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In a close race, 'Rampage' takes No. 1 from 'A Quiet Place' (copy)

LOS ANGELES — After a wobbly start, Dwayne Johnson muscled his way to a No. 1 opening for “Rampage” — but just barely. Close on its heels was the word-of-mouth sensation “A Quiet Place” in its second week in theaters, and not too far behind that was the Blumhouse horror “Truth or Dare” in a competitive weekend at the box office.

Warner Bros. said Sunday that “Rampage” earned an estimated $34.5 million in its first weekend in North American theaters, and dominated internationally too with $114.1 million from 61 territories.

Based on the classic arcade game, “Rampage” carried a sizable budget of at least $115 million. Although “Rampage” pulled in mixed reviews (it’s at 50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), audiences were more enthusiastic, giving it an A- CinemaScore.

“I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel on Friday. But when I look at our global number of $148.6 million, there’s a lot to be proud of for Dwayne Johnson,” said Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein. “Talk about a real closer, he knows how to bring it home.”

That Friday, of course, was Friday the 13th and audiences had the choice between two wide-release nail-biters to spend their entertainment dollars on — the buzzy thriller “A Quiet Place” that dominated the charts last weekend, and the new horror from the shop behind “Get Out” and “Split,” “Truth or Dare.”

After its stunning debut, John Krasinski’s modestly-budgeted “A Quiet Place” fell only 35 percent in weekend two, adding $32.6 million to its domestic total, which is now just shy of $100 million for Paramount Pictures.

“Truth or Dare” also found a sizable audience that was mostly young (60 percent younger than 25) and female (60 percent). The PG-13 rated movie stars “Pretty Little Liars” alum Lucy Hale.

With a budget of just $3.5 million, the film took in a terrific $19.1 million over the weekend — just the latest in a string of successes for the Blumhouse and Universal Pictures partnership.

“They take high quality filmmaking at micro-budgets and just consistently over-deliver,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “Everyone at Universal is just thrilled to be in business with these guys.”

Orr said despite the competitive marketplace, the studio’s marketing found a lane with the younger female audience and played into the Friday the 13th release.

Sliding into fourth place was Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” with $11.2 million in its third weekend, and in fifth was the R-rated comedy “Blockers,” with $10.3 million.

Also, after a limited release, Wes Anderson’s stop-motion animated “Isle of Dogs” added 1,385 locations and took the No. 7 spot with $5 million. Chloe Zhao’s well-reviewed indie “The Rider” also debuted this weekend in three theaters with $45,268.

While the success of a horror, especially a micro-budget one, isn’t a surprise for the industry, big budget films like “Rampage” continue to face a complex marketplace. For box office analysts like comScore’s Paul Dergarabedian, “Rampage’s” performance fits into the post-”Black Panther” narrative for most would-be blockbusters that have followed the Marvel and Disney phenomenon.

“’Rampage’ joins a long list of popcorn movies that have opened in the wake of ‘Black Panther’ to rely heavily on their international box office revenues,” Dergarabedian said, citing “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Tomb Raider,” ‘’Pacific Rim: Uprising” and “Ready Player One” as recent examples.

Disney and Marvel’s “Black Panther” added $5.3 million in its ninth weekend in theaters, bringing its domestic total to $673.8 million.

It’s another down weekend for the industry, too. The same weekend last year saw the massive $98.8 million opening for “The Fate of the Furious.” ComScore reports that the year to date box office is down just over 2 percent. But the tide could be turning soon.

“We’re just in this lull waiting for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ that is going to blow the doors off of the box office in a little less than two weeks,” Dergarabedian said.


National
AP
As Prince heirs stew, bankers and lawyers cash in on estate (copy)

MINNEAPOLIS — As the second anniversary of Prince’s death approaches, his heirs have yet to collect a dollar of his estimated $200 million estate. But bankers, lawyers and consultants have earned millions from it.

