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    Over 130,000 pop culture devotees are descending on San Diego's Gaslamp District Wednesday for the annual four-day comic book convention Comic-Con, the big, bright, and very heavily branded cofab of costumed superfans and the corporate sponsors vying for their attention — and dollars. Interested in dining at a working replica of the 'Demolition Man' Taco Bell for the movie's 25th anniversary? Or witness a mock court-martial of Star Wars' Poe Dameron for leading a mutiny in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'? How about a wine and beer tasting with Neil deGrasse Tyson? Or a 'Ready Player One' experience with retro gaming stations and recreation of Room 237 from 'The Shining'? If you like pop culture, it's highly likely there is something tailor made for you at Comic-Con 2018. What started as a 300-person event in 1970 has evolved into a massive operation with events year-round. But San Diego Comic-Con is the marquee occasion. Tickets for four-day access plus preview night can set attendees back $276, before hotel, travel costs, food and any souvenirs. And attendees have come to expect exclusive merchandise on the convention center floor, newsy announcements from some of Hollywood's biggest studios and screenings of anticipated films and television shows. This year Warner Bros. is coming armed with stars and footage from 'Aquaman,' ''Shazam!,' ''Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald' and 'The LEGO Movie 2,' Sony is hyping its Spider-Man spinoff 'Venom' and Universal Pictures will be teasing 'Halloween' and M. Night Shyamalan's 'Glass.' On the television side, fans will get a glimpse of new 'Doctor Who' star Jodie Whittaker and have a chance to check out 'Star Trek: Discovery' and 'Riverdale.' And streaming services like Netflix and Hulu will also be back with properties like Marvel's 'Iron Fist,' and the new J.J. Abrams-produced 'Castle Rock,' which is based on Stephen King stories. But a few of the major players are conspicuously absent from Hall H, the 6,500-seat room in the San Diego Convention Center that boasts the highest-profile presentations and often attracts an enthusiastic fanbase willing to camp out overnight in line to secure a coveted seat. Those skipping this year include Marvel Studios, HBO ('Game of Thrones') and Star Wars. 'It's a huge deal when major properties like Marvel, Star Wars or HBO don't show up,' says Germain Lussier, an entertainment reporter for io9/Gizmodo who has been attending the convention for 15 years. 'For the past decade, Marvel Studios panels have consistently been the No. 1 most anticipated thing for movie fans at Comic-Con. Their panels never failed to disappoint with exclusive footage, huge news and big surprises.' Production schedules are more to blame than anything else, however. Lussier notes that each of the absent brands have a big (and intensely secretive) installment coming in 2019, including 'Avengers 4,' ''Star Wars: Episode IX' and the final season of 'Game of Thrones.' 'Instead of showing up and disappointing fans, they're simply bowing out to not bolster expectations,' he says. Also, other brands and properties could benefit from unusually open runway. 'Every year, there's always one or two things everyone is talking about. And if it's not 'Avengers 4'or 'Star Wars,' what's it going to be?' says Lussier. 'I think this is a huge opportunity for Warner Bros. to steal every headline with major news and exciting footage.' ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr
  • Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams says she's seeking help for the depression she has struggled with for years. Williams said in an Instagram post Tuesday that she has 'sought help from a great team of health care professionals.' She gave no specifics on her treatment, and a message left with her manager seeking details was not immediately returned. Williams' post says that for years she has dedicated herself to increasing awareness of mental health and empowering people to seek help. She says she recently decided to listen to the advice she has given, and wants to lead by example in seeking treatment. The 37-year-old Williams was a core member of Destiny's Child, the trio with Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland that sat atop the R&B world from 1997 to 2006.
  • Tour buses will no longer be swinging by a San Francisco house made famous in the popular 1990s sitcom 'Full House.' The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency voted Tuesday to ban commercial vehicles from Broderick Street after neighbors complained. Vehicles that seat nine or more people will no longer be allowed on the block. Spokesman Paul Rose says neighbors complained about double parking and congestion outside the Victorian home, causing traffic hazards. The exterior of the Broderick Street house was used as the family's residence in the original show and in a Netflix reboot in 2016. The producer who created the show bought the home for more than $4 million in 2016.
