10 things in tech you need to know today

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Good morning! Here is the tech news you need to know this Friday.

1. Amazon’s earning report for the second quarter shows that the company fell short of Wall Street’s expectations, despite higher-than-expected revenue of $38 billion (£29 billion), as opposed to the expected $37.2 billion (£28.4 billion). The firm’s rapidly rising expenses brought its operating income down 51% from the same period last year to $628 million (£480 million).

2. Apple is officially killing the iPod nano and the iPod shuffle. The company refreshed its iPod lineup on Thursday, and cut out the only two models that don’t run on the iOS operating system.

3. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos officially became the richest person on the planet, surpassing Bill Gates. His personal net worth is now estimated to be around $90 billion (£68 billion).

4. Twitter’s report for its second quarter earnings mentioned that the company added zero new users over the last three months, and the stock fell 10% as a result. The company managed to beat Wall Street’s expectations in terms of revenue, however, with $574 million (£438 million) versus an expected $537 million (£410 million).

5. The state of Wisconsin offered Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn about $3 billion (£2.3 billion) in subsidies to build a factory there. The company itself plans to add another $10 billion (£7.6 billion) on top of that taxpayers’ money, with the aim to create 13,000 new jobs.

6. Amazon plans to keep its Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go services after it completes the $13.7 billion (£10.4 billion) acquisition of Whole Foods. The company still wants to experiment and offer its customers a number of choices to figure out the best way they want to shop for groceries, as it believes “there will be no one solution.”

7. Google is buying a number of properties in Silicon Valley, with an overall expenditure of about $820 million (£626 million). The company said that it now has more than 72,000 employees, and is looking to expand in the Sunnyvale, California area to branch out from its main Mountain View campus.

8. Dropbox is getting closer to its initial public offering, and is working with financial giant Goldman Sachs on the papers to bring it on as a lead adviser. The file-hosting service was last valued in 2014 at $10 billion (£7.6 billion).

9. HPE CEO Megan Whitman publicly pulled herself out of the list of potential Uber CEO replacements, shooting down speculation that emerged in recent days. The businesswoman reinstated her commitment towards HPE, claiming that she is “not going anywhere.”

10. Facebook unveiled version 2.1 of its Messenger app, which now includes support for built-in natural language processing (NLP) as well as a payment SDK. In chats between customers and brands or businesses, the NLP tool will automatically detect the context of a message and pass it along to a bot, which in turn will give the end user tailored, automatic responses.

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/10-things-in-tech-you-need-to-know-today-july-28-2017-7

Early reviews of ‘The Emoji Movie’ are tearing the film apart — and people are loving the hate

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The INSIDER Summary:

  • Early reviews for “The Emoji Movie” in, none of them are positive.
  • Despite being packed with stars — Sofia Vergara, Patrick Stewart, and T.J. Miller — critics are finding it uninspiring. 
  • Fans are going after the movie’s star, T.J. Miller, after he championed the movie in multiple interviews.

Early reviews for Sony’s new animated movie “The Emoji Movie” are starting to hit the web. And, hoo boy, they’re bad. With 18 reviews cataloged on Rotten Tomatoes as of this posting, the movie has a score of 0%.

That means zero critics gave the film a positive review. The “average rating” of the movie is also 1.9/10. 

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“The Emoji Movie” is about an emoji named Gene (voiced by T.J. Miller) who has multiple expressions and, living in the city of Textopolis, goes on to find his identity. Critics found it uninspiring. “This movie’s ‘believe in yourself’ message is borne out, in a perverse way, by the very fact that it even exists,” wrote The New York Times. “‘The Emoji Movie’ is [like] a severely debased ‘Inside Out’ that takes place inside of a smartphone,” wrote The AV Club.

The movie’s voice cast is filled with stars — Sofía Vergara, Patrick Stewart, and Maya Rudolph are just a few of the people involved — but Miller in particular has been championing the film. In several interviews after leaving “Silicon Valley,” he said he wanted more time to work on movies like it.

“I would love to do ‘The Emoji Movie’ and things like that and have the time to develop animated features,” he told Entertainment Weekly.

But Miller’s abrasive attitude — he told Vulture that women aren’t funny because they’ve been “taught to suppress their sense of humor during their formative years” — have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. And now they’re relishing in his failure.

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“The Emoji Movie” is in theaters July 28.

