‘Avengers: Infinity War’ sets Marvel record on opening night

The cast and crew of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ onstage at the LA premiere . (AFP)
Updated 02 May 2018
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‘Avengers: Infinity War’ sets Marvel record on opening night

LOS ANGELES: “Avengers: Infinity War” took in $39 million on Thursday evening at U.S. and Canadian box offices, the biggest opening for a Marvel Studios film and the fourth-highest of all time, distributor Walt Disney Co said.

By Sunday, the movie is expected to come close to, or even break, the weekend record set in 2015 by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” according to box office analysts. “Force Awakens” grossed $248 million over its initial weekend.

“Infinity War” features more than 20 superheroes from Marvel’s ever-expanding cinematic universe, including Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Critics have largely praised the movie for its ambition, scale and wit and for a jaw-dropping ending that seems designed to get audiences hooked for another installment next year. Plot details have been shrouded in secrecy, but several major characters die or appear to be killed off.

“Marvel hits the jackpot again,” said The Hollywood Reporter, while USA Today loved its “unexpected returns, true surprises, real sacrifices and a cliffhanger ending that’s going to freak fans to their superhero-loving core.”

Variety called the movie “overstuffed and bedazzling” and predicted the ending would be much talked about. “It is dark and spooky and, in its way, chancy and shocking. Do any of our beloved characters die? Well, yes. But, in fact, the ending is so audacious that you realize it’s all an elaborate card trick.”

Among the less enthusiastic were Time Out, which called it “an overstuffed sausage of summer entertainment,” and Slant magazine, which said it was “all manic monotony” but “passably numbing in the moment.”


Saudi film industry heralds new dawn with opening of first arthouse cinema

Updated 17 min 17 sec ago
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Saudi film industry heralds new dawn with opening of first arthouse cinema

  • Cinema El-Housh is the brainchild of Saudi film director, producer and screenwriter Mahmoud Sabbagh and the event will continue until July 25 as part of the Jeddah Season festival
  • Mahmoud Sabbagh: We chose old Jeddah because the phenomena existed here, and the idea of an arthouse film isn’t new

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s blossoming film industry on Tuesday heralded a new dawn with the launch of the Kingdom’s first arthouse cinema.

The outdoor Cinema El-Housh opened in the historic city of Jeddah with the screening of director Stanley Kubrick’s celebrated “2001: A Space Odyssey” to mark the movie’s 51st anniversary.

The project is the brainchild of Saudi film director, producer and screenwriter Mahmoud Sabbagh and the event will continue until July 25 as part of the Jeddah Season festival.

“Cinema El-Housh is one of the first proper arthouses for film theater initiatives in Saudi Arabia and in Jeddah,” Sabbagh told Arab News.

“The idea of the cinema comes from outdoor cinemas, which was a phenomenon that existed in old Jeddah from the 1940s until the end of the 1970s, where people gathered in courtyards where they would screen a film and enjoy it.

“We are bringing that back to the community with all its minimalism and gestures for bringing people together and bringing the communal experience of watching films again,” he said.

“We chose old Jeddah because the phenomena existed here, and the idea of an arthouse film isn’t new. It really strikes a balance between a commercial cinema and non-commercial cinemas.

“With the opening of cinemas, we are witnessing a burst of commercial-driven cinema multiplexes. However, there was a void someone had to fill by introducing this idea of arthouse cinemas,” added Sabbagh.

“We are free to screen films that are of non-commercial value, non-mainstream, more independent films that are film festival frequent and classics, and Saudi films. We want to be a platform for all the emerging Saudi voices.”

 

Tuesday’s private screening of “2001: A Space Odyssey” was also attended by Saudi actor Khaled Yeslam who said the film’s message conveyed the dawning of a new era in the Kingdom.

“From my perspective, choosing “2001: A Space Odyssey,” it started with the new dawn of mankind. And the music played was the music we listened to in the 1980s and 1990s,” Yeslam told Arab News.

“So, seeing such an entry as a film in Al-Balad, it’s a metaphor itself; here in Al-Balad, in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia itself. I thought it was planned and that he meant to do that. And I think Mahmoud is such a genius for choosing such a film.”

On the Kingdom’s booming film industry, Yeslam said: “Through movies, it’s finally our (Saudis) time to tell our stories. We’re fed up with the stereotypes and double standards by Western media and it’s time to reveal our reality.

“In the end, we’re just human, we’re just like everyone else, and I believe that art is a way to connect with others as humans.”

FACTOID

Outdoor cinemas existed in Jeddah from the 1940s until the late 1970s.