Beijing, Oct. 6 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Domestic disaster film "The Captain" topped the Chinese mainland box office on Saturday, the China Movie Data Information Network said Sunday.
It grossed 242.35 million yuan (around 34 million U.S. dollars) on the sixth day of its screening, accounting for more than 42 percent of the daily total.
"The Captain" is a cinematic portrayal of a real-life event that occurred on May 14, 2018, when a captain of Sichuan Airlines managed a safe emergency landing and brought home the 119 passengers and nine crew members on board safely.
Coming in second and third are "My People, My Country" and "The Climbers," two domestically-produced films screened in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
The two films raked in 241.03 million yuan and 71.84 million yuan, respectively.
New York, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — Ari Lennox was drunk on a plane as she headed to meet J. Cole for the first time in 2016 to work on music the rapper had been putting together for Rihanna.
“I still had baby vodkas left from the plane,” Lennox recalls. “Definitely just throwing them back. It was scary.”
Cole had been listening to Lennox’s music on SoundCloud for some time _ slowly becoming a fan of her soulful sound _ and Ibrahim “Ib” Hamad, the rap star’s longtime manager and president of his label, Dreamville Records _ thought it would be a good idea to bring Lennox along for the Rih Rih sessions.
“Even though (Cole) was very sweet and comforting and it was a genuine vibe, it was still scary. I was in a whole other world, basically by myself,” Lennox said. But the Washington, D.C., native was determined to get signed. They began working on a song called “Facetime.”
“There's an energy on ‘Facetime,’ like, I want to show him I can write something really fast and it's going to be great. It's going to be so good,” Lennox said.
Months later, Lennox became the first lady of Dreamville, also home to J.I.D, Bas, Cozz, EarthGang, Lute and Omen, who originally put Cole and Ib onto Lennox’s music.
“Just seeing her in that room, it wasn’t like she was star-struck or anything, she was just being herself, being kind of shy; she knew she had to get to work in a sense,” Ib recalled. “That was something that, for me, was enough to see that she did get along with the team. (I thought), ‘We should make a run at trying to sign her’ because I got to see with my own eyes her going at work and how simple it was for her to come up with the melodies and just write on the spot.”
Three years later, “Facetime” _ produced by Cole _ is one of the 12 songs that make up “Shea Butter Baby,” Lennox’s critically acclaimed full-length debut, which was released in May. She’s been hard at work on the buttery, smooth album since 2016, crafting songs about love, men, growing up and more with sharp vocals that range from Erykah Badu to jazz greats over soulful hip-hop beats.
Lennox said creating most of the songs was easy. She came up with the Cole-featured title track while she was “putting shea butter in my hair and ruining my friend’s couch.”
“Because everybody knows how messy shea butter is,” she said, laughing.
“New Apartment” is about finally getting your own space and relishing in it, including freely walking around naked. She recalls having a crush on a friend while crafting “Up Late”: “It all just kind of flowed so easily because crushes can really encourage passion on a record.”
The in-your-face “BMO,” which samples Galt MacDermot’s “Space” _ famously sampled by Busta Rhymes for his 1996 debut single “Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check” _ also came to Lennox effortlessly.
“The way (the producer) flipped the beat to me gave me Missy Elliott (vibes),” she said. “I was hearing Missy. I was hearing Total. I was hearing Aaliyah.”
The song’s video elicited a response from Elliott _ who tweeted that she rocks out to Lennox’s music. Bruno Mars blessed the video with a simple one-character tweet: the fire emoji.
“I’ve always wanted to find the right singer that could not only excite me and make me become a fan, but also could represent what we stand for as a brand and as a label,” Ib said. “I think Ari she has something so soulful about her that reminds you of the music we came up on, but she has a certain edginess and the writing style of today that I think connects to the kids and the young women of today, and the young men of today.”
Lennox counts singers like Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Lauryn Hill, Badu and Brandy as influences, and said when she was just three years old her grandmother told her she had “the voice of an angel.”
“My other grandma said that I would write songs under her porch in North Carolina,” Lennox said. “I remember watching `Apollo’ with my other grandma _ I have so many grandmas _ and seeing these young girls sing ... I knew in that moment that I wanted to sing.”
At 18, she pursued music seriously. She won a few competitions on the popular BET music video countdown show, “106 & Park,” and auditioned for “American Idol.”
