By: Gina McIntyre
“Ant-Man” has a new release date.
The Marvel film, starring Michael Douglas as Hank Pym and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, now will open July 17, 2015. That’s two weeks earlier than its planned July 31 release date; it moves into the date that had been reserved as the opening of Zack Snyder’s untitled “Man of Steel” sequel featuring Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman.
Marvel announced the change on its website Thursday.
Last week, in a surprise move, Warners pushed back its “Superman/Batman” project, which also will feature an appearance from Wonder Woman as played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, shifting the blockbuster to May 6, 2016. A release issued by the studio said the move was designed to allow “the filmmakers time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story.”
The “Man of Steel” sequel goes into production later this year, and is set to film in Michigan. Theproject was originally announced last year at San Diego’s Comic-Con International.
“Ant-Man” is poised to become a new franchise for Marvel, with Douglas set to play the original Avengers member, a scientist who, in the comics, invents a shrinking serum that allows him to sneak around in miniature form and surprise foes. Rudd’s character, meanwhile, is a reformed thief and the second superhero to take the name Ant-Man.
It’s unclear whether either incarnation of the diminutive hero will appear in writer-director Joss Whedon’s upcoming “Avengers” sequel, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which also is set for release in 2015. In the comics, Pym is the creator of Ultron, an automaton that becomes a supervillain.
Wright embarks on “Ant-Man” after the success of last summer’s “The World’s End,” his third film collaboration with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The trio’s Cornetto Trilogy — “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “World’s End” — established Wright as an especially beloved figure among the fan community, his films fusing humor and heart within genre trappings.
Wright’s been attached to the project for some time — he debuted “Ant-Man” test footage that showcased the helmeted hero growing and shrinking in size at Comic-Con in 2012.
What upcoming superhero film are you most excited to see? Let us know in the comments section.
By: Jessica Moskowitz
'Knockout Game' Hurts Random Victims
It's a dangerous game, now reported in at least six states, and it could happen to anyone walking down the street.
One minute you're minding your own business, the next a complete stranger deliberately knocks you to the ground.
Across the country, police are struggling to tally the full impact of this deadly game. CNN's Pamela Brown reports.
By: Fox News
A recent string of attacks tied to a dangerous game called “Knockout” -- where unsuspecting residents are targeted and sucker-punched – is being investigated as possible hate crimes.
New York police are looking into the growing trend, WPIX reports, after attacks in predominately Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
The most recent attack was caught on video last week in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where a group of ten men spotted a man walking alone, punched him and kept moving, according to the station.
But New York is not the only place to see the “Knockout Game” being played out.
In Washington, D.C., Tamera Jackson, 27, told WJLA that a group of teens on bicycles came up behind her last week as she walked home and one of them punched her in the back of the head before the group sped away, laughing.
“For the fun of it.”- Teen, speaking of 'Knockout Game'
According to Fox 31 Denver, similar attacks have occurred in St. Louis and Pittsburgh, where a teacher was knocked out by a 15-year-old as he walked home from school last month. The attack was caught on a security camera video, and the teen was charged with assault.
And in New Jersey, CBS 2 reports, video footage shows Ralph Santiago, 46, randomly targeted for knockout by a group of teens. Santiago was later found dead with his neck broken and head lodged between iron fence posts, according to NJ.com.
Video shows Santiago walking during daytime in an alley, and just as he’s about to pass a pack of teenagers, one launches the fatal, knockout blow.
And what’s the point?
“For the fun of it,” one teen said in the video.
In September, a 13-year-old boy was sentenced to 18 months of confinement for the beating death of a 51-year-old man in upstate New York.
The teen had pleaded guilty to assault and attempted assault, admitting that he started the fatal beating by attempting to knock the man out with a single punch.
The teen said he and his friends were playing a street game called "knockout." His punch apparently had little to no effect, but the follow-up from a 16-year-old boy caused bleeding in the victim's brain, and he died in late May.
The 16-year-old co-defendant was found guilty last month in Onondaga County Family Court of second-degree manslaughter and received the same sentence.
By: Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY
If it's good enough for Miley Cyrus, 20, it's good enough for Betty White, 91.
The beloved legendary actress' new promo for Off Their Rockers, her candid camera show that's moving from NBC to Lifetime in 2014, shows White taking a cue from Cyrus.
