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I’ve seen most of the television shows that won and I wish I had the chance to see more of the movies. Congratulations everyone!!

Orphan Black, It’s Only the End of the World win big at Canadian Screen Awards

Sure, there were some big winners at the final night of the Canadian Screen Awards (CSAs), with the sci-fi thriller Orphan Black, sprinter bio pic Race and the Xavier Dolan-directed It’s Only the End of the World taking home trophy after trophy.

But it was the handful of heartfelt speeches that made for the most memorable moments during Sunday’s gala in Toronto, hosted by Howie Mandel.

Like Paul Sun-Hyung Lee’s acceptance speech. The Kim’s Convenience star nabbed best actor in a comedic role and he sure was proud.

“Yeah, I deserved,” he joked in character as Appa, the moment he got up to the mic.

He then took a big sigh, dropping Appa’s accent, and told the crowd he was “living in a dream.” Lee introduced himself as an immigrant and stressed how important shows and characters like Kim’s are given the current political climate.

“We might have some cultural differences but deep down inside when it comes to family, we are all the same,” he said, moving some of his castmates to tears. “I’ve never been more proud to be a Canadian than right now.”

All this came after Tatiana Maslany’s back-to-back wins for her work in Orphan Black and The Other Half, where she was the one holding back tears and Adrian Holmes’s moving tribute to “all minorities,” which ran overtime and had him yelling over the play-him-off band (he won best actor in a dramatic role for 19-2).

It was a theme that ran throughout the evening — winners were surprised, overwhelmed or emotional, sometimes a mix of the three.

“This has been, without a doubt, the most f—–g surreal day of my life,” Lee told reporters backstage post-win.

Sunday’s gala marked the end of the CSAs, an exhaustive week-long celebration of Canadian film, television and digital media, put on by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

Mandel kept spirits high as host however, spending a large chunk of the televised two-hour show out in the crowd, playfully interacting with the performers. There were shades of past Oscars skits as Mandel also gabbed with non-stars, from a woman sitting in the crowd to a trombonist in the pit band.

At one point, he handed out a birthday card for the crowd to sign to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Dolan’s film raked in the most trophies of the evening — six for best film, adapted screenplay, directing, make-up, cinematography and acting — but the Quebec director couldn’t make it, awkwardly sending a surrogate in his place to read prepared remarks off a smart phone.

Between the televised gala and non-televised pre-show awards which started the evening, CBC picked up eight trophies for its shows and documentaries including Murdoch Mysteries, Schitt’s Creek, the Rio Olympic coverage and last summer’s broadcast of the Tragically Hip show in Kingston. Among the night’s big winners:

Best motion picture: It’s Only the End of the World.
Best comedy series: Letterkenny.
Best dramatic series: Orphan Black.
Fan choice award: Natasha Negovanlis.
Earle Grey award: Tantoo Cardinal.
Best actor in a leading role: Stephan James, Race.
Best actress in a leading role: Tatiana Maslany, The Other Half.
Best first feature film: Johnny Ma, Old Stone.
Best actress in a comedic role: Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek.

Even though the show ended up running a few minutes overtime, there was a quick clip to it. And while sometimes speeches from the pre-announced speciality award winners can drag on, Sunday’s were among the night’s most entertaining.

Superstar American comedian Dave Chappelle was on hand to present the Icon Award to Gilbert Rozon and Bruce Hills of Montreal’s Just for Laughs. In true comedic fashion, all three dabbled in a bit of standup on stage.

Chappelle riffed on the differences between his home and Canada, calling Canada “kinder and gentler, like a little gay brother that I didn’t know we had.”

Veteran Canadian actor and Oscar winner Christopher Plummer also had quite a few quips, making fun of his age while accepting his lifetime achievement award.

“I’m old. Dangerously old. I’m so old that when I was a baby, the first word I uttered was in Latin,” the 87-year-old said to huge laughs. “I’ve spent almost 70 years making a fool of myself in this crazy mad profession of ours and I’ve had the time of my life.”

To close, Plummer told the crowd that though he’s old, he’s not done yet.

“The curtain has not yet fallen. It’s simply stuck.”

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That is not a lot of episodes!

