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“黑寡妇”起诉迪士尼,好莱坞将因此改变

“黑寡妇”起诉迪士尼,好莱坞将因此改变

Dan Reilly 2021年09月08日
好莱坞的经纪人、经理和律师们对这件事情都十分关注。

照片来源:PHOTO BY AMY SUSSMAN/GETTY IMAGES

斯嘉丽·约翰逊不是第一位因为自己的电影在视频网站和大银幕同步上映而抱怨赔钱的明星,但她是第一个采取法律行动的人。在旗下拥有Disney+和HBOMax等视频网站的电影公司与明星之间达成某种妥协、让所有人都能够赚到钱之前,约翰逊也不会是最后一个有此遭遇的人。

让我们快速回顾一下事情始末,约翰逊起诉了迪士尼(Disney),称她的漫威(Marvel)单人电影《黑寡妇》(Black Widow)原本应该在院线上映一段时间后才在线上播出,最终对方却违反了承诺。她出演该片的片酬预付款是2000万美元,如果电影达到了一定票房,就可以拿到一系列奖金。但就在这部电影在影院上映的同一天,漫威的母公司迪士尼在旗下的视频网站以30美元的单价上线了该影片。约翰逊称,这种做法导致她损失了高达5000万美元的奖金。

迪士尼回击称,这场诉讼“令人伤感而沮丧,因为它完全漠视了新冠肺炎疫情给全球带来的可怕而长久的影响”。他们还说:“迪士尼完全遵守了与约翰逊的合同,不仅如此,《黑寡妇》在Disney+上以Premier Access的方式上映,还极大地提高了她在2000万美元基础上获得额外奖金的能力。”

根据约翰逊的律师从漫威首席法律顾问处得到的回应看,约翰逊有她的道理:

我们完全理解,这部电影能够像我们的其他电影一样在院线全线上映是斯嘉丽愿意出演这部电影和整个协议的基础和前提。我们理解,如果计划出现变化,需要提前和贵方讨论并达成谅解,因为这笔交易关系到一系列(非常大额的)票房奖金。

但她很难证明自己的票房可以达到所有这些既定目标,因为尽管接种了新冠疫苗的美国人越来越多,却仍然有一些影迷不愿意在室内看电影,而与美国队长(Captain America)、蜘蛛侠(Spider-Man)等漫威电影宇宙(Marvel Cinematic Universe)中的其他角色相比,黑寡妇的吸引力也更小。

好莱坞普遍认为,约翰逊会和迪士尼达成和解,尽管迪士尼已经在尝试走仲裁路线,但这场博弈将影响演员尤其是一线演员以后怎么与电影公司谈合约,包括预付款、影院上映、如果电影在视频网站上映将获得什么补偿等事项。特别是在线上线下同步上映的情况下,即视频网站上映日期和院线首映日期为同一天时,要如何做出补偿。

“这是一件大事。”《好莱坞报道》(The Hollywood Reporter)的前编辑、Puck News的创始合伙人马修·贝洛尼说。“好莱坞的经纪人、经理和律师们对此都十分关注。”

电影公司的自我交易

约翰逊诉讼中的一个关键问题是,迪士尼不但拒付她的票房奖金,还通过选择同步上映来增加Disney+的订户数量。这对公司高管和股东有利,却不会让明星获益,放电影的院线就更不用说了。正如贝洛尼所说:“华尔街看中的是视频网站的用户量,而不是票房。”

“让Disney+赚钱非常符合迪士尼的利益,原因有三。”南加州大学安纳伯格传播与新闻学院(USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism)数字未来中心(Center for the Digital Future)的主任杰弗里·科尔指出,“首先,他们不需要与片房分账。第二,他们不需要给明星钱。第三,他们提振了Disney+的流量,促使股票价格上涨。这对公司有好处,除了片方和明星,每个人都能够受益。”

正因如此,迪士尼、派拉蒙(Paramount)和HBO Max的所有者华纳(Warner)等制片公司乐于选择让更多的人订购他们的视频服务,即使这意味着要牺牲传统的票房大片。华纳在同步上线影片时,给相关明星支付了千万补偿,规避了一些负面影响,比如给《神奇女侠1984》(Wonder Woman 1984)的主演盖尔·加朵和导演帕蒂·詹金斯支付了巨额奖金,还把这部电影当成票房大片来对待。

