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‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ is king at the box office

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'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' is king at the box office

The latest iteration of the Godzilla franchise took over the top spot from “Aladdin” and roared louder than Elton John at the weekend box office, but it still left a notably smaller footprint on North American theaters than its city-wrecking predecessors.

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment’s sequel to 2014’s “Godzilla,” was brought down to size by poor reviews and middling interest from moviegoers, selling $49 million in tickets, according to studio estimates Sunday.

While still good enough for No. 1, that total was $10-15 million off industry expectations and close to half of the $93 million debut of the previous “Godzilla” movie.

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Still, the weekend, led by one of the most classic movie monsters, brought Hollywood’s summer season into full swing. Last week’s top film, Disney’s live-action, blue-Will Smith “Aladdin” remake, slid to second with $42 million in its second weekend. And a rush of newcomers, including the Elton John biopic “Rocketman” and the Octavia Spencer-led horror film “Ma,” swelled theaters with a variety of options.

Dexter Fletcher’s fantastical Elton John biopic “Rocketman,” starring Taron Egerton, didn’t launch with the same bravado as last year’s Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” But it opened solidly in third with $25 million. The weekend’s most profitable release, by percentage, was likely the Blumhouse Production thriller “Ma,” which made $18.2 million against a $5 million budget.

Even with a toothless “Godzilla,” the weekend was up drastically — 62 percent, according to Comscore — from the same weekend last year, when the swiftly forgotten “Solo” was in its second weekend.

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Part of the appeal of giant monster films from a studio standpoint is their popularity in Asia. This “Godzilla” fared best in China, opening there with $70 million. It made $130 million internationally overall.

But in Godzilla, some see a flagging franchise of unrealized potential. In its three recent blockbuster iterations going back to Gareth Edwards’ 1998 Sony release, none have drawn much praise from fans or critics. This latest one, directed by Michael Dougherty, has a 40 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Warner Bros. is developing a face-off movie between Godzilla and King Kong, who was last featured in “Kong: Skull Island.” That 2017 release opened with $61 million and went on to make $566 million worldwide. Jeff Goldstein, distribution chief for Warner Bros., believes the $200-million budgeted “King of the Monsters” can keep drawing moviegoers to the studio’s ongoing monster franchises.

‘AVENGERS: ENDGAME’ MAKES BOX OFFICE HISTORY, PROVES NEW STRUGGLES TO AVOID SPOILERS

“The avid fans of Godzilla came out Thursday and Friday,” said Goldstein. “The real key for us is how broadly can we expand over the next couple weeks? Can we hold on to an interest that’s wider than the regular Godzilla fans? I think we can.”

In Godzilla’s shadow, counterprogramming thrived. Coming off its acclaimed premiere at the Cannes Film Festival , “Rocketman,” which Elton John executive produced, opened well if not spectacularly for Paramount Pictures. The R-rated biopic cost about $40 million to make.

Aiming to capitalize on the British singer’s worldwide appeal, the stars of “Rocketman” have circled the globe ahead of release. It added $19.2 million internationally. In Russia, the film’s local distributor cut out scenes depicting homosexual activity and drug use. John and the filmmakers criticized the move as “a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in.”

RUSSIA SLAMMED FOR CENSORING GAY SEX SCENES IN ELTON JOHN BIOPIC ‘ROCKETMAN’

Though “Rocketman” shares much with “Bohemian Rhapsody” — including Fletcher, who helmed the Mercury film after Bryan Singer departed production — its makers have sought to distance it from last year’s Oscar-winning $900-million sensation.

“That movie is a unicorn,” Egerton said in Cannes. “Our movie is a different animal.”

“Ma,” fashioned by Blumhouse as the production company’s contemporary answer to “Misery,” reteams Spencer with “The Help” director Tate Taylor. Spencer’s first solo lead performance drew an especially diverse audience, 57 percent of which was female.

“The best news this weekend was for the industry itself,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “Even if the top movie didn’t earn $100 million, we had a big up weekend and we need more of those to get out of this deficit that we’ve been in since basically the beginning of the year.”

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The news, though, wasn’t good for “Booksmart,” the acclaimed teen comedy starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever. Amid its disappointing wide-release opening last weekend, director Olivia Wilde appealed on social media for fans to support a movie “made by and about women.” On its second weekend, “Booksmart” couldn’t turn it around, earning $3.3 million on 2,518 screens.

Overseas, Cannes’ Palme d’Or winner “Parasite,” a social satire from Korean director Bong Joon-ho, opened with $24.6 million. That was driven largely by stellar sales in South Korea where Bong’s raucous thriller easily outpaced “Godzilla.”

