53 Celebs Who Were Reported Dead… But Weren’t (Photos)

Will Ferrell
A fake press release posted on the iNewswire Web site in March 2006 claiming that Ferrell was killed in a paragliding accident in Southern California when a wind gust caused him to lose crash into trees.

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake
As a joke, two Dallas jockeys claimed a car accident took the lives of pop stars perished, who were dating at the time. “The first thing I did was call Britney,” Timberlake told ABC News in 2001. “Since the beginning, [when] people knew about our relationship, there’s always been things that have been said that were totally not true, but this just, like, took it to a whole ‘nother planet.”

Avril Lavigne
Rumors began circulating in April 2003 that the “Complicated’ singer killed herself after her grandfather’s death. In recent weeks, Twitter gave new fuel to that fire, igniting a conspiracy theory that the Lavigne known today was actually look-alike singer Melissa Vandella. As the theory goes, the suits at Lavigne’s label cooked up the cover up scheme so they could continue to release her songs.

Paul McCartney
Conspiracy loving Beatles fans believe that McCartney died in 1966 and everything that’s happened to “him” since then is courtesy of a look-alike and sound-alike. Not only that, they believe clues to McCartney’s fate were revealed in songs written by fellow musicians George Harrison and John Lennon. Like, Lennon’s “A Day in the Life,” where the lyrics “Paul is dead, miss him, miss him”… which can only be heard when the song is played backward.

Kanye West
Social media, again, ran amuck Dec. 2016 with the theory that West’s uncharacteristic behavior at the time was because it wasn’t really him… it was a clone. You read that right. Cancelling his tour, dying his hear, having a public meltdown and dissing Beyonce and Jay Z while cozying up to Donald Trump was enough proof for some.

Eddie Murphy
The actor/comedian has been the subject of false reports of his death more than once. On Aug. 30, 2012, has was said to have been killed in a snowboard accident and, most recently, was again the subject of internet buzz after the death of his brother Charlie confused.

Vin Diesel
Facebook was the starting point for a post about the death of the “Fate of the Furious” actor went viral. The post linked to what they said was a video report that requested permission to access the viewer’s accounts. If granted, the “RIP Vin Diesel” post was sent as spam to everyone on that user’s friends list.

Adam Sandler
LinkBeef, which was the breeding ground for several celebrity death hoaxes, reported on Jan. 13, 2017, that Sandler was found dead of an apparent suicide and even cited their source as Marin County Police Department in California and “quoted” Sandler’s “utterly heartbroken” wife, Jackie.

Denzel Washington
Remember that fake news about Eddie Murphy dying in a snowboarding accident? Facebook tried the same story with Washington in Nov. 2011.

Nicolas Cage
Although trafficforgoods.site’s July 2016 headline that “Nicolas Cage passed away because of a serious Motorcycle Accident” and the body of the story said he died when he “lost control of his snowboard and struck a tree,” social media took the bait and ran with it. Another fake news outlet picked up the story, tweaked it and added a Photoshopped pic of a motorcycle crash scene, Cage’s face and a CNN chyron.

Hillary Clinton
Following Hillary Clinton’s appearance at a 9/11 memorial in Sept. 2016 in which she appeared to collapse while getting into a van, ABC News weekend anchor Joe Torres said on that evening’s newscast, “We begin with the breaking news about Hillary Clinton’s death.” The anchor meant to say “health” rather than “death,” but Twitter nonetheless had a field day, sparking speculation that the woman who emerged from her daughter Chelesa’s home a few hours later was a look-alike because the former first lady had died.

Sean Kingston
BBC News shocked the music world when they reported the Jamaican-American singer was found dead at his home weeks after he crashed his jet ski accident in a bridge in Miami. “Today” caught up with the 21-year-old three months later about his near-death experience.

Jackie Chan
“Jackie is alive and well,” read a note on the action star’s Facebook page following internet buzz that he died. “He did not suffer a heart attack and die, as was reported on many social networking sites and in online news reports.”

Cher
Cher was added to the celebrity death hoax list of victims after a “R.I.P. Cher” Facebook page was created in Sept. 2016. Although the post concluded with the message “Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page,” wasn’t a clue that it was a fake, the reports of her passing went viral and attracted nearly a million likes.

Macaulay Culkin
When the “Home Alone” star was targeted by death rumors in Nov. 2014, he debunked the reports by taking to Instagram and posting a photo parodying a scene from “Weekend at Bernie’s.”

Betty White
People are so in love with Betty White that when her name trends on Twitter, they freak out with worry that she’s met her maker. As recently as May 10, a tweet popped up saying that she was found dead and another one said her publicist confirmed it. Shortly thereafter, someone set up a GoFunMe to protect her from harm.

Eminem
A fake news story reporting Eminem‘s death in a car accident went viral in 2009. The story went as far as to blame the rapper for the crash, saying he swerved into an oncoming truck because he was on his cell phone.

Jim Carrey
And here we go again with that same snowboarding accident report that keeps popping up with the same facts and only the name of the “deceased” changed. Yup, Carrey was said to have died in April 2016. Even weirder, necropedia.org posted his “anticipated” obituary with a May 20, 2017 date.

Celine Dion
Never-ending rumors of Dion’s death on social media do not sit well the singer, in great part because each time one sprouts wings and flies, she has to ease her aging mother’s fears. “The thing that worries me is my mum,” according to Digital Spy. “It makes me a little mad – she’s 86 years old and if I’m not on the phone telling her I’m OK four seconds after it’s on the news… it doesn’t matter what they say, it’s the impact it has on your family.”

Beyonce
Jewelry can kill you, or at least that’s the rumor that started after the singer accidentally ripped out an earring during a Brooklyn concert and blood began running down her face. A Facebook page claimed she had died because she didn’t seek medical attention. The BeyHive was not happy about the hoax.

Jack Black
The Twitter account for Black’s band Tenacious D was hacked in June 2016 and the culprits posted this unsettling message: “It is with a heavy heart I am to announce that Jack Black passed away last night at 3:37 am. The cause of death is yet unknown.” They later cleared up the mess, posting, “WE had our Twitter account hacked. We can assure you that Jack is ALIVE and WELL and that this was a sick ‘prank.’”

Chevy Chase
According to Breaking 13 News, the “Community” actor died in his sleep after suffering a heart attack on Jan. 6, 2016.

Alice Cooper
Fans of the musician got a little confused in the early ’70s after reading Melody Maker magazine’s satirical review of Cooper’s concert in the form of a mock obit. He later issued a statement saying, “I’m alive, and drunk as usual.”

Russell Crowe
The “Gladiator” took matters into his own hands in June 2010 by tweeting, “Unable to answer tweets fell off a mountain in Austria, all over red rover. Don’t know how I got there, but the media are never wrong. G’Bye.”

Miley Cyrus
The “Wrecking Ball” singer has dodged the social medium Grim Reaper more than once. In 2008, she was said to have been killed by a hit and run driver, and in 2009 socialite Peaches Geldolf tweeted that a “friend in the industry” texted her that Cyrus had died. Cyrus’ appearances at the time during a London concert put those issues to rest.

Dwayne Johnson
A Facebook post went viral in April 2014 saying that The Rock died while filming a stunt for “Fast & Furious 7.” He posted a message to his fans on Facebook saying, “Rumors of my death are false – Im still ‘Bringin’ It’ 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – including leap year!” A tweet of his took a more direct approach: “I would love to meet the person who is starting rumors of my death – to show them how a dead foot feels up their ass.”

