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Black Adam Tops Box Office Takes Rakes in $67Million



Warner Bros.’ “Black Adam” debuted, raking in an estimated $67 million, giving Dwayne Johnson his best box-office weekend as a leading actor and launching the DC Comics character he spent a decade bringing to the big screen.

“Black Adam” was a $200 million attempt to disturb the power dynamic in the DC Extended Universe, dominated by characters like Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman.

Even with the significant draw of Johnson playing in his first superhero film, the $67 million debut fell far short of that mark. Nonetheless, “Black Adam” had the greatest opening weekend since “Thor: Love and Thunder” arrived in July with $143 million.

“Black Adam,” starring Johnson as an ancient Egyptian called to the current day, has been plagued by negative reviews (40% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). The film received a B+ CinemaScore from moviegoers. It garnered $73 million abroad for a total of $140 million.

“Black Adam” took a roundabout path to theatres. The character was supposed to debut as a villain in 2019′s “Shazam!” before executives decided to give Black Adam his own film.

The sillier “Shazam!,” which cost more than $100 million to produce, debuted with $53.5 million in ticket sales and grossed $366 million worldwide.

But the stakes were higher for “Black Adam.” While promoting the film, Johnson has made no secret of his ambition to follow up “Black Adam” with a confrontation with Superman. But it’s questionable whether “Black Adam” sales are sufficient to justify that. Warner Bros. is rethinking its approach to DC Comics adaptations under new leadership.

Warner Bros. distribution president Jeff Goldstein told The Associated Press the results as his best for Dwayne Johnson outside of the “Fast & Furious” films and a PG-13 film with broad appeal that people responded to better than reviewers.

Still, Warner Bros.′ restructuring DC branch is upheaval as the studio pursues more Marvel-sized successes. In March, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” will be released.

“It all comes down to crafting terrific movies.” “It’s all about getting the appropriate scripts,” Goldstein explained. “Our studio is undergoing a substantial reworking of our production leadership, style, and strategy.” I believe we will be able to break this nut. We’re committed to doing so.”

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“Ticket to Paradise,” a romantic comedy set in Bali starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney, was an excellent counterprogramming choice.

The Universal Pictures picture debuted with $16.3 million, well exceeding recent sales for rom-com, which have struggled at theatres in recent years.

The picture is already a success in other countries, where it has been in theatres for a month and has grossed $80.2 million in ticket sales.

Universal Studios R-rated “Bros,” an LGBTQ milestone in the genre, was released earlier this month with a disappointing $4.8 million.

“Ticket to Paradise” had a significant edge in its two stars, and it notably appealed to much older audiences; 64% of ticket buyers were 35 and up, according to the studio.

“It became an event film this weekend for all audiences, but notably for older audiences who can be tough to get into cinemas,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s head of distribution. “We all know this isn’t a demographic that rushes to see movies on their opening weekend. That gives us much hope for the coming weeks and months.”

According to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore, it was the first weekend since July with a $65 million opening weekend and more than $100 million in total domestic ticket sales. He attributed this largely to star power in the popularity of “Ticket to Paradise” and “Black Adam”.

“Despite some movement forward in terms of the D.C .brand and this not being as well-known a character,” Dergarabedian said, “he was the motor that propelled this box office.” “This is a strong start for Dwayne Johnson in the DC Comics mix.” He’s like a supercharger for the box office.

Rotten Tomatoes score 40%, but people want to see Johnson on the big screen because he is larger than life.”

halloween ends

“Halloween Ends,” last week’s #1 film, plummeted dramatically in its second weekend. The Universal horror sequel, released on Peacock, fell 80% to $8 million.

Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures’ “Smile” defied the usual drops for horror movies. “Smile” came in third with $8.4 million in its 4th week of release, bringing its total domestic sales to $84.3 million.

Searchlight Pictures’ “The Banshees of Inisherin” opened with one of the year’s top pre-theatre averages as more respected award contenders hit theatres.

The Martin McDonagh movie, starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, debuted at four theatres with $181,000, for a per-theater average of $45,250. Charlotte Wells’ “Aftersun,” featuring Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio as a father and young daughter on vacation, launched in four theatres with a $16,589 per-theater average for A24.

Comscore estimates ticket sales for Friday through Sunday in US and Canadian theatres. The final domestic data will be provided on Monday.

1. “Black Adam,” $67 million.

2. “Ticket to Paradise,” $16.3 million.

