The redesigned "Sonic the Hedgehog" showed plenty of teeth at the box office, speeding to a $57 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday, while "Parasite" saw one of the largest post-Oscars bumps in years following its best picture win.
Paramount Pictures' "Sonic the Hedgehog" came in well above expectations, especially for a movie that just months ago was a laughing stock. After its first trailer was greeted with ridicule on social media last year, "Sonic" was postponed three months to give its title character a design overhaul — including fixing Sonic's eerily human teeth.
The makeover worked and audiences responded by making "Sonic the Hedgehog" the weekend's top film and the highest-grossing opening for a video game adaptation, not accounting for inflation. For Paramount, it's a welcome success following misfires such as "Gemini Man" and "Terminator: Dark Fate." The studio estimates "Sonic" will gross $68 million over the four-day Presidents Day holiday weekend.
"If you don't listen to your customer, and this goes for any business, then you're going to fail," said Chris Aronson, distribution chief for Paramount. "We retooled Sonic in a way that was obviously very satisfying for the fans and they were very forgiving. Now that they've seen the movie, they love the movie. It all worked out."
The Sega video game adaptation, directed by Jeff Fowler, drew decent reviews (63% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and an A CinemaScore from moviegoers. The $87 million production co-stars Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik with Ben Schwartz supplying Sonic's voice.
Bong Joon Ho's "Parasite" had its biggest weekend in its 19th week of release. Neon put "Parasite" into its widest release yet (2,001 theaters) following its historic win at the Oscars. ("Parasite" was the first non-English-language film to win best picture in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards.) And despite the film already being available for weeks on digital platforms and on DVD, its $5.5 million weekend is the largest Oscars bump for a best-picture winner since "Gladiator" in 2001.
Last week's opening of "Birds of Prey" followed up its limp debut by sliding to second with $17.1 million. Following its disappointing opening, some theaters retitled the movie "Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey," instead of "Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)."
It was a busy weekend in theaters, with a handful of other new releases — "The Photograph," "Fantasy Island," "Downhill" — seeking to capitalize on both Valentine's Day on Friday and Presidents Day on Monday.
"Fantasy Island," the Blumhouse horror remake of the '70s TV show, fared the best, collecting $12.4 million in ticket sales despite terrible reviews. Sony Pictures handled the release of the low-budget, PG-13 film, which earned just a 9% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Universal Pictures "The Photograph," a romance starring Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield and produced by Will Packer ("Girls Trip," "Ride Along"), opened with $12.2 million. The film, written and directed by Stella Meghie, cost $15 million to make.
"Downhill," from Disney's Fox Searchlight Pictures, debuted with $4.7 million, a modest start for a film starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell. A remake of the acclaimed Swedish film "Force Majeure" by Ruben Östlund, "Downhill" didn't do great with critics but fared even worse with audiences. They gave it a D CinemaScore.
Neon followed up its "Parasite" Oscar win with the Valentine's Day release of "Portrait of a Lady on Fire," one of 2019's most acclaimed films. Following a one-week qualifying run in December, Celine Sciamma's French period romance opened in 22 theaters with a strong per-theater average of about $20,000.
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. "Sonic the Hedgehog," $57 million ($44.3 million international).
2. "Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey," $17.1 million ($23 million international).
3. "Fantasy Island," $12.4 million ($7.6 million international).
4. "The Photograph," $12.3 million.
5. "Bad Boys for Life," $11.3 million ($11.1 million international).
6. "1917," $8.1 million ($6.4 million international).
7. "Jumanji: The Next Level," $5.7 million ($1.9 million international).
8. "Parasite," $5.5 million.
9. "Dolittle," $5.1 million ($8.8 million international).
10. "Downhill," $4.7 million.
The four-day grand event ‘3rd Art Festival 2020, Nilphamari’ will begin on February 26.
A press conference was held at the graphic design department of Fine Arts Faculty of Dhaka University to present details of the event.
Eminent artist Professor Mohammad Eunus is the convener of the festival organising committee while award winning artist Md Harun-Ar-Rashid Tutul, an assistant professor of the Department of Graphic Design, Faculty of Fine Arts, is the curator of the festival.
Tutul said the theme for this year’s festival is ‘Nature is Life, Art for Brighter Life’. Artists will paint as they like, while the organisers will provide them with art supplies, food and accommodation.
The festival will feature an international art camp by eminent artists from Bangladesh and beyond, art exhibitions, curated art projects, artist's talk, seminar, cultural programmes, a traditional folk art and craft-fair, Installation, camp fire and sightseeing tours.
The opening ceremony of the festival will be held on February 27. State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid will be present as the chief guest.
Eminent artist professor Rafqun Nabi will inaugurate the festival while cultural personality Asaduzzaman Noor will preside over the programme.
An exhibition will be held on February 29 while another exhibition of the same paintings will be arranged from April 24 to April 30.
The organisers said the main goal is to introduce a healthy culture against the backdrop of poor taste, from cities to the remote countryside of Bangladesh, travelling beyond the realms of time.
The art festival aims to inspire artists to create innovative artworks, in a quiet place beyond the chaotic city life. Renowned artists from home and abroad will share their experiences and views on art with school students during the event, they said.
Eminent foreign participant artists will also attend along with the local participant artists.
Elton John canceled his two remaining New Zealand shows late Tuesday as he continued to suffer from a bout of pneumonia.
The shows have been rescheduled for next year. Earlier this week, John needed to cut short a performance in Auckland after he lost his voice and needed medical help on stage.
John said in a statement Tuesday he was 'incredibly disappointed' and sent his sincerest apologies to his fans. He said that at this stage, he is planning to play his scheduled shows in Australia, which is where his farewell tour moves to next.
Video clips posted online by fans at Sunday night's performance showed John breaking down in tears as he told the cheering crowd he couldn't go on any longer. The 72-year-old singer said he had walking pneumonia and was assisted off stage.
Tour promoters Chugg Entertainment initially said that John was recovering and the tour would go on as planned, aside from pushing back the next New Zealand performance by one day to Wednesday.
But on Tuesday night, the promoters released another statement.
"Despite the best efforts of a performer who never wants to disappoint his fans, upon further consultation from doctors and specialists, it has this evening been decided that Sir Elton John's two remaining Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, performances will be rescheduled to Friday 15th and Saturday 16th January 2021," it said.
John said he'd be back.
"I always want to be able to give 100% and I'm afraid that, right now, I'm not able to do that. I am grateful for the love and loyalty I have been shown by all of you and I can't wait to return in January next year to perform my final New Zealand shows," he said in his statement.
The concerts were part of John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. After the New Zealand shows, John is scheduled for seven performances in Australia before traveling to the U.S. and Canada.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday she watched John's shortened show and got to meet him for about five minutes before he started playing.
"You could tell that he wasn't feeling well and he said he wasn't feeling well," Ardern said. "So I think you could see that on the stage last night, which I think is just a credit to his commitment to his fans."
John had told the crowd he was ill but that he didn't want to miss the show, according to the New Zealand Herald. He slumped on a stool and required medical attention after performing "Someone Saved My Life Tonight," but recovered and continued to play. Later, as he he attempted to sing "Daniel," he said he realized he had no voice left and was escorted off stage.
John had just returned to New Zealand after performing at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles. He won an Oscar for best original song for his theme song for the movie "Rocketman."
According to the Mayo Clinic, walking pneumonia is an informal term for a milder form of pneumonia that isn't severe enough to require hospitalization or bed rest. It affects the respiratory tract and is most often caused by bacteria.
A look at the charges against Harvey Weinstein, 67, and the punishment the once-revered Hollywood titan could face if convicted. A jury of seven men and five women started deliberating Tuesday in the closely watched #MeToo trial. To convict or acquit Weinstein on any charge, their verdict must be unanimous.
WHAT IS WEINSTEIN ACCUSED OF?
Scores of women have come forward in recent years to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct, but his New York City trial stems from just three allegations.
The "Pulp Fiction" producer is charged with raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in March 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on another woman, TV and film production assistant Mimi Haleyi, at his apartment in July 2006.
The most serious charge, predatory sexual assault, requires jurors to decide two things: if he raped actress Annabella Sciorra in the mid-1990s and if he committed one of the charged acts.
(The Associated Press has a policy of not publishing the names of people who allege sexual assault without their consent. It is withholding the name of the rape accuser because it isn't clear whether she wishes to be identified publicly.)
WHAT ARE THE CHARGES AGAINST WEINSTEIN?
One count each of first- and third-degree rape for the March 2013 allegation. The first-degree charge alleges Weinstein used physical force or an implied or expressed threat that led the alleged victim to fear immediate death or injury. The third-degree charge alleges only that there was a lack of consent.
