Avengers assemble for final battle in ‘Endgame’

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, from left, poses with members of the cast of “Avengers: End Game,” Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo at a hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP)
Updated 24 April 2019
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Avengers assemble for final battle in ‘Endgame’

  • “Avengers: Endgame” is the final installment of a wildly ambitious 22-film arc featuring the beloved superheroes of the Marvel universe
  • Pundits are predicting a debut weekend that could break records with the first billion-dollar opening in history

LOS ANGELES: After nearly two dozen films and billions of dollars in ticket sales around the globe, the Avengers are gearing up for a final time — and their last adventure could shatter all box office records.
“Avengers: Endgame” is the final installment of a wildly ambitious 22-film arc featuring the beloved superheroes of the Marvel universe, many of them the creations of late comic book legend Stan Lee.
It hits theaters this week — parts of Asia and Europe get the first view of the three-hour epic on Wednesday, and it gets its wide release in the US and Canada on Friday. Pundits are predicting a debut weekend that could break records with the first billion-dollar opening in history.
That would easily beat out the previous record holder, “Avengers: Infinity War,” the first part of the “Infinity Saga” — as it was dubbed by Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, who has produced every single movie in the franchise — which opened in 2018 with $640.5 million.
After Monday’s star-studded world premiere in Hollywood, the six original Avengers celebrated the end of the road Tuesday at the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre.
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) assembled for a final time with Feige at the TCL Chinese Theatre, where they signed blocks of cement and marked them with handprints.
“It’s been an amazing ride,” Ruffalo — who attempted a handstand while waiting for the cement to set — said of the 10-year project.
The 21 preceding films have earned about $19 billion globally, and though “Endgame” marks the end of the current narrative arc, Marvel Studios is far from through.

Even as they mark the end of what Johansson called a “wonderful” experience, Marvel Studios has already announced several new projects: in addition to sequels for “Spider-Man,” “Black Panther” and “Doctor Strange,” there will also be “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” “The Eternals” and “Black Widow,” the second Marvel universe film to give a female character solo top billing.
“The fun thing about an ending is that you eventually get to do a new beginning,” Feige told AFP.
“So yes, there will be a new beginning, but right now, it’s about this combination of 22 movies. That’s what we’re most excited for.”
In preparation for the marvelous cinematic conclusion, “Endgame” directors Joe and Anthony Russo took to Twitter to post a letter to “the greatest fans in the world.”
“This is it,” they wrote. “This is the end. The end of an unprecedented narrative mosaic spanning eleven years and eleven franchises.”
They acknowledged the massive impact that the Avengers series has had on its fans, saying it was for “all of you who have been on this journey with us since the very beginning.”
Fans have been on the edge of their seats for the conclusion, and the cast has been notoriously tight-lipped during the press tour for fear of potential spoilers.
But someone couldn’t wait: on Sunday, five minutes of “Endgame” footage containing crucial plot points from the finale were anonymously posted online, prompting the Russo brothers’ letter.
The brothers concluded their message with an appeal: not to spoil the end of the movie.
“Remember,” the Russo brothers said, “Thanos still demands your silence. #DontSpoilTheEndgame.”


UN campaign asks people to ‘Be the Light’ for refugees this Ramadan

Updated 21 May 2019
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UN campaign asks people to ‘Be the Light’ for refugees this Ramadan

  • The “Be The Light” campaign highlights the stories of three refugees, and their struggles to get safety after being displaced from their homes
  • The UN seeks to raise awareness about these refugee experiences and to raise donation during Ramadan

DUBAI: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched its new global campaign that brings to life stories of refugees in their efforts to find safety.

Launched during Ramadan, the “Be The Light” campaign highlights the stories of three refugees, and their struggles to get safety after being displaced from their homes, in a 90-second short film that will be aired on OSN and TV stations around the world. It is also available online.

The campaign, which was created in the UAE by communications firm Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K), highlights the concept of hope in the lives of forcibly displaced individuals, which the UNHCR pegged at a nearly 68.5 million. At present, 25.4 million are under the UN agency’s care.

“We want refugees to have the opportunity to look forward. At UNHCR, we are dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees,” Omer Elnaiem, Head of Campaigns and Avocacy MENA at the UNHCR, said in a release.

Elnaiem said the number of refugees “is growing faster than the ability to respond,” and that the holy month of Ramadan is the perfect time to urge people to “Be The Light.”

“We wanted to create a campaign that brought to life the emotional and physical journey a refugee experience,” studio head at H+K MENA Elias Markopoulos said.

The UN seeks to raise awareness about these refugee experiences and to raise donation during Ramadan.

Watch the video here: