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‘A Quiet Place Part II’ Makes Serious Memorial Day Noise With A $48.4 Million Three-Day Bow; ‘Cruella’ Is Solid In Second With $21.3 Million

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Hollywood is finally back in business…and not a moment too soon. After 14 long months of darkened marquees and skittish moviegoers who opted to stay home and stream due to COVID-19, Memorial Day weekend arrived just in the nick of time.

In normal years, the holiday which unofficially kicks off summer has provided Hollywood with one of its biggest—and busiest—periods on the calendar. But the past year has been anything but normal, and few knew what to expect coming into the long weekend. Well, it turns out that the box office exceeded all industry expectations thanks to the one-two blockbuster punch of Paramount’sA Quiet Place Part II and Disney’s Cruella, which both had stronger-than-expected debuts. In fact, it was the first weekend in more than a year where the total domestic box-office take surpassed $100 million.

Winning the holiday weekend (by far) was the John Krasinski-directed follow-up to 2018’s surprise horror hit A Quiet Place. The eagerly anticipated sequel scared up $48.4 million in the three-day window between Friday and Sunday. Estimates for the PG-13 film’s four-day haul put its North American receipts at $58.5 million (with $5 million of that coming from IMAX screens), making it the biggest domestic opening of the pandemic era. The previous record holder was Warner Bros.’ Godzilla vs. Kong, which bowed to $32 million back in March 2021.

While early industry projections had the Emily Blunt-starring sequel landing in the $30-million range over its first three days, A Quiet Place Part II easily blew past those predictions and landed in the top spot with plenty of breathing space to spare. In fact, the movie’s Memorial Day weekend take nearly matched the original’s $50.2 million opening in 2018. The follow-up opened with a staggering $12,985 per-screen average in 3,726 theaters. And both critics and audiences seemed equally impressed with the film, giving it a 91% score on RottenTomatoes and an A- grade from CinemaScore.

Originally scheduled to hit theaters back on March 20, 2020, A Quiet Place Part II was one of the first major-studio pictures to be postponed due to COVID. And while many studios chose to steer their 2020 films over to various streaming platforms bypassing limited-capacity theaters, Paramount’s gamble to hold the film for a theatrical release until the pandemic began to recede seems to have paid off handsomely. Blunt and Co. should now have plenty of time to pad their film’s already-impressive numbers since it will be available solely on the big screen for 45 days before moving over to the Paramount+ streaming service.

In the runner-up spot was Disney’s Cruella, an origin story starring Emma Stone about the rise of 101 Dalmatians ‘s puppy-hating villain, Cruella de Vil. The PG-13-rated film also came out of the gate to solid numbers despite being available on Disney+ for an additional $30 fee. Cruella pulled in $21.3 million in the first three days of the long weekend, earning a $5,472 per-screen average in 3,892 locations. Its four-day gross is projected to hit $26.5 million. The film currently has a 72% score on RottenTomatoes and received a straight ‘A’ CinemaScore grade. One interesting footnote: female ticket buyers turned out to be a critical factor in the holiday weekend’s booming business, with women making up 53% of A Quiet Place Part II’s audience and 64% of Cruella’s.

In third place was Lionsgate’s horror flick Spiral, which took in just under $2.3 million over the weekend’s first three days in North America and an estimated $2.9 million for the four-day frame. The latest R-rated Saw installment saw its receipts fall off a steep -50.5% from the previous session while earning a $760 per-screen average in 2,991 theaters. Its three-week North American total now stands at $19.8 million. The ninth chapter in the splatter saga which kicked off in 2004 has tacked on an additional $6.8 million abroad to date, lifting its worldwide total to $27.2 million.

In fourth place was Jason Statham’s Wrath of Man. The United Artists’ action-thriller added $2.1 million domestically, which represented a -29.5% dip from the previous weekend (Its four-day projection is a little under $2.8 million). The R-rated film had a $698 per-screen average in 3,007 theaters. Its four-week North American total now sits at $22.1 million. However, Statham’s latest punch-‘em-up continues to translate well overseas, where it has accumulated $57.7 million in foreign markets, bringing the film’s combined worldwide gross to a hair under $80.5 million.

Rounding out the top five was Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. In its thirteenth (!) week, the PG-rated computer-animated adventure added just under $2 million domestically thanks to a +19.7% bump over the previous session (Its four-day projection is $2.6 million). Despite also being available on the Disney+ streaming platform for a $30 fee, the film had a $990 per-screen average in 2,015 theaters, bringing its domestic box-office total to $50.9 million. Overseas, Raya has racked up $77 million so far, pushing its current worldwide total to $128.5 million.

