POLITICO Playbook – HAPPY 2016! 31 days to Iowa; 94 days to the Masters – DRUDGE’s FAVORITE THINGS: The year in banner headlines – BUH-BYE, Ben Carson — OBAMA TO BEGIN GUN ACTION Mon. – AN IDEA for New Year’s resolutions

By Mike Allen (@mikeallen; [email protected]) and Daniel Lippman (@dlippman; [email protected]) Good Friday morning (barely) from South Beach in Miami, where 19 Allens rang in 2016 by watching an all-finale fireworks show from Scott and Sheri’s oceanfront balcony after a day at the Orange Bowl, where we ran into Clemson grad Alex Skatell. Nephew Evan, that lacrosse prodigy you met at White House events during the Bush years (now 21 -- a junior at Chapel Hill), had the foresight to pre-deploy two bottles of Korbel, which we drank in plastic cups from the lobby. Pic of our midnight view of South Beach http://bit.ly/1YVssyJ Story Continued Below Our plan for New Year’s resolutions, which you might want to try: Don’t tell anyone what they are -- and see if they notice! Happiest ’16 to you and yours – thank you for starting this historic year with us. Send us your scoops, corrections, suggestions, rants, gripes: [email protected] and [email protected] MARK McKINNON on Facebook: “I continue to believe that in spite of all the challenges that surround us, we live in a magical time. ... We added a grandchild not long ago, and will add another next year. Last year was fabulous. Spent a ton of time at 10,000 feet with my bride communing with the hills. Next year is back into the frying pan, but that’s OK. We’ll see if we still got some juice left. Either way, gonna kick it hard and carry on.” **SUBSCRIBE to Playbook: http://politi.co/1M75UbX CLICK OF THE DAY – First time we have done this: the year in Drudge banners! “Matt Drudge’s banner year,” by Nolan McCaskill (assist: Blake Hounshell): “Politics has changed radically since he opened shop 20 years ago; Drudge hasn’t. He remains distinctly old-school, sticking to his no-frills design ... [T]here’s [still] one thing Matt Drudge does better than anybody, and that’s drive a news cycle with a big, bold headline Continue Reading

Box office: ‘Jumanji’ tops ‘Insidious 4,’ ‘The Last Jedi’ with $35 million

The fourth installment of the "Insidious" franchise will battle it out with Disney-Lucasfilm's "The Last Jedi" for second place during its opening weekend, with "The Last Key" set to reel in nearly $26 million from 3,116 North American locations and "The Last Jedi" to take in about $24 million from 4,232 sites. "Jumanji's" take this weekend should push it to around $241 million domestically, having earned over $200 million in foreign markets. "The Last Jedi's" addition will yield a domestic gross of around $573 million, leaving it the sixth-highest domestic grosser of all time, below Marvel's "The Avengers" with $623 million. "The Last Jedi" had won the previous three weekends, including scoring the second-largest opening of all time with $220 million Dec. 15-17. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan star in "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," a sequel to the 1995 film starring Robin Williams. In the new installment, the actors play video game characters whose bodies four teenagers wind up inhabiting after dropping into the jungle game. Though the film received less than stellar reviews, audiences have responded well the comedy. "Insidious: The Last Key" earned around $12 million in Friday previews, from 2,220 North American locations, including $2 million from Thursday night showings. The horror film is performing above recent projections, which pinned it at around $16 to $19 million. Lin Shaye, who has starred in all three films, returns in "Insidious: The Last Key" as a parapsychologist whose haunted childhood comes to threaten her family and home in a follow-up to the events in "Insidious: Chapter 3." The film is the latest horror title from Blumhouse Productions, which delivered low-cost horror hits last year for Universal with "Split," "Get Out," and "Happy Death Day," and was produced in conjunction with Sony through the studio's Stage 6 Films. It's receiving domestic distribution from Universal. The franchise dates back to 2010 with Continue Reading

