Saw STAR WAS and loved it!! Can’t wait to see it again!! Also saw BOMBSHELL (An important movie, but you don’t need to see it right away. Stream it), UNCUT GEMS (Believe the Sandler hype!!), CATS (Completely ridiculous!!) and RICHARD JEWELL (So, so boring!!).

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker sends competition far, far away with $176 million box office debut

The final installment of the Star Wars nine-part Skywalker Saga slayed the box office during the film’s huge weekend opener with no other film getting close.

Reviews may have been mixed for The Rise of Skywalker, but it didn’t keep fans from rushing to theaters to the tune of $176 million, according to Comscore. Second place went to Jumanji: The Next Level who made an estimated $26 million during its second week in theaters.

Frozen 2 takes the third spot with $12.3 million, followed by Cats that earned a disappointing $7 million during its debut.

The final spot on the top five was earned by Knives Out, the whodunit that won’t quit with $6.1 million.

In a surprise to no one, Star Wars: Episode IX cleaned house as moviegoers rushed to cinemas to discover the fate of their favorite characters in the J.J. Abrams-directed film. Its domestic debut is the 12th biggest all-time, the third biggest of 2019 (after only Avengers: Endgame and The Lion King), and the third biggest December opening ever.

The film sees the return of the surviving members of the Resistance face the First Order once more. Returning stars range from across the film’s franchise including Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Billy Dee Williams, John Boyega, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, and Kelly Marie Tran. Fans were even treated to a final bow from the legendary actress Carrie Fisher via archival footage. Fisher died on Dec. 27, 2016, but had enough material in the can that she could make one more appearance as Leia Organa.

EW gave the film a C saying, “The best thing I can say about Rise of Skywalker is that it is sometimes incoherent on purpose.” Cinemascore participants found the film a bit better, giving it a B+.

Here’s a look back at the box office gross for each of the nine films from the franchise during opening weekend, not adjusting for inflation:

Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace (1999)— $65 million
Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones (2002)— $80 million
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)— $108 million
Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977)— $1.6 million
Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)— $5 million
Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)— $23 million
Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (2015)— $248 million
Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)— $220 million
Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker— (2019) $176 million

Going up against a movie franchise like Star Wars is tough, but Cats came in dismally in fourth place. The latest film adaptation of the hit Broadway music failed to capture an audience this time around, with complaints from critics and fans about the CGI and lack of strong storyline dominating social media.

Cats tells the story of a tribe of cats called Jellicles who during a yearly ritual, decide which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life. The all-star cast includes Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, Ian McKellan, and Ray Winstone.

EW gave the big screen adaptation a C+ saying, “It’s as crazy as you thought it would be.” Moviegoers agreed with the assessment, Cinemascore reports a grade of C+ is appropriate.

Fox News drama Bombshell placed six at the box office, earning an estimated $5 million. The film shines a light on the real-life story of several women who accused Fox CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. Charlize Theron portrayed Megyn Kelly, Nicole Kidman brought to life Gretchen Carlson, and Margot Robbie played Kayla Pospisil. Veteran actor John Lithgow was tasked with playing Ailes, and Connie Britton his wife Beth.

EW gave the film a B+ saying, “Bombshell is director Jay Roach’s imperfect but duly intriguing attempt to tell that story, and his primary weapon is the women themselves: Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson; Charlize Theron, nearly unrecognizable in feline, pointy-chinned prosthetics, as Megyn Kelly; and Margot Robbie as one of the movie’s rare fictions, an ambitious evangelical millennial (“I see myself as an influencer in the Jesus space”) named Kayla Pospisil.

Overall, box office is down -4.7% percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. Check out the Dec. 13-15 numbers below:

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker—$176 million
Jumanji: The Next Level— $26 million
Frozen 2— $12.3 million
Cats— $6.5 million
Knives Out—$6.1 million
Bombshell— $5 million
Richard Jewell—$2.6 million
Queen & Slim—$2 million
Black Christmas—$1.8 million
Ford v Ferrari—$1.8 million


This list is absolutely correct. It’s been double-checked twice!

Oscars 2017 winners: The full list

See the full list of winners below.

