Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Marriage Act –

Rally for Marriage Equality
Rally for Marriage Equality (Photo credit: vpickering)

The youth of the 1960s saw the end of segregation, and on Wednesday (June 26), young Americans got to watch for themselves as America took a giant step toward equality when the Supreme Court overturned a federal law restricting the rights of same-sex couples.

On a day that will likely have its own chapter in history books, the SCOTUS ruled unconstitutional in a 5-4 the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The court also ruled that supporters of California’s Proposition 8 do not have standing to appeal a previous court decision that ruled the law unconstitutional. It’s a decision that will undoubtedly be met with boisterous applause from young Americans, seeing as more than two-thirds of young voters are in support gay marriage.

Under DOMA, the federal definition of marriage was excluded to that between a man and a woman, and restricted marriage benefits to only those couples. While states always had the ability to define what they considered a marriage — 12 states and the District of Columbia have recognized same-sex marriages — the court’s decision means that the federal government overstepped its boundaries in restricting marriage rights to gay couples.

Proposition 8, meanwhile, was a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in the State of California passed in 2008. The SCOTUS ruled that Prop 8 supporters did not have standing when they appealed a prior ruling deeming the law unconstitutional.

DOMA was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996 and was upheld by the current administration until President Obama quite historically changed his mind last year, becoming the first commander in chief to publicly support gay marriage.

In a sit-down with MTV News ahead of last year’s election, the president emphasized his anti-DOMA stance, saying, “Same-sex couples have to be treated before the eyes of the law in the same way as heterosexual couples.”

And the POTUS was quick to express his gratitude to the court, tweeting, “Today’s DOMA ruling is a historic step forward for #MarriageEquality. #LoveIsLove.”

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‘The Purge’ Shocks Box Office With $36.4 Million Debut – Music, Celebrity, Artist News |

Sometimes in Hollywood, smart concepts and high profit margins will trump big budgets and big stars.

June kicked off with Will Smith flaming out in the critically reviled vanity project, “After Earth,” (which paired him with his son, Jaden) in an effects-heavy sci-fi story under the direction of big name director M. Night Shyamalan. This past weekend, the box office was dominated by a micro-budget movie, which clobbered another pair of A-list actors.

“The Purge,” from the same producer as the “Paranormal Activity” series and “Insidious,” was made for just $3 million but managed to debut at #1 with $36.4 million, beating even some of the highest industry expectations. The story about a future where people are allowed to break the law for one day a year became the largest opening ever for Ethan Hawke, as Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson saw their poorly reviewed “The Internship” open at #4 with $18.1 million.

The opening was significantly higher than Hawke and producer Jason Blum’s previous collaboration, “Sinister,” which was released in October of last year. “The Purge” usurped last year’s similarly micro-budgeted “The Devil Inside” as record holder for largest opening of an R-rated horror movie that wasn’t a remake, a sequel or an adaptation.

Vaughn and Wilson were a blockbuster team in the well-reviewed R-rated comedy “Wedding Crashers.” Going into the weekend, The Onion joked that “The Internship” was “poised to be the biggest comedy of 2005.” With its bad reviews, bad buzz and lackluster opening, the Google-centric PG-13 comedy won’t make anywhere near the $209.2 million made by “Wedding Crashers” back in (you guessed it) 2005. “One of the most conventional comedies ever filmed,” wrote CraveOnline in their review. “They should have called it ‘Comedy Movie: The Movie.'”

Even though this was the second weekend in a row where a smaller movie beat once-unstoppable stars, there’s no reason to fear for the future of tentpole films. Both “Fast & Furious 6” and “Star Trek Into Darkness” passed the $200 million mark domestically over the weekend. “Marvel’s The Avengers” follow-up “Iron Man 3” has made more than $1 billion worldwide and “Man of Steel” should have a very strong opening Friday.

After a franchise-first two-week run at the top, “Fast & Furious 6” dropped to #2 over the weekend with $19.8 million. With $202.9 million in domestic ticket sales, the movie is “fast” approaching the $209.8 million haul of “Fast Five.” As of right now, “Fast & Furious 6” trails behind only “Iron Man 3” and “Oz the Great and Powerful” in 2013 domestic receipts.

Last weekend’s “After Earth”-beating runner-up, “Now You See Me,” dropped one spot to #3. The ensemble picture was almost tied with “Fast & Furious 6” with $19.5 million for a $61.3 million total. “After Earth” dropped 59 percent during its second weekend, a bigger second week decline than sci-fi flops “John Carter” and “Battleship,” ‘though not quite a high as the “Total Recall” remake. “After Earth” has no made less than $47 million domestically. Sony will no doubt be pleased with the overseas business of “After Earth,” where it’s made another $48.6 million thus far.

Family-friendly flick “Epic” rounded out the top five with $12.1 million for a three-week total of $81.4 million. Meanwhile, “Avengers” director Joss Whedon’s passion project “Much Ado About Nothing” made $183,000 as it opened in just five theaters. That was an impressive per-theater average of $36,600, the biggest for any movie over the weekend.

