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National Entertainment

In a close race, ‘Rampage’ takes No. 1 from ‘A Quiet Place’

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  • LOS ANGELES — After a wobbly start, Dwayne Johnson muscled his way to a No. 1 opening for “Rampage” — but just barely. Close on its heels was the word-of-mouth sensation “A Quiet Place” in its second week in theatres, and not too far behind that was the Blumhouse horror “Truth or Dare” in a competitive weekend at the box office.

    Warner Bros. said Sunday that “Rampage” earned an estimated $34.5 million in its first weekend in North American theatres, and dominated internationally too with $114.1 million from 61 territories.

    Based on the classic arcade game, “Rampage” carried a sizable budget of at least $115 million. Although “Rampage” pulled in mixed reviews (it’s at 50 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes), audiences were more enthusiastic, giving it an A- CinemaScore.

    “I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel on Friday. But when I look at our global number of $148.6 million, there’s a lot to be proud of for Dwayne Johnson,” said Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein. “Talk about a real closer, he knows how to bring it home.”

    That Friday, of course, was Friday the 13th and audiences had the choice between two wide-release nail-biters to spend their entertainment dollars on — the buzzy thriller “A Quiet Place” that dominated the charts last weekend, and the new horror from the shop behind “Get Out” and “Split,” ”Truth or Dare.”

    After its stunning debut, John Krasinski’s modestly-budgeted “A Quiet Place” fell only 35 per cent in weekend two, adding $32.6 million to its domestic total, which is now just shy of $100 million for Paramount Pictures.

    “Truth or Dare” also found a sizable audience that was mostly young (60 per cent under the age of 25) and female (60 per cent). The PG-13 rated pic stars “Pretty Little Liars” alum Lucy Hale.

    With a budget of just $3.5 million, the film took in a terrific $19.1 million over the weekend — just the latest in a string of successes for the Blumhouse and Universal Pictures partnership.

    “They take high quality filmmaking at micro-budgets and just consistently over-deliver,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “Everyone at Universal is just thrilled to be in business with these guys.”

    Orr said despite the competitive marketplace, the studio’s marketing found a lane with the younger female audience and played into the Friday the 13th release.

    Sliding into fourth place was Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” with $11.2 million in its third weekend, and in fifth was the R-rated comedy “Blockers,” with $10.3 million.

    Also, after a limited release, Wes Anderson’s stop-motion animated “Isle of Dogs” added 1,385 locations and took the No. 7 spot with $5 million. Chloe Zhao’s well-reviewed indie “The Rider” also debuted this weekend in three theatres with $45,268.

    While the success of a horror, especially a micro-budget one, isn’t a surprise for the industry, big budget films like “Rampage” continue to face a complex marketplace. For box office analysts like comScore’s Paul Dergarabedian, “Rampage’s” performance fits into the post-“Black Panther” narrative for most would-be blockbusters that have followed the Marvel and Disney phenomenon.

    “‘Rampage’ joins a long list of popcorn movies that have opened in the wake of ‘Black Panther’ to rely heavily on their international box office revenues,” Dergarabedian said, citing “A Wrinkle in Time,” ”Tomb Raider,” ”Pacific Rim: Uprising” and “Ready Player One” as recent examples.

    Disney and Marvel’s “Black Panther” added $5.3 million in its ninth weekend in theatres, bringing its domestic total to $673.8 million.

    It’s another down weekend for the industry, too. The same weekend last year saw the massive $98.8 million opening for “The Fate of the Furious.” ComScore reports that the year to date box office is down just over 2 per cent. But the tide could be turning soon.

    “We’re just in this lull waiting for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ that is going to blow the doors off of the box office in a little less than two weeks,” Dergarabedian said.

    Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

    1.”Rampage,” $34.5 million ($114.1 million international).

    2.”A Quiet Place,” $32.6 million ($22.3 million international).

    3.”Truth or Dare,” $19.1 million ($2.6 million international).

    4.”Ready Player One,” $11.2 million ($33.8 million international).

    5.”Blockers,” $10.3 million ($3.9 million international).

    6.”Black Panther,” $5.3 million ($2.6 million international).

    7.”Isle of Dogs,” $5 million ($2.3 million international).

    8.”I Can Only Imagine,” $3.8 million ($40,000 international).

    9.”Tyler Perry’s Acrimony,” $3.7 million.

    10.”Chappaquiddick,” $3 million.

    ___

    Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theatres (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

    1. “Rampage,” $114.1 million.

    2. “Ready Player One,” $33.8 million.

    3. “A Quiet Place,” $22.3 million.

    4. “Peter Rabbit,” $12.7 million.

    5. “Taxi 5,” $9.5 million.

    6. “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” $6.4 million.

    7. “Annihilation,” $6.1 million.

    8. “Blockers,” $3.9 million.

    9. “Nothing to Lose (Nada A Perder),” $3.3 million.

    10. “Hindi Medium,” $3.3 million.

    ___

    Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

    ___

    Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr

    Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press


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    Newfoundland celebrities roast town for rejecting rainbow crosswalk

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  • SPRINGDALE, N.L. — Prominent Newfoundlanders are criticizing a town’s rejection of a rainbow crosswalk sought by a high school group as a show of support for the LGBTQ community.

