x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Avengers breaks $1b barrier

The Avengers is taking a page out of Superman's comic book - flying faster than a speeding bullet to the billion-dollar mark at the box office.

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 03: Demi Lovato performs on stage at Rosemont Theatre on December 3, 2011 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Redferns)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 03: Demi Lovato performs on stage at Rosemont Theatre on December 3, 2011 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Redferns)

The Avengers is taking a page out of Superman's comic book - flying faster than a speeding bullet to the billion-dollar mark at the box office. The film has hauled just over US$1billion (Dh3.7bn) worldwide, only 19 days after its opening. "You never think it can happen this quickly," said Dave Hollis, Disney's head of distribution. "It's a testament to a lot of work that went in over the last six years to get us to a place where people wanted to see the Avengers assemble." - AP

Chris Hemsworth welcomes baby India

The Australian actor Chris Hemsworth welcomed a baby daughter with his wife, Spanish actress Elsa Pataky, on Friday. The couple named their child India Rose. "We love the country and love the name," Hemsworth, 28, told USA Today. This is the first child for the couple, who wed in December 2010. The Avengers star is currently promoting his upcoming film Snow White and the Huntsman, set to be released June 1.

Demi Lovato joins X Factor as judge

Days after Britney Spears signed on to become the new judge of The X Factor USA, E! News confirmed Monday that the 19-year-old pop sensation Demi Lovato has also sealed a deal to join Simon Cowell's reality talent programme. That makes two former Disney child stars sitting on the judging panel this September. TMZ reports that Spears and Lovato are expected to formally announce their new gig in New York City today.

Kevin Spacey ventures to Africa

With backing from a whiskey company, Kevin Spacey ran a contest to find filmmaking talent from the US, Russia and South Africa. A script from each country was chosen, and Spacey starred in and helped produce three films, including 26-year-old Cape Town director Alan Shelley's A Spirit of a Denture, which was given a red carpet premiere in Johannesburg on Saturday. Spacey, interviewed at the event, said he is looking for more opportunities in Africa: "I like the idea of going to as many places as possible and having as many experiences as you can." - AP

NBC go for more comedy, less drama

This season the US network NBC is betting heavily on comedy with 10 sitcoms - double the number of dramas it will air - including the new series Go On, starring former Friends star Matthew Perry. NBC cancelled Harry's Law, Awake, Are You There, Chelsea? and Bent, and renewed 30 Rock, Community, Smash, The Voice, The Office, Parks and Recreation and Betty White's Off Their Rockers. JJ Abrams, the creator of Lost, returns with Revolution, an action series where the world is plunged back into a time when electricity doesn't work. - AP

QUOTE: 'I've managed to stay out of the public eye. The other day I walked through Trafalgar Square in my pyjamas. I had floral tracksuit bottoms on, a green coat and pink pumps' - Adele

-FIGURE 40

The number of lbs pop star and recent mother Jessica Simpson promises to lose after signing on a US$3million (Dh11m) contract with Weight Watcher.

SIDE STORY

Blues legend Donald 'Duck' Dunn dead at 70

The Grammy-winning American bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn, who helped shape the blues and soul music scenes in the 1960s and 1970s, died Sunday in Tokyo. He was 70.

A former member of the band Booker T & the MG's, Dunn died in his sleep in a hotel room in the Japanese capital after performing two shows at the legendary Blue Note Tokyo.

A house bass player in Memphis, Dunn's fingers worked the frets on a number of classics, including Otis Redding's Respect and Wilson Pickett's In the Midnight Hour, and played sessions with the likes of Neil Young, Eric Clapton and Jerry Lee Lewis. He also appeared as himself in the film The Blues Brothers.

"Today I lost my best friend, the world has lost the best guy and bass player to ever live," band mate Steve Cropper posted on Facebook Sunday.

Born in Memphis, Dunn picked up the ukulele at age 10, and moved on to the bass at 16. In 1964 he joined Booker T & the MG's, fronted by Booker T Jones. On his website, Jones said the loss marked the passing of yet another legendary artist: "God gave us these treasures and now he is taking them back. I can't imagine not being able to hear Duck laugh, but I'm thankful I got to spend time and make music with him. His intensity was incomparable. Everyone loved him. None more than Otis Redding." - AFP