Monday, August 28, 2023

Weekend box office

Via THENUMBERS.COM, here are the weekend box office totals:

1 N Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story Sony Pictures $17,410,552   3,856   $4,515 $17,410,552 1
2 (2) Barbie Warner Bros. $15,104,145 -28% 3,736 -267 $4,043 $592,805,387 6
3 (1) Blue Beetle Warner Bros. $12,158,119 -51% 3,871 n/c $3,141 $45,701,809 2
4 (3) Oppenheimer Universal $8,220,750 -23% 2,872 -449 $2,862 $299,245,010 6
5 (4) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Paramount Pi… $7,289,592 -15% 3,145 -332 $2,318 $99,332,726 4
6 (5) Strays Universal $4,929,665 -40% 3,232 +9 $1,525 $16,405,895 2
7 (6) Meg 2: The Trench Warner Bros. $4,802,337 -29% 2,932 -470 $1,638 $74,135,142 4
8 N Retribution Roadside Att… $3,518,830   1,750   $2,011 $3,518,830 1
9 N The Hill Briarcliff E… $2,301,931   1,570   $1,466 $2,301,931 1
10 (7) Talk To Me A24 $2,088,501 -33% 1,321 -1,058 $1,581 $41,066,389 5


It was a bad weekend for everyone due to National Cinema Day -- on Sunday, tickets were four dollars.  The winner, barely, was GRAND TURSIMO.  But it was a low weekend gross: $17.3 million in ticket sales.  Again, Sunday was a discount ticket day at most theaters across the country -- $4 for morning shows, for afternoon, for evening and for night.  BARBIE came in a close second with $15 million.  
 Or did it come in second?  Really, it came in first for the weekend. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER explains:

Sony’s late-summer event pic Gran Turismo may have officially won the weekend box office race with a $17.4 million domestic opening, but Barbie says she’s the true victor.

Directed by Neill Blomkamp, Gran Turismo had been set to launch nationwide Aug. 11 but switched gears because of the actors strike and the resulting prohibition on the cast — led by Orlando Bloom and David Harbour — doing any press. The studio instead hosted two weekends of sneaks and a handful of fan screenings to build buzz before opening the movie everywhere Aug. 25. 

The opening number includes a hefty $3.9 million in grosses from those previous sneaks. It’s hardly the first time that a Hollywood studio has added such grosses to an opening weekend number, but the early Gran Turismo screenings were far more robust than is the norm. Gran Turismo’s weekend number would have otherwise been $13.5 million.

Put another way: Warner Bros. and Greta Gerwig’s mega-blockbuster Barbie — which has now earned an estimated $592.8 million domestically — would have been assured of topping the weekend chart. Monday actuals show Barbie earning $15.1 million from 3,736 locations in its sixth weekend. The Barbie team is none too pleased about the Gran Turismo situation, with insiders telling The Hollywood Reporter that Warners is counting the weekend as a win for its movie.


BLUE BEETLE only made $12 million -- again, discount tickets on Sunday.  It's not going to get anywhere near $100 million and if there had been a strong new release (GRAND TURSIMO wasn't it) over the weekend, it would have made even less. 

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE fell out of the top ten.  

I didn't review a film over the weekend because I didn't see one.  I had hoped to see BOTTOMS but it's not playing in my area or in most people's areas.  I have no idea why you make a movie and refuse to get it into theaters.  They did that with MOVING ON, remember?  I wanted to see that so badly and had to wait until it was on AMAZON.  It was one of 2023's finest and will make Ann and my top ten when we do our look back at the year.  BOTTOMS?  It was only in ten theaters across the country. 

The big one this weekend should be EQUALIZER 3.  We'll be seeing it.  I liked EQUALIZER 2 better than the first one and the reason was because of the secret room in Robert's home.  I really thought that room was cool.


Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Monday, August 28, 2023.  Reporters Without Borders issues a statement on Julian Assange, Iraq's rivers aren't just drying up because they're also polluted, THE NEW YORK TIMES continues to lie about transgendered people, and much more.

Reporters Without Borders issued the following this morning:

As calls to #FreeAssange continue to grow around the world, diplomatic negotiations also appear to be heating up between the United States (US) and Australia over the fate of WikiLeaks publisher and Australian citizen Julian Assange. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the two states to commit to finding a solution to the case as an urgent priority, preventing a situation of extradition and allowing for Assange’s immediate release with no further time in prison.

With Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese set to be hosted by US President Joe Biden for an official state visit to Washington DC from October 23 to 26, the ante has been upped in the ongoing diplomatic negotiations between the US and Australia regarding the case of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. This visit could mark the last chance to prevent a lengthy period of imprisonment for Assange, whose fate hangs in the balance with his possible extradition only a matter of weeks or months away, meaning efforts on his behalf are now more crucial than ever. 

RSF has been intensely engaged in public and private advocacy urging both governments to prioritize finding a diplomatic solution to the case involving no further time in prison for Assange. RSF has written letters to both sides ahead of recent high level meetings in San Diego and Brisbane, and engaged in a week of targeted advocacy with the US government and Congress in Washington DC in July, urging the US to act in the interest of journalism and press freedom by finding a political solution that prevents extradition and ensures Assange will spend no further time in prison. Albanese’s state visit to Washington DC presents a savvy opportunity for precisely that solution.

