Daily Archives: March 8, 2015

Actress Emma Watson urges more men to fight for gender equality

Actress Emma Watson poses at the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California October 30, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Actress Emma Watson poses at the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California October 30, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni


LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – British actress Emma Watson urged more men and boys on Sunday to take a stand for women’s rights and be proud to be feminists in a bid to add momentum to a global campaign to unite men and women for gender equality.

Watson, 24, a goodwill ambassador for U.N. Women, used International Women’s Day to add impetus to the HeForShe campaign that was launched in September last year and encourages men and boys to join the fight for equal rights.

So far around 240,000 men have pledged their commitment online, according to the HeForShe website, including U.S. President Barack Obama and actor Matt Damon, but there is a target to mobilize one billion men and boys by July this year.

“There has been a ground swell of support but we need more men to take a stand for gender equality,” Watson told a discussion on gender equality at Facebook’s London headquarters.

“Men often think that feminism is a women’s word … but if you stand for gender equality, you are a feminist.”

Watson, who rose to fame as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, said the campaign was not about men saving women and also called upon women to support the campaign.

“It’s uncomfortable and awkward for women to acknowledge there is a problem, but we need to understand we are complicit,” she said.

The actress said she was pleased with the response to the IMPACT 10X10X10 initiative, a one-year pilot project launched in January seeking commitments from governments, companies and universities on women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Several countries, including Sweden, the Netherlands and Sierra Leone, have backed the campaign, Watson said.

When asked about gender equality on a global scale, Watson praised the power of social media to allow girls and women to interact with others who can provide advice and support.

Audience members chosen by U.N. Women to attend the event submitted their stories online of what they had done to advance gender equality.

Jacob Anderson, 24, a Swedish designer, said he was an active supporter of women’s rights on online forums and social media.

“Gender equality should be talked about far more than it currently is … it doesn’t make sense that women and men don’t have equal rights,” Anderson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the event in London.

(Reporting By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)


Source: Newsjyoti Entertainment

Actress Emma Watson urges more men to fight for gender equality

Actress Emma Watson poses at the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California October 30, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Actress Emma Watson poses at the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California October 30, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni


LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – British actress Emma Watson urged more men and boys on Sunday to take a stand for women’s rights and be proud to be feminists in a bid to add momentum to a global campaign to unite men and women for gender equality.

Watson, 24, a goodwill ambassador for U.N. Women, used International Women’s Day to add impetus to the HeForShe campaign that was launched in September last year and encourages men and boys to join the fight for equal rights.

So far around 240,000 men have pledged their commitment online, according to the HeForShe website, including U.S. President Barack Obama and actor Matt Damon, but there is a target to mobilize one billion men and boys by July this year.

“There has been a ground swell of support but we need more men to take a stand for gender equality,” Watson told a discussion on gender equality at Facebook’s London headquarters.

“Men often think that feminism is a women’s word … but if you stand for gender equality, you are a feminist.”

Watson, who rose to fame as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, said the campaign was not about men saving women and also called upon women to support the campaign.

“It’s uncomfortable and awkward for women to acknowledge there is a problem, but we need to understand we are complicit,” she said.

The actress said she was pleased with the response to the IMPACT 10X10X10 initiative, a one-year pilot project launched in January seeking commitments from governments, companies and universities on women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Several countries, including Sweden, the Netherlands and Sierra Leone, have backed the campaign, Watson said.

When asked about gender equality on a global scale, Watson praised the power of social media to allow girls and women to interact with others who can provide advice and support.

Audience members chosen by U.N. Women to attend the event submitted their stories online of what they had done to advance gender equality.

Jacob Anderson, 24, a Swedish designer, said he was an active supporter of women’s rights on online forums and social media.

“Gender equality should be talked about far more than it currently is … it doesn’t make sense that women and men don’t have equal rights,” Anderson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the event in London.

(Reporting By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)


Source: Newsjyoti Entertainment

Thousands march on Selma, Alabama bridge to mark 'Bloody Sunday'

People walk along the Edmund Pettus Bridge before the beginning of the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march in Selma, Alabama March 8, 2015. REUTERS/Tami Chappell


(Reuters) – Thousands of people began walking across a Selma, Alabama bridge on Sunday in a re-enactment of the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march, part of a weekend of events marking the 50th anniversary of a turning point in the U.S. civil rights movement.

