Disney’s ‘Lion King’ Roars As Cameron Salutes New ‘Avengers’ Record

 

“The Lion King” roared to a huge $191.8 million opening weekend in North American theatres, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Monday, consolidating Disney’s record-breaking reign at the box office.

It was the eighth-biggest domestic opening of all time, surpassing “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Disney said.

Director Jon Favreau’s update of the classic 1994 animated film employs hyper-realistic computer-generated images and has a voice cast including Donald Glover as Simba and Beyonce as Nala, as well as Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor and James Earl, Jones.

Worldwide, the movie has already passed the half-billion-dollar mark.

READ ALSO: ‘Avengers’ Leads All-Time Box Office, Topples ‘Avatar’

The July record opening comes as director James Cameron congratulated “Avengers: Endgame” — another Disney property — for beating his film “Avatar” to become the highest-grossing movie of all time.

The Disney-owned Marvel superhero blockbuster ended the 10-year reign of “Avatar” Sunday after its global box office haul rose to $2.7902 billion.

“Congratulations to Avengers Endgame on becoming the new box-office king,” Cameron wrote in a tweet showing an image of Marvel’s Iron Man hero surrounded by “wood sprite” plants from the alien moon Pandora of “Avatar.”

Both “Avatar” and “Endgame” are now owned by Disney following its takeover of 21st Century Fox.

Well back in second place at North American box offices this weekend was “Spider-Man: Far From Home” at $21.2 million.

A collaboration between Sony and Disney’s Marvel Studios, the latest instalment in the blockbuster franchise picks up where “Avengers: Endgame” left off, with Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man atop a cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal — and Favreau.

In third was “Toy Story 4,” taking in $15.5 million in its fifth week out, while the fourth spot went to Paramount’s “Crawl,” at $6.1 million.

The disaster thriller tells the story of a father and daughter (Barry Pepper and Kaya Scodelario) battling hungry gators after a hurricane hits their Florida town.

And in fifth was Universal’s “Yesterday,” at $5 million. The sweet comedy is based on the entertaining if the fantastic premise of a struggling musician (Himesh Patel) suddenly becoming one of the only people on Earth who remembers the Beatles.

Rounding out the weekend’s top 10 were:

“Stuber” ($4.1 million)

“Aladdin” ($4.1 million)

“Annabelle Comes Home” ($2.6 million)

“Midsommar” ($1.6 million)

“The Secret Life of Pets 2” ($1.5 million)

AFP

‘Avengers’ Star Hemsworth To Play Undercover Detective In $40m Comedy

Actor Chris Hemsworth attends the Marvel Studios’ ‘Avengers: Endgame’ cast place their handprints in cement at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX Forecourt on April 23, 2019, in Hollywood, California. VALERIE MACON / AFP

 

“Avengers” star Chris Hemsworth is to play an undercover detective in a $40 million comedy about two mismatched cops investigating a series of casino heists, the distributors told media at Cannes on Sunday.

Entitled “Down Under Cover”, the film has been snapped up by Paramount with production expected to start in February.

The picture casts the Australian actor opposite fast-rising comedy star Tiffany Haddish, with the ill-suited pair thrown together in an investigation in which the main suspects happen to be a troupe of Australian male erotic dancers.

READ ALSO: ‘Now Our Watch Is Ended’: History-Making ‘Game Of Thrones’ Wraps

Paramount has pledged a budget of $40 million (36 million euros), with production expected to start in February.

Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, who directed “Avengers: Endgame” are producing, with the script written by Peter Hoare. A director has not yet been chosen.

Hemsworth, 35, played Thor in the Avengers franchise, while 39-year-old Haddish made her breakthrough in 2017 with “Girls Trip”, a comedy in which she plays a loud-mouthed but endearing friend.

AFP

‘Avengers’ Blast Past ‘Titanic’ To All-Time Number Two

 

Disney and Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” has stormed into a historic territory, earning $2.19 billion worldwide in less than two weeks to become the No. 2 film of all time, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.

That exalted number, which includes the film’s estimated take of $145.8 million this three-day weekend in North America, pushes the superhero blockbuster past “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which netted $2.07 billion, and even “Titanic” ($2.18 billion).

Only “Avatar” ($2.79 billion) has done better. Yet “Avengers” hit its record total in just 11 days, taking in a stunning $575.8 million in China alone.

Hollywood analysts predict a long run for “Avengers,” which drew a rare 96 per cent rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website and features a star-studded cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Bradley Cooper and Josh Brolin.

