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SHAZAM! is only great a few times. Most of it is barely very good. It’s also waaaay too long. I was even bored a few times. Bottom line, I liked it and hope they make another one. SHAZAM!!!

Shazam! scores a win for DC at box office with $53.5 million opening

In addition to their crop of better-known superheroes, it seems DC now only need say the words “Shazam” to produce results at the box office.

The Zachary Levi-led superhero film easily strutted its way to the top of the box office this weekend, taking in an estimated $53.5 million across 4,217 cinemas. It’s not record-breaking on the scale of many comic book adaptations, but it’s a solid opening that suggests franchise potential for the property. Shazam! marks the seventh film in the DC Extended Universe and the second consecutive box office victory for DC after the success of Aquaman this winter.

Another new release, an update of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary scared up second place receipts with an estimated take of $25 million across 3,585 theaters, while Tim Burton’s Dumbo fell a dismaying 60 percent in its second weekend to a less-than-stellar $18.2 million across 4,259 theaters to land in the third place spot.

Shazam! is a win all-around for DC and New Line, taking in an estimated cumulative total of $56.8 once sneak preview sales are included. The film follows streetwise 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who gains the power to turn into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi) by simply shouting out “Shazam!” — a superhero origin story that comes courtesy of an ancient wizard. Mark Strong, Djimon Hounsou, Adam Brody, and Ron Cephas Jones also star in the David F. Sandberg directed movie.

Though DC films often do well at the box office, they frequently are not critically well-received, but Shazam! stands in contrast to that with some of the comic book studios best reviews ever (not to mention a solid A CinemaScore from audiences). The candy-colored kid-friendly movie is also doing well overseas, taking in an estimated $102 million for a global opening total of $156.8 million. It also marks a win for star Zachary Levi — it’s his highest ever debut, excepting Thor: The Dark World in which he plays a minor supporting role, suggesting that he now has some leading man bankable power behind him.

A remake of the 1989 film of the same name, both based on the novel by Stephen King, another new release Pet Sematary takes second place with $25 million. It’s the second-highest opening for a Stephen King adaptation behind the monster success of 2017’s It.

Jason Clarke stars as Dr. Louis Creed who relocates his family, including wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and two children), to rural Maine. Near their new home, he discovers a mysterious burial ground with disturbing properties. John Lithgow, Jete Laurence, Hugo Lavoie & Lucas Lavoie also star in the film, co-directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer.

The weekend’s other new release The Best of Enemies did not fare as well, taking in a soft estimated $4.5 million across 1,705 locations. Based on a true story, the film delves into the surprising relationship between outspoken civil rights activist Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson) and local KKK leader, C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell). It marks Rockwell’s first big-screen role since his Oscar-nominated performance as George W. Bush in last year’s Vice and comes just days before his new TV series, Fosse/Verdon premieres on FX, in which he stars as Bob Fosse.

Also starring Wes Bentley, Anne Heche, Nick Searcy, Bruce McGill, John Gallagher Jr., the film marks the writing and directing debut of The Hunger Games producer Robin Bissell. It earned a solid A CinemaScore but was less favorable with critics.

The 2019 box office’s biggest stars, Captain Marvel and Jordan Peele’s Us, round out the top five for the weekend. Horror film Us takes fourth place behind Dumbo in its third weekend, adding an estimated $13.8 million to its domestic total of $153.4 million. Combined with its international totals this weekend, the film has now crossed the $200 million mark worldwide.

Speaking of crossing box office milestones, Captain Marvel flew to new heights in its fifth weekend out, crossing the one billion dollar mark worldwide earlier this week. It became the seventh Marvel Cinematic Universe film to do so. Its estimated $12.7 million take this weekend places it squarely in fifth place in its fifth weekend in a nice bit of symmetry. The Marvel juggernaut is now at $1,037.6 million worldwide and counting.

Overall box office is down 16.1 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. Check out the April 5-7 numbers below.

1. Shazam!— $53.5 million
2. Pet Sematary— $25 million
3. Dumbo— $18.2 million
4. Us— $13.8 million
5. Captain Marvel— $12.7 million
6. The Best of Enemies— $4.5 million
7. Five Feet Apart— $3.7 million
8. Unplanned— $3.2 million
9. Wonder Park— $2 million
10. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World— $2 million

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They are great, and even better together. See their show, either on Netflix or in person. You won’t regret it!!

‘We’re like the Stones’: Steve Martin and Martin Short talk about life on the road

Over the years, every time Steve Martin and Martin Short have got together it has been nothing but fun times.

So when the comedy greats were asked to interview one another onstage at the 2011 Just for Laughs fest in Chicago, it was an automatic yes.

And as it turns out, it was the beginning of a stage show that has morphed over the years into a touring act — dubbed An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life — that finds the duo riffing on showbiz, singing songs, performing stand-up and roasting one another. Their routine, which stops at Toronto’s Sony Centre this Friday and Saturday, was turned into a Netflix special in 2018.

“It went really well,” Short, 63, recalls during a joint interview with Martin. “But more importantly, we had great fun doing it. We went out for dinner the night before and then we had a great dinner afterwards. Then we were asked to do it again and we agreed.”

