nferno,” the latest big screen installment of Dan Brown’s conspiracy novels, fizzled out in its opening weekend in North America, industry data showed Monday, earning $10 million less than expected. The third film in the series that stars Tom Hanks took a frosty $14.9 million in North America, a fraction of the $77.1 million debut of “The Da Vinci Code,” which kicked off the franchise in 2006.
“At this point, it could truly flame out and struggle to reach $40 million,” wrote Brad Brevet of film finance website Box Office Mojo, noting that it been expected to make closer to $25 million. But he added that Sony had kept the budget at a relatively low $75 million, meaning that, combined with overseas ticket sales, the studio wasn’t “looking at a complete blood bath on the balance sheet.”
Based on Dan Brown’s bestselling book series, the film stars Felicity Jones alongside Hanks, who returns to the role of Harvard professor Robert Langdon, this time seeking to stop an evil billionaire from killing off the world’s population by releasing a deadly virus. Sony’s poor showing with “Inferno” cleared the way for Lionsgate’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween”-the latest installment in Tyler Perry’s Madea franchise-to retain the number one spot in its second week.
The comedy, in which Perry reprises his role as a toughtalking matriarch, took in $17.2 million for a total of $52.6 million, box office tracker Exhibitor Relations said. “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” slipped a spot from last week to take third place with $9.6 million. The sequel to the 2012 film “Jack Reacher” stars Tom Cruise as a former soldier now going it alone, based on the book series by British author Lee Child. The financial thriller “The Accountant,” starring Ben Affleck, held on to its number four spot from last week with $8.5 million.
The film follows an autistic mathematics savant who capitalizes on his fondness for numbers by becoming an undercover forensic accountant for criminal organizations. Horror prequel “Ouija: Origin of Evil”-about home seances gone wrong-dropped two spots to take fifth place during its second weekend with $7.1 million. Rounding out the top 10 films were: “The Girl on the Train” ($4.4 million), “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” ($4.1 million), “Keeping Up with the Joneses” ($3.4 million), “Storks” ($2.9 million) and “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” ($2.2 million) — AFP
One of the world’s most restrictive countries on access to music videos opened up yesterday as YouTube announced a deal with musicians’ body GEMA to pay when people stream music in Germany. YouTube users in the country had for years been confronted with a red sad-face emoticon and messages announcing “this video is not available in Germany” when trying to view videos ranging from the latest pop clips to films with GEMA-controlled background music. Now the blockages should largely be a thing of the past.
“Hell has frozen over!” wrote one Twitter user in response to the news. “Listen to all the music!” said another. Yesterday’s deal will see YouTube pay an undisclosed amount for music belonging to the roughly 70,000 German artists represented by GEMAas well as many foreign artists-each time their songs are played. “Authors, composers and music publishers will be paid fairly,” YouTube executive Christophe Muller said in a statement.
GEMA and the Google subsidiary had been wrangling since 2009 — at times in court-over how musicians should be paid for their work being streamed after a previous licensing agreement expired. A court ruled in 2012 that YouTube should install filters preventing users uploading copyrighted music without permission-on pain of a 250,000-euro ($275,000) fine per infraction. But the latest court case launched by the music licensing organization, in which it claimed 0.375 euro cents from the video site for each time a song was played, failed in January this year.
Ten months later, the two sides have reached an agreement, although neither released details of the amount artists would receive per play. “There was an appropriate, good offer,” GEMA spokeswoman Ursula Goebel told AFP. Citing industry sources, news agency DPA reported that the compromise would see YouTube send some advertising revenue to GEMA, as well as a fee for videos not preceded by ads. GEMA said Tuesday’s deal covers past as well as future usage of its members’ music. The two sides have however not agreed whether YouTube or the individual uploader should be responsible for licensing, it added.
Among the 1,000 most popular YouTube videos in the world in 2013, no fewer than 61.5 percent of them were blocked in Germany, according to data journalism agency OpenDataCity-compared with just one percent in neighboring France. But just 8.4 percent of that list were blocked because of definite legal problems, while the rest were made unavailable as a precautionary measure.
Blocks on free music videos dismayed newlyarrived expats and prompted people to trade tips on getting around them to the latest clips from Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. Now GEMA says it has sent “a clear signal to all online platforms... authors must be fairly remunerated for the exploitation of their musical works,” the organization’s head of broadcast and online Thomas Theune said in a statement.
“We in Germany think we can hold up for a while things that are already normal in other countries” in cases like GEMA’s, Professor Klemens Skibicki, a digital economy expert at Cologne Business School, told AFP. But “it’s clear to the rest of the world that profitmaking in the music business just works differently nowadays,” compared with when record sales were the big earner, he said. — AFP
This photo taken on JAN 01, 2016 in Munich, south Germany, shows a message displayed on a smartphone after a video could not be shown on the video portal YouTube, pictured in front of the logo of the German rights recovery company GEMA. — AFP