Avengers: Age of Ultron Remains Box Office Champ!

Coming as a surprise to no one, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron topped the North American box office for the second weekend in a row.

The Joss Whedon-directed sequel earned an estimated $77.2 million in its sophomore weekend, bringing its domestic total to $312.6 million. That a nearly 60% drop from its stellar opening weekend of $191.3 million. The first Avengers made $103.1 million on its second weekend in domestic release.

Avengers: Age of Ultron has earned roughly $875 million worldwide.

The weekend’s major new release, the Reese Witherspoon-Sofia Vergara buddy comedy Hot Pursuit, underperformed slightly for a second-place finish of $13.3 million. Industry analysts had pegged its debut at mid-to-high teens.

'Avengers' starting season with a bang ! Lebanese & US Box OfficeIn limited release, Jack Black and James Marsden’s The D Train opened on 1,001 screens with an estimated $469,000, while the Arnold Schwarzenegger-Abigail Breslin zombie drama Maggie bowed on just 79 screens for $131,000.

Here are the weekend estimates via Rentrak:

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron $77.2 million

2. Hot Pursuit $13.3 million

3. The Age of Adaline $5.6 million

4. Furious 7 $5.3 million

5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 $5.2 million

6. Ex Machina $3.5 milion

7. Home $3 million

8. Woman in Gold $1.7 million

9. Cinderella $1.6 million

10. Unfriended $1.4 million 

Here’s why Celebrities Pictures are turning Blue on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!

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A new high-fidelity streaming music service by Jay Z launches Monday. TIDAL was acquired by the rapper last month as part of a $56 million dollar deal with the Scandinavian platform Aspiro.

Full details of the service will be announced during a press conference on Monday. However, according to TIDAL’s website, it’s “the first music streaming service that combines the best High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos and expertly Curated Editorial.”

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There are two paid subscription options: $19.99 a month for high-fidelity audio, and $9.99 for standard quality audio. TIDAL can be streamed on the web, and downloaded for iOS and Android devices.

Several artists have already thrown their support behind TIDAL, changing their Twitter icons and Facebook Profiles to light blue and tweeting the hashtag #TIDALForAll. Among them, Rihanna, Calvin Haris, Kanye West and Jack White’s Third Man Records.

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Zayn Malik is leaving One Direction and group continues as four-piece!

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Zayn Malik has quit One Direction, the band have confirmed in a statement.

Malik said: “My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band.

“I’d like to apologise to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right.”

One Direction will continue their world tour as a four piece and record a fifth album later this year.

Last week, Malik walked away from the band’s world tour last week after being signed off with stress.

He returned to the UK shortly after being forced to defend his relationship with his fiancee, Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards.

A photo had earlier emerged of him holding another woman around the waist.

A second photo, taken from behind, showed Malik standing close to the woman. Their hands and arms looked as though they were linked.

In a statement, the rest of the group said: “We’re really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future.

“The past five years have been beyond amazing – we’ve gone through so much together, so we will always be friends.

“The four of us will now continue. We’re looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour.”

Simon Cowell, who discovered the boyband on talent show The X Factor, said: “I would like to say thank you to Zayn for everything he has done for One Direction.

“Since I first met Zayn in 2010, I have grown very, very fond – and immensely proud – of him. I have seen him grow in confidence and I am truly sorry to see him leave.

“As for One Direction, fans can rest assured that Niall, Liam, Harry and Louis are hugely excited about the future of the band.”

Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson signed with Simon Cowell’s record label Syco Records in 2010 after finishing third on The X Factor.

Zayn’s had a tumultuous time with the band since they were formed back in 2010. He almost quit the band during bootcamp.

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Box Office: ‘Chappie’ Stumbles, ‘Unfinished Business’ Bombs!

Neill Blomkamp’s “Chappie” and “Unfinished Business” with Vince Vaughn added up to a weekend to forget at the U.S. box office.

Overall ticket sales plunged as “Chappie,” a science-fiction adventure about a sentient robot, topped charts with a weak $13.3 million from 3,201 locations. Going into the weekend, Sony Pictures was aiming for a debut of roughly $15 million and some analysts expected the film could hit $20 million. Reviews were tepid, and the picture is the latest in a long line of R-rated new releases such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Focus,” which may have hurt it with moviegoers looking for something that appeals to kids as well as adults.