3. “Smile,” $8.4 million

4. “Halloween Ends,” $8 million.

5. “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile,” $4.2 million.

6. “The Woman King,” $1.9 million.

7. “Terrifier 2,” $1.9 million.

8. “Don’t Worry Darling,” $880,000.

9. “Amsterdam,” $811,000.

10. “Triangle of Sadness,” $600,000.

Source: The Associated Press, VOR News


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Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Sued By Male Producer Who Alleges Sexual Assault




A former employee of Sean “Diddy” Combs has filed a lawsuit against the producer and businessman, alleging sexual assault, harassment, and “grooming.”

Rodney “Lil Rod” Jones, Combs’ former producer and videographer, filed a civil complaint in New York federal court on Monday. He claimed to have worked for and travelled with Combs from 2022 to 2023 and collaborated on Combs’ most recent record, “Love.”

Jones alleges that Combs did not compensate him for his music production job, forced him to procure and interact with sex workers, intimidated him, and gave alcoholic beverages laced with drugs to visitors at his home parties. Kristina Khorram, Combs’ chief of staff; Universal Music Group CEO Sir Lucian Grainge; former Motown CEO Ethiopia Habtemariam; and Combs’ adult son, Justin, are all defendants.


Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Sued By Male Producer Who Alleges Sexual Assault

Justin Combs is accused of inviting prostitutes and underage females to parties at his father’s properties. According to the lawsuit, Khorram allegedly hired prostitutes and illegal narcotics for Combs and his guests, and Jones suspected Khorram “aided and abetted” the sexual assault. According to the lawsuit, Grainge and Habtemarian “sponsored and attended several” listening parties for the “Love” album at Combs’ Los Angeles home and “knew or should have known that Mr. Combs was drugging the attendees through laced bottles of DeLeon Tequila, and Ciroc Vodka.” According to the lawsuit, Grainge and Habtemarian “had a duty and obligation to ensure that sex workers and underaged girls were not present, and that Mr Combs was not spiking the alcohol with date rape drugs.”

Jones seeks $30 million.

Sean Combs’ attorney, Shawn Holley, rejected the charges in a statement to CNN, calling Jones “a liar.”

“His irresponsible name-dropping about incidents that are a complete fabrication and did not occur is nothing more than a clear attempt to grab attention. “We have overwhelming, irrefutable evidence that his claims are complete lies,” Holley stated in the statement. “We attempted to share this proof with Mr Jones’ attorney, Tyrone Blackburn, but he refused to return our calls. We will address these outrageous charges in court and take necessary action against individuals who make them.

A spokesman for Justin Combs told CNN in a statement: “Justin Combs completely denies these ridiculous charges. They’re all falsehoods! This is a clear example of a desperate person pursuing desperate methods in the hopes of receiving a paycheck. ALL derogatory remarks regarding the Combs family will result in legal action.”

CNN has reached out to Jones’ attorney for comment on their claims. Khorram, Grainge, and Habtemariam representatives have yet to respond to requests for comment.

Jones claims in his complaint, which CNN has obtained, that “Mr. Jones was the victim of constant uninvited and unauthorized groping and touching of his anus throughout his time living with Mr. Combs.”

When Jones expressed worry about the alleged harassment of Khorram, the lawsuit claims she dismissed it as “friendly horseplay.”

Jones described Combs as “forceful and demanding” in the lawsuit, stating that he exhibited firearms, discussed getting away with shooting people, and frightened Jones with his music industry connections.

Jones claims that as his videographer, he “has secured HUNDREDS of hours of footage and audio recordings of Mr. Combs, his staff, and his guests engaging in serious illegal activity.”


Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Sued By Male Producer Who Alleges Sexual Assault

Jones claims that Combs urged him to watch producer and reality TV celebrity Steven ‘Stevie J’ Jordan, whom Combs allegedly knew Jones admired professionally, have sex with another guy.

“This was done to ease Mr. Jones’ anxiety concerning homosexuality,” the suit claims. “According to Mr. Combs, ‘this is a normal practice in the music industry, look even Stevie J is doing it.'”

Stevie J is not accused of wrongdoing or listed as a defendant in the complaint. In a statement to CNN, he labelled Jones’ charges “false.”

“My lawyer will handle this going forward,” Stevie J explained.

Jones also alleges in the lawsuit that Combs is to blame for a sexual assault he claims to have seen by Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding, Jr., which allegedly took place “on a yacht that MrMrombs rented in the US Virgin Islands in January 2023.”

