THIS former TOWIE star has just announced their EXPLOSIVE return

And we can’t wait…

For us, TOWIE is so much more than a show. Heck, it’s so much more than a way of life. It’s a family. 

A family who are partial to a lil’ too much of the old fake bake and causing family beef a lil’ too often, but a family all the same.

And so, we were pretty gutted over the news of one massive part of the TOWIE family having decided to jump ship this week (*Cough cough* Megan McKenna).

See: ‘I need a break from the lies’: Megan McKenna confirms she has QUIT TOWIE following Pete Wicks ‘split’

However, very luckily, it would appear that one very familiar face is about to bring us out the dumps- having announced their special return for a one off episode of the show!

Our ‘gal Danielle Armstrong has taken to social media to share that she is headed back for the bright lights of TOWIE for a Halloween special… and it looks set to be pretty darn explosive.

Taking to Twitter, Dani has shared a snap of herself dressed to the nines and looking *amaze*- which she has captioned ‘Well last night was fun for One Night Only  #towie#HappyHalloween’.

Many fans have been quick to comment their excited messages for Dani’s return, with replies reading messages such as ‘Wooo! Cannot wait to see your gorgeous face back on screen again!’ and ‘Wish you would come back properly!! Miss watching you on towie’.

Dani’s return will be the first time she has come face-to-face with former boyfriend James Lock and his new beau Yasmin Oukhellou- after the ‘gal had quit the show following their breakup in 2016 after her three-year on/off relationship.

See: ‘I hated all the comments about my weight’: Danielle Armstrong talks post-TOWIE transformation after gaining a STONE

Some fans are predicting possible fireworks between the pair upon Dani’s return, with one user sharing: ‘Wonder how this went down with Yaz’.

Hmmm… only time will tell. One things for sure, we sure as heck won’t be missing the Halloween TOWIE special!

Welcome back, Danielle!

Alice Perry 

The post THIS former TOWIE star has just announced their EXPLOSIVE return appeared first on CelebsNow.

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You HAVE to see MiC’s Binky Felstead amazing bikini picture just FOUR months after welcoming baby India

Time for a green juice, we reckon.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO MERCHANDISING
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock (8975609ay)
Binky Felstead and Josh Patterson with baby India
‘This Morning’ TV show, London, UK – 28 Jul 2017
BORN IN CHELSEA: BINKY, JP AND THEIR NEW BABY
They’re the Made In Chelsea stars who’ve swapped partying for parenthood – and naturally the cameras are following their journey. Binky Felstead and Josh ‘JP’ Patterson introduce us to baby India and tell us all about their two-part spin-off show, Born In Chelsea.

We don’t know about you, but the idea of having a bun-in-the-oven is enough to schedule off the diet for a good year (if not more).

Surely welcoming a real life actual child into the world is enough to rule off out squats for the next century?!

Of course, we are not the wonderful Binky Felstead– a new mumma who is so driven it makes us want to douse ourselves in green juice and be a better person.

In fact, we’ve found ourselves a lil’ bit awestruck over the Made in Chelsea lady- who has just debuted her *incred* postpartum bod on Instagram.

The lovely lady, who welcomed baby India into the world with fellow co-star and boyfriend Josh ‘JP’ Patterson just four months ago, has taken to social media to share a few snaps.

Oh, and just a lil’ warning… you’re about to get some serious fitspo.

Posting on her Instagram story, the new mum has shared a snap of herself post-work out- which she has captioned ‘work out DONE’.

We. Know.

In a follow up snap to the first one, the Made in Chelsea lady has also uploaded a snap of herself posing in the mirror.

See: MIC’s Binky Felstead sets the record straight on reports she slammed Cheryl’s post-baby weight loss as ‘unrealistic’

Very importantly, the lady has captioned the snap with a very important message which reads ‘#Slowlysafelyhealthly’- meaning she is not encouraging any erratic postpartum weight loss but rather a safe fitness journey.

And it appears slow and steady really *does* win the race… how amaze!

 

And for all those new mums looking for some Binky style training (or, ya’know, anyone whose a regular fan just looking for a lil’ advise), the lovely lady recently uploaded a video of herself working through her routine.

Binky writes that she is taking things very slowly:’ I try and focus on more of the postnatal friendly work outs, because although I’m nearly fully recovered in terms of my abdominal separation and my pelvic floor…its still worth training smart in the first year after having a baby (after all, India wasn’t small and my tummy went through quite a bit of stretching when I was pregnant!).

