The much-anticipated “Super Mario Bros. Movie” has broken records with a global opening of $377 million. The film, which stars Chris Pratt and Charlie Day as the iconic Brooklyn plumbers Mario and Luigi, respectively, has earned $204.6 million in North America alone in its first five days, with $146.4 million of that coming in over the weekend.
The movie’s impressive box office haul has shattered records for both video game adaptations and animated films, surpassing previous record-holders “Warcraft” and “Frozen 2,” respectively. The film’s global total also makes it the biggest opening of 2023, as well as the second-biggest three-day domestic animated opening.
Despite the film’s success at the box office, critics have given the film mixed reviews, with a 56% Rotten Tomatoes score. However, audiences have given the film an A CinemaScore, suggesting that the film has resonated well with moviegoers.
In addition to Pratt and Day, the “Super Mario Bros. Movie” also stars Jack Black and Anya Taylor-Joy. The film, which is rated PG, follows Mario and Luigi as they venture into a new world to rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of the evil Bowser.
The success of the “Super Mario Bros. Movie” has been seen as a positive sign for the movie theater industry, which has struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. The film’s impressive box office haul suggests that audiences are eager to return to theaters to see big-budget blockbusters on the big screen.
In other box office news, “Air,” starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, was released in theaters and grossed an estimated $20.2 million since opening on Wednesday in North America. $14.5 million of that came in over the weekend, giving the film a fourth-place start.
Meanwhile, “John Wick: Chapter 4” came in second place with $14.6 million in its third weekend, while “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” placed third with $14.5 million in its second weekend.
In limited release, Kelly Reichardt‘s “Showing Up” grossed $66,932 on four screens. The film has been praised by critics for its understated performances and intimate storytelling.
Overall, the box office performance of the “Super Mario Bros. Movie” suggests that audiences are ready to return to theaters to see big-budget blockbusters. As the summer movie season approaches, it will be interesting to see if this trend continues and if other big-budget films can replicate the success of “Super Mario Bros. Movie” at the box office.
Usher Set to Headline Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show in 2024
Grammy award-winning artist, Usher, has been announced as the headline act for the Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show. The renowned singer is set to perform at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 11, 2024. This marks Usher’s second appearance at the grand halftime event, with his previous performance being alongside the Black Eyed Peas in 2011.
- Announcement: The decision was made public via X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
- Past Performance: Rihanna headlined the previous year’s halftime show and shared the news of her second pregnancy during the performance.
- Producer’s Statement: JAY-Z, founder of Roc Nation, which is co-producing the halftime show, highlighted Usher’s remarkable journey from his debut at 15 to this grand stage.
Super Bowl LVIII: Anticipation Builds
Fans and celebrities alike are excited about Usher’s upcoming performance. A promotional video released showed Usher receiving an urgent call from celebrity Kim Kardashian, revealing the news of his headlining spot.
- Usher’s Reaction: “It’s an honor of a lifetime to finally check a Super Bowl performance off my bucket list. I can’t wait to bring the world a show unlike anything else they’ve seen from me before,” said the artist.
- Future Guests: Speculations are rife about who might join Usher during the halftime spectacle. While no names have been confirmed yet, the artist has hinted at possible guest appearances during an Apple Music halftime headliner special.
A Tradition of Star-Studded Performances
The Super Bowl halftime show has historically featured a roster of star performers including Beyoncé, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, and more. Usher, with his multi-platinum hits and stellar performances, is a fitting addition to this illustrious list.
- Previous Achievements: Usher’s “Confessions” album remains one of the best-selling music projects of all time, with hit singles like “Yeah!”, “Burn”, and “Confessions Part II”.
- Current Projects: Currently, Usher is captivating audiences with his “Usher: My Way” residency in Las Vegas, which is expected to conclude in December, just in time for his Super Bowl preparations.
Reactions and Looking Forward
The NFL and its partners are looking forward to this upcoming edition of the Super Bowl. Peter O’Reilly, NFL’s Executive Vice President, expressed his enthusiasm about bringing the event to Las Vegas, highlighting the city’s reputation for sports and entertainment.
- Alternative Performers: Reports from Daily Mail suggested that Taylor Swift was approached for the halftime show but declined due to her commitments with the ‘Eras’ world tour.
- Broadcast Details: Super Bowl LVIII is scheduled to air live on CBS on February 11, 2024.