    Comedian Mark Critch and former Great Big Sea members Alan Doyle and Bob Hallett offered support for the Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) at Indian River High School after Springdale, N.L., town council reportedly voted 4-3 against the crosswalk.

    “If you’re a LBGTQ kid in Springdale, please know that there are a whole lot of people in Newfoundland and Labrador that support you,” tweeted Critch, anchor of CBC’s “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.”

    “Inclusion never divides. Your mayor is being a tool. You’re awesome.”

    Doyle, a successful solo artist and best-selling author, responded to Critch’s tweet saying “Yes. Yes. And Yes.”

    Hallett, a St. John’s restaurateur, said he was “half tempted to drive out to Springdale and paint the crosswalk” himself in a tweet Friday morning.

    The Norwester newspaper reported that the GSA had asked that a crosswalk near the school could be painted in support of the LGBTQ community.

    Springdale town councillors refused to comment Friday. But the school’s GSA issued a written statement via email that the council’s rejection of its April 9 request isn’t the end of the story.

    It said they are in the process of working together on the issue, which will come before council again on Monday.

    It said members appreciate the public’s support but “negative comments and name-calling are not productive,” and said the group is committed to a “respectful, informed discussion for the betterment” of the whole community.

    “We enjoy our town of Springdale and have a good relationship with the mayor and town officials. We are ALL in the process of working together on this issue and are encouraged by the opportunity for further discussions,” the group said.

    “Thus far, those discussions have been very positive and we look forward to Monday’s council meeting, where we will have the opportunity to provide further information and education to members on the concept of a rainbow crosswalk.”

    Cheryl Gullage, communications director for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, said in a phone interview that the association is reserving further comment until after the matter is discussed with town officials.

    Earlier this spring, city council in Merritt, B.C., rejected a similar request from high school groups there. Community members subsequently offered other locations for the colourful symbol of inclusion.

    The Canadian Press


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    National Entertainment

    Avicii, DJ-producer who performed around the world, dies

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  • NEW YORK — Avicii, the Grammy-nominated electronic dance DJ who performed sold-out concerts for feverish fans around the world and also had massive success on U.S. pop radio, died Friday. He was 28.

    Publicist Diana Baron said in a statement that the Swedish performer, born Tim Bergling, was found dead in Muscat, Oman.

    “It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii,” the statement read. “The family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time. No further statements will be given.”

    No more details about the death were provided. Oman police and state media had no immediate report late Friday night on the artist’s death.

    Avicii was an international pop star, performing his well-known electronic dance songs around the world for die-hard fans, sometimes hundreds of thousands at music festivals, where he was the headline act. His popular sound even sent him to the top of the charts and landed onto U.S. radio: His most recognized song, “Wake Me Up,” was a multi-platinum success and peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. On the dance charts, he had seven Top 10 hits.

    But in 2016, the performer announced he was retiring from the road, but continued to produce songs and albums.

    Avicii was part of the wave of DJ-producers, like David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia, who broke out on the scene as lead performers in their own right, earning international hits, fame, awards and more like typical pop stars.

    He earned his first Grammy nomination at the 2012 show — for a collaboration with Guetta. It around the time he gained more fan for the Etta James-sampled dance jam, “Le7els,” which reached No. 1 in Sweden.

    Avicii continued to collaborate with more high-profile acts, producing Madonna’s “Devil Pray” and the Coldplay hits “A Sky Full of Stars” and “Hymn for the Weekend.”

    Avicii had in the past suffered acute pancreatitis, in part due to excessive drinking. After having his gallbladder and appendix removed in 2014, he cancelled a series of shows in attempt to recover.

    “It’s been a very crazy journey. I started producing when I was 16. I started touring when I was 18. From that point on, I just jumped into 100 per cent,” Avicii told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. “When I look back on my life, I think: whoa, did I do that? It was the best time of my life in a sense. It came with a price – a lot of stress a lot of anxiety for me – but it was the best journey of my life.”

    Last year, he posted this message on his website, promising to keep creating: “The next stage will be all about my love of making music to you guys. It is the beginning of something new.”

    Fans and members of the music community mourned his death on social media Friday.

    “Something really horrible happened. We lost a friend with such a beautiful heart and the world lost an incredibly talented musician,” Guetta wrote on Instagram. “Thank you for your beautiful melodies, the time we shared in the studio, playing together as djs or just enjoying life as friends. RIP @avicii.”

    Calvin Harris called Avicii “a beautiful soul, passionate and extremely talented with so much more to do.” Ellie Goulding wrote that Avicii “inspired so many of us. Wish I could have said that to you in person.”

    One Direction’s Liam Payne and Dua Lipa also tweeted about the performer.

    Avicii, a two-time Grammy nominee, won two MTV Europe Music Awards and one Billboard Music Award. His death comes just days after he was nominated for a 2018 Billboard Music Award for top dance/electronic album for his EP “Avicii (01).”

    Avicii is the subject of the 2017 Levan Tsikurishvil documentary “Avicii: True Stories.”

    Muscat, where Avicii died, is the capital of the sultanate on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, is a popular vacation destination on the Arabian Sea.

    ___

    AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy and AP Writer Jon Gambrell contributed to this report.

    Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press







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