Hart’s ‘The Up­side’ up­sets ‘Aqua­man’

Orlando Sentinel - - PEOPLE & ARTS -

Kevin Hart isn’t host­ing the Os­cars, but he’s got a No. 1 movie.

“The Up­side,” star­ring Hart and Bryan Cranston, sur­passed ex­pec­ta­tions to open with $19.6 mil­lion in ticket sales, ac­cord­ing to stu­dio es­ti­mates Sun­day.

The strong per­for­mance of “The Up­side” pushed “Aqua­man” to sec­ond af­ter the aquatic su­per­hero’s three-week reign atop the North Amer­i­can box of­fice. Warner Bros.’ “Aqua­man” still passed $1 bil­lion world­wide over the week­end, be­com­ing the first DC Comics re­lease to reach that mark since 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises.”

“The Up­side” opened on the heels of sev­eral weeks of Os­car drama sur­round­ing Hart. Last month, the co­me­dian with­drew from host­ing the Academy Awards — just days af­ter be­ing named em­cee — when he ini­tially re­fused to apol­o­gize for years-old ho­mo­pho­bic tweets.

On the pub­lic­ity trail for “The Up­side,” Hart re­peat­edly dis­missed the Os­car con­tro­versy, say­ing he was “over it,” while flirt­ing with the pos­si­bil­ity of re­turn­ing as Os­car host — some­thing for which talk-show host Ellen De­Generes, in par­tic­u­lar, ad­vo­cated.

Whether all that at­ten­tion helped raise the pro­file of “The Up­side,” a re­make of the 2012 French com­edy “The In­touch­ables,” was dif­fi­cult to ex­trap­o­late, though it surely didn’t hurt.

Neil Burger’s film, which cost about $35 mil­lion to make, stars Hart as an ex-con who be­comes a care­taker for a phys­i­cally dis­abled author (Cranston).

LANTERN EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

“The Up­side,” star­ring Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston, was the top-gross­ing movie in its open­ing week­end.

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