Best Picture
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
WINNER: Moonlight

Best Actress
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
WINNER: Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Supporting Actress
WINNER: Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Best Actor
WINNER: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Supporting Actor
WINNER: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Best Documentary Feature
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life Animated
WINNER: O.J.: Made in America

Best Director
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
WINNER: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Adapted Screenplay
Arrival, Eric Heisserer
Fences, August Wilson
Hidden Figures, Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
Lion, Luke Davis
WINNER: Moonlight, Barry Jenkins with story by Tarell Alvin McCranley

Best Original Screenplay
Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan
La La Land, Damien Chazelle
The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou
WINNER: Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan
20th Century Women, Mike Mills

Best Foreign Language Film
Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
WINNER: The Salesman
Toni Erdmann

Best Original Score
WINNER: La La Land

Best Original Song
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
WINNER: “City of Stars,” La La Land
“The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

Best Cinematography
WINNER: La La Land

Best Production Design
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
WINNER: La La Land

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
WINNER: Suicide Squad

Best Costume Design
WINNER: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land

Best Visual Effects
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
WINNER: The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Sound Editing
WINNER: Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land

Best Sound Mixing
WINNER: Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Best Documentary Short
4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
WINNER: The White Helmets

Best Live Action Short
Ennemis Intérieurs
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights

Best Animated Feature
Kubo and the Two Strings
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
WINNER: Zootopia

Best Film Editing
WINNER: Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land

Best Animated Short
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes



Sex and the City returning to TV: report
The stars of Sex and the City are reportedly keen to put the lukewarm reaction of last year’s movie sequel behind them by making another series of the hit TV show.
Sarah Jessica Parker and her co-stars are said to be happy to ditch further Hollywood outings and return to the small screen, following the critical backlash and mediocre box office success of Sex and the City 2, reports Britain’s Mail on Sunday.
An insider tells the paper, “Ultimately Darren Star – the man who created the hit series – will have the overall say, but everyone is agreed a TV show is the direction they want to take the franchise in.
“Sarah Jessica Parker will be producing. She was worried about doing another film after the bad reaction to the Sex and the City 2 movie, but a TV show is definitely something she wants to happen.”
The girls’ return to TV would mean the much discussed big screen Sex and the City prequel will be put on hold. The film, which charts the early lives of Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda, has been heavily speculated recently, with actresses Blake Lively, Selena Gomez and Emma Roberts all linked to the movie.
The insider adds, “They want to make the TV series before doing another film.”

Sadly, no movies for me again this weekend!! Maybe next week!

“Apes” hangs on to domestic box office lead
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Nothing could stop angry apes from tearing through the domestic weekend box office as “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” took the lead with an estimated $27.5 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales plus $40.5 million internationally.
The revival of the classic sci-fi franchise beat four new releases to hang on to the top ranking at U.S. and Canadian theaters for the second straight week, according to studio estimates released on Sunday. Civil Rights-era drama “The Help” finished a strong second with $25.5 million over three days, beating studio forecasts.
The U.S. and Canadian audience for “Apes” shrunk 50 percent from its opening weekend. The drop was “a fantastic hold” against four new films that grossed a combined $60 million, said Chris Aronson, senior vice president for domestic distribution at 20th Century Fox, which distributed the movie. “Apes” brought in a total of $68 million globally for the weekend.
Strong reviews and a rare A+ rating from audience-survey firm CinemaScore propelled “The Help,” a film based on a best-selling book by Kathryn Stockett. The movie chronicles the lives of wealthy white women in Mississippi and their black housekeepers. It cost about $25 million to produce.
“The Help” appealed to broad audiences across the country and drew positive responses from men as well as the core audience of women, said Dave Hollis, executive vice president for motion picture sales and distribution at Walt Disney Co, which distributed the DreamWorks-produced film.
“This is a most pleasant surprise,” Hollis said of the opening weekend sales. Disney expects to add another 100 to 200 additional theaters after the early success sparked more interest, he said. The film was showing in 2,534 theaters over the opening weekend after debuting on Wednesday. Over five days, the film grossed $35.4 million.
In third place for the weekend, horror flick and new release “Final Destination 5,” in which survivors of a bridge collapse try to cheat death, generated $18.4 million domestically. That hit the low end of studio forecasts.
Surprise summer hit “The Smurfs” took fourth place on the domestic charts with $13.5 million during its third weekend in theaters, plus an impressive $60 million haul in international markets for the live-action and animated family film.
Comedy “30 Minutes or Less,” starring Jesse Eisenberg, finished fifth with $13 million at the domestic box office. The movie tells the tale of two criminals who kidnap a pizza delivery boy, strap a bomb to his chest and order him to rob a bank. The production budget was $28 million.
The weekend’s other new release, “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie,” failed to crack the top 10 with $5.7 million domestically, making it No. 11 for the weekend. The film pairs song-and-dance performances from a “Glee” concert tour with commentary from fans of the hit television show about an Ohio high school’s show choir. The movie cost $9 million to make and is scheduled for just two weeks in theaters.

