The Viola Davis-led action epic “ The Woman King ” easily conquered the North American box office in its first weekend in theaters, against a crowded market of new releases. The film, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, surpassed expectations and earned $19 million in ticket sales, according to estimates from Sony on Sunday.
“The Woman King” was released by Sony and TriStar in 3,765 locations and carries a reported production budget of $50 million, which was co-financed by eOne. The film, about the Agojie, the all-female army of the Kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa in the 1800s, got glowing reviews after its debut at the Toronto Film Festival. It currently boasts a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And theatrical audiences seem just as enthusiastic, giving it a rare A+ CinemaScore suggesting that word of mouth will be strong in the coming weeks.
“This one has great reviews, an epic story and a great star in the lead role,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore’s senior media analyst. “People want to go to the movie theater and audiences are back in the habit of expecting new movies in theaters.”
The horror movie “Barbarian,” a 20th Century Studios release, took second place in its second weekend with $6.3 million.
It was a jam-packed week for new releases at the domestic box office that included the A24 horror prequel “ Pearl,” Searchlight’s starry mystery pic “ See How They Run,” NEON’s David Bowie documentary “ Moonage Daydream,” Paramount and Miramax’s “Confess, Fletch,” with Jon Hamm, and Focus Features’ “The Silent Twins.” But even though most boasted good reviews, it was still a slower week for the business overall.
“See How They Run,” a 1950s-set murder mystery with Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell, is estimating a $3.1 million domestic debut from 2,404 locations.
Ti West’s “Pearl” also took in estimated $3.1 million. A24 released the film starring Mia Goth as a farmgirl who dreams of movie stardom on 2,935 screens. The first film “X” opened $4.3 million in March and the studio has already greenlit a third film, “MaXXXine.”
Brett Morgen’s Bowie documentary “Moonage Daydream,” meanwhile, debuted exclusively on IMAX screens this weekend, where it made $1.2 million in North America and landed in 10th place.
“This may not be a blockbuster-filled corridor, but this is a great weekend,” said Dergarabedian. “There’s all this talk of the post summer doldrums or slowdown, but there’s a lot of new movies out there. You just have to look for the gems.”
Next week will see the release of Olivia Wilde’s much-discussed “Don’t Worry Darling,” which could give a boost to the box office. But blockbuster numbers likely won’t return until October and even November when the superhero movies return with “Black Adam” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
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 Woman King,” $19 million.
2. “Barbarian,” $6.3 million.
3. “Pearl,” $3.1 million.
4. “See How They Run,” $3.1 million.
5. “Bullet Train,” $2.5 million.
6. “Top Gun: Maverick,”$2.2 million.
7. “DC League of Super Pets,” $2.2 million.
8. “The Invitation,” $1.7 million.
9. “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” $1.3 million.
10. “Moonage Daydream,” $1.2 million.
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New ‘Scooby-Doo’ Film Makes It Official: Velma Is Queer
Popular “Scooby-Doo” character Velma Dinkley has come out of the closet after 53 years.
The newest “Scooby-Doo” movie, “Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo!,” shows the brainy sleuth developing a serious crush on a female costume designer named Coco Diablo, as you can see in the clip below.
The news isn’t exactly shocking: Velma’s sexual orientation has been the subject of speculation almost since the first “Scooby-Doo” series debuted in 1969.
And it wasn’t just the viewers who suspected Velma wasn’t straight.
Variety pointed out that “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn, who wrote the script for the 2002 live-action “Scooby-Doo,” and Tony Cervone, the supervising producer on the “Mystery Incorporated” series, both confirmed Velma liked women, but were never able to make it an official part of her character.
Cervone revealed on Instagram back in 2020 that the other people on the show “made our intentions as clear as we could 10 years ago,” and added, “Most of our fans got it. To those that didn’t, I suggest you look closer.”
The new film debut is available on Amazon Prime and will air on Cartoon Network on Oct. 14.
Many Twitter users were happy about the news, but not necessarily surprised.
Although this long-standing question has been resolved, there is no word on whether there are plans to answer another rumor by depicting Shaggy and Scooby-Doo as stoners.
Jennifer Lopez Is A Grenade-Toting Bride In New ‘Shotgun Wedding’ Trailer
Real-life newlywed Jennifer Lopez is a bride held hostage in the first trailer for “Shotgun Wedding,” unveiled Tuesday.
Due out Jan. 27, the rom-com stars Lopez and Josh Duhamel as Darcy and Tom, an engaged couple who are bringing their loved ones together for a destination wedding on a tropical island.