The SCTV veteran and Saturday Night Live alum liked structure, but wanted to do something more. “So the show has evolved,” the Hamilton-born comic adds.

The friendship goes back nearly 33 years to when they first starred together alongside Chevy Chase in the 1986 comedy ¡Three Amigos! Their cinematic partnership continued in two Father of the Bride films and the 1998 animated feature The Prince of Egypt.

“I find whenever I become friends with someone it’s because they’re really funny or really smart. Marty was… funny,” Martin, 73, jokes.

Calling from New York and Los Angeles respectively, Martin and Short bantered about stardom and life on the road.

The tour, Now You See Them, Soon You Won’t — it’s music, it’s stand-up, it’s you two onstage having conversations — what can people expect when you bring it to Toronto next week?

Martin: Exactly what you said. Marty and I love doing our show and after the Netflix special, which was last March, we really started working on new material in earnest. There’s a lot of growing pains when you’re working out new material, but now we’re just in the swing of things and we love it.

What is life like for you guys on the road?

Martin: It’s pretty easy. We travel first class and stay at nice hotels. We have a little room service before the show, then we laugh for the rest of night. Sometimes we spend the night and sometimes we fly out right afterwards. It’s really, really nice.

Short: And there’s always a nice dinner.

Do you have any guilty pleasures on the road?

Martin: Poached eggs on toast.

Short: You can’t really call them guilty pleasures, but when we get on the plane, sometimes I have a big bag of M&M’s.

Martin: We’re like the [Rolling] Stones except if you take away all the drugs and the women and the youth. Take out the drugs and the women and add Advil.

Short: And a game of cribbage… we play cribbage after the show.

What’s your favourite thing to do in Toronto?

Short: Well, as you know, that’s one of my hometowns and I have a son and daughter-in-law that live there so I hang out with them. Usually before I make my way to Muskoka.

Martin: I’ve always loved Toronto. I went there early on in my life at like age 22 and I always loved walking along Bloor St. or walking up and down Yonge St. By the way, when I went there a lot it was during the hippie days, so Toronto was really alive with a lot of energy and pop.

You first worked together over 30 years ago on ¡Three Amigos! What was your first impression of one another?

Short: I really liked Steve. We immediately hit it off and made each other laugh. I think the thing that you hone in on sooner than you even think is: does this person have a basic decency to them and are they kind? Those things were apparent right away. From there, we kept building as friends.

Martin: It was a fast friendship. I think banter in a marriage might not be a good thing. If you were always cracking jokes or playfully teasing or putting each other down, that might not work. But in friendship, that’s a good thing. We know how to kid and it just seems to work.

What did you think about each other’s comedic chops way back when, before you ever met?

Short: I didn’t meet Steve until 1985 and by that time he was a legend of the stage and stand-up and he was movie star. I was well aware of who he was. I had bought his (comedy) albums and I had read his books, so I knew who he was and it was thrilling to meet Steve.

Martin: I always viewed SCTV, where Marty got his start, as the home of some really incredibly talented people. These were comics who could do a million impressions and voices and they were really, really funny. I viewed myself as a kind of one-note Johnny. I was actually worried that he might not have respect for me and might not like me. Luckily, that was short-lived.

Steve, what’s your favourite thing from Marty, and Marty what’s your favourite thing Steve has done?

Martin: You know, there’s a couple of specials Marty did, one is from the ’90s on HBO and it’s called I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood. There were some fun, far-out sketches. But I really get a kick of watching him onstage at our show. When he’s onstage and I’m watching from the wings, I just sit and enjoy what he’s doing.

Short: With Steve, I could say The Jerk or Roxanne, but the reality is I kind of agree with what Steve just said. There are very few things that allow a performer to do everything under one umbrella. That’s a lot of what happens in our show. You can’t talk about Steve without the musicianship or the comedy or broadness of Steve. So I’m going to say, the Steve in this show is my favourite Steve.

Marty, do you break out any of your old SCTV characters for this show?

Short: There’s a new variation on a character I’ve done, but not Ed Grimley or Jackie Rogers Jr. or any of those guys.

What do you like best about one another?

Martin: We just have fun together. But our friendship onstage is kind of fake. Our friendship offstage is real, but onstage we kid around and say things we might not in real life.

Short: It’s like any friendship, except we’re more public. Anybody who has a close friend will understand.

Steve, you haven’t been in a movie since 2011’s The Big Year. Are we going to see you on the big screen anytime soon?

Martin: I’m retired from movies. …. I’m not actively pursuing movies and they don’t actively pursue me.

So you’re saying people aren’t coming to you with scripts anymore?

Martin: Well, I do have a life. Things are going on (laughs). I actually kind of shut down conversations about it pretty early on … I still get requests every once in awhile, but I’m not pursing it and I tell my agents not to pursue it.

So just to be clear, we’re not getting a Father of the Bride 3 then?

Martin: Alright fine, we’ll do it.

Short: Wow, that was a short retirement (laughs).

You’ve both been in show business for over four decades. Do you have a motto?

Short: My father always used to say, ‘At the end of the day, Martin, you do the decent thing.’ I think that’s a nice sentiment.

Martin: I’m curious Marty, with that motto, why you don’t?