然而,对于电影行业制作端的大多数人来说,如果不能在合同中加入新条款,运气就没有加朵这么好了。与此同时,迪士尼在事件中对约翰逊的角色加以攻击,这种与明星相背而行的做法,让明星和拥有视频网站的电影公司之间本已趋于激化的紧张关系雪上加霜。

“迪士尼在其带有性别歧视和威胁意味的公开声明中,毫不掩饰地想把责任推到斯嘉丽·约翰逊的身上,这进一步凸显了在行业转型过程中,演员和行业其他工作者所面临的诸多问题。”美国演员工会-电视和广播艺人联合会(SAG-AFTRA)的主席加布里埃尔·卡特里斯在给《财富》杂志的一份声明中表示,“向视频网站转向将继续造成娱乐行业的工作者容易受到投机取巧的电影公司、视频平台和制作公司的伤害,这些公司利用明星为自己牟利,而非分享成功红利。这种一边倒的做法会逼走行业工作者,除非明星和他们的代表与工会联手反击。斯嘉丽·约翰逊开创了先例,十分勇敢,我们向她表示感谢。”

这就引出了一个重要问题:当电影在视频网站上大获成功时,好莱坞明星的报酬要怎么算?

合同条款、股票奖励还是预付款?

众所周知,流媒体服务商对数据守口如瓶。迪士尼吹嘘《黑寡妇》上映首周末票房为6000万美元,因为视频用户支付的30美元观影费,目前总票房收入为1.25亿美元。Netflix此前曾经公布过《办公室》(The Office)和亚当·桑德勒电影的观影人数。但这些声明无法得到核实,因此许多演员要求在合同中加入审计权,以确定他们的电影在视频网站上的播出成绩。

北美院线联盟(Exhibitor Relations)的资深媒体分析师杰夫·博克认为,这种条款今后在合同中可能会更常见。“也许会有审计师介入,或者会在合同中写明,‘我们需要这些数据,因为需要知道客户的具体价值。’因为我们不像过去那样有完整的票房数据,很难认定一部电影是否取得了成功。这种认定越来越难,因为要把受到影响减少了的票房和视频网站的数据相加。有时候数据并不好看,而除了迪士尼,还没有公司公布过真正的流媒体票房数据。”

约翰逊的官司还没有结束,电影行业的经纪人和律师还在努力弄清楚随着越来越多的人待在家里看新上线的电影,情况会是怎样,但有一件事情是清楚的——没有人知道视频网站的补贴方案会怎么设计。

“显然,对经纪人和经理人来说,这是一场全新的比赛,每个人都必须重新做出调整。”博克说,“我们如何确定这些演员、制片人和导演的影片在视频网站上映时他们可以拿到多少奖金?是否按照订户费用给他们分成?从今往后,与大型电影公司谈点数、点合同会很难。”

院线的衰落

对演员和其他创意人员来说,另外一个迫在眉睫的问题是高票房已经成为过去时。哪怕在新冠疫情爆发前,观影人数也已经出现下降,而且随着视频网站的普及——更不用说年轻人更习惯用移动设备看视频——今后无论哪部电影在哪个周末上映,影迷们都不太可能成群结队地去电影院了。

“1946年的北美,我们卖出了43亿张电影票。2019年是(电影院的)最后一年,和1946年比,人口增加了一倍多,按照当年的比例,应该卖出90亿张电影票,但我们卖了12亿张。”科尔说,“在新冠肺炎疫情爆发之前,我预测12亿张最终会下降到5亿张。我原以为这要花10年时间,但无论如何,院线在走下坡路。无论最终结果是什么,都会有更多的电影登陆视频网站。”

不过,就目前而言,在影院上映仍然是演员、导演和电影制作行业广大从业者的目标——这点能够写入合同,就像约翰逊的团队所争取的那样。这或许意味着在电影上线之前可以争取30天或45天的影院放映时间,但90天的旧标准已经不复存在。迪士尼正在上映的漫威新电影《尚气与十戒传奇》(Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings)的窗口期是45天,首席执行官鲍勃·察佩克称其为“一个有趣的实验”,说明并非所有的电影都将据此执行。正如博克所说:“线上线下同步上映还会继续。选择合适的电影、合适的电影公司,如果有合适的放映平台,就能够取得成功。”