‘Game of Thrones’ final season will be even shorter

The “Game of Thrones” end is nearing.

Season 8 of the HBO fantasy drama — its final outing, which will debut in 2018 — will only have six episodes, co-creator David Benioff revealed at Austin’s SXSW festival on Sunday. (Season 7, which premieres July 16, has seven episodes).

While that may be a major bummer for superfans who will face a vast personal wilderness once the show has completed its run, what it really means is that we are this much closer to knowing who will take the Iron Throne.

The showrunners, at least, have revealed their choice. “We identify most with House Lannister. We want to win,” Benioff said of he and co-creator D.B. Weiss, according to coverage of the panel on Vulture. When actress Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark and was co-hosting the panel, asked him, “Is that a spoiler?” Benioff reportedly covered his face with his hands.

In casting news, singer Ed Sheeran is going to do a guest spot in Season 7, playing an unspecified role that he apparently has another cast member to thank for. “For years we were trying to get Ed Sheeran on the show so we could surprise Maisie [Williams],” who is a huge fan, Benioff said. “And this year we finally did it.”

Williams, who plays Arya Stark, also co-hosted panel and Benioff revealed that he and Weiss tested over 300 girls for the part before they downloaded her audition tape in a hotel lobby in Morocco. “There was a little thumbnail picture of Maisie Williams [on our laptop],” he says. “She looked about 7. Like she was 12, but going on 7. So we clicked on the audition video and waited about 40 minutes for it to download. When we saw that audition video she was just f - - king awesome.”

As for a potential spinoff series, the showrunners said they won’t stick around should HBO decide it can’t exist without some element of “Thrones” on its schedule. “There’s always going to be an urge for the characters who maybe will survive to do a spinoff show or a sequel show,” Benioff said. “And I think HBO might well do one. And we’ll watch it. I think it’ll be great, but I think it’s important to get new blood in. New vision.”

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Very smart move Pearl Jam. Well done!!

Pearl Jam Invite All Five Drummers to Rock Hall Induction Ceremony

Pearl Jam announced Saturday that they will invite all five of their drummers – Dave Krusen, Matt Chamberlain, Dave Abbruzzese, Jack Irons and Matt Cameron – to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

In a handwritten note posted on the band’s Twitter, the group acknowledged that, with the April 7th date approaching, “we do feel fortunate to be recognized and provided the opportunity to reunite with everyone who has been part of the group.”

“Specifically the drummers who all left their distinctive mark on our band in the pre-Matt Cameron years,” they added.

When Pearl Jam’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was revealed, only two of the band’s drummers – Ten drummer Dave Krusen (to his own surprise) and current and longtime drummer Matt Cameron – were named as inductees alongside Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready and Jeff Ament.

The Rock Hall’s omissions especially drew the ire of Abbruzzese, who lobbied Pearl Jam to use their clout and have him inducted for his Vs. and Vitalogy contributions. He later questioned the band’s integrity over the Rock Hall snub.

“The members of Pearl Jam have got to know what’s the right thing to do. They can’t justify ignoring my contributions. Like me or not. If there is still a part of that band that remembers how hard we worked, how much blood and how much sweat,” Abbruzzese wrote on Facebook in October. “They will do the right thing.”

“Dave Krusen, Matt Chamberlain, Dave Abbruzzese and Jack Irons are each individually great players who gave their all to the early recordings and live gigs,” the band continued in their Saturday statement. “Looking forward to seeing them and all the other musicians on the bill.”

Pearl Jam added that they wished H.R. and Perry Farrell were there to celebrate too, a nod to a hopefully future induction for Bad Brains and Jane’s Addiction after both bands were nominated in 2016.

Asked whether Abbruzzese, Chamberlain and Irons would be inducted into the Rock Hall, a representative for Pearl Jam said the inductees are solely determined by the Rock Hall and not the band. Following Pearl Jam’s invitation, a rep for the Rock Hall confirmed to Rolling Stone that only Krusen and Cameron would be inducted.

Reps for Abbruzzese, Chamberlain and Irons did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Pearl Jam will be enshrined alongside Journey, Joan Baez, ELO, Yes and Tupac Shakur at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 7th.

