Biplob Sarkar-directed Bangladeshi feature film ‘Agantuk’ (The Stranger) has recently been conferred as the unanimous winner of the Prasad DI award by the Film Bazaar Recommends jury in Goa, India in the Viewing Room section. The Viewing Room presents Indian and South Asian films, in-production or completed, looking for film festivals, world sales, distribution partners and also finishing funds. A total of 247 films were selected for the Viewing Room this year, out of which 30 films made it to the Film Bazaar Recommendations Section which includes 20 full-length, 2 mid-length and 8 short films. Film Bazaar, held on November 20-24, dedicated to discovering, supporting and showcasing South Asian content is increasingly becoming a place of great interest for young filmmakers from South Asia. This event provides Film Bazaar with an opportunity to interact with renowned producers, distributors, sales agents and festival organisers from around the world. Read more: ‘Hoyto-Noyto': A satire on the times This win will allow the recipients to make a complete DI DCP and to use Qubewire to transmit the film to film festivals and exhibitors. However, due to visa complications, director Biplob Sarkar could not attend the Film Bazaar and receive the award in person. “The Prasad Lab in Hyderabad, India is a pioneer in film and video post-production for our creative industry over the years, and this is a great opportunity for us to conduct the post-production works of our film,” Biplob Sarkar told UNB. With editing being completed, the director and producers are now preparing for other post-production works. After completing the post-production at Prasad Lab, the target is to focus on its distribution and compete in global film festivals around the world, he added. The story of Agantuk revolves around a 10-year-old boy named Kajal, living in a rural area of Bangladesh with their mother and terminally ill grandmother struggles with their gender identity. Kajal’s father, Javed, has been absent for a long time. One day, Javed returns home. This change in dynamics creates a rift in the family; Kohinoor doesn’t interact with Javed and Javed’s mother doesn’t recognize him. This return forces Kajal to share the bed with their grandmother. Read more: Chanchal returns to theatre with Aranyak's 'Rarang' – 'cry to rise up' Kohinoor fears Kajal’s mental state, worrying about their cross-dressing as well as their attachment to their father. This hits a crescendo one night when Javed demands that Kajal be sent away to boarding school. ‘Agantuk’ features eminent actress Ferdousi Mazumder, alongside Sahana Rahman Sumi, Ratan Dev, Mahmud Alam, Ehan, Rafsan, Hriday, Hasimun and Nayeema Tasnim in the major roles. The film is produced by Ramya Rahim Chowdhury, Tazul Haque, Saifur Rahman Lenin and Biplob Sarkar. It received a government grant for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. In 2019, Biplob Sarkar's short documentary ‘Life Is Elsewhere’ won the Tarek Shahriar Best Independent Short Award at the 15th International Short and Independent Film Festival held in Dhaka. In 2020, another of his documentaries ‘Bismritajan’ won Exposition Young Film Talent Grant organised by Liberation War Museum. Earlier, he had worked as coordinator and faculty moderator of the film department at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute. He had also worked as chief assistant director in 'Meghmallar' and 'Chander Amavasya' directed by Zahidur Rahim Anjan.