Michael Jordan
The web site Cronica MX posted an article in Feb. 2015 reporting the NBA superstar died on a heart attack. They took it a step further by producing a video with spliced footage of a breaking news segment and a tearful anchor.

Martin Lawrence
Martin Lawrence was reportedly found dead in a Los Angeles hotel room by a maid named Verna Del Sosa in 2015. Lawrence never mentioned it directly, but he did make his un-dead self known visible on social media in the days following his “death.”

Madonna
A BBC News video uploaded on YouTube on Sept. 24, 2010 announced Madonna was dead. They were, obviously, wrong.

Willie Nelson
The rumors of Willie Nelson‘s imminent demise have been exaggerated, his publicist says, disputing reports the country music icon is on death’s door. “He’s perfectly fine,” Elaine Schock told the Associated Press on Wednesday, attempting to finally shut down rumors sparked by a March 13 Radar Online story that described the 83-year-old as “deathly ill” and said his lungs weren’t strong enough to perform. A “bad cold” forced Nelson to cancel several shows in January and February, but he was back onstage by Feb. 16, when he played at a San Antonio rodeo. And last week he performed at a Houston stadiumfor 75,000 fans, where he appeared to be in good health and had no problems singing.

Barack Obama
on July 4, 2011, a hacker collective called “The Script Kiddies” took control of Fox News’s politics Twitter feed and posted that the incumbent President had been assassinated during a campaigning event in Iowa.

Sean Penn
News reports popped up on Jan. 12, 2016 that Sean Penn was found murdered in his Malibu home and that authorities were investigating that El Chapo might have ordered a hit on the actor/director who interviewed him shortly before.

Axl Rose
On December 3, 2014, a fake news report circulated on the internet claiming that the singer had been found dead at home. In response, Rose tweeted “If I’m dead do I still have to pay taxes?”

Arnold Schwarzenegger
An Aug. 28, 2015 post on MSMBC.co (not to be mistaken for MSNBC.com) reported that the former Governator died following a heart attack. But this was one time he did not say “Hasta la vista, baby.”

Justin Bieber
If you believe social media, Bieber has been “dead” more times than you can count. There were suicide rumors in 2009, which resurfaced in 2010), along with a shooting in a nightclub and an overdose. Then there was #RIPJustinBieber, which trended on Twitter in Jan. 2011.

Robert Redford
The Sundance Film Festival founder’s publicist stepped in to call reports of his death “a sick hoax.” The fake news initialed from Britain’s Sky News, which said he had fallen off a “golf buggy” in Santa Monica.

Gabourey Sidibe
The “Empire” star was barraged with tweets from concerned fans in March 2016, who were just checking to make sure she was still alive, following post saying she had died from an asthma attack. Sidibe assured everyone she was fine, but joking that maybe she was dead, if her “version of Hell is people believing poorly written articles about me.”

Lindsay Lohan
A tweak to Lohan’s Wikipedia page in July 2011 cited her death and credited E! News as their source – which was false. But the news spread, thanks to a fake Kim Kardashian Twitter account.

Hilary Duff
The former Disney star was said to have fallen to her death on the Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand.

Will Smith
May 2011 was not a pleasant month for Smith, who was reported killed in a car accident, after an overdose and falling off that same cliff where Hilary Duff supposedly perished.

Carlos Santana
A Sept. 2015 tweet from a Canadian journalist reporting that Santana’s body was found in a car sparked immediate denials from his peeps. “He is alive and well and enjoying his morning!” his rep told USA Today. Team Santana add to that message, posting on their Facebook page, “… Thank you all for your concern, but the reports of his passing are false.”

Bill Cosby
After the internet announced the comedian’s death, he tweeted, “To the people behind the foolishness, I’m not sure you see how upsetting this is.”

Paris Hilton
While Paris Hilton was serving jail time in 2007 for a DUI, the internet spread word that she had been stabbed to death by a fellow inmate. The story was originally posted on-line and made to look as if it was coming from CNN.

Taylor Swift
Apparently, 2009 was not a good year for Swift. She was said to have been in a fatal car accident and then, months later, died from an allergic reaction to sleeping pills, which spread like wildfire on Facebook and YouTube.

Nick Jonas
The pop singer-turned-actor was also the victim of death hoaxes twice in 2009. One report said he died of cardiac arrest due to complications with his diabetes, while another said his heart stopped after a lap dance in a Dallas strip joint.

Morgan Freeman
Although CNN had initially been accused of claiming that Freeman had died, it was actually a Twitter user named @originalcjizzle, who later wrote, “I had no intention of things turning out this way.”

Zach Braff
The “Scrubs” actor was reported dead in 2009 by a fake CNN.Com page. The perpetrator of the “joke” later posted an apology, saying in part, “… Thanks for (apparently) taking it lightly, since I haven’t gotten a letter about a lawsuit yet. Just so you know, I’m a huge fan; that’s the only reason I made this page, believe it or not. Also, sorry for upsetting your mother.”

Bob Hope
Film legend Bob Hope’s death was announced five years prematurely in 1998 when a pre-written obituary was accidentally published on the Associated Press website. Unfortunately, the erroneous report of his “death” was then announced by the United States House of Representatives live on C-Span.

Mark Twain
We couldn’t leave out humorist Mark Twain, who became known for, among many other things, one of history’s most misquoted quotes. In 1897, Twain he responded to a journalist’s inquity about his health by writing, “James Ross Clemens, a cousin of mine, was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London, but is well now. The report of my illness grew out of his illness; the report of my death was an exaggeration.”

Will Ferrell
A fake press release posted on the iNewswire Web site in March 2006 claiming that Ferrell was killed in a paragliding accident in Southern California when a wind gust caused him to lose crash into trees.

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake
As a joke, two Dallas jockeys claimed a car accident took the lives of pop stars perished, who were dating at the time. “The first thing I did was call Britney,” Timberlake told ABC News in 2001. “Since the beginning, [when] people knew about our relationship, there’s always been things that have been said that were totally not true, but this just, like, took it to a whole ‘nother planet.”

Avril Lavigne
Rumors began circulating in April 2003 that the “Complicated’ singer killed herself after her grandfather’s death. In recent weeks, Twitter gave new fuel to that fire, igniting a conspiracy theory that the Lavigne known today was actually look-alike singer Melissa Vandella. As the theory goes, the suits at Lavigne’s label cooked up the cover up scheme so they could continue to release her songs.

Paul McCartney
Conspiracy loving Beatles fans believe that McCartney died in 1966 and everything that’s happened to “him” since then is courtesy of a look-alike and sound-alike. Not only that, they believe clues to McCartney’s fate were revealed in songs written by fellow musicians George Harrison and John Lennon. Like, Lennon’s “A Day in the Life,” where the lyrics “Paul is dead, miss him, miss him”… which can only be heard when the song is played backward.

Kanye West
Social media, again, ran amuck Dec. 2016 with the theory that West’s uncharacteristic behavior at the time was because it wasn’t really him… it was a clone. You read that right. Cancelling his tour, dying his hear, having a public meltdown and dissing Beyonce and Jay Z while cozying up to Donald Trump was enough proof for some.

Eddie Murphy
The actor/comedian has been the subject of false reports of his death more than once. On Aug. 30, 2012, has was said to have been killed in a snowboard accident and, most recently, was again the subject of internet buzz after the death of his brother Charlie confused.

Vin Diesel
Facebook was the starting point for a post about the death of the “Fate of the Furious” actor went viral. The post linked to what they said was a video report that requested permission to access the viewer’s accounts. If granted, the “RIP Vin Diesel” post was sent as spam to everyone on that user’s friends list.