SEE ALSO: The long, tortured history of Daniel Craig not wanting to play James Bond — and then doing it anyway

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/emoji-movie-early-reviews-2017-7

Viacom walked away from a potential $11 billion bid for Scripps — here are the companies it’d be better off buying

  • rachael rayViacom is unlikely to buy Scripps Networks, and that’s a good thing.
  • The beleaguered cable company needs to make a transformative, digital-centric move.
  • The MTV-owner could instead steer billions toward companies like BuzzFeed, Spotify or even Roku.

Up until late Wednesday it looked as though Viacom was very serious about acquiring Scripps Networks, which is valued at upwards of $11 billion. But now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Viacom is out of the Scripps sweepstakes, leaving Discovery Communications alone in the bidding.

That’s a good thing for Viacom, because there are so many other things it could buy with that kind of money that have the potential to transform its business.

Reuters had been reporting that Viacom, which owns networks like MTV and Comedy Central, was willing to pay cash for Scripps, owner of networks like Food Network and HGTV. Putting aside whether a company saddled with loads of debt should be spending anywhere near that kind of money, the logic was as follows:

  • A Scripps/Viacom combo would help the entity negotiate with cable distributors like Comcast to make sure it gets distribution and good rates for its channels. Cable companies like Comcast pay networks like MTV a few bucks to carry them. Power players like ESPN can pull in over $9 per sub.
  • Plus, the portfolio of networks in a Scripps/Viacom buffet would make the company a must buy with advertisers, as WSJ noted.

In other words, Viacom was looking at Scripps as a way to shore up that sweet dual revenue cable model.

Here’s the thing. Why double down on a business that is getting hit on two fronts? People are cutting the cord at an accelerated pace. And they are not watching live ad-supported TV at the level they used to. 

Owning a bunch more cable channels than you used to isn’t going to change either trend.

Bob BakishViacom CEO Bob Bakish has been credited with unveiling a very disciplined strategy earlier this year when he announced that Viacom would focus it’s energies on just six core channels, rather than a few dozen. Sounds very reasonable. But boil it down, and the plan he laid out was basically, “we’re going to focus on linear TV, just not as much of it.”

That’s coming at a time when Viacom’s youth-oriented network like Nickelodeon and MTV are feeling the pain of consumer media habits shifting more than others. It’s unlikely that hoping for the next “Jersey Shore”-sized hit is going to change that. And yes, adding networks like HGTV to the mix bring an attractive audience. But you could argue that the kind of programming that Scripps networks specializes in, such as instructional food shows and DIY project shows, are the kind that easily get dropped from the average TV binger’s diet.

Plus, as Recode’s Ed Lee noted, that content of content is all over the web for free.

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Thus, Viacom doesn’t need to expand its fading cable empire. It needs to prep itself for the coming digital war. There are so many ways it could jumpstart such an effort with $11 billion, or far less. Such as:

1) Buy BuzzFeed. Reports are that the BuzzFeed turned down Disney a few years ago. And since then NBCUniversal has invested in the digital media company, so this may not be a realistic option. But its worth a discussion. In the near term, BuzzFeed’s not nearly as lucrative as Scripps, but the company has a connection with a new generation of consumers and has shown a remarkable ability to launch new brands like Tasty seemingly overnight. Exactly the kinds of things Viacom should be doing.

2) Buy Spotify. This was BTIG Research media analyst Rich Greenfield’s suggestion to Business Insider. That would give Viacom a direct-to-consumer subscription business that is music based. “That’s the perfect fit,” he said. There is the matter of Spotify’s $13 billion valuation and pending IPO. But if you’re going to splurge …

3) Buy a bunch of digital media companies. Everyone in digital media is pivoting to video and wondering about consolidation and where to go next. That seems like the right conditions for a shopping spree. What would it cost for Viacom to snatch up Pop Sugar, Mic, Defy Media or Tastemade? Surely not $11 billion. You could maybe even collect all four. Throw in Cheddar for good measure.

None of these would solve the ratings or distribution challenges. But it would help get the company started on how to program and connect with the mobile-centric generation that is key to Viacom’s future.

Pop Sugar4) Disrupt yourself. There’s been lots of talk of Viacom joining forces with other cable companies to explore a cheaper, skinnier bundle for non sports fans. Do that! But in the meantime, why not launch your own direct to consumer Nickelodeon? You could call it Nickelodeon Go. That might annoy some of your distribution partners. But Viacom is already at odds with some of them. Otherwise, they’re conceding this arena to Google, which has YouTube Kids. People will pay for Paw Patrol.

spongebob squarepants nickelodeon ad 5) Incubate you’re own newbie brands.

