Over the weekend, while Mulan struggled to justify its existence in the Chinese market, a report came out that revealed Warner Bros. is being a little cagey about how much money Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was (or was not) making at the U.S. box office. Apparently, the studio has decided to break from tradition by not sharing daily earnings for the film out of concern that the numbers will be unfairly misinterpreted by the media and by its competitors as being worse than they actually are. In other words, Warner Bros. doesn’t want anyone to think that the big expensive movie it insisted on releasing in theaters during a global pandemic isn’t doing so well, because the movie was released during a global pandemic so it obviously won’t be doing super well. Which… yeah, obviously.
Warner Bros.’ plan is to just keep Tenetin theaters for as long as possible, so instead of making its entire haul in a couple of weeks like a normal movie, it will consistently make a small amount of money every week for months as more and more theaters around the country reopen. It’s actually not a terrible plan, even if it does hinge on people going to movie theaters at a time when they should not be doing that, since it wisely takes advantage of the fact that there isn’t a whole lot else to see in theaters right now. That (finally) brings us to this weekend’s box office numbers, which—get this—look a hell of a lot like last week’s numbers.
Tenet’s on top, followed by The New Mutants, followed by Unhinged, with those getting $6.7 million, $2 million, and $1.5 million (respectively). Those are followed by the only newcomer this week, the Selena Gomez-produced Broken Hearts Gallery, which pulled in $855,000. The rest of the contenders didn’t even crack $300,000, but they include Bill & Ted Face The Music, Words On Bathroom Walls, The Personal History Of David Copperfield, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run. This is overall a big dip from last week, when Tenet made $20 million, but this is Warner Bros. “slow and steady” plan in action. Nobody’s going to be making actual big money, but at least Tenet is technically making the biggest money. That’s what counts (for Warner Bros.).
A team of FBI investigators was due to arrive in Lebanon this weekend to take part in the probe of Beirut’s massive explosion, a senior U.S official said Saturday after visiting the location of the blast.
David Hale, U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, said the FBI team is taking part at the invitation of Lebanese authorities to find answers about what caused the explosion on August 4 that killed nearly 180 people and wounded thousands. He called for a thorough and transparent investigation.
The cause of the fire that ignited nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate at Beirut’s port remains unclear. Documents have emerged showing the country’s top leadership and security officials were aware of the chemicals stored at the port. French investigators are also taking part in the Lebanese-led probe.
“We really need to make sure that there is a thorough, a transparent and credible investigation. I know that is what everyone is demanding,” Hale said.
Search and rescue crews flew in from around the world in the immediate aftermath. Hale toured the site of the blast with Lebanese army officers.
Many Lebanese want the probe taken out of the hands of their government, fearing that bickering among the long-entrenched political factions, notorious for corruption, won’t allow any results to come to light that are damaging to their leadership.
Top Lebanese officials, including President Michel Aoun, have rejected calls for an independent probe, describing it as “a waste of time” that would be politicized.
Late on Friday, the leader of the powerful Hezbollah group said he did not trust any international investigation, a clear reference to the FBI assistance. Hassan Nasrallah said the cause of the explosion is still unclear, adding that any international probe would likely seek to clear Israel of any responsibility in the port explosion, if it had any.
Nasrallah added that Israel will be met “with an equally devastating response” if the investigation points to its involvement.
Israel has denied involvement and so far no evidence has emerged suggesting otherwise. However, Aoun, who is supported by Hezbollah, has said it’s one of the theories being investigated.
On Saturday, French investigators were seen in boats and on the ground near the scene of the blast. A French helicopter carrier was docked at the port as French troops unloaded equipment.
French troops on foot and in vehicles were moving around the port. At a commercial part of the port undamaged by the blast, workers unloaded wheat. The U.N says 30% of the port remains operational.
Hale, the U.S. official, stressed the need for full state control over ports and borders in an apparent reference to claims that Hezbollah holds influence over both in Lebanon. “We can never go back to an era in which anything goes at the port or borders of Lebanon,” he said.