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‘Warm Bodies’ Scores Big During Super Bowl Weekend Box Office –

Super Bowl Sunday didn’t take too large of a bite out of “Warm Bodies.”The zombie-filled romantic comedy was #1 at the box office over the weekend with a $20 million debut, even with most of America parked in front of the small screen to watch Beyoncé rock the Super Bowl.

Studios often smartly place teen-friendly fare at the multiplex during Super Bowl weekend. “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour” holds the record for biggest Super Bowl weekend opening ever, with romantic drama “Dear John” at #2.

“Warm Bodies” ranks #7 on that list, as its mixture of comedy, romance and the supernatural attracted fans of everything from “The Twilight Saga” to “The Walking Dead.” 23-year-old Nicolas Hoult’s successful leading-man debut in “Warm Bodies” bodes well for his big-budget “Jack the Giant Slayer” due next month. In “Warm Bodies,” Hoult plays a zombie who finds himself falling in love with a very much living girl played by Teresa Palmer.

Critics were mostly kind to “Warm Bodies.” Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum called it “a funnier and pleasantly cheaper-grade movie than ‘Twilight’ that aims to draw in both Bella & Edward lovers and haters.” 65 percent of the audience who saw the movie over the weekend were under 25; 60 percent of them were female.

Meanwhile, Sylvester Stallone suffered the second worst nationwide opening of his decades-long career with “Bullet to the Head,” the only other film brave enough to open during the Super Bowl weekend. “Bullet to the Head” made just $4.5 million, the worst opening of 2013 thus far for any movie in more than 2,000 theaters. Sly was the third veteran of “The Expendables” franchise to flop in a solo action vehicle in the past few weeks: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “The Last Stand” was a box-office bomb, as was Jason Statham’s moody “Parker.”

Last weekend’s #1 movie, “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters,” was #2 over with $9.2 million. Academy Awards contender “Silver Linings Playbook” was #3 with $8.1 million, putting the movie’s total past $80 million. Horror flick “Mama” was #4 with $6.7 million. “Mama” star Jessica Chastain is also in “Zero Dark Thirty,” another Oscar contender, which was #5 with $5.3 million. The Osama Bin Laden manhunt drama has made $77.7 million.

In limited release, “Standup Guys” was a blip on the radar, making just $1.5 million as it opened in 659 locations. Dave Grohl’s “Sound City” had a per-screen average of just $4,375, but it debuted on multiple platforms. It’s the #1 documentary on iTunes and boasted a 100 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes when it opened.

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Jenni Rivera Dies In Plane Crash At Age 43 – Music, Celebrity, Artist News |

Jenni Rivera, the larger-than-life singer affectionately known as “la Diva de la Banda,” died in a plane crash Saturday night in Mexico. She was 43 years old.

Authorities have not officially confirmed her death, but Rivera’s relatives in the U.S. told Telemundo that there were no survivors following the crash of the Learjet 25 that went down in rugged territory of Mexico’s northern Nuevo Leon state.

Rivera was born in the U.S. to a musical family, and established herself as a solo star in Mexico with her first album, Chacalosa (slang for “party girl”), which sold more than 1 million copies. Over the course of her career, she sold an estimated 15 million albums, almost all in regional Mexican musical styles like norteno and grupero, which had traditionally been dominated by male artists.

Much of her music focused on heartbreak, relationships and cheating men … and her personal life often matched her lyrics. She was divorced three times, had five children, and parlayed those dramatics — and her brash, no-nonsense style — into a wildly popular reality show, “I Love Jenni,” broadcast on cable network mun2, and a subsequent spin-off series. She had also reportedly just inked a deal to develop a show called “Jenni” with ABC.

Her 2008 album of the same name became the first #1 on Billboard’s new Latin Albums chart, and she recently won two Billboard Mexican Music Awards: Female Artist of the Year and Band Album of the Year.

Rivera had performed a concert in Monterrey, Mexico on Saturday night, and was reportedly flying to the city of Toluca when the Learjet she was aboard from radar some 10 minutes after takeoff. Wreckage of the jet was discovered in rough terrain by Mexican authorities, and while the singer’s body had yet to be identified, a California driver’s license with her name and picture on it was found in the crash site debris. Also believed to have died in the crash was Rivera’s publicist, her lawyer and makeup artist, and the flight’s crew.

As news of her death began to spread, Rivera’s friends and fellow stars took to Twitter to remember her. Jennifer Lopez wrote “So sad … Praying for Jenni Rivera’s children and family and the passengers families,” and Paulina Rubio added “My friend! Why? There is no consolation. God, please help me.”

via Jenni Rivera Dies In Plane Crash At Age 43 – Music, Celebrity, Artist News |

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American Music Awards 2012: Complete Winners List –

Sunday night’s American Music Awards had no shortage of high-energy performances — including sets from Ke$ha and Taylor Swift — but who took home the hardware?

Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen (who both performed as well) took home some big awards, including Jepsen nabbing New Artist of the Year and Bieber being named Artist of the Year as well as his other two nominations (Favorite Male Artist – Pop/Rock and Favorite Album – Pop/Rock). Swift hugged seatmate Nicki Minaj when she won for Favorite Female Artist – Country, and Minaj hopped up after that to accept Favorite Artist – Rap/Hip-Hop.

Check out the complete list of American Music Awards winners below:

Artist of the Year

WINNER: Justin Bieber


Maroon 5

Katy Perry


New Artist of the Year

WINNER: Carly Rae Jepsen

J. Cole



One Direction

Favorite Male Artist – Pop/Rock

WINNER: Justin Bieber

Flo Rida



Favorite Album – Pop/Rock

WINNER: Justin Bieber – Believe

Maroon 5 – Overexposed

Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

One Direction – Up All Night

Favorite Male Artist – Country

WINNER: Luke Bryan

Jason Aldean

Eric Church

Favorite Female Artist – Country

WINNER: Taylor Swift

Miranda Lambert

Carrie Underwood

Favorite Band, Duo or Group – Country

WINNER: Lady Antebellum

Zac Brown Band

Rascal Flatts

Favorite Album – Country

WINNER: Carrie Underwood – Blown Away

Luke Bryan – Tailgates & Tanlines

Lionel Richie – “Tuskegee”

Favorite Artist – Rap/Hip-Hop

WINNER: Nicki Minaj



Favorite Album – Rap/Hip-Hop

WINNER: Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

J. Cole – Cole World: The Sideline Story

Drake – Take Care

Favorite Male Artist – Soul/R&B


Chris Brown

Trey Songz

Favorite Artist – Alternative Rock

WINNER: Linkin Park

The Black Keys


Favorite Artist – Electronic Dance Music (EDM)

WINNER: David Guetta

Calvin Harris


Awards not announced during broadcast:

Favorite Female Artist – Pop / Rock

Kelly Clarkson

Nicki Minaj

Katy Perry


Favorite Band, Duo or Group – Pop / Rock


Maroon 5

One Direction

The Wanted

Favorite Female Artist – Soul/R&B


Mary J. Blige


Favorite Album – Soul/R&B

Chris Brown – Fortune

Rihanna – Talk That Talk

Usher – Looking 4 Myself

Favorite Artist – Adult Contemporary


Kelly Clarkson


Favorite Artist – Latin

Don Omar



Favorite Artist – Contemporary Inspirational

Jeremy Camp



via American Music Awards 2012: Complete Winners List – Music, Celebrity, Artist News |

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James Holmes Charged With 24 Counts Of Murder In Colorado Theater Massacre – Music, Celebrity, Artist News |

The man accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 in a shooting spree
 at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater was charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder in addition to nearly 120 other charges on Monday during his second court appearance in the case.

James Eagan Holmes
, 24, was hit with two different first-degree murder charges for each of the victims in the case (one for intentional murder, the other for depraved and indifferent actions leading to murder), as well as 116 counts of attempted murder, one count of possession of an explosive device and one count of a sentence enhancer for a crime of violence, according to the Denver Post.

Holmes, who appeared dazed and unfocused
 when he was led into a Denver-area courtroom last week sporting a wild mane of orange/red hair, was reportedly less spaced-out this time, but again did not address the court. He is accused of opening fire in a sold-out midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20. When asked if he agreed to waive his right to a preliminary hearing within 35 days, Holmes made his only comment of the day and said “yes.”

His attorneys asked for more time in the case, given the huge number of charges and victims, which will likely push the preliminary hearing back by several weeks. The next hearing in the case is on August 9, when Judge William Sylvester will address media requests to unseal the case file.

The additional explosives charges came in connection with the elaborately booby-trapped apartment
 that Holmes tipped police off to after his arrest. Police found dozens of improvised explosives, trip wires, gallons of gasoline and fireworks-like shells intended to set off an explosion at the same time the former neuroscience graduate student was allegedly opening fire on patrons at the theater.

Sylvester has sealed most of the court records and investigative documents from the public and put a gag order that bars anyone involved with the case from speaking to the media. Last week, it was revealed that Holmes was under the care of psychiatrist Dr. Lynne Fenton at the University of Colorado-Denver’s Anschutz Medical Campus and that he allegedly sent a package to Fenton before the rampage.

The hearing was also slated to feature arguments about a defense motion to find out who leaked the information about the package, which was seized by authorities on July 23, three days after the shooting. That debate was postponed to a later date.

Monday’s charging was the first step in what is expected to be a long, painful process of bringing Holmes to court. It could be up to a year before opening arguments in the case. It is possible, however, that it may never get that far if Holmes’ attorneys argue that he is not mentally competent to stand trial. If an insanity plea doesn’t work, however, he might still avoid the death penalty if his defense team argues that he’s mentally ill.

Prosecutors said they will decide whether to seek the death penalty over the next few weeks after consulting with the families of victims. The minimum sentence Holmes could face is life in prison without parole.

via James Holmes Charged With 24 Counts Of Murder In Colorado Theater Massacre – Music, Celebrity, Artist News |

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