For years, Memorial Day weekend has been the unofficial beginning of summer blockbuster season, with the multitudes rushing in to enjoy free air conditioning, buttered popcorn and big explosions. And though Hollywood has started releasing its blockbusters earlier and earlier (Marvel/Disney, in particular seems to love the first weekend in May), the audiences don’t seem to have gotten the message.
Tomorrowland, the weekend’s No. 1 grossing film, took in an unimpressive $40.7 million, just ahead of 2010’s groan-worthy Prince of Persia on the list of holiday weekend openers.
Memorial Day 2015 was the worst holiday weekend for Hollywood since 2001, when Michael Bay’s infamous WWII flop Pearl Harbor graced the screens. Considering the 44 percent increase in ticket prices over that time, this is a particularly bleak outlook for theaters.
Tomorrowland only barely beat Pitch Perfect 2, in its second week of release.
In 2014, X-Men: Days of Future Past took home $110.6 million, while the previous year had the sixth entry in the Fast and the Furious franchise to drive $97.4 million domestically.
The news is better internationally, where the most recent Avengers film (Avengers: Age of Ultron) continues to rake in the yuan, millions at a time. But the outlook for the rest of the domestic season is less rosy, with no obvious saviors later in the summer (Jurassic World, maybe?).
It’s not even June yet, but it is already looking like a chilly summer for Hollywood.
The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.
The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.
Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”
Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.
The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”
That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”