READ ALSO: ‘I Love You Always’, Tiwa Savage Tells Don Jazzy As She Exits Mavin

Trailing “Avengers” by several light years, rival studios still managed to place new films in the next three box-office spots.

Sony’s psychological thriller “The Intruder” came in second, at $11 million. Michael Ealy and Meagan Good star as a young couple who buy a dream home in California’s Napa Valley unaware that its previous owner (Dennis Quaid) plans to take it back — at all costs.

In third was Lionsgate’s romantic comedy “Long Shot,” at $10 million. Seth Rogen plays Fred Flarsky, an out-of-work journalist who has a romantic interest in his former babysitter (Charlize Theron) who — now a candidate for the US presidency — might seem a bit out of his reach.

STX Films’ animated film “UglyDolls” placed fourth, at $8.5 million. The plot? A bunch of misfit dolls with pointy ears and bad teeth — residents of Uglyville — face a harsh world but finally discover their inner beauty. The voices of Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Wanda Sykes and Janelle Monae are featured.

In fifth place, hanging strong in its ninth week out, was Disney’s “Captain Marvel,” at $4.3 million. Brie Larson stars as a former fighter pilot who gains superpowers.

Rounding out the weekend’s top 10 were:

“Breakthrough” ($3.9 million)

“The Curse of La Llorona” ($3.5 million)

“Shazam!” ($2.5 million)

“Little” ($1.5 million)

“Dumbo” ($1.4 million)

AFP

#AvengersEndame: Fans Stir Twitter Storm As Avengers Endgame Continues To Break Records

 

 

The Avengers have assembled for the last time, and they are destroying the competition — even before hitting US movie theaters.

“Avengers: Endgame,” the last in a 22-film arc featuring the beloved Marvel Universe superheroes, shattered records upon its release in Asia, specifically in China, Disney — which owns Marvel Studios — announced Thursday.

The movie raked in $169 million on Wednesday, its first day of release in 25 markets including China, Australia and several countries in Europe.

It set single-day box office records in China, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries, said Disney, which bought Marvel Studios in 2009.

The film’s performance in China was impressive — $107.5 million.

In France, “Endgame” scored the biggest opening day for a Marvel film. It set an overall opening day record in the Netherlands, Greece, and Egypt.

The figures indicate that “Endgame” will surpass the receipts generated by the previous episode in the “Avengers” saga — “Infinity War” — which came out last year, it added.

The film will go into wide release in the United States and Canada on Friday, with showings in select cities from Thursday.

Experts predict the well-reviewed “Avengers” finale — featuring Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and a raft of other stars — could make $200-260 million in its opening weekend in North America.

The film clocks runs just about three hours, leading US movie chain powerhouse AMC to schedule showings around the clock in several dozen cinemas to satisfy demand from moviegoing fans.

In India, the country’s main ticket trader said advance sales had exceeded 2.5 million, and some cinemas in the usually Bollywood-mad country are planning around-the-clock screenings.

Pundits are predicting a debut weekend that could break records with the first billion-dollar worldwide opening in history.

The 21 preceding films — featuring many of the comic book heroes created by the late legend Stan Lee — have earned about $19 billion globally.

READ ALSO: Dagrin: Nobody Can Step Into His Shoes – Fans React

Fans who have seen the movie all over the world, have stirred storms on social media, some attempting to spoil the fun for those who are yet to see the movie, many others expressing how enthralling their experience at the theatres was, giving other fans great reason to head back to the movies, for what some argue is an experience they may never get again.

Fans of the Avengers strike a pose while dressed in costumes for a costume contest before the first screening of “Avengers: Endgame” at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California on April 25, 2019. Frederic J. BROWN / AFP

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Tops North American Box Office Again

Actress Scarlett Johansson arrives for the World Premiere of the film ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ in Hollywood, California, on April 23, 2018.   FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP

 

“Avengers: Infinity War” dominated the North American box office for a third straight weekend, raking in $61.8 million as it easily fended off competition, industry estimates showed Sunday.

The Disney blockbuster, featuring a string of Marvel superheroes out to save the universe from powerful purple alien Thanos (Josh Brolin), has had a cumulative take over three weeks of $547.8 million, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Returning to their Marvel roles are Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Chris Hemsworth as Thor.

Running a distant second was “Life of the Party,” a Melissa McCarthy comedy that rang up a respectable $18.5 million its first weekend out.