According to the complaint, “Mr. Combs was present while Cuba Gooding Jr. was assaulting Mr. Jones.” “Mr. Jones was legally on the premises as Mr. Combs’ guest and invitee.” Cuba Gooding Jr. was legally on the premises as Mr. Combs’ guest and invitee.

Gooding, Jr. has not publicly commented on the accusation, and his agents have not yet responded to CNN’s request for comment. He is not listed as a defendant in the litigation.


Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Sued By Male Producer Who Alleges Sexual Assault

Combs settled a lawsuit filed by his ex-girlfriend, singer Casandra Ventura, who claimed he raped her and subjected her to years of physical and other abuse.

“A decision to settle a lawsuit, especially in 2023, is in no way an admission of wrongdoing,” Combs’ attorney, Ben Brafman, told CNN in a statement at the time. “Mr. Combs’ choice to settle the litigation in no way undermines his outright denial of the allegations. He is pleased that they reached an amicable agreement and wishes Ms. Ventura the best.”

Weeks later, at least two further civil cases were filed against Combs, alleging sexual assault.

“I have sat silently and watched people try to assassinate my character, destroy my reputation, and erase my legacy,” Combs stated in a December statement. “Shocking claims have been levelled about me by those searching for a quick reward. Let me be clear: I did not do any heinous acts being accused. “I will fight for my name, family, and the truth.”


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Humorously Morose Comedian Richard Lewis, Who Recently Starred On ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ Dies At 76




NEW YORK — Richard Lewis, an accomplished comedian known for addressing his neuroses in furious, stream-of-consciousness diatribes while clad in all-black, earning him the nickname “The Prince of Pain,” has passed away. He was 76.

Lewis, who revealed in 2023 that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, died at home in Los Angeles on Tuesday night after a heart attack, according to his publicist, Jeff Abraham.

Lewis, a regular performer in clubs and on late-night T.V. for decades, also played Marty Gold, the romantic co-lead opposite Jamie Lee Curtis, in the ABC series “Anything But Love” and the consistently neurotic Prince John in “Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men In Tights.” He reintroduced himself to a new generation opposite Larry David in HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” kvetching frequently.

“Richard and I were born three days apart in the same hospital and for most of my life he’s been like a brother to me,” he said in a statement. “He had the unusual combination of being the funniest and the sweetest. But tonight he made me cry, and for that I will never forgive him.”


Humorously Morose Comedian Richard Lewis, Who Recently Starred On ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ Dies At 76

Lewis was rated one of the top 50 stand-up comedians of all time by Comedy Central, and he appeared on G.Q. magazine’s list of the “20th Century’s Most Influential Humorists.” He donated his humour to charitable initiatives such as Comic Relief and Comedy Gives Back.

“Watching his stand-up is like sitting in on a very funny and often dark therapy session,” said the Los Angeles Times in 2014. The Philadelphia City Paper described him as “the Jimi Hendrix of monologists.” Mel Brooks has stated that he “may just be the Franz Kafka of modern-day comedy.”

Comedians went to social media Wednesday to express their sympathies, including Albert Books, who described Lewis as “a brilliantly funny man who will be missed by all.” “The world needed him now more than ever,” according to X, formerly Twitter. Bette Midler, Michael McKean, and Paul Feig paid tribute to Lewis, describing him as “one of the funniest people on the planet.”

Following his graduation from Ohio State University in 1969, the New York-born Lewis embarked on a stand-up career, refining his skills on the circuit alongside fellow newcomers Jay Leno, Freddie Prinze, and Billy Crystal.

He recalls Rodney Dangerfield paying him $75 to fill in at his New York club, Dangerfield’s. “I had a lot of amazing friends early on who believed in me, and I met some iconic people who really supported me and encouraged me to keep working on my content. And I never looked back,” he told The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colorado 2010.

“I am paranoid about everything in my life, even at home. “I don’t like having a rear-view mirror on my stationary bike,” he jokingly remarked onstage. He told Jimmy Kimmel, “This morning, I tried to go to bed.” I could not sleep. I counted sheep, but I only had six, and they all had hip replacements.

Unlike contemporaneous Robin Williams, Lewis let spectators inside his world of sadness, bringing his misery and pain to the stage. Fans compared him favourably to Lenny Bruce, the groundbreaking comic.


