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ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(LOS ANGELES) -- Empire creator Lee Daniels says he's standing behind Jussie Smollett, who's still under immense scrutiny following the controversy over what police called a hate crime hoax.

In an interview with Extra, Daniels says that Jussie's Empire family is working to process the scandal, which rocked not just the nation, but the show's set.

"The cast is upset, it is a sad time, and we are slowly healing," Daniels explains.

The director, who is currently producing an Off-Broadway play while the Fox series is on hiatus, says during this difficult time for Smollett, he only wants to be supportive.

"What I am learning right now is I can’t judge... that judgement is for that man wearing that black coat with gavel, and God," Daniels says.

He continues, “I can only support him because he is like my son; he is my son. So I am with him; I can only support him and give him compassion.” 

As previously reported, Chicago police allege that Smollett paid brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to help him stage an attack on himself. The actor stands by his story that he had nothing to do with the incident, but he was subsequently charged with filing a false police report.

The charges were later dropped in exchange for the actor forfeiting his $10,000 bond. He was supposed to have reimbursed the city of Chicago $130,000, but he has not; the city is now suing him.

21st Century Fox -- which produces Empire -- is now a part of Disney, ABC's parent company.

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AMC Theaters(NEW YORK) -- Sure, you may have seen all of the movies in the Marvel Expanded Universe. But have you seen them all in a row? That's exactly what some hearty souls are doing right now, at three select AMC Theatres in the U.S.

AMC Lincoln Square 13 in New York, AMC River East 21 in Illinois, and AMC Metreon 16 in California are staging the 22-movie marathon, which kicked off Tuesday at 10 a.m., from 2008's Iron Man to the new Avengers: Endgame. More than 24 hours later, the fans were up to 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron -- and some were faring better than others.

Rashad told ABC Radio, "Well, it is my first time actually doing a marathon. So it's quite interesting but also quite exhausting as well."

Devon, there with his buddy Luther, explained, "It's been pretty awesome. We actually came to last year's event as well. Definitely starting to feel a little tired but ah, we'll recoup for for sure."

"It's been a rough 24 hours but pushing through it," Joshua added. "Taking a little naps here and there. Ten minutes 20 minutes but enjoying the movies and can't wait until tomorrow for Endgame." 

We wanted to know about the breaks, considering the marathon's 59 hour run-time. "For every movie, it's 20 minutes," Rashad explained, "And ... there's only three big breaks. So the first was one for one hour. This one is for two, and the last one will be a little bit longer than this one."

As a reward for their endurance, the fans get access to exclusive merchandise and will get to see Avengers: Endgame at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 25th -- one hour before the general public does.

Marvel Studios, like ABC News, is owned by Disney.

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"Ant-Man and The Wasp" - 2018 Marvel Studios(NEW YORK) -- If you can't stand the sight of creepy-crawlies, this could be a job for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. That's at least what scientists at Bar-Ilan and Ariel Universities in Israel have discovered.

Specifically, they discovered that exposing the arachnophobic, and myrmecophobic -- the latter, people who are afraid of ants -- to Spider-Man 2 and Ant-Man, actually alleviated their symptoms.

According to the study, which was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, more than 150 participants were told to watch either a seven-second opening scene from other Marvel movies, a seven-second "calming scene of nature," or a seven-second insect-intensive scene from either Ant-Man or Spider-Man 2, depending on their fears.

Those who'd seen the scenes of bugs in the movies experienced a 20% reduction in their phobic symptoms than those who'd watched the other stuff.

The researchers reinforced the theory that exposing the fearful to the bugs that bugged them -- in ways other than in person -- actually helped them cope better.

Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

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© 2018 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND LEGENDARY PICTURES PRODUCTIONS, LLC(LOS ANGELES) -- The final trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters was released Tuesday, finally giving us our best look yet at the iconic monsters in the movie -- including the big bad, King Ghidorah, the three-headed dragon-like monster.

"If we stop Ghidorah, we stop them all," says one character in the trailer.