  • Destiny’s Child star Michelle Williams has reportedly checked herself into a mental health facility, TMZ reports. Williams posted a letter to her fans on her Instagram page on Tuesday. “I recently listened to the same advice I have given thousands around the world and sought help from a great team of professionals,” Williams posted. Sources told TMZ that Williams is receiving treatment at a facility near Los Angeles. Williams has been open about her struggles with depression, revealing her story in an interview on “The Talk” last year. >> Read more trending news  Williams recently reunited with Destiny’s Child members Beyonce and Kelly Rowland at Coachella in April. It was the first time the group has performed together in several years.
  • When filmmaker Marina Zenovich sought to make a documentary about Robin Williams, she found that she could do it largely in the late comedian's own voice. 'Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind,' uses a wealth of archival footage to put viewers inside his thought process — mirroring a routine Williams used as an up-and-coming comic in the 1970s. The film, which includes interviews with David Letterman and Billy Crystal, premiered Monday on HBO and is available on its streaming service, HBO Now. Friends and relatives, including Williams' son Zak, also share memories. 'I get sad when I think about Billy and Robin because when I interviewed him (Crystal) you could really feel a sense of loss,' the filmmaker said. 'I love the line in the movie when he says, 'Everyone wanted something from him. I had no agenda. I just liked him.' The documentary is intended to celebrate the artist, Zenovich said, and her team 'handcrafted' the project with love. It was often difficult to choose among the hundreds of clips and routines. 'What's so great is hearing people say the film is so inspiring. It's so joyful. And I don't know, it touches on something deep. I mean, it's about so many things. It's about fame, the effects of fame. It's about talent and kind of someone with an amazing talent, watching his trajectory.' Zenovich said she wants people to have a greater understanding of Williams and what he tried to do 'and how generous he was and what a great mind he had.' Williams suffered from dementia caused by Lewy body disease and killed himself in August 2014 at age 63. Williams received four Academy Award nominations and won for 1997's 'Good Will Hunting.' Zenovich previously made two documentaries on director Roman Polanski.
  • The World Cup soccer final where France defeated Croatia was seen by just over 16 million people in the United States on Sunday. While that made the Sunday morning telecast on Fox and Telemundo the most-watched program of the week, it represented a significant drop in viewership from the 2014 World Cup finale, which featured Germany and Argentina. That game had 26.5 million viewers on ABC and Univision, the Nielsen company said. While Croatia was a compelling underdog story, the small country probably wasn't a big television draw. The World Cup in general had to fight for attention in the United States because the U.S. team did not qualify this year. The Fox telecast of the finale reached 11.3 million, with the remainder watching the Spanish-language station. The company Eurodata TV estimated that 163 million people in Europe and China watched the World Cup final, with China leading the way with 56 million. Even with two European teams competing, Eurodata said the World Cup final was less popular in that region than the competition four years ago. There was no worldwide estimate of viewership yet. In France, the final game against Croatia was seen by 19.3 million people — smaller than the audience for the Euro soccer final two years ago, Eurodata TV said. The 1.6 million people who watched in Croatia represented a nearly 90 percent market share -- meaning 90 percent of the televisions in that country were tuned in, Eurodata said. NBC was the winner for the week in U.S. prime-time viewing, averaging 4.3 million viewers. CBS had 4 million, ABC had 3.4 million, Fox had 2.1 million, ION Television had 1.4 million, Telemundo had 1.13 million, Univision had 1.05 million and the CW had 900,000 viewers. Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.69 million viewers. MSNBC had 1.58 million, USA had 1.48 million, HGTV had 1.4 million and TBS had 1.07 million. ABC's 'World News Tonight' led the evening newscasts with an average of 7.7 million viewers. NBC's 'Nightly News' had 7.2 million and the 'CBS Evening News' had 5.3 million. For the week of July 9-15, the top 10 prime-time shows, their networks and viewerships: 'America's Got Talent' (Tuesday), NBC, 11.55 million; '60 Minutes,' CBS, 7.3 million; 'Celebrity Family Feud,' ABC, 6.41 million; 'America's Got Talent' (Wednesday), 5.98 million; 'World of Dance,' NBC, 5.89 million; 'Little Big Shots,' NBC, 5.84 million; 'The Big Bang Theory,' CBS, 5.83 million; 'Hannity' (Monday), Fox News, 5.82 million; 'Code Black,' CBS, 5.72 million; 'The Bachelorette,' ABC, 5.69 million. ___ ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. ___ Online: http://www.nielsen.com