Look at what CNN has done with its feel good social video brand Great Big Story, which was born on Facebook and is now aspiring to become an “over the top” cable net. That’s only cost CNN $40 million! Where’s Viacom’s version of that?

6) Pull an Otter. As part of a joint venture known as Otter Media, AT&T has invested in digital video brands like Fullscreen and Crunchyroll, fostering their growth without having to run them or own them outright. Now the New York Post says Otter could be worth $1 billion. Seems like there’s a playbook to follow here for Viacom.

7) Pull an Axel Springer. Similarly, the German media giant has invested in a slew of early stage US digital content companies, like Thrillist, NowThis and Mic. The dual benefit is that the company’s traditional media businesses theoretically get to learn from the newer contenders, and if one hits it big, Axel gets a payoff. And who knows, if you like one, you can buy the whole thing (see Insider, Business).

8) Plunge into ad tech. This would be a major curveball. But one thing Viacom is credited with is being ahead of the pack in terms of data-driven TV ad targeting. What if the company purchased video ad tech players like Innovid or Videology and try to become the industry leader if and when TV ads are delivered dynamically to TV sets and mobile devices much like targeted web ads?

xfinity tv app roku9) Buy Roku. Another left turn. But Roku is actually trending ahead of Google’s Chromecast and Apple TV in terms of the devices people use to stream content on TV, according to eMarketer. The company is talking about a billion dollar IPO. What if Viacom could take advantage of Roku’s real estate (the interface many use to navigate their TVs) and also the ads that Roku delivers to many TV apps?

10) Buy Snapchat. Or sell to Snapchat. Neither will probably work. But hey.

11) Sell to Google or Amazon. We all will someday.

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/heres-all-the-things-viacom-could-buy-for-11-billion-2017-7

The 19 most heated celebrity feuds of all time

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Celebrity rivalries are as much a part of Hollywood as red carpets and the Oscars.

The late night feud between David Letterman and Jay Leno lasted for years. There were Katherine Heigl’s diva antics with her “Grey’s Anatomy” coworkers. Then, of course, there was an epic chicken grease fight between Sylvester Stallone and Richard Gere that came to blows. 

Whether it’s backstabbing, man-stealing, or social-media hating, some of the squabbles between these stars have been explosive and very public.

Here’s a look at the 20 most heated celebrity feuds of all time.

SEE ALSO: The 7 hottest celebrity girl squads right now

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Paris Hilton vs. Nicole Richie

Childhood best friends Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie dominated reality TV when they both starred together on Fox’s “The Simple Life” in 2003. But at the height of their fame, the two were suddenly at war.

“It’s no big secret that Nicole and I are no longer friends,” Hilton said in a statement to press in April 2005. “Nicole knows what she did and that’s all I’m ever going to say about it.”

According to People Magazine, Richie was jealous of the attention Hilton was getting from the media, angry that she wasn’t invited to some of Hilton’s events, and that she wasn’t included in Hilton’s appearance on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in February 2005. So Richie reportedly had a party to celebrate Hilton’s appearance on the sketch show, followed by a screening of Hilton’s notorious 2003 sex tape.  

“Paris was very hurt,” said People’s source. “She loves Nicole, but believes she is owed an apology.” 

Since then, the two have made up and even filmed two more seasons of “The Simple Life.” Richie told Andy Cohen on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” in 2014 that even though she and Hilton don’t talk everyday, she considers her one of her very good friends. 

“The short answer is I haven’t spoken to her in awhile,” Richie said. “But we are very good friends and I love her and love her family and have a lot of respect for her.”

Sylvester Stallone vs. Richard Gere

Sylvester Stallone and Richard Gere were set to star together in the 1974 film “The Lords of Flatbush” until the two didn’t get along on-set. Gere’s role would later be re-cast. 

“We never hit it off,” Sylvester said in 2006. “He would strut around in his oversized motorcycle jacket like he was the baddest knight at the round table.”

The drama would get increasingly messy – literally. The two actors apparently also got into a physical fight over spilled chicken grease. 

“I was eating a hot dog and [Richard] climbs in with a half a chicken covered in mustard with grease nearly dripping out of the aluminum wrapper,” Sylvester said in the same interview. “I said, ‘That thing is going to drip all over the place.’ He said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ I said, ‘If it gets on my pants. you’re gonna know about it.’ He proceeds to bite into the chicken and a small, greasy river of mustard lands on my thigh. I elbowed him in the side of the head and basically pushed him out of the car.”