Explains White, "I got some ideas from recent pop culture events that really got the kids talking."
Enter White riding a wrecking ball. Fully clothed.
Then she asks, "Can someone bring me a sledgehammer?" Rather than lick it, White gives it a gentle kiss.
And then she cracks, "How about a foam finger?"
The first two seasons of Off Their Rockers will air on Lifetime starting Wednesday.
By Lauren Hockenson, Giga Om
Facebook on Thursday announced the final phase of removing an old privacy feature from the social media platform. The feature, which allows users to be hidden from search, will finally be taken away for users who have it enabled.
The feature, called "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" was removed from Privacy settings last year (noted in a December blog post) for those who didn't have it enabled. When enabled, the setting removes the ability for users to access a Timeline profile via search, even when a user puts in the exact name of the person he or she is locating. Now, users that still have that feature enabled will begin to see removal notices from Facebook, indicating that they will be present and visible in Graph Search along with the rest of the Facebook user base.
Facebook says in the blog post that the feature is a vestigial precaution that reaches back before the platform had a sophisticated search algorithm. When Facebook search acted as a mere directory, removing oneself from search made it more difficult for strangers to access a given profile. But now, as Open Graph opens up to search more settings and there is greater visibility of Timelines for friends of friends, the importance of finding a person through search has diminished while controlling the content on any given Timeline has become more important. Facebook says that the feature also caused hiccups in the user experience:
"People told us that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn't find them in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn't find each other through search."Of course, the sunsetting of this feature for those who care about it the most only stresses the importance of checking and updating Facebook privacy settings often. Now, it's more important to consider the content of the Timeline itself: a "private Timeline" is only such when content is marked explicitly "Friends Only." As Facebook continues to make search easier, it's important to keep in mind how these changes impact social media privacy at large.
By: Yamiche Alcindor and John Bacon, USA TODAY
Judge adds manslaughter possibility but rejects prosecution request for third-degree murder. Jury deliberations could begin Friday.
SANFORD, Fla. -- Trayvon Martin is dead because George Zimmerman "tracked" and then shot Trayvon Martin instead of waiting for police to arrive, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told the jury at Zimmerman's murder trial.
De la Rionda, presenting the prosecution's closing argument, accused Zimmerman of taking the law into his own hands during their February 2012 confrontation.
The defense team, scheduled to close Friday, has maintained that Trayvon, 17, was the aggressor and that Zimmerman, 29, shot him in self-defense.
Using a projector, de la Rionda showed jurors a photo of Zimmerman taken at the police station the night of the shooting -- alongside a close up of Trayvon's dead body.
De la Rionda noted that Trayvon's hands had no blood on them, said his hoodie string may have been pulled down by Zimmerman in a struggle.
"His (Trayvon's) body speaks to you," de la Rionda said. "It proves to you that this defendant is lying about what happened."
De la Rionda focused on his theory that Trayvon was an innocent teen who was wrongly profiled and murdered by Zimmerman. De la Rionda told jury the key word in the prosecution case was "assumptions."
"He automatically assumed that Trayvon Martin was a criminal and that is why we are here," de la Rionda said of Zimmerman. Later he said Trayvon was not trespassing in the gated community, but rather was being a normal teen making a trip to the store.
De la Rionda also painted Zimmerman as someone who already knew he could ultimately win any confrontation with Trayvon.
"He's got a gun, he's got the equalizer," de la Rionda said. He asked the six-woman jury to use "your God-given common sense" and find the former neighborhood watch volunteer guilty of second-degree murder.
Earlier, Judge Debra Nelson agreed to add manslaughter to the second-degree murder charge Zimmerman already faced, but rejected a prosecution request that a third-degree murder count also be added.
Zimmerman's attorneys had objected to adding any lesser charges.
The last-minute effort to add charges was seen by some legal experts as an indication that prosecutors were not confident about their chances for a second-degree murder conviction. Zimmerman has been portrayed by prosecutors as a wanna-be cop.
"They aren't going to go all or nothing," said Jose Baez, a Florida criminal defense attorney, of state prosecutors. "They aren't blind to the fact that they haven't proven second-degree murder." Baez successfully defended Casey Anthony, a Florida mother accused of killing her daughter in a high-profile capital murder case.
