Film Box Office

This image released by Warner Bros. shows Zachary Levi, left, and Jack Dylan Grazer in a scene from “Shazam!”

BOX OFFICE

‘Shazam!’ bests newcomers with

$25.1M 2nd weekend

NEW YORK

A rush of newcomers couldn’t shake “Shazam!” from the top spot, as the superhero comedy led the box office for the second straight weekend with $25.1 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Lionsgate’s “Hellboy” reboot, the animated Laika Studios release “Missing Link,” the college romance “After” and even the long-delayed “Mary Magdalene,” originally to be released by the Weinstein Co., all opened in theaters. But the strongest new release of them all was, predictably, the Will Packer-produced one: “Little.”

The body-swap comedy “Little” came in second with $15.5 million for Universal Pictures. Made for just $20 million, “Little” is just the most recent profit-maker for Packer, the “Girls Trip” producer.

The film, directed by Tina Gordon Chism, stars 14-year-old Marsai Martin as the child an abusive tech executive (Regina Hall) reverts to after a magical spell is cast on her. Martin, the “black-ish” star, also executive produced the film, the youngest ever so credited in Hollywood history.

“Little” drew a largely female and African American audience. Jim Orr, Universal Pictures distribution chief, credited the cast, Chism’s direction and Packer’s overall know-how.

It was an out-of-body weekend at the box office. The body-swap comic-book adaptation “Shazam!” — about a teenage boy (Asher Angel) who can turn into an adult-sized superhero (Zachary Levi) with a simple command — held solidly in its second week. Capitalizing on good reviews and word-of-mouth, “Shazam!” is Warner Bros.’ New Line’s latest DC Comics success. It has grossed $94.9 million through Sunday with a worldwide total of $258.8 million.

Lionsgate and Millennium’s “Hellboy” had been expected by many to vie with “Shazam!” on the weekend. But on the heels of terrible reviews (just 15 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes), it flopped with $12 million against a $50 million budget.

That’s significantly less than the debuts of the 2004 original ($23 million opening) and the 2008 sequel ($34.5 million opening). Those films were directed by Guillermo de Toro and starred Ron Perlman; the new “Hellboy” stars David Harbour (“Stranger Things”) and is directed by Neil Marshall.

“Missing Link” also missed. It opened with a disappointing $5.8 million, marking a new low for Laika, the maker of eccentric animated tales such as “Coraline,” “ParaNorman” and “Kubo and the Two Strings.” “Missing Link,” distributed by United Artists Releasing, is about the discovery of a creature in the Pacific Northwest. Its voice cast includes Zach Galifianakis, Hugh Jackman and Zoe Saldana.

Expectations had varied widely for Aviron Pictures’ “After,” an adaption of Anna Todd’s 2014 best-seller. The young-adult drama fared well with $6.2 million in 2,138 theatres.

YEP! THIS IS A THING.

Diana? Alice? Britons bet on new royal baby name

LONDON

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, may be keeping plans about their impending baby under wraps, but that hasn’t stopped everyone in Britain from trying to guess the gender and the name of their first child.

If Britain’s bookmakers are to be believed, it’s definitely a girl — and Diana may well be one of her many names.

The William Hill agency closed the betting on the baby’s gender a few days ago after an “avalanche” of bets poured in from people convinced the royal couple is having a girl.

“The secret’s out, as far as we’re concerned,” firm spokesman Rupert Adams said. “It could be because someone somewhere has seen the scan, or someone has heard something.”

While Adams acknowledged there’s always a chance the surge was based on nothing, he said average betting patterns over the years suggest there’s usually some truth in rumors.

So far, Diana is topping the bookmakers’ list as a front-running name — William Hill has put the odds at 4/1. Victoria, Alice, Grace and Elizabeth are close behind, while Albert, Arthur and James are popular guesses for a boy.

“A ridiculous number — 80 percent of bets taken — are for the name Diana,” Adams said. He said he personally doubts Harry would choose a name that so directly evokes his iconic mother’s tragic death in 1997 but added: “There’s every chance of it being a middle name.”

Carolyn Harris, a royal historian who teaches at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, agrees that Diana could be a middle name. That’s what Harry’s brother, Prince William, and his wife Kate did for their daughter, Princess Charlotte.

EWWWWW!

Man sues parents for getting rid of his vast porn collection

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.

An Indiana man is suing his parents for getting rid of his vast pornography collection, which he estimates is worth $29,000.

The 40-year-old man last week filed a lawsuit in federal court in Michigan, where he moved in with his parents in 2016 following a divorce.

He says that when he moved out 10 months later, they delivered his things to his new home in Muncie, Indiana, but that his 12 boxes of pornographic films and magazines were missing. His parents admit they dumped the porn.

The man filed a complaint with police, but the Ottawa County prosecutor declined to press charges. The lawsuit includes an email excerpt from the man’s father, who told his son, “I did you a big favor by getting rid of all this stuff.”

The man is seeking triple financial damages of roughly $87,000.

— Associated Press

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