Short: Because I never really trusted my father.

What’s the best advice you ever got?

Martin: You’ll think I’m joking, but I’m not. When I first started in show business and I was doing my act onstage, I didn’t know how to dress. I didn’t know what to wear. So I asked this guy, his name was Fats Johnson, and he did have a pretty funny folk music act. He always wore a puffy white shirt, a nice jacket and had diamond rings on his fingers. I said, ‘Fats, what’s your advice for how I should look onstage?’ And he told me: ‘Always look better than they do.’

Short: I guess, just from watching other people on television, the best advice I ever got was: More is more.

What is an ideal Sunday for both of you?

Martin: Marty, do you go to the earliest mass or the later one? I wake up and I go to the gym. Then I have a nice lunch out and then my wife, my child and I go to a really nice restaurant and we have dinner. Just the three of us. I love Sundays.

Short: I wake up and I … you know, we’re in show business. We don’t really work. Every day is like Sunday to me.

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He seems content to fade away…currently only doing mediocre work and producing mediocre projects…and that’s his choice. I hope he gives us one more classic one day!!

ALL RIGHTY THEN! Jim Carrey says he won’t bring back old characters

Jim Carrey has abandoned plans to revive any more of his most famous comedy characters, insisting he has no interest in revisiting the past.

The funnyman reprised Ace Ventura and Lloyd Christmas for the sequels Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and Dumb & Dumber To, but he has assured fans there won’t be anymore film follow-ups.

“I’m bringing nothing back,” Carrey told Entertainment Tonight at Las Vegas’ CinemaCon, where he helped movie bosses promote the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog film on Thursday. “I’m moving forward.”

There has been talk of Carrey revisiting The Mask and pet detective Ace Ventura one more time, but he insists he’s not interested.

“You get a lot of pressure from people you know to bring things back and stuff, and then you do and they go, ‘OK, I just wanted you to do something’.”

Carrey has also stripped back his acting roles in recent years to focus on his work as an artist, but he’s slowly picking up new projects, like acclaimed TV series Kidding and the live-action Sonic the Hedgehog, based on the popular Sega video game franchise.

He’ll portray villain Dr. Ivo Robotnik in the movie, which is set for release in November.

“I’m always animated, OK?” Carrey jokes about his new role, “so there’s really very little difference between that and real life for me.”

Meanwhile, he might not be interested in revisiting any of his old movie characters, but Jim is keen to bring back 1990s sketch comedy series In Living Color, where he landed his big break alongside stars like Jamie Foxx, David Alan Grier and Marlon and Shawn Wayans.

“That show really needs to happen! That show needs to exist,” Carrey told ET. “Especially now, man. There’s so much to eat up and spit out, so I’d love to see it reconstitute itself in another form.”

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I’m sure I’ll see DUMBO one day, but I’m in no rush. No rush at all.

Dumbo takes off with a soft $45 million, topping the box office

Disney and Tim Burton’s Dumbo isn’t exactly soaring, but it’ll have enough lift to reach the top of the box office on its opening weekend.

The live-action update of the beloved 1941 animated film is on track to sell an estimated $45 million in tickets at 4,259 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday, unseating Jordan Peele’s horror hit Us ($33.6 million). Dumbo’s muted opening comes in below industry projections, which were in the $50 million to $58 million range, while also falling short of previous live-action Disney re-imaginings like Beauty and the Beast ($174.8 million), The Jungle Book ($103.3 million), Maleficent ($69.4 million), and Cinderella ($67.9 million).

Directed by Burton and made for an estimated $170 million, Dumbo has garnered mixed reviews from movie critics, while audiences gave it an A-minus CinemaScore. Expanding upon the original film’s heartwarming story of a baby elephant who becomes a circus star thanks to his big, floppy ears, the new version stars Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, and Eva Green.

Disney will also be unveiling live-action updates of Aladdin and The Lion King later this year.

In second place, Peele and Universal’s Us is holding steady in its sophomore weekend, with a decline of about 53 percent from its stellar debut. After 10 days in theaters, its domestic total sits at an estimated $128.2 million. The film will add about $22.6 million overseas this weekend, bringing its worldwide haul to about $174.5 million.

A critical hit, Us stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Evan Alex as a family who come face-to-face with their freaky doppelgängers.

Rounding out the top five this weekend are Disney and Marvel’s latest superhero hit, Captain Marvel, with an estimated $20.5 million; CBS Films and Lionsgate’s teen romantic drama Five Feet Apart, with an estimated $6.3 million; and Pure Flix’s anti-abortion drama Unplanned, with an estimated $6.1 million.

Elsewhere, Neon and Harmony Korine’s stoner comedy The Beach Bum is flopping with a debut of about $1.8 million at 1,100 theaters (a per-screen average of about $1,636). That figure marks a career-worst opening for Matthew McConaughey, who plays the title role. The film also stars Isla Fisher, Snoop Dogg, and Zac Efron.

Overall box office is down 16.3 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. Check out the March 29-31 numbers below.