The U.S. and its allies consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization, and have accused the Iran-backed group of abusing government funds. Local media have speculated that Hale would be pushing for a government that excludes Hezbollah.
Under pressure, Lebanon’s government resigned August 10. For now, there are no formal consultations underway on who will replace Hassan Diab as prime minister and no likely candidate has emerged. But the flurry of diplomatic visits appeared designed to influence the forming of the new government.
Popular anger has swelled over the ruling elite’s corruption, mismanagement and political uncertainty. Western leaders have said they will send aid directly to the Lebanese people and that billions of dollars will not be pumped into the country before major reforms take place.
On Friday, the United Nations launched a $565 million appeal for Lebanon with immediate humanitarian assistance and initial recovery efforts. Last week, international donors pledged nearly $300 million of emergency assistance to Lebanon.
Najat Rochdi, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Lebanon, called for more funds to cover the critical needs of shelter, food, health and education. “We hope that the emergency response doesn’t last for too long because the best thing to do is for people to go back to their normal life, for people to start healing,” she said.
Rochdi said most donors have asked that aid be channeled through the U.N., which she said would be coordinated with Lebanon’s armed forces to ensure access.
“We will be very strict about the use of humanitarian assistance. We will be monitoring closely every single delivery of our humanitarian assistance,” she said. “We will be accountable not only to donors because our accountability goes also to the affected population.”
Mother Nature wanted to make an impression this Mother’s Day weekend, in what could be a once-in-a-generation May snowstorm poised to drop snow across portions of the Northeast and New England.
Snow will begin Friday afternoon across the interior Northeast and spread into New England by Friday evening and continue overnight, when snowfall rates could be heavy at times. This will be a heavy, wet snow, so power outages are likely (especially with leaves on the trees, which will make them heavier and easier to come down).
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The big cities along the I-95 corridor will see rain, with an outside chance of some wet snowflakes mixed in late Friday night and early Saturday morning; little to no snow accumulation is expected there. Meanwhile, across the interior Northeast and New England, snowfall totals could range from a dusting to 4 inches, with locally higher amounts up to 6-8 inches and isolated totals of up to a foot. Places most likely to see the biggest snow totals include those at the highest elevations of the Adirondacks, Green and White Mountains and northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
Should flakes fly in New York City and Boston and accumulate, it would be the first time since May 1977. The record snowfall for the month of May in New York City is a trace, and 0.9 inches in Boston.
As the storm pulls away on Saturday, it will produce wind gusts of 40-60 mph across the Northeast and New England. The area of rain and snow will be off the Atlantic Coast by noon, but behind the exiting storm intense snow squalls will form off the Great Lakes and move east. These will drop visibility quickly and will likely spark thundersnow. This will be lake effect snow rare for the month of May.
The storm could intensify quickly enough over 24 hours to become a bomb cyclone by Saturday night. The definition of a bomb cyclone is a storm that drops 24 millibars in 24 hours, going through a process known as bombogenesis.
And then there’s the widespread cold courtesy of the polar vortex. After not talking about the polar vortex all winter, it will take a curtain call in May. All winter, the polar vortex was extremely strong and that kept the cold air bottled up over the Arctic. Now the polar vortex has weakened, allowing a lobe of cold air to break off and dive south into the continental United States, bringing with it record-setting cold air for this time of year.
More than 100 million people are under cold alerts from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic, where temperatures 10-25 degrees below average will spill all the way into the Deep South. More than 70 record lows across two dozen states could be set or tied this weekend. On Saturday morning, when the cold will be most widespread, approximately 70 million people will wake up to temperatures below freezing. Wind chills in the Northeast will be in the 20s and 30s. Cities that could set record lows over the weekend include New York and Buffalo; Providence, Rhode Island; Nashville and Memphis in Tennessee; Baltimore; Detroit; Pittsburgh; Charlotte, North Carolina; Little Rock, Arkansas; Montgomery, Alabama; and Atlanta.
Atlanta could see its coldest May temperatures in 16 years. For New York City? 42 years.
Kathryn Prociv is a meteorologist and producer for NBC News.