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I saw LOGAN again this week and it was better the second time. I look forward to seeing it again. As for KONG: SKULL ISLAND, the special effects and fight scenes are amazing, but the movie’s not very good. I’ll probably never watch it again.

Box office report: Kong: Skull Island clobbers Logan with $61 million

The beastly battle for this weekend’s box office crown wasn’t even close.

Legendary and Warner Bros.’ revival of the iconic King Kong film series, Kong: Skull Island, delivers a whopping $61 million, earning an estimated $11 million more than Peter Jackson’s 2005 series retool, which went on to gross $550 million worldwide across its entire theatrical run.

Industry forecasts had initially pegged Kong: Skull Island — directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts — for a bow in the $40-$50 million range in a tight race with Fox’s Logan, though the mightiest primate in cinema history ultimately flexed his staying power at the head of one of the oldest franchises (one that spans movies, theme park attractions, video games, and toys) in Hollywood history some 84 years after the first Kong flick dazzled audiences all the way back in 1933.

The debut marks a solid start for the big-budget picture, which reportedly cost around $185 million to produce. Internationally, the film posts $81.6 million from 20,400 screens in 65 territories, making it the No. 1-grossing film in the world for the three-day period. Audiences and critics responded positively to the action film, with polled moviegoers giving it a B+ grade on CinemaScore.

Despite glowing reception for Logan, X-Men star Hugh Jackman’s third and final Wolverine spinoff fell roughly 57 percent from its opening number, dipping one slot to No. 2 with an estimated weekend gross of $37.9 million. After just 10 days in theaters, however, the Fox film has made an astonishing $438.3 million worldwide — besting global grosses of both X-Men Origins: Wolverine ($373.1 million in 2009) and The Wolverine ($414.8 million in 2013).

At No. 3, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out continues to impress, as the film — yet another low-budgeted success for Universal/Blumhouse — crosses the $111 million domestic mark with a third weekend total of $21.1 million. The thriller continues its slow descent down the North American top 10, having fallen a mere 15 percent from week one to week two, followed by 25 percent this week.

Rounding out the top five are the Lionsgate/Summit release The Shack, which pulls in another $10.1 million for a 10-day total of $32.3 million, and Warner Bros. Animation’s The LEGO Batman Movie, which sheds 33 percent for a fifth-weekend finish of $7.8 million.

On the limited front, Focus World’s buzzy cannibal title Raw tallies an estimated $25,230 from two theaters. Helmed by French filmmaker Julia Ducournau, Raw made headlines along the festival circuit — namely at TIFF in September, where several audience members reportedly fainted during one of the film’s particularly graphic scenes.

Kristen Stewart carried her Cannes drama Personal Shopper to a healthy start at four sites in New York and Los Angeles, averaging $23,129 per theater for a $92,516 finish at No. 30.

Overall box office is up around 0.3 percent from the same frame last year. Per comScore, check out the March 10-12 weekend box office estimates below.

1. Kong: Skull Island – $61 million
2. Logan – $37.9 million
3. Get Out – $21.1 million
4. The Shack – $10.1 million
5. The LEGO Batman Movie – $7.8 million
6. Before I Fall – $3.1 million
7. Hidden Figures – $2.8 million
8. John Wick: Chapter 2 – $2.7 million
9. MET Opera: La Traviata – $1.8 million
10. La La Land $1.8 million.

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I’m very excited about one half of this hosting duo.

Bryan Adams, Russell Peters take over as Juno Awards co-hosts

TORONTO — Rocker Bryan Adams and comedian Russell Peters will co-host next month’s Juno Awards, replacing Michael Buble who continues to care for his three-year-old son who is fighting cancer.

The Junos have found success in the past by pairing hosts that were well-known to Canadians but shared seemingly little else in common.

Last year’s Calgary show was hosted by singer Jann Arden and “Amazing Race Canada”’s Jon Montgomery, while 1983’s gala was led by Burton Cummings and Alan Thicke, and the 2014 event had three musicians — Classified, Johnny Reid, and Serena Ryder — as hosts.

In Adams and Peters, the Junos have an unlikely comedic duo but two global stars.