Meanwhile, the latest Fast and Furious sequel, F9, continues to burn rubber overseas. While the Vin Diesel-starrer will not cross the starting line on our shores until June 25, it has already zipped past the $200 million line in its first two weeks playing abroad. Its current international gross in just eight markets is a whopping $229 million and counting.

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COVID-19: Here’s What Vaccine Makers are Saying on Protection Against Omicron Variant | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather Channel

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(IANS)

With Omicron raising concerns about vaccines’ efficacy, drugmakers are stress-testing existing jabs while also racing to prepare new formulas, according to media reports.

All major drugmakers including Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, and AstraZeneca have said that they are working to quickly investigate and adapt their shots to a new and highly mutated variant of the virus.

Pfizer and BioNTech said they are investigating the new, heavily mutated variant, the Wall Street Journal reported. The companies added they can adapt their mRNA vaccine within six weeks and start shipping batches within 100 days if an escape variant is identified.

Although the company offered reassurance that the fully inoculated people would have a “high level of protection against severe disease” from the new variant, there is, as yet, no conclusive evidence on how immune protection holds up against the heavily mutated variant.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Omicron poses a “very high risk”. The global health body said that scientists all over the world are working to understand Omicron, its risks and whether it causes severe disease, and vaccine effectiveness. The data will be available within two weeks.

Stephane Bancel, chief executive at Moderna, said that currently available vaccines for COVID-19 could likely be less effective against the new Omicron variant. He added that it will take several months before pharma companies can manufacture variant-specific jabs at scale, The Financial Times reported.

The University of Oxford, which makes the coronavirus vaccine with AstraZeneca, in a statement, said there was “no evidence so far” that existing vaccines would not continue to provide protection against Omicron, as they have for previous variants of concern.

It added that they had the “necessary tools and processes in place for rapid development of an updated Covid-19 vaccine if it should be necessary”.

Meanwhile, China on Tuesday said it is ready to tackle the newly detected Omicron coronavirus variant, and it is confident that the country’s mainstream tests will block community transmission.

According to Xu Wenbo, from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the vaccines developed in China remain effective against the new mutated variant, yet to better cope it has made technological reserve preparations in vaccine development, Global Times reported.

Producers of inactivated vaccine, protein subunit vaccine or adenovirus vector vaccine have set about studying the new variant and they are in the process of gene sequencing design, Xu, head for National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention with the China CDC, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Russia’s Gamaleya Institute also believes that both Sputnik V and Sputnik Light will neutralise Omicron.

The Gamaleya Institute, based on existing protocols of immediately developing vaccine versions for variants of concern, has already begun developing the new version of the Sputnik vaccine adapted to Omicron, said Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

However, in an unlikely case, such modification is needed, the new Sputnik Omicron version can be made ready for mass-scale production in 45 days, he added.

As per Bancel, the high number of Omicron mutations on the spike protein, which the virus uses to infect human cells, and the rapid spread of the variant in South Africa, suggested that the current crop of vaccines may need to be modified next year.

He said scientists were worried because 32 of the 50 mutations in the Omicron variant are on the spike protein, which current vaccines focus on to boost the human body’s immune system to combat Covid.

As there is still a lack of reliable data on vaccine efficacy against Omicron, WHO’s Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan told the FT that “we believe it’s premature to draw any conclusions about the efficacy of vaccines against Omicron”.

“WHO has convened all our expert groups and scientists are working on experiments to test neutralisation capacity of stored sera from recovered patients or vaccinated individuals against the new variant. This will take a few weeks.”

Swaminathan said “we need to be patient”, pending full “clinical effectiveness studies to truly understand if this variant is able to overcome the immunity generated by existing vaccines”.

**

The above article has been published from a wire agency with minimal modifications to the headline and text.

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E-auction of Uppal Bhagayath plots begins in Hyderabad 

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Hyderabad: The e-auction of 44 developed plots spread over 1,35,408 square yards in the Uppal Bhagayath Layout began here on Thursday. The auction is being held by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) and on the online platform managed by Union government enterprise MSTC Limited.

The auction will be held in two sessions on Thursday. A total of 12 plots will go under hammer in the first session (9 am to 12 noon) and 11 plots will be auctioned in the second session (2 pm to 5 pm). The remaining plots will be auctioned on December 3.

The plots are of different sizes, starting from 150 square yards to 15,149 square yards. They are in the close proximity of Nagole Metro Station developed with amenities including storm water and underground sewerage system. 


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House Jan. 6 committee votes to hold former Trump DOJ official in criminal contempt – The Washington Post

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House Jan. 6 committee votes to hold former Trump DOJ official in criminal contempt  The Washington Post

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