Some of those gathered in Selma also planned to set out Monday on a march to Montgomery along the route that Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers walked in the wake of Bloody Sunday, a march that helped spur the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965, took its name from the beating that roughly 600 peaceful civil rights activists sustained at the hands of white state troopers and police who attacked them with batons and sprayed them with tear gas on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

“It’s very crowded but at the same time it’s fun and really great to see everybody coming together all races, all people,” one woman told CNN as marchers began moving across the bridge.

Among the demonstrators were those calling for immigration and gay rights.

President Barack Obama visited Selma on Saturday and declared the work of the U.S. civil rights movement advanced but unfinished in the face of ongoing racial tension.

“Fifty years from Bloody Sunday, our march is not yet finished, but we’re getting closer,” said Obama, the first black president of the United States, as he stood near the bridge.

The anniversary comes at a time of renewed focus on racial disparities in the United States and anger over law enforcers’ treatment of black civilians, among them 18-year-old Michael Brown, whose killing by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, last year sparked widespread protests.

On Friday, Tony T. Robinson Jr., a 19-year-old black man who appeared to be unarmed, was shot dead by a white police officer in Madison, Wisconsin, sparking protests there.

U.S. Representative John Lewis, who led the march across the bridge 50 years ago and was knocked out by a state trooper, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that what happened that day had led to lasting changes in civil rights.

    “When I go back, I remember the bridge for me is almost a sacred place,” the Georgia Democrat said. “That’s where some of us gave a little blood and where some people almost died.

    “What happened on that bridge has changed America forever.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans; Additional reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Gareth Jones and Eric Walsh)


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'Huge gaps' in Clinton email record, Benghazi probe chief says

Former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton attends the U.S. Agency for International Development at ''Cookstoves Future'' summit in New York, November 21, 2014.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton attends the U.S. Agency for International Development at ”Cookstoves Future” summit in New York, November 21, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid


(Reuters) – Huge gaps exist in the emails former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has provided to a congressional committee investigating the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the panel’s chairman said on Sunday.

Republican Representative Trey Gowdy said his committee lacked documentation from Clinton’s trip to Libya after the attack despite a popular photo image of her using a handheld device during a flight to that country.

“We have no emails from that day. In fact we have no emails from that trip,” said Gowdy, who heads the committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. “There are huge gaps.”

Widely considered the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton used a private email account for all official business as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

Republicans have scrutinized Clinton’s actions over the Benghazi attack in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other people were killed. The private email disclosure, published in The New York Times last week, raised Republican concerns about Clinton’s commitment to transparency.

She has since asked the State Department to release her emails but a State Department official said the review would take some time.

Clinton gave the committee eight emails last August and 300 in February related to the attack, Gowdy said on CBS’s Face the Nation. Last week, the committee subpoenaed the State Department for other emails. Gowdy said that in fairness the committee would not release the emails’ content selectively.

The State Department has requested email records from all former secretaries of state, and Clinton has given it 50,000 pages of records to review.

Speaking separately on Sunday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, responding to reports he too had a private email account rather than a government one, said he did not have emails to give the department.

“I retained none of those emails and we are working with the State Department to see if there’s anything else they want to discuss with me about those emails,” he said on ABC’s This Week.

Powell said that when he started as secretary of state under Republican President George W. Bush, the State Department computer systems were antiquated and he strove to update them. In November, its unclassified email system was hacked and had to be shut down temporarily.

Obama said on Saturday he only recently learned of Clinton’s private email account.

(Additional reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Howard Goller)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics

British trio Years and Years top UK singles chart

(Reuters) – British electronica trio Years and Years claimed their first number one chart single on Sunday as their song “King” knocked fellow Briton Ellie Goulding off the top spot, the Official Charts Company said.

Years and Years, winners of a British poll of music industry figures to find the most promising artists of 2015, racked up combined online, streaming and physical sales of 101,000 copies, beating Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do”.

