’Beauty’ proves a beast in sales, smashes records

Dan Stevens as The Beast in a live-action adaptation of the animated classic “Beauty and the Beast.” (AP)
Updated 20 March 2017
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’Beauty’ proves a beast in sales, smashes records

LOS ANGELES: Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” smashed box office records in its opening three-day weekend, taking in an unexpected $170 million, according to industry estimates.
The film, featuring “Harry Potter” veteran Emma Watson as a charming Belle to the frightening Beast played by Dan Stevens of “Downton Abbey” fame, set a record for a March opening in North America, Exhibitor Relations reported. The previous record was set last year by “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” with $166 million.
“Beauty” recorded the seventh best opening overall in the United States and Canada.
Film site Fandango reported the movie had sold out at more than 1,000 showtimes in big cities and small, something more common for superhero blockbusters than for a family-oriented production.
“Disney is an awfully potent empire right now,” Exhibitor Relations’ Jeff Bock told Variety, adding that the studio “has all the other studios salivating.”
“Beauty” cost the hardly trifling sum of $300 million to make, but analysts say it should easily reach profitability. The specialized site BoxOfficeMojo estimated that Disney’s latest fairy tale adaptation may already have reached that point in worldwide sales.
“Beauty” swept aside the previous North American box-office leader, Warner Brothers’ “Kong: Skull Island;” that movie’s second-week take of $28.9 million was roughly half its opening weekend sales.
“Kong,” which has taken in $110 million since its release, tells the story of a group of explorers on a mysterious island that proves to be the frightening domain of the mighty ape.


Indonesians’ Eid balloons force flights to divert

Updated 59 min 6 sec ago
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Indonesians’ Eid balloons force flights to divert

  • Indonesians caught launching big, unmanned hot air balloons could face up to two years in jail or a fine of up to $35,000
  • Air Transportation Director General Agus Santoso said some balloons had been “reaching cruise altitude level at 10,000 meters above sea level.”

JAKARTA: Indonesians caught launching big, unmanned hot air balloons could face up to two years in jail or a fine of up to $35,000, authorities said, after balloons launched to celebrate the end of the Muslim fasting month forced pilots to divert flights.
Balloons, along with fireworks have long been part of festivities like Eid in Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, but with modern materials and designs they have become much bigger.
Some are up to 10 meters in diameter and more than 20 meters high, the transportation ministry said in a statement on Monday that warned of the penalties.
Air Transportation Director General Agus Santoso said some balloons had been “reaching cruise altitude level at 10,000 meters above sea level.”
The transportation ministry issued its statement after pilots sighted dozens of balloons in the skies over the archipelago in the days after Eid, which fell on Friday in Indonesia this year. Most of the sightings were over the provinces of Central and East Java.
Novie Riyanto, head of AirNav Indonesia, said the balloons posed a “very significant” hazard, and there had been 84 sightings over the weekend, prompting complaints from dozens of domestic and international pilots.
“Yesterday a great deal of traffic could not travel on routes, and had to ascend to avoid these balloons,” he said in the statement.
Riyanto added that the airspace over Java was the fifth-most crowded in the world and served as an international crossing.
As a result of the balloons, AirNav Indonesia had blocked off part of that air corridor for other aircraft, he said.
“This is a major disruption.”
Indonesia has a patchy air safety record, with 12 accidents in 2016 in which 30 people died, according to the Aviation Safety Network website.
Santoso urged the public to follow rules that balloons must be tethered and flown at a maximum height of 150 meters or lower near airports.
Police in East Java had confiscated 43 balloons before they could be launched, spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said in a statement sent by text message on Monday.