对大银幕前后的工作者来说,在弄清楚以流量为基础的视频网站流媒体服务的收入之前,一开始或许要谈一个比过去高的价格。

“大家一开始会要求支付更高的预付款。‘你想怎么着就怎么着,但要按照大热电影的费用提前付钱。’”贝洛尼说,“Netflix就是这么干的。传统电影公司还没有开始这么做,因为他们只想给卖座的电影付钱。如果失败了,他们也不想亏钱。但他们可能不得不开始这么做了。”(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

斯嘉丽·约翰逊不是第一位因为自己的电影在视频网站和大银幕同步上映而抱怨赔钱的明星,但她是第一个采取法律行动的人。在旗下拥有Disney+和HBOMax等视频网站的电影公司与明星之间达成某种妥协、让所有人都能够赚到钱之前,约翰逊也不会是最后一个有此遭遇的人。

让我们快速回顾一下事情始末,约翰逊起诉了迪士尼(Disney),称她的漫威(Marvel)单人电影《黑寡妇》(Black Widow)原本应该在院线上映一段时间后才在线上播出,最终对方却违反了承诺。她出演该片的片酬预付款是2000万美元,如果电影达到了一定票房,就可以拿到一系列奖金。但就在这部电影在影院上映的同一天,漫威的母公司迪士尼在旗下的视频网站以30美元的单价上线了该影片。约翰逊称,这种做法导致她损失了高达5000万美元的奖金。

迪士尼回击称,这场诉讼“令人伤感而沮丧,因为它完全漠视了新冠肺炎疫情给全球带来的可怕而长久的影响”。他们还说:“迪士尼完全遵守了与约翰逊的合同,不仅如此,《黑寡妇》在Disney+上以Premier Access的方式上映,还极大地提高了她在2000万美元基础上获得额外奖金的能力。”

根据约翰逊的律师从漫威首席法律顾问处得到的回应看,约翰逊有她的道理:

我们完全理解,这部电影能够像我们的其他电影一样在院线全线上映是斯嘉丽愿意出演这部电影和整个协议的基础和前提。我们理解,如果计划出现变化,需要提前和贵方讨论并达成谅解,因为这笔交易关系到一系列(非常大额的)票房奖金。

但她很难证明自己的票房可以达到所有这些既定目标,因为尽管接种了新冠疫苗的美国人越来越多,却仍然有一些影迷不愿意在室内看电影,而与美国队长(Captain America)、蜘蛛侠(Spider-Man)等漫威电影宇宙(Marvel Cinematic Universe)中的其他角色相比,黑寡妇的吸引力也更小。

好莱坞普遍认为,约翰逊会和迪士尼达成和解,尽管迪士尼已经在尝试走仲裁路线,但这场博弈将影响演员尤其是一线演员以后怎么与电影公司谈合约,包括预付款、影院上映、如果电影在视频网站上映将获得什么补偿等事项。特别是在线上线下同步上映的情况下,即视频网站上映日期和院线首映日期为同一天时,要如何做出补偿。

“这是一件大事。”《好莱坞报道》(The Hollywood Reporter)的前编辑、Puck News的创始合伙人马修·贝洛尼说。“好莱坞的经纪人、经理和律师们对此都十分关注。”

电影公司的自我交易

约翰逊诉讼中的一个关键问题是,迪士尼不但拒付她的票房奖金,还通过选择同步上映来增加Disney+的订户数量。这对公司高管和股东有利,却不会让明星获益,放电影的院线就更不用说了。正如贝洛尼所说:“华尔街看中的是视频网站的用户量,而不是票房。”

“让Disney+赚钱非常符合迪士尼的利益,原因有三。”南加州大学安纳伯格传播与新闻学院(USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism)数字未来中心(Center for the Digital Future)的主任杰弗里·科尔指出,“首先,他们不需要与片房分账。第二,他们不需要给明星钱。第三,他们提振了Disney+的流量,促使股票价格上涨。这对公司有好处,除了片方和明星,每个人都能够受益。”

