‘Shazam!’ holds off newcomers to top box office again

Zachary Levi, left, and Jack Dylan Grazer in a scene from Warner Bros.’ superhero tale ‘Shazam!’ (Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP)
Updated 15 April 2019

‘Shazam!’ holds off newcomers to top box office again

  • ‘Shazam!’ takes an estimated $25.1 million on its second weekend
  • The film has been a hit with critics and audiences, with overseas ticket sales hitting $164 million

LOS ANGELES: Warner Bros.’ lighthearted superhero tale “Shazam!” held on to top spot on its second weekend, taking an estimated $25.1 million as it kept a flurry of newcomers at bay, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said Sunday.
The family-friendly flick stars Asher Angel as Billy Baston, an unhappy foster kid who is transformed into a muscular, wise-cracking adult superhero (Zachary Levi) when anyone pronounces the secret word.
The film has been a hit with critics and audiences, scoring 90 and 88 percent respectively on movie ratings website Rotten Tomatoes and overseas ticket sales hitting $164 million.
Universal’s new release “Little” — another body-swap comedy, this time with a grown-up trapped in her teenage self — was runner-up with $15.5 million on its opening weekend, playing particularly well with female and African American audiences.
Child star Marsai Martin, who has been in popular ABC sit-com “black-ish” for five years, pitched the idea for the movie when she was just 10 after being inspired by 1980s hit “Big,” starring Tom Hanks, in which a child becomes trapped in his adult body.
Martin, 14, is the youngest producer ever on a major Hollywood production and plays the younger version of Regina Hall.
In third spot was fellow newcomer “Hellboy” which posted a disappointing $12 million for distributor Lionsgate against expectations of $17-$20 million.
The rebooted superhero movie, directed by Neil Marshall and starring “Stranger Things” actor David Harbor, was panned by critics who complained about its lack of cohesion and compared it unfavorably to Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 and 2008 entries starring Ron Perlman.
Horror film “Pet Sematary” — a remake of the 1989 film based on the Stephen King book — took fourth place with an estimated $10 million.
Fifth went to Disney’s “Dumbo,” at $9.1 million. The Tim Burton remake of the 1941 film tells the story of a small elephant with huge ears and a powerful desire to be reunited with his mama.
Rounding out the weekend’s top 10 were:
“Captain Marvel” ($8.6 million)
“Us” ($6.9 million)
“After” ($6.2 million)
“Missing Link” ($5.8 million)
“The Best of Enemies” ($2 million)

‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

Updated 19 April 2019

‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

  • National Museum in Riyadh hosts digital show that tells the story of Mosul, Palmyra, Aleppo and Leptis Magna

JEDDAH: An exhibition that uses digital technology to revive the region’s ancient sites and civilizations that have been destroyed or are under threat due to conflict and terrorism opened at the National Museum in Riyadh on April 18.

“Age-Old Cities” tells the story of four historically significant cities that have been devastated by violence: Mosul in Iraq, Palmyra and Aleppo in Syria, and Leptis Magna in Libya. 

Using stunning giant-screen projections, virtual reality, archival documents and images, and video testimonials from inhabitants of the affected sites, the immersive exhibition transports visitors back in time and presents the cities as they were in their prime. 

It charts their journey from the origins of their ancient civilizations to their modern-day state, and presents plans for their restoration and repair. 

The exhibition has been organized by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Riyadh is the first stop outside the French capital on the exhibition’s global tour. 

The exhibition follows last month’s unveiling of the Kingdom’s new cultural vision, which included the announcement of several initiatives, including a new residency scheme for international artists to practice in the Kingdom and the establishment of the Red Sea International Film Festival. 

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, minister of culture, said: “I am delighted to welcome the ‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition to Riyadh. 

“It highlights the importance of heritage preservation, particularly here in the Middle East, and the vulnerability of some of our historic sites. 

“It must be the responsibility of governments to put an end to this damage and neglect, and to put heritage at the heart of action, investment, and policy.

“I will be encouraging my fellow members of government to attend this eye-opening exhibition in our National Museum, and hope to work in the future with partners, governments and experts to do what we can to secure our region’s heritage.”

The exhibition carries a significant message about the importance of preserving and protecting these precious but fragile sites — one which resonates strongly in the week when one of the world’s most-famous heritage sites, Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral, went up in flames.