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Can ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Catch ‘Avatar’s’ Domestic Box Office Record?



Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the box office juggernaut that can’t be caught.

The comic book adventure, starring Tom Holland as Marvel’s favorite teen web-slinger, opened in theaters in December and spent every weekend except one as the top movie at the domestic box office. This weekend proved to be no exception. Now in its seventh weekend of release, “No Way Home” has again secured the No. 1 spot over holdovers, including “Scream” and “Sing 2,” capping off a particularly quiet January at the movies.

Over the weekend, Sony’s superhero sequel collected $11 million from 3,675 North American venues, a scant 17% decline from its prior outing. Those ticket sales put Spidey’s latest exploits at $735 million at the box office, maintaining its position as the fourth-highest grossing domestic release in history.

Presently, “No Way Home” is only $25 million from unseating “Avatar” ($760 million) as the third-biggest movie ever (not adjusted for inflation). For any other pandemic-era release, adding another $25 million in ticket sales would be a high — if not insurmountable — barrier to cross since the movie has been available in cinemas for nearly two months. At one point, it seemed unlikely that “Spider-Man” would be able to reach those particular box office heights. But, as past weeks have demonstrated, “No Way Home” is no ordinary movie. It has the kind of legs that most arachnids would kill for. In other words, James Cameron’s groundbreaking 2009 sci-fi epic may soon find itself bumped from bronze. But worry not, Na’vi Nation. “Avatar” will easily maintain its all-time global box office title with $2.802 billion.

“As the film continues its dominance and notched numerous box office records, it’s a very safe bet that ‘No Way Home’ has yet another milestone to conquer — and that is surpassing the mighty ‘Avatar’s’ North American box office gross to become the third-highest grossing film of all-time,” predicts Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Comscore.

Catching the No. 1 and 2 spots in North America, “Avengers: Endgame” ($858 million) and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($936 million), would require nothing short of a miracle. But, hey, third place isn’t so bad considering the state of the world.

At the international box office, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” became one of the select films to cross the $1 billion mark. Even more impressive, it surpassed that milestone without playing in China, the world’s biggest moviegoing market. With $1.74 billion globally, “No Way Home” ranks as the sixth-highest earning movie of all-time at the worldwide box office.

Without any new nationwide releases, “Scream” once again took second place on domestic box office charts. The Paramount Pictures slasher “requel” brought in $7.3 million from 3,518 locations between Friday and Sunday, marking a 40% dip from last weekend. It takes North American revenues to $62.1 million, a decent tally since “Scream” only cost $25 million to produce.

Universal’s “Sing 2” landed at No. 3 with $4.8 million from 3,450 screens. The cartoon musical sequel, which debuted around Christmas, has generated an impressive $134.5 million to date, making it the highest-grossing animated film in pandemic times.

Another Universal release, the faith-based romantic drama “Redeeming Love,” secured fourth place with $1.85 million from 1,963 theaters. Ticket sales fell 48% from its opening, bringing its total to a paltry $6.5 million. Universal is only distributing this film, so at least it isn’t on the hook for production fees.

Disney and 20th Century’s “The King’s Man” rounded out the top five, grossing $1.8 million from 2,440 venues over the weekend. After six weekends in theaters, the prequel in the “Kingsman” action comedy series has earned a moderate $34 million in North America and $114.4 million globally.

After a month that’s been light on new releases, movie theater operators hope attendance picks up in the coming weeks with Lionsgate’s disaster movie “Moonfall” and Paramount’s prank comedy “Jackass Forever” on Feb. 4, Disney and 20th Century’s whodunit “Death on the Nile” on Feb. 11 and Sony’s video game adaptation “Uncharted” on Feb. 18. The next superhero to save the day won’t arrive until Robert Pattinson’s “The Batman,” from Warner Bros. Pictures, hits theaters on March 4. Bat-Signal, consider yourself activated.


Newly appointed Toronto councillor resigns after controversial social media posts resurfaced – CTV News Toronto



A newly installed Toronto councillor has resigned after her old social media posts, which appear to show homophobic content, were unearthed hours following her appointment.

Rosemarie Bryan was appointed by city council as the new councillor for Ward 1 – Etobicoke North during a special meeting on Friday, filling the vacancy left by Michael Ford, who ran in June’s provincial election and won.

After she was appointed, however, Bryan’s alleged past social media activities, which appears to show her sharing anti-LGBTQ content, were brought to light.

Friday was the start of the Pride Toronto’s Festival Weekend, which features the return of the Pride Parade to downtown streets on Sunday following a two-year hiatus.

Several councillors posted to social media that had they known about Bryan’s posts, they would not have voted for her to fill the seat.

“A majority of councillors would have never this (way) had this information been brought forward. We relied too heavily on the recommendation being made by former councillor,” Coun. Mike Layton tweeted.

“We need to reopen this debate.”

Of the 23 councillors who cast their ballots, 21 voted for Bryan, including Mayor John Tory.

Coun. Josh Matlow, one of the two councillors who did not vote for Bryan, called for her resignation, tweeting that he does not believe “anyone who supports hate and bigotry should be a Toronto city councillor, or hold any public office for that matter. This is disgraceful.”