“Fourfiveseconds” by Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney charted in third place, ahead of “Take Me To Church” by Hozier and “Earned It” by The Weeknd.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds took the number one title in the album charts with “Chasing Yesterday”, which became the fastest-selling album of the year with combined sales of 89,000.

Gallagher, formerly a guitarist in Oasis, one of Britain’s most successful rock bands, pushed Sam Smith’s “In The Lonely Hour” into second place and “X” by Ed Sheeran into third.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones)


Source: Newsjyoti Entertainment

Two charged with Nemtsov killing include Chechen officer: report

Zaur Dadayev, charged with involvement in the murder of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, looks out from a defendants' cage inside a court building in Moscow, March 8, 2015. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva


(Reuters) – Russian authorities said on Sunday they were holding five men over the killing of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, one of whom served in a police unit in the Russian region of Chechnya, according to a law enforcement official.

The five men were frogmarched into a Moscow courtroom on Sunday, forced by masked security officers gripping their bound arms to walk doubled over, a Reuters reporter at the court said. They stood in metal cages in the courtroom as television crews were ushered in to film them.

A judge ruled that all five should be held in custody and said that one of them, Zaur Dadayev, had admitted his involvement in the killing when questioned by investigators.

Dadayev served for a decade in the “Sever” police battalion, part of the interior ministry in Chechnya, Russian news agencies reported. They cited Albert Barakhayev, a senior security official in the neighboring region of Ingushetia, where several of the men were detained.

Nemtsov was shot dead on the night of Feb. 27 within sight of the Kremlin walls, in the most high-profile killing of an opposition figure in the 15 years that President Vladimir Putin has been in office.

Some associates of Nemtsov, a 55-year-old former deputy prime minister who became a Putin critic, say the Kremlin stands to gain from his death. Russian officials deny involvement and Putin has condemned the killing.

The court hearings on Sunday were given extensive coverage on state-controlled media, and presented as proof the authorities are conducting a thorough investigation – not the cover-up some of Nemtsov’s friends say they anticipate.

But associates of Nemtsov say they will not be satisfied unless prosecutors track down whoever orchestrated the killing, rather than just the people who pulled the trigger.

There was no word from investigators on who the suspects were alleged to have been working for. The judge presiding over the hearings said investigators were still looking for others they believe were involved in the killing.

Russian media reports said most of those detained were from Chechnya or other parts of the North Caucasus, a poor and often violent area on Russia’s southern flank.

Several other high-profile killings in Russia, including the 2006 shooting of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, have been attributed to gunmen from the North Caucasus, while those who ordered the crimes were never firmly identified.

CONFESSION

Judge Natalia Mushnikova told Dadayev’s hearing at Moscow’s Basmanny court: “Dadayev’s involvement in committing this crime is confirmed by, apart from his own confession, the totality of evidence gathered as part of this criminal case.”

Apart from Dadayev, investigators are holding two brothers, Anzor and Shagid Gubashev, and two others, Ramzan Bakhayev and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov. Previously, investigators said they only had two suspects in custody.

Two of the men, Dadayev and Anzor Gubashev, have been charged with involvement in the murder, while the other three are being treated as suspects.

Chechnya, a mainly Muslim region, has seen violent separatist insurgencies over the past two decades. It is now firmly under the control of its leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, a former rebel who changed sides and pledges loyalty to Putin.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Chechen authorities that Dadayev served in the “Sever” battalion, and it was not clear if Dadayev was still a serving member of it.

There have been cases in the past where employees of Russian law enforcement agencies have been prosecuted after moonlighting for organized crime groups.

Russia’s Interfax news agency, quoting a Chechen law enforcement source, said a man killed in a standoff with police in the Chechen capital late on Saturday was wanted by police in connection with Nemtsov’s killing.

The agency said when police arrived at an apartment block, the man threw one grenade at officers and then blew himself up with a second.

Nemtsov’s closest aide told Reuters that the day before his death he clandestinely scribbled a note to her about how he was investigating the involvement of Russia’s military in fighting in east Ukraine.

Some of Nemtsov’s friends have asked why the police took so long to arrive at the scene of the crime and how someone could fire six shots at him and get away in an area monitored by closed-circuit television footage.

