical moment her beau proposed. “I love you.”

The couple had been dating for three years, before taking their romance to the next level. Now, they’re husband and wife.

Congrats to the newlyweds!

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‘Sonic’ Speeds to $57M Debut; ‘Parasite’ Sees Big Oscar Bump – NBC4 Washington

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The redesigned “Sonic the Hedgehog” showed plenty of teeth at the box office, speeding to a $57 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday, while “Parasite” saw one of the largest post-Oscars bumps in years following its best picture win.

Paramount Pictures’ “Sonic the Hedgehog” came in well above expectations, especially for a movie that just months ago was a laughing stock. After its first trailer was greeted with ridicule on social media last year, “Sonic” was postponed three months to give its title character a design overhaul — including fixing Sonic’s eerily human teeth.

The makeover worked and audiences responded by making “Sonic the Hedgehog” the weekend’s top film and the highest-grossing opening for a video game adaptation, not accounting for inflation. For Paramount, it’s a welcome success following misfires such as “Gemini Man” and “Terminator: Dark Fate.” The studio estimates “Sonic” will gross $68 million over the four-day Presidents Day holiday weekend.

“If you don’t listen to your customer, and this goes for any business, then you’re going to fail,” said Chris Aronson, distribution chief for Paramount. “We retooled Sonic in a way that was obviously very satisfying for the fans and they were very forgiving. Now that they’ve seen the movie, they love the movie. It all worked out.”

The Sega video game adaptation, directed by Jeff Fowler, drew decent reviews (63% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and an A CinemaScore from moviegoers. The $87 million production co-stars Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik with Ben Schwartz supplying Sonic’s voice.

Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” had its biggest weekend in its 19th week of release. Neon put “Parasite” into its widest release yet (2,001 theaters) following its historic win at the Oscars. (“Parasite” was the first non-English-language film to win best picture in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards.) And despite the film already being available for weeks on digital platforms and on DVD, its $5.5 million weekend is the largest Oscars bump for a best-picture winner since “Gladiator” in 2001.

Last week’s opening of “Birds of Prey” followed up its limp debut by sliding to second with $17.1 million. Following its disappointing opening, some theaters retitled the movie “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey,” instead of “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).”

It was a busy weekend in theaters, with a handful of other new releases — “The Photograph,” “Fantasy Island,” “Downhill” — seeking to capitalize on both Valentine’s Day on Friday and Presidents Day on Monday.

“Fantasy Island,” the Blumhouse horror remake of the ‘70s TV show, fared the best, collecting $12.4 million in ticket sales despite terrible reviews. Sony Pictures handled the release of the low-budget, PG-13 film, which earned just a 9% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Universal Pictures “The Photograph,” a romance starring Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield and produced by Will Packer (“Girls Trip,” “Ride Along”), opened with $12.2 million. The film, written and directed by Stella Meghie, cost $15 million to make.

“Downhill,” from Disney’s Fox Searchlight Pictures, debuted with $4.7 million, a modest start for a film starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell. A remake of the acclaimed Swedish film “Force Majeure” by Ruben Östlund, “Downhill” didn’t do great with critics but fared even worse with audiences. They gave it a D CinemaScore.

Neon followed up its “Parasite” Oscar win with the Valentine’s Day release of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” one of 2019’s most acclaimed films. Following a one-week qualifying run in December, Celine Sciamma’s French period romance opened in 22 theaters with a strong per-theater average of about $20,000.

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.

1. “Sonic the Hedgehog,” $57 million ($44.3 million international).

2. “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey,” $17.1 million ($23 million international).

3. “Fantasy Island,” $12.4 million ($7.6 million international).

4. “The Photograph,” $12.3 million.

5. “Bad Boys for Life,” $11.3 million ($11.1 million international).

6. “1917,” $8.1 million ($6.4 million international).

7. “Jumanji: The Next Level,” $5.7 million ($1.9 million international).

8. “Parasite,” $5.5 million.

9. “Dolittle,” $5.1 million ($8.8 million international).

10. “Downhill,” $4.7 million.

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