正因如此,迪士尼、派拉蒙(Paramount)和HBO Max的所有者华纳(Warner)等制片公司乐于选择让更多的人订购他们的视频服务,即使这意味着要牺牲传统的票房大片。华纳在同步上线影片时,给相关明星支付了千万补偿,规避了一些负面影响,比如给《神奇女侠1984》(Wonder Woman 1984)的主演盖尔·加朵和导演帕蒂·詹金斯支付了巨额奖金,还把这部电影当成票房大片来对待。

然而,对于电影行业制作端的大多数人来说,如果不能在合同中加入新条款,运气就没有加朵这么好了。与此同时,迪士尼在事件中对约翰逊的角色加以攻击,这种与明星相背而行的做法,让明星和拥有视频网站的电影公司之间本已趋于激化的紧张关系雪上加霜。

“迪士尼在其带有性别歧视和威胁意味的公开声明中,毫不掩饰地想把责任推到斯嘉丽·约翰逊的身上,这进一步凸显了在行业转型过程中,演员和行业其他工作者所面临的诸多问题。”美国演员工会-电视和广播艺人联合会(SAG-AFTRA)的主席加布里埃尔·卡特里斯在给《财富》杂志的一份声明中表示,“向视频网站转向将继续造成娱乐行业的工作者容易受到投机取巧的电影公司、视频平台和制作公司的伤害,这些公司利用明星为自己牟利,而非分享成功红利。这种一边倒的做法会逼走行业工作者,除非明星和他们的代表与工会联手反击。斯嘉丽·约翰逊开创了先例,十分勇敢,我们向她表示感谢。”

这就引出了一个重要问题:当电影在视频网站上大获成功时,好莱坞明星的报酬要怎么算?

合同条款、股票奖励还是预付款?

众所周知,流媒体服务商对数据守口如瓶。迪士尼吹嘘《黑寡妇》上映首周末票房为6000万美元,因为视频用户支付的30美元观影费,目前总票房收入为1.25亿美元。Netflix此前曾经公布过《办公室》(The Office)和亚当·桑德勒电影的观影人数。但这些声明无法得到核实,因此许多演员要求在合同中加入审计权,以确定他们的电影在视频网站上的播出成绩。

北美院线联盟(Exhibitor Relations)的资深媒体分析师杰夫·博克认为,这种条款今后在合同中可能会更常见。“也许会有审计师介入,或者会在合同中写明,‘我们需要这些数据,因为需要知道客户的具体价值。’因为我们不像过去那样有完整的票房数据,很难认定一部电影是否取得了成功。这种认定越来越难,因为要把受到影响减少了的票房和视频网站的数据相加。有时候数据并不好看,而除了迪士尼,还没有公司公布过真正的流媒体票房数据。”

约翰逊的官司还没有结束,电影行业的经纪人和律师还在努力弄清楚随着越来越多的人待在家里看新上线的电影,情况会是怎样,但有一件事情是清楚的——没有人知道视频网站的补贴方案会怎么设计。

“显然,对经纪人和经理人来说,这是一场全新的比赛,每个人都必须重新做出调整。”博克说,“我们如何确定这些演员、制片人和导演的影片在视频网站上映时他们可以拿到多少奖金?是否按照订户费用给他们分成?从今往后,与大型电影公司谈点数、点合同会很难。”

院线的衰落

对演员和其他创意人员来说,另外一个迫在眉睫的问题是高票房已经成为过去时。哪怕在新冠疫情爆发前,观影人数也已经出现下降,而且随着视频网站的普及——更不用说年轻人更习惯用移动设备看视频——今后无论哪部电影在哪个周末上映,影迷们都不太可能成群结队地去电影院了。

“1946年的北美,我们卖出了43亿张电影票。2019年是(电影院的)最后一年,和1946年比,人口增加了一倍多,按照当年的比例,应该卖出90亿张电影票,但我们卖了12亿张。”科尔说,“在新冠肺炎疫情爆发之前,我预测12亿张最终会下降到5亿张。我原以为这要花10年时间,但无论如何,院线在走下坡路。无论最终结果是什么,都会有更多的电影登陆视频网站。”