I admit it, I am thinking about going!!

Weezer Plots Cruise, Side-by-Side Shows With the Flaming Lips
After a successful string of “Pinkerton” and “Blue Album” shows (dubbed the Memories Tour) late last year, Weezer is trying out a few more unconventional touring ideas. First the band announced two “side-by-side” shows with the Flaming Lips yesterday, while today comes news of its own cruise in 2012.
The SoCal rockers will slather on the sunscreen as they rock the lido deck on the Weezer Cruise this coming January, performing aptly-titled tracks like “Holiday,” “Island in the Sun” and many more. The four-day voyage, through Carnival Cruises, will leave from Miami on Jan. 19, sailing to Cozumel, Mexico before ending its journey back in Miami on Jan. 23.
The cruise will not only include multiple indoor and outdoor sets from Weezer — as well as a Q&A and a picture alongside the band for all passengers — but also sets from a slew of other bands. Dinosaur Jr. and its related projects (Sebadoh, J Mascis solo, Lou Barlow solo) will make a splash on the cruise, as will Wavves, Yuck, the Antlers, Free Energy, Ozma, Sleeper Agent, Boom Bip and more. And naturally, passengers can expect the typical cruise amenities of gourmet meals, casinos, pools and more.
The band’s “side-by-side” shows with the Flaming Lips will kick off later this month, on July 28 and 29 in, respectively, Holmdel, N.J. (PNC Bank Arts Center) and Long Island, N.Y. (Nikon at Jones Beach). The two acts will share one stage, alternating songs throughout the singular headlining set. Yeasayer will open both performances.

May he rest in peace!!