On Friday night, Bryan released a statement announcing that she is resigning, saying it’s the best way to continue serving those who love and support her in Etobicoke North.

Bryan said she is devastated that her past online posts are being “thrown against my decades of commitment to the community.”

“I recognize councillors were not aware of those posts before today’s discussion and now that they are, I recognize many would not have cast their vote for me. I don’t want to hurt all those who supported me and I remain committed to helping my community in any and every way I can,” she said.

In a statement, Tory said while Bryan made a “strong case” to council for her appointment, her past social media posts are “not acceptable.”

“I totally disagree with any homophobic or transphobic views. I absolutely support our 2SLGBTQ+ residents. City Councillors are expected to set an example when it comes to consistency with our shared values,” Tory said.

“I would not have voted for this appointment had I been aware of these posts and I know that is the sentiment of the vast majority of council who also voted today.”

He said it was appropriate for Bryan to resign.

“The upset this has caused everyone involved is extremely unfortunate. This is especially unfortunate on the very weekend when we are celebrating the progress we have made together,” Tory said, adding that he has asked staff to review the overall appointment process.

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S.Korean leader's informal media events are a break with tradition – SaltWire Halifax powered by The Chronicle Herald



By Soo-hyang Choi

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean leader Yoon Suk-yeol has departed from years of tradition by holding informal daily media events to field questions on topics ranging from inflation and ties with neighbouring North Korea to the first lady and even boyband BTS.

Such wide-ranging access to the president was previously unheard of. It stems from Yoon’s decision to move his office out of the official Blue House, whose previous occupants largely steered clear of such interactions over more than seven decades.

“It’s apparently helping Yoon dispel worries about his lack of political experience and giving him a sense of where public opinion is at,” said Eom Kyeong-young, a political commentator based in the capital, Seoul.

Yoon, a former prosecutor-general, entered politics just a year ago, before winning the presidency in March by a margin of just 0.7%, the narrowest in South Korea’s history.

Upon his inauguration in May, Yoon moved the presidential office to the compound of South Korea’s defence ministry, describing the official residence as the symbol of an “imperial presidency”, and vowing not to “hide behind” his aides.

His liberal predecessor, Moon Jae-in, had rarely held news conferences, and almost always filtered his communication with the media, and the public, through layers of secretaries.

Analysts see Yoon’s daily freewheeling sessions as part of a broader communications strategy that lets him drive policy initiatives and present himself as a confident, approachable leader.

The campaign has also allayed public suspicions about the newcomer to politics, they say.

Polls show the new strategy helping to win support and much-needed political capital for Yoon in his effort to hasten recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, in a parliament dominated by the opposition Democratic Party.

Although Yoon’s approval rating dipped to 47.6% in a recent survey, slightly lower than the disapproval figure of 47.9%, another June poll showed communication was the reason most frequently cited by those who favoured him.

“The sweeping victory of Yoon’s conservative party in June local elections shows the public is not so much against the new administration,” said Eom.

Incumbents from Yoon’s People Power Party (PPP) defeated challengers for the posts of mayor in the two biggest cities of Seoul and the port city of Busan in that contest, while its candidates won five of seven parliamentary seats.

Eom attributed Yoon’s low approval rating from the beginning of his term to inflation risks that threaten to undermine an economic recovery and his lack of a support base as a new politician.

But some critics say Yoon’s sessions raise the chances that he could make mistakes.

“He could make one mistake a day,” Yun Kun-young of the opposition party wrote on Facebook last week, saying the new practice could be “the biggest risk factor” for the government.

The presidential office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Yoon has already faced criticism for controversial remarks made during the morning briefings, such as one in defence of his nominee for education minister, who has a record of driving under the influence of alcohol years ago.

But the daily meetings and public reaction would ultimately help the government to shape policy better, said Shin Yul, a professor of political science at Myongji University in Seoul.

“It might be burdensome for his aides for now, but will be an advantage in the long term,” Shin said. “A slip of the tongue cannot be a bigger problem than a policy failure.”

(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Angolan ex-leader dos Santos in intensive care: Portuguese media – Al Jazeera English



Dos Santos, 79, has been receiving medical treatment since 2019. He was president of Angola between 1979 and 2017.

Former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Africa’s second-biggest oil producer for nearly four decades, is in intensive care at a clinic in Barcelona, Portuguese news agency Lusa has reported, citing a source close to him.

Dos Santos, 79, has been receiving medical treatment since 2019, but his health deteriorated and he was admitted to an intensive care unit, Lusa reported, without saying when it happened.

After a 38-year stint in office that made him one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, dos Santos stepped down in 2017. His rule was marked by a brutal civil war lasting nearly three decades against the United States-backed UNITA rebels – which he won in 2002 – and a subsequent oil-fuelled boom that enriched elites but did little to alleviate widespread poverty.

He was replaced by Joao Lourenco, who despite being from dos Santos’s People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), swiftly moved to investigate the allegations of multibillion-dollar corruption during the latter’s stint, targeting the former leader’s children.

The assets of his daughter Isabel dos Santos, often feted as Africa’s richest woman with an estimated worth of $3.5bn as of 2013, have also been frozen by the Angolan government.

Last year, the elder dos Santos returned home for the first time since he went into exile in Barcelona in April 2019.

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