(Editing by Sophie Walker)


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CORRECTED-Greek finmin says Greece's euro zone membership a given

(Corrects first sentence to add dropped word ‘not’)

(Reuters) – Greece’s euro zone membership is
a given and does not form part of negotiations with the
country’s lenders, the finance ministry said on Sunday.

The statement from the finance minister sought to clarify
remarks by Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis during an interview
with Italy’s Corriere della Sera on Sunday.

“In the interview with Corriere dela Serra, the minister
reiterated the same position, underlining in every way that
Greece’s position in the euro zone is a given and does not in
any way form part of the government reform programme that Greece
is working on in coordination with its partners and the
institutions,” the ministry said.

It said the minister was asked what he would do if all his
proposals were to be rejected and had replied: “As the prime
minister has stated, we are not attached to our posts. If
needed, if we encounter implacability, we will resort to the
Greek people either through elections or a referendum” regarding
the content of reforms and fiscal policy.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Jason Neely)


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Box Office: 'Chappie' Stumbles, 'Unfinished Business' Bombs

Actor Hugh Jackman arrives for the premiere of the film 'Chappie' in New York March 4, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson


LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Neill Blomkamp’s “Chappie” and “Unfinished Business” with Vince Vaughn added up to a weekend to forget at the U.S. box office.

Overall ticket sales plunged as “Chappie,” a science-fiction adventure about a sentient robot, topped charts with a weak $13.3 million from 3,201 locations. Going into the weekend, Sony Pictures was aiming for a debut of roughly $15 million and some analysts expected the film could hit $20 million. Reviews were tepid, and the picture is the latest in a long line of R-rated new releases such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Focus,” which may have hurt it with moviegoers looking for something that appeals to kids as well as adults.

“There’s been a glut of R-rated movies starting from the first of the year,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s worldwide distribution chief. “I think there’s some R-rated fatigue.”

The odds may have been against “Chappie” from its inception. Original science-fiction films have had a rocky go of it at the box office of late, with “Seventh Son,” “Jupiter Ascending” and “Project Almanac” all crashing on the shoals of audience indifference. Blomkamp may be on safer ground with his next project, a new installment in the “Alien” franchise.

“Chappie” was produced for $49 million, and Sony isn’t ready to concede defeat on the picture just yet, predicting it could make a profit when foreign markets are taken into account. Bruer notes that Blomkamp’s previous films, “District 9” and “Elysium,” were able to stick around for a long time after their debuts.

“The movie plays well, and the uniqueness of the characters is going to drive a conversation that I do believe will help the film in the coming weeks,” he said.

It was a dispiriting weekend overall for the business, with ticket sales down roughly 35% from the year-ago period – a weekend that saw the debuts of “300: Rise of an Empire” and “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.” That also took a chunk out of the substantial lead that the exhibition industry had maintained over 2014’s first quarter numbers. Ticket sales are now up roughly 5% over the previous year’s, but two weeks ago they topped them by roughly 10%.

“The market has been so strong lately, I’m not surprised to see such a big down weekend,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “Things have to slow down at some point.”

“Chappie” fared better than “Unfinished Business,” another R-rated whiff. The business trip comedy eked out a gloomy $4.8 million across 2,777 locations. It ranks as the lowest debut of Vaughn’s career, raising serious questions about his appeal. The “Wedding Crashers” star has headlined an array of flops over the past four years, including “The Dilemma,” “Delivery Man,” “The Internship” and “The Watch.” A lot is riding on the second season of “True Detective” to return Vaughn to audiences’ good graces.

Twentieth Century Fox distributed the $35 million film, which New Regency financed. The opening crowd for “Unfinished Business” was 55% male and 54% over the age of 25.

“Sometimes this happens where a film doesn’t connect with an audience,” said Spencer Klein, executive vice president of theatrical distribution at Fox. “Fortunately, this hasn’t happened too often to us.”

There was one diamond in the crop of dinged-up new releases — “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” The comic tale of retirees making new lives for themselves in India bowed to a sterling $8.6 million across 1,573 locations. Fox Searchlight is distributing the comedy which was co-produced by Participant Media and cost a mere $10 million to produce.