Creator of ‘Brady Bunch,’ ‘Gilligan’s Island’ dies
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sherwood Schwartz, writer-creator of two of the best-remembered TV series of the 1960s and 1970s, “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Brady Bunch,” has died at age 94.
Great niece Robin Randall said Schwartz died at 4 a.m. Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was being treated for an intestinal infection and underwent several surgeries. His wife, Mildred, and children had been at his side.
Sherwood Schwartz and his brother, Al, started as a writing team in TV’s famed 1950s “golden age,” said Douglas Schwartz, the late Al Schwartz’s son.
“They helped shape television in its early days,” Douglas Schwartz said. “Sherwood is an American classic, creating ‘Brady Bunch’ and ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ iconic shows that are still popular today. He continued to produce all the way up into his 90s.”
Sherwood Schwartz was working on a big-screen version of “Gilligan’s Island,” his nephew said. Douglas Schwartz, who created the hit series “Baywatch,” called his uncle a longtime mentor and caring “second father” who helped guide him successfully through show business.
Success was the hallmark of Sherwood Schwartz’s own career. Neither “Gilligan” nor “Brady” pleased the critics, but both managed to reverberate in viewers’ heads through the years as few such series did, lingering in the language and inspiring parodies, spinoffs and countless standup comedy jokes.
Schwartz had given up a career in medical science to write jokes for Bob Hope’s radio show. He went on to write for other radio and TV shows, including “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.”
He dreamed up “Gilligan’s Island” in 1964. It was a Robinson Crusoe story about seven disparate travelers who are marooned on a deserted Pacific Island after their small boat wrecks in a storm. The cast: Alan Hale Jr., as Skipper Jonas Grumby; Bob Denver, as his klutzy assistant Gilligan; Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer, the rich snobs Thurston and Lovey Howell; Tina Louise, the bosomy movie star Ginger Grant; Russell Johnson, egghead science professor Roy Hinkley Jr.; and Dawn Wells, sweet-natured farm girl Mary Ann Summers.
Calling “Gilligan’s Island” a “family,” Tina Louise tweeted that “Sherwood Schwartz brought laughter and comfort to millions of people.” In her Twitter post she added, “He will be in our hearts forever.”
TV critics hooted at “Gilligan’s Island” as gag-ridden corn. Audiences adored its far-out comedy. Schwartz insisted that the show had social meaning along with the laughs: “I knew that by assembling seven different people and forcing them to live together, the show would have great philosophical implications.”
He argued that his sitcoms didn’t rely on cheap laughs. “I think writers have become hypnotized by the number of jokes on the page at the expense of character,” Schwartz said in a 2000 Associated Press interview.
“When you say the name Gilligan, you know who that is. If a show is good, if it’s written well, you should be able to erase the names of the characters saying the lines and still be able to know who said it. If you can’t do that, the show will fail.”
“Gilligan’s Island” lasted on CBS from 1964 to 1967, and it was revived in later seasons with three high-rated TV movies. A children’s cartoon, “The New Adventures of Gilligan,” appeared on ABC from 1974 to 1977, and in 2004, Schwartz had a hand in producing a TBS reality show called “The Real Gilligan’s Island.”
The name of the boat on “Gilligan’s Island” — the S.S. Minnow — was a bit of TV inside humor: It was named for Newton Minow, who as Federal Communications Commission chief in the early 1960s had become famous for proclaiming television “a vast wasteland.”
Minow took the gibe in good humor, saying later that he had a friendly correspondence with Schwartz.
TV writers usually looked upon “The Brady Bunch” as a sugarcoated view of American family life.
The premise: a widow (Florence Henderson) with three daughters marries a widower (Robert Reed) with three sons. (Widowhood was a common plot point in TV series back then, since networks were leery of divorce.) During the 1970s when the nation was rocked by social turmoil, audiences seemed comforted by watching an attractive, well-scrubbed family engaged in trivial pursuits.
Schwartz claimed in 1995 that his creation had social significance because “it dealt with real emotional problems: the difficulty of being the middle girl; a boy being too short when he wants to be taller; going to the prom with zits on your face.”
The series lasted from 1969 to 1974, but it had an amazing afterlife. It was followed by three one-season spinoffs: “The Brady Bunch Hour” (1977), “The Brady Brides” (1981) and “The Bradys” (1990). “The Brady Bunch Movie,” with Shelley Long and Gary Cole as the parents, was a surprise box-office hit in 1995.
It was followed the next year by a less successful “A Very Brady Sequel.”
Henderson called Schwartz “a wonderful teacher in life and again, in death, he taught us how to leave with dignity and courage.
“Sherwood has a wonderful family who so loved and respected him,” she said. “I know his Brady Bunch family feels the same way.”
Sherwood Schwartz was born in 1916 in Passaic, N.J., and grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. His brother, already working for Hope, got him a job when Sherwood was still in college.
“Bob liked my jokes, used them on his show and got big laughs. Then he asked me to join his writing staff,” Schwartz said during an appearance in March 2008, when he got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “I was faced with a major decision — writing comedy or starving to death while I cured those diseases. I made a quick career change.”
Besides his wife, Schwartz’s survivors include sons Donald, Lloyd and Ross Schwartz, and daughter Hope Juber.

I still have to see them all, flop or not!!