Disney Dominated the Box Office in 2017

Disney (NYSE: DIS) is getting comfortable in its perch on top of the studio entertainment industry. It finished 2016 as the top-grossing movie maker for the first time in over a decade. And the entertainment giant just made box-office magic happen again this past year. A few late-season blockbusters allowed Disney to race ahead of Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) Warner Bros studio to capture over one-fifth of all ticket sales, or about $2.3 billion. By the time the numbers are finalized, Warner Bros will be comfortably behind in second place, with roughly $2 billion in receipts, according to Box Office Mojo. Spinning theatrical magic Disney achieved that happy result with far fewer films in 2017 -- 12 compared to Time Warner's 33. It helped that this small selection included the two top-grossing movies overall, Beauty & the Beast, which pulled in over $500 million in domestic receipts, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which was on track to pass that figure over the New Year's holiday weekend. Sure, Wonder Woman grossed over $400 million, but that film wasn't joined by big enough blockbusters to let Time Warner seriously compete with Disney for first place overall. Image source: Disney. As usual, the market-thumping performance was a team effort from Disney's diverse collection of studios. Thor: Ragnarock and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, produced by Disney's Marvel studio, each pitched in over $300 million, while Coco and Cars 3, from Pixar, together contributed $300 million. A new Pirates of The Caribbean title, by Disney Pictures, grossed nearly $200 million. An even brighter 2018 Disney's movie business hasn't seemed impressive lately. In the fiscal year that ended in September, in fact, the segment booked an 11% sales decrease and a 13% decline in profits. That weakness contributed to Disney's reporting its first overall operating decline in seven years. However, the studio slump had a lot to do with the quirky cadence of Disney's movie releases. Continue Reading

New year brings opportunities to recycle items, household grease

Minimalism is the latest buzz word for those seeking to maximize quality of life, and the Freecycle Post-Holiday Swap offers a seasonal opportunity to simplify, recycle and reuse. “If there are people who may be looking to minimize the amount of stuff in their homes, they can give items to this event and know they are going to find a new life — they may have an item that will be loved and used by a child or provide that extra something that a family needs,” said Holly Schaffer, community relations manager for Pima County Public Library. A collaboration with the local nonprofit Freecycle, the free event is open to the public from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at Woods Memorial Library, 3455 N. First Ave. The swap is one of several throughout the year that seeks to provide a place where Tucsonans can give or receive items they have and don’t need or items that they need and don’t have while simultaneously reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills. Schaffer said attendees can expect to find a wide range of free items including clothing, kitchen and household items, books, holiday decor, toys and games, small electronics and more. Large items such as refrigerators and motorcycles are prohibited. In addition, the event provides free shredding services — limited to two boxes per person — courtesy of the offices of Tucson Ward 3 Councilman Paul Durham and Pima County Constable Bennett Bernal. Last year about 3,000 pounds of paper were shredded at the event. The event continues to grow each year, which Schaffer credits to the library’s position in the community and increased awareness about Freecycle’s online recycle and re-use web community. Its website is www.freecycle.org “Freecycle is gaining in popularity. People are focused on exchanging and reusing goods rather than seeing them go into the landfill. From thrift-store shopping to Freecycle and similar organizations, people really Continue Reading

Who’s next: End of an era as “Doctor Who” gets a new star

window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Simon Ridgway, AP Image 1of/15 CaptionClose Image 1 of 15 Actors David Bradley and Peter Capaldi in a scene from the Christmas episode of the show “Doctor Who“.>>Doctor Who over the years  Actors David Bradley and Peter Capaldi in a scene from the Christmas episode of the show “Doctor Who“. >>Doctor Who over the years  Photo: Simon Ridgway, AP Image 2 of 15 Dr. No.1 - William Hartnell, 1963–1966 Dr. No.1 - William Hartnell, 1963–1966 Photo: Harry Todd, Getty Images Image 3 of 15 Dr. No.2 - Patrick Troughton, 1966–1969 Dr. No.2 - Patrick Troughton, 1966–1969 Photo: Silver Screen Collection, Getty Images Image 4 of 15 Dr. No.3 - Jon Pertwee, 1970–1974 Dr. No.3 - Jon Pertwee, 1970–1974 Photo: Evening Standard, Getty Images Image 5 of 15 Image 6 of 15 Dr. No.4 - Tom Baker, Continue Reading