不过,就目前而言,在影院上映仍然是演员、导演和电影制作行业广大从业者的目标——这点能够写入合同,就像约翰逊的团队所争取的那样。这或许意味着在电影上线之前可以争取30天或45天的影院放映时间,但90天的旧标准已经不复存在。迪士尼正在上映的漫威新电影《尚气与十戒传奇》(Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings)的窗口期是45天,首席执行官鲍勃·察佩克称其为“一个有趣的实验”,说明并非所有的电影都将据此执行。正如博克所说:“线上线下同步上映还会继续。选择合适的电影、合适的电影公司,如果有合适的放映平台,就能够取得成功。”

对大银幕前后的工作者来说,在弄清楚以流量为基础的视频网站流媒体服务的收入之前,一开始或许要谈一个比过去高的价格。

“大家一开始会要求支付更高的预付款。‘你想怎么着就怎么着,但要按照大热电影的费用提前付钱。’”贝洛尼说,“Netflix就是这么干的。传统电影公司还没有开始这么做,因为他们只想给卖座的电影付钱。如果失败了,他们也不想亏钱。但他们可能不得不开始这么做了。”(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

Scarlett Johansson wasn’t the first star to gripe about potentially losing money over their movie debuting simultaneously on streaming and the big screen, but she was the first to take legal action over it. And until the talent and studios who own services like Disney+ and HBOMax find some middle ground where everyone makes money, she won’t be the last.

To quickly recap the situation, Johansson is suing Disney because, as she alleges, they broke a promise to hold off on streaming Black Widow, her standalone Marvel movie, until it had been in theaters for a certain period of time. That’s because her payout on the film was $20 million upfront then a series of bonuses that kicked in if and when the film hit certain box-office milestones. But when Disney, which owns Marvel, released it on its streaming services for a $30 fee on the same day it bowed in theaters, she alleges that they cost her up to $50 million in bonuses.

Disney fired back, saying the suit was “sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” They added, “Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”

Johansson has a point, given this response her lawyer received from Marvel’s chief counsel:

We totally understand Scarlett’s willingness to do the film and her whole deal is based on the premise that the film would be widely theatrically released like our other pictures. We understand that should the plan change we would need to discuss this with you and come to an understanding as the deal is based on a series of (very large) box office bonuses.

She’ll have a tougher time proving that she would have hit all of those box office numbers, given some theatergoers’ reticence to see films indoors despite the growing percentage of Americans who are vaccinated, and the lesser appeal of the Black Widow character compared to others in the Marvel Cinematic Universe such as Captain America and Spider-Man.

The general belief in Hollywood is that Johansson and Disney will settle the case, even after the studio tried to go the arbitration route, but the battle will influence how actors, especially A-listers, will negotiate their contracts when it comes to upfront salaries, theatrical releases, and how they might be compensated if a movie becomes a streaming blockbuster. Particularly when it comes to day-and-date releases—the practice of simultaneously putting a movie on streaming services and debuting it in the theater.

“This is a big deal,” says Matthew Belloni, former editor of The Hollywood Reporter and founding partner of Puck News. “It's something that agents, managers, and lawyers in Hollywood are obsessed about.”

Studios’ self-dealing

One of the key issues in Johansson’s lawsuit is the fact that, aside from denying her box-office bonuses, the studio used this day-and-date option to boost its Disney+ streaming subscriber numbers. That benefits the executives and shareholders but doesn’t trickle down to the talent, not to mention the theaters that are showing the films. As Belloni puts it, “Wall Street values streaming subscribers. It doesn't value box office.”

“It's very much in Disney's interest that the dollars come into Disney+ for three reasons,” says Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. “One, they don't share [money] with the exhibitors. Two, they don't have to give money to the talent. And three, they build up Disney+ and the stock price goes up. It's good for the company, and everybody benefits except the exhibitors and the talent.”

Because of that, studios like Disney, Paramount, and Warner, the owner of HBO Max, are happy enough to get more people signing up for their services even if it means sacrificing a traditional box office hits. Warner avoided some of the blowback by paying out millions to some of the stars of its day-and-date releases, notably giving huge bonuses to Wonder Woman 1984 star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins and treating the film as if it were a theatrical hit.

