Chinese filmgoers have hit the breaks on Justin Lin’s F9. The Universal tentpole downshifted 85 percent in its second weekend, earning just $20.8 million compared to its $136 million roaring opening weekend.
After two laps, the Vin Diesel/John Cena action flick has totaled $185.3 million. That’s slightly ahead of where franchise spinoff Hobbs & Shaw was sitting at a similar point in its China run, but far weaker than the preceding franchise mainstays Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious, which topped out at $390.9 million in 2015 and $392.8 million in 2017, respectively. Chinese ticketing app Maoyan currently projects F9 to finish at $211.9 million — certainly not a number to slouch at but far inferior to the franchise’s recent heights, especially since China’s theatrical market is back to full earning capacity (See the $825 million earned by local comedy hit Hi, Mom in February).
Whether John Cena’shas had anything to do with the F9‘s weak legs in the Middle Kingdom is difficult to determine. The Chinese market tends to be far more front-loaded and sensitive to real-time word of mouth than most territories, and F9 has been hit by withering reviews from the start. Its social scores on Maoyan are 7.5 and 5.5 on Douban — lower than most major titles released this year. Still, earlier in its run the film was forecasted to earn significantly more, and Cena’s public relations debacle certainly hasn’t helped. The former wrestler referred to Taiwan as a country during a promotional interview, and then issued a groveling apology to outraged nationalistic Chinese fans — for which he subsequently was in the West.
Japanese anime import Stand By Me Doraemon 2 opened in second place with $16.3 million, topping Paramount’s horror sequel A Quiet Place 2, which debuted with $15 million, according to data from Artisan Gateway. The John Krasinski-directed sequel has been met with a somewhat middling response from critics and filmgoers in China — 7.7 on Maoyan and 6.8 from Douban — despite generating strong reviews in the U.S. It’s still tracking relatively close to its predecessor, which opened with $17.5 million and finished with $34.5 million. Maoyan forecasts the sequel to top out at $32.3 million finish.
Fourth place went to Chinese romance Love Will Tear Us Apart, which earned $5.2 million for a $42.4 million total after eleven days in theaters. Zhang Yimou’s spy thriller Cliff Walkers fell from third place to fifth with a $4.2 million weekend. After four weeks in cinemas the film has reached $172 million, demonstrating the enduringappeal of the Chinese filmmaking veteran.
To date, China’s box office has generated $3.97 billion in total ticket sales, just 5.7 percent behind the market’s $4.21 billion running total at the same time in 2019.
Bommai bats for Covid-19 booster dose for frontline workers, to meet Mansukh Mandaviya
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday said the state government intends to administer booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to frontline workers including health personnel. Bommai said he will meet Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to discuss the same “in person” during his visit to Delhi tomorrow.
“Our health workers and frontline workers had taken first and second doses of vaccine about six to seven months back. Health experts here have felt that they need to be administered with a booster dose. I will meet the Union Health Minister in person to raise this concern,” Bommai said, speaking to reporters at Hubballi. A final decision on the same will be based on the Centre’s advice, the chief minister added.
On questions related to whether the Covid-19 variant confirmed to be “other than Delta” was ascertained, Bommai said that the sample of the person who arrived in Bengaluru recently from South Africa, was “sent to NCBS (National Centre for Biological Sciences) for further analysis.” He reiterated that all other international passengers, whose positive samples were sent for whole-genomic sequencing were identified to be of the Delta variant.
Bommai also reiterated that plans of lockdown were not on the cards, urging the public to avoid “unnecessary worry and panic related to such rumours.” He explained that social and economic activities were only gradually getting back on track and hence such a decision was not discussed at all, after several meetings with the experts.
“We are yet to make any decision on restrictions for Christmas and New Year celebrations. The situation then will be assessed before taking a call on those,” he said.
When asked whether Karnataka would attach any government facility or scheme with Covid-19 vaccination, similar to that announced by neighbouring Kerala on Tuesday, Bommai said the state’s focus was on “intensifying vaccination campaigns rather than making it compulsory.”
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Delhi govt releases EV charging norms for corporates
The Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDC) launched a guidebook for EV Charging in workplaces for corporates, Monday.
DDC vice-chairperson Jasmine Shah said research suggested that 90% of EVs are charged at home or workplace.
“This guidebook details the processes involved for effective decision-making to install workplace charging and is aimed at making corporates an integral part of the EV movement,” he said.
If police knew about riot plans, then why no action: Umar Khalid’s lawyer to Delhi court
Former JNU student Umar Khalid, through his lawyer, asked a Delhi court Monday why police allowed the Northeast Delhi riots to take place when a protected witness was supposedly in touch with the local SHO, informing him about the planning.
Senior advocate Trideep Pais was arguing for bail on behalf of Umar before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat. However, his arguments could not be concluded and will continue on December 9.
On the last date of hearing, Pais submitted that the witnesses in the UAPA case made cooked-up statements and that a case can’t be made on half-truths. During Monday’s hearing, Pais submitted that the witnesses had made improved statements to the Magistrate and that they were “cherry picked” by police around Umar’s arrest.
3 men arrested for hacking exam centre computers
The Delhi Police Cyber Cell arrested three men who run coaching centres in Delhi and Ahmedabad for allegedly helping hundreds of students cheat in competitive exams.
Police said the trio used the dark web to advertise their services, and would hack systems and change answers during online exams. To ensure no one from the test centre suspected them, they used software to detect movement of all people inside using a computer there, police said.
Senior police officers said the accused charged Rs 1-2 lakh from each candidate to help them clear exams such as GMAT, GATE, CAT.
Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen said the investigators looking into the Trump Organization could ‘indict Donald Trump tomorrow’ and be successful
Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen said prosecutors could successfully indict the former president.
He said the New York investigation is going after Trump Org executives, Trump, and his family.
Cohen said he had supplied investigators with “thousands and thousands” of documents.
New York prosecutors investigating the Trump Organization and its finances “could indict Donald Trump tomorrow if they really wanted and be successful,” Michael Cohen, the former president’s ex-personal attorney, said Sunday.
In an appearance onCohen discussed the ongoing criminal investigation against Trump, led by the Manhattan district attorney and It’s centered on a number of potential financial crimes by Trump’s organization — most notably the question of whether he fraudulently inflated the value of his assets to gain an edge in financing deals.
Cohen said he had supplied “thousands and thousands” of documents to the prosecutors and that other witnesses have been roped into the investigation.
When asked by the host Chuck Todd whether he was “confident you did help Donald Trump commit crimes,” Cohen said: “I can assure you that Donald Trump is guilty of his own crimes. Was I involved in much of the inflation and deflation of his assets? The answer to that is yes.”
He declined to talk about the case against Trump in detail, as he didn’t want to “tip off Trump or the Trump Organization’s people about what is actually happening.”
But he did say prosecutors are taking aim at the former president and his family.
“You can bet your bottom dollar that Allen Weisselberg is not, and I truly mean this, Allen Weisselberg is not the key to this,” Cohen said, referring to the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer. Weisselberg was charged withincluding scheme to defraud, conspiracy, and grand larceny.
“They are going after Donald. They’re going after Don Jr., Eric, Ivanka, a whole slew of individuals — family as well,” Cohen said. Cohen also repeated his previous assertion thatsaying that the former president’s “Big Lie” fundraising appeals — based on claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him — are the “greatest grift in US history.”
When Todd asked whether Cohen believed the Trump Organization is a “criminal enterprise,” Cohen responded: “I don’t even know how to answer that. Are they a criminal enterprise? Let’s just say that they committed crimes.”
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