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Fortnite’s Epic Games wins US court fight with Google

MANILA, Philippines — Apart from opening in the Philippines last December 6, one week ahead of the US, Hollywood blockbuster “Wonka” starring Timothée Chalamet as the beloved chocolate maker has another treat for Filipinos: Manila is included in the lyrics of one of the movie’s iconic songs!

Particularly, the Phi lippine capital was mentioned as among the sources of an ingredient of one of Wonka’s special concoctions, the Hair Repair Éclair.

“Lost your hair? Can’t think quite where? Feeling fairly bare up there? Don’t despair! Wonka’s prepared! Behold his hair repair eclair. Made from ground vanilla, from the mountains of Manila, it includes a single drop of yeti sweat which will prompt full, thick growth. Try mixing it with chameleon juice for even more colorful results!” the Hair Repair Éclair was described in a statement sent to Philstar.com.

Although Manila does not really have any known mountains, it is surrounded by mountains from its neighboring provinces, including Mount Daraitan in Rizal, Batulao in Batangas and Manalmon in Bulacan.

Manila also rhymes with “vanilla,” which is probably why it has been chosen to be part of the lyrics. 

Besides Hair Repair Éclair, here are the other sweets to catch as one watches “Wonka” now showing in Philippine cinemas, including IMAX:

“Wonka,” starring Chalamet as the beloved chocolate maker, is the perfect Christmas movie. Based on the extraordinary character at the center of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book and one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, “Wonka” tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today. 

To make sure he does the iconic character of Willy Wonka justice, Chalamet worked hard in preparation for the role, especially for the singing and dancing bits. “I had a lot of singing and vocal training with our head of the music department, the British James Taylor, not the other James Taylor,” shared the actor. “Also, there was a lot of dance training with Chris Gattelli, a fellow New Yorker and a fantastic choreographer. Then, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition. It was smart, because by the time the movie started, the physical stamina was there.”

According to Chalamet, who has worked on action films like “Dune,” “Wonka” was the most physically challenging project he has ever worked on.

“This was every scene. There’s the enthusiasm of the character coupled with the fact that there isn’t a scene that’s really static. That’s not only great for the story, but it was also a great lesson as an actor. I was grateful to have that run up because of the shape I was able to get into.”

“Wonka” is an intoxicating mix of magic and music, mayhem and emotion, all told with fabulous heart and humor. Starring Chalamet in the title role, this irresistibly vivid and inventive big screen spectacle will introduce audiences to a young Willy Wonka, chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time — proving that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you’re lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible.

Directed by Paul King, with a screenplay he co-wrote with Simon Farnaby, the film was produced by David Heyman, Alexandra Derbyshire and Luke Kelly. 

Starring alongside Chalamet are Calah Lane (“The Day Shall Come”), Emmy and Peabody Award winner Keegan-Michael Key (“The Prom,” “Schmigadoon”), Paterson Joseph (“Vigil,” “Noughts + Crosses”), Matt Lucas (“Paddington,” “Little Britain”), Mathew Baynton (“The Wrong Mans,” “Ghosts”), Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water,” the “Paddington” films, “Spencer”), Rowan Atkinson (the “Johnny English” and “Mr. Bean” films, “Love Actually”), Jim Carter (“Downton Abbey”), with Oscar winner Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”). The film also stars Natasha Rothwell (“White Lotus,” “Insecure”), Rich Fulcher (“Marriage Story,” “Disenchantment”), Rakhee Thakrar (“Sex Education,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral”), Tom Davis (“Paddington 2,” “King Gary”) and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (“Paddington 2,” “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” “Mary Poppins Returns”).

SAN FRANCISCO, United States — Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, won a major US court battle against Google on Monday when a jury decided that the search engine giant wields illegal monopoly power through its Android app store.

Epic sued Google and Apple in 2020, accusing the tech titans of abusing control of their respective shops selling apps and other digital content on mobile devices.

Google and Apple take percentages of all financial transactions at their app shops, prompting complaints by developers about an unfair “tax” imposed by the companies.

The defeat is a rare setback for a US tech giant in a US court, where judges have recently ruled in favor of big tech against accusations of running illegal monopolies or abusing their market power. 

The San Francisco jury took just a few hours to decide against Google, finding that the company had embarked on various illegal strategies to maintain its app store monopoly on Android phones.

“Victory over Google! After four weeks of detailed court testimony, the California jury found against the Google Play monopoly on all counts,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said on X (formerly Twitter).

The case now goes back to the judge to decide how to remedy the harm found by the jury, which could force open the Android operating system to competing app stores.

Google said it would appeal the decision and the case could still drag on for months or years.

“We will continue to defend the Android business model and remain deeply committed to our users, partners, and the broader Android ecosystem,” said Wilson White, Google’s vice president for government affairs & public policy.

Phones running on the Android operating system have about a 70 percent share of the world’s smartphone market. 

Smartphone companies can install the Android app for free under the condition that the Play app store remains on the home page and that other Google offers are pre-installed.

During the trial it emerged that Google worked aggressively in other ways to make sure that the Google Play app store was the only conduit for making payments to third party apps such as Fortnite and other games.

A sizable chunk of app store revenue comes from video games and Epic Games has long sought to have payments for its mobile games, such as Fortnite, take place outside the Google or Apple app stores that take commissions as high as 30 percent.

Epic had mostly lost a similar case against Apple, where a US judge largely ruled in favor of the iPhone maker. 

Apple and Google regularly argue that their app shop commissions are industry-standard, and that they pay for benefits such as reach, transaction security, and ferreting out malware.

Google also argued that the arrangement with smartphone makers helped Android-run devices better compete against Apple’s iPhone.

But the trial exposed that Google rakes in tens of billions of dollars of revenue through the app store.

In order to preserve its one-stop-shop for apps, Google paid smartphone makers a cut of its revenue in return for the Play store remaining the exclusive gateway. 

In the trial, Epic’s lawyers described the strategy as “bribe and block.”

The arguments made by Epic echoed Google’s other landmark case in a federal court in Washington.

In that case, which will only be decided late next year, US Justice Department officials accuse the company of acting illegally to preserve the dominance of its world-leading search engine.

At the heart of the search case is Google’s massive revenue sharing deals in which Apple and other smartphone makers take a big cut of Google’s ad revenue.

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