Martha Stewart vs. Gwyneth Paltrow

These lifestyle gurus have been going at it ever since 2014. It all started when Martha Stewart slammed Gwyneth Paltrow for starting her own lifestyle business, Goop.

“She’s a movie star. If she were confident in her acting, she wouldn’t be trying to be Martha Stewart,” she told Porter magazine.

The drama didn’t seem to slow down when Stewart posted a pie recipe called “conscious coupling,” which was featured in Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine shortly after Paltrow filed for divorce from Chris Martin, calling the break a “conscious uncoupling.” A month later, Paltrow posted a similar recipe for “jailbird cake,”  presumably mocking Stewart’s time spent in prison back in 2004 for fraud charges. 

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/19-best-celebrity-feuds-of-all-time-2017-7

REVIEW: Charlize Theron is great, but the rest of ‘Atomic Blonde’ is brutally bad

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Charlize Theron is transforming into a fully fledged action star. With “Monster,” she played a gritty serial killer. In “Mad Max: Fury Road,” she ruled a dystopian desert. And now in “Atomic Blonde,” she plays a kick-ass MI6 spy in Berlin during the Cold War.

Why should you care: Charlize Theron kicks ass.

As MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton, Theron fulfills her long-held desire to play a woman who beats other people up. She worked with what seemed like the perfect director for the project, too: David Leitch co-directed “John Wick,” where Keanu Reeves played a hitman forcibly taken out of retirement so he could beat hundreds of people up. “John Wick” is one of the best action movies in recent memory (his co-director, Chad Stahelski, went on to direct the sequel, also released this year), and Leitch pulled off some incredible fight scenes.

The movie also has a great performance from James McAvoy, who plays another wild card agent in Berlin. Between “Atomic Blonde” and “Split” this year, McAvoy is picking up eccentric roles and knocking them all out of the park. Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, and the always-welcome John Goodman are also great in the film.

What’s hot: The fight scenes.

Some of the action set pieces in “Atomic Blonde” are marvels, particularly one sequence that runs through several buildings and down several streets in what’s meant to look like a single unbroken shot. Stahelski recreates the same kinetic energy from “John Wick.” Bones crack, faces bruise, and Theron is game for it all.

What’s not: The violence quickly grows joyless, and the story is so dumb that it gets confusing.

The movie is adapted from a well-regarded graphic novel, “The Coldest City,” but the plot is entirely unconvincing. About 20 minutes into the movie, it becomes obvious to the audience that one of the key characters isn’t who they seem. But Theron’s character doesn’t realize it until the end of the movie. It’s confusing, because she’s supposed to be a brilliant MI6 agent, and annoying because she keeps getting into fight just because she missed this obvious “twist.” There’s also a totally unnecessary coda at the end that adds nothing of importance to the story.

The movie’s violence is intense, and it shows. Theron isn’t an invincible super spy like James Bond. When she gets punched, she bleeds and bruises. But watching Charlize Theron get punched in the face a dozen times and suffer for it isn’t fun. And because the scenes are so ambitious (at one point she rappels down the face of an apartment building with a fire hose), the movie isn’t persuasively trying to be realistic.

There’s also an underbaked subplot where Theron’s character has a romance with Sofia Boutella, who plays a young French spy out of her element. It’s more exploitative than empowering.

The bottom-line: Skip it unless you’re a hardcore action fan.

Theron is great as always. But the movie around her… not so much. “Atomic Blonde” is worth a watch if you want to see Theron rollicking around Berlin and kicking down burly men, but expect a lot of graphic violence and don’t expect the plot to stand to scrutiny.

For the most part, “Atomic Blonde” is an unpleasant movie that only narrowly achieves its goal of portraying Theron as an action hero. You’re better off re-watching “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “John Wick.”

Grade:

C-

“Atomic Blonde” hits theaters on Friday.

SEE ALSO: How Charlize Theron got ripped to play a badass MI6 spy in her new movie ‘Atomic Blonde’

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/atomic-blonde-movie-review-charlize-theron-2017-7

THE BOTTOM LINE: Google’s earnings overreaction and the raging debate over AI

This week:

  • Alphabet, the parent company of Google, reported earnings this week. Despite beating on both revenue and profit, its stock dropped the most this year because of mounting traffic acquisition costs. Alphabet didn’t shy away from this fact on the subsequent analyst call, stressing that it’s more focused on increasing profit, rather than margins. The large stock move is indicative of the broader market, which is seeing bigger price swings on earnings reports, particularly in tech.
  • Sonu Kalra, a portfolio manager with Fidelity’s Blue Chip Growth Fund, spoke to Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget about Alphabet, saying that the company is “at the heart of a lot of positive trends” and still has a “very strong” long-term outlook. He also predicts that its push into artificial intelligence (AI) could add $50-100 billion of market cap. 
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are waging a public debate over the merits of AI. Musk has said in the past that AI could be potentially very damaging to humans, and Zuckerberg recently called such doomsday predictions “irresponsible.” Musk responded on Twitter, calling Zuckerberg’s understanding of AI “limited.” There is, however, one thing they’re able to agree on: it will affect income and the labor market. 
  • Gene Munster, founding partner of Loup Ventures and former star Apple analyst at Piper Jaffary, discusses Alphabet’s second-quarter earnings report. He talks about how the expected slowdown in Alphabet revenue still hasn’t materialized, and says the company has “a lot of good things going on,” including a push into AI. Munster says the sharp downward move on Alphabet’s earnings was a “short-sighted” reaction, and calls the company “the oxygen of the Internet.” He also aligns with Mark Zuckerberg when it comes to the raging AI debate. Munster then breaks down his favorite growth story: Tesla, which he thinks will exceed expectations. He also talks his old favorite, Apple.

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/the-bottom-line-google-alphabet-earnings-reaction-zuckerberg-musk-gene-munster-2017-7

I put $600 into a roboadviser invented by a 25-year old Stanford grad and I’m beating the market — so far

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Do-it-yourself investing can be scary for a lot of people, especially young wanna-be investors.

The financial markets are complicated and so most people prefer to give their money to someone else to manage.

When Brian Barnes graduated from Stanford in 2012, he had a hard time finding a tool with which he could invest in the stock market on his own. This prompted him to start his own online brokerage site, M1 Finance, at 25 years old.

“What I was trying to do seemed relatively basic,” Barnes penned in a recent post on M1’s site. “I wanted to be able to pick my investments, and have recurring deposits automatically added to those allocations.”

And that’s exactly what M1, which has $60 million under management, allows users to do. M1 users can pick the stocks they want to invest in and then they can determine what percentage of their portfolio they want each position to make up. M1 automatically updates as you put in more money and as stock prices fluctuate to maintain your preferred portfolio allocation. So if you want Apple to make up 25% of your portfolio, M1 will balance your portfolio as such. That means you can’t buy one Apple share, or one Amazon share. It’s all about the portfolio.  

Unlike most brokerage sites, M1 doesn’t charge a fee for users to buy a stock. It does, however, charge users an annual percentage-based fee on their assets.

Last Monday, I opened up an M1 account to try my hand at the markets. Business Insider rules prohibit trading in and out of securities, and I plan to hold these investments for the long term.

Here’s what it’s like to have an M1 account based off of my experience. 

This is what the M1 Finance icon looks like on an iPhone.

Before you fund your account on M1 you can start building a “pie.” Clicking the turquoise plus sign allows you to add up to 100 “slices” to your pie. Slices can range from stocks, ETFs, or M1’s pre-built pies.

Using the Discover feature you can find the slices you want for your pie.

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/m1-finance-roboadviser-2017-7

These smartglasses could replace your desktop computer — here’s what they’re like

Tech startup Meta has created smartglasses that could replace your computer and make your workspace fully customizable. The glasses allow you to create monitors, games, and even musical instruments out of thin air.

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/meta-augmented-reality-smartglasses-interactive-holograms-replace-computers-2017-7

Facebook totally dominates the list of most popular social media apps (FB)

The good times keep on rolling for Facebook, as the tech giant on Wednesday reported another stellar quarter.

Thirteen years into its existence, the company is as dominant as ever. As this chart from Statista shows, Facebook runs four of the five most used social network and messaging services in the world. And it’s not really that close.

That Facebook rules over these specific types of apps is significant, because social media platforms are particularly powerful for advertisers that want to target people’s interests as precisely as possible. Not surprisingly, putting ads in front of those billions of eyes is how Facebook makes nearly all of its money.

The company has been warning that its revenue is set to slow down later this year, largely because it’s run out of room to put ads in the main Facebook app’s News Feed. The company is now looking to bulk up its advertising power in those other platforms, with Messenger the particular apple of Mark Zuckerberg’s eye.

