Franchise fatigue hurts box office sales

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brand familiarity isn’t everything when it comes to attracting audiences to the multiplex, and Hollywood is learning that lesson the hard way this summer with a slew of under-performing sequels and reboots. That so-called franchise fatigue came to a head this weekend with the releases of “Men in Black: International” and “Shaft.”

The writing may have been on the wall after neither an X-Men movie (“Dark Phoenix”) nor a Godzilla movie (“Godzilla: King of the Monsters”) could get moviegoers enthusiastic enough to turn out. But this weekend, down over 50% from last year, is the worst yet.

“This was a rough weekend,” said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “We’ve had some big franchises that are not resonating with audiences or critics.”

And there’s a common denominator between all the recent disappointments: Poor reviews. All four have been certified “rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Men in Black: International” took the No. 1 spot in North America, but it’s a dubious distinction for the Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth-led reboot which isn’t exactly the franchise-revitalizer it hoped to be. Sony Pictures on Sunday estimates the F. Gary Gray-directed film earned only $28.5 million over the weekend against a reported $110 million production budget. The three previous “Men in Black” films all opened to over $50 million not accounting for inflation.

However, international audiences are helping the bottom line with the film earning $73.7 million from 36 markets, bringing its global total to $102.2 million.

The weekend’s other big new release, “Shaft,” which introduces another generation to the franchise, couldn’t even manage to carve out a place in the top five, which instead was populated mostly by holdovers.

“The Secret Life of Pets 2” got the No. 2 spot in its second weekend with $23.8 million. Disney’s “Aladdin,” now in weekend four, took third with $16.7 million. “Dark Phoenix” placed fourth with $9 million and “Rocketman” coasted to fifth with $8.8 million.

“Shaft,” a Warner Bros. release, placed sixth on the charts, with a disappointing $8.3 million.

Directed by Tim Story, “Shaft” features Samuel L. Jackson reprising his role from almost 20 years ago and Jessie T. Usher as his son. It was made for around $30 million.

Although critics did not praise the film, audiences who turned out (54% of whom were women) were more enthusiastic, giving the film an A CinemaScore.

Even some originals had a tough time this weekend. Amazon Studios expanded its Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson comedy “Late Night,” which it acquired the North American rights to for a Sundance record of $13 million , to 2,220 theaters where it earned $5.1 million.

“The real bright spots have been the smaller indies,” Dergarabedian said. “We think of summer as blockbuster season, but it’s turned into indie film season.”

Jim Jarmusch’s star-studded zombie comedy “The Dead Don’t Die” mostly survived its mixed reviews and opened to $2.35 million from 613 locations.

Documentaries like “Echo in the Canyon” and “Pavarotti” have been making a modest mark in limited release, and the acclaimed drama “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” expanded to 36 locations and earned $361,120. It expands further next weekend.

But the marketplace is hurting and it’s not a problem with the weekend, which last year saw “Incredibles 2” open to over $182 million, but with the major movies themselves.

The disappointments have come, mostly, from “movies that just don’t deliver,” according to Dergarabedian.

But it’s too simplistic to fault all franchises and next weekend the marketplace will be singing a different tune when “Toy Story 4” opens.

“‘Toy Story 4’ is going to erase the memory of this very tough weekend,” Dergarabedian said.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Men in Black: International,” $28.5 million ($73.7 million international).

2. “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” $23.8 million ($8.5 million international).

3. “Aladdin,” $16.7 million ($47.5 million international).

4. “Dark Phoenix,” $9 million ($24.2 million international).

5. “Rocketman,” $8.8 million ($8.5 million international).

6. “Shaft,” $8.3 million.

7. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” $8.1 million ($14.1 million international).

8. “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” $6.1 million ($6.2 million international).

9. “Late Night,” $5.1 million ($255,000 international).

10. “Ma,” $3.6 million ($2.3 million international).

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore:

1. “Men in Black: International,” $73.7 million.

2. “Aladdin,” $47.5 million.

3. “Dark Phoenix,” $24.2 million.

4. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” $14.1 million.

5. “My Best Summer (Zui Hao De Wo Men),” $8.7 million.

6. “The Secret Life of Pets 2” and “Rocketman,” $8.5 million.

7. “Parasite,” $7.8 million.

8. “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” $6.2 million.

9. “A City Called Macau,” $4.1 million.

10. “Chasing the Dragon 2: Wild Wild Bunch,” $3.4 million.

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr

A North Carolina home intruder hit with a machete, escapes hospital

(CNN) — Hours after a North Carolina boy thwarted a home invasion with a machete to the back of an intruder’s head, the 19-year-old suspect walked out of a hospital and got away, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.

Jataveon Dashawn Hall, who had an arrest warrant in connection with the home invasion, left the UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill on Friday night against medical advice, according to a Facebook post from the sheriff’s office. He had told a nurse that he needed to leave because police were going to be looking for him.

