Los Angeles, Oct 15 (AP/UNB) — The Neil Armstrong film "First Man" settled for a third-place landing at the North American box office in its opening weekend in theaters. The Ryan Gosling-starrer and a host of newcomers, like the family-friendly "Goosebumps" sequel and the neo-noir mystery "Bad Times at the El Royale," couldn't unseat last week's top two films, "Venom" and "A Star Is Born," which again took first and second place.
As the month of October careens toward a box office record, the crowded marketplace can be a blessing or a curse for some films in their first weekends, although the hope is that they will play for weeks to come.
Such is the idea for Universal Pictures' "First Man," which took flight over the weekend with everything to its advantage — prestige, good reviews (88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), a movie star (Gosling) and an Oscar-winning director (Damien Chazelle).
Studios estimated Sunday that "First Man" earned $16.5 million in ticket sales from 3,640 North American theaters, and $25 million worldwide. That was on par with expectations, but not exactly an eye-popping number for a space epic that cost nearly $60 million to produce.
For Universal Pictures' president of domestic distribution Jim Orr, the box office intake for a film like "First Man," which primarily appeals to older audiences not inclined to rush out to a movie theater on the first weekend, is going to be "a marathon not a sprint."
"What we know is for these types of adult, fall films for discerning audiences, it's not about the opening weekend," Orr said. "We're very comfortable that it's going to have a long life at the domestic box office."
Audiences for the PG-13 rated "First Man" were primarily older (52 percent over 35), male (56 percent) and Caucasian (67 percent) and gave the film a B+ CinemaScore.
"I never expected 'First Man' to have an opening weekend trajectory that was off the charts," said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for box office tracker comScore. "This is a film that has a lot of awards season buzz. It will attract a lot of older viewers and it's going to keep rolling along and getting more and more accolades. 'First Man' will be standing many weeks down the road."
The comic book film "Venom," meanwhile, continues to belie poor reviews in its second weekend in theaters. Sony Pictures estimated the film added $35.7 million in ticket sales, down 56 percent from its first weekend, to repeat at No. 1. The film has earned $142.8 million to date from North American theaters.
On the other end of the critical spectrum, Bradley Cooper's "A Star Is Born" continued to ride a wave of goodwill and awards buzz into its second weekend adding $28 million. With total domestic grosses at $94.2 million, the Warner Bros. pic starring Cooper and Lady Gaga will sail past $100 million in no time.
Fourth place went to "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" which took in $16.2 million (down from the first film's $23.6 million launch in 2015) while "Bad Times At The El Royale" debuted in seventh place with only $7.2 million.
The well-reviewed young adult film "The Hate U Give," meanwhile, performed well in its expansion. The drama about a police shooting of a black teenager managed to crack the top 10 playing in only 248 locations, placing ninth with $1.8 million. It expands wide next weekend. And Amazon Studios' Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carell addiction drama "Beautiful Boy" opened on four screens to $221,437.
With so many new films at the multiplex, from big budget blockbusters to awards friendly dramas, audiences are helping propel October to record box office earnings. It also means some movies are getting lost in the shuffle.
"There is a relentless onslaught of hits that keep on coming from every genre," Dergarabedian said. "People are a little overwhelmed right now. There's a bevy of riches at the marketplace and some films are going to struggle on opening weekend."
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. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Venom," $35.7 million ($69.7 million international).
2. "A Star Is Born," $28 million ($20.2 million international).
3. "First Man," $16.5 million ($8.6 million international).
4. "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween," $16.2 million ($3.7 million international).
5. "Smallfoot," $9.3 million ($14.5 million international).
6. "Night School," $8 million ($2.2 million international).
7. "Bad Times at the El Royale," $7.2 million ($4 million international).
8. "The House with a Clock in its Walls," $4 million ($5.6 million international).
9. "The Hate U Give," $1.8 million.
10. "A Simple Favor," $1.4 million ($1.9 million international).
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:
1. "Venom," $69.7 million.
2. "Project Gutenberg," $22.3 million.
3. "A Star Is Born," $20.2 million.
4. "Smallfoot," $14.5 million.
5. "Johnny English Strikes Again," $11.5 million.
6. "First Man," $8.6 million.
7. "Shadow," $8.2 million.
8. "Lost, Found," $8.1 million.
9. "The House with a Clock in its Walls," $5.6 million.
10. "Dark Figure of Crime," $5 million.
Kampala, Oct 14 (AP/UNB) — Ugandan officials say Kanye West and his wife, the reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, have arrived in Uganda on a private visit.
Information Minister Frank Tumwebaze told The Associated Press late Saturday that West's visit is "an endorsement of our tourism resources." Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said on Twitter that the American rapper was traveling with his wife.
They are reportedly vacationing in a luxury safari lodge with a view of the River Nile in the northern part of the East African nation.
Their presence in Uganda is seen as a coup for official tourism promoters, who recently were criticized by the president for allegedly not doing enough to promote Uganda's natural attractions.
Dhaka, Oct 11 (UNB) - Six people, including Impress Telefilm’s Managing Director Faridur Reza, escaped unhurt as a helicopter of Impress Aviation Ltd crashed in Godagari uapzila of Rajshahi on Thursday.
Channel I director Shykh Seraj told UNB that the accident occurred when a team was returning to Dhaka after shooting of a ‘Sarnakishori’ programme for the channel in the afternoon.
The helicopter crashed into the land due to inclement weather caused by Cyclone Titli, he said.
However, members of the team are now returning to Dhaka by a flight of Novoair, he added.
Albuquerque, Oct 9 (AP/UNB) — Netflix has chosen New Mexico as the site of a new U.S. production hub and is in final negotiations to buy an existing multimillion-dollar studio complex on the edge of the state's largest city, government and corporate leaders announced Monday.
It's the company's first purchase of such a property, and upcoming production work in Albuquerque and at other spots around New Mexico is forecast to result in $1 billion in spending over the next decade.
More than $14 million in state and local economic development funding is being tapped to bring Netflix to New Mexico. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, a Democrat, touted the investment and said lengthy efforts to put New Mexico on the movie-making map are paying off.
"This is awesome," the governor told dozens of people gathered inside a cavernous sound stage at ABQ Studios. "This massive investment will have a huge impact of course on New Mexico and continue our efforts to grow and diversify the economy."
Martinez acknowledged the state's reliance on federal funding and oil and gas development, saying more needs to be done to encourage diverse ventures such as Netflix as the private sector is the backbone of the American economy.
Keller said the city has laid the groundwork to make sure the film industry is part of its economic development plan. He called landing Netflix a "transformative victory" for the city.
Netflix projects produced in New Mexico include the Emmy Award-winning limited series "Godless" and "Longmire." Company officials said previous experience working in the state inspired them to jump at the opportunity to establish a new production hub in Albuquerque.
Netflix earlier this year announced it was establishing its first European production hub in Spain. That operation is expected to help the online video entertainment platform expand its Spanish-language content.
It also has a production hub in Los Angeles and it's possible the company's footprint will continue to expand, given the amount of content the online entertainment provider is aiming to create.
"We will look at each place on its merits — the same kind of decision-making that went into the impending purchase of this studio," said Ty Warren, Netflix's vice president for physical production. "The combination of great crews, existing infrastructure, financial incentives — it was all part of it."
Netflix has about 130 million subscribers worldwide.
Officials did not release details about the sales price of the studio complex in New Mexico. The property includes several sound stages, production offices, mill space and a back lot.
Martinez, whose second and final term ends this year, initially talked about trying to rein in New Mexico's film incentive program and an annual $50 million cap was instituted.
As the state dug its way out of the recession, she said it was important to avoid cuts to critical programs such as education, health care and public infrastructure. She was criticized by many who thought the cap would stifle the growth of the film industry.
In 2013, she signed the "Breaking Bad bill," named after the Emmy-winning TV drama that filmed primarily in Albuquerque during its five seasons. The legislation enhanced incentives for television productions.
Martinez said the industry has since marked three consecutive record-breaking years in New Mexico and it is lining up to be another monumental year.
The industry has drawn more in-state direct spending from film and TV productions each year since 2014, topping out at $505 million last fiscal year, according to the state film office.
New York, Oct 7 (AP/UNB) — The Sony comic-book movie "Venom" has shrugged off bad reviews to shatter the October box-office record with an $80 million debut, while Bradley Cooper's "A Star Is Born" soared to $42.6 million.
According to estimates Sunday, the two very different films fueled an unusually robust October weekend at the North American box office. Despite a 32 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the anti-hero "Spider-Man" spinoff "Venom" opened with $205.2 million globally.
The previous best October opening was $55.7 million for "Gravity" in 2013.
Cooper's "A Star Is Born" remake, also starring Lady Gaga, has been hailed by critics and pegged as an Oscar front-runner. It drew an audience that was 66 percent female and 68 percent older than 35.