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‘Avatar 2,’ ‘M3GAN’ hold onto top spots at the box office

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'Avatar 2,' 'M3GAN' hold onto top spots at the box office
GLOBALTIMESPAKISTAN

New movies like “Plane” and “House Party” were no match for “Avatar: The Way of Water” and the killer doll horror “M3GAN” at the box office this weekend. The two holdovers topped the charts again according to studio estimates Sunday.

In first place for the fifth weekend in a row was James Cameron’s “Avatar” sequel, which added an estimated $31.1 million through Sunday. That total will likely balloon to $38.5 million by the end of Monday’s Martin Luther King holiday. As of Sunday, the film’s domestic total now rests at $562.9 million (the 13th biggest of all time) and its global total is $1.89 billion. “Avatar 2” needs to pass $1.92 billion to trump “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which is currently the sixth highest grossing film of all time globally.

“There were such huge expectations and a lot of naysayers that opening weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. “But ‘Avatar,’ for a James Cameron movie, is moving at lightning speed up the domestic and global box office chart. I think he always knew this would be a $2 billion movie.”

Second place went to Universal and Blumhouse’s “M3GAN” which in its second weekend in theaters added $17.9 million through Sunday and an estimated $21.2 million including Monday. The modestly budgeted thriller that cost a reported $12 million to produce has made $59.8 million in North America.

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Horror movies typically have very steep second weekend drop offs in ticket sales, but “M3GAN” only fell 41%. Dergarabedian said that’s almost unheard of for a horror picture and shows “world class staying power.”

Universal also claimed the third place spot, with “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” which audiences continued to seek out in theaters even though it’s currently available to rent at home. The family-friendly animated film added $13.4 million in its fourth weekend, bringing its domestic total to $110.3 million.

“A Man Called Otto,” from Columbia Pictures, expanded to 3,802 theaters this weekend, adding $12.7 million through Sunday, and $15 million including Monday, to take fourth place. Directed by Marc Forster, the adaptation of “A Man Called Ove” starring Tom Hanks is proving to be something of a rarity in the theatrical marketplace as an adult-targeted drama that is doing well.

The Gerard Butler action pic “Plane,” a Lionsgate acquisition for release in North America, rounded out the top five with a better-than-expected $10 million in its first three days. In the film, Butler plays a pilot whose crash landing on an island is only the first of his troubles. On the island, most of the passengers are taken hostage. “Plane” got better-than-average reviews with 75% positive from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sixth place went to the second major new offering this weekend, “House Party,” a reboot of Reginald Hudlin’s 1990 hit that spawned several spinoffs. The film, which made $3.9 million through Sunday from 1,400 locations, was originally intended as a straight-to-HBO Max property but Warner Bros. pivoted to a theatrical release as a gesture to audiences and exhibitors hungry for new films. The R-rated, youth-oriented comedy did not score well with critics.

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Overall, the three-day box office total is going to net out around $100 million, which is not quite at pre-pandemic levels, but still up some 44% from the same weekend last year.

“January is not going to be the slow month we thought. It’s a great combination of films out there that’s not just dominated by ‘Avatar: The Way of Water,’” Dergarabedian said. “Theaters need movies and the studios are supplying those.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore, with Wednesday through Sunday in parentheses. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Avatar: The Way of Water,” $31.1 million.

2. “M3GAN,” $17.9 million.

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3. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” $13.4 million.

4. “A Man Called Otto,” $12.7 million.

5. “Plane,” $10 million.

6. “House Party,” $3.9 million.

7. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” $2.2 million.

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8. “The Whale,” $1.5 million.

9. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” $1.2 million.

10. “Waltair Veeraya,” 905,000.

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Feroze Khan’s lawyer files defamation suit against Muneeb Butt

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Feroze Khan's lawyer files defamation suit against Muneeb Butt

Faique Ali Jagirani, Feroze Khan’s advocate, filed a defamation suit against actor Muneeb Butt saying that the actor had tried to bring disrepute to his firm.

Actor Muneeb Butt took to Instagram and alleged that the lawyer of Feroze Khan was trying to increase his followers on YouTube.

Jagirani has now approached the FIA for action against Butt for “defaming” him and his firm.

The complaint was submitted on Friday by Jagirani to the FIA’s cyber crime wing. “Mr Muneeb Butt who is working in showbiz industry is defaming my law firm, namely Coopers Law Firm, and myself as a lawyer, without any reason on various social media platforms such as Instagram. Such act of Muneeb Butt has violated by constitutional right saved under Article 14 of the Constitution of Pakistan of 1973, inviolability of dignity of men etc. as well his malafide intention with ulterior motives to defame me and my law firm,” he wrote.