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.

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1. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” $49 million ($130 million international).

2. “Aladdin,” $42.3 million ($78.3 million international).

3. “Rocketman,” $25 million ($19.2 million international).

4. “Ma,” $18.3 million ($2.8 million international).

5. “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” $11.1 million ($12.7 million international).

6. “Avengers: Endgame,” $7.8 million ($8.6 million international).

7. “Pokemon Detective Pikachu,” $6.7 million ($14.6 million international).

8. “Booksmart,” $3.3 million.

9. “Brightburn,” $2.3 million.

10. “The Hustle,” $1.3 million.

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Today on Fox News, June 17, 2019

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Today on Fox News, May 7, 2019

STAY TUNED

On Fox News: 

Fox & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Special guests include: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; Kim Goldman reacts to O.J .Simpson joining Twitter;  James Murray on his new book “The Brink.”

On Fox Business:

Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: Maria Bartiromo will broadcast live from the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France.

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcast: “The president’s poll problem” – A new Fox News Poll shows President Trump lagging behind former Vice President Joe Biden by 10 points. GOP Strategist Brad Blakeman and Fox News contributor Richard Fowler weigh in. Monday marks 25 years since the infamous O.J. Simpson bronco chase, when he was on the run after being accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. Ron’s sister Kim joins the podcast to reflect. Plus, commentary by Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst

Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher.

The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: Michael Goodwin, New York Post columnist, on the mainstream media’s response to Sarah Sanders’ departure from the White House. Bret Baier, host of “Special Report” and Kennedy on the top headlines of the day. U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., on the latest in the crisis at the border. David Sanger in the latest on cyber warfare.

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Penn Jillette talks about ‘hardcore’ method to keep weight off: report

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Rep. Ilhan Omar fires back at VP Pence for saying she ‘doesn’t know what she’s talking about’ amid Venezuela remarks

Penn Jillette, half of the magic duo Penn & Teller, said in a recent interview that if you take health advice from a Vegas magician, “you are an idiot,” but said his method of fasting 23 hours a day has proven effective.

Jillette told The Los Angeles Times that his health was poor when he reached 330 pounds. He was on six different medications a 90 percent heart blockage. He said he took to the internet and sought ways to avoid surgery.

“Don’t believe those articles that say, “Just cut your portions down by 20 percent,” he told the paper. “Skip dessert” or “Cut out sodas.” Yeah, that seems logical. But it doesn’t work for me — I want to lose a pound a day. I want to see the scale go like this [points straight down]. So I went for a radical change in diet — whole-food plant-based, hard-core vegan, vegetables, no processed food, no sugar. And I limited my eating to just an hour a day, so I’m always fasting 23 hours.”

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He said the lifestyle is obtainable by anyone, but they just have to be committed. “Decide it’s going to be hard and do it like the other things that are hard in your life.”

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He said he cut out all processed food and eliminated pasta and bread. He said it took him three years not to want a chocolate shake. He said he still exercises but less than before.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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O.J. Simpson says Kris Jenner relationship rumors are ‘bogus’

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O.J. Simpson says Kris Jenner relationship rumors are ‘bogus’

O.J. Simpson took to Twitter Sunday afternoon to dispel rumors that he had fathered Khloe Kardashian with Kris Jenner, a rumor he says is being pushed by a man who is falsely claiming that he was his manager.

“But never – and I want to stress never – in any way shape or form had I ever had any interest in Kris, romantically, sexually, and I never got any indication that she had any interest in me,” Simpson said in a video posted on his Twitter page. “So all of these stories are just bogus. Bad, you know, tasteless.”

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Rumors that Simpson is Khloe’s biological father have persisted long before the famous reality TV series. The rumor even had been the subject of a National Enquirer report and an episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” which featured Khloe questioning whether she was adopted.

“Khloe, like all the (Kardashian) girls, I’m very proud of, just like I know Bob would be if he was here. But the simple facts of the matter is she’s not mine.”

Simpson blamed the rumor on Norman Pardo, a guy who “the media love to say is my manager.”

“I’ve always managed my own affairs, and I’d like to think very successfully,” Simpson said.  “So, when you see these guys like Norm, and these guys claim that they are my manager, it’s just not true. I’ve may have done a deal here or there with them, but none of these guys were anything remotely like a manager for me.”

Simpson has generally kept a low profile since his release from prison in October 2017 for robbery and kidnapping over an attempt to steal back some of his sports memorabilia from a Las Vegas hotel room.

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He appeared to join Twitter or the first time Friday, under the username @TheRealOJ32 — referencing the jersey number he wore — nearly 25 years to the day after his ex-wife’s murder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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