Second-degree murder in Florida carries a possible life sentence. If convicted of manslaughter, Zimmerman could get up to 30 years.
Elizabeth Parker, a Florida criminal defense attorney who has been monitoring the case, said the third-degree murder count could bring a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Prosecutors also had considered but then decided against trying to add the charge of aggravated assault, which would carry no more than a five-year prison term.
The third-degree murder charge request drew a heated argument. Third-degree murder can involve death that results from committing a felony, even if the accused did not mean to kill the victim.
Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei, arguing for the count, said Zimmerman committed "child abuse" -- a felony -- on Trayvon.
Don West argued against their claim, saying child abuse had never been mentioned during the trial. He called the attempt to add the third-degree murder charge a "trick by the state."
Zimmerman's attorneys get three hours for their closing Friday. The state will then get one hour to present rebuttal statements.
The jury could begin deliberations Friday.
BY JASON MAJOR
One of the more well-known objects within our galaxy, the Ring Nebula has been observed by astronomers since the late 1700s. It is a definitive planetary nebula, visible from Earth as a bright and multi-colored ring of material violently expelled from a sun-like star reaching the end of its life. Looking like a gigantic cosmic eye, the Ring Nebula has been imaged countless times — but new observations with the Hubble Space Telescope have finally revealed its true shape.
It’s a big donut.
VIDEOS: The Hubble Space Telescope
Cosmic perspectives can be tricky. It’s often difficult to tell exactly how far away objects are in space, and sometimes the closer things are, the less precise the measurements get — mostly due to a lack of convenient distance markers.
The Ring Nebula (cataloged as Messier 57) is thought to be a little over 2,000 light-years away within our galaxy, which is relatively close by… again, give or take a few tens of light-years. And even though it might look like a flat ring of material expanding out into space (not unlike the “enhanced” explosion of the Death Star) it actually has much more depth to it — we just happen to be looking at it almost straight down from the top.
Astronomers investigating the Ring Nebula using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 have obtained the image above, the clearest and most detailed view yet of the structure, which is about a light year across. Further studies with ground-based telescopes show that not only is there material around the edges but also in the center, moving toward and away from us. And it’s all surrounded by an outer halo.
PHOTOS: Hubble’s Latest Mind Blowing Cosmic Pictures
So actually the Ring Nebula is shaped like a football wrapped by a donut around its middle… inside a bubble.
“With Hubble’s detail, we see a completely different shape than what’s been thought about historically for this classic nebula,” said team leader C. Robert O’Dell of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “The new Hubble observations show the nebula in much clearer detail, and we see things are not as simple as we previously thought.”
Watch a video of M57′s structure here.
And even though the Ring Nebula may seem static and serene from our point of view, it’s the result of a very catastrophic event — and it’s still quite dynamic.
As vast shells of rapidly outward-expanding material slam into slower-moving material, they become ionized and glow brightly, creating the nebula as we see it. And all that stuff is still movingvery quickly through space — over 43,000 mph (69,200 km/h)!
Top 10 Treats for Summer Astronomy
According to the team, the material in the Ring Nebula will continue to expand for another 10,000 years, becoming fainter and fainter as it fades into interstellar space.
(I don’t know about you, but donuts certainly don’t last that long in my house.)
by Alyssa Toomey
Let The X Factor begin!
Filming for the hit reality competition show has officially kicked off in Charleston, S.C., Tuesday, and there's already a "girl power" theme for the Fox series' third season.
Demi Lovato and newly announced judges Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio all took theX Factor stage to greet fans and aspiring stars as they waiting for producer and fellow judgeSimon Cowell to arrive.
"3 beautiful ladies, and @SimonCowell is the one who's taking the longest to get ready!," theofficial X Factor twitter posted, along with the first shot of the three female judges together.
Finally, Cowell graced the crowd with his presence, prompting a jam-packed audience to scream "Thanks for coming, Simon!" a moment that was cleverly captured in a Vine video.
VIDEO: Will Demi Lovato Change Her Judging Style?
"It's taken more than a decade, but I'm delighted to finally be on a panel with three girls (I think!)," Cowell said in a statement after the judging news was formally announced.
Well, good luck, Simon. You've got some fierce female power on that panel.
by James Hibberd
NBC has locked down judges for the next two cycles of The Voice.