“None of that ever worked out,” she said.
She even auditioned for Diddy's band, which was documented on MTV in 2009 as “Making His Band.”
“And I remember they liked me a lot, they knew I stood out, but they just knew I wasn't ready. I appreciate that so much because I feel like all of those no's made room for the most beautiful yes _ that was Dreamville,” she said.
Along with “Shea Butter Baby,” Lennox can also be heard on the Dreamville compilation album “Revenge of the Dreamers III,” which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s 200 albums chart in July and features the multiplatinum Cole hit, “Middle Child.”
Lennox is currently on tour with another breakout star, Lizzo, and said she’s grown tremendously in the three years since she flew out to see Cole for the first time.
“I feel like I've really made them proud. I know it may come off cheesy, but if somebody's going to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars, even more into you, you want to make sure you can return that; you want to make sure they feel good about their investment,” she said. “Now I do feel OK being the first lady (of Dreamville) because I've shown them I can keep up. I can keep up with Cole.”
New York, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — Ruby Rose says she went public about sustaining serious injuries while performing stunts on her new CW series "Batwoman" because she hated that by keeping it quiet, she was lying.
The actress recently posted a video of herself undergoing surgery to her Instagram account with a caption explaining she suffered two herniated discs while performing stunt work. Her spinal cord was in jeopardy of being severed, and she was in so much pain that she says she couldn't feel her arms.
Rose said she realized it was better to be authentic about what happened, especially since she's a public figure.
"Something that we do as a society and especially Hollywood, and that is we kind of promote this ideal life,” she said, “Everything is effortless and it's not, you know what I mean? I feel like it's more important to spread the message that, actually, we're all just human beings and we're all just doing our best and not kind of make out that it is something that is so unattainable and so unrealistic."
Rose, who has experience with stunt work in films including "John Wick: Chapter 2" and "The Meg" now feels better and is back to doing stunts, but says the incident was a good reminder that she needed to slow down.
The 33-year-old’s casting in “Batwoman” first made headlines because it’s the first openly gay superhero to headline a TV series.
Fans hoping for some romance will have to be patient. Rose, who is openly gay herself, says her character, Kate Kane, is not looking for a relationship right now.
"I don't think that's her priority right at this minute. She has just come into herself. She's just returned to Gotham. She has so much trauma going on. She's lost her mom, she's lost her sister, she's trying to discover what she wants to do in her life,” Rose said.
“She was kicked out of the military so it's like she's starting from square one, and then when she discovers a purpose and that purpose is to become Batwoman."
Rose, however, would love to see it happen to give the character some levity.
"I said to Caroline (Dries) the writer, 'Let her have some happiness. She deserves happiness. I want her to be happy and in love.’ Caroline was like, 'Yeah, it doesn't always work out that way for superheroes or for people who have to keep this secret identity' but we'll see."
As for the Batwoman costume _ four-time Academy-Award winning costume designer Colleen Atwood designed the cowl and cape _ Rose says the fittings were an extensive process.
"It got to the point where I was like, we're doing a body scan and we're doing a 3-D scan, we're doing laser, stand in a room and there's 150 million characters that are going to catch every single angle of you doing every face and I was just like, 'Goodness gracious, this is wild,' and then when you get the suit, you really realize why,” she said.
“It fits me like a glove in every single area, in every movement. It feels like a second skin so when you put it on you really kind of feel like you are unstoppable and bullet-proof and faster and stronger and all these things that you're actually not."
“Batwoman” premieres Oct. 6 on The CW.
Kyiv, Oct 2 (AP/UNB) — Ukraine’s leader isn’t just trying to charm U.S. President Donald Trump — he’s set his sights now on Tom Cruise, too.
Mission impossible? Maybe not — Cruise is studying possible Ukrainian locations for an upcoming film, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office.
Zelenskiy tapped his roots as a TV and film comedian when hosting Cruise in the Ukrainian presidential headquarters Monday night.
As Cruise walked in, he said “You’re good-looking!,” according to video excerpts released Tuesday by his office. The Hollywood star laughed and said “it pays the bills.”
Zelenskiy joked about how exhausting it is to be president, and mentioned the stalled peace process for conflict-ravaged eastern Ukraine.