  • Attendance at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival increased dramatically over the previous year, according to an economic impact study released on Tuesday. Nearly 125,000 people attended some part of the 11-day Utah event last year, a growth of more than 70 percent over the estimated 71,600 attendees in 2017, the study from Y2 Analytics estimated. However, previous studies likely had failed to count people who only attended the festival briefly, the firm said. Roughly one-quarter of attendees — including 36 percent of Utah residents — attended the festival for just one day, the study said. Still, the festival had 'definitely seen some year-over-year growth in attendance,' the report said. The event generated an estimated economic impact of $191.6 million, spurred in large part by out-of-state visitors who spent millions on hotels, rental cars and meals, analysts said. The report estimated that each out-of-state attendee spent $688 per day. The 2018 economic impact was roughly 26 percent higher than the $151.5 million estimated in 2017. The growth in attendance this year was partially due to a new 500-seat theater in Park City as well as an expanded program section focusing on episodic work, organizers said. Attendance was estimated by anonymously tracking people's cellphones as they moved throughout the festival, which had events in Park City, Salt Lake City and at the Sundance Resort northeast of Provo. Of the attendants, slightly more than one-third came from outside Utah. An estimated 72 percent of attendees had been to a previous year's festival and nearly 92 percent said they planned on returning in future years. The festival was estimated to be responsible for more than 3,300 jobs statewide and contributed $19.2 million in state and local taxes, analysts said. 'Each year the full extent of the economic benefits of the arts has become more apparent, and we're very proud of the role Sundance Institute and our festival have played in demonstrating these benefits and bringing them to Utah,' Sundance Institute executive Betsy Wallace said in a statement releasing the report.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, a rising star in the Democratic Party who is sometimes cited as a possible presidential contender in 2020, has a book deal. Penguin Press announced Tuesday that Harris' 'The Truths We Hold: An American Journey' will come out Jan. 8, 2019. According to Penguin, Harris will write about 'the core truths' in American life and how to learn what they are. The 53-year-old Harris was formerly California's attorney general. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. For politicians, books have long been a standard part of developing a national profile, from John F. Kennedy's 'Profiles in Courage' to Barack Obama's 'The Audacity of Hope.
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda is working on a picture book that he hopes will inspire young people. 'Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You' will be published October 23, Random House announced Tuesday. The book will be illustrated by Jonny Sun. It will feature 'affirmations' the 'Hamilton' playwright has posted on Twitter over the years. Random House is calling the book a 'touchstone' for those in need of 'a lift.' A portion of the proceeds will be donated to charitable organizations for education, literacy and other initiatives.
  • Nickelodeon is bringing a part of our childhood back to the small, and big, screen. The children’s television network has given the green light to bring back Chuckie, Tommy, Phil, Lil, Susie and Angelica, better known as “Rugrats,” E! News reported. >> Read more trending news  Nickelodeon announced it will be producing 26 new episodes and a live action movie that will incorporate CGI characters, Variety reported. No airdate or cast have been announced, but production has begun. The movie is set to be released on Nov. 13, 2020. “Rugrats” originally aired starting in 1991 and ran for nine seasons over 13 years, E! News reported.  It is the latest of a series of reintroductions of classic Nickelodeon shows. “Double Dare” has started new episodes. An “Invader Zim” TV movie is planned. “Blue’s Clues” is set to for reboot and a “Rocko’s Modern Life” movie is scheduled for later this year. 