McCarthy, who co-wrote the script with director Ben Falcone, stars as a newly divorced mother who returns to college, only to find herself in class with her daughter.

Another new film, “Breaking In,” a thriller starring Gabrielle Union, was third at $16.8 million.

Review website Rotten Tomatos dismissed the film as a “rote, disposable action thriller” but praised Union’s performance as a mother fighting to save her children from criminal hostage-takers.

Rom-com “Overboard” slipped from second to fourth place with a box office take of $10.1 million its second weekend in theaters. The Lionsgate remake, starring Anna Faris and Eugenio Debez, is about a struggling single mother who persuades a rich playboy with amnesia that they are married.

Number five at the box office was Paramount’s sci-fi horror film “A Quiet Place,” which stars actor-director John Krasinski and his real-life wife Emily Blunt as a couple silently struggling to protect their family from blind aliens that track their prey by sound. It made an estimated $6.4 million.

Rounding out the top ten were:

“I Feel Pretty” ($3.71 million)

“Rampage” ($3.38 million)

“Tully” ($2.24 million)

“Black Panther” (1.932 million)

“RBG” ($1.165)

AFP

‘Avengers’ Opens With $630m, Smashing Global Record

Actress Scarlett Johansson arrives for the World Premiere of the film ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ in Hollywood, California, on April 23, 2018.  FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP

 

“Avengers: Infinity War” took in $630 million in its first weekend, the highest global opening of all time, industry estimates showed on Sunday.

“The latest Marvel juggernaut… opened with $630M worldwide, making it the largest global weekend tally in the history of film, and this was done without China,” which has a later opening, industry tracker Exhibitor Relations said.

That topped “The Fate of the Furious,” the eighth installment of the high-octane action series starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Michelle Rodriquez that opened with more than $530 million globally in 2017.

“Infinity War,” which features more than two dozen superheroes fighting to save the universe, also broke the record for highest North American opening weekend, raking in $250 million at US and Canadian box offices.

That beat “The Force Awakens,” the seventh film in the long-running “Star Wars” space saga that made $248 million in its opening weekend in 2015.

“Infinity War” is the 19th film in the so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), combining a whopping nine franchises and a cast list that reads like a who’s who of Hollywood’s A-list.

Robert Downey Jr dons the red and gold metal suit once again as Iron Man; Benedict Cumberbatch is Doctor Strange; Scarlett Johansson is back as Black Widow, and Australia’s Chris Hemsworth is Thor.

Also back for more? Black Panther — the Marvel breakout of the year after the massive opening of the standalone pic in February, Captain America, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Hawkeye, the Guardians of the Galaxy and their assorted allies.

Saving the universe 

Their mission? To prevent the powerful purple alien Thanos (Josh Brolin) from destroying the universe.

“We took a picture of every single person whose character has been in the MCU. We hung it up on a wall all around us,” co-director Anthony Russo, who helms the pic with his brother Joe, told reporters ahead of the film’s release.

“We basically spent months and months and months talking about where we could go with each character, how we could draw them through the story,” he added.

“Every one of these characters… has been on a very specific journey through the MCU to arrive at this moment.”

This is the third “Avengers” film, with the final, untitled saga set for next year.

An important source of inspiration is the Marvel canon — the storylines developed over decades in the original comic books.

“Infinity War” is drawn from the “Infinity Gauntlet” series of the early 1990s.

“It starts with those comics and us beginning to rip pages out or rip copies of pages out and put them on the walls and start to be inspired,” explains Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, which is owned by Disney.

“It’s a North Star for us as we lead these giant productions into reality.”

In the movie’s trailer, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) — Thanos’s daughter, of sorts — explains that the villain believes that if he annihilates half of the universe, he can save the other half.

He needs the so-called Infinity Stones to do it. So, the heroes need to keep him from getting them.

The film cost an eye-watering $300 million to make, according to Hollywood media.

AFP

Funke Akindele To Star In ‘Avengers: Infinity Wars’

Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele, has been listed as a member of the cast of 2018 superhero movie Avengers: Infinity Wars, alongside international movie stars Robert Downey Jr and Chris Hemsworth.

According to popular movie review website, IMDB, where the actress’ name was published, she will be a member of Dora Milaje, a team of women who serve as personal bodyguards of the Black Panther, the spiritual leader of Wakanda.