The video excerpts included no mention of Trump or the U.S. impeachment inquiry in which Ukraine plays a starring role.
New York, Sep 30 (AP/UNB) — The DreamWorks animated adventure "Abominable" topped the box office with $20.9 million in ticket sales over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday, while the Renee Zellweger-led Judy Garland tale "Judy" got off to a strong start.
"Abominable," the weekend's sole new wide release, is a co-production between Universal's DreamWorks and the Shanghai-based Pearl Studios. So the $75 million-film's performance when it opens Tuesday in China will be vital to its worldwide success.
The film, written and directed by Jill Culton, is about a Shanghai teenager (Chloe Bennet) who discovers a lost yeti on the roof of her apartment building. She and a pair of friends traverse China to return the creature, whom they name "Everest," home to the Himalayas. "Abominable" garnered positive reviews (80% on Rotten Tomatoes) and a warm reception from audiences (an A CinemaScore) eager for a family friendly option.
"Abominable" marks the seventh No. 1 film this year for Universal, or eight if you count "Downton Abbey," released by the studio's specialty label, Focus Features. "Downton," last week's top film, slid to second with $14.5 million. The big-screen encore for the British series has already grossed $107.1 million worldwide.
That gives Universal the most No.1 movies of any studio this year, passing Disney. Though Disney still commands an overwhelming market share of about 34%, Universal has had a strong year with a varied slate ("Us," ''Hobbs & Shaw," ''Yesterday"). The studio accounts for all three of the year's No.1-debuting original releases: "Abominable," ''Us" and "Good Boys."
"It's not going to be all superheroes all the time. That's not necessarily going to be everyone's cup of tea," said Jim Orr, distribution chief for Universal. "When we have films like 'Abominable,' 'Yesterday,' 'Good Boys,' 'Us,' we're bringing a lot of different people into the theaters and that's good for everyone. That's good for the entire industry."
It's been a good run for original films lately at the box office. The stripper drama "Hustlers," from STX Entertainment, continued to hold strong with $11.5 million in its third week, dropping just 32%. It's now made $80.6 million altogether. "Hustlers" potentially got a boost by having its star — Jennifer Lopez — announced this week as next year's Super Bowl halftime act, along with Shakira.
And one of the weekend's biggest successes was "Judy," which opened with $3.1 million on 461 screens. The film, directed by Rupert Goold, is about the final act of Judy Garland's life, when the "Wizard of Oz" star was plagued by drug addiction, health woes and financial troubles. The film's main draw is Zellweger's lauded performance as Garland, which has made her the best-actress Oscar front-runner.
Roadside Attractions rolled out "Judy" with a rare medium-sized platform release that the distributor has found success with before on films like 2012's "Mud" and this summer's "The Peanut Butter Falcon." The latter is a Mark Twain-inspired adventure starring Zack Gottsagen, who has Down syndrome, and Shia LaBeouf. This weekend, it became the year's top indie platform release with $18.1 million over eight weeks, passing A24's "The Farewell."
Howard Cohen, co-president and co-founder of Roadside, says the 16-year-old distributor has succeeded by seeking populist indies. ("Judy," for which the audience was almost 80% over the age of 35, will expand nationwide further next week.)
"It's a very challenging time in film distribution for indies and everyone but Disney, maybe," said Cohen. "We like movies that can draw an audience, that are crowd-pleasers. In a challenging environment, you have to give people a really strong reason to leave their house."
"The movies have to be properly released and promoted," he added. "But I think the audience is still there."
The two-and-half-month break from superheroes atop the box office is expected to end next weekend when Warner Bros.' "Joker" hits theaters, along with Fox Searchlight's "Lucy in the Sky" and Netflix's "Dolemite Is My Name."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.
1. "Abominable," $20.9 million ($8.8 million international).
2. "Downton Abbey," $14.5 million ($10 million international).
3. "Hustlers," $11.5 million ($3 million international).
4. "It Chapter Two," $10.4 million ($11 million international).
5. "Ad Astra," $10.1 million ($18 million international).
6. "Rambo: Last Blood," $8.6 million ($9.5 million international).
7. "Judy," $3.1 million.
8. "Good Boys," $2 million ($1.5 million international).
9. "The Lion King," $1.6 million ($3.7 million international).
10. "Angel Has Fallen," $1.5 million ($1.5 million international).