One count of criminal sex act for Haleyi's forced oral sex allegation.
Two counts of predatory sexual assault, one for each of the charged acts.
HOW DOES THE PREDATORY SEXUAL ASSAULT CHARGE WORK?
Under New York law, one way a person can be found guilty of predatory sexual assault is if he or she committed certain sex offenses in the past, even if that conduct didn't result in criminal charges.
In Weinstein's case, prosecutors allege that he raped Sciorra in late 1993 or early 1994 — an accusation that is too old to be the basis for criminal charges on its own because of the statute of limitations.
DOES THE JURY HAVE TO REACH A VERDICT ON ALL CHARGES?
No. Weinstein is charged with five counts, but the way the verdict form is designed, jurors won't have to make a decision on all of them.
The form instructs the jury to start by reaching a verdict on the predatory sexual assault counts, which encompass the other charged acts. Depending on what they decide on those counts, they can move onto or skip other charges.
For example, if jurors find Weinstein guilty of the predatory sexual assault count alleging he both raped Sciorra and assaulted Haleyi, then the jury does not need to decide the criminal sex act charge involving Haleyi.
If the jury finds Weinstein guilty of the second predatory sexual assault count, alleging that he both raped Sciorra and raped the woman in 2013, then the jury does not need to decide the standalone rape charges involving the woman.
If the jury decides Weinstein didn't rape Sciorra, then it can't find Weinstein guilty of either predatory sexual assault count.
If jurors acquit Weinstein of the second predatory sexual assault count because it they don't feel it was a first-degree rape, they can still consider a third-degree rape charge involving the woman.
WHAT IS WEINSTEIN'S DEFENSE?
Weinstein maintains the encounters were consensual. His lawyer said that the allegations are "regret renamed as rape." The defense grilled Haleyi and the 2013 accuser about meetings they had with Weinstein after the alleged assaults and highlighted friendly, flirtatious emails they sent him.
HOW MUCH TIME COULD HE FACE?
Each of the predatory sexual assault counts is punishable by 25 years to life in prison.
The first degree rape and criminal sex act counts each carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
Third degree rape carries a maximum sentence of 4 years in prison.
WHAT'S THE WORST CASE SCENARIO FOR WEINSTEIN?
He's convicted of predatory sexual assault. Even if the jury finds him guilty on just one of those top-level counts, a minimum sentence would keep him in prison until he's in his early 90s.
WOULD HE HAVE TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER?
Yes. If Weinstein is convicted on any of the charges he would be required to register as a sex offender under New York's version of what's known as Megan's Law.
WOULD WEINSTEIN BE HAULED OFF IN HANDCUFFS RIGHT AWAY?
If Weinstein is convicted on any of the charges, there's a good chance his bail will be revoked and he'll be taken to jail right away. Prosecutors could argue he'll have extra incentive to flee and that he's rich enough to do it. Even before the trial, prosecutors say he was showing signs of restlessness. A judge hiked his bail in December after prosecutors accused him of futzing with his electronic monitoring bracelet.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR WEINSTEIN?
Win or lose, Weinstein faces more criminal charges in a California case announced last month, just as his New York trial was getting underway. In that matter, Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulted one woman and raping another on back-to-back nights days before the Oscars in February 2013.
Zoe Caldwell, a four-time Tony Award winner who brought humanity to larger-than-life characters, whether it be the dotty schoolteacher Miss Jean Brodie, an aging opera star Maria Callas or the betrayed, murderous Medea, has died. She was 86.
Her son Charlie Whitehead said Caldwell died peacefully Sunday at her home in Pound Ridge, New York. Whitehead said her death was due to complications from Parkinson's disease.
The Australian-born actress played in regional theaters around the English-speaking world before becoming the toast of Broadway in 1968, and winning her second Tony, for "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie."
Among her other characters were Cleopatra, Saint Joan, Mother Courage and authors Colette and Lillian Hellman. As she matured, she accepted only roles that offer a particular challenge. If she thought, "Oh, I can do that," she didn't want to do them, she said in 1986.
Three of her four Tonys came in collaborations with her husband, Robert Whitehead, who was one of Broadway's most prolific producers of serious drama.
She cited his influence in her decision to do "Medea," the ancient Greek drama of a woman who is betrayed by her lover and kills their children in revenge. It won her a third Tony in 1982.