“Now is a more crucial time than ever with Julian Assange’s extradition possibly looming in just a matter of weeks. If the US and Australian governments mean what they say when it comes to press freedom, they simply cannot ignore the elephant in the room during Prime Minister Albanese’s state visit to Washington DC. We urge both governments to commit to reaching a diplomatic solution as an urgent priority before the visit, preventing a situation of extradition and allowing for Assange’s release from prison without further delay.

Rebecca Vincent
RSF’s Director of Campaigns

Since the electoral victory of the Australian Labour Party in May 2022, the Albanese administration has been slowly and steadily advocating on behalf of Assange, with the Prime Minister and other officials often repeating the refrain that Assange’s case has gone on for too long and needs to be resolved. Albanese’s commitment to finding a solution to the case marks a sharp departure from the hands-off approach of his predecessor, former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who had stated Assange would be “free to return home” after the matter had made its way through the justice system. 

It was recently acknowledged that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong discussed Assange’s case when the two met for Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) in Brisbane in July. Blinken’s comments in a press conference afterwards, emphasizing that Assange was accused of “very serious criminal conduct,” drew public criticism in Australia for his seemingly hardline approach, although he had not said anything that differed from the US government’s longstanding position on the case. Significantly – perhaps in reaction to the backlash – two weeks later, US Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy made comments to the press indicating “there absolutely could be a resolution to the case,” such as through a plea deal.

At the same time, Australian public opinion is heavily in Assange’s favor, with the cry to #FreeAssange growing across the country. Calls from Australian MPs for Assange’s release have gained traction, while journalists’ groups such as the MEAA (Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance) continue to speak out in solidarity. The pressure is growing for Albanese to secure Assange’s release, and he would almost certainly face a strong backlash if he returned home from his state visit having failed to do so.

Assange’s fate may indeed depend on the outcome of the diplomatic negotiations. With only one final step remaining in the UK courts – a hearing by a panel of two judges yet to be scheduled, dubbed “Day X” – he has few legal means left to prevent his extradition to the US. If extradited, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison cumulatively for the 18 counts against him. The bulk of this case – 17 counts – rests on Espionage Act charges, which itself is facing calls from reform in the US Congress to address its lack of a public interest defense and other deficiencies. The remaining Computer Fraud and Abuse Act charge – the initial charge brought against Assange before the Espionage Act charges were added in May 2019 – would carry a potential maximum sentence of only five years.

For his part, Assange has already spent nearly four and a half years in London’s Belmarsh prison, where he has been held on remand since April 2019. Assange has been arbitrarily deprived of his liberty through various means since December 2010, including 10 days of isolation at Wandsworth Prison, 550 days of house arrest, and seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he sought refuge out of fear of extradition to the US.

In the run-up to Prime Minister Albanese’s visit to Washington DC, RSF will continue to mobilize its entire international network in support of the #FreeAssange campaign. RSF campaigns for Assange’s release as a global priority because of the alarming implications his case has for journalism and press freedom. RSF defends Assange because of his contributions to journalism through the publication by WikiLeaks of leaked classified documents that informed public interest reporting around the world, exposing war crimes and human rights violations that have never been prosecuted. 

The US and UK are respectively ranked 45th and 26th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index. Australia is ranked 27th. 

Julian remains persecuted for the 'crime' of journalism.  

Turning to Iraq, FRANCE 24 reports on the rivers in Iraq. 

Over the past few months, temperatures in Iraq have reached 50 degrees Celsius and water levels in the country’s rivers are dropping fast. Despite having two big rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, Iraq suffers from desertification and there are concerns about the water disappearing - mainly from Iranian and Turkish dams upstream and the excessive use of water resources, particularly within agriculture. But despite this, Iraq is doing little to protect its rivers. From the north to the south, industrial, chemical, medical and biological waste flows untreated into the water, effectively poisoning it. From Kirkuk to Basra and Baghdad, the water is contaminated. Marie-Charlotte Roupie and Josh Vardey report.

Meanwhile, THE NEW YORK TIMES sold the war on Iraq with lies so we shouldn't be surprised it's also used lies to sell their ongoing war on the transgender community.

Evan Urquhart (ASSINGED MEDIA) does a major take down on the paper for its latest garbage:

Earlier this week the New York Times published a biased and misleading story by Azeen Ghorayshi on the allegations of Jamie Reed, a former employee of the Washington University Pediatric Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. 

One paragraph in Ghorayshi’s story stood out. It claimed that while at least one of Reed’s claims contained factual inaccuracies, others had been corroborated. Based on the contents of the allegations and of the NYT piece, this didn’t seem to accurately reflect either what was in the allegations or what had been found in the reporting for the NYT piece.

screenshot from the New York Times

Accusing the NYT of not accurately representing what their reporting found is a big swing, and something we know many people will find difficult to believe. That’s why Assigned Media went through every claim made by Reed and coded them as either corroborated, uncorroborated, or refuted by reporting in either the NYT or other outlets. We believe this shows, conclusively, that none of Reed’s allegations of wrongdoing at the Center have been confirmed, and that the NYT misled readers by implying that they had.

A spreadsheet containing every claim and our coding of them is available in a view-only link at the bottom of this story.

Read the article in full.  THE MAJORITY REPORT covers it in the segment below.

 The following sites updated:

No comments: