M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass to top MLK box office with $47 million

M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass isn’t quite running over, but it’ll be enough to top the box office over the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

The director’s superhero-themed sequel to Split and Unbreakable is on track to debut with an estimated $47.1 million in ticket sales at 3,841 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Monday, making it the No. 1 film in North America by a wide margin. It also marks the third-best four-day MLK opening on the books, not adjusting for inflation, behind 2015’s American Sniper ($107.2 million) and 2014’s Ride Along ($48.6 million). That said, Glass is coming in a bit below expectations, as industry projections had it arriving with at least $55 million over four days.

From Friday through Sunday, Glass will take in about $40.6 million. By comparison, Split bowed with $40 million in 2017 (on its way to becoming a surprise hit), while Unbreakable opened with $30.3 million — about $49.7 million in today’s dollars — in 2000.

Shyamalan self-financed Glass, which reportedly cost about $20 million to make. It’s being distributed domestically by Universal Pictures, the studio behind Split, and internationally by Disney, the studio behind Unbreakable. Overseas, Glass will add about $48.5 million over the three-day period.

Featuring actors and characters from Split and UnbreakableGlass stars Bruce Willis as a security guard with superhuman strength and a sixth sense about bad guys, who tangles with a murderous genius with brittle bones (Samuel L. Jackson) and an ex-zoo employee with multiple personalities (James McAvoy), one of whom is a feral killer known as the Beast. Critics’ reviews have been lukewarm, while audiences gave Glass a mediocre B CinemaScore.

In second place this weekend, the Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston dramedy The Upside is holding strong with an estimated $15.7 million from Friday through Sunday ($19.5 million through Monday), which represents a decline of just 23 percent from last week’s debut.

Warner Bros’. Aquaman will take third place with about $10.3 million through Sunday ($12.8 million through Monday), breaking the $300 million mark at the domestic box office (it already hit $1 billion worldwide).

Also making a strong showing this weekend is Funimation’s anime import Dragon Ball Super: Broly, in fourth place with an estimated $8.7 million through Sunday ($9.7 million through Monday) at 1,250 theaters.

Overall box office is down 13.3 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. Check out the Jan. 18-20 numbers below.

1. Glass — $40.6 million
2. The Upside — $15.7 million
3. Aquaman — $10.3 million
4. Dragon Ball Super: Broly — $8.7 million
5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — $7.3 million
6. A Dog’s Way Home — $7.1 million
7. Escape Room — $5.3 million
8. Mary Poppins Returns — $5.2 million
9. Bumblebee — $4.7 million
10. On the Basis of Sex — $4 million

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Sean Payton on Controversial Non-Call: Bill Vinovich, Referees ‘Blew the Call’

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton reacts to a call during the second half of the NFL football NFC championship game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Almost immediately after the game, the NFL‘s league office confirmed to New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton the officiating crew missed two penalties on the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game.

Just getting off the phone with the league office,” Payton said to reporters, per the Times-Picayune‘s Josh Katzenstein. “They blew the call.”

According to Payton, the NFL said Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman should’ve been flagged for pass interference and a helmet-to-helmet hit when he made contact with Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis before the ball arrived, per Kristian Garic of WWL Radio in New Orleans.

Robey-Coleman admitted he was concerned with breaking up the pass at any cost.

Yes, I got there too early,” he said, per The MMQB’s Robert Klemko. “I was beat, and I was trying to save the touchdown.”

The play in question happened on 3rd-and-10 with one minute, 48 seconds left in the game. Rather than receiving an automatic first down and setting up a 1st-and-goal, New Orleans had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Wil Lutz to take a 23-20 lead. Greg Zuerlein tied it up on a 48-yarder with 15 seconds left.

Payton didn’t hide how much the blown calls stung for his team.

The Saints’ 2017 season ended when Case Keenum connected with Stefon Diggs for the “Minneapolis Miracle.” While that was a heartbreaking way for the year to end, New Orleans didn’t necessarily have a reason to feel aggrieved. Sure, Marcus Williams completely whiffed on his attempted tackle, but Diggs’ touchdown reception was mostly a fluke play that only happens so often.

Sunday’s game was different in that seemingly everybody but the officiating crew could see Nickell-Robey interfered with Lewis. While the mistake didn’t single-handedly cost the Saints the game, it undoubtedly provided the Rams with a lifeline.

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2020 Democrats rejected Trump’s latest ‘compromise’ to end the shutdown — here’s what they had to say

President Trump’s latest offer to end the shutdown wasn’t received well by Democratic politicians who are eyeing a 2020 White House bid.

Democrats this weekend roundly rejected Trump’s proposal, which would extend protection for undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, known as Dreamers, in exchange for funding for a wall along the US-Mexico border. Trump forced a government shutdown in late December to pressure Congress into approving the wall funding.

Although the White House touted Trump’s offer as a compromise, many Democrats accused him of using Dreamers as political pawns, as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer put it.

“Offering some protections back in exchange for the wall is not a compromise but more hostage taking,” Schumer said on Saturday. “There’s only way out: open up the government, Mr. President, and then Democrats and Republicans can have a civil discussion and come up with bipartisan solutions.”

Read more: Trump offered Democrats a limited immigration ‘compromise’ to end the shutdown. Democrats say it’s a ‘hostage taking.’

Immigration is sure to be one of the most pivotal issues in the 2020 election, and several Democrats who have expressed interest in a presidential bid offered their opinions of Trump’s attempt at a deal.

Here’s what the Democrats had to say:

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand:

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro:

California Sen. Kamala Harris:

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker:

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown:

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders:

Meanwhile, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard blamed both the White House and Democrats for refusing to compromise on a deal:

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Giuliani: ‘So what’ if Trump and Cohen discussed testimony

President Donald Trump‘s lawyer Rudy Giuliani left open Sunday the possibility that Trump and former personal attorney Michael Cohen might have discussed Cohen’s congressional testimony.

But, he added, “so what” if he did?

Giuliani told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he did not know if Trump had discussed with Cohen a 2017 congressional interview at which Cohen has admitted lying about a Trump Tower real estate project in Moscow. He also acknowledged in a separate interview with NBC News that conversations about that project stretched throughout 2016, including possibly up until October or November of that year.

The question arose in light of a BuzzFeed News report from last week that said Trump had instructed Cohen to lie to Congress and that Cohen relayed that to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators. Mueller’s office took the unusual step of issuing a statement disputing the story. BuzzFeed said it stands by its reporting.

Giuliani said in interviews with CNN and NBC that Trump never directed Cohen to lie to lawmakers. But on CNN he acknowledged the possibility that Trump and Cohen might have discussed Cohen’s testimony, saying that while he had no knowledge of such a conversation, he wasn’t ruling it out and that it’d be “perfectly normal” anyway.

“I don’t know if it happened or didn’t happen,” Giuliani said, later adding, “And so what if he talked to him about it?”

Giuliani’s suggestion that dialogue about the Trump Tower project could have stretched into the fall of 2016 extends the timeline for negotiations well beyond what the president has publicly acknowledged. Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress by saying that he had abandoned the project in January 2016 even though prosecutors say he actually continued pursuing it into that June.

Giuliani said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that Trump recalled having conversations with Cohen about the project throughout 2016, though there “weren’t a lot of them.”

“The president also remembers — yeah, probably up — could be up to as far as October, November,” Giuliani said. “Our answers cover until the election. So anytime during that period they could’ve talked about it. But the president’s recollection of it is that the, the thing had petered out quite a bit.”

Giuliani made a similar comment last month on ABC News when he suggested that the president knew that Cohen was pursuing the project into 2016.