How New York City Hired A Con Artist To Clean Up Ebola

When New York City officials needed someone to disinfect the apartment of its first Ebola patient, they found someone who seemed to be made for the job. Sal Pane boasted decades of experience cleaning up extremely dangerous materials, including anthrax in 2001. Ebola was his time to shine. “This is our Michael Jordan moment. The fourth quarter,” he told USA Today. “When everyone else says no, we show up.”But when Pane and his Bio-Recovery crew showed up at Dr. Craig Spencer’s home, they brought a truck bearing permit numbers that belonged to a dead man. Pane had duped the dead man’s grieving sister into selling that truck, she said, as well as the company name. Pane then claimed the dead man’s years cleaning up anthrax sites and other danger zones as his own — despite the fact that the dead man’s family, friends, and former co-workers said they had never known him to work with Pane.Soon after Spencer’s apartment was first cleaned, BuzzFeed News reported that Pane — who has referred to himself as the “chief safety officer” of the firm New York City hired to clean up a lethal pathogen— is a convicted felon and former mortgage scammer.But now, further investigation has revealed that Pane has a long and colorful history of telling falsehoods. An examination of his past legal troubles and his current operation has found that he has a playbook: He uses fake names and makes false claims to inflate his credentials, gains credibility from media interviews in which he speaks of lofty ideals and glittering successes, and along the way accumulates a trail of people who feel he exploited them when they were vulnerable.His story illuminates how, with enough audacity, a scammer can even land a job that’s critical to public safety.Pane and Bio-Recovery have claimed to have certifications from the EPA and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. But BuzzFeed News could not find Continue Reading

‘Jumanji,’ ‘The Post’ among new movies to see Christmas weekend

Christmas is a time for family, friends and strangers to gather together, collectively basking in the warming glow of the cinema screen.Late December is when awards season hopefuls, potential blockbusters and crowd-pleasing lighter fare all converge at your local movie theater, and 2017 offers plenty of film-going opportunities.Here are a dozen new reasons to go to the movies this Christmas weekend."Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" (now playing)We find ourselves in the midst of an inescapable '90s nostalgia boom, with everything from "Twin Peaks" to "Full House" getting a second wind lately.Now, just a few short months after he helped revive cult classic "Baywatch" for the big screen, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is leading the charge to bring back "Jumanji," the fondly remembered 1995 Robin Williams special effects spectacular. LOOK BACK: The 10 best movies of 2017 "The Post" (now playing in select cinemas, opens nationwide Jan. 12)Steven Spielberg directs Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in this historical drama that serves as a love letter to the power of a free press."The Post" is a sturdy, incredibly confident piece of work from some of America's all-time greats, and it's quickly becoming a heavyweight Oscar contender."Phantom Thread" (opens Monday, Dec. 25 in select cinemas, in cinemas nationwide Jan. 19)This Christmas, viewers have the chance to see cinema history. Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis has insisted that his work in "Phantom Thread" will be his final performance.The film reunites him with his "There Will Be Blood" (2007) director Paul Thomas Anderson to tell the story of a dress-maker in 1950s London who finds his regimented life disrupted by love. "The Greatest Showman" (now playing)Star Hugh Jackman is looking to give viewers a bit of the old razzle dazzle with this new movie musical about circus entrepreneur P.T. Barnum.The screenplay was co-written by Bill Condon, who also had a hand in the film adaptations of "Chicago" (2002) and Continue Reading

Why change? James Dolan happy with Phil Jackson taking all the heat and Knicks fans filling his wallet