Things take an unexpected turn, however, when Darcy’s ex (Lenny Kravitz) pops by. Then, a band of international pirates descends upon the island, throwing the pair’s dream ceremony into chaos and leading Lopez to toss a grenade while zip lining, among other action-packed scenes.
The film’s starry cast also includes recent Emmy winner Jennifer Coolidge as Carol, Darcy’s future mother-in-law. “Shotgun Wedding” is directed by Jason Moore, whose credits include 2012’s “Pitch Perfect.”
Over the course of her prolific career, Lopez has demonstrated an affinity for wedding-themed films, including 2001’s “The Wedding Planner” and 2005’s “Monster-in-Law,” which co-starred Jane Fonda.
She most recently donned a wedding gown to appear opposite Owen Wilson in “Marry Me,” released in February.
Duhamel joined the “Shotgun Wedding” cast as a replacement for Armie Hammer, who exited the production last year after being accused of sexual abuse by several women.
In May 2021, Duhamel told People that filming on location in the Dominican Republic was “one of the best experiences I’ve ever had working.”
He also said on “The Tonight Show” at the time that the chance to star alongside Lopez felt like “rekindling an old friendship with an old friend.”
Still, he joked, “I’m not sure we’re going to look like the perfect couple half the time because I’m this sweaty mess, and she’s, well, J. Lo.”
Try Guys Will Edit Ned Fulmer Out Of Future Videos After Cheating Scandal
The YouTube comedy quartet The Try Guys, now down to three after firing founding member Ned Fulmer for cheating on his wife, said they’re editing Fulmer out of unreleased videos and trashing others “due to his involvement.”
In a video uploaded Monday, the group’s three remaining members explained Fulmer’s departure to their nearly 8 million YouTube subscribers and sought to provide what member Zach Kornfeld said was “some transparency into our decision making.”
“Ned Fulmer is no longer working with The Try Guys,” Kornfeld said in the clip, alluding to the flood of publicity about Fulmer’s workplace affair with a producer.
From cooking without a recipe to eating everything on a fast food chain’s menu, The Try Guys’ stunts have amassed a huge YouTube audience. Fans noticed in recent days that Fulmer was absent in the group’s new uploads and had been erased from older clips.
“There are several videos that we’ve deemed as fully unreleasable,” Kornfeld explained. “You will never see them, and that is due to his involvement. And that’s a decision that has cost us lots of money. We will not be able to recoup that money, but it’s a decision we stand by proudly.”
Member Keith Habersberger explained that the crisis escalated when people saw Fulmer “engaging in public romantic behavior” with a colleague over Labor Day weekend. Fulmer admitted to the affair when other members of the group confronted him, leading to his exit, public apology and a statement from his wife.
This “was obviously very shocking to us,” Habersberger said in the video. “We just want you to know that we had no idea this was going on. All of that information was just as shocking to us as all of this has been for you this week.”
Member Eugene Lee Yang, whose scowl during the video betrayed a deep frustration that went viral on Twitter, explained that a three-week review of Fulmer’s actions included lawyers, human resources advisers and publicists. He assured fans they “refused to sweep things under the rug.”
“This is not who we are,” Yang said.
“We were obviously very shocked and deeply hurt by all of this,” said Yang. “This is someone who we’d built a brand and a company with for eight years. We feel saddened, not just personally, but on behalf of our staff and our fans who believed in us.”
Kornfeld added that they’re “losing a friend.”
“I’m sure many of you feel the same way,” he added. “It’s weird. We’re sorry that this ever happened and we don’t know what more to say.”
The group said they signed documents on Sept. 16 removing Fulmer as a manager and employee of their production company, 2nd Try.
Stephen Colbert Gives Trump’s Ugly ‘Death Wish’ Threat A Brutal Reality Check
A Trump spokesperson later clarified that it was a “political” death wish. But Colbert wasn’t moved.
“Okay, but it’s never great when you have to clarify that your death wish is a metaphor,” Colbert said, then offered up an example to show the absurdity of it: “I want this mob to march on my opponent’s house. Figuratively. Which is metaphorically at 471 Pine Cone Road, and leave a severed horse’s head in his bed ― as an allegory for his head.”
The “Late Show” host also spotted some “overt racism” in Trump’s latest post in his Monday monologue:
Florence Pugh Rocks Another Sheer Valentino Look After Nipple Hoopla
The “Don’t Worry Darling” actor stepped out at Paris Fashion Week in a stunning two-piece sheer ensemble embellished with gold sequins. She wore nude briefs beneath the Valentino skirt and nothing under the matching top, finishing off the outfit with gold jewelry, bronzed makeup and a wet hair look.