The 90-minute soccer match is turning into 100-plus at the World Cup — and that is what FIFA wants to give fans more entertainment. The nearly 14 minutes added at the end of Argentina’s shocking 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday meant the five longest periods of stoppage time for a single half of soccer at any World Cup were all played in Qatar since Monday, according to statistics site Opta Joe. England and Iran went into the 15th minute of stoppage time in the first half Monday and the referee added almost 14 minutes in the second half. A head injury for Iran’s goalkeeper explained the first, but the second raised more eyebrows. Even more surprising were the Netherlands-Senegal and the United States-Wales games each entering the 11th minute of time added at the end for the myriad types of stoppages in modern soccer. The American game, which started at 10 p.m. on Monday in Doha, ticked over into Tuesday when the final whistle blew. The pattern carried on Tuesday as the Argentina-Saudi Arabia match went into a seventh minute of time added on in the first half and twice as much in the second, when a Saudi defender was injured and carted off the field. “The purpose is to offer more show to those watching the World Cup,” FIFA referees committee chairman Pierluigi Collina said in Qatar ahead of the tournament. Collina insisted the directive to referees “is something not new.” FIFA officials have long been agitated about the dwindling amount of effective playing time in the regulation 90 minutes. In 2017, a 60-minute, stop-start game clock like in basketball was suggested by Marco van Basten when the Netherlands great was then FIFA technical director. Read more: Qatar World Cup: Saudi Arabia's stunning victory end Argentina's 36-match winning streak Five years ago, even Van Basten noted wryly it had become routine for referees to add one minute in the first half and three in the second regardless of what actually happened on the field. At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the ball was typically in play for about 60 minutes. That was down to between 52 and 58 minutes at the 2018 tournament in Russia, according to one statistical analysis. “What we want to avoid is to have a match lasting 42, 43, 44, 45 minutes of active play. This is not acceptable,” said Collina, widely seen as the best ref of his generation when he worked at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups. Video review that was first used at the World Cup four years ago has caused some of the modern delays, with stoppages often lasting about two minutes to check on game-changing incidents. Goal celebrations that now go on and on have also tested FIFA’s patience. “Celebrations may last one, one and a half minutes,” Collina said last Friday at a briefing about FIFA instructions to their match officials in Qatar. “It’s easy to lose three, four, five minutes only for goal celebrations and this has to be considered and compensated at the end.” Five second-half goals in England’s 6-2 win over Iran shows that, plus there was a VAR review to award Iran a penalty at the end of the 10 minutes of stoppage time that were initially indicated. Read more: Qatar World Cup: Messi scores as Argentina take 1-0 lead against Saudi Arabia It helped England complete 730 passes — the second most in any World Cup game that did not include extra time. Still, there was only one second-half goal in the 1-1 draw between the United States and Wales. While fans are getting used to the new norm of longer games — and broadcasters perhaps adjust their running times of programs — the current solution is arguably better than those proposed five years ago. Van Basten’s team also suggested research into combating late-game time-wasting by letting referees stop their watch as play paused toward the end of each half. Both ideas were soon shelved.
Continuing its successful legacy of hosting early winter concerts for the rock music lovers in the capital, Brandmyth Experiential is organising ‘November Rain Volume 2’ at the International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB) Expo Zone in the capital. The concert, scheduled to groove the rock music fans on November 12, is showcasing an ensemble line-up of 10 esteemed bands in the country: Aurthohin, Artcell, Black, Cryptic Fate, Viking, Chirkutt, Indalo, Meghdol, Ashes and Powersurge. A press conference was held at The Daily Star center on Tuesday, where the organisers briefed the journalists with the event details. Also read: Nora Fatehi finally gets permission in Bangladesh “The maiden edition of our ‘November Rain’ concert series, which featured some of the biggest artists in the nation, was held on the same date the previous year. We have then successfully organized the 25th anniversary concert of the popular band Shironamhin with overwhelmingly positive reception, and now we're ready to entertain band music fans with the ‘November Rain Volume 2’ this coming Saturday,” the organisers said at the press conference. It was announced that the Artcell, Black, Cryptic Fate – collectively known as the 'ABC' generation during the golden era of these popular bands between 2000 and 2010 - will once again enthrall their fans on November Rain Volume 2, with some exclusive collaborative performances including a special song titled ‘Ashirbad.’ Meghdol vocalist Shibu Kumer Shill praised the initiative behind the event, saying, "Our generation has huge expectations for these types of concerts. The band music scene in Bangladesh experienced a severe loss because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this type of mega concerts can benefit the bands and the artists.” Also read: 'Dhaka Classics Japanese Recital' enthrals audience at Japanese mission Brandmyth mentioned that unlike the previous edition of ‘November Rain,’ this year the concert will be an open-air concert to entertain more audiences. The venue has been divided into two separate zones - Myth Zone and Rockers Zone, and two tiers of tickets, worth 1050 tk and 550 tk, are available for the concert at the getsetrock.com website. The venue will be welcoming the concert-goers from 1 pm, according to the organisers.