Legacy of the Halftime Show
The Super Bowl halftime show, over the years, has transformed from just a mid-game entertainment segment to a global spectacle that often overshadows the game itself. The stage has witnessed legendary performances that have not only entertained but also made political statements, addressed social issues, and sometimes stirred controversies. Last year’s halftime show by Rihanna is a testament to this, garnering nearly 119 million viewers and prompting discussions due to its nature.
The Significance of Usher’s Performance
Given Usher’s reputation as a multifaceted artist – a singer, dancer, and actor – there is no doubt that his performance will be remembered for years to come.
- Diverse Portfolio: Usher’s experience as a coach on NBC’s “The Voice” and his roles in films such as “Hustlers” and “Light It Up” showcases his wide range of talents, promising a halftime show that might encompass more than just his musical prowess.
- A Nod to His Journey: JAY-Z’s praise for Usher as someone who “bares his soul” hints at a performance that could be deeply personal and reflective of Usher’s journey in the music industry, which began when he was just 15.
With the announcement of Usher headlining the Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show, fans worldwide are eagerly waiting for what promises to be a mesmerizing performance. The collaboration between the NFL, Apple Music, and Roc Nation suggests a spectacular show is in the making. All eyes will be on the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas come February 11, 2024, as the anticipation reaches its peak.
Controversial Revelations about Comedian Hasan Minhaj
In a recent New Yorker exposé by Clare Malone, acclaimed comedian Hasan Minhaj is taken to task over his tendency to exaggerate personal experiences in his comedic routines. Known for weaving tales of racism and challenges faced as an Asian American and Muslim American, Minhaj has now admitted that several of these stories are enhanced or wholly fabricated.
- Minhaj’s defense is built around his idea that each of his comedic tales contains “seventy percent emotional truth” and “thirty percent hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction.”
- He cited a story wherein he claimed an undercover FBI agent had investigated his mosque, explaining to the New Yorker that the “punch line is worth the fictionalized premise.”
- However, not all his tales are benign. A particularly troubling incident involves a story wherein he mentioned a white woman from his high school, leading to online harassment against her.
Workplace Allegations Against Minhaj
Beyond the concerns of factual inaccuracy in his comedy, the New Yorker article delves deeper into allegations surrounding Minhaj’s behavior behind the scenes. Specifically, the treatment of staff during the production of his former Netflix talk show, “Patriot Act.”
- Several women of color, including South Asian American women, who worked on the “Patriot Act,” alleged a hostile work environment, which reportedly included gender-based discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
- Such claims were substantiated to the point where three women threatened legal action against the show.
- Post the cancellation of the show in 2020, a few former staffers expressed their mixed feelings, reflecting on their experience of producing an impactful show while navigating alleged mistreatment.
Further Fabrications and the Broader Conversation
As the exposé progressed, more alleged fabrications came to light:
- Stories about Minhaj’s family, including a dramatic tale about a potential anthrax exposure involving his daughter.
- An episode from a 2017 stand-up special focusing on a fictional rejection by a white high-school classmate, led to the digital harassment of the said individual by Minhaj’s fans.
These revelations have stirred profound conversations on multiple fronts. On one hand, there’s a discussion on the necessity of maintaining authenticity in emotive storytelling. On the other, it delves into the potential hypocrisy of public figures of color, who speak against oppression but might perpetuate similar mistreatment. Moreover, the uncovering has sparked debates on the pressures American culture might put on representatives from marginalized communities to exaggerate the trauma of bigotry for their creative endeavors.
Minhaj’s Rise and The #Resistance Era
Minhaj’s popularity skyrocketed during the Trump presidency. As the administration pushed divisive policies like the Muslim travel ban, many liberals found solace in comedians and talk-show hosts who openly opposed such measures. Minhaj’s defining moment came with his 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner monologue, which critiqued Trump and secured him a firm place as a #Resistance figure. Through the “Patriot Act,” Minhaj tackled critical issues, including civil rights, immigration policies, police brutality, and global leaders’ controversies. However, it is his personal tales, many now in question, that endeared him to audiences and portrayed him as a genuine spokesperson for the challenges brown Americans face.
The Balance Between Artistic License and Truth
Artists, including comedians, have often relied on exaggerated tales or fictionalized narratives to make a point or draw a reaction from their audience. But where should the line be drawn? While artistic license is a recognized and accepted part of creative expression, does it compromise the core message when it leans too far from the truth?
