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Davidson film to open on-demand

NEW YORK (AP) — Judd Apatow’s “The King of Staten Island,” starring Pete Davidson, will release straight to home on-demand video after having its theatrical release canceled.

Universal Pictures said Monday that “The King of Staten Island” will debut as a $20 rental on digital platforms June 12. It is Apatow’s first fiction film as a director since 2015’s “Trainwreck” and Davidson’s biggest movie project yet, had earlier been slated for theatrical release on June 19. It was also supposed to be the opening movie at the South by Southwest in March before the film festival was canceled.

“The King of Staten Island” is the second Universal Pictures release to turn to a home video release following “Trolls World Tour” in early April. The studio declined to release sales figures but trumpeted its opening-weekend performance as a record VOD debut.

Though the wide majority of major releases have been postponed until theaters reopen, other studios have begun to experiment by instead sending some movies to home entertainment. Warner Bros. last week said the Scooby-Doo film “Scoob!” will next month forgo theatrical release and debut digitally. The Walt Disney Co. is sending “Artemis Fowl” to its streaming service, Disney Plus in May.

Davidson co-wrote the semi-autobiographical “The King of Staten Island,” a comedy about a young man living at home with his mother (Marisa Tomei) on New York’s Staten Island. During the pandemic, Davidson has been quarantined at his family’s house on Staten Island and sending in “Saturday Night Live” videos from there.

Winfrey, Roberts to appear in livestream

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts and former President George W. Bush will be among 200 star-studded participants in a 24-hour global livestream event.

The Call to Unite event will kick off Friday evening to offer performances and conversations about overcoming the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. Event organizers hope participants can help inspire people to “emerge from this crisis better than when it began.”

Each participant will answer calls in their own way, whether through performing a song, sharing a story or offering a prayer.

The event will be livestreamed at and on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, LinkedIn and SiriusXM Stars.

Prince Harry records message for engine

LONDON (AP) — Prince Harry has recorded a special message to celebrate the 75th anniversary of children’s favorite Thomas the Tank Engine.

The Duke of Sussex introduces a new program called “Thomas and Friends: The Royal Engine,” which has a storyline that includes Harry’s father and grandmother, Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II, as animated characters.

Set when the Prince of Wales was a boy, the story sees the friendly engine taking Sir Topham Hatt, the controller of the railway, to Buckingham Palace to receive an honor.

In his introduction — which was recorded in January before his move overseas — Prince Harry is seen sitting in an armchair, reading from a book about the train’s adventures.

By Josh Bovee

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