HBO was lucky when illness struck the “House of the Dragon” set at the very last minute. Director Greg Yaitanes – on the West of Westeros podcast hosted by Entertainment Weekly – discussed how they avoided delays in filming the season finale when the actor who plays one of the Cargyll twins contracted COVID-19. Arryk and Erryk are portrayed by 33-year-old actors and real-life identical twins Luke and Elliott Tittensor. Read more: ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel keeps dragons, adds diversity Yaitanes claimed that Luke stepped up to fill in for Elliott during filming a crucial part of “House of the Dragon” season 1 finale after the latter contracted COVID-19 on the second day of filming. The scene included Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) returning to Dragonstone, before Ser Erryk informed Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) and her council that Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) had arrived to negotiate terms. On the podcast, Yaitanes remarked, “There's that scene, that big scene where Corlys comes down and they're putting the markers on the table and the messenger comes in.” He claimed that the sequence required more than two days to film and that Elliott Tittensor, one of the twins, tested positive for COVID-19 at that time. Yaitanes explained, “So we swapped him out with his brother.” Read more: HBO chief: Sorry, fans, no 'Game of Thrones' do-over It’s unlikely that even the most discerning “House of the Dragon” fan would have noticed the difference unless Yaitanes had mentioned it. Yaitanes remarked that if they hadn’t had access to a similar-looking actor, it might have been disastrous since they were ready to film D’Arcy and Erryk was nearby. Even though the “House of the Dragon” crew avoided delay for that brief moment, they were unable to totally prevent COVID-19 during the 2021 filming. The crew member’s positive test result caused production to stop for two days in July 2021, according to Radio Times. Read more: 'Game of Thrones' final season to debut on April 14 But now that “House of the Dragon” season 1 has aired, viewers will have to pray that the next season doesn’t see any further delays since production may only begin in 2023, according to co-creator and executive producer Ryan Condal.
In recent years, a bunch of South Indian films have outshined Bollywood's big-budget mainstream Hindi movies in both ratings and earnings. The Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam film industries are enthralling the cinema world with great films in terms of unique story-telling, eye-catching visuals, and superb acting performance. Holding this legacy, South Indian film industries are releasing quality films every month. Let's take a look at the upcoming South Indian movies in October 2022. 10 Most anticipated South Indian Movies releasing in October 2022 Swathi Muthyam | Telugu Romantic Comedy Varsha Bollamma and Ganesh Bellamkonda are the main stars of this Lakshman K Krishna-directed film. The movie tells a young man's story about celebrating life, falling in love, and his growing views on marriage. He is naive and pure at heart. Surya Teja Musunuru did the cinematography, while Mahathi Swara Sagar created the music. The film editing was done by Navin Nooli. Suryadevara Naga Vamsi produces the film under the banner of Sithara Entertainments. The movie will premiere on October 5, 2022. Read Star Cineplex's Awesome Autumn gives moviegoers chance to win trip to Maldives GOD Father | Telugu Political Action It is a remake of the 2019 Malayalam film Lucifer, which is being helmed by Mohan Raja. Salman Khan, Nayantara, Puri Jagannadh, Satyadev Kancharana, and Chiranjeevi will star different roles in the movie. S. Thaman composed the music, and Nirav Shah was in charge of the filming. Ram Charan, R. B. Choudary, and N. V. Prasad produced the movie under Konidela Production Company and Super Good Films. The movie Godfather is slated for release on October 5, 2022, which also happens to be Vijayadashami. Read Misha Sawdagor makes his OTT debut with ‘Jodi Ami Beche Firi’ Borrder | Tamil Spy Thriller This movie was directed by Arivazhagan Venkatachalam and produced by Vijaya Raghavendra under the name All in Pictures. Arun Vijay, Regina Cassandra, and Stefy Patel are all featured in the movie. The theme of the movie is patriotism, and it has a military setting. Rajasekar handled the cinematography, and Sam CS composed the soundtrack. The movie was supposed to open in theaters on November 19, 2021. However, the release date has been postponed because of the flooding in Chennai. The current release date is October 5, 2022. Read This is what Nuhash’s Hulu project is about The Ghost – Killing Machine | Telugu For his forthcoming film The Ghost, King Nagarjuna is back again in the fierce action. The movie portrays an extremely skilled and lethal agent who can turn into an unstoppable "Killing Machine" when he becomes enraged. Sonal Chauhan, who plays an Interpol agent, will appear in the movie alongside