Unfortunately for most people on the creative side of the industry, that’s not going to be the case until new contract clauses are hashed out. Meanwhile, Disney’s decision to go in the opposite direction and attack Johansson’s character is now stoking already-simmering tensions between talent and studios with streaming properties.

“Disney's thinly veiled attempts to deflect blame to Scarlett Johansson with sexist, threatening public statements only underscores the many issues that performers and other industry workers face as our industry shifts,” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement to Fortune. “The transition to streaming will continue to leave entertainment industry workers vulnerable to opportunistic studios, streaming platforms, and production companies who exploit talent for their own gain rather than sharing in the success. This one-sided practice freezes workers out unless artists and their representatives join together with the union to stand up and fight back. Scarlett Johansson is setting a courageous precedent and we thank her."

That leads to the big question: how will Hollywood stars be rewarded for their work when it’s a streaming success?

Contract clauses, stock bonuses, or upfront pay?

Streaming services are notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to numbers. Disney touted the fact that Black Widow earned $60 million in its opening weekend, and $125 million to date, because of customers paying $30 to stream it, while Netflix has previously announced how many people streamed The Office or an Adam Sandler movie. But those statements aren’t independently verifiable, which has led many actors to ask for auditing rights in their contracts to determine how well their films did on streaming services.

It’s something Jeff Bock, senior media analyst at Exhibitor Relations, believes might become more commonplace in contracts. “Maybe an auditor will come in or a contract will say, 'Hey, we need this data, because we need to know what our client is worth.' It makes it difficult to report on whether something's a success or not because we don't have the data like we used to with box-office. That's becoming more difficult because it's a truncated box office plus the streaming numbers. Sometimes they aren't great and, outside of Disney, nobody's released real streaming box office numbers yet.”

While Johansson’s lawsuit remains pending and agents and lawyers scramble to make sense of what will come as more people stay home for new movies, one thing is clear — nobody has yet to figure out how streaming compensation will work.

“Obviously, this is a whole new ballgame for agents and managers, and everybody has to reset the scales,” Bock says. “How do we determine how much bonuses these actors and producers and directors get when it does go on streaming? Do we give them a part of an increase of subscribers? Going forward, it's going to be difficult to negotiate big contracts with points with major studios.”

The decline of theaters

The other looming issue for actors and other creatives is that box-office numbers are a thing of the past. Attendance numbers were already in decline before the pandemic, and with more access to streaming — not to mention the mobile-device viewing habits of younger people—it isn’t likely that movie lovers will turn out in droves for whichever movie debuts that weekend.

“1946, in North America, we sold 4.3 billion movie tickets. 2019, the last real year [of theaters], the population had more than doubled, and to keep pace with 1946, you would have had to sell 9 billion movie tickets. We sold 1.2 billion,” says Cole. “My prediction before COVID was that 1.2 billion tickets was going to go down to 500 million. I thought it was going to take 10 years, but the bottom line is the theatrical business is declining. No matter how it shakes out, there are going to be more movies going to streaming.”

For now, though, a theatrical release is still the goal for actors, directors, and other people involved in filmmaking—and it can be written into a contract, like Johansson’s team wanted. That could mean negotiating a 30- or 45-day theatrical window before a movie goes to streaming, but the old standard of 90 days is over. Disney is releasing its next Marvel title, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, with a 45-day window, which CEO Bob Chapek referred to as “an interesting experiment for us,” signaling that won’t be the case for all of its releases. As Bock says, “Day and date is here to stay. It works with the right films and the right studios, and if you have the right platform to release it.”

For the talent, onscreen and off, the likelihood is that negotiations will start with a higher number than in the past, until streaming revenue deals based on popularity are sussed out.

“People are going to start asking for a lot more money upfront. 'Do you what you want with the movie, just pay us up front as if it's a big hit,'” Belloni says. “Netflix does that. Traditional studios haven't done that, because they want to only have to pay out in success. They don't want to have to pay out if it's a flop. But they may have to start doing that.”

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