The only hope of saving the planet, says another, is to "set Godzilla free."

Just as the movie's first trailer was hailed for its unexpectedly affecting use of the classical music favorite "Clair de Lune" as its soundtrack, the new trailer makes good use of an instrumental version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" over a montage of monster battles.

Ghidorah first reared its ugly heads in the 1964 Japanese film Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, followed by 1965's Invasion of Astro Monster, 1968's Destroy All Monsters, and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah in 1991.  It returns this time as  the "alpha" monster, who summons the other titans -- 17 of them in all -- who threaten to destroy the Earth.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters -- starring Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Kyle Chandler and Bradley Whitford -- opens nationwide May 31.

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ABC/Paula Lobo(LOS ANGELES) -- Jennifer Garner graces the cover of People magazine's Beautiful Issue 2019, and for more than just her looks.

On top of her acting career, the 47-year-old mother of three is an artist ambassador for Save the Children and markets her own brand of organic baby food, although time with her family is what she treasures the most these days.

Garner, who co-parents kids Violet, 13, Seraphina, 10, and Samuel, seven, with ex-husband Ben Affleck, tells People, "I'm starting to get to the point where I realize this job is not going to be forever -- not in the all-encompassing every meal, every moment, every day way that I have loved for the last thirteen years. It’s going to shift. But there's beauty in how it works in episodes."

And though Garner's certainly known for her looks, she never thought of herself as being attractive.

"I was so not one of the pretty girls that I just bypassed insecurity and didn’t see myself as attractive at all," she tells People. "It was not part of my life."

When she's not all glammed-up for the public, you'll find Garner in her favorite attire: jeans, a sweater and sneakers.

"I'll feel like the best possible version of myself," says Garner, and her kids seem to agree. She says after a coming home from photo shoot or walking the red carpet, "They'll look at me and say, 'Can you wash your face? Can you put your hair in a ponytail and put your glasses and sweats on?'"

"And I see the compliment in that," says Garner. "They just want me to look like Mom."

People magazine's Beautiful Issue 2019 hits newsstands Friday.

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Marvel Studios/Disney(LOS ANGELES) -- Avengers: Endgame, the 22nd and latest in the Marvel superhero franchise, promises to tie up all of the loose ends and answer all of the questions raised in all of the previous 21 films over 11 years. 

As you might suspect, that's gonna take some time to do -- three hours and one minute, to be exact.  That's a long time to sit in one place, no matter how good the movie is, but Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige tells ABC Radio it's not unprecedented.

"It's an hour shorter than Gone with the Wind, or 40 minutes shorter than Lawrence of Arabia, 30 minutes shorter than Doctor Zhivago," Feige says of Endgame's length, compared to some cinema classics.  "It's not that long," he insists.

And one more thing, warns executive producer Trinh Tran: don't even think of leaving your seat once the movie's started.

"I would say that there is not one single scene that you should miss from this movie, so please do not go to the restroom, don't go buy popcorn," Tran warns, "'cause you don't wanna to come back and go, 'What did I miss?' and 'How was that connected to everything else?'"

Avengers: Endgame opens nationwide Friday. Disney is the parent company of Marvel Studios and and ABC News.

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Steve Wilkie/ & © DC Comics (LOS ANGELES) -- On the heels of his box office hit, Shazam!, Zachary Levi has been tapped to host this year's MTV Movie & TV Awards.

Levi, whose other credits include Marvel's Thor: The Dark World, the NBC series Chuck and Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, follows in the footsteps of previous MTV Movie & TV Awards hosts, including Tiffany Haddish, Adam Devine, Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, Amy Schumer, Conan O’Brien, Rebel Wilson, Russell Brand, Jason Sudeikis, and Andy Samberg, among others.

Categories and nominees will be announced in the coming weeks. The MTV Movie & TV Awards will be held June 17th in Santa Monica, California.

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Photo Cr: Patrick Harbron/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved(LOS ANGELES) -- CBS All Access has renewed its original drama series The Good Fight for a fourth season.