The bet here is Garden boss James (Guitar Jimmy) Dolan felt no angst over the media fallout surrounding Phil Jackson’s willingness to jettison Kristaps Porzingis if the right deal came along. Dolan could not care less that Jax touched off a heated debate in the Valley of the Stupid, and other media precincts. The back pages expressed screaming outrage. In some quarters the Knicks organization was turned into multiple punchlines on the road to last Thursday’s NBA Draft. Jackson was portrayed as both vindictive and bumbling. That’s an odd combo. Yet that kind of “drama” (some say dysfunction) keeps the Knicks relevant. That’s a sad way to be recognized. Still, it has been proven through the Dolan years this type of jive, for whatever reason, is NOT bad for business. Especially when pro sports (especially the NBA) has turned into a star-driven reality show. So, it was totally appropriate that Wednesday night on the Madison Square Garden Network, after Al Trautwig conducted a rare one-on-one with Jax, that a commercial aired for a new comedy series on MSG. Considering the Knicks’ record since Cablevision purchased the team and all other MSG properties, Dolan is already presiding over Broadway’s longest running hit comedy. Jackson is just the latest producer of this fun-filled extravaganza. At this point, anyone who takes the Knicks seriously is delusional. Does Dolan? It doesn’t matter. Winning would be nice, but the Knicks’ bottom line is not exactly suffering. And that’s the bottom line. Start with the monthly cable fees Dolan collects for the two MSG Networks. Each and every month, cable and satellite providers pay him more than $6 per subscriber, per month for the right to carry the MSG channels. With millions of subscribers in MSG’s footprint just do the math. That fee will only go up. And it’s not based on wins or losses or who is on Continue Reading

Year in Review: 50 stories from 50 states

Before we usher in the new year, it's time for a retrospective of 2015.Here's our roundup of some of the biggest stories across the country, events that influenced national conversations on issues from police brutality to gay marriage, tragedies that shook our psyche and acts of heroism that showed Americans at their best. Alabama: Despite U.S. ruling legalizing gay marriage, gay adoption still a battle in the statesIt’s a story chock-full of contention. Two lesbian mothers fight for custody of their three children. Two state courts are at odds over adoption rights for same-sex couples — or at least until the Supreme Court stepped in. But first, some background: When the women — identified only as “E.L.” and “V.L.” in court documents — were still together, they temporarily moved to Georgia to sidestep Alabama law, which wouldn’t allow V.L. to legally adopt the children (E.L. was their birth mother). Georgia, on the other hand, was fine with it. But when the couple split up, things got messy. E.L. decided Alabama had the right idea after all and denied V.L. parental rights. And V.L. wasn't having it. She took things all the way up to the Supreme Court, which blocked Alabama’s ruling on Dec. 14. If you need an explainer (we bet you do), we've got that here. Alaska: You may have to say goodbye to one of the biggest perks of living in AlaskaBlame it on the oil. This December, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker called for the state's first income tax in 35 years. Alaska's the only state that has neither a state-level sales tax nor a personal income tax. For decades, it has been dependent on income from oil, but crude oil prices have been hovering at seven-year lows. So while you've been doing your happy dance at the pump, Alaska has been sinking further into debt. Walker's proposal is part of the state's New Sustainable Alaska Plan, Continue Reading

Jessica Chastain bests Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Wahlberg at the weekend box office with ‘Mama’ and ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Jessica Chastain is the new “It” girl of American cinema — at least for a week. Chastain’s two current films — “Mama” and “Zero Dark Thirty” — came in first and second place respectively in the weekend box office race.   GOLDEN GLOBES 2013: 'ARGO,' JESSICA CHASTAIN, HUGH JACKMAN, ANNE HATHAWAY AND JENNIFER LAWRENCE LEAD THE PACK   PHOTOS: AT CRITICS CHOICE AWARDS, CHASTAIN, LAWRENCE SHINE   The two films featuring the Oscar-nominated Chastain easily dominated new releases from established stars Mark Wahlberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger, which both had lackluster showings.   Richard Olley/Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection "Zero Dark Thirty," with Christopher Stanley (l.), Jessica Chastain and Alex Corbet Burcher, came in second at the box office this weekend. The drama focuses on the manhunt for Al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden. Steve Granitz/WireImage Jessica Chastain, who stars in "Zero Dark Thirty and "Mama," won critical acclaim for her performance in Cathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty."   Commercial and artistic success is new for Chastain, whose resume includes Terrence Malick’s baffling “The Tree of Life” and the hokey “The Help.”   “Mama,” which was executive produced by Guillermo Del Toro — the man behind comparable hits “Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” — raked in a surprising $28.1 million at the box office.   Experts attributed the flick’s success to its rating, which attracted a wide audience.   “Never underestimate the drawing power of a PG-13 horror film,” said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com.   Merrick Morton/Lionsgate "The Last Stand" with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Johnny Knoxville shows Arnold's fading star power as films starring Jessica Chastain take the top two spots at the weekend Continue Reading