Since those platforms are so huge, Facebook is already positioned to do well. And for advertisers looking to reach the broadest audience, the alternatives are look underwhelming.

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/facebook-dominates-most-popular-social-media-apps-chart-2017-7

There’s a funny debate about whether the screenwriter for Steven Soderbergh’s new movie is a real person

Logan Lucky Bleecker Street2

Steven Soderbergh has always enjoyed messing with Hollywood conventions, and this latest mischief might be his best yet.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the auteur — who enjoys using his father’s name for some of his cinematography credits (Peter Andrews), and his mother’s for editing (Mary Ann Bernard) — may have came up with a new one for the screenwriting credit for his upcoming movie, “Logan Lucky.”

The movie, which opens August 18 and marks Soderbergh’s first time directing a feature after a four-year retirement, has the name Rebecca Blunt as the screenwriting credit. This is her first credit of any kind, according to IMDb.

But THR has suspicions, and says Blunt might not exist, suggesting either Soderbergh, his wife Jules Asner, or former E! “Talk Soup” host John Henson really wrote the script.  

Honestly, each theory is as ridiculously fantastic as the next, and it becomes more plausible that a “Rebecca Blunt” doesn’t exist when you do a little digging. For a screenwriter who has written a script that caught Soderbergh’s attention, and has critics raving (the movie has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), she has no representation at all (according to IMDb Pro). Typically, buzz about the script and her talents would have already swirled around Hollywood, and she would have nabbed an agent or manager by now. 

According to the THR story, Blunt never visited the set, though cast members Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Daniel Craig are said to have had email exchanges with her from the UK, where they believed she lives.

One source believes Asner, a former E! News host and author of a 2008 novel titled “Whacked,” penned the script. Another told the trade it’s Soderbergh himself, though it’s unclear why he would he use a pseudonym for the screenwriting credit, when he used his name for the cinematography and editor credits on “Logan Lucky.” Yet another believes it’s Henson, as he’s a friend of Asner’s and, according to THR, worked on a screenplay with Soderbergh years ago that’s similar to “Logan Lucky.”

Entertainment Weekly recently interviewed Soderbergh and brought up the THR story.

Steven Soderbergh Jules Asner Ben Gabbe Getty“Well, that’s going to be news to Rebecca Blunt,” he said. “When people make a statement like that they should be very careful, especially when it’s a woman screenwriter who is having her first screenplay produced.” 

He went on to add: “Why are you going after her? She’s interviewed in the press kit. I happen to know that she’s working on something and that she’s on a deadline. She doesn’t want to do any press until after the movie opens. Isn’t she allowed to do that?”

So that brings us to the press kit. Yes, Blunt is mentioned and quoted in the press notes. According to the notes, Blunt is a friend of Asner, who passed the script to Soderbergh. Though the THR story references she might live in the UK, the notes say she grew up in West Virginia and now lives in New York City. 

“Logan Lucky” is set around two brothers, played by Channing Tatum and Adam Driver, who live in West Virginia and plot to pull a heist across the line in North Carolina at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The notes also say Blunt is friends with Tatum.

“Chan’s from a small southern town, I believe he won a football scholarship to play in Florida but ended up blowing out his knee before the season started, so he became a stripper,” Blunt is quoted in the notes. “I thought of ‘Logan Lucky’ as, ‘What if Chan hadn’t become a male stripper and had gone back home?’ I ran into Chan and his partner Reid [Carolin] at a bowling alley and mentioned the the idea to them — at the time I called it ‘Hillbilly Heist’ — and Chan said, ‘That sounds great!’ I don’t know if he even remembers saying that and I never imagined all of this would really happen.”

In the press notes biography for Blunt, along with stating she was raised in Logan, West Virginia, and now lives in New York City, it also includes this gem: that in researching on the internet the explosive device the characters used in the movie to rob the speedway, she was informed her TSA PRE status was permanently revoked.

Soderbergh has admitted on numerous occassions that he has embellished certain things about his movies in the past while promoting them, so it’s possible this is all a hoax. And that’s what many will think until the real Rebecca Blunt stands up. 

Business Insider contacted the movie’s distributor, Bleecker Street, and the representation for John Henson but did not get an immediate response (representation for Jules Asner could not be found).   

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/logan-lucky-screenwriter-might-not-exist-2017-7