Get on the island and immediately put through my paces with @luluadamsfitness again! With Lulu I try and focus on more of the postnatal friendly work outs, because although I’m nearly fully recovered in terms of my abdominal separation and my pelvic floor…its still worth training smart in the first year after having a baby (after all, India wasn’t small and my tummy went through quite a bit of stretching when I was pregnant!). . Here’s some of the ab rehab exercises she’s shown me – they’re done slowly and the idea is to really focus on feeling the connection of your pelvic floor and your deep core throughout and not let your lower back arch up too far off the mat. If you notice any doming of your tummy when you do these, you need to STOP. Always best to work with a well qualified trainer when you’re in the early postnatal stages just to make sure you’re not doing yourself any harm too. . This is the sort of stuff we’ll be teaching you on the @mummytribe retreats so if you haven’t signed up for updates already – DO IT NOW! Wearing all @reebokwomenuk @reebokuk

A post shared by Binky Felstead (@binkyfelstead) on

Race ‘ya to the gym?!

Alice Perry

The post You HAVE to see MiC’s Binky Felstead amazing bikini picture just FOUR months after welcoming baby India appeared first on CelebsNow.

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Inside Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay’s eight-year feud

It’s getting very heated between the two celebrity chefs

Gordon Ramsay has reignited his feud with Jamie Oliver, saying he will never speak to Jamie again unless he gets an apology for comments made about the size of their families.

READ MORE CELEBRITY NEWS 

MORE: Who knew?! Gordon Ramsay shocks fans with VERY buff body in topless photo

Hitting out at his rival, fiery Gordon, 50, explained that Jamie’s recent remarks – which appeared to compare how many children they both had – had upset him and his wife, Tana, who sadly lost their fifth baby when she miscarried last June.

Gordon fumed, ‘Jamie said, “I’ve got five kids, he’s got four kids”. To judge someone else’s family on the amount of kids you have, that’s…’

He added Jamie, 42, had crossed the line in the rivalry he’d thought of as a bit of ‘fun’.

Gordon’s warning comes after Jamie attempted to put a stop to their rocky relationship back in August saying, ‘He’s got four kids and I’ve got five kids, and I don’t want to be slagging off some kid’s dad on telly.’

This is just the latest twist in their long-running spat, which began back in 2009 when Jamie stepped in to defend a journalist after Gordon criticised her appearance.

Jimmy’s best mates with Jamie Oliver

Since, the pair have locked horns over their restaurants and culinary skills – with Gordon nicknaming Jamie a ‘one-pot wonder’ and Jamie saying he would choose Gordon’s wife’s recipe book over his rival’s.

It’s hardly surprising that they have fallen out, given the fierce competition they are in as two of the UK’s top chefs.

With Gordon’s net worth estimated to be £130 million and Jamie’s £240 million, they are both TV stars, with shows including Hell’s Kitchen for Gordon and The Naked Chef for Jamie.

They’ve both released 22 cookbooks and are proud owners of their respective restaurant chains – but Jamie is yet to receive a Michelin star, whereas Gordon was awarded three for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in 2001.

Thanks to Gordon’s latest comments, we doubt the feud will simmer down any time soon. Over to you, Jamie…

The post Inside Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay’s eight-year feud appeared first on CelebsNow.

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Strictly Come Dancing fans can’t get over Shirley Ballas’ accidental amputee pun to Jonnie Peacock

Some slightly awkward TV material….

The Strictly ballroom is often a place of slick moves and even slicker personalities.

With barely a sequin out of place, it’s not often the hit BBC competition suffers a lil’ awkward moment.

However, last night, amongst the mass of killer moves and oiled chests came a pretty darn awkward situation.

Just smile and wave, boys. Just smile and wave.

As many will know, ballroom hopeful Jonnie Peacock is a Paralympian- having received a leg amputation from below the knee after unfortunately contracting meningitis as a child.

After his performance last night, Jonnie and dance partner Oti Mabuse had headed over to the judges desk to receive their critiques.

Brand new head judge Shirley Ballas had then tried to compliment Jonnie on his dance floor moves… but managed to land herself in a spot of hot water in the process.

Speaking to the duo, Shirley says: ‘You bring a whole new meaning to putting a spring in your step. It was light, it was bright’.

With regards to the ‘spring in your step’ comment, Jonnie then replied to a slightly confused Shirley: ‘Excuse the pun!’.