Nagarjuna. Furthermore, Gul Panag and Anikha Surendran have glorified the major casts of the movie. The Ghost's screenplay and direction are both by Praveen Sattaru. The movie was made by Suniel Narang, Puskur Ram Mohan Rao, and Sharrath Marar under the auspices of Northstar Entertainment and Sree Venkateswara Cinemas LLP. For the movie, Saurabh and Bharatt composed the soundtrack. The film's release date, which is set for October 5, 2020, has already been announced by the producers. Read “RAB freed Sundarbans from robbers and inspired a quality film” Kasethan Kadavulada | Tamil Heist Comedy The movie title means ‘Only money is god’. R. Kannan is the film's producer and director. It is a remake of the 1972 Tamil film which was in the same name. The movie stars Priya Anand and Shiva. Other actors include Yogi Babu, Manobala, Urvashi, Karunakaran, Thalaivasal Vijay, Sivaangi Krishnakumar, and Pugazh. The storyline of the film centers a man who is planning to steal money from his stepmother with the help of two other individuals. Raj Pratap composed the music, and Prasanna Kumar handled the photography. The movie is slated to hit theaters on October 7, 2022. Read 'Beauty Circus’ & ‘Operation Sundarban’ set the ball rolling for Bangladesh film industry Sardar | Tamil Spy Action This movie is being written, produced, and directed by P. S. Mithran. S. Lakshman Kumar has produced the film under Prince Pictures banner. The movie stars Karthi in a dual role as the title character. Other significant roles have been played by Raashii Khanna, Munishkanth, Rajisha Vijayan, Laila, Chunky Panday, and Murali Sharma. Yuvan Shankar Raja, who had previously been Mithran's go-to composer, is replaced as the music composer for the movie by G. V. Prakash Kumar. George C. Williams serves as the film's cinematographer. Ruben made the edits, and Dhilip Subbarayan choreographed the stunts. The film will premiere in theaters on October 24, 2020. Read ‘Illegal immigrants’ stealing jobs in India's Bollywood? Champion | Kannada Thriller The movie’s premiere is set for October 14, 2022. Shahuraja Sindhe is directing the film. Its storyline tells the story of a small-town child who overcame all of life's challenges to become successful. Shivam Productions, Shivanand S. Neelannavar, and Lahari Music are the producers of this suspenseful movie. Sachin Dhanpal, Aditi Prabhudeva, Sunny Leone, and Suman will star in this film. Pradeep Rawat is another well-known actor who was brought on board for Champion. Read “Many thought my decision to quit job for acting was a mistake” Shabari Searching For Ravana | Kannada The movie's screenplay was written by Chetan Keshav. Naveen Shetty and Viday Sagar Chinta directed the film. In spite of a few small romance and emotional storylines, this movie is mostly a suspense thriller with a heroine-centric theme. The lead actresses in the film are Rachita Ram and Archana Kottige. Anoop Seelin was the music composer, Vishal Kumar Gowda shot the film, and Naveen Shetty made the edits. The movie was produced by Kiran Kumar under the production companies KK Production, and ATM Studios. The film's premiere is scheduled on October 2, 2022. Read UNESCO Mondiacult 2022: Bangladesh lauded for creating Bangabandhu International Award Rorschach | Malayalam Psychological Thriller This film was written by Sameer Abdul and directed by Nisam Basheer. The main character in the movie is Mammootty. Sharafudeen, Grace Antony, Kottayam Nazeer, Jagadish, Sanju Sivram, and Bindu Panicker round out the film's ensemble cast. The film was made by Mammootty himself under the name of Mammootty Kampany. Midhun Mukundan took care of the music composition of the film music, while Nimish Ravi was the head of cinematography. The release date for Rorschach is October 13, 2022. Read Shehzad Khan Bir is their son, confirm Shakib Khan & Bubly Marthanda Varma | Malayalam Historical ‘Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma-The King of Travancore’ is the full title of the film. The famous Bahubali antagonist star Rana Daggubati is coming back with this historical drama in the titular role. This project is his debutant work in the Bollywood industry. The movie will prominently feature the grandeur of Marthanda Varma, a well-known king of Travancore who lived in the 18th century A.D. Peter Hein coordinated the stunts for the movie, which was directed by K. Madhu. The movie's sound will be handled by Oscar winner Resul Pookutty. M M Keeravani, best known for his work on the Bahubali series, will write the soundtrack. The movie is going to hit the theater on 25 October 2022. Read Nuhash Humayun: I want to experiment, make mistakes Bottom Line So far, we have discussed 10 South Indian movies expected to release in October 2022. It can be expected that some of these latest South Indian Films can join the ranks of the past blockbusters from the same industry. As the South Indian cinemas are entertaining the film enthusiasts worldwide quite successfully, it's only a matter of time to dominate the entire Asian glamor world.