Humorously Morose Comedian Richard Lewis, Who Recently Starred On ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ Dies At 76

“I take great pains not to be mean-spirited,” Lewis told The Palm Beach Post in 2007. “I don’t want to accept true disadvantages that people must overcome without hope. I steer clear of that. That is not hilarious to me. Tragedy is hilarious to other humorists, but not to me unless you can make a useful point.

Billy Joel referred to Lewis in his song “My Life” when he sang about an old acquaintance who “bought a ticket to the West Coast/Now he gives them a stand-up routine in L.A.”

In 1989, at Carnegie Hall, he performed with six feet of yellow legal papers crammed with material and put together for a 2½-hour concert that led to two standing ovations. The night was “the highlight of my career,” he told The Washington Post in 2020.

Lewis told G.Q. His characteristic style arose by chance; he claims that his passion for wearing black stemmed from watching the television Western “Have Gun – Will Travel,” which featured a cowboy dressed entirely in black as a child. He also popularized the phrase “from hell”—as in “the date from hell” or “the job from hell.”

“That just came out of my head one day, and I kept repeating it for whatever reason, similarly, with the black clothing. I felt incredibly comfortable from the early 1980s, and I never wore anything else. I’ve never looked back.

After quitting drugs and alcohol in 1994, Lewis published his memoirs “The Other Great Depression” and “Reflections from Hell” in 2008. The former is a compilation of frank, essay-style reflections on his life.

Lewis was the youngest of three siblings; his brother was six years older than him, and his sister was nine. His father died at a young age, and his mother suffered from emotional problems. “She didn’t understand me at all. My mother is responsible for my professional success. “I should have given her my agent’s commission,” he told The Washington Post in 2020.

“Looking back on it now, as a full-blown, middle-aged, functioning anxiety collector, I can admit without cringing that my parents had their fair share of tremendous qualities, yet, being human much of the day, had more than just a handful of flaws as well,” he writes in his book.


Humorously Morose Comedian Richard Lewis, Who Recently Starred On ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ Dies At 76

Lewis instantly discovered a new family while performing at New York’s Improv. “I was 23, and everyone was watching me, including Steve Allen and Bette Midler. David Brenner definitely took me under his wing. Driving home to my tiny dump in New Jersey frequently knowing that Steve Allen said, ‘You got it,’ that affirmation kept me going in a significant sense.”

In “Leaving Las Vegas,” he made a brief appearance, which led to his first significant dramatic part as Jimmy Epstein, an addict struggling for his life in the independent film “Drunks.” He portrayed Don Rickles’ son on one “Daddy Dearest” season and a rabbi on “7th Heaven.”

Lewis’ recurring presence on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” can be directly attributed to his connection with fellow comedian, producer, and series star Larry David. Both native Brooklynites, born in the same Brooklyn hospital, met and became rivals at the same summer camp when they were 13. He was cast from the start, fighting with David about overdue invoices and basic courtesy.

He is survived by his wife, Joyce Lapinsky.


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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist




Sony said on Tuesday that it will lose 900 jobs, or 8% of PlayStation’s global workforce.

According to a PlayStation news statement, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s layoffs will affect all regions, with its in-house London studio, which is responsible for the competitive singing video game “Singstar,” closing entirely.

“These are incredibly talented people who have contributed to our success, and we are very grateful,” said Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. “However, the industry has changed immensely, and we need to future ready ourselves to set the business up for what lies ahead.”


Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

According to Bloomberg, the personnel cut comes after the business lowered its sales expectations for the year and Naomi Matsuouka, Sony’s senior vice president, stated that the PlayStation 5 console was nearing the end of its lifecycle.

Ryan stated in September that he would resign as president of Sony Group Corporation in March. Hiroki Totoki, the COO and CFO, will serve as interim CEO.


Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

The incoming CEO will face an entire tech sector in turmoil, with industry giants laying off 5,500 staff in the first two weeks of 2024 alone.

Specifically, the video gaming industry has seen employment losses from 2023 into this year, with Epic Games slashing 830 workers last September and Tencent’s Riot Games laying off 11% of its workforce in January.


Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

In his email to employees, Ryan echoed the leadership of those other game firms, saying, “We had to step back, look at our business holistically, and move forward focusing on the company’s long-term sustainability and delivering the best experiences possible for our community.”

Sony Group Corporation’s (SONY) stock declined less than 1% after the announcement on Tuesday.


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