“This audience of moviegoers wants to see something different, and there hasn’t been much out there for them,” said Frank Rodriguez, senior vice president of distribution at Fox. “This market of specialty crowds and more mature audiences has been underserved.”

“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” will add approximately 300 screens to its current crop of venues next weekend, Rodriguez predicted. The first picture stuck around for months, eventually making $46.4 million, but this film had a wider debut and should be more front-loaded. The film played older and female, with more than 65% of the crowd comprised of women and the same percentage over the age of 50.

“Our core audience came out this weekend, but it’s comprised of moviegoers who don’t always rush out immediately,” said Rodriguez. “We think this is the kind of film that could stick around.”

Last week’s champ, the Will Smith heist picture “Focus,” had to settle for runner-up status, taking second place on the charts with $10 million. That brings the film’s take to $34.6 million.

Among holdovers, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” took in $8.3 million, pushing its take to $98 million, while “Fifty Shades of Grey” added $5.6 million to its $156.4 million haul. “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” continued to benefit from being one of the only family-friendly releases in the market, picking up $7 million and driving the picture to $149 million at the Stateside box office.

At the arthouse, Sony Pictures premiered the spin-doctor documentary “Merchants of Doubt” on four screens where it earned $20,327, while “The Hunting Ground,” a look at sexual violence on college campuses, added $8,936 from two screens to its $45,822 gross.

Roadside Attractions and Black Label Media’s critically adored thriller “71” capitalized on good reviews, earning $70,590 after expanding from four to 16 screens in New York and Los Angeles.

Next weekend brings Disney’s live-action version of “Cinderella” and with it a chance at box office redemption.


Source: Newsjyoti Entertainment

U.S. Senate leader McConnell promises no default on debt

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (2nd R), flanked by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) (L-R), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator John Thune (R-SD), holds a news conference after the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, March 3, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (2nd R), flanked by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) (L-R), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator John Thune (R-SD), holds a news conference after the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, March 3, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst


(Reuters) – The U.S. Congress will be in no hurry to raise the federal government’s borrowing limit, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday, but will act in time to avoid Washington defaulting on its debt.

“The debt ceiling will be handled over a period of months,” McConnell said during an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” broadcast.

On Friday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew asked Congress to raise the statutory cap on borrowing “as soon as possible.”

The government is expected to exhaust its borrowing authority around March 15, but it can take emergency steps to continue paying its bills. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates such steps will be exhausted sometime in October or November.

“I made it very clear after the November (2014) election we’re certainly not going to shut down the government or default on the national debt,” McConnell said.

Even so, Congress is emerging from a contentious fight that at one point brought the Department of Homeland Security within hours of having to shut down some of its operations, as Republicans tied the agency’s funding to an attempt to block new immigration policies by President Barack Obama.

Several Republican lawmakers have already predicted the battle over the debt limit could become even more difficult than the DHS funding fight.

Small-government Tea Party activists, who make up a vocal part of Republican ranks, could try to link the debt limit to legislation that Obama and his fellow Democrats in Congress might balk at.

In the CBS interview, McConnell said he hoped a debt limit extension “might carry some other important legislation that we can agree on in connection with it.”

He did not provide specifics during the interview, nor did a spokesman after the broadcast.

Since 2011, when Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, Obama and Congress have tangled over the debt limit, flirting with a possible default.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Tom Heneghan)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics

UPDATE 1-Box Office: 'Chappie' Stumbles, 'Unfinished Business' Bombs

(Adds details)

By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES, March 8 (Variety.com) – Neill Blomkamp’s
“Chappie” and “Unfinished Business” with Vince Vaughn added up
to a weekend to forget at the U.S. box office.

Overall ticket sales plunged as “Chappie,” a science-fiction
adventure about a sentient robot, topped charts with a weak
$13.3 million from 3,201 locations. Going into the weekend, Sony
Pictures was aiming for a debut of roughly $15 million and some
analysts expected the film could hit $20 million. Reviews were
tepid, and the picture is the latest in a long line of R-rated
new releases such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Focus,” which
may have hurt it with moviegoers looking for something that
appeals to kids as well as adults.

“There’s been a glut of R-rated movies starting from the
first of the year,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s worldwide
distribution chief. “I think there’s some R-rated fatigue.”