While Akindele has yet to confirm the news herself, her name and picture can be found in the official cast for the movie and her appearance in it would mark the first time a Nollywood actress will be featured in a superhero movie.

 

Akindele also popularly known as Jenifa, rose to the fame following her role in popular United Nations Population Fund sponsored sitcom; I Need to Know, which ran from 1998 to 2002.

She has since been a wonder to watch especially with her ability to switch characters from the serious to the comic most fans recognise her to be, thanks to memorable turn as “Jenifa”, and her recent TV series, “Jenifa’s Diaries”.

Niger Delta Avengers Cancels Ceasefire, Plans ‘Brutal’ Attacks

Chevron Pipeline, Niger Delta Militants, Delta

The Niger Delta Avengers has called off its ceasefire with the Federal Government, more than a year after it announced an end to attacks on oil installations and facilities in Nigeria’s oil-rich region.

Spokesperson of the militant group Murdoch Agbinibo announced the end to the ceasefire in a statement which was published on the group’s website on Friday.

In ending the ceasefire, it accused the Federal Government of working with a fraudulent group known as the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers which is bent on helping the government to jeopardise the “sincere efforts of the Niger Delta people” to achieve economic, social and political freedom.

The group also accused the government of being insincere in its efforts to address issues in the Niger Delta and blamed the elders for urging it to adopt a peaceful approach to drawing attention to the needs of people in the region.

“To the elders of the Niger Delta, PANDEF, we warned you against the antics of the Nigerian Government yet you requested a chance to broker a new vision for our people; we told you and the rest of the world that the Nigerian Government is only interested in our oil wells and not our wellbeing yet you told us the signs are different this time around,” the statement read in part.

“Instead of allowing us to continue our quest to bring the Nigerian economy to our targeted zero daily production, which recorded huge success; you threatened us with Tompolo to stop the struggle; out of respect for elders and not to the threat of Tompolo we adhered the call and halted our strike actions hoping you (PANDEF) would keep your own side of the bargain.”

Accusing the government of only being interested in the crude oil deposits in the region, the Avengers said, “We want to make it known to the PANDEF and the Nigeria government that our call for halt on “Operation Red Economy” is officially over.”

Having trashed the ceasefire, the Niger Delta Avengers plan to launch “brutish, brutal and bloody” attacks on “every oil installation” in the region.

The militant group had declared a ceasefire in August 2016 after PANDEF and others including Vice President Osinbajo appealed to them to embrace peace and dialogue.

Between January 2016 and August, the group claimed responsibility for more than 20 attacks on oil facilities and installations in the Niger Delta.

These attacks led to a significant drop in the Nigeria’s oil output and hurt the country’s economy which was at the time under the grip of a recession owing largely to a slump in oil prices.

As the attacks took a toll on the country’s oil output, many, including President Muhammadu Buhari, appealed to the group to embrace dialogue.

The Federal Government also promised to address issues raised by the militants and PANDEF and develop the region.

Beyond that, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited Niger Delta states in January and held meetings with PANDEF and community leaders.

The militants are, however, insisting that the government has not kept its promises and that it has not been insincere about its plans for the region.

 

Niger Delta Avengers Bomb Bonny Pipeline In Rivers

Niger Delta Avengers, Bonny Pipeline in RiversThe Niger Delta Avengers say they have bombed the Bonny crude oil Export Line in Rivers State, Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.

In a statement on its website, the group said it “brought down oil production activities at the Bonny 48 inches crude oil Export Line” through its “strike team”.

The militants said the attack was a “wake up call” for the government, which it accused of intimidating youths in the region since the ceasefire began.

The statement, however, added that the organisation was “still in favour of dialogue and negotiations”.

This would be the first attack in Nigeria’s southern energy hub since the Niger Delta Avengers declared in August that it was halting hostilities to pursue talks with the government.

It comes as part of a chain of attack on oil installations by militant groups in Nigeria’s south-south region, which has drastically affected the nation’s economy.

The Niger Delta Avengers have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks on the oil facilities.

They said they expected a genuine and positive attitude to restructuring and self-determination for every component unit of Nigeria.

In an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, written after they agreed to ceasefire, the militants pointed out that they had “listened carefully and halted hostilities” in the region.

However, they claimed that ongoing military operations in the creeks of Ijaw communities were pre-determined genocide in Niger Delta.

Joshua Mukan Asks Government To Focus On Hydro Power Generation

Joshua-Mukan-on-hydro-power-generationThe Nigerian government has been advised to invest more in Hydro electricity generation as it would help end the nation’s power problem.