Top movie flops of 2011 (so far)
LOS ANGELES – It’s been a rough six months for Hollywood, which turned out a string of disappointments at the domestic box office.
Some hurt more than others, depending upon their production budgets and marketing spends. The following list doesn’t account for how much was spent on marketing, since studios hold those figures closed to their chests, but we’re talking many, many millions.
Robert Zemeckis’ motion-capture pic was one of the most expensive bombs in Hollywood history, costing at least $150 million to produce and grossing $21.4 million at the domestic box office. Overseas, it didn’t do much better, grossing $17.6 million for a total $39 million.
The raunchy comedy, set in medieval times, didn’t go over well with audiences, even if it starred newly anointed Oscar winner Natalie Portman (along with James Franco and Danny McBride). Costing $50 million to produce, the film earned $21.6 million domestically and a paltry $3 million overseas.
The remake of the classic Dudley Moore comedy failed to rustle up many laughs, topping out at $33 million domestically. Starring Russell Brand, Helen Mirren and Jennifer Garner, “Arthur” did even less overseas, earning $12.7 million for a global total of $45.7 million. The production budget was reportedly $40 million.
“Prom,” earning a mere $10.1 million at the domestic box office, was the first movie greenlit by newly installed Disney chairman Rich Ross to hit theaters. It’s the lowest grossing studio film of the year so far, but luckily for Ross, “Prom” cost only $8 million to produce.
The producers of “Precious” were hoping to launch a new film franchise based on the popular kids book series. But the $20 million film, distributed by Relativity Media in the U.S., has grossed just $13.4 million to date.
Costing at least $200 million to produce, “Green Lantern” needed to do a big number worldwide to be financially solid (think $500 million plus). Now, it seems the Ryan Reynolds superhero pic will top out at roughly $250 million or $260 million worldwide. It didn’t help that the movie was bashed by critics.
The supernatural action film, based on the Korean graphic novel, was the most expensive movie ever made by Screen Gems, costing $60 million to produce. It earned $29.1 million domestically, but made up some ground overseas, where it earned $46 million.
Zack Snyder’s female action-fantasy couldn’t find its groove, grossing $36.4 million domestically and $53.4 million overseas for a worldwide total of $89.8 million. The movie, which cost roughly $82 million to produce, came in No. 2 on its opening weekend behind “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.”
The first “Hoodwinked!” was a sleeper hit at the worldwide box office, grossing $51.4 million domestically and $58.6 million internationally. The sequel, however, came and went quickly, earning only $10 million in North America and $3.6 million overseas. Its production budget was a reported $30 million.
There was heat around actor/director Jodie Foster’s high-profile movie for months, but it quickly disappeared at the domestic box office, grossing less than $1 million. Many saw it as a referendum on Mel Gibson, who stars in the $20 million film.

You can say what you want, Charlize, but I am going to keep asking!!!

Theron: ‘I won’t get married’
Charlize Theron is convinced she will never walk down the aisle, despite campaigning for same-sex couples to have the right to marry.
The South African star, who lives in the U.S., has long claimed she will not wed until marriages between gay partners is made legal in all American states.
But when quizzed during a candid chat with CNN’s Piers Morgan over whether she wants to get married, the Oscar-winning beauty insisted she has no urge to become a bride.
And the star – whose mother shot and killed her father in self-defence when he attacked her – is adamant her parents’ bad marriage is not the reason she is so against the tradition.
She says, “It’s (marriage) a divine right and when (the) government starts to tell us who can love and what is good love, whether government or a government built on a certain religion, I do have a problem with that… I do have a problem with the fact that our government hasn’t stepped up enough to make this federal, to make this legal.
“I’ll be the first to say, here on your show, marriage – before I felt this way about this issue – was never something that was important to me. I don’t know the exact reason for that, some would say it’s because I came from a very troubled marriage, my parents didn’t have a good marriage. But I don’t think it’s that, I know a lot of friends who come from divorced parents or bad marriages who don’t feel that way. I really want for myself a long-term relationship and I have been in long-term relationships… That’s the kind of union that I want. The actual ceremony is not something that is important to me – but I see the importance for other people.
“I don’t (see myself getting married). When you’re in a partnership with someone, you have to respect the way that person feels… I treat my relationships as marriage, I really do.”
The actress split from Stuart Townsend last year after almost a decade together.

It remains my favourite of the LAW & ORDER shows!!

‘Law and Order: Criminal Intent’: Is series finale the end for Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe?
Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe, as detectives Robert Goren and Alexandra Eames, solve their last crime together Sunday (June 26) — or the last one we’ll see as viewers — when the the “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” series finale airs.
D’Onofrio and Erbe returned for the show’s 10th and final season, after sitting out season nine. Juli Ormond also signed on for season 10, playing the police psychiatrist of which D’Onofrio’s character, Goren, was in dire need.
In the finale, the story is ripped from the headlines. We won’t get into specifics, but let’s just say if you saw “The Social Network,” you won’t have any trouble following the action. The story is helped along by James Van Der Beek, who guest stars as a cocky businessman who mainly holds court in night clubs surrounded by what appear to be paid escorts. 
And, who knows, the show may have some life left in it yet. 
“I know that I would be there in a heartbeat,” Erbe tells when asked if she’d re-up for an 11th season. “I’m fairly positive that Vincent feels the same way. Everyone was really hoping that, in the 11th hour, we’d get some word. Whether the fans are able to muscle us back or not, who knows. They have amazing power.”
“Law and Order: Criminal Intent” airs Sunday (June 26) at 9 p.m. ET.