The Latest News Headlines

  • A nonprofit organization has announced a major donation to help pay off the mortgage on a slain Massachusetts police officer's family home. Weymouth police Sgt. Michael Chesna, 42, was shot and killed Sunday in the line of duty.  >> On Boston25News.com: Weymouth police Officer Michael Chesna posthumously promoted to sergeant The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is providing the first $100,000 toward the mortgage and is challenging others to support the family through the initiative. Any money raised exceeding the mortgage will go directly to Chesna's wife and two children. >> On Boston25News.com: Court docs: Man stood over Weymouth officer and shot him 10 times The foundation, established in memory of a fallen 9/11 firefighter, supports military and first responders who are killed in the line of duty. In addition to his service with the Weymouth Police Department, Chesna was also a military veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. >> Read more trending news  Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of the foundation, will join Weymouth police Chief Richard Grimes at the Weymouth Police Department at 3 p.m. Wednesday to make the official announcement. Click here if you’d like to donate.
  • A Florida mother said her son saved her life in the seconds before a crash that claimed his life. >> Watch the news report here Greg Yutuc, 22, was the only person killed in a three-vehicle crash near Jacksonville's Buckman Bridge on Saturday afternoon. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: PHOTOS: University of North Florida student saves mom's life in I-295 crash, dad says Stitches lined Gerry Yutuc’s bruised eyelid and his wife, Charina, had a seat belt burn across her chest. “All I remember is seeing that red car and we are spinning around,” Gerry Yutuc said. They were headed back from their family vacation and were driving on I-295 with their three kids in their van when state troopers said a 21-year-old driver rear-ended another car, then cut off their van. “It was too late for me,” Yutuc said. Their son, Greg, was sitting in the passenger seat and grabbed the steering wheel at the last second. “So the impact could be on his side, to avoid the impact on mom,” Yutuc said. >> Read more trending news  Yutuc said the van flipped. “I looked around and saw four people. My wife, my two daughters and without Greg,” Yutuc said. Greg was thrown from the vehicle and an officer on scene told them their son didn’t make it. Florida Highway Patrol said Greg was not wearing a seat belt. “We didn’t have a chance to hug him and say goodbye,” Yutuc said. Since Greg was a child, he’s been on several mission trips and had plans of becoming a missionary, his parents said. “His heart is really sharing the gospel,” Yutuc said. In his 22 years, Yutuc said his only son affected many lives. “I know we have a great son, but I didn’t know the extent of his influence,” Yutuc said. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: Drivers concerned about safety on Buckman Bridge It was unconditional, selfless love they said Greg will be most remembered by. “He inspired us and we want to be an inspiration,” Yutuc said. The family said the community support has been overwhelming.
  • Tropical Storm Maria continues to churn in the Atlantic Ocean. The deadly storm has claimed lives on multiple islands in its path. >> Read more trending news 
  • “Deadliest Catch” reality TV fisherman Edgar Hansen pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage girl at a home near Seattle, but isn’t expected to serve any jail time. Hansen, 47, received a 364-day suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to  fourth degree sexual assault with sexual motivation, the Associated Press reported. He was also ordered to undergo a sexual deviancy evaluation and give a DNA sample to authorities.  >> Read more trending news  According to court documents obtained by KIRO 7, a 16-year-old girl told her therapist that Hansen sexually assaulted her at a Mountlake Terrace home in September. >>Related: ‘Deadliest Catch’ star Blake Painter found dead in Oregon home A detective contacted Hansen’s wife, who confronted her husband about the allegations, court documents show. She told police that he denied the accusations at first, but eventually admitted to touching the girl inappropriately. >>Related: ‘Deadliest Catch’ star gets probation in Uber driver assault Hansen is deck boss and crew member of the Seattle-based crabbing boat featured on the Discovery Channel show “Deadliest Catch.”  The boat’s captain, Sig Hansen, is Edgar Hansen’s brother.