1. Dumbo — $45 million
2. Us — $33.6 million
3. Captain Marvel — $20.5 million
4. Five Feet Apart — $6.3 million
5. Unplanned — $6.1 million
6. Wonder Park — $4.9 million
7. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World — $4.2 million
8. Hotel Mumbai — $3.2 million
9. A Madea Family Funeral — $2.7 million
10. The Beach Bum — $1.8 million

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The age old phrase is “The Show MUST Go On”. No matter what, The Show MUST Go On!!! I absolutely despise it when this happens, whether I have tickets or not.

Rolling Stones postpone tour so Mick Jagger can get medical treatment

The Rolling Stones are postponing their latest tour, which included one stop in Canada, so lead vocalist Mick Jagger can get “medical treatment.”

The legendary rock band, known for classics such as Satisfaction and You Can’t Always Get What You Want, announced Saturday that Jagger, 75, was informed by doctors “he cannot go on tour at this time, as he needs medical treatment,” but that his prognosis is good.

“The doctors have advised Mick that he is expected to make a complete recovery so that he can get back on stage as soon as possible,” the statement said.

The source of Jagger’s illness remains a mystery, with no other details given.

The group was supposed to kick off its No Filter Tour in Miami, Fla. on April 20 and was slated to perform at one Canadian location along the way: Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, Ont., on June 29.

Jagger told Canadian and American fans he’s “so sorry.”

“I’m devastated for having to postpone the tour but I will be working very hard to be back on stage as soon as I can,” he tweeted.”

Ticketholders are being advised to keep their existing tickets, which will still be valid for rescheduled dates.

The Stones says those dates “will be announced shortly.”

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They need to stop inducting people for at least five years and that will re-fresh the list of people who are eligible. They’re about to run out of quality groups and will being inducting bands like Counting Crows and Everclear. Not everyone who has a hit single should get in.

Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks call for more women at Rock Hall of Fame induction

Stevie Nicks, who became the first woman inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Janet Jackson, the latest member of the Jackson clan to enter the hall, called for other women to join them in music immortality on a night they were honoured with five all-male British bands.

Jackson issued her challenge just before leaving the stage of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” she said, “in 2020, induct more women.”

Neither Jackson or Nicks were around at the end of the evening when another Brit, Ian Hunter, led an all-star jam at the end to All the Young Dudes. The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs was the only woman onstage.

During the five-hour ceremony, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music thanked multiple bass players and album cover designers, the Cure’s Robert Smith proudly wore his mascara and red lipstick a month shy of his 60th birthday and two of Radiohead’s five members showed up for trophies.

During Def Leppard’s induction, Rick Allen was moved to tears by the audience’s standing ovation when singer Joe Elliott recalled the drummer’s perseverance following a 1985 accident that cost him an arm.

Jackson followed her brothers Michael and the Jackson 5 as inductees. She said she wanted to go to college and become a lawyer growing up, but her late father Joe had other ideas for her.

“As the youngest in my family, I was determined to make it on my own,” she said. “I was determined to stand on my own two feet. But never in a million years did I expect to follow in their footsteps.”

She encouraged Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, producers of her breakthrough “Control” album and most of her vast catalog, to stand in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for recognition, as well as booster Questlove. She thanked Dick Clark of “American Bandstand” and Don Cornelius of “Soul Train,” along with her choreographers including Paula Abdul.

There was some potential for awkward vibes Friday, since the event was being filmed to air on HBO on April 27. HBO angered the Jackson family this winter for showing the documentary Leaving Neverland, about two men who alleged Michael Jackson abused them when they were boys. Jackson never mentioned Michael specifically in her remarks but thanked her brothers, and he was shown on screen with the rest of the family.

Jackson was inducted by an enthusiastic Janelle Monae, whose black hat and black leather recalled some of her hero’s past stage looks. She said Jackson had been her phone’s screen-saver for years as a reminder to be focused and fearless in how she approached art.

Nicks was the night’s first induction. She is already a member of the hall as a member of Fleetwood Mac, but only the first woman to join 22 men — including all four Beatles members — to have been honoured twice by the rock hall for the different stages of their career.

Nicks offered women a blueprint for success, telling them her trepidation in first recording a solo album while a member of Fleetwood Mac and encouraging others to match her feat.

“I know there is somebody out there who will be able to do it,” she said, promising to talk often of how she built her solo career. “What I am doing is opening up the door for other women.”

During her four-song set, she brought onstage a cape she bought in 1983 to prove to her “very frugal” late mother that it was still in good shape, and worth its $3,000 US price tag. Don Henley joined her to sing Leather and Lace, while Harry Styles filled in for the late Tom Petty on Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.

David Byrne inducted Radiohead, noting he was flattered the band named itself after one of his songs. He said their album Kid A was the one that really hooked him, and he was impressed Radiohead could be experimental in both their music and how they conduct business.

“They’re creative and smart in both areas, which was kind of a rare combination for artists, not just now but anytime,” he said.

With only drummer Philip Selway and guitarist Ed O’Brien on hand, Radiohead didn’t perform; there was a question of whether any of them would show up given the group’s past ambivalence about the hall. But both men spoke highly of the honour.

“This is such a beautifully surreal evening for us,” said O’Brien. “It’s a big (expletive) deal and it feels like it … I wish the others could be here because they would be feeling it.”