Speculation have run rampant as to who will sit in the red swivel chairs this fall and spring, with major media outlets declaring Shakira will exit the series for good after the singer said told reporters she wasn’t planning to return. There have also been rumors that Usher was finished with the show, too.
And it was all partly true. Shakira and Usher won’t be back … in the fall.
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According to sources close to the negotiations, this fall’s edition will reunite the original lineup: Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and, yes, Cee Lo Green. In addition, Carson Daly will return as host for both cycles.
For next spring, cycle 6, The Voice will then switch back to its current lineup, which has made for a surprisingly successful shakeup this season. NBC is finalizing deals with Shakira and Usher, who will take the stage along with Levine and Shelton.
The addition of Shakira and Usher were so popular with fans that some even urged NBC to add the duo full time. But this strategy will help maintain both variety and continuity next season — the judges are all familiar faces, yet not the same faces all season.
Meanwhile Fox’s singing competition panels are still partly in limbo, with American Idol andThe X Factor having multiple gaps in their judges panels. US Weekly reported that Nicki Minaj will depart Idol next season, which would whittle down the current panel from four to two (Mariah Carey and Keith Urban, the latter today saying he wants to stay on the show), with two more exits potentially to come. Factor has executive producer Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato set to return as judges, but also has two other seats to fill. Factor has to find its panel soon since production on season three needs to start before the end of the month.
Several congressional members send a letter to Google CEO Larry Page about concerns such as whether Google will use facial recognition technology with Glass.
Several members of Congress sent a letter to Google to ask about privacy concerns related to Google Glass, including how the company will prevent Glass from unintentionally collecting data without user consent.
"Because Google Glass has not yet been released and we are uncertain of Google's plans to incorporate privacy protections into the device, there are still a number of unanswered questions that we share," the Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, led by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) wrote in a letter to Google CEO Larry Page.
Eight members of Congress signed the letter, and they want information from Google by June 14. They cited specific examples of privacy issues in Google's history to support the concerns about privacy.
Google Glass has received a lot of buzz, but its capabilities largely are limited at this point. Still, privacy and security are two of the major concerns for Google Glass, and at least one bar has already banned the use of the device. Users could seemingly videotape or photograph others without their knowledge, and it's unclear what provisions are in place to protect users' information, particularly as more developers create apps for the computing eyewear.
Google Glass Can Now Do More: Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr Apps Released for Glasses
By JOANNA STERN (@joannastern)
Google might have been mum on its much-buzzed-about glasses on day one of its big Google I/O Developer's Conference, but today the company has announced a series of new Glass-based applications.
Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Elle magazine all unveiled new applications for the connected glasses, which overlay digital information in the physical world. The Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr options all allow Glass wearers to share their photos on the respective social networks straight from the glasses.
While the Facebook app is restricted at the moment to just sharing photos taken with the glasses, Twitter allows for that feature and some other notification options. The app will also allow you to see Twitter notifications and respond to messages.
"In addition to sharing photos, you can also keep up with the people you follow on Twitter through notifications — for mentions, DMs and Tweets from users for whom you've turned on notifications. As always, you can reply to, retweet or favorite these Tweets," Twitter engineering manager Shiv Ramamurthi said in a Twitter blog post today.
ABC News tried out the Facebook and Twitter apps and can report that they did work as promised. We snapped a photo on the glasses, tapped it once to share and then we were able to select the social network to share it with. However, installing the sharing-based apps are a bit clunky at the moment. You must install the apps from the Glass app on the phone and then enable sharing in the web-based Glass control panel.
RELATED: A Guide and Video of Google Glass
The other new media apps like CNN and Elle are easier to get working. Similar to The New York Times app, both CNN and Elle show snippets of information from the respective publications. For instance, with the Elle app, users will receive text and photo-based updates throughout the day about fashion news.
Google Glass is not yet available for purchase; instead, Google has begun selling an Explorer Edition for $1,500 to early adopters and software developers. At this week's Google conference the company is holding sessions teaching software makers how to make Glass applications, instructing developers about the software tools and suggesting the apps that aren't too distracting.
Google told ABC News yesterday it plans to bring its new Hangouts appand more social functionality from its Google Plus network to Glass sometime soon. Google Plus is already deeply integrated into Glass -- you can share and see notifications from friends.
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