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Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ debuts with dazzling $80 million in theaters
11 July 2021, 7:42 PM

Disney and Marvel’s superhero adventure “Black Widow” captured a massive $80 million in its first weekend, crushing the benchmark for the biggest opening weekend since the pandemic.

In a first for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film opened simultaneously in theaters and on Disney Plus as part of the streaming service’s Premier Access offering, where subscribers can rent “Black Widow” for an extra $30.

Disney reported that “Black Widow” generated more than $60 million “in Disney Plus Premier Access consumer spend globally,” marking the rare occasion in which a studio discloses revenues for digital rentals.

Overseas, “Black Widow” collected $78 million in its debut, boosting its global box office haul to $158 million.

Disney didn’t share viewership data for the previously released “Cruella” starring Emma Stone and the animated “Raya and the Last Dragon,” which also premiered simultaneously in theaters and on Disney Plus.

It’s unclear if Disney will continue to report digital rentals for the upcoming action adventure “Jungle Cruise,” which opens in cinemas and on Disney Plus on July 30.

In a statement on Sunday morning, Disney’s media and entertainment distribution chairman Kareem Daniel said “‘Black Widow’s’ strong performance this weekend affirms our flexible distribution strategy of making franchise films available in theaters for a true cinematic experience and, as COVID concerns continue globally, providing choice to consumers who prefer to watch at home on Disney Plus.”

After a brutal year and change for the movie theater business, the performance of “Black Widow” is encouraging to Hollywood and film exhibitors alike.

David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, says Marvel remains in a league of its own at the box office. After all, few film franchises would still be able to galvanize audiences 24 films in.

“Certainly the figure would be higher if every theater were open, if there were zero concern with COVID, and if there weren’t a streaming option,” Gross says. “For now, those impediments make ‘Black Widow’s’ opening all the more impressive.”

Universal’s “F9: The Fast Saga” came in a distant second place with $10.8 million. Since it released on the big screen three weeks ago, the action sequel starring Vin Diesel has generated $141 million in North America.

At the international box office, “F9” crossed the $400 million mark, boosting its global total to $541.8 million.
Universal also took third and fourth place on domestic box office charts with “Boss Baby: Family Business” ($8.7 million)and “The Forever Purge” ($6.7 million).

“The Boss Baby” sequel and the most recent “Purge” installment each opened theatrically over the July 4 holiday weekend and have now collected $34.7million and $27.4 million, respectively.

Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II” took the fifth spot with$3 million, pushing its domestic tally to $150 million, the biggest result yet for a movie released during the pandemic.

Major storm expected to hit Western Cape on Monday
11 July 2021, 6:46 PM
Another major storm is expected to make landfall in the Western Cape on Monday bringing with it heavy rain, about 15 centimetres of snow on mountain peaks and very cold temperatures.

Provincial Local Government spokesperson, James-Brent Styan, says the cold front is expected to last until Tuesday.
“This is going to bring lots of very cold weather. In the rural areas, we want to caution people about the cold weather that can be expected, it poses a risk to people being outdoors as well as vulnerable livestock. The rainfall predicted especially in the City of Cape Town is expected to cause further challenges particularly in the low-lying areas which are already severely waterlogged due to the rainfall we’ve seen over the past two weeks.’
The storm follows two weeks of disruptive rainfall which has caused flooding in informal settlements, uprooted trees and power outages in some areas.

Victims of Eswatini protests laid to rest
11 July 2021, 5:46 PM

Some of the citizens who died during violent protests in Eswatini have been laid to rest.

The violence erupted a few weeks ago as citizens’ call for democratic reforms intensified.

 

National Chairperson of the Economic Freedom Fighters of Swaziland, Hlobisile Sibandze, claims that a memorial service for the victims was disrupted by the police on Friday.

She further claims that the victims were shot and killed by police and soldiers.

“The citizens were unarmed, the government is lying about that. Even now the police are collecting evidence in the hospital. They are collecting the evidence which is the bullets. Government is lying to the people, they killed all those 54 activists.”

SADC calls for dialogue to resolve unrest in Eswatini

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has urged the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to engage in dialogue to resolve the impasse that led to a week of pro-democracy protests.

A SADC delegation visited the land-locked kingdom on a fact-finding mission.

The President of Botswana and Chairperson of the SADC Troika, Dr Mogweetsi Masisi, was accompanied by Botswana Minister of International Affairs, Dr Lemohang Kwape. They met with the acting Eswatini Prime Minister, Themba Masuku.

Calm returns following pro-democracy protests: 

Garden Route restaurants find innovative ways to keep afloat
11 July 2021, 5:26 PM

Restaurants countrywide are finding it hard to keep their doors open following Level 4 lockdown restrictions.

Some restaurants in the Garden Route region of the Western Cape have found innovative new and also old ways, of keeping their businesses afloat.

While they can only serve takeaways, they’re making sure their customers are being treated to the very best they have to offer.

Some have adopted the old-school roadhouse style of dining out. Your can now dine in your car and still have some of the spoils that you enjoy at a restaurant such as a good good and a friendly waiter.

Gerhard Le Roux from Jou Ma Se Kombuis in Mossel Bay has started serving takeaway breakfast dressed in his pajamas.

There’s a discount for patrons who also come collect their food dressed in their pajamas.

Le Roux says you have to be innovative at this time.

“Because we don’t have sit-downs anymore, we try everything for people to come through. We trying the pajama thing. Next thing we’ll try something else. We just trying to get people here. We know it’s difficult for people to come out during this lockdown.

Patrons Lourens and Elma Nel complied and collected their food dressed in pajamas.

They say they love the idea and will do their best to support their local businesses.

We must do everything we can to support our small businesses because they going through a very difficult time. So even if I have to go eat breakfast in pajamas you do it. 

Delfino’s in Mossel Bay has reserved some bays in their carpark where their customers can park to get the roadhouse experience.

The roadhouse is something they tried back then way before my time. We try to get customers by doing the roadhouse so they can’t get sick and nobody gets infected by the coronavirus that we dealing with, ” says Delfino’s waiter, Sachin Canham.

Another restaurant in Wilderness near George, Salina’s, is taking advantage of the beach without trying to break any laws.

Since it’s close to the beach, owner Massimo Mariotti has set up some tables on the