The Cure’s Smith has been a constant in a band of shifting personnel, and he stood onstage for induction Friday with 11 past and current members. Despite their goth look, the Cure has a legacy of pop hits, and performed three of them at Barclays, Lovesong, Just Like Heaven and Boys Don’t Cry.

Visibly nervous, Smith called his induction a “very nice surprise” and shyly acknowledged the crowd’s cheers.

“It’s been a fantastic thing, it really has,” he said. “We love you, too.”

His inductee, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, recalled ridiculing the rock hall in past years because he couldn’t believe the Cure wasn’t in. When he got the call that the band was in, he said “I was never so happy eating my words as I was that day.”

Def Leppard sold tons of records, back when musicians used to do that, with a heavy metal sound sheened to pop perfection on songs like Photograph and Pour Some Sugar on Me. They performed them in a set that climaxed the annual ceremony.

Singer Joe Elliott stressed the band’s working-class roots, thanking his parents and recalling how his father gave them 150 pounds to make their first recording in 1978.

Besides Allen’s accident, the band survived the 1991 death of guitarist Steve Clark. Elliott said there always seemed to be a looming sense of tragedy around the corner for the band, but “we wouldn’t let it in.”

“If alcoholism, car crashes and cancer couldn’t kill us, the ’90s had no (expletive) chance,” said Elliott, referring to his band mates as the closest thing to brothers that an only child could have.

Roxy Music, led by the stylish Ferry, performed a five-song set that included hits Love is the Drug, More Than This and Avalon. (Brian Eno didn’t show for the event).

Simon LeBon and John Taylor of Duran Duran inducted them, with Taylor saying that hearing Roxy Music in concert at age 14 showed him what he wanted to do with his life.

“Without Roxy Music, there really would be no Duran Duran,” he said.

The soft-spoken Ferry thanked everyone from a succession of bass players to album cover designers. “We’d like to thank everyone for this unexpected honour,” he said.

The Zombies, from rock ‘n’ roll’s original British invasion, were the veterans of the night. They made it despite being passed over in the past, but were gracious in their thanks of the rock hall. They performed hits Time of the Season, Tell Her No and She’s Not There.

Zombies lead singer Rod Argent noted that the group had been eligible for the hall for 30 years but the honour had eluded them.

“To have finally passed the winning post this time — fantastic!”

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I saw US and while it was good, even great occasionally, but I didn’t really like it.

Jordan Peele’s Us scares up biggest opening weekend for original horror movie

The opening box office for Jordan Peele’s Us is anything but scary.

The comedian turned auteur proved his power at the box office, following up his 2017 directorial debut Get Out with an even bigger opening. The horror film debuted to an impressive estimated haul of $70.3 million in ticket sales at 3,741 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday. It marks the best opening ever for an original horror title and the third biggest horror opening of all-time behind the 2017 It remake ($123.4 million) and last year’s Halloween sequel ($76.2 million).

Holdovers rounded out the top three with Captain Marvel continuing to stay strong in its third week, taking in an estimated $35 million across 4,278 theaters. Third place goes to animated family flick Wonder Park with an estimated $9 million in ticket sales across 3,838 theaters.

Us marks Jordan Peele’s second outing as a director and he is proving to be a massive force at the box office. The film stars Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson, a young mother who returns to her seaside home alongside her husband (Winston Duke) and two children. Things get scary when they find themselves facing off against their terrifying doppelgängers.

Already making records at the box office, Us blew past the $33.4 million opening of Peele’s directorial debut Get Out. That cultural phenomenon went on to gross $176 million domestically and $254.4 million globally, as well as proving to be a major force of social commentary and garnering Peele an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Get Out massively profited on top of its tiny budget, and Us is looking to do the same, raking in an estimated $16.7 million abroad, leading to a total opening debut of $87 million, which easily blows past the film’s reported $20 million production budget.

If that’s not enough, Us also becomes the biggest debut for an R-rated original title ahead of 2012’s Ted, which opened to $54.4 million. It also marks the second biggest debut of 2019 behind the global juggernaut that is Captain Marvel.

Speaking of Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel continues to etch her place in her-story with a $35 million domestic total its third weekend out. The Brie Larson-led superhero film officially passed $900 million at the global box office this weekend bringing its cumulative total to $910.3 million. The film is now the 10th highest grossing superhero film of all-time (not adjusted for inflation). Larson will return as the titular character in April’s Avengers: Endgame, for what’s sure to be another box office beast.

Controversy-plagued Wonder Park takes third place with its estimated total of $9 million in its second weekend across 3,838 screens. This brings its cumulative total to $29.5 million, still falling far below its estimated $100 million production budget. The animated family film tells the story of a young girl named June and her imaginative amusement park that comes to life. Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, Jeffrey Tambor, Kenan Thompson, Norbert Leo Butz, Ken Jeong, and John Oliver lend their vocal talents to the project, which suffered a setback in Jan. 2018 when director Dylan Brown was fired for “inappropriate and unwanted conduct.”

No other new releases this weekend made the top 10. Teen drama Five Feet Apart takes fourth place, showing remarkable staying power in its second week, falling only 34% from its debut last weekend. The Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson-led film took in an estimated $8.8 million at the box office across 2,866 screens. Impressively, this tale of love between two cystic fibrosis patients scored fourth place with almost more than 1,000 screens less than third place finisher Wonder Park. Alongside A Madea Family Funeral and No Manches Frida 2, Five Feet Apart helps Lionsgate keep three films in the top ten for the second week running.