After a lil’ reassurance from fellow judge Darcey Brussle, Shirley finally realised she had made a bit of a blunder- telling Paralympian Jonnie: ‘I’ve said something wrong again, you know what I mean? But anyway’.

And whist Jonnie and the panel had managed to somewhat gloss over the awkward encounter, many people have taken to social media to cringe at the exchange all over again.

One user writes, ‘Did she mean to make a joke about his disability? Very awkward #StrictlyComeDancing2017′.

Another writes, ‘Did a judge on strictly HONESTLY tell a Paralympian with a prosthetic leg that he brought a new meaning to putting a ‘spring in your step’??’.

 

However, others have managed to see the slightly funny side. One user writes, ‘I love the awkward ‘spring in your step’ comment#StrictlyComeDancing2017′.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the blunder! Tweet us @CelebsNow!

Alice Perry

 

The post Strictly Come Dancing fans can’t get over Shirley Ballas’ accidental amputee pun to Jonnie Peacock appeared first on CelebsNow.

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11 reasons why Katie Price is the queen of contradiction

Katie Price is thought to be considering more surgery

Katie Price is always one for making bold statements but she doesn’t often stick to them! We look at her biggest ever contradictions…

Katie and Kieran: are they or 
aren’t they?


Third husband Kieran Hayler hit the headlines in 2014 when he cheated on Katie with two of her best friends, yet the mum-
of-five decided to give their marriage another go. However, 
it came to light in August that he had been caught having an affair again – this time with 
the children’s nanny. Katie said she was divorcing Kieran, and tweeted, ‘My heart is broken. 
It’s over.’ It’s now been reported that Katie is having second thoughts about going through with the divorce.

READ THE LATEST CELEB GOSSIP HERE

Going sober

After stripping naked in the toilets, and blowing her nose in a tablecloth during a car-crash PA last Christmas, she swore on Loose Women that she would stay sober for a full year. But it would seem her attempts were in vain because come February, she was downing booze at Kieran’s 30th birthday party. And let’s not forget her appearance in Mallorca over the summer. Guests said they’d never seen anything like it as Katie made jokes about oral sex and poured vodka down people’s throats.

Those ever-changing boobs


In 2015, the former glamour model had just had her implants removed and declared, ‘I do not want big boobs ever, ever again. I love having no boobs, I love being more natural and small.’ 
Fast-forward to 2016, and she’d undergone her eighth boob job – this time enlarging her chest size to a whooping 32GG. It appears her attempt at a ‘natural’ look only lasted, er, a year, and her alter ego Jordan is now back.

Getting political

Back in 2001, Katie Price ran for parliament. Yes, you’ve read it right! Yet when she appeared on a Channel 4 debate on the Brexit referendum last June, she admitted that she had never actually voted in her life. So there you have it – she ran for a seat and campaigned for votes in the 2001 election, but she has never made it to the polling station. That’s actually bizarre.

Chris Hughes-gate


The mother of all feuds! The Pricey recently denied sending flirtatious messages to Love Island favourite Chris Hughes, tweeting, ‘Met @chrishughes_22 once on Loose Women and with @oliviajade_att at the football. Sorry to disappoint you all no flirty texts got sent [sic].’

But 22-year-old Chris was quick to clear his name that same day, posting some of the messages she had sent him and writing, ‘Okay sweetheart, being pied shouldn’t make you bitter [sic].’ Katie’s messages to him included 
a direct mail on Instagram in which she included her phone number.

Yet when that didn’t work, she got his number from a mutual friend and proceeded to contact him via WhatsApp. She asked him his whereabouts at 3am, and whether he was receiving her messages or not – none of which he responded to. Oops.

Getting naked


Katie insists her daughter Princess won’t be following in her footsteps 
as a topless model and confessed, ‘Princess isn’t interested in that. And her dad wouldn’t let her anyway.’ 
Yet on her most recent reality show, Katie Price: My Crazy Life, fans saw a huge and rather racy portrait of the 39-year-old out in the open, which son Junior, 12, branded embarrassing. Perhaps it might be best to keep that out of the kids’ sight…

The Peter Andre rollercoaster

That singing career


She has never been shy about wanting to crack the music industry, yet Katie acknowledges, ‘Nobody’s interested whatsoever [in my music], no-one’s backing me.’ The star insists her desire to climb the charts is nothing to do with money, but her dream 
to sing. She auditioned for the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest, yet on reflection she said, ‘I can’t sing that song now and I couldn’t even sing it then. It’s the cringiest thing. It was rubbish. It was so cringe. If anybody ever played that, I would be like… awful.’ Yet, she is still keen to relaunch her music career, and recently performed her new track I Got You live on Loose Women. Afterwards, she said, ‘I’ve always wanted to be a pop star or 
a model, and I’m doing it because I can do it.’