I was going to go and see the X-MEN movie, but I ran out of time.

‘X-Men’ mutants weaken with $56M prequel debut
LOS ANGELES – Young X-Men don’t have the same box-office superpowers as their older selves.
“X-Men: First Class” had a solid No. 1 opening with a $56 million weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
But the 20th Century Fox prequel chronicling the formative years of the comic-book mutants found smaller audiences than the franchise’s first four big-screen adventures, which featured older versions of the X-Men.
Debut weekends for the last three “X-Men” flicks ranged from $85.1 million to $102.8 million. The original “X-Men” opened 11 years ago with $54.5 million, but that would amount to about $80 million today adjusting for ticket-price inflation.
Fox distribution executive Chris Aronson said the studio achieved its goal of opening the prequel at about the same revenue numbers as the original “X-Men.”
“This is just an excellent start in launching a brand new chapter of the `X-Men’ franchise,” said Aronson, dismissing comparisons to the $85.1 million debut of Hugh Jackman’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in 2009.
“You can’t compare this one to any of the other `X-Men’ movies, except maybe” the first one, Aronson said. “Something like `Wolverine’ is a totally unfair comparison because that had a bonafide worldwide star in Hugh Jackman and arguably the most popular character in the `X-Men’ stable.”
The prequel presents a rising cast of new talent rather than the established stars of the franchise’s previous chapters.
“X-Men: First Class” features James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Marvel Comics mutants Professor X and Magneto, roles originated by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the characters’ older years.
The prequel follows their first meeting, early alliance and eventual falling out as they take opposite approaches in their dealings with ordinary humans fearful of the superpowered mutants.
The movie added $64 million from 74 overseas markets for a worldwide total of $120 million.
The previous weekend’s top movie, the Warner Bros. sequel “The Hangover Part II,” fell to second-place with $32.4 million. That raised its domestic total to $186.9 million but represented a steep 62 percent drop from its huge opening weekend.
Still, with overall receipts rising for the fourth-straight weekend, Hollywood continued on a summer box-office tear that has helped studios recover from a dismal first quarter.
Domestic revenues totaled $164 million, up 27 percent from the same weekend a year ago, when “Shrek Forever After” was No. 1 with $25.5 million, according to box-office tracker
“We’re definitely on a roll compared to the first quarter, when we were so used to having one down weekend after another,” said analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
Hollywood continued to close the gap between revenues this year and last year. Receipts through Sunday totaled $4.2 billion, off 7 percent compared to 2010’s.
Earlier this year, revenues had been down by more than 20 percent as a weak lineup failed to live up to 2010’s big winter releases.
DreamWorks Animation and Paramount’s sequel “Kung Fu Panda 2” slipped from second- to third-place in its second weekend with $24.3 million. The animated adventure raised its domestic total to $100.4 million.
Also crossing the $100 million mark was Universal’s comedy “Bridesmaids,” which held up well in its fourth weekend with $12.1 million. That lifted its domestic haul to $107.3 million.
The year’s top-grossing film domestically, Universal’s action sequel “Fast Five,” pulled in $3.2 million and crept past the $200 million mark.
But Disney’s sequel “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is closing in, grossing $18 million to raise its domestic take to $190.3 million.
Both movies have done far more business overseas, with the latest “Pirates” installment now at a worldwide total of $790.7 million and “Fast Five” climbing to $568.6 million globally.
Here are the estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final figures will be released Monday.
1. “X-Men: First Class,” $56 million.
2. “The Hangover Part II,” $32.4 million.
3. “Kung Fu Panda 2,” $24.3 million.
4. “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” $18 million.
5. “Bridesmaids,” $12.1 million.
6. “Thor,” $4.2 million.
7. “Fast Five,” $3.2 million.
8. “Midnight in Paris,” $2.9 million.
9. “Jumping the Broom,” $865,000.
10. “Something Borrowed,” $835,000.