Adams is a radio favourite with hits like “Summer of ’69” and “Heaven,” but he’s not usually a guy to host an awards show. His Juno connections are deep though, with 18 awards to his name, including multiple best artist, best album and best single trophies.

Peters has encountered the Junos a couple of times himself, even if he doesn’t have one on his mantle.

He hosted the 2008 show in Calgary and a year later in Vancouver, and he’s probably better acquainted with quick-witted banter than his counterpart.

Peters also has an upcoming TV series he might try to plug. “The Indian Detective” is currently in production and will premiere on CraveTV, which is owned by CTV’s parent company Bell Media.

Buble had lots of Juno experience too, winning several of the awards and hosting in past years, but the pop crooner chose to sideline his career last fall and exit other recent hosting duties to put his family first.

He pulled out as emcee of the Brit Awards last month, and released a statement saying his son Noah was “progressing well” from his treatment.

“The doctors are very optimistic about the future for our little boy,” he added.

The Junos will be held in Ottawa on April 2, with scheduled performances by artists including Alessia Cara, Arkells, Sarah McLachlan and Shawn Mendes.

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Bring it on!!!

Zazie Beetz cast as Domino in Deadpool 2

Newcomer Zazie Beetz has beaten out the likes of Kerry Washington and Sienna Miller to land the coveted role of Domino in Deadpool 2.

The film’s star Ryan Reynolds shared the news via Twitter on Thursday.

The actor posted a photo of dominos spelling out the name ‘Zazie Beetz’, officially announcing the actress will take on the role of Domino, aka Neena Thurman, in the highly anticipated sequel.

Reynolds captioned the pic: “Domino Effect.”

The German native will portray the former mercenary who has the ability to manipulate luck. An expert markswoman, the comic book character eventually becomes a member of the X-Men mutant heroes.

Beetz is best known for starring alongside Donald Glover in the award-winning U.S. TV series Atlanta. The former stage actress also appeared in the Netflix anthology series Easy.

A number of notable actresses, including Miller, Washington, Moonlight star Janelle Monae, and Lizzy Caplan, were reportedly circling the role of Domino.

The new film will serve as a follow up to 2016’s acclaimed global hit Deadpool.

David Leitch, the filmmaker behind the recent John Wick: Chapter 2, is slated to direct the action comedy.

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Well deserved, one and all!!

Michael J. Fox, Martin Short, Brigitte Haentjens win Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards

Actors Michael J. Fox, Martin Short and theatre director Brigitte Haentjens are the latest laureates of one of Canada’s highest arts honours: the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.

Filmmaker Jean Beaudin and theatre artist Yves Sioui Durand are also among this year’s honourees.

The award recognizes the excellence and career achievement of Canadian performing artists, including actors, filmmakers, directors and musicians.

Edmonton-born Emmy winner Fox is best known for popular film and TV roles spanning three decades, including Family Ties, the Back to the Future trilogy, Spin City, Rescue Me and The Good Wife.

He’s also become an advocate for those living with Parkinson’s disease, with which he was diagnosed in 1991.

Hailing from Hamilton, Ont., Martin Short is one of Canada’s famed funny men, acclaimed for roles on both screen and stage, from SCTV to his Tony-winning turn in Neil Simon’s Little Me, from films such as Three Amigos, Father of the Bride and Mars Attacks to last fall’s TV musical Hairspray Live.

French-born Canadian director Haentjens has forged an avant-garde, provocative path in Quebec theatre over her career, which spans nearly 40 years and some 60 theatre productions. In 2012, Haentjens became the first woman named artistic director of French theatre at the National Arts Centre, a position she continues to hold today.

Montreal filmmaker Beaudin has won acclaim for creating gorgeous, memorable adaptations of Quebec literature and turning historical tales into successful films (gaining recognition at Cannes for J.A. Martin, photographe) and television series.

Hailing from the Wendake First Nations reserve near Quebec City, Sioui Durand is a pioneer of contemporary Indigenous theatre who has worked as a writer, actor, director and filmmaker over more than three decades. He founded Ondinnok, Quebec’s first French-language Indigenous theatre company, and has explored Pan-American Indigenous allegory, myth and history in stage productions that mix music, dance and powerful imagery.