Stepping away from the spotlight

Last October, Katie revealed on Loose Women that she was taking a break from the limelight to focus on her marriage to Kieran.

At the time, Katie was on the brink of releasing her latest autobiography Reborn, and expressed to viewers that it had opened old wounds. ‘We’ve come two and a half years and Kieran is having to relive it as well. He hates that he hurt me, but the book made him realise just how much he hurt me. We are going to see a therapist to reassure us we’re fine.’

However, one month later, she announced she would be returning to the talk show as a panellist and 
was later spotted enjoying a night on the tiles. Sounds like Katie’s definition of time out is different 
from ours…

Katie Vs Kerry


Katie prides herself on being fiercely loyal when it comes to her family and friends. Yet, she and close friend (and not forgetting one-time bridesmaid) Kerry Katona had a dramatic fallout in 2007.

The feud, which lasted for seven years, got so heated between the two that Katie branded Kerry a ‘druggie’ and called her second husband Mark Croft a ‘bully’. She didn’t hold back when it came to giving her opinion on Kerry’s outfit choices either.

After the 2010 TV Choice Awards, Katie vented, ‘She just hasn’t got the figure to wear this dress. And the hair! What the hell? The problem is… she’s not the feminine type to be able 
to carry off a dress like this.’ Ouch! Of course, 
the two are now pals 
again. As if nothing had ever happened.

Removing her children from the public eye


In 2010, Katie stated that she was taking Junior and Princess out of the limelight, insisting she wanted them to have a normal childhood. She tweeted, ‘Start filming for my new reality show this week. Junior and Princess won’t be in any of my shows or photo shoots again.’ However, a couple of months ago, the two siblings were interviewed on This Morning.

The post 11 reasons why Katie Price is the queen of contradiction appeared first on CelebsNow.

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Sheridan Smith is back to her best – and fans LOVE it!

After a tough year the star is returning to the spotlight…

Sheridan Smith turns 35on 25 June

Sheridan Smith burst on to our screens last week with a mesmerising performance on Strictly Come Dancing, and now we’re told that she is finally ready to step firmly back into the spotlight.

There’s no denying that the 36-year-old has had her fair share of ups and downs in the last 12 months, but Now understands that Sheridan has completely turned her life around.

‘She is back on top form and the release of her new album promises to be a triumphant return for her, she’s insanely talented,’ a well-placed source tells us.

‘Sheridan’s fallen off the wagon time and time again – she really has been to the depths of despair. But that’s all behind her, and she’s determined to keep her life on the right track.’

Last year, the actress was forced to pull out of a string of West End performances during her time as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.

At the time, theatregoers were concerned the star was drunk and slurring – claims Sheridan has firmly denied.

And in December, Sheridan was left heartbroken after losing her dad, Colin, to cancer.

MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Sheridan Smith and her father Colin Smith

But things are definitely looking up for the former Two Pints of Lager… star, ahead of the release of her self-titled debut album.

And fans are very happy to see her back at her best; one wrote on social media, ‘Fabulous voice, loved her performance.’

Another added, ‘You looked and sounded amazing, well done!’

And it’s not just her career that is taking a turn for the better, as Sheridan has been looking more loved-up than ever with new man Graham Nation.

Sheridan Smith and boyfriend Graham Nation

Our insider adds, ‘At the heart of it is that she’s learned to love herself again, which means being happy with her natural body and simply embracing life.’

It’s great to have you back, Sheridan!

The post Sheridan Smith is back to her best – and fans LOVE it! appeared first on CelebsNow.

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Happy Birthday to Carrie Fisher, Our Once and Future Princess, Rebel, and General

Today would have been Carrie Fisher’s 61st birthday, had she not passed away at the end of 2016. To celebrate her life, I thought I’d round up some of the amazing stories, speeches, anecdotes, and interviews we’ve published from and about her over the years. From her role as a Star Wars heroine to her mental health advocacy, from her fiery responses to sexism to her amazing writing, Carrie Fisher represented a whole lotta much-needed goodness to a whole lotta people. She provided a model of opinionated, complicated, imperfect, and uncompromising womanhood for a lot of us who needed to see that in the world – and given the state of things today, we miss her voice more than ever.