After being transferred to the hospital in Chapel Hill from the UNC Hospital Hillsborough Campus hours earlier because of a head wound, Hall slipped out of the hospital in a gown, holding what appeared to be a cup of water, the sheriff’s office said.

County and state law enforcement and US Marshals were looking for him.

“When Hall left the hospital Friday evening against medical advice, we certainly should have been notified,” Orange County Chief Deputy Jamison Sykes said in a statement. “But most concerning of all is that hospital police did not even know Hall had left the premises almost 10 hours prior. Indeed, Hall’s absence was only discovered when we placed a phone call to them.”

UNC Health Care said that it always intends to work closely with law enforcement, and that in such cases hospital staff will often alert authorities when a suspect is discharged.

On Friday night, however, the hospital said its staff was extremely busy taking care of multiple traumas simultaneously.

“We believe this situation highlights the issue that emergency-department nurses and physicians cannot be both caregivers and law enforcement at the same time,” the hospital said in a statement to CNN.

“Our nurses and physicians focus 100 percent of their time on providing care to patients — that is their job,” the hospital added.

UNC Health Care said in an earlier statement that the suspect was in the legal custody of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, “which did not place an officer with him.”

“It is the responsibility of law enforcement to closely monitor the status of suspects in their custody while those patients are receiving medical treatment,” the statement said.

Home invasion foiled by a ‘tough kid’

The 11-year-old boy — a baseball player — was home alone Friday morning in Mebane, northwest of Chapel Hill, when the intruders arrived, according to the sheriff’s office, CNN affiliate WRAL reported.

While a woman knocked on the front door of the boy’s house a man was breaking in through a window, the sheriff’s office said. The boy told authorities another man waited by a car outside the house.

The man who entered through the window grabbed a pellet gun in the home and forced the boy into a bedroom closet, the sheriff’s office said.

The child, described by the sheriff’s office as “a star baseball player,” left the closet, grabbed a machete and struck a blow to the intruder’s head, the station reported.

“This is very tough kid who kept his wits about him,” Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said in an earlier statement.

“At the same time, I want to reflect that this youngster, his family and indeed this community, are very lucky this event did not have a tragic ending for the child.”

After being wounded, the intruder kicked the boy in the stomach and the side of the head before grabbing a PlayStation and a television, CNN affiliate WTVD reported.

But bleeding heavily, the man dropped the home electronics and fled with the other suspects, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies provided area hospitals with a description of the suspect and his injuries, the affiliates reported.

Hall, who is from Monroe, south of Charlotte, was connected to the case when he arrived at a hospital with a head injury, the sheriff’s office said.

He was facing charges that include breaking and entering, second-degree kidnapping and assault on a child younger than 12 when he left the hospital, according to authorities.

“Not only did this youngster thwart the larceny attempt, he created blood evidence that very well may lead to a conviction in this case,” Blackwood said.

“That is amazing,” neighbor Judy Jackson said of the boy’s heroics, CNN affiliate WNCN reported.

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Originally Published: 15 JUN 19 15:05 ET
Updated: 16 JUN 19 16:33 ET

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Fight, shooting closes festival beer tent in Muskegon Heights

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — Police shut down part of the Muskegon Heights Festival in the Park to investigate a shooting.

Chief Thomas told FOX 17 police were intervening in a large fight near the beer tent when shots rang out. As the crowd cleared a man with a gunshot wound in his leg was being carried off.

The beer tent was shut down to investigate the shooting and any connection to the fight police were handling just prior.

Muskegon Heights Police are asking anyone with information to reach out at (231) 733-8900 or by Silent Observer at 231-722-7463.

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Boy struck by motorcycle in Highland Springs

HENRICO, Va. — Henrico Police, Fire and EMS responded to the scene of an accident in the 100 block of N. Beech Avenue this afternoon. A young boy was riding his bicycle when he was struck by a motorcycle.

The boy has been transported to a local hospital to be treated for injuries. Crews are still on scene and the accident remains under investigation.

Tune in to our 6pm newscast to hear what neighbors are saying about the intersection where the boy was struck.

‘Massive failure’ leaves Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay with no power, utility says

BUENOS AIRES — A “massive failure” in an electrical interconnection system has left Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay completely without power, a utility distributor said Sunday.

Parts of Chile and southern Brazil are experiencing outages as well, said Edesur, the Buenos Aires-based company.

In a statement on its website, Edesur said a “collapse” in its system occurred around 7 a.m. (6 a.m. ET).

A tweet posted just before 10 a.m. (9 a.m. ET) said the company had begun generating electricity in the Argentine capital and the surrounding area. It said restoring power would take several hours.

About 20 minutes later, Edesur said it had restored service to about 50,000 customers.

The cause of the failure is under investigation, the company said.

The Argentine Interconnection System, which experienced the failure, handles the bulk of Argentina’s electricity. It is one of two such systems in the country, the other being in the Patagonia region.

The three countries experiencing total blackouts are home to a collective 55 million people.