The odds may have been against “Chappie” from its inception.
Original science-fiction films have had a rocky go of it at the
box office of late, with “Seventh Son,” “Jupiter Ascending” and
“Project Almanac” all crashing on the shoals of audience
indifference. Blomkamp may be on safer ground with his next
project, a new installment in the “Alien” franchise.

“Chappie” was produced for $49 million, and Sony isn’t ready
to concede defeat on the picture just yet, predicting it could
make a profit when foreign markets are taken into account. Bruer
notes that Blomkamp’s previous films, “District 9” and
“Elysium,” were able to stick around for a long time after their
debuts.

“The movie plays well, and the uniqueness of the characters
is going to drive a conversation that I do believe will help the
film in the coming weeks,” he said.

It was a dispiriting weekend overall for the business, with
ticket sales down roughly 35% from the year-ago period – a
weekend that saw the debuts of “300: Rise of an Empire” and “Mr.
Peabody and Sherman.” That also took a chunk out of the
substantial lead that the exhibition industry had maintained
over 2014’s first quarter numbers. Ticket sales are now up
roughly 5% over the previous year’s, but two weeks ago they
topped them by roughly 10%.

“The market has been so strong lately, I’m not surprised to
see such a big down weekend,” said Phil Contrino, vice president
and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “Things have to slow down at
some point.”

“Chappie” fared better than “Unfinished Business,” another
R-rated whiff. The business trip comedy eked out a gloomy $4.8
million across 2,777 locations. It ranks as the lowest debut of
Vaughn’s career, raising serious questions about his appeal. The
“Wedding Crashers” star has headlined an array of flops over the
past four years, including “The Dilemma,” “Delivery Man,” “The
Internship” and “The Watch.” A lot is riding on the second
season of “True Detective” to return Vaughn to audiences’ good
graces.

Twentieth Century Fox distributed the $35 million film,
which New Regency financed. The opening crowd for “Unfinished
Business” was 55% male and 54% over the age of 25.

“Sometimes this happens where a film doesn’t connect with an
audience,” said Spencer Klein, executive vice president of
theatrical distribution at Fox. “Fortunately, this hasn’t
happened too often to us.”

There was one diamond in the crop of dinged-up new releases
— “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” The comic tale of
retirees making new lives for themselves in India bowed to a
sterling $8.6 million across 1,573 locations. Fox Searchlight is
distributing the comedy which was co-produced by Participant
Media and cost a mere $10 million to produce.

“This audience of moviegoers wants to see something
different, and there hasn’t been much out there for them,” said
Frank Rodriguez, senior vice president of distribution at Fox.
“This market of specialty crowds and more mature audiences has
been underserved.”

“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” will add
approximately 300 screens to its current crop of venues next
weekend, Rodriguez predicted. The first picture stuck around for
months, eventually making $46.4 million, but this film had a
wider debut and should be more front-loaded. The film played
older and female, with more than 65% of the crowd comprised of
women and the same percentage over the age of 50.

“Our core audience came out this weekend, but it’s comprised
of moviegoers who don’t always rush out immediately,” said
Rodriguez. “We think this is the kind of film that could stick
around.”

Last week’s champ, the Will Smith heist picture “Focus,” had
to settle for runner-up status, taking second place on the
charts with $10 million. That brings the film’s take to $34.6
million.

Among holdovers, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” took in $8.3
million, pushing its take to $98 million, while “Fifty Shades of
Grey” added $5.6 million to its $156.4 million haul. “The
SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” continued to benefit from
being one of the only family-friendly releases in the market,
picking up $7 million and driving the picture to $149 million at
the Stateside box office.

At the arthouse, Sony Pictures premiered the spin-doctor
documentary “Merchants of Doubt” on four screens where it earned
$20,327, while “The Hunting Ground,” a look at sexual violence
on college campuses, added $8,936 from two screens to its
$45,822 gross.

Roadside Attractions and Black Label Media’s critically
adored thriller “71” capitalized on good reviews, earning
$70,590 after expanding from four to 16 screens in New York and
Los Angeles.

Next weekend brings Disney’s live-action version of
“Cinderella” and with it a chance at box office redemption.


Source: Newsjyoti