Adam Sandler
LinkBeef, which was the breeding ground for several celebrity death hoaxes, reported on Jan. 13, 2017, that Sandler was found dead of an apparent suicide and even cited their source as Marin County Police Department in California and “quoted” Sandler’s “utterly heartbroken” wife, Jackie.

Denzel Washington
Remember that fake news about Eddie Murphy dying in a snowboarding accident? Facebook tried the same story with Washington in Nov. 2011.

Nicolas Cage
Although trafficforgoods.site’s July 2016 headline that “Nicolas Cage passed away because of a serious Motorcycle Accident” and the body of the story said he died when he “lost control of his snowboard and struck a tree,” social media took the bait and ran with it. Another fake news outlet picked up the story, tweaked it and added a Photoshopped pic of a motorcycle crash scene, Cage’s face and a CNN chyron.

Hillary Clinton
Following Hillary Clinton’s appearance at a 9/11 memorial in Sept. 2016 in which she appeared to collapse while getting into a van, ABC News weekend anchor Joe Torres said on that evening’s newscast, “We begin with the breaking news about Hillary Clinton’s death.” The anchor meant to say “health” rather than “death,” but Twitter nonetheless had a field day, sparking speculation that the woman who emerged from her daughter Chelesa’s home a few hours later was a look-alike because the former first lady had died.

Sean Kingston
BBC News shocked the music world when they reported the Jamaican-American singer was found dead at his home weeks after he crashed his jet ski accident in a bridge in Miami. “Today” caught up with the 21-year-old three months later about his near-death experience.

Jackie Chan
“Jackie is alive and well,” read a note on the action star’s Facebook page following internet buzz that he died. “He did not suffer a heart attack and die, as was reported on many social networking sites and in online news reports.”

Cher
Cher was added to the celebrity death hoax list of victims after a “R.I.P. Cher” Facebook page was created in Sept. 2016. Although the post concluded with the message “Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page,” wasn’t a clue that it was a fake, the reports of her passing went viral and attracted nearly a million likes.

Macaulay Culkin
When the “Home Alone” star was targeted by death rumors in Nov. 2014, he debunked the reports by taking to Instagram and posting a photo parodying a scene from “Weekend at Bernie’s.”

Betty White
People are so in love with Betty White that when her name trends on Twitter, they freak out with worry that she’s met her maker. As recently as May 10, a tweet popped up saying that she was found dead and another one said her publicist confirmed it. Shortly thereafter, someone set up a GoFunMe to protect her from harm.

Eminem
A fake news story reporting Eminem‘s death in a car accident went viral in 2009. The story went as far as to blame the rapper for the crash, saying he swerved into an oncoming truck because he was on his cell phone.

Jim Carrey
And here we go again with that same snowboarding accident report that keeps popping up with the same facts and only the name of the “deceased” changed. Yup, Carrey was said to have died in April 2016. Even weirder, necropedia.org posted his “anticipated” obituary with a May 20, 2017 date.

Celine Dion
Never-ending rumors of Dion’s death on social media do not sit well the singer, in great part because each time one sprouts wings and flies, she has to ease her aging mother’s fears. “The thing that worries me is my mum,” according to Digital Spy. “It makes me a little mad – she’s 86 years old and if I’m not on the phone telling her I’m OK four seconds after it’s on the news… it doesn’t matter what they say, it’s the impact it has on your family.”

Beyonce
Jewelry can kill you, or at least that’s the rumor that started after the singer accidentally ripped out an earring during a Brooklyn concert and blood began running down her face. A Facebook page claimed she had died because she didn’t seek medical attention. The BeyHive was not happy about the hoax.

Jack Black
The Twitter account for Black’s band Tenacious D was hacked in June 2016 and the culprits posted this unsettling message: “It is with a heavy heart I am to announce that Jack Black passed away last night at 3:37 am. The cause of death is yet unknown.” They later cleared up the mess, posting, “WE had our Twitter account hacked. We can assure you that Jack is ALIVE and WELL and that this was a sick ‘prank.'”

Chevy Chase
According to Breaking 13 News, the “Community” actor died in his sleep after suffering a heart attack on Jan. 6, 2016.

Alice Cooper
Fans of the musician got a little confused in the early ’70s after reading Melody Maker magazine’s satirical review of Cooper’s concert in the form of a mock obit. He later issued a statement saying, “I’m alive, and drunk as usual.”

Russell Crowe
The “Gladiator” took matters into his own hands in June 2010 by tweeting, “Unable to answer tweets fell off a mountain in Austria, all over red rover. Don’t know how I got there, but the media are never wrong. G’Bye.”

Miley Cyrus
The “Wrecking Ball” singer has dodged the social medium Grim Reaper more than once. In 2008, she was said to have been killed by a hit and run driver, and in 2009 socialite Peaches Geldolf tweeted that a “friend in the industry” texted her that Cyrus had died. Cyrus’ appearances at the time during a London concert put those issues to rest.

Dwayne Johnson
A Facebook post went viral in April 2014 saying that The Rock died while filming a stunt for “Fast & Furious 7.” He posted a message to his fans on Facebook saying, “Rumors of my death are false – Im still ‘Bringin’ It’ 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – including leap year!” A tweet of his took a more direct approach: “I would love to meet the person who is starting rumors of my death – to show them how a dead foot feels up their ass.”

Michael Jordan
The web site Cronica MX posted an article in Feb. 2015 reporting the NBA superstar died on a heart attack. They took it a step further by producing a video with spliced footage of a breaking news segment and a tearful anchor.

Martin Lawrence
Martin Lawrence was reportedly found dead in a Los Angeles hotel room by a maid named Verna Del Sosa in 2015. Lawrence never mentioned it directly, but he did make his un-dead self known visible on social media in the days following his “death.”

Madonna
A BBC News video uploaded on YouTube on Sept. 24, 2010 announced Madonna was dead. They were, obviously, wrong.

Willie Nelson
The rumors of Willie Nelson‘s imminent demise have been exaggerated, his publicist says, disputing reports the country music icon is on death’s door. “He’s perfectly fine,” Elaine Schock told the Associated Press on Wednesday, attempting to finally shut down rumors sparked by a March 13 Radar Online story that described the 83-year-old as “deathly ill” and said his lungs weren’t strong enough to perform. A “bad cold” forced Nelson to cancel several shows in January and February, but he was back onstage by Feb. 16, when he played at a San Antonio rodeo. And last week he performed at a Houston stadiumfor 75,000 fans, where he appeared to be in good health and had no problems singing.

Barack Obama
on July 4, 2011, a hacker collective called “The Script Kiddies” took control of Fox News’s politics Twitter feed and posted that the incumbent President had been assassinated during a campaigning event in Iowa.

Sean Penn
News reports popped up on Jan. 12, 2016 that Sean Penn was found murdered in his Malibu home and that authorities were investigating that El Chapo might have ordered a hit on the actor/director who interviewed him shortly before.

Axl Rose
On December 3, 2014, a fake news report circulated on the internet claiming that the singer had been found dead at home. In response, Rose tweeted “If I’m dead do I still have to pay taxes?”

Arnold Schwarzenegger
An Aug. 28, 2015 post on MSMBC.co (not to be mistaken for MSNBC.com) reported that the former Governator died following a heart attack. But this was one time he did not say “Hasta la vista, baby.”

Justin Bieber
If you believe social media, Bieber has been “dead” more times than you can count. There were suicide rumors in 2009, which resurfaced in 2010), along with a shooting in a nightclub and an overdose. Then there was #RIPJustinBieber, which trended on Twitter in Jan. 2011.

Robert Redford
The Sundance Film Festival founder’s publicist stepped in to call reports of his death “a sick hoax.” The fake news initialed from Britain’s Sky News, which said he had fallen off a “golf buggy” in Santa Monica.

Gabourey Sidibe
The “Empire” star was barraged with tweets from concerned fans in March 2016, who were just checking to make sure she was still alive, following post saying she had died from an asthma attack. Sidibe assured everyone she was fine, but joking that maybe she was dead, if her “version of Hell is people believing poorly written articles about me.”

Lindsay Lohan
A tweak to Lohan’s Wikipedia page in July 2011 cited her death and credited E! News as their source – which was false. But the news spread, thanks to a fake Kim Kardashian Twitter account.

Hilary Duff
The former Disney star was said to have fallen to her death on the Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand.

Will Smith
May 2011 was not a pleasant month for Smith, who was reported killed in a car accident, after an overdose and falling off that same cliff where Hilary Duff supposedly perished.

Carlos Santana
A Sept. 2015 tweet from a Canadian journalist reporting that Santana’s body was found in a car sparked immediate denials from his peeps. “He is alive and well and enjoying his morning!” his rep told USA Today. Team Santana add to that message, posting on their Facebook page, “… Thank you all for your concern, but the reports of his passing are false.”

Bill Cosby
After the internet announced the comedian’s death, he tweeted, “To the people behind the foolishness, I’m not sure you see how upsetting this is.”

Paris Hilton
While Paris Hilton was serving jail time in 2007 for a DUI, the internet spread word that she had been stabbed to death by a fellow inmate. The story was originally posted on-line and made to look as if it was coming from CNN.

Taylor Swift
Apparently, 2009 was not a good year for Swift. She was said to have been in a fatal car accident and then, months later, died from an allergic reaction to sleeping pills, which spread like wildfire on Facebook and YouTube.

Nick Jonas
The pop singer-turned-actor was also the victim of death hoaxes twice in 2009. One report said he died of cardiac arrest due to complications with his diabetes, while another said his heart stopped after a lap dance in a Dallas strip joint.

Morgan Freeman
Although CNN had initially been accused of claiming that Freeman had died, it was actually a Twitter user named @originalcjizzle, who later wrote, “I had no intention of things turning out this way.”

Zach Braff
The “Scrubs” actor was reported dead in 2009 by a fake CNN.Com page. The perpetrator of the “joke” later posted an apology, saying in part, “… Thanks for (apparently) taking it lightly, since I haven’t gotten a letter about a lawsuit yet. Just so you know, I’m a huge fan; that’s the only reason I made this page, believe it or not. Also, sorry for upsetting your mother.”

Bob Hope
Film legend Bob Hope’s death was announced five years prematurely in 1998 when a pre-written obituary was accidentally published on the Associated Press website. Unfortunately, the erroneous report of his “death” was then announced by the United States House of Representatives live on C-Span.

Mark Twain
We couldn’t leave out humorist Mark Twain, who became known for, among many other things, one of history’s most misquoted quotes. In 1897, Twain he responded to a journalist’s inquity about his health by writing, “James Ross Clemens, a cousin of mine, was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London, but is well now. The report of my illness grew out of his illness; the report of my death was an exaggeration.”

Netflix Stock Surges on Huge Q1 Subscriber Growth

Another quarter, another busload of new subscribers for Netflix, with the streaming giant running past Wall Street estimates, as well as its own, when it comes to fresh streamers when the company reported its first quarter earnings on Monday.

For the three months ending on March 31, Netflix reported revenue of $3.7 billion and earnings of 64 cents a share — narrowly edging analyst estimates of 63 cents a share and $3.69 billion in revenue. The Los Gatos, California-based company increased revenue 43 percent year-over-year.

But subscribers is what investors care the most about, and Netflix delivered yet again with its second-best quarter for subscriber additions. The company added 1.96 million users in the U.S., and 5.46 million internationally — pushing the company past 124 million customers overall. Analysts had anticipated 1.45 million domestic subs and 4.9 million internationally. International customers now account for 50 percent of the company’s revenue, Netflix said in a statement accompanying earnings.

Also Read: Sacha Baron Cohen to Star in Netflix Limited Drama Series ‘The Spy’

Shares of Netflix jumped 6 percent in after hours trading, hitting $326.70 a share.

The company’s debt obligations continued to increase during the first quarter, rising from $15 billion to $16 billion, compared with $2.6 billion in cash on hand. Netflix doesn’t seem concerned, though, calling its debt “quite modest as a percentage of our enterprise value.”

Coming off big releases like “The Crown” and the Will Smith-led “Bright” to wrap up 2017, Netflix’s first quarter was spearheaded by the return of “Jessica Jones” and “Love,” as well as the “Queer Eye” reboot.

Also Read: Netflix Announces Acquisition of Seth Rogen – All of Him (Video)

Netflix kicked off awards season with Aziz Ansari winning a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in “Master of None,” and “Icarus” won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

The company pulled its original films from the Cannes Film Festival last week, and pointed to an obscure new wrinkle in its earnings statement, barring French audiences from streaming the movies on Netflix.

“We regret our films not being able to compete at this year’s Cannes film festival. The festival adopted a new rule that means if a film is in competition at Cannes, it can not be watched on Netflix in France for the following three years,” the company said in its earnings statement. “We would never want to do that to our French members. We will continue to 1 celebrate our films and filmmakers at other festivals around the world but unfortunately we will have to sit out Cannes for now so that our growing French membership can continue to enjoy our original films.”

Also Read: Ian Somerhalder to Lead Netflix Vampire Drama Series ‘V-Wars’

To keep the hits coming, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos has said the company will spend up to $8 billion on content this year — and investors don’t seem to mind. Netflix has been a Wall Street darling since the calendar turned to 2018, with shares running nearly 60 percent to hit $307.78 a share as markets closed on Monday.

Netflix will post its prerecorded earnings call at 6:00 pm ET.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Martin Scorsese to Direct ‘SCTV’ Comedy Special for Netflix

Netflix Exec Bonuses Were a Sham to Capitalize on Tax Deductions, Shareholder Lawsuit Says

Netflix Bails on Cannes Over Theatrical Release Mandate

Another quarter, another busload of new subscribers for Netflix, with the streaming giant running past Wall Street estimates, as well as its own, when it comes to fresh streamers when the company reported its first quarter earnings on Monday.

For the three months ending on March 31, Netflix reported revenue of $3.7 billion and earnings of 64 cents a share — narrowly edging analyst estimates of 63 cents a share and $3.69 billion in revenue. The Los Gatos, California-based company increased revenue 43 percent year-over-year.

But subscribers is what investors care the most about, and Netflix delivered yet again with its second-best quarter for subscriber additions. The company added 1.96 million users in the U.S., and 5.46 million internationally — pushing the company past 124 million customers overall. Analysts had anticipated 1.45 million domestic subs and 4.9 million internationally. International customers now account for 50 percent of the company’s revenue, Netflix said in a statement accompanying earnings.

Shares of Netflix jumped 6 percent in after hours trading, hitting $326.70 a share.

The company’s debt obligations continued to increase during the first quarter, rising from $15 billion to $16 billion, compared with $2.6 billion in cash on hand. Netflix doesn’t seem concerned, though, calling its debt “quite modest as a percentage of our enterprise value.”

Coming off big releases like “The Crown” and the Will Smith-led “Bright” to wrap up 2017, Netflix’s first quarter was spearheaded by the return of “Jessica Jones” and “Love,” as well as the “Queer Eye” reboot.

Netflix kicked off awards season with Aziz Ansari winning a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in “Master of None,” and “Icarus” won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

The company pulled its original films from the Cannes Film Festival last week, and pointed to an obscure new wrinkle in its earnings statement, barring French audiences from streaming the movies on Netflix.

“We regret our films not being able to compete at this year’s Cannes film festival. The festival adopted a new rule that means if a film is in competition at Cannes, it can not be watched on Netflix in France for the following three years,” the company said in its earnings statement. “We would never want to do that to our French members. We will continue to 1 celebrate our films and filmmakers at other festivals around the world but unfortunately we will have to sit out Cannes for now so that our growing French membership can continue to enjoy our original films.”

To keep the hits coming, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos has said the company will spend up to $8 billion on content this year — and investors don’t seem to mind. Netflix has been a Wall Street darling since the calendar turned to 2018, with shares running nearly 60 percent to hit $307.78 a share as markets closed on Monday.

Netflix will post its prerecorded earnings call at 6:00 pm ET.

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Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ and Ang Lee’s ‘Gemini Man’ Are Changing the Face of Digital De-Aging

The controversial CG technique will be tested next year, when younger versions of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino face off and Will Smith gets stalked by his younger clone.

Digital de-aging is Hollywood’s latest tech toy. (Think Sean Young’s Rachael replicant in the VFX Oscar-winning “Blade Runner 2049” or Kurt Russell in the Oscar-nominated “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.”) The controversial CG process faces a major test next year with Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” and Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man.”

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino face off as real life mob hitman Frank Sheeran and labor union boss Jimmy Hoffa in Scorsese’s gangster biopic, as Industrial Light & Magic digitally removes decades from their appearances for a series of flashbacks. And elite 50-year-old assassin Will Smith gets stalked by his 23-year-old clone (created by Weta Digital) in Lee’s cutting edge sci-fi thriller.

Read More:‘The Irishman’: 9 Things You Must Know About Martin Scorsese’s $100 Million ‘Goodfellas’ Reunion

Obviously, there’s more at stake here than the successful de-aging of Sean Young and Kurt Russell, or Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” Robert Downey Jr. in “Captain America: Civil War,” and Michael Douglas in “Ant Man.” Any misstep into the Uncanny Valley could prove fatal. Then again, there’s no way Scorsese and Lee would take such risks if they weren’t confident that ILM and Weta could pull them off.

Scorsese’s Latest Gangster Gambit

“The time is definitely ripe to make de-aging or an older actor playing a younger one quite possible and almost undetectable to the audience,” said Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Rob Legato (“The Jungle Book, “Hugo”). “As with most things, while the technique and technology have come of age, the taste factor and choosing the right method of acquiring the underlying performance (and the performance itself) separates its believability and effectiveness.”

In “The Irishman,” Sheeran, who was allegedly involved in the death of Hoffa, looks back at his life during key moments throughout the decades. The budget has reportedly soared past $140 million, as ILM begins VFX work, with Netflix releasing the movie next year.

“Blade Runner 2049”

However, it should mark a definite improvement on ILM’s controversial de-aging of the late Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin) and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) in “Rogue One.” The circumstances here are very different, though, in which De Niro and Pacino are more actively involved in their face-mapping and ILM can better match their iconic performances from, say, “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II.” ILM can also push its evolved Oscar-winning facial performance-capture solving system more effectively in optimal lighting conditions before de-aging more believably with state-of-the-art animation tools, mixing and matching with younger body doubles.

Why not just cast younger actors? To better maintain the strong emotional connections that we have to these legendary actors. “Some of the pitfalls include trying too hard to slavishly match the look of the actor themselves to their younger version from previous films or appearances,” added Legato.

“Rogue One”

“Too many factors are at hand at any given time, including lighting, weight, health, and camera lenses etc. that determine how we look. Trying to match all new material to one look causes some unnatural alterations to the new mask, which also alters the performance. It’s hard to tell what is wrong, but we detect something is. The exciting part is a great actor can play a multitude of characters of any age or body type with the same success of Gary Oldman’s [Oscar-winning] portrayal [of Winston Churchill] in ‘The Darkest Hour.'”

Trying to Deliver the Most Convincing Digital Human

“Gemini Man,” which started out as a Disney project in the early 2000s, is analogous to the VFX Oscar winner, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” It required technology to catch up to its experiments in digital humans and fluctuations in aging. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Lee plans to shoot at 120fps/4k/stereo (minus the 3D of “Billy Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk”).

“The clone (created through motion capture) is a major character in the film, and is present for 400-plus scenes in over half the movie, delivering full ‘in your face’ emotional performances,” said Oscar-winning production VFX supervisor Bill Westenhofer (“Life of Pi”). “Our full methodology involves a combination of scenes where Will plays his younger self wearing appropriate costumes for his body and a motion capture head rig. These scenes are done ‘on set’ and cover all of the action where young and old versions are not on screen together.

Will SmithClosing Ceremony, 70th Cannes Film Festival, France - 28 May 2017

Will Smith

Laura Antonelli/REX/Shutterstock

“For scenes where both are playing against each other, we have a body double for the young character. Both he and Will are filmed together on set. The geometry of the set is recreated later in a motion capture volume where Will performs the young character over again. Given the tight coupling with head and body action, we will often need to fully replace the body double with a digital version, though there will be times when we can salvage some of him and just replace the head.”

Because of the magnified, large-format scrutiny of its digital humans, “Gemini Man” requires a more complex de-aging technique than what Lola achieves with its revered 2D skin smothing and shape warping on the Marvel movies. “That’s why we are pushing the envelope as hard as we possibly can to potentially be the first to deliver a fully convincing digital human,” Westenhofer added.

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Anthony Anderson, La La Anthony Return to Host VH1’s ‘Dear Mama’ Special

“Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson and actress-host La La Anthony will get ample brownie points with mom this year, as the pair return to VH1 to host “Dear Mama: A Love Letter to Moms.”

The annual special — which in case it is unclear, is to commemorate Mother’s Day — brings back both personalities to help superstars salute their matriarchs. This year’s installment will tape at Downtown L.A.’s Ace Hotel Theater, and air on May 7 at 9 p,m.

Previous guests (and their moms) include Alicia Keys, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Ludacris, DJ Khaled, Kelly Rowland and Maxwell.

Also Read: ‘Black-ish’ Stars Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross Tease Big Season 3 Changes, ‘Evil’ Daughter Diane

Anderson currently stars on and executive produces the hit ABC show “Black-ish,” as well as its spinoff “grown-ish.” He recently won his fourth individual NAACP Image Award in the category of “Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.”

Anthony, from the Starz series “Power,” has produced on Broadway, appeared in numerous films and is a New York Times best-selling author.

“Dear Mama: A Love Letter to Moms” is produced by Flavor Unit and Jesse Collins Entertainment. Shakim Compere, Queen Latifah, Jesse Collins, and Jeannae Rouzan-Clay are executive producers.

Amy Doyle, Garrett English, Elena Diaz and Andria Parides are producing for VH1, with Joe Buoye as head of production.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Black-ish’ Stars Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross Tease Big Season 3 Changes, ‘Evil’ Daughter Diane

‘Black-ish’ Star Anthony Anderson Made Cornbread and BBQ to Nail an Audition (Video)

Why Count Olaf/Neil Patrick Harris, Anthony Anderson and Alec Baldwin Are TV’s Social Media MVPs of the Week

‘Black-ish’ Star Anthony Anderson on Turning Police Brutality Into Comedy, Fears for Obama

“Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson and actress-host La La Anthony will get ample brownie points with mom this year, as the pair return to VH1 to host “Dear Mama: A Love Letter to Moms.”