The spin-off from CBS' The Good Wife series follows Christine Baranski's character, Diane Lockhart, as she's forced out of her law firm after an enormous financial scam destroys her finances and the reputation of her goddaughter, played by Rose Leslie, leading them to join one of Chicago's preeminent law firms.

The Good Fight
, currently in its third season, also stars Cush Jumbo, Audra McDonald, Sarah Steele, Michael Boatman, Nyambi Nyambi, Michael Sheen and Delroy Lindo.

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Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- In Los Angeles this afternoon, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, and the cast of Avengers: Endgame -- Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner -- were immortalized together in the cement floor outside of the famed TCL Chinese Theater.

Famed film critic Leonard Maltin emceed the festivities and assembled the Avengers in front of their respective cement spots. As per tradition, each star signed their names using a wooden stylus, before plopping their hands into the wet stuff, which they did on Downey's count of three.

This was the second imprint for Downey, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first hero. The man who'll be forever known as Iron Man had his hands placed in cement there for the first time in 2009.

Samuel L. Jackson, who is part of the Marvel Universe thanks to his recurring role as Nick Fury, had previously been immortalized at the theatre, as have actors who have starred in various Marvel movies over the past 10 years, including Mickey Rourke, Michael Douglas, and Anthony Hopkins.

Stan Lee, the comics legend who creator or co-created so many of the big-screen heroes, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Thor, was inducted in 2017. He died in 2018.

Incidentally, TCL Chinese Theater was a part of the MCU in another way: It was leveled by an explosion from one of The Mandarin's underlings in Iron Man 3.

Avengers: Endgame officially opens on Friday, though many theaters are showing it Thursday evening. Marvel Studios, like ABC News, is owned by Disney. 

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Paramount Pictures(LOS ANGELES) -- Will Smith is his own worst enemy in the first trailer for Ang Lee's action thriller Gemini Man.

In the first promo, released on Tuesday, Smith is introduced as Henry Brogan, an elite assassin who is targeted by someone who can "seemingly predict his every move." Brogan soon learns that the young operative is himself.

"I think I know why he's as good as you," says Smith's co-star Mary Elizabeth Winstead to an aging Brogan. "He is you."

Although both characters are played by Smith, CGI allows Smith to appear noticeably different -- and younger -- in the promo, as a slowed-down, distorted version of Alphaville's "Forever Young," is played in the background.

Gemini Man, also starring Clive Owen and Benedict Wong, is set to hit theaters October 11.

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ABC(CHICAGO) -- The two Chicago brothers who claim Jussie Smollett paid them to help stage what police deemed a "hoax" attack filed a defamation lawsuit on Tuesday against the Empire actor's lawyers.

Abel and Ola Osundairo filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago, accusing Smollett's attorneys Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian of making false public statements about them which have damaged them both emotionally and economically.

The suit alleges that Gerogos and Glandian continued to foster the myth that the attack on Smollett was real, and portrayed the brothers as the perpetrators, defaming them in statements to the media.  But according to the brothers, Smollett directed every aspect of the attack, including the location and the noose."

The Osundairos' brothers lawsuit says that due to the attention and the negative comments from Smollett's attorneys, they haven't been able to find work, and their livelihoods have been negatively affected. They are suing Geragos and Glandian for $75,000 each. 

In a statement to ABC News, Geragos and Glandian said, "At first we thought this comical legal document was a parody. Instead this so-called lawsuit by the brothers is more of their lawyer driven nonsense, and a desperate attempt for them to stay relevant and further profit from an attack they admit they perpetrated."

The statement continues, "While we know this ridiculous lawsuit will soon be dismissed because it lacks any legal footing, we look forward to exposing the fraud the Osundairo brothers and their attorneys have committed on the public.”

As previously reported, Chicago police allege that Smollett paid the brothers to help him stage the January 29 attack.  The actor stands by his story that he had nothing to do with the attack, but he was subsequently charged with filing a false police report.

The charges were later dropped in exchange for the actor forfeiting his $10,000 bond. He was supposed to have reimbursed the city of Chicago $130,000, but he has not; the city is now suing him.