  • A registered sex offender wanted in three separate Houston-area slayings since Friday was caught early Tuesday morning following a brief police chase not far from where authorities say his alleged crime spree began. Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, 46, of Houston, was taken into custody while driving a gray 2017 Nissan Sentra that law enforcement officials said was stolen from one of the victims.  Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said during a media briefing Tuesday morning that an observant citizen called authorities shortly after 6 a.m. to report seeing the vehicle in Cypress, an unincorporated community northwest of Houston.  “It’s possible that he was casing the area in search of his next victim,” Gonzalez said during the briefing, which was attended and recorded by the Houston Chronicle.  A deputy in the area spotted the car and a 14-minute pursuit ensued. Rodriguez was taken into custody just before 7 a.m. A pistol was recovered from the stolen car, the sheriff said.  “We’re very relieved this morning,” Gonzalez said about Rodriguez’s capture.  >> Related story: Shooting deaths at mattress stores in Houston are linked, police say The sheriff said his agency had deputies positioned in the Cypress area before the suspect was spotted because the first crime attributed to Rodriguez, a July 9 home invasion and robbery, took place less than half a mile from where he was ultimately captured.  Rodriguez’s parents also live in the area and he grew up there, the sheriff confirmed.  The first homicide that Rodriguez is suspected of committing also took place in Cypress. Pamela Johnson, 62, was found shot to death in her home there Friday evening.  Gonzalez said during a news conference over the weekend that Johnson’s family became worried when no one could get in touch with her. The last time family members spoke to Johnson was around noon on July 10, the day after the home invasion about two and a half miles away.  >> Read more trending news Detectives investigating Johnson’s slaying found that personal property was stolen, including Johnson’s maroon 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser, the sheriff said. The PT Cruiser was found Saturday evening at Willowbrook Mall after a citizen reported seeing the vehicle aedbandoned in the parking lot. Mall surveillance video footage showed a man -- later identified by investigators as Rodriguez -- park the vehicle around 11 a.m. that morning. The man was seen on video walking through the mall and exiting the building on the opposite side from where he abandoned the victim’s car.  Around 7 p.m. that same night, the body of Mattress Firm manager Allie Barrow, 28, was found by a fellow employee, stuffed between two mattresses in the back of the store. The Mattress Firm store where Barrow was slain is in a strip mall across the street from Willowbrook Mall.  Barrow had been shot in the head, investigators said.  Gonzalez and Houston police Chief Art Acevedo, who held a joint news conference Monday afternoon to identify Rodriguez as a person of “strong interest” and ask for the public’s help in tracking him down, reported that a third homicide took place that morning at a Mattress One store in Houston, where a man was found shot to death.  The Nissan Rodriguez was driving when captured was taken from the scene of the Mattress One homicide, officials said. KPRC in Houston identified the victim of that killing as Edward Magana, 57.  A fourth person, a 22-year-old Metro Lift driver, was also shot in the abdomen and robbed Monday morning in Houston. Acevedo said that the bus driver was expected to survive.  The motive for the crimes was not known, Gonzalez said Tuesday morning. Neither he nor Acevedo detailed how Rodriguez was tied to all the crimes.  Rodriguez was released from prison in September, the Chronicle reported. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel told the newspaper that his release was mandated by law, due to the amount of time he’d already served. Rodriguez, whose violent criminal history dates back to at least 1989, was on parole and was supposed to be on supervised release until 2023. He was ordered to wear an ankle monitor, but the Chronicle reported that he had tampered with it in the days before police and sheriff’s deputies began searching for him in connection with the homicides.  It was unclear if he was still wearing the disabled device when he was arrested.  Records accessed by the Chronicle showed that Rodriguez was sent to prison for attempted sex abuse, burglary and auto theft charges in 1989. Then 17, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. While in prison, he was charged in a theft case out of Montgomery County, for which he was sentenced to 10 years, with that time to run concurrently with his sentence on the previous charges.  Rodriguez was also found with a weapon while serving time, the Chronicle reported. Another 10 years was added to his sentence.  He served 28 years in prison before his release on parole last fall. Texas’ sex offender registry shows that Rodriguez was classified as high risk. 

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