In July, Pugh wore a see-through Valentino design to the brand’s haute couture show in Rome, attracting negative and sexist comments about her exposed breasts.
Responding to the reaction at the time, Pugh told critics to “grow up.”
“Listen, I knew when I wore that incredible Valentino dress that there was no way there wouldn’t be a commentary on it. Whether it be negative or positive, we all knew what we were doing,” she wrote on Instagram at the time.
“It isn’t the first time and certainly won’t be the last time a woman will hear what’s wrong with her body by a crowd of strangers, what’s worrying is just how vulgar some of you men can be,” she wrote.
“I’m very grateful that I grew up in a household with very strong, powerful, curvy women. We were raised to find power in the creases of our body. To be loud about being comfortable. It has always been my mission in this industry to say ‘fuck it and fuck that’ whenever anyone expects my body to morph into an opinion of what’s hot or sexually attractive. I wore that dress because I know.”
“Fuckingfreethefuckingnipple,” she signed off the post.
Both looks were put together by Pugh’s stylist, Rebecca Corbin Murray.
Here’s Why Cecily Strong Was Absent From ‘SNL’ Opening Credits
Season 48 of “SNL,” which premiered Saturday, got off to a rollicking start thanks to host Miles Teller and musical guest Kendrick Lamar. Still, Strong was notably absent from both the show and its opening credits, prompting many to question whether she’d departed the comedy show without fanfare.
Turns out that’s not the case. An “SNL” cast member since 2012, the comedian is currently appearing in the play “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” which opened last week at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
“SNL” creator Lorne Michaels is a co-producer of the one-woman comedy, which concludes its run Oct. 23. Entertainment Weekly and TV Insider confirm that Strong is expected to resume her “SNL” duties in New York shortly thereafter.
Fans’ concerns regarding Strong’s future on “SNL,” however, were justified. Michaels previously hinted that Season 48 would be a “transition year,” and he wasn’t kidding.
Cast members Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon and Kyle Mooney collectively announced their exit from the series at the conclusion of Season 47, which wrapped in May. Last month, it was confirmed that Aristotle Athari, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd and Melissa Villaseñor were also leaving, bringing the tally of departing cast members to eight.
As a 10-season “SNL” veteran, Strong is one of the longest-running cast members in the series’ current lineup.
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Will Smith Returns To The Big Screen In Gripping First ‘Emancipation’ Trailer
Will Smith’s next film will be released this year after all, with Apple Studios announcing that “Emancipation” is arriving in theaters next month, just in time for the upcoming awards season.
The historical drama from “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua will now open in theaters on Dec. 2 and be made available to stream on Dec. 9, contrary to reports that claimed the film would be delayed until 2023.
“Emancipation” is Smith’s first major project since he walked onstage during the Oscars ceremony in March and slapped presenter Chris Rock over a joke the comedian made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Since then, Smith has apologized for his actions and voluntarily resigned from the Academy, which banned him from attending the Oscars for the next decade. However, he can still be nominated for an award should his Hollywood peers deem him worthy of one.
The release of “Emancipation,” which completed production just a month before the infamous awards show moment, was initially delayed in the fallout from Smith’s altercation with Rock, upending plans for a major awards season push behind Smith’s performance, which is already drawing praise.
But Apple Studios, which acquired the film for a record-breaking $120 million, has apparently changed course — and the gripping first trailer makes a powerful case as to why.
Inspired by real-life events, “Emancipation” stars Smith as Peter, a man who escapes slavery in Louisiana, journeys north and joins the Union Army during the Civil War. Photos of his whipping scars, including one known as “The Scourged Back,” become some of the most widely circulated at the time and ultimately help expose the brutality of slavery to the world.
The trailer unveils Smith’s powerful performance in the film, which also stars Ben Foster, Steven Ogg and Charmaine Bingwa.
“I will not be afraid. What can a mere man do to me?” Smith says in the clip amid flashes of Civil War battlefields and his character evading slave hunters through the swamplands. “I will look in triumph at my enemies.”
During a private screening of the film over the weekend, Smith gave his first comments about the period drama to a crowd at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 51st Annual Legislative Conference.
“Throughout my career, I’ve turned down many films that were set in slavery. I never wanted to show us like that, you know, and then this picture came along, and this is not a film about slavery,” Smith said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “This is a film about freedom. This is a film about resilience.”
The screening was the “King Richard” star’s first major public appearance since he broke his monthslong silence earlier this summer in an apology video regarding the Oscars slap.
Watch the trailer for “Emancipation” below.
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