Please feel free to share your own favorite Carrie Fisher stories in the comments.

(Featured image via Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios)

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Come Watch Taika Waititi Read and Respond to Internet Comments About Thor: Ragnarok

IGN has, to use their own descriptor, “one of the most active comments sections on the internet.” And so, fittingly, they had the highly animated Taika Waititi over to respond to some of their commenters. Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok hasn’t hit theaters yet, and while most viewers have yet to see the film, they’ve still got plenty of opinions for Waititi to respond to!

In characteristic fashion, Waititi mugs it up, puts on funny voices, and literally hoots at the camera at one point, before ending with a series of ridiculous faces. He responds to both negative comments – such as “This looks beyond stupid” or “Another movie to pull Norse mythology in the dirt” – and positive comments like “NEW ZEALAND REPRESENT” and “This is gonna be more of a acid trip then doctor strange and i’m gonna love it.” Whatever the spirit of the comment, he leans into the natural absurdity of reading anonymous, poorly punctuated internet hyperbole – you know, the sort of stuff you would not say to someone in person – aloud.

Numerous reports from the Thor: Ragnarok set mention improvisation and invention, and it’s easy to see why from this video. Improvisation is clearly part of Waititi’s signature style. Even just looking at the word “represent,” he goes off in a bunch of different directions, testing out new ways to turn it into a joke. I can’t wait to see what he and his cast did with the far more expansive absurdity of Asgard and the Marvel cosmos. Another!

Thor: Ragnarok hits U.S. theaters on November 3, 2017.

(Via io9 and IGN; image via screengrab)

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“We are tired of relying on whisper networks”: Women and GNC Animators Demand Concrete Changes to Stop Sexual Harassment

As the Harvey Weinstein allegations continue to reverberate in the entertainment industry, more than 200 women and gender non-conforming animators sent an open letter to the animation community at-large, in which they laid out their demands to address sexual harassment and assault in the industry. They ask for “clear and enforceable” sexual harassment policies at every studio, an update to the Animation Guild constitution which would allow the Guild to “censure, fine, suspend or expel” members, and a cultural change that “male colleagues start speaking up and standing up for us.”

“When sexual predators are caught at one workplace, they seem to easily find a job at another studio, sometimes even following their victims from job to job,” the letter reads. “We are tired of relying on whisper networks to know who isn’t safe to meet with alone. We want our supervisors to protect us from harassment and assault.”

As many commentators have pointed out, it’s important and often healing for women to share their stories and name their abusers. But it’s just as important for us to respond to those stories with concrete, system-wide changes which make it far more difficult for harassers to get away with their behavior. This letter calls for exactly that sort of change – so let’s hope the studios respond. Bento Box, Cartoon Network, Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Nickelodeon, OddBot, Paramount, Shadowmachine, Sony Pictures Animation, Stoopid Buddy, Titmouse, and Warner Brothers were all sent the letter.

The signatories of the letter include animators from dozens of shows, including Adventure Time and Bojack Horseman, as well as big-name creators like Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar, Danger & Eggs creator Shadi Petosky, Bob’s Burgers producer/writer Wendy Molyneux, and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic creator Lauren Faust.

Below is the full text of the letter. You can see the full list of signatories at Deadline.

— — —

“An Open Letter to the Animation Community

We, the women and gender non-conforming people of the animation community, would like to address and highlight the pervasive problem of sexism and sexual harassment in our business. We write this letter with the hope that change is possible, and ask that you listen to our stories and then make every effort to bring a real and lasting change to the culture of animation studios.

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, many of the women who work in animation have begun discussing more openly issues that we have dealt with quietly throughout our careers. As we came together to share our stories of sexism, sexual harassment and, in some cases, sexual assault, we were struck by the pervasiveness of the problem. Every one of us has a story to share, from tossed-off comments about our body parts that were framed as “jokes” to women being cornered in dark rooms by male colleagues to criminal assault.

Our business has always been male-dominated. Women make up only 23% of union employees, so it’s no surprise that problems with sexism and sexual harassment exist. Sexual harassment and assault are widespread issues that primarily affect women, with women of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups affected at an even greater rate.

