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Saudi Arabia ends 35-year ban on movie theaters

A night at the movies will soon become a reality for citizens of Saudi Arabia, as the country is lifting a ban that has been in effect for more than 35 years, CNN reported Monday.

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Early next year, commercial movie theaters will be granted licenses, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Culture and Information said in a statement. It expects the first cinemas to open their doors in March.

"This marks a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy in the Kingdom," Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Alawwad said in the statement.

The government hopes that opening movie theaters will spark economic growth and create more job opportunities, while providing Saudis with more entertainment options, CNN reported.

There are few entertainment attractions in Saudi Arabia. Many of its citizens visit neighboring countries for vacations and leisure time, CNN reported, and the Saudi government wants more of those people to spend their money at home.

The Ministry of Culture said it plans to have 300 cinemas with more than 2000 screens by 2030, CNN reported. The movies need to be subtitled in Arabic, and censorship of nudity is likely, CNN reported.

Novo Cinemas, based in the United Arab Emirates, is already considering the opportunity.

"We are absolutely studying our options to enter the Saudi market ... it's an important market," CEO Debbie Kristiansen told CNN.

‘Cosby Show’ actor Earle Hyman dead at 91

Earle Hyman, the actor best known for playing Russell Huxtable, Bill Cosby’s wise father on “The Cosby Show,” died Friday. He was 91.

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Hyman died at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, N.J., his nephew, Rick Ferguson, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Hyman played Othello on stage, was a regular on Broadway and received a Tony nomination for his performance as Oscar in the 1980 play “The Lady From Dubuque.” He also played the voice of Pantro on the animated series “ThunderCats, according to the Reporter.

From 1984 to 1992, Hyman played the father of obstetrician Cliff Huxtable and offered sage advice to his five grandchildren.

Hyman received an Emmy nomination in 1986 for outstanding guest performance in a comedy series on “The Cosby Show” episode “Happy Anniversary.”

"That's the one episode that was the most loved, most seen. People just loved it. It just shot off the charts,” Hyman said in 2009 on the podcast “Just My Show.” “We just had a ball, and the atmosphere just went over into a kind of reality. We were no longer Clarice and Earle, we were really Anna and Russell Huxtable.”

Born on Oct. 11, 1926, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Hyman was the son of schoolteachers with Native American and African roots. He was raised in Brooklyn, New York, and began his film career with an uncredited appearance in the Oscar best picture winner “The Lost Weekend” (1945), according to the Reporter.

Broadway singer, actress Barbara Cook dies at 89

Barbara Cook, one of Broadway’s leading ingenues and cabaret performers, has passed away in her Manhattan home, her representative said Tuesday. She was 89.

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Amanda Kaus told WNBC that Cook died of respiratory failure.

Cook was the star of several Broadway musicals, including “The Music Man,” “She Loves Me” and “Candide.” 

The New York Post reported that her Broadway career sadly ended in the early 1970s, when she began struggling with depression, alcoholism and weight gain. In the 80s, Cook reinvented herself and made a comeback in her role as Sally in the concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies.”

Her career spanned nearly six decades.

Friends and fans took to social media to mourn the star:

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Sam Shepard, playwright and actor, dies at 73

Sam Shepard, a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor best known for his role as Chuck Yeager in 1983 film "The Right Stuff," died Thursday, according to multiple reports. He was 73.

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BroadwayWorld.com reported Monday that Shepard died at his home in Kentucky, surrounded by his children and sisters. He had ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a nervous system disease that weakens the muscles.

A family spokesperson confirmed his passing to The New York Times.

Shepard, who New York magazine called “the greatest American playwright of his generation,” authored more than 40 plays. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play, “Buried Child.”

Johnny Depp: ‘When was the last time an actor assassinated a president’

Johnny Depp knew his comments to his British audience were going to spark controversy, even as he said them. The actor was speaking to an audience in a British theater Thursday when he made a vague reference to John Wilkes Booth assassinating a president, The Telegraph reported.

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Depp was taking questions at the Cinemageddon at the Glastonbury Festival after introducing his 2004 film “The Libertine.” Deciding to discuss American politics, Depp brought up the subject of President Donald Trump.

“Can we bring Trump here?” he asked.

The crowd booed and yelled “No,” CNN reported.

“I’m not insinuating anything -- by the way, this will be in the press and it will horrible,” Depp said. “But when was the last time an actor assassinated a president?”

Responding to loud cheer, Depp then said, “I want to clarify. I’m not an actor. I lie for a living.”

President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by Booth, an actor, in April 1865.

>> PHOTOS: Johnny Depp on Miami set of ‘21 Jump Street’

The Secret Service is aware of Depp’s comments, staff assistant Shawn Holtzclaw told CNN.

“For security reasons, we cannot discuss specifically nor in general terms the means and methods of how we perform our protective responsibilities,” CNN reported, citing a statement from the Secret Service.

Depp played Trump last year in a spoof called “Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie,” CNN reported.

'Hamilton' cast member on Mike Pence statement: 'There's nothing to apologize for'

The cast of the Broadway hit "Hamilton: An American Musical" will not apologize for the statement it made Friday to Vice President-elect Mike Pence after a performance of the musical in New York.

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"There's nothing to apologize for," Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr in "Hamilton" and delivered the cast's statement Friday, said Monday in an interview on "CBS This Morning."

"The resonant nature of the show throughout the world … demands that we make statements when there are important issues, I think, facing us as a community. And so we wanted to stand up and spread a message of love and of unity, considering all the emotional outpour since the election."

Dixon echoed a statement he made earlier on social media, telling "CBS This Morning" that he was grateful Pence "stood there and listened to what we had to say."

"It was the beginnings of a conversation (that) I hope we continue to have," he said.

The "Hamilton" cast has been criticized for addressing Pence as he left the show Friday.

"Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at 'Hamilton: An American Musical,'" Dixon said Friday. "We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us."

President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter over the weekend to demand an apology from the cast, claiming they "harassed" the future vice president and calling the show "highly overrated."

In an appearance Sunday on Fox News, Pence said that he enjoyed watching "Hamilton" and took no offense at the statement gave by cast members.

"It was a real joy to be there," he said.

Watch Election Night results at an AMC movie theater

AMC Theatres will team up with CNN to broadcast the presidential election on the big screen on Nov. 8.

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The news channel's coverage will be offered for free to AMC Stubs members and their guests at 50 theaters in 25 cities nationwide. Participating cities include Atlanta, Boston, Orlando, Seattle and Jacksonville, Florida. 

AMC Stubs members can bring two guests each.

Guests can choose to watch coverage in designated "red" and "blue" theaters for Republicans and Democrats respectively.

"On Election Night, as Americans gather in their communities to watch the conclusion of this historic election, we recognize that Democrats want to cheer with fellow Democrats and Republicans cheer with fellow Republicans," Elizabeth Frank, AMC's executive vice president and chief content and programming officer, said in a statement.

According to Deadline, the theater company used voter registration data to establish which theater locations should be designated as blue versus red.

Guests are welcome to attend the event at either "color" theater, regardless of their political affiliation. 

The broadcast will begin at 7 p.m. E.T.

See a full list of participating theaters here.

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