Nigeria has of late shifted focus from hydro power generation to gas and other forms, but the Chairman of William Duncan Hydro, Joshua Mukan, sees the need to go back to Hydro.

Nigeria has two major rivers – Niger and Benue – that could be explored to boost power supply.

Mr Mukan said that lack of necessary infrastructure was responsible for the problem faced in the power sector.

During an interview on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television’s programme, he said: “The infrastructure leading to these bio-generation plants are not there and that is why people have been clamouring for this Petroleum Industry Bill to be passed, so that investors can come and invest in this infrastructures, but we are not there yet.

“That is why I have always advocated for power generation through hydro. We know it, Kainji dam, let me be honest, some of us were very young when Kainji dam was set up and it is still running.

“Now all the thermal plants, believe me, (which) were done probably 10, 15, 20, years are not running”.

The William Duncan Hydro boss also suggested to the Federal Government to invest monies recovered from looters of the nation’s treasury in hydro power generation.

“I am suggesting, if I were this government, the money we have collected from people who have looted the treasury of the nation, I will invest all that money in hydroelectric power.”

Mr Mukan, however, believed that with time efficiency in the power sector would be accomplished but labelled Nigerians as “bad managers of expectation”, appealing to them to exercise patience.

“The worst scenario is not to even start. It is good that some of them have been privatised and with time I believe efficiency would come but one thing I know about we Nigerians, including me, is that we are very bad managers of expectations.

“If we have the patience and understanding and if we can manage our expectations well then some of us may drink less of the high blood pressure medication,” he said.

Recently, Nigeria’s gas plants have experienced a shortfall in supply, a situation the government said was caused by resurging militancy in the nation’s Niger Delta region where gas supplies come from.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has carried out several attacks on some oil installations in the region, some of which were gas pipelines.

Switching to hydro power generation, according to experts will reduce such attacks on the facilities and increase the nation’s power supply significantly.

At the moment, the nation of over 160 million population is grappling with less than 5,000 megawatts of electricity, a capacity that is far below the nation’s need.

Security Operatives Arrest Six Over Supply Of Explosives To Militants

Illegal ArmsSecurity operatives have arrested a store manager and five others for allegedly supplying explosives to the Niger Delta militants.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Mongonu (Rtd), said the suspects have been handed over to the relevant authorities for prosecution.

Gen. Monguno said there has been a diversion of about 9000 kilogrammes of high explosives and another 16,420 pieces of electrical detonators by the militants.

He threatened to withdraw the licenses of some local fertiliser manufacturing companies in the country.

The National Security Adviser gave a stern warning to two fertiliser manufacturers for alleged sabotage in attaining food security in the country.

He said the federal government will not compromise in the provision of adequate security for its people.

Insecurity: Abdulsalami Abubakar Calls For Dialogue

Abdulsalami-AbubakaNigeria’s former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd), believes that lasting peace can return to the country with dialogue between government and various insurgency groups including the Niger Delta Avengers militant group.

Abubakar stated this on Tuesday when he received members of the Niger State House of Assembly who visited his residence to wish him a happy birthday.

He lamented that Nigerians were suffering unduly because of the actions of various insurgents including the Boko Haram, Avengers and Biafra agitators.

“All we need to do is to sit down in a round table and discuss this problem. Even if you fight a war and win you must come and sit down with the people you conquered.

“What is Boko Haram?  Nobody knows what they want. The Avengers are now out, what are they avenging?“, he asked.

He stated the need for the Avengers to understand that they are destroying their own land while oil production had dropped to lowest level in decades.

He cautioned that the constant blow up of oil pipelines by the Niger Delta Avengers would ultimately affect the 13% derivation to the region due to a sharp decline in oil revenue.

In addition, Gen. Abubakar said that the activities of the militants could also lead to a drop in the funding of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) while much harm is done to land and aquatic lives of the region.

“I hope that they will come back to their senses and let us try to give this country peace. We do not deserve what we are going through.

“We need peace and I am begging everybody in the spirit of Ramadan, whatever religion everybody is following. Please let us give peace a chance”, he pleaded.

In his remark the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Ahmed Marafa, expressed gratitude to God for using the former head of state to restore democracy to the country.

He described General Abubakar as an illustrious son of the state whose counsel has guided the Assembly in its efforts to deliver good governance in the interest of the people.