“There’s been a glut of R-rated movies starting from the first of the year,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s worldwide distribution chief. “I think there’s some R-rated fatigue.”

The odds may have been against “Chappie” from its inception. Original science-fiction films have had a rocky go of it at the box office of late, with “Seventh Son,” “Jupiter Ascending” and “Project Almanac” all crashing on the shoals of audience indifference. Blomkamp may be on safer ground with his next project, a new installment in the “Alien” franchise.

“Chappie” was produced for $49 million, and Sony isn’t ready to concede defeat on the picture just yet, predicting it could make a profit when foreign markets are taken into account. Bruer notes that Blomkamp’s previous films, “District 9″ and “Elysium,” were able to stick around for a long time after their debuts.

“The movie plays well, and the uniqueness of the characters is going to drive a conversation that I do believe will help the film in the coming weeks,” he said.

It was a dispiriting weekend overall for the business, with ticket sales down roughly 35% from the year-ago period – a weekend that saw the debuts of “300: Rise of an Empire” and “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.” That also took a chunk out of the substantial lead that the exhibition industry had maintained over 2014’s first quarter numbers. Ticket sales are now up roughly 5% over the previous year’s, but two weeks ago they topped them by roughly 10%.

“The market has been so strong lately, I’m not surprised to see such a big down weekend,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “Things have to slow down at some point.”

“Chappie” fared better than “Unfinished Business,” another R-rated whiff. The business trip comedy eked out a gloomy $4.8 million across 2,777 locations. It ranks as the lowest debut of Vaughn’s career, raising serious questions about his appeal. The “Wedding Crashers” star has headlined an array of flops over the past four years, including “The Dilemma,” “Delivery Man,” “The Internship” and “The Watch.” A lot is riding on the second season of “True Detective” to return Vaughn to audiences’ good graces.

Twentieth Century Fox distributed the $35 million film, which New Regency financed. The opening crowd for “Unfinished Business” was 55% male and 54% over the age of 25.

“Sometimes this happens where a film doesn’t connect with an audience,” said Spencer Klein, executive vice president of theatrical distribution at Fox. “Fortunately, this hasn’t happened too often to us.”

There was one diamond in the crop of dinged-up new releases — “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” The comic tale of retirees making new lives for themselves in India bowed to a sterling $8.6 million across 1,573 locations. Fox Searchlight is distributing the comedy which was co-produced by Participant Media and cost a mere $10 million to produce.

“This audience of moviegoers wants to see something different, and there hasn’t been much out there for them,” said Frank Rodriguez, senior vice president of distribution at Fox. “This market of specialty crowds and more mature audiences has been underserved.”

“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” will add approximately 300 screens to its current crop of venues next weekend, Rodriguez predicted. The first picture stuck around for months, eventually making $46.4 million, but this film had a wider debut and should be more front-loaded. The film played older and female, with more than 65% of the crowd comprised of women and the same percentage over the age of 50.

“Our core audience came out this weekend, but it’s comprised of moviegoers who don’t always rush out immediately,” said Rodriguez. “We think this is the kind of film that could stick around.”

Last week’s champ, the Will Smith heist picture “Focus,” had to settle for runner-up status, taking second place on the charts with $10 million. That brings the film’s take to $34.6 million.

Among holdovers, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” took in $8.3 million, pushing its take to $98 million, while “Fifty Shades of Grey” added $5.6 million to its $156.4 million haul. “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” continued to benefit from being one of the only family-friendly releases in the market, picking up $7 million and driving the picture to $149 million at the Stateside box office.

At the arthouse, Sony Pictures premiered the spin-doctor documentary “Merchants of Doubt” on four screens where it earned $20,327, while “The Hunting Ground,” a look at sexual violence on college campuses, added $8,936 from two screens to its $45,822 gross.

Roadside Attractions and Black Label Media’s critically adored thriller “71” capitalized on good reviews, earning $70,590 after expanding from four to 16 screens in New York and Los Angeles.

Next weekend brings Disney’s live-action version of “Cinderella” and with it a chance at box office redemption.

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