“According to the answer that he gave, it would have covered all the way up to — covered up to November, 2016. Said he had conversations with him but the president didn’t hide this,” Giuliani said.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and chairman of the House intelligence committee, said the panel planned to investigate why Cohen made false statements to Congress and determine what exactly Cohen and Trump might have discussed about his testimony.

“Congress has a has a fundamental interest in two things first in getting to the bottom of why a witness came before us and lied and who else was knowledgeable that this was a lie,” Schiff said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

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Syrian air defences shoot down ‘hostile targets’: state media

The Israeli military says it is carrying out overnight strikes on Iranian targets in Syria, while Syrian state media is reporting that the country’s air defences have shot down “hostile targets”.

“We have started striking Iranian Quds targets in Syrian territory. We warn the Syrian Armed Forces against attempting to harm Israeli forces or territory,” Israel’s military said in a statement in the early hours of Monday.

News agency reports quoted witnesses in the Syrian capital, Damascus, as saying that loud explosions rang out in the night sky.

The strikes followed cross-border attacks on Sunday in which Syria said it repelled an Israeli air attack.

Israel said it intercepted a rocket fired at the occupied Golan Heights.

“We have a permanent policy, to strike at the Iranian entrenchment in Syria and hurt whoever tries to hurt us,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier.

The Israeli army also said a popular winter tourist site on Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights would be shut for the day. It added that otherwise things remained “routine” along the frontier with Syria.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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A Harley-Davidson executive reveals the biggest opportunity for its new electric motorcycle

Harley-Davidson is preparing to release its first electric motorcycle, the LiveWire, in August. The company hopes the bike will appeal to urban consumers and present a low barrier of entry for people new to motorcycles, Marc McAllister, Harley-Davidson’s vice president of product portfolio, said in an interview with Business Insider.

“EV lends itself extremely well to growing the next generation of riders when you think of its ease of entry and its ease of use for non-motorcyclists,” he said.

Read more: A former Harley-Davidson executive is attempting one of the biggest challenges in the business — establish a new motorcycle brand in the US

While gas-powered motorcycles require drivers to shift gears, a process that can be difficult to learn for new riders, the LiveWire’s electric motor eliminates the need for gear-shifting; riders need only to twist the throttle to make the LiveWire accelerate. The motorcycle will also feature ride modes that can be tailored to the owner’s level of experience. An inexperienced owner can opt to have the vehicle’s maximum power output reduced, for example.

“It’s less intimidating to jump on and learn how to ride,” McAllister said.

The LiveWire will also be nimbler and more agile than Harley-Davidson’s current offerings, McAllister said, another benefit for urban riders. Appealing to urban consumers is a priority for Harley-Davidson due to the global trend toward urbanization, but the company’s gas-powered motorcycles are less suited to urban riders than the LiveWire due to their size and riding styles, McAllister said.

“Getting great at delivering urban riding experiences is something that we see the future needing us to do.”

The LiveWire is tailored to urban riders in part by necessity. Harley-Davidson says the LiveWire will have a range of around 110 miles, which is fine for many commutes, but could make road trips difficult.

“[The LiveWire] lends itself to an urban usage because you’re going to end up at home,” McAllister said. For “most people’s normal usage, this vehicle has more than enough range.”

For riders who need to charge away from home, Harley-Davidson dealers that sell the LiveWire will have fast-charging stations available once the vehicle is released. Around 150 dealers will sell the LiveWire at first, and the number of charging stations will expand with the number of dealers that carry the vehicle.

Starting at just under $30,000, the LiveWire is priced at the high end of Harley-Davidson’s offerings, but McAllister suggested the LiveWire will be among the most expensive electric motorcycles the company will offer in the coming years, the most affordable of which will begin at “a few thousand dollars.”

McAllister declined to say if Harley-Davidson planned to make a specific percentage of its portfolio electric in the coming decades, but the company said in a 2018 investor presentation that it plans to introduce at least two more electric motorcycles by the end of 2022.

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