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Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) -- With some predicting Marvel Studios' ultimate team-up movie, Avengers: Endgame, could have the world's first billion dollar global opening weekend, theater chain AMC is trying to meet ticket demand with 'round-the-clock screenings. 

The previous box office record holder was Endgame's cliffhanger predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War, which took in more than $257 million domestically last year.

Presales for Endgame have shattered the $100 million in advanced tickets scooped up back in 2015 by fans anticipating Star Wars: The Force Awakens by about $20 million, as has been reported.

On April 2, the day Avengers tickets became available, demand Thanos-snapped servers for AMC theaters and online retailer ATOM, and caused "virtual lines" on Fandango.

Deadline reports 29 AMC theaters will be open around-the-clock starting Thursday -- technically a day before the film officially opens Friday. Eighteen AMC theaters will pull those all-nighters Thursday through Saturday; 17 will pull a 72-hour marathon, staying open all day from Thursday night through Sunday.

Additionally, if Endgame's 3-hour-plus run-time isn't enough to test your mettle -- or your bladder -- three AMC theaters are showing all 22 Marvel Cinematic Universe films in a row: New York City's AMC Lincoln Square, Chicago's AMC River East, and AMC Metreon 16 in San Francisco.

Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

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ABC Radio(NEW YORK) -- After the immense backlash he experienced for his alleged hate crime hoax, Loni Love says she's hoping that her close friend Jussie Smollett will finally tell his side of the story.

Love revealed last week via Twitter that she had a "candid" conversation with Smollett.  She tells ABC Radio that she encouraged a "raw" and "very emotional" Smollett to tell his truth.

"I told him, 'People need to hear your version of the story.' I still believe that people want to hear that," she recalls. "Because when I sent out my tweet people actually was like, 'If we never hear from him, we still are rooting for him. We still support him.'"

According to Loni, the Empire actor has had a difficult time since reporting that he was the victim of a hate crime.  He was later charged with filing a false police report but prosecutors eventually dropped the charges. Still, Love says the ongoing criticism has taken its toll.

"Right now he's losing jobs," she reveals. "People don't realize he was working on projects. And now he's losing that because there's just this one side of the story."

She continues, "We don't really know the true facts. So, when he said what he said to me, I'm like, 'You know what? You need to say that to someone. You need to do an interview.'"

Loni says she'd give Smollett the entire hour of The Real if he wanted to speak his piece on her show, but she's not sure says she's not sure he's ready to do that.

"Maybe he will never speak on it. Maybe he'll just hope that it will just go away and he'll make a slow comeback," she says. "But, I do believe that when people hear what he has to say, some of that skepticism will leave."

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Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television(LOS ANGELES) -- AMC's Better Call Saul will end at the end of its sixth season -- at least, that's what series star Giancarlo Esposito tells Collider.

"It's tricky with [co-creator Vince Gilligan]" says Esposito, who plays meth dealer Gustavo "Gus" Fring on the series. "If you look at the Breaking Bad model, he said five years, five seasons, but [with the split final season] it was really five and six." 

Better Call Saul -- the Breaking Bad spinoff that serves as a prequel to the original show -- is currently in production on its fifth season. The show follows Bob Odenkirk's con-man turned small-time lawyer, Jimmy McGill, six years before the events of Breaking Bad, in which he played a criminal known as Saul Goodman. 

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Marc Horn/The CW(NEW YORK) -- Riverdale will officially say goodbye to Luke Perry's character on Wednesday, according to the show's creator, Roberto Aguirre Sacasa. 

He tweeted Monday, "This week’s #Riverdale is the last episode Luke filmed. As always, Fred’s imparting words of wisdom to Archie. A beautiful, true moment between a father and his son. Wish these scenes could go on forever..."

Perry portrayed Fred Andrews, the father of the show’s star character, Archie Andrews, played by K.J. Apa, until his sudden death from a stroke in March at age 52. Riverdale airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on the CW

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