The awards were established by former governor general Ramon John Hnatyshyn in 1992 and, for this 25th anniversary year, the recipient of his namesake award for voluntarism is Winnipeg executive and arts philanthropist William H. Loewen.

The classical music aficionado has a long association with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and, along with his wife Shirley, have also supported the Manitoba Opera, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg Chamber Music Association and other groups.

For the awards foundation’s mentorship program — which matches a past lifetime achievement honouree with a promising protégé — 2002 winner, former prima ballerina and National Ballet of Canada artistic director Karen Kain will mentor Toronto choreographer and dancer Robert Binet.

This year’s laureates will be honoured at a ceremony at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on June 29. CBC will live stream the gala and broadcast an hour-long special on June 30 at 9 p.m. ET.

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Interesting…

Parks Canada rejects movie shoot in Rockies after learning of First Nations character

A movie production team was denied permission to shoot in the Rocky Mountain national parks after Parks Canada staff learned the film’s plot involved a First Nations gang leader.

“They expressed a real concern that this was not something they would favour,” said Mark Voyce, location manager for a film project that had been scheduled to start shooting later this month.

Voyce is working for Michael Shamberg, a film producer whose past credits include movies such as Erin Brockovich, A Fish Called Wanda, Garden State, Gattaca and Get Shorty.

Shamberg is currently working on a project called Hard Powder, a crime drama ostensibly set in a Colorado ski town.

Action star Liam Neeson is to play an honest snowplow driver whose son is murdered by a local drug kingpin. He then seeks to dismantle the cartel, but his efforts spark a turf war involving a First Nations gang boss, played by First Nations actor, musician and Order of Canada member Tom Jackson.

Director Hans Petter Moland had hoped to shoot scenes in Banff, the Lake Louise townsite and ski hill, and the Columbia Icefields.

“He was enamoured of the beauty of the Columbia Icefields,” Voyce said. “He was very stubborn in insisting that if we were going to come here, that it was to shoot parts of these films in the national park.”

Voyce, who has previously organized movie shoots in national parks from Newfoundland’s Gros Morne to Pacific Rim on Vancouver Island, said the team began the application process with Parks Canada in December. He said he believed that by last week, only a few details needed to be cleaned up and that permissions would be granted.

Then, late last week, came a phone call.

“They phoned and asked, ‘Is the leader of the rival gang in this picture First Nations?’ We said yes. That became an obvious last nail in the coffin for us.

“They didn’t want to offend anybody. They (said they) would get back to us, but they had grave concerns over subject matter. They told us that in almost exactly those words.”

On Monday, Voyce received a letter from Parks Canada listing eight requirements, including the possible need for an environmental assessment.

“We’re looking to start filming on March 20 and can’t really push our schedule,” he said. “That, frankly, is a death blow for us.”

Voyce said much of the information requested was included in the original application.

In an email, Parks Canada confirmed it has concerns over the script.

“The Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation and nation-to-nation relationships with indigenous peoples, based on a recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership,” said the response from spokesperson Meaghan Bradley.

“In addition to some administrative details and outstanding documentation, Parks Canada’s commitment to reconciliation and respect for indigenous peoples was an important factor in the agency’s final decision on this matter. Parks Canada maintains the right to refuse applications that are not in line with Parks Canada’s mandate or operational priorities.”

Such decisions are made locally by staff at the parks where the request is made, said Bradley.

The decision was made despite a letter of support from Jackson.

“As a consultant to this production, I have taken a strong stance to ensure that the humility and integrity of First Nation roles do not cross the line of disrespect to my culture. I don’t feel my culture is insulted even slightly by the script,” he wrote.

“‘Hard Powder’ will be made regardless. The question is whether we deprive our own, or do we harvest for our own?”

Parks Canada receives many film requests every year and says it’s not possible to accommodate them all. The mountain parks have a long history with movie and TV production, running from 1954’s Marilyn Monroe-Robert Mitchum film River of No Return to scenes this year filmed for the popular series Game of Thrones.

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Very, Very Cool!!!

Steve McQueen’s iconic ‘Bullitt’ Mustang found in scrapyard

The iconic Mustang GT Steve Mcqueen drove in 1968 movie Bullitt has been found in a Baja, California scrapyard.

