Sony Backs Hackathon Inspired by Tech Thriller 'Searching'. Tied to the Disrupt SF festival, the goal would be to create Google Chrome Extensions that will help parents and children be more mindful of their digital lives. After a positive limited opening, cyber-thriller Searching expands nationwide this weekend buoyed by enthusiastic reviews about the film's clever use of technology as well as the halo effect of Crazy Rich Asians -- another film featuring Asian-American leads. To push the film to its core audience as well as raise awareness about some of the tech-related issues in the film, Sony Pictures' is backing a hackathon tied to the Disrupt SF festival which takes in Sept. 5-7 in San Francisco. The goal of the hackathon is to create Google Chrome Extensions that will help parents and children be more mindful of their digital lives and the winners will receive a $9,000 cash prize. Directed by first-time filmmaker and former Google commercials director Aneesh Chaganty, Searching stars John Cho and newcomer Michelle La. The film tells the story of a father's frantic attempts to locate his missing daughter by looking through her various social media accounts and tracing her digital footprints. The entire film takes place inside everyday tech screens for social media, email, online banking and more. The film launched in nine theaters, with a screen average north of $42,000, the best of the weekend. Searchingis set to expand nationwide next weekend and has been boosted by social media support from the cast and crew of Crazy Rich Asians, with director Jon M. Chu and star Henry Golding each buying out a theater screening Searching on its opening weekend. (Hollywood Reporter)

China Box Office: 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Buzzes Away With $68 Million. The Paul Rudd superhero pic scored Marvel's fourth-biggest China opening ever, while Warner Bros' 'The Meg' climbed towards $150 million. Finally opening seven weeks after its U.S. debut, Disney and Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp racked up a strong $68 million start at the Chinese box office over the weekend. Only two Hollywood titles -- Avengers: Infinity War ($201 million) and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ($134 million) -- have scored bigger openings in the massive China market this year. The Paul Rudd superhero sequel is pacing well ahead of the first Ant-Man film, which opened in China to $43 million in 2015. The big China bow also lifted the sequel past its predecessor at the worldwide box office: Ant-Man 2's global haul now sits at $544 million compared to the first film's $519 million final total. The outsized start also is the fourth-biggest debut ever for a Marvel film in the Middle Kingdom, trailing only Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War and Captain America: Civil War. Ant-Man 2's China tally included $7.2 million from IMAX, which is the giant screen operator's biggest August opening-weekend to date. The big numbers were buttressed by positive word of mouth: the film scored 8.9/10 on Chinese ticketing app Maoyan and 7.5/10 from local reviews aggregator Douban. Ant-Man 2 won't have too long to rack up the RMB, however. Paramount's Mission: Impossible -- Fallout, with strong marketing support from local internet giant Alibaba, is set to unfurl on Friday. Debuting in second place over the weekend, Hong Kong action comedy Big Brother, starring Donnie Yen (Rogue One, Ip Man) as a former special forces soldier turned high school teacher, earned $13 million. Warner Bros.' giant shark hit The Meg, meanwhile, added $7 million in its third frame, taking its total to $144.2 million. The film is a co-production with China's Gravity Pictures and co-star's Chinese actress Li Bingbing opposite Jason Statham. Other upcoming U.S. releases in China include STX Entertainment's I Feel Pretty, which will test Chinese appetite for contemporary U.S. comedy when it bows on Wednesday, and Studio 8's prehistoric adventure pic Alpha, opening Sept. 7 and looking to make up ground after a soft start stateside. (Hollywood Reporter)


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