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Motown’s Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy celebrated at pre-Grammy gala

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Motown's Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy celebrated at pre-Grammy gala

Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, the visionary creative duo behind the revolutionary Motown genre, saw their legacy play out onstage Friday at a pre-Grammy gala honoring their life’s work.

From Robinson’s “The Tracks of My Tears” to “My Girl” songs, Motown defined the 1960s and influenced scores of artists that followed.

Gordy’s now iconic Motown Records, which the 93-year-old founded in Detroit in 1959, also played a pivotal role in uniting Black and white music fans in a decade convulsed by racial divisions.

Robinson was only 17 years old when he was recruited to join the label, where the balladeer became a prolific songwriter and seminal figure of the early days of R&B and soul.

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“There had never been anything like Motown before Motown,” the now 82-year-old artist told AFP on the red carpet. “There will never be anything like Motown again.”

The star-studded gala that this year included Motown prodigy Stevie Wonder is an annual pre-Grammy tradition from MusiCares, the charitable wing of the Recording Academy that raises money to help musicians in need.

Friday marked the first time the show honored two artists, a decision MusiCares said was necessary to fete the two musical legends “of equal and parallel esteem.”

“Both loom so large in music, and their stories are so intertwined, that picking just one as the MusiCares Person Of The Year — an honor previously bestowed on Joni Mitchell, Quincy Jones, Aerosmith, and other luminaries — would be a half-measure,” the institution said.

‘Motown family’

Industry darlings turned out in full Motown swing with performers including the Four Tops, the Isley Brothers, Dionne Warwick, John Legend and Brandi Carlile.

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The Temptations opened the show with a rollicking rendition of their smash hit “The Way You Do The Things You Do” and later crooned “My Girl” as Gordy and Robinson flashed megawatt smiles and bopped along.

Sheryl Crow belted out Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” in a feathered, sparkling minidress, and Jimmie Allen performed “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” with Valerie Simpson, who co-wrote that hit, which Marvin Gaye and later Diana Ross made famous.

A trio of Best New Artist Grammy nominees — DOMi and JD Beck, Samara Joy, and Molly Tuttle — did a genre-bending medley of Motown classics.

“How in the world did I get to be in the Motown family? How in the world did I get a chance to have a catalog and be sitting here in front of my two amazing mentors?” said Lionel Richie in a heartfelt tribute.

“You guys mean the world to me,” he said before singing “Easy,” the beloved track he made famous with the Commodores in a performance that bought the room to its feet.

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Wonder had the room standing once again as he delivered a reggae-tinged version of “Tears of a Clown.”

“I wouldn’t be here” without Robinson and Gordy, said Wonder — the virtuoso and music luminary who auditioned for Motown at just 11 years old.

“I can never repay you,” he said. “Thank you, I love you, thank you, I love you.”

“We should write a song like that!”

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Legendary singer Malika Pukhraj remembered on 19th death anniversary

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Legendary singer Malika Pukhraj remembered on 19th death anniversary

The 19th death anniversary of legendary folk and ghazal singer Malika Pukhraj is being observed on Saturday, Feb 4.

She was given the title of Malika due to talent and popularity. Her best work includes ghazals such as “Abhi To Main Jawan Hoon”, “Mare Qatil Mare Dildar Mere Paas Raho”, “Lo Phir Basant Aaye” and “Piya Baaj Piyala Piya Jaye Na”, among many others. These songs are still famous amongst music enthusiasts in Pakistan.

Pukhraj was born in 1912 in Hamirpur to a family of musicians. She was named Malika by a spiritual guru while her aunt, who was also a famous musician, gave her the name of Pukhraj.

The singer had been interested in music ever since her childhood and wanted to follow in her family’s footsteps. She received her early music education from Ustad Ali Baksh Kasuri, the father of famous vocalist Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

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At the age of nine, Pukhraj performed in front of a huge crowd at the coronation ceremony of Maharaja Hari Singh. He was instantly impressed by the young talent and appointed her as a court singer in his darbar where she served for the next nine years.

After that, Pukhraj began singing professionally. During the 1940s, she emerged as a big singer and her popularity peaked on both sides of the border. After the creation of Pakistan, she chose to settle in Lahore and restarted her career in here with Radio Pakistan, receiving a great response. Pukhraj also branched into folk singing alongside her classical music.

In 1977, the singer was invited by the Indian government (as she worked at All India Radio before Partition) and was awarded the Legend of Voice Award. Following that, in 1980, Pukhraj was given the Pride of Performance Award by the government of Pakistan as well.

Pukhraj passed away in Lahore on Feb 4, 2004. She was survived by her daughter Tahira Syed, who is also an accomplished singer herself.

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