The car went missing shortly after filming wrapped and McQueen spent years unsuccessfully trying to track it down.

It was recently discovered in a scrapyard and restored by body shop owner Ralph Garcia, Jr.

The makeover king tells the Los Angeles Times he initially had no idea the car he would be working on was McQueen’s Bullitt motor when he first heard about the discovery, and then an associate in Mexico told him he had checked the vehicle’s identification numbers (VIN) and discovered it was a real prize.

“My partner Googled the VIN and that’s how he found out it was the Bullitt car,” Ralph tells the publication. “He said, ‘You can’t touch it!’”

Top car historian Ken Gross has told the Times the Mustang could be worth US$1 million at auction.

“This is certainly on the list of top 10 list of most desirable missing cars,” Gross said.

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Can’t wait to see LOGAN again!!! It’s not perfect, but it’s very good!!

Box office report: Logan claws to the top, The Shack builds solid opening

Hugh Jackman is bowing out of the X-Men franchise on a high note.

Logan, the final installment in the actor’s trio of Wolverine spinoffs, roars atop the North American box office this weekend, amassing an estimated $85.3 million over its first three days despite overall domestic totals trailing last year’s by 2 percent, according to comScore’s tracking data. The number stands as the best ever posted by an R-rated title for the month of March.

The James Mangold-directed superhero flick, which had its world premiere in February at Berlinale, averages $20,953 from its 4,071 locations to tally the fourth highest opening weekend in history for a March release. The film also landed with critics and audiences, earning a 77 percent on Metacritic, light Oscar buzz, and an A- grade from polled moviegoers on CinemaScore.

The $97 million production additionally posts $152.5 million from international markets, bringing its global total to a whopping $237.8 million to date — $20.6 million of which comes from IMAX screens, which catapult the film to the format’s No. 2 spot on the all-time R-rated worldwide box office list (falling just short of Deadpool‘s $24.4 million IMAX launch).

Dipping a slight 22 percent from its stellar $33.4 million opening, Jordan Peele’s racially charged thriller Get Out holds audience attention for the second weekend in a row, making an impressive $26.1 million over its sophomore frame. The micro-budgeted $4.5 million film has now made $75.9 million in the U.S. and Canada after just 10 days in theaters.

Hot off her hosting gig on last night’s edition of Saturday Night Live, Octavia Spencer lands her second film in the domestic top 10 this weekend, as The Shack bows to an impressive $16.1 million at No. 3 — four slots ahead of Hidden Figures, which scored the actress the distinction of being the first black, Oscar-winning actress to secure a follow-up nod from the Academy in January.

Lionsgate’s targeted marketing campaign — which included specific outreach to religious audiences around the country — paid off, as the film averages an A-grade on CinemaScore and $5,574 from 2,888 sites for an opening above those of similarly themed films like 2016’s Miracles From Heaven ($14.8 million) and 2014’s God’s Not Dead ($9.2 million).

Warner Bros. Animation’s The LEGO Batman Movie adds another $11.7 million to its ballooning $148.6 million national total at No. 4, while the YA-adapted drama Before I Fall slightly exceeds expectations, rounding out the top five with an estimated $5 million.

Outside the top 10, the Academy’s reigning best picture champion, Moonlight, reaps its best three-day gross of its 20-week theatrical run, earning around $2.5 million after expanding to 1,564 theaters Friday. The festival favorite has made $25.38 million thus far and is poised to overtake 2015’s Ex Machina ($25.44 million) as distributor A24’s top earner in the days ahead.

Elsewhere, the Anna Kendrick comedy Table 19 pulls in a meager $1.6 million from 868 theaters, while Shirley MacLaine’s The Last Word averages a decent $8,905 at four sites for a limited $35,620 opening.

Check out the March 3-5 box office estimates below.

1. Logan – $85.3 million
2. Get Out – $26.1 million
3. The Shack – $16.1 million
4. The LEGO Batman Movie – $11.7 million
5. Before I Fall – $5 million
6. John Wick: Chapter 2 – $4.7 million
7. Hidden Figures – $3.8 million
8. The Great Wall – $3.5 million
9. Fifty Shades Darker – $3.48 million
10. La La Land – $3 million