- For Minhaj, who utilized stories of personal experiences to resonate with audiences, the embellishments have a deeper implication. His narratives, which many believed to be true, provided a voice for underrepresented communities and gave validation to their struggles.
- Such fabrications can not only undermine the trust of audiences but also inadvertently trivialize the genuine challenges faced by many in marginalized communities.
The revelations have undoubtedly cast a shadow on Minhaj’s reputation. Long-time admirers grapple with a sense of betrayal while others argue about the blurred lines between reality and entertainment. Whether this will lead to a substantial shift in the perception of his work or be seen as a reflection of broader issues in the entertainment industry remains to be seen. However, one thing is clear: the controversy surrounding Minhaj underscores the importance of authenticity and integrity in the public sphere.
Studios and Writers Resume Negotiations AmidstLong-Standing Strike
The screenwriters, who’ve been striking with grit, and the bigwig studios have made their minds up to take another crack at discussions next week. This news comes straight from the horse’s mouth – The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and its counterpart, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). It seems we’re about to see a possible game-changer in this now five-month-long stand-off.
- On September 13, the WGA decided to pull up their socks and reach out to AMPTP to break this persistent stalemate in talks.
- Both sides aren’t just all talk either; they’ve shown genuine interest in putting an end to this strike. So now? They’re putting their heads together, powering through the nitty-gritty of planning that all-important pow-wow.
- The last time they managed to do this formally was three weeks back.
Background of the Dispute
The disagreement between the two parties primarily revolves around a new contract for the writers. In the past month, the studios put forth an improved offer for a three-year contract. This offer was then disclosed to the public, a move intended to influence guild members into urging their leaders to settle. The WGA, however, denounced this disclosure, emphasizing that the studios should continue to enhance their proposal.
- AMPTP contends they are unwilling to negotiate against themselves.
- The WGA has been advocating for better working conditions and compensation for its members, citing the challenges of the streaming era.
- Studios defend their proposal, stating it provides the highest wage increase for writers in over 30 years.
Pressure from Within
There’s no denying it, you can almost taste the tension in the air at WGA, particularly among big names like Ryan Murphy, Kenya Barris, Noah Hawley, and Dan Fogelman. Quite a few folks have voiced doubts about the union’s game plan, not to mention their frustrations over what seems like a stalemate.
- Even top-tier members of the crew are raising eyebrows and asking questions – Just what is the union doing to end this strike?
- And speaking of which, we’re now ticking at 136 days; that’s one of the longest strikes WGA has ever been through.
- We’ve yet to beat the record-holding strike from ’88 – lasted a whopping 153 days!
Impact of the Strike
The entertainment industry has felt the brunt of this prolonged dispute. Several television shows, including “The Drew Barrymore Show,” “The Talk,” “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” and “Real Time With Bill Maher,” have resumed broadcasting without their writers. Showrunners, who employ thousands, are left without answers for their crew members who are eager to return to work.
- The strike has affected both large and small productions, with showrunners finding themselves in a precarious position.
- WGA has labeled the current situation as “existential,” shedding light on deteriorating work conditions and compensation in the streaming age.
- In contrast, studies highlight their willingness to discuss matters like staffing minimums in writers’ rooms and offer protection against artificial intelligence.
While the primary players in this narrative have been the AMPTP and the WGA, other influential figures in the entertainment sector have publicly voiced their perspectives. SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher recently criticized “greedy” executives and their choice to hire the Levinson Group, a crisis PR firm. Such remarks have reportedly struck a chord in corporate suites, evidencing the emotional and political complexities of the situation.
- SAG-AFTRA’s criticism highlights the broader industry’s engagement in the ongoing dispute.
- There are underlying concerns about the power dynamics between major studios, streamers, and the talent guilds.
Both parties have signaled their readiness to reach a fair and amicable resolution. The AMPTP reiterated its commitment to collaborating with the WGA to finalize a deal. The upcoming negotiations could be pivotal, potentially ending one of the most prolonged strikes in the WGA’s history.
- The AMPTP and WGA’s forthcoming meeting is eagerly anticipated by the entire entertainment industry.
- Achieving a fair deal is a shared objective for both parties.
- The outcome of these discussions will have profound implications for the future of the entertainment sector.
Click here for more details on the ongoing negotiations and its impact on the entertainment industry.