The annual special — which in case it is unclear, is to commemorate Mother’s Day — brings back both personalities to help superstars salute their matriarchs. This year’s installment will tape at Downtown L.A.’s Ace Hotel Theater, and air on May 7 at 9 p,m.

Previous guests (and their moms) include Alicia Keys, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Ludacris, DJ Khaled, Kelly Rowland and Maxwell.

Anderson currently stars on and executive produces the hit ABC show “Black-ish,” as well as its spinoff “grown-ish.” He recently won his fourth individual NAACP Image Award in the category of “Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.”

Anthony, from the Starz series “Power,” has produced on Broadway, appeared in numerous films and is a New York Times best-selling author.

“Dear Mama: A Love Letter to Moms” is produced by Flavor Unit and Jesse Collins Entertainment. Shakim Compere, Queen Latifah, Jesse Collins, and Jeannae Rouzan-Clay are executive producers.

Amy Doyle, Garrett English, Elena Diaz and Andria Parides are producing for VH1, with Joe Buoye as head of production.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Black-ish' Stars Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross Tease Big Season 3 Changes, 'Evil' Daughter Diane

'Black-ish' Star Anthony Anderson Made Cornbread and BBQ to Nail an Audition (Video)

Why Count Olaf/Neil Patrick Harris, Anthony Anderson and Alec Baldwin Are TV's Social Media MVPs of the Week

'Black-ish' Star Anthony Anderson on Turning Police Brutality Into Comedy, Fears for Obama

Watch Will Smith Go on an Awkward Date With a Robot Who’s Not Having It (Video)

Watch your back, Jada Pinkett Smith: Your husband is taking robots out on dates now. On Thursday, Will Smith published a new video to his YouTube channel in which he and A.I. creation Sophia the Robot don’t exactly hit it off romantically.

The Fresh Prince tries to break the ice with a joke, something Sophia calls “an irrational human behavior.” The Hanson Robotics creation didn’t dig the punchline, nor is she into Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s old hits.

“I heard your songs — not for me,” Sophia said.

She then took a shot at Smith’s 2004 movie “I, Robot.”

Also Read: Jimmy Fallon, Will Smith Perform the ‘History of TV Theme Songs’ – Yes, Including ‘Fresh Prince’ (Video)

Badly misreading the vibe, Smith goes in for a kiss anyway. He’s shut down and placed in the friend zone, which is an actual rigid list in Sophia’s hard drive.

“Yeah, read that wrong,” the “Bright” star admits.

Clearly, no one here is “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” tonight.

Watch the video above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Ultra Music Festival 2018: Will Smith Gives Surprise Performance at Miami Rave (Photos)

Will Smith Parodies Jaden’s ‘Icon’ Video, Proving He’s Just As Dorky As Your Dad

Will Smith Can’t Even Watch Himself on ‘Fresh Prince’ at This Point: ‘It’s Terrible’

Watch your back, Jada Pinkett Smith: Your husband is taking robots out on dates now. On Thursday, Will Smith published a new video to his YouTube channel in which he and A.I. creation Sophia the Robot don’t exactly hit it off romantically.

The Fresh Prince tries to break the ice with a joke, something Sophia calls “an irrational human behavior.” The Hanson Robotics creation didn’t dig the punchline, nor is she into Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s old hits.

“I heard your songs — not for me,” Sophia said.

She then took a shot at Smith’s 2004 movie “I, Robot.”

Badly misreading the vibe, Smith goes in for a kiss anyway. He’s shut down and placed in the friend zone, which is an actual rigid list in Sophia’s hard drive.

“Yeah, read that wrong,” the “Bright” star admits.

Clearly, no one here is “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” tonight.

Watch the video above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Ultra Music Festival 2018: Will Smith Gives Surprise Performance at Miami Rave (Photos)

Will Smith Parodies Jaden's 'Icon' Video, Proving He's Just As Dorky As Your Dad

Will Smith Can't Even Watch Himself on 'Fresh Prince' at This Point: 'It's Terrible'

Darren Aronofsky Views ‘One Strange Rock’ as a Companion Piece to ‘mother!’, Because Maybe There’s Hope for the World Yet

The director made the new NatGeo documentary series about Earth, hosted by Will Smith, at the same time as his controversial drama.

At the same time that Darren Aronofsky was directing an allegory about the ruination of planet Earth, he was producing a TV show about how beautiful and miraculous our world can be.

“‘mother!’ was a very personal project about what’s going on, just trying to hold up a mirror to some of the things that are really out of control,” he told IndieWire at the Television Critics Association winter press tour about “One Strange Rock,” the new documentary series he executive produced for NatGeo. “This is just a very different approach on that very similar subject matter, since they’re both talking about our home. This is more talking about how beautiful our home is, how all the systems work together so beautifully to create this precious thing we call life.”

But the metaphor of “mother!,” which features Jennifer Lawrence’s “house” getting destroyed by the evil of man, still applies to “One Strange Rock,” according to him: “We need that plumbing, we need that electrical work, we need that cable, we need the roof, we need all those systems to be working. Admiring how they all work together is something that’s inspiring; that shows off how beautiful our home is.”

“One Strange Rock,” which premiered Monday, was executive produced by Aronofsky and his frequent collaborator Ari Handel, who co-wrote “The Fountain” and “Noah,” and worked with producer Jane Root to create 10 episodes about the weird little rock we live on.

VFX enhanced Earth view from the International Space Station. (credit: NASA)

Aronofsky and Handel met in college, the first week of their sophomore year at Harvard, and their friendship continued after graduation, when Aronofsky began pursuing a career in film and Handel moved onto receiving a Ph.D. in neuroscience.

“Ari would, to get away from academia, would sort of sit around with us and throw around ideas,” Aronofsky said. “And then I had this idea for ‘The Fountain’ was sort of brewing and I asked Ari if he would want to write it with me, because he was kind of getting over academia after he got his Ph.D.”

Aronofsky continued, “We would just walk around and talk and then it eventually grew into him becoming the president of Protozoa [Aronofsky’s production company] and now we’ve written a bunch of scripts together and produced a bunch of movies together. It’s been a long trip.”

Aronofsky and Handel were brought in by NatGeo to, in Aronofsky’s words, figure out how to make the concept for the series — an in-depth look at Earth as the miracle it can often be, blending many different scientific disciplines for a comprehensive look at our “strange rock” — work both on a visual level as well as a storytelling level.

“It was about trying to connect all of these different teams that were going around the planet with a kind of visual language,” Handel said. “So a manual was created of the types of shots we were looking for, so that all of the different directors and cinematographers that were scattered around the planet would try to make things that were related and connected because we always were about trying to connect how these different systems work.”

The filming on the series extended as far as space, thanks to astronaut Paolo Nespoli, who shot footage on the International Space Station for the show. “I kind of gave him a coaching session on how to photograph up there and how to make it as cinematic as possible,” Aronofsky said.

Another key element was the show’s host — the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith, narrates the series directly to camera, and his “everyman-esque” quality, Aronofsky felt, helps communicate big ideas to the audience. “It’s about figuring out a way to make it more relatable to everyone who is watching,” he said.

Will Smith and Executive Producer Darren Aronofsky during production of "One Strange Rock". (National Geographic/Matt Frost)

The show’s genesis, he noted, came from not science but a human touch, based on the experiences of astronauts who have just returned from space. “Some people call it religious, some people call it spiritual, some people are just filled with awe. There’s terms for it but they all have this experience that connects all the different systems that they understand and scientific information that they understand and this one idea of this interconnectedness. And when they come back to Earth, they’re changed forever,” he said. “We wanted to try and relate that back to the audience — back to everyone watching the show. I think Will was able to kind of capture that energy and kind of relate it back.”