Dhallywood superstar Shakib Khan and actress Bubly have finally made public announcement about their two-year-old son ending speculations. Shakib and Bubli revealed this in separate posts on their respective verified Facebook page on Friday. Read: Shakib Khan back home after nine months Although planned to announce the news at an auspicious date, they have shared this news with their fans earlier considering it a 'blessing from the Almighty', Shakib wrote on his post. "Shehzad Khan Bir, Bubly and my son, our little prince. My child is my pride, my strength,” he wrote. "I am seeking prayers from everyone, for our child." Bubly also announced the same in her post. Read: Film Rajkumar: Everything about Shakib Khan’s Upcoming Movie with US Actress There had been a lot of talk about them ever since Bubly uploaded a photo of her with a baby bump on Facebook recently. Later, Shakib admitted it indirectly to the media and informed that he would announce the details soon.
Several young filmmakers are now taking Bangladeshi content to the international arena, and Nuhash Humayun is one of them. With drama projects such as ‘Hotel Albatross’, the short film ‘700 Taka’, web series ‘Pet Kata Shaw’, his recent short film 'Moshari' and his upcoming project for the international OTT platform Hulu, Nuhash's career is gaining momentum towards global success. After the success of 'Moshari' at two 'Oscar qualifying’ film festivals (HollyShorts Film Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival), audiences in Bangladesh have been wondering where and when to see the film, and answering that question, Nuhash told UNB that the short film is going to be available for Bangladeshi viewers in October. Regarding the work plan and experience, he said, "Interest of our viewers always sparks inspiration for any content creator. I have been blessed with that interest and our audiences might not have to wait too long for ‘Moshari’, which I hope everyone will be able to see in October.” Read:'Beauty Circus’ & ‘Operation Sundarban’ set the ball rolling for Bangladesh film industry “Working on this project has been really different for me. To succeed, I had to wait ten years. The idea for the plot first came to me ten years ago, but at the time there was no support since I dared to experiment with such fiction. I still needed a lot of creative support when I started developing ‘Moshari’, but I managed to finish it. Additionally, I've received a lot of reaction from audiences abroad. Now I’m eagerly waiting for Bangladeshi audiences’ reaction.” The news that Nuhash Humayun has created content for the international OTT platform Hulu broke the local internet, while the conversation regarding ‘Moshari’ was still going on. The completed content, which features numerous well-known Bangladeshi actors, is already in Hulu’s pipeline; however, due to the embargo till the official promotion from Hulu, Nuhash is currently keeping a lot of information about the project private.
Taylor Swift took home the top prize at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday before she closed out the show with a surprisingly big announcement: Her new album. “I thought it would be a fun moment to tell you that my new album comes out Oct. 21,” said Swift after she won video of the year for her project “All Too Well: The Short Film" (10 minute version), which claimed best long form video. “I will tell you more at midnight.” Swift said on social media that her upcoming 10th studio album would be called “Midnights,” which she says will involve “stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life.” Her upcoming release comes after she released “Folklore” and “Evermore.” Both projects came out five months apart two years ago. “Folklore” won album of the year at the 2021 Grammy Awards. The pop star's reveal came at the end of her acceptance speech where she praised the other women in the category - which included Doja Cat and Olivia Rodrigo. “I know with every second of this moment that we wouldn’t be able to make this short film if it weren’t for you - the fans," she said. "I wouldn’t be able to re-record my albums if it wasn’t for you. You emboldened me to do that.” She spoke about creating her first short film, giving thanks to several including actors Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien who starred in the project. “We put our entire hearts into this,” Swift said. Rapper Jack Harlow made his mark throughout the entire show. He kicked off his performance inside a mock airplane walking down aisle while performing his hit song “First Class,” which was sampled by Fergie’s “Glamorous.” The rapper joined Fergie onstage - who wore a sparkling silver dress with the red words “First Class” - while she sang her 2006 jam. “Thank you to Fergie for coming out with me tonight and clearing this song,” said Harlow after “First Class” won the award for song of the summer later in the show. “The beauty of this song is that people don’t realize it’s so hip-hop because of the sampling. To bring Fergie into the mix in this way means the world to me. It’s truly full circle. ‘Glamorous’ was one of the most important songs of my childhood.” During the show, Depp made a surprise appearance as the Moon Man nearly three months after the verdict in his defamation trial with his former wife Amber Heard. The 59-year-old actor floated from the ceiling while wearing the iconic astronaut outfit with