News Column

Philadelphia Daily News Howard Gensler column

August 4, 2014

By Howard Gensler, Philadelphia Daily News



Aug. 04--IT LOOKS AS IF the move by Marvel Studios to announce a sequel to "Guardians of the Galaxy" before the movie opened was a winner.

The space romp, starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana, earned a whopping $94 million in its debut weekend, according to studio estimates yesterday, blowing away its most optimistic preopening estimate of $75 million.

The opening crushes the previous record opening for an August release, the $69.2 million debut of 2007's "The Bourne Ultimatum." It also makes "Guardians" the third-largest opening of 2014, coming behind the $95 million launch of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and the $100 million of "Transformers: Age of Extinction."

With the "Guardians" numbers added to the 2014 openings of Sony's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," 20th Century Fox's "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and Marvel Studios' Captain America sequel, Marvel characters are on pace to do more than $2.5 billion in global box office this year.

"The mere mention of the name Marvel is enough to get people into the movie theater," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. "That's somewhat rare. Pixar obviously has a similar cachet, but for Marvel to have four films this year open with over $90 million is amazing. It's unprecedented success."

In a distant second place, "Lucy," starring Scarlett Johansson, nabbed $18.3 million in its second weekend. The James Brown biopic "Get on Up," featuring Chadwick Boseman, opened in third place with $14 million.

Vargas movie premieres

An autobiographical documentary by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist/immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas, one of America's best known illegal immigrants, has opened an independent film festival in his home country of the Philippines to applause, laughter and tears.

Vargas' mother received a certificate of recognition on his behalf at the 10th Cinemalaya film festival in Manila on Friday night. "It's my third time to watch it, but I still can't stop myself from crying," said Emelie Salinas, who came with her two other children and relatives.

"Documented" was written, directed and produced by Vargas, who has worked for the Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle and -- ta-da! -- Philadelphia Daily News, and was part of a Washington Post team that won a Pulitzer in 2008 for its report on the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings.

The 90-minute film tells of Vargas' 1993 journey to America as a 12-year-old unaccompanied immigrant to join his grandparents, and his painful 21-year separation from his mother.

In 2011, he decided to come out with his secret and to campaign for a citizenship path for more than 11 million other "undocumented" immigrants, 1.3 million of whom are Asians. Hundreds of thousands of them were brought to America as children, and like Vargas are trapped in their illegal status.

Vargas said that because he did not have the proper documents, he could not join the audience in Manila, but the premiere of his movie at the festival, he added, "proves the power of film" because "movies travel in all languages, bridging cultures . . . and people."

TATTBIT

--A 14-year-old New Orleans boy whose trombone was stolen at gunpoint has a new one, thanks to musician Trombone Shorty (a/k/a Troy Andrews).

Bill Taylor, executive director of the Trombone Shorty Foundation, said he delivered the instrument, engraved with "Trombone Shorty," on Saturday.

"He was like speechless. . . . As soon as I gave him the horn, I had Shorty on the line and gave him the phone," Taylor said.

The foundation didn't release the boy's name because his mother feared for his safety.

Is Bey's marriage Hova?

The London Telegraph reports that Beyonce and Jay Z may be touring together, but they're not staying together.

"They're not just staying in different hotel rooms, but they have booked separate hotels, and they arrive separately to each show," an unnamed source told the New York Post.

If the couple does split, the On the Run Tour is expected to pay them about $100 million in parting gifts.

They are supposed to perform tonight in San Francisco, but they "may not make" it, the Post source said after the L.A. show. "I'm definitely not sure that they'll make it to Paris.

"There are lawyers that have now joined the tour, and they're not here just to see them perform. They are here to help hash things out.

"From what I know, there's no prenup," the Post's source said.

But money really shouldn't be the issue. Jay has an estimated wealth of $550 million. Beyonce, a mere pauper at $300 million.

--The tension wasn't only on the stage at the couple's L.A. show.

CBSLA.com reported that two men got into a fight at the concert with one of them biting off the other's finger tip, according to Pasadena police.

The incident allegedly started when a man groped a female concertgoer. Her boyfriend got physical with the man, who then started chomping.

He was arrested and booked on a charge of mayhem. He could face further charges.

The boyfriend was taken to a hospital where he hoped to get a tip from doctors.

- Daily News wire services contributed to this report.

Email: gensleh@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5678

On Twitter: @DNTattle

___

(c)2014 Philadelphia Daily News

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Source: Philadelphia Daily News (PA)


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