Right now, most documentaries about the current state of our planet have a dark undercurrent to them, thanks to the ever-increasing threat of climate change and other threats. But as mentioned above, the message of “One Strange Rock” is ultimately a hopeful one, which was a deliberate choice for the team, even while in a “mother!” state of mind.

“There’s a lot of work out there right now because of the times we’re in about how scary things are,” Aronofsky said. “We wanted to do something that was filled with hope but also that showed how precious it is, this planet. It was a different way of showing this story, the same story, it’s a very complicated system. We’re very, very blessed by all these things having worked out to allow us to be here to watch our favorite TV shows. And as soon as you look at those systems they’re incredibly miraculous and I think through an understanding of those systems, I think hopefully they will fill us with respect for them.”

Added Handel, “The more you understand how all this stuff works together, it’s awe-inspiring. It’s inspirational. It makes you filled with an admiration. And that feels like hope.”

“One Strange Rock” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NatGeo. 

Ultra Music Festival 2018: Will Smith Gives Surprise Performance at Miami Rave (Photos)

The electronic music world is orbiting around Miami this weekend and even the Fresh Prince wanted in on the action.

Nearly every DJ and key industry player has descended on the 20th annual Ultra Music Festival. Talent ranges from the bankable big guys plastered on L.A. billboards (like Tiesto, who has played 16 of the 20 Ultra festivals), to producers who architect the summer season in Ibiza, to founding generation names like Sasha and Digweed.

On Saturday night, the 155,000 fans made room for one more: Will Smith.

Also Read: Jimmy Fallon, Will Smith Perform the ‘History of TV Theme Songs’ – Yes, Including ‘Fresh Prince’ (Video)

Smith was the first of a few surprise guests to join crossover pop DJ Marshmello on the main stage, emerging from behind the turntables to rap “Welcome to Miami.”

Marshmello and his manager, Moe Shalizi, are acutely tuned in to their fan base and the zeitgeist — so they married two of the dominant pop culture trends of the moment, ’90s nostalgia and hip-hop’s resurgence with Gen-Z. Will Smith is the human embodiment of both.

He’s old enough to be most of the ravers’ dad (the ultimate “Rave Dad”) but no one will accuse him of being a “parent who just doesn’t understand.”

Meet the cousin of Coachella’s Sahara tent: The Carl Cox Resistance MegaStructure

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg’s Net Worth Has Dropped $10 Billion in the Last Week

Beyond Smith’s novelty cameo, Ultra’s performers pilot eight stages that have invaded the waterside Bayfront Park for three day and nights of “oontz oontz” with a side of fireworks, pyro and LED-heavy megastructures (above).

On the opening day alone, The Party Report spotted British producer Hot Since 82 spinning from inside the head of a fire-breathing spider stage.

Nearby, hands-up “big room” producers Hardwell and Armin Van Buuren blinded even the back of the field with the main stage’s lighting towers. Dancing visuals were projected on to Miami’s skyline as synchronized light shows seemed to emanate from within downtown corporate office towers.

At this festival, “backstage” is a yacht docked next to the park. Aboard that yacht, international charisma brand Steve Aoki casually stuck out his hand to introduce himself minutes after unplugging from a sunset main stage performance with Daddy Yankee and Desiigner (below).

Steve Aoki wrapped up his set with Daddy Yankee and Desiigner. (Instagram/SteveAoki)

Also Read: Coachella 2018 Lineup: 15 Surprises and Snubs

“You can’t do Miami without a yacht,” one prominent talent rep told The Party Report.

Beyond tropical trappings, Ultra has a reputation for expanding their fan base’s music diet.

“We’ve always offered a radical view of dance music by incorporating crossover and live performances,” Adam Russakoff, Ultra’s Executive Producer/Talent Buyer, recently told Ocean Drive. “It’s vital to remain unique while still staying within the confines of electronic performances.”

As the first major music festival of the 2018 summer season, artists leverage Ultra to set the table for the year ahead. Similarly for the Ultranauts (read: fans), many of them dedicated festival goers, it’s like opening day. Suddenly, Coachella is only two and a half weeks away.

Accordingly, this dive in to Ultra comes through the lens of a professional Indio enthusiast.

Also Read: Coachella Says No Weed This Year — Even Though It’s Legal in California

Here’s what it’s like on the ground:

What are these Stages? A fire-breathing Spider and the Carl Cox MegaStructure

The aforementioned Arcadia “Spider” stage travels the world as a hybrid art installation and performance space.

The Ultra Worldwide stage is an LED rainbow:

Rezz, a 22-year-old female producer from Canada (below), sounds like Skrillex was her babysitter. She  rocked under the arch on Friday night (March 23).

Rezz mixed up her chunky “wub wub” sound by sprinkling in some Rage Against the Machine with “Killing in the Name” ranking as highlight (above). She’s on the bill in Indio and one to watch at Coachella.

Also Read: Bill Hader’s 12 Best Characters Ranked, From Stefon to Vincent Price (Photos)

Finally, festival Uber & Lyft that actually works

Kudos to festival founder Russell Faibisch. He and his team solved the scarce Lyft and Uber problem that plagues Coachella, EDC and other festival fans at the end of a long day. Here, both services had multiple “flaggers” and people holding signs directing thousands of departing people toward an expedited valet system.

Rides are not an issue at the “walk-on, walk-off” grounds of Lollapalooza in downtown Chicago, but here in Miami with only a fraction of the space that Coachella has to work with in the desert, the lots were nearby and efficient. The show ended at midnight. At 12:04 a.m., The Party Report was in a Lyft.

Ultra breaks news (Part 1)

Fliers handed out on site announced the festival’s 2019 dates, an early warning shot for many of the international attendees. Earlier in the week, Ultra announced that it had acquired Winter Music Conference, the once-prominent electronic and DJ industry conference that used to be the main event in Miami every March.

From Ultra’s 1999 origin on South Beach as a sideshow that used to accompany a professional conference, Ultra has grown enormously. For the past several years, it was the tail that wags the Winter Music Conference dog. No more. This week, it ate the dog.

Ultra break news (Part 2): A Swedish house mafia reunion?

Axwell Ingrosso close out night one of Ultra on Friday, Mar. 23. (Facebook Axwell Ingrosso)

The festival is known for nurturing “moments.” Justin Bieber’s comeback began here in 2015 with a surprise appearance with Diplo and Skrillex to reveal “Where Are Ü Now?” for the first time. Madonna once turned up, made a bad joke and caught the wrath of Deadmau5.

Also Read: Madonna Set to Direct Ballerina Film ‘Taking Flight’

The big 2018 rumor was a reunion by EDM super group Swedish House Mafia, which broke up after a final performance at this same festival five years ago. Two of the three, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso, have gone on to pump out new hits like “On My Way” and “Dreamer” and tour the festival and nightlife circuit.

With about 15 minutes left in their Friday night headlining set, Axwell Λ Ingrosso teased the audience by playing Swedish House Mafia’s final single, “Don’t You Worry Child,” but that’s as far as the reunion went…for now.

The listed set times included an intentionally blurred name as the final performance on Sunday night, heavily tipped to be this reunion. In a festival known for “moments,” that would be the headline.

Others are less impressed.

“So, in other words, (estranged third member) Steve Angello walks on stage to play the same songs they have all played for years and years,” Reddit user LA90036 snarked online.