As more women have entered the animation workforce, it seems that some men have not embraced this change. They still frequently make crass sexual remarks that make it clear women are not welcome on their crews. Some have pressed colleagues for romantic or sexual relationships, despite our clear disinterest. And some have seen the entrance of more women into the industry as an opportunity to exploit and victimize younger workers on their crews who are looking for mentorship. In addition, when sexual predators are caught at one workplace, they seem to easily find a job at another studio, sometimes even following their victims from job to job. We are tired of relying on whisper networks to know who isn’t safe to meet with alone. We want our supervisors to protect us from harassment and assault.

This abuse has got to stop.

The signatories of this letter demand that you take sexual harassment seriously. We ask that:

1. Every studio puts in place clear and enforceable sexual harassment policies and takes every report seriously. It must be clear to studio leadership, including producers, that, no matter who the abuser is, they must investigate every report or face consequences themselves.

2. The Animation Guild add language in our constitution that states that it can “censure, fine, suspend or expel any member of the guild who shall, in the opinion of the Executive Board, be found guilty of any act, omission, or conduct which is prejudicial to the welfare of the guild.” To craft and support the new language, we ask that an Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Committee be created to help educate and prevent future occurrences.

3. Our male colleagues start speaking up and standing up for us. When their co-workers make sexist remarks, or when they see sexual harassment happening, we expect them to say something. Stop making excuses for bad behavior in your friends and co-workers, and tell them what they are doing is wrong.

It has not been easy for us to share our stories with each other. Many of us were afraid because our victimizers are powerful or well-liked. Others were worried that if they came forward it would affect their careers. Some of us have come forward in the past, only to have our concerns brushed aside, or for our supervisors to tell us “he’s just from a different era.” All of us are saddened and disheartened to hear how widespread the problem of sexual harassment still is in the animation industry, and how many of our friends had been suffering in secret.

It is with this in mind that we resolve to do everything we can to prevent anyone else from being victimized. We are united in our mission to wipe out sexual harassment in the animation industry, and we will no longer be silent.”

(Via Buzzfeed News and Deadline; image via Cartoon Network)

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Irony Is The First Tribute to Die in Dubai’s Hunger Games Theme Park

Irony has taken many blows in the marketing for Lionsgate’s adaptation of The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins’ young adult trilogy about a society which transforms suffering and death into reality-show entertainment – but this one might be the death blow. Variety announced that Lionsgate has partnered with Dubai Parks and Resorts to open “The World of The Hunger Games” theme park.

The opening celebration for the park was held this Friday, October 20. “The World of The Hunger Games” will be the largest Hollywood-inspired theme park in the Middle East, with attractions like the Panem Aerial Tour hovercraft simulator, the Capitol Bullet Train rollercoaster, and the – I kid you not – Coal Miner’s Clash “festive, high-energy percussion show.” Guests can also shop at Peeta’s Bakery for food and Panem Supply Co. for merchandise.

Below is the promotional video for the park, shared by Dubai Parks and Resorts on YouTube. (And yes, it does look like Stanley Tucci got back into costume just to film this promo, but it may be the magic of CGI.)

Tim Palen, the chief brand officer at Lionsgate, said, “Dubai Parks and Resorts is a fantastic partner. Together we have created an interactive experience that allows fans from around the world a chance to immerse themselves in the world that Suzanne Collins created in an authentic, fun and exciting way.”

Honestly, we’re discussing a theme park which made a percussion show out of a rebellion that ends with the whole district getting firebombed, so there really isn’t much more for me to add. But it remains super-weird that The Hunger Games phenomenon has been adopted so straightforwardly, with no awareness or acknowledgement from the studios of how their marketing plays into exactly what the book’s critiquing.

It’s genuinely surreal – like, premise-of-an-SNL-skit surreal – to see them build a Hunger Games theme park in Dubai, a city which struggles deeply with income inequality, to promote a movie about how the rich make spectacles out of other people’s suffering. This is a book about dystopian child-murder, and we’re going to make it into a “fun and exciting” immersive theme park?

(And, yes, I suppose Star Wars is technically about anti-imperial warfare, and Harry Potter is about trying to stop a violent political movement built around “pure blood.” But those franchises aren’t also explicitly and scathingly critiquing the ways that fascism and late capitalism use media and spectacle to control people and cover over suffering – so their theme parks are definitely less absurd. Also, who in the world would want to live in Panem?)

The script for 2017 continues to keep things waaaay too on-the-nose.

(Via Variety and SYFY Wire; image via Lionsgate)

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