The long saga to settle the estate provides a cautionary tale about dying without a will, as Prince did when he died of an accidental opioid overdose at his suburban Minneapolis studio April 21, 2016, and the heirs can’t quit squabbling. Here’s a look at where things stand:

Even though it’s been nearly two years since Prince died, the executor of the estate, Comerica Bank and Trust, can’t split the money among Prince’s six surviving siblings until the Internal Revenue Service and executor agree on the estate’s value when Prince died.

It’s not clear when that might happen. The IRS and state of Minnesota are entitled to collect about half, although the estate can stretch out the payments over time.

Court filings several months after Prince’s death suggested that it was worth around $200 million before taxes. The actual value remains one of the biggest secrets in the case, hidden in sealed and redacted documents. The actual valuation could have gone up or down since then.

That’s because the various attorneys, accountants and industry experts at that point had not yet finished appraisals and deals for the use of his music, videos and assets including his Paisley Park studio. Attorneys for the heirs did not return calls for this story or declined to comment.

The six heirs have been bitterly split. Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson and John R. Nelson form one faction that has battled Comerica and other heirs on several fronts, including Comerica’s decision to move the contents of Prince’s vault of recordings from Paisley Park to Los Angeles.

But the six showed rare unity last week when Tyka Nelson, Omarr Baker and Alfred Jackson joined the other three in strenuously objecting to an unspecified “entertainment transaction” in the works that they say would be “an embarrassment to Prince’s legacy.” The volume of heavily redacted and sealed court filings and counter-filings suggests it’s big, but the public portions don’t say whether it’s a new music rights deal to replace a failed agreement with Universal Music Group or something else. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Most of the siblings have kept low public profiles. Sharon Nelson has been the most outspoken. She recently released an album of music composed by her father and Prince’s father, the late jazz musician John L. Nelson. She also tweeted fresh criticism of Comerica last week, asking why Prince fans haven’t been offered any new music.


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Today in History

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 16, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in which the civil rights activist responded to a group of local clergymen who had criticized him for leading street protests; King defended his tactics, writing, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

On this date:

In 1789, President-elect George Washington left Mount Vernon, Va., for his inauguration in New York.

In 1818, the U.S. Senate ratified the Rush-Bagot Treaty severely limiting the number of American and British military vessels on the Great Lakes.

In 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. The Confederacy conscripted all white men between the ages of 18 to 35.

In 1912, American aviator Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel, leaving Dover, England, and arriving near Calais, France, in 59 minutes.

In 1935, the radio comedy program “Fibber McGee and Molly” premiered on the NBC Blue Network.

In 1945, during World War II, a Soviet submarine in the Baltic Sea torpedoed and sank the MV Goya, which Germany was using to transport civilian refugees and wounded soldiers; it’s estimated that up to 7,000 people died.

In 1947, the cargo ship Grandcamp, carrying ammonium nitrate, blew up in the harbor in Texas City, Texas; a nearby ship, the High Flyer, which was carrying ammonium nitrate and sulfur, caught fire and exploded the following day; the blasts and fires killed at least 576 people.

In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on a voyage to the moon with astronauts John W. Young, Charles M. Duke Jr. and Ken Mattingly on board.

In 2007, in one of America’s worst school attacks, a Korean-born college senior killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.

Ten years ago: The Supreme Court upheld, 7-2, the most widely used method of lethal injection, allowing states to resume executions after a seven-month halt.

Thought for Today: “A closed country is a dying country... A closed mind is a dying mind.” — Edna Ferber (1887-1968).


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Birthdays

Singer Bobby Vinton is 83. Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 71. Rock singer and former politician Peter Garrett is 65. Actress Ellen Barkin is 64. Actor-comedian Martin Lawrence is 53. Actor Jon Cryer is 53. Actor Peter Billingsley is 47. Actor Lukas Haas is 42. Actress-singer Kelli O’Hara is 42. Actress Claire Foy (TV: “The Crown”) is 34. Figure skater Mirai Nagasu is 25. Actress Sadie Sink is 16.


Paramount Pictures via AP 

John Krasinski, left, and Noah Jupe in a scene from "A Quiet Place."


Michael Olivier, president of Milwaukee Rotorcross, shows various types of racing drones, which he said are not to be confused with video drones which are much larger and slower than racing drones.


Prince