Franchise success story How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World rounds out the top five with an estimated $6.5 million across 3,347 screens in its fifth weekend. Its worldwide total is now $488.1 million, placing it just below the $494.9 million total worldwide gross of the original How to Train Your Dragon film.

A24’s Gloria Bell cracked the top ten for the first time in its third week in theaters, expanding its locations from 39 to 654 theaters for a total of $1.8 million, good for seventh place. The film is earning raves for leading lady Julianne Moore, who stars as the titular free-spirited divorcée who finds fulfillment in letting loose on late night dance floors.

Overall box office is down 17 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore, a number that’s steadily improving with the help of Captain Marvel and now Us. Check out the March 22-24 numbers below.

1. Us— $70.3 million
2. Captain Marvel— $35 million
3. Wonder Park— $9 million
4. Five Feet Apart— $8.8 million
5. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World— $6.5 million
6. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral— $4.5 million
7. Gloria Bell— $1.8 million
8. No Manches Frida 2— $1.8 million
9. Lego Movie 2: The Second Part— $1.1 million
10. Alita: Battle Angel— $1 million

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A true legend. May he rest in peace.

Dick Dale, pioneer of the surf guitar, dies at 81

Nearly 60 years ago, surfers flocked to the waves along Newport Beach to try mastering the new craze. When the sun set, they needed someplace to dance and Dick Dale delivered it at Rendezvous Ballroom on the Balboa Peninsula. Nearly every week for two years, Dale and his band packed over 3,000 people into the ballroom.

“The energy between the Del-Tones and all those surfers stomping on the hardwood floor in their sandals was extremely intense. The tone of Dale’s guitar was bigger than any I had ever heard,” recalled Del-Tones bandmate Paul Johnson.

Dale, whose death was confirmed Sunday, manifested a quintessentially Southern California story, forged in surf, sand and rock ’n’ roll. They called him the Pied Piper of Balboa Beach, but his musical instrument of choice was defiantly not a flute. Rather, the electric-guitar playing son of a Lebanese father melded elements of the music of his ancestral homeland with roaring instrumental rock sounds emerging in the late-1950s, and helped pioneer an iconic American genre known as surf music.

“When I got that feeling from surfing,’” he told the writer Barney Hoskyns, “‘the whitewater coming over my head was the high notes going dikidikidiki, and then the dungundungun on the bottom was the waves, and I started double-picking faster and faster, like a locomotive, to feel the power of the waves.”

Those rushing guitar lines energized generations across the Southland and reverberated around the world.

Dale, who was 81, died Saturday after a long bout with rectal cancer, longtime friend and former bassist Steve Soest said Sunday.

That guitar tone arrived via a blindingly fast picking technique, one of the centerpiece elements of his breakthrough hits “Let’s Go Trippin’” in 1961 and “Misirlou” the following year, that caused guitar picks to melt in his hand. A few decades later, director Quentin Tarantino tapped “Misirlou” to serve as the theme to “Pulp Fiction.”

The sound featured a liberal use of electronic reverb with his signature Fender Stratocaster guitar, cranked to wall-rattling volume through juiced up Fender amplifiers. Other rock instrumentalists charted wordless hits before Dale came to the fore in the early days of the electric guitar, among them Link Wray’s “Rumble” and Duane Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser,” but Dale helped push surf music into the mainstream through those high-energy performances, supplying a sound that paired perfectly with that growing surf craze.

It began as a regional phenomenon in Southern California and soon spread around the world influencing the likes of the Beatles and Rolling Stones in England, and a high-school aged Canadian named Neil Young long before he found fame. According to Hoskyns’ “Waiting for the Sun,” a young Jimi Hendrix was said to have seen Dale and his band play. Echoes of Dale’s fiery guitar runs and showmanship can be heard in Hendrix’s style.

Dale was born Richard Anthony Monsour May 4, 1937, in Boston to a father who had emigrated from Lebanon and a mother who was Polish Belarusian. Growing up in a Lebanese neighborhood in Quincy, Mass., outside of Boston, exposed him to the sounds of Arabic music, which became a signature of his musical amalgam.

His musical training started with his childhood interest in piano. Early on, he studied trumpet and also acquired a ukulele before eventually picking up a guitar and trying his best to emulate one of his heroes, country music titan Hank Williams. A friend suggested he call himself “Dick Dale,” rather than Richard Monsour, because it sounded more fitting for a would-be country singer.

The Monsour family moved to Southern California in 1954, when his father landed a job at Hughes Aircraft Co. in El Segundo, near the beach. Dale became a regular at the weekly live country music television show “Town Hall Party.”

“I wanted to be a cowboy singer, so I went on ‘Town Hall Party’ and entered their talent contest every week,” he told the Glendale News-Press in 2015. “And I did, every week.”

The confluence of Dale’s ethnic heritage and newfound geographic proximity to the beach and to the flourishing factory in Fullerton, Calif., where electric guitar innovator Leo Fender worked, all blended into the music Dale would soon bring to listeners.