"Medea wasn't a character I believed in until my Robert started to talk to me about her in human terms," she told The New York Times a few days after the Tony ceremony. "I suddenly understood how a creative force of nature can become destructive if it is mucked up, polluted, depurified — like the atom."
Times critic Frank Rich cited the flashes of sensuality — which she said derived from the study of Greek painting and sculpture — and wit that she brought to the character.
"When, at last, the crime is at hand, the actress fully dramatizes the struggle between her hunger for revenge and her love of her sons," Rich wrote. "Like the gods, we can understand, if not pardon, the primal impulse that drives her to the ultimate act of annihilation."
Terrence McNally's "Master Class," which debuted on Broadway in 1995, was another joint effort with Whitehead. It won Caldwell her fourth Tony and brought Whitehead, as producer, the Tony for best play.
She played Callas as the opera superstar critiques, cajoles and inspires a trio of budding singers taking part in the uniquely intense musical education session called a master class.
"A performance is a struggle. You have to win," she says as Callas.
Then-Associated Press drama critic Michael Kuchwara called Caldwell "incandescent" and said she gave "the performance of her career."
Already well-known to those who followed regional theater, she had made her Broadway debut in "The Devils" in late 1965, temporarily replacing for Anne Bancroft, who injured her back.
Caldwell was quickly announced for a role as a society columnist in "Slapstick Tragedy," Tennessee Williams' pair of one-act plays. The production lasted less than a week on Broadway in February 1966 — but it brought Caldwell her first Tony, for best featured actress.
Broadway stardom arrived two years later for "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie." The story of an eccentric Scottish schoolteacher with pro-fascist tendencies originated as a novel by Muriel Spark. The role had already been successful for Vanessa Redgrave in London and would eventually win an Oscar for Maggie Smith.
The Washington Post, noting others had played the role, said that "so masterfully exact is Miss Caldwell that watching her you will probably feel that hers is the only way (to play it). ... Almost at the instant we first see Miss Brodie, the actress has found a perfect mannerism."
The New York Times said Caldwell "flounces onto the stage like a sparrow with illusions of grandeur."
She and producer Whitehead married later that year. She told writer Rex Reed that far from pushing her into the Brodie role, Whitehead "wasn't keen on me for the part" until the playwright, Jay Presson Allen, campaigned for her.
Caldwell added Broadway directing to her resume starting in 1977 with a comedy, "An Almost Perfect Person," starring Colleen Dewhurst. In 1991, she directed Jason Robards and Judith Ivey in "Park Your Car in Harvard Yard." She was last on Broadway in 2003 as the Mystery Guest Star in "The Play What I Wrote." She also lent her voice to the "Lilo & Stitch" cartoons and appeared in the 2011 film "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close."
She spent much of her early career on the road.
After touring in a wide variety of plays in Australia, she came to England and got to tackle a succession of Shakespearean roles.
"I was always afraid of growing comfortable, so I would jump from job to job, whatever I was offered," she told The Associated Press in 1986. "I would go from Stratford-on-Avon to a small repertory company and back to London."
She traveled to Canada for parts at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. In the United States, she did regional theater work at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and the Goodman Theater in Chicago.
At that time, she said she didn't turn down any job.
"It was a heck of a long apprenticeship, but I would recommend it to any actress," she told The New York Times in 1968.
Caldwell was born in 1933 in Melbourne, Australia, to a family struggling to make it through the Depression. In her memoir, "I Will Be Cleopatra," she wrote that she knew at an early age that her job would be "keeping audiences awake and in their seats."
"I knew this because it was the only thing I could do," she wrote. Despite the family's tight budget, the Caldwells were regular theater-goers, she wrote, and "I saw every singer, dancer, actor, or vaudevillian who came to Melbourne."
She made her stage debut at age 9 in a Melbourne production of "Peter Pan."
Her husband died in 2002 at age 86, shortly after he had received a special Tony Award for his nearly 60-year career. Among his other honors were a best play Tony for "A Man for All Seasons" in 1962 and a best revival Tony for "Death of a Salesman" in 1984.
She and Whitehead had two sons, Sam and Charlie. In addition to her two sons, she is survived by two grandchildren.
"I always knew I would be an actor. I am an actor," she told the AP in 1986. "But being a wife and a mother still seems to me to be some kind of extraordinary stuff."