his face digitally inserted into custom’s helmet. “And you know what? I needed the work,” Depp told the audience at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Lizzo had Taylor Swift dancing out of her seat while she performed her new single “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready).” She won an award for video for good for “About Damn Time.” Harlow’s name was called to come right back onstage to collect the show’s first award for his guest appearance on Lil Nas X’s song “Industry Baby,” which won for best collaboration. Both Harlow and Lil Nas X are tied for leading nominees with seven apiece. Read: MTV VMAs ready to host, honor some of music's biggest acts “This one is for the champions,” said Lil Nas X before Harlow thanked him for the collaboration on the chart-topping single. The song propelled their nominations, landing them in competition for artist of the year along with Drake, Bad Bunny, Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles and Lizzo. Harlow, in addition to performing and winning awards, joined LL Cool J and Nicki Minaj as the show’s hosts. Minaj performed a medley of her career’s biggest hits from “Roman’s Revenge,” “Chun-Li,” “Moment 4 Life,” “Beez in the Trap,” “Anaconda” and “Super Bass.” After her set, the rapper accepted the show’s Video Vanguard award, which MTV has said she’s receiving for her artistry, barrier-breaking hip-hop and status as a global superstar. The honor is named after Michael Jackson. During her acceptance speech, Minaj paid tribute to other music icons such as Jackson, Whitney Houston, Lil Wayne and Kanye West. She spoke about the importance of mental health. “I wish people took mental health seriously, even when you think they have the perfect lives,” said Minaj, who later won best hip-hop for her song “Do We Have a Problem?” featuring Lil Baby. Harry Styles won album of the year for “Harry's House.” He was unable to attend the awards due to his show at Madison Square Garden in New York. Bad Bunny performed his hit “Titi Me Pregunto” from Yankee Stadium after he won artist of the year. “I have been saying it and I always believed from the beginning that I could become great," he said. "That I could become one of the biggest stars in the world without having to change my culture, my language, my jargon. I am Benito Antonio Martínez from Puerto Rico to the whole world, thank you!” Eminem and Snoop Dogg brought the metaverse to the VMAs as the duo performed “From the D 2 The LBC,” which was featured on Eminem's greatest hits album “Curtain Call 2.” The Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage as the recipients of the Global Icon award after being introduced by Cheech & Chong as their “favorite band of all time.” The band - which consists of Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith and John Frusciante - performed several songs including their hit “Can't Stop” from the the group's 2002 album “By the Way” and their recent hit “Black Summer,” which won best rock. Flea made a speech about his love for human beings along with cockroaches, trees and dirt. Smith, the band's drummer, dedicated the award to Taylor Hawkins, the late Foo Fighters drummer who died early this year. “I dedicate this to Taylor and his family,” he said. “I love them and I miss him every day.” Madonna, who is the most awarded artist in MTV history with 20 wins, became the only artist to receive a nomination in each of the VMAs five decades. She earned her 69th nomination for her 14th studio album “Madame X.”
The horror film “The Invitation” needed just $7 million to finish at the top of the weakest weekend of the summer at the North American box office, according to studio estimates Sunday. Directed and co-written by Jessica M. Thompson and starring “Game of Thrones” actor Nathalie Emmanuel, “The Invitation” tells the story of a young woman who after her mother's death discovers dark secrets at her family home in the English countryside. It debuted on 3,141 screens for Sony and cost just $10 million to make. Sony also had the No. 2 movie with the Brad Pitt vehicle “Bullet Train,” which brought in an estimated $5.6 million from 3,513 screens in its fourth week, bringing its domestic total to $78.2 million. Universal’s “Beast,” starring Idris Elba, finished third with $4.9 million in its second week, after making $11.6 million and ranking second in its first. Elba was also the star of the week’s other major debut, “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” the fantasy epic from “Mad Max” director George Miller, which brought in just $2.9 million on 2,436 screens and finished a distant and disappointing seventh. The lagging results were no great surprise for this time of year. “We’re in that what is often the typical August slowdown heading into Labor Day weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. “This was to be expected given the lineup of films this weekend.” Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” remained in fourth in its 14th weekend in theaters with an additional $4.8 million. It has made over $691 million in North America to date, making it the sixth-highest grossing domestic release of all time. Last week's No. 1, “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” plunged to fifth in its second weekend with $4.6 million after bringing in $20.1 million in its debut. Read: MTV VMAs ready to host, honor some of music's biggest acts The weekend overall saw about $52.7 million in North American ticket sales — the slowest in months. A strong summer has meant that the year-to-date box office is still up significantly from a tepid 2021, but a long drought lies ahead until another surge of expected big earners such as “Halloween Ends” and “Black Adam," which will both be released in October. Amid the quiet spell at the box office, movie tickets will be just $3 in the vast majority of American theaters as part of a newly launched “ National Cinema Day ” on Saturday. Major chains, including AMC and Regal Cinemas, are participating, as are all major film studios. Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday. 1. “The Invitation," $7 million. 2. “Bullet Train,” $5.6 million. 3. “Beast,” $4.9 million. 4. “Top Gun: Maverick,” $4.8 million. 5. “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero,” $4.6 million. 6. “DC League of Super-Pets,” $4.2 million. 7. “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” $2.9 million 8. “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” $2.74 million. 9. “Thor: Love and Thunder,” $2.7 million. 10. “Where the Crawdads Sing,” $2.3 million
The prequel to “Game of Thrones” is set to forge its own storytelling path, with a new set of characters and a more diverse team behind the scenes. “House of the Dragon” takes place two centuries before the events of the original series, which ended its hit eight-season run in May 2019. The 10-episode prequel begins Sunday on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max. The story focuses on House Targaryen, made famous in “Game of Thrones” by Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys and her fearsome dragons. But don’t expect “House of the Dragon” to be a remake of “Game of Thrones,’’ cast member Steve Toussaint said. “It’s been done and they did it exceedingly well,” said Toussaint, who plays the very rich Lord Corlys Velaryon. “You know you’re in that world, but you’re seeing a different story, different characters, different motivations.” Among the new faces in the clan is Prince Daemon Targaryen, played by Matt Smith. His villainous character is a lot more complex than he appears to be on first viewing, the actor said. “I think the reason I’ve had fun is because he’s maybe not just a villain,” he said. “I think there’s actually a huge amount of fragility and depth and inner madness there. ... It’s not black and white. It can go either way with Daemon at any point.” Based on George R.R. Martin’s “Fire and Blood,” the drama was co-created by Martin and Ryan Condal, whose credits include the 2016-19 sci-fi drama “Colony.” Condal is an executive producer and co-showrunner with director Miguel Sapochnik, who brings his experience on “Game of Thrones” to the prequel. Read:Anne Heche dies of crash injuries after life support removed “House of the Dragon,” much like its predecessor, focuses on familial succession with a female heir being overlooked. But Sapochnik notes a key difference between the two series: The team making the prequel is more diverse, including a 50-50 split between male and female directors, including Sapochnik, Clare Kilner, Geeta Vasant Patel and Greg Yaitanes. There was a conscious push to be inclusive behind the scenes, Sapochnik says. “We really tried to, as much as possible, hire as many female crew as we could, because we think that’s a really important shift that needs to be both recognized, acknowledged, acted upon, maybe give opportunities to people who don’t get opportunities,” he explained. The team making “Dragon” is equally as diverse, and — for the fantasy genre — boasts a relative bounty of women in the writers’ room. The gender balance affects the show’s story and tone, according to some of its female cast members. The series opens with an aristocratic council naming Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) as heir to the Iron Throne, bypassing his older cousin Princess Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Best). But Viserys must have his own heir, with dreams of power held by Daemon, his younger brother, and Viserys’ daughter Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy plays the adult version, Milly Alcock the youth). “You definitely don’t feel like a device or a prop and you don’t feel like the the sexy wench or the mother,” said Olivia Cooke, who plays the adult Alicent Hightower, longtime friend to Rhaenyra. “You feel that you’ve got a fully fledged character which is really nourishing to play.” The ensemble cast also includes Emily Carey, Graham McTavish, Fabien Frankel, Rhys Ifans and Sonoya Mizuno. Carey, who plays the younger Alicent, calls the inclusion of women in all aspects of production a step “in the right direction” for the fantasy genre. Although virtually every female character faces misogyny, each is “still a fully fledged, three-dimensional female character,” Carey said. “They still have multiple other story lines and a whole life away from that misogynistic story line. They’re not just put in the show to serve a purpose. And I think that’s what makes it so special.” “House of the Dragon” screenwriter Charmaine DeGraté said “it was important for George (R.R. Martin, a prequel executive producer) for it to be this way. Female-driven characters, female-driven shows and female-driven writers rooms just sort of elevates the story. That’s a wonderful way to expand the universe.”