“Misirlou” represented a cross-cultural blend, coupling minor key motifs and Middle Eastern musical scale with pounding drums and throbbing bass, all fueling Dale’s stinging “wet” electric guitar pyrotechnics. A section of the song featuring trumpet also brought in an element of the mariachi music that was prevalent around Southern California.

In interviews he would often overstate his role in the development of Fender products, but he was an important early adopter of instruments and amplifiers that would change the sound and content of popular music beginning in the 1950s. Dale liked to consider himself one of Fender’s favorite guinea pigs, and he did push guitars and amplifiers to the limits in his live performances.

“Playing guitar was only a window in my life,” he said in 2015. “I never practiced the guitar and when I’m done playing I just put it down. Music is like building a house. It’s like going out deep into the desert to see what nature is doing. It’s like painting, like Salvador Dali. I try to do that with my music, make it like a Salvador Dali painting.”

A freak accident, when hot oil exploded while he was cooking popcorn in 1983 left second-degree burns over much of his body, put him out of commission as a musician for months.

“With every problem comes a gift in hand,” he told The Times in 1985. “For instance, when I do shows to raise money for burn victims, now I can talk to them and know what they are going through. And I can tell their family and friends that when the doctor says the recovery has begun, that’s really the time they need your concern and love.”

As a celebrity, he capitalized on quirky passions. At one point he kept live tigers at his Balboa Peninsula mansion, which had previously belonged to Gillette shaving company magnate King Gillette, and titled an early-‘80s live album “The Tigers Loose.” That was his first album in 18 years after surf music fell out of favor in the mid-1960s with the rise of the Beatles, the British Invasion, psychedelic music and other genres.

A decade ago Dale battled back from cancer, even playing a show in south Orange County shortly after being released from a nine-day stay at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for treatment of an infection.

“I thought, ‘I cannot cause this [club owner] to lose thousands of dollars,’” he said at the time.

That’s when he started trying to promote a new moniker to substitute for the “King of the Surf Guitar” label often applied to him: he wanted to be referred to as “Dick Dale-Cancer Warrior.”

With characteristic bravado, he told The Times, he would soon return to the hospital because “everything is messed up, and if it continues that way, I will die. But I’m not ready to leave my son, not ready to leave [his wife] Lana, I’m not ready to leave all the Dick Dale music lovers. They’ve been my medicine.”

Although he has not been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he was elected to the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville a decade ago. He experienced recurring brushes with widespread popularity, notably in 1994 when Tarantino used “Misirlou” in “Pulp Fiction.”

In 2010, a career retrospective album “Guitar Legend: The Very Best of Dick Dale” also helped introduce his music to a new generation.

Through his life Dale practiced martial arts and explored eastern philosophy, which he often quoted in interviews.

“There are four sentences [taken from Eastern philosophy] in my life that I go by: ‘To experience is to know. To know is to understand. To understand is to tolerate. To tolerate is to have peace’,” he told The Times in 1985. “It took me 17 years and [training with] masters of the martial arts to make me understand what that means. But I understand it and that’s how I can put up with all the stuff that goes on.

“That’s one of the reasons I like working with tigers and lions. If you can understand animals like that, then you can really put up with the reasons why people are the way they are and love them.”

Dale’s survivors include his wife, Lana, and his musician son, Jimmy. Information on services was not immediately available.

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Well done, Disney!! This was a smart move!!

Holy Rocket Raccoon! James Gunn Is Back on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Months after a manufactured controversy about crude tweets saw Disney eject Gunn from the third movie in his Marvel cosmic series, Marvel Studios has confirmed that, shockingly, the director will return after all.

Deadline reports that Gunn and Marvel have now confirmed that he will helm production on the third Guardians movie, and that the actual decision made to re-hire Gunn—brought about by Gunn’s apology over his prior tweets and through extensive talks between the director and Walt Disney Studios president Alan Horn—occurred months ago, despite allegations at the time that Disney was still not ready to bring the director back on board. io9 has confirmed with Disney that the details of Deadline’s report are accurate.

Gunn was removed from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in July of last year, after right-wing commentators resurfaced years-old crude commentary Gunn had made on social media, targeting the director for his outspoken disapproval of Donald Trump as part of what became a pattern of bad-faith harassment campaigns by internet trolls over the last year. Gunn immediately apologized for the tweets, but at the time, the apology was not enough for Disney.

Furor from both fans and members of Guardians cast in the months that followed led to production on the third movie in the saga—always rumored to be Gunn’s last with the current iteration of the cosmic superhero team that first ventured out in 2014’s surprise smash hit movie—being put on hold, allegedly while a replacement for Gunn was sought out.

According to Deadline however, Marvel never actually met with another director for Guardians, despite rumors that Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi or Ant-Man’s Adam McKay could step in. Although complications arose when Gunn was snapped up by Warner Bros. to write and direct the DC Comics sequel The Suicide Squad last October, Kevin Feige’s team at Marvel Studio and Horn’s at Disney were willing to wait for Gunn to become available again before bringing him back to the fold.

Production on Guardians for Gunn will begin after production has concluded on The Suicide Squad, which is currently expected to hit theaters in August 2021.