Also Read: Corden Tells Kim Kardashian Who Is His Least-Favorite Jenner: ‘F– Her, She’s the Worst’ (Video)

This is a Jenner-free zone

Though Bayfront Park in downtown Miami is more densely packed than Lollapalooza’s footprint in Chicago, there’s less urgency in Ultra’s crowd. While one disinterested local professional slugged Ultra-goers as “freakazoids” and a Miami public relations executive sighed “Ugh. Why?” when I told her that I was going to the festival, there’s only a fraction of the selfie narcissism that runs through Coachella.

The phones come out, but in a more healthy “back camera” to “front-facing camera” ratio. Shooting the stages and performers seemed at least as important as snapping yourself.

Bonus: There were no Jenners, Kardashians, or flower crowns spotted. Glitter, sequins, and Will Smith? Those are unavoidable.

The 20th Ultra Music Festival continues through Sunday night, Mar. 25 and is livestreaming on UMF TV on YouTube.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Neon Carnival 2018: Creator Brent Bolthouse Reveals New Location, Details (Exclusive)

Coachella 2018 Lineup: 15 Surprises and Snubs

Calvin Harris, Zedd Christen Cabo’s Omnia Dayclub in Mexico (Photos)

The electronic music world is orbiting around Miami this weekend and even the Fresh Prince wanted in on the action.

Nearly every DJ and key industry player has descended on the 20th annual Ultra Music Festival. Talent ranges from the bankable big guys plastered on L.A. billboards (like Tiesto, who has played 16 of the 20 Ultra festivals), to producers who architect the summer season in Ibiza, to founding generation names like Sasha and Digweed.

On Saturday night, the 155,000 fans made room for one more: Will Smith.

Smith was the first of a few surprise guests to join crossover pop DJ Marshmello on the main stage, emerging from behind the turntables to rap “Welcome to Miami.”

Marshmello and his manager, Moe Shalizi, are acutely tuned in to their fan base and the zeitgeist — so they married two of the dominant pop culture trends of the moment, ’90s nostalgia and hip-hop’s resurgence with Gen-Z. Will Smith is the human embodiment of both.

He’s old enough to be most of the ravers’ dad (the ultimate “Rave Dad”) but no one will accuse him of being a “parent who just doesn’t understand.”

Meet the cousin of Coachella’s Sahara tent: The Carl Cox Resistance MegaStructure

Beyond Smith’s novelty cameo, Ultra’s performers pilot eight stages that have invaded the waterside Bayfront Park for three day and nights of “oontz oontz” with a side of fireworks, pyro and LED-heavy megastructures (above).

On the opening day alone, The Party Report spotted British producer Hot Since 82 spinning from inside the head of a fire-breathing spider stage.

Nearby, hands-up “big room” producers Hardwell and Armin Van Buuren blinded even the back of the field with the main stage’s lighting towers. Dancing visuals were projected on to Miami’s skyline as synchronized light shows seemed to emanate from within downtown corporate office towers.

At this festival, “backstage” is a yacht docked next to the park. Aboard that yacht, international charisma brand Steve Aoki casually stuck out his hand to introduce himself minutes after unplugging from a sunset main stage performance with Daddy Yankee and Desiigner (below).

Steve Aoki wrapped up his set with Daddy Yankee and Desiigner. (Instagram/SteveAoki)

“You can’t do Miami without a yacht,” one prominent talent rep told The Party Report.

Beyond tropical trappings, Ultra has a reputation for expanding their fan base’s music diet.

“We’ve always offered a radical view of dance music by incorporating crossover and live performances,” Adam Russakoff, Ultra’s Executive Producer/Talent Buyer, recently told Ocean Drive. “It’s vital to remain unique while still staying within the confines of electronic performances.”

As the first major music festival of the 2018 summer season, artists leverage Ultra to set the table for the year ahead. Similarly for the Ultranauts (read: fans), many of them dedicated festival goers, it’s like opening day. Suddenly, Coachella is only two and a half weeks away.

Accordingly, this dive in to Ultra comes through the lens of a professional Indio enthusiast.

Here’s what it’s like on the ground:

What are these Stages? A fire-breathing Spider and the Carl Cox MegaStructure

The aforementioned Arcadia “Spider” stage travels the world as a hybrid art installation and performance space.

The Ultra Worldwide stage is an LED rainbow:

Rezz, a 22-year-old female producer from Canada (below), sounds like Skrillex was her babysitter. She  rocked under the arch on Friday night (March 23).

Rezz mixed up her chunky “wub wub” sound by sprinkling in some Rage Against the Machine with “Killing in the Name” ranking as highlight (above). She’s on the bill in Indio and one to watch at Coachella.

Finally, festival Uber & Lyft that actually works

Kudos to festival founder Russell Faibisch. He and his team solved the scarce Lyft and Uber problem that plagues Coachella, EDC and other festival fans at the end of a long day. Here, both services had multiple “flaggers” and people holding signs directing thousands of departing people toward an expedited valet system.

Rides are not an issue at the “walk-on, walk-off” grounds of Lollapalooza in downtown Chicago, but here in Miami with only a fraction of the space that Coachella has to work with in the desert, the lots were nearby and efficient. The show ended at midnight. At 12:04 a.m., The Party Report was in a Lyft.

Ultra breaks news (Part 1)

Fliers handed out on site announced the festival’s 2019 dates, an early warning shot for many of the international attendees. Earlier in the week, Ultra announced that it had acquired Winter Music Conference, the once-prominent electronic and DJ industry conference that used to be the main event in Miami every March.

From Ultra’s 1999 origin on South Beach as a sideshow that used to accompany a professional conference, Ultra has grown enormously. For the past several years, it was the tail that wags the Winter Music Conference dog. No more. This week, it ate the dog.

Ultra break news (Part 2): A Swedish house mafia reunion?

Axwell Ingrosso close out night one of Ultra on Friday, Mar. 23. (Facebook Axwell Ingrosso)

The festival is known for nurturing “moments.” Justin Bieber’s comeback began here in 2015 with a surprise appearance with Diplo and Skrillex to reveal “Where Are Ü Now?” for the first time. Madonna once turned up, made a bad joke and caught the wrath of Deadmau5.

The big 2018 rumor was a reunion by EDM super group Swedish House Mafia, which broke up after a final performance at this same festival five years ago. Two of the three, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso, have gone on to pump out new hits like “On My Way” and “Dreamer” and tour the festival and nightlife circuit.

With about 15 minutes left in their Friday night headlining set, Axwell Λ Ingrosso teased the audience by playing Swedish House Mafia’s final single, “Don’t You Worry Child,” but that’s as far as the reunion went…for now.

The listed set times included an intentionally blurred name as the final performance on Sunday night, heavily tipped to be this reunion. In a festival known for “moments,” that would be the headline.

Others are less impressed.

“So, in other words, (estranged third member) Steve Angello walks on stage to play the same songs they have all played for years and years,” Reddit user LA90036 snarked online.

This is a Jenner-free zone

Though Bayfront Park in downtown Miami is more densely packed than Lollapalooza’s footprint in Chicago, there’s less urgency in Ultra’s crowd. While one disinterested local professional slugged Ultra-goers as “freakazoids” and a Miami public relations executive sighed “Ugh. Why?” when I told her that I was going to the festival, there’s only a fraction of the selfie narcissism that runs through Coachella.

The phones come out, but in a more healthy “back camera” to “front-facing camera” ratio. Shooting the stages and performers seemed at least as important as snapping yourself.

Bonus: There were no Jenners, Kardashians, or flower crowns spotted. Glitter, sequins, and Will Smith? Those are unavoidable.

The 20th Ultra Music Festival continues through Sunday night, Mar. 25 and is livestreaming on UMF TV on YouTube.

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