James Gunn has now weighed in, with his first tweet since July 19, 2018:

I am tremendously grateful to every person out there who has supported me over the past few months. I am always learning and will continue to work at being the best human being I can be. I deeply appreciate Disney’s decision and I am excited to continue making films that investigate the ties of love that bind us all. I have been, and continue to be incredibly humbled by your love and support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Love to you all.

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I saw CAPTAIN MARVEL again this week and enjoyed it just as much. Bring on AVENGERS: ENDGAME!!!

Captain Marvel soars to second weekend atop the box office

Captain Marvel is proving to be just as super as her name.

The standalone entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to pulverize the competition at the box office, topping it for the second week running with an estimated haul of $69.3 million in ticket sales at 4,310 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday. With a decline of 55 percent, it becomes the 18th highest second weekend for a film of all time, bumping Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 from that spot.

While franchises have dominated the box office of late, two new original titles land at second and third place. Paramount’s animated Wonder Park takes in an estimated $16 million across 3,838 theaters for the second place spot, while weepy teen drama Five Feet Apart rounds out the top three with an estimated $13.2 million across 2,803 theaters.

As the first female-driven superhero film for Disney and Marvel, Captain Marvel continues to be a feather in their cap. The film introduces audiences to the titular character in the form of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a part human, part Kree warrior who retains flashes of her life on earth as she fights a member of the Kree strike team known as Starforce. When Danvers crash lands on earth during the 1990s, she attempts to uncover the truth about her past and the origin of her cosmic powers, all the while facing down trouble from the shape-shifting Skrulls infiltrating the planet. Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the film also stars Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Jude Law, and Goose the cat (aka Reggie). Larson will reprise the role in this summer’s Avengers: Endgame.

With an impressive cumulative total of $266.2 domestically, Captain Marvel also expanded its reach internationally, opening to number one in Japan with $5.6 million as the highest stand-along MCU character opening weekend ever there. It raked in another $119.7 million at the international box office, helping to bump its worldwide total to an impressive $760.2 million. Like many superhero films and popular franchise properties, it seems poised to cross the $1 billion mark in the coming weeks.

Animation continues to be a winner at the box office, with Paramount’s family-friendly flick Wonder Park taking second place with $16 million. The film follows the story of a fantastical amusement park where the imagination of the wildly creative young girl, June, comes to life. The voice cast is bursting with top-flight talent including Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, Jeffrey Tambor, Kenan Thompson, Norbert Leo Butz, Ken Jeong, John Oliver and is directed by David Feiss.

Though it lands a second-place victory and outperformed expectations by nearly $6 million, the film still falls far below its estimated budget of $100 million. Originally titled Amusement Park, it was in development since 2014 and suffered a setback in January 2018 when director Dylan Brown was fired for “inappropriate and unwanted conduct.” Now, Wonder Park lists no credited director. It snagged a B+ CinemaScore from audiences so perhaps it can continue to recoup some of its pricey budget through word-of-mouth in the weeks to come.

Lionsgate has roared to a prominent position at the box office this weekend, nabbing three spots in the top ten. Most notably, its young adult romantic drama Five Feet Apart takes third place in its first weekend with $13.2 million across 2,803 theaters. With only a modest reported budget of $7 million, the drama has already nearly doubled its costs.

Lionsgate has roared to a prominent position at the box office this weekend, nabbing three spots in the top ten. Most notably, its young adult romantic drama Five Feet Apart takes third place in its first weekend with $13.2 million across 2,803 theaters. With only a modest reported budget of $7 million, the drama has already nearly doubled its costs.

Holdover franchise titles round out the top five with How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World taking the fourth spot in its fourth week with an estimated total of $9.3 million across 3,727 theaters. It’s now taken in $466.5 million globally, approaching the trilogy’s original film’s overall worldwide gross of $494.8 million. The fifth spot goes to Tyler Perry and his final Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, with an estimated $8.1 million across 2,350 theaters. This marks Lionsgate’s second film in the top ten this weekend.

The weekend’s other two new releases take sixth and seventh place. Lionsgate’s third top ten film is No Manchas Frida 2 in sixth place, a new release that secured a debut of $3.9 million. The Mexican film is a sequel to the 2016 film No Manchas Frida and features returning cast members Omar Chaparro and Martha Higareda. Other new release this weekend, Focus Features’ sci-fi suspense thriller Captive State falls flat with a debut of $3.2 million. It stars John Goodman, Vera Farmiga, Alan Ruck, James Ransone, D.B. Sweeney and is directed by Rupert Wyatt. Its prospects don’t seem bright with a dismal C-CinemaScore.

Overall box office is down 18.9 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore, a number that’s steadily improving with the addition of Captain Marvel to the year’s box office. Check out the March 15-17 numbers below.

1. Captain Marvel— $69.3 million
2. Wonder Park— $16 million
3. Five Feet Apart— $13.2 million
4. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World— $9.3 million
5. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral— $8.1 million
6. No Manches Frida 2— $3.9 million
7. Captive State— $3.2 million
8. Lego Movie 2: The Second Part— $2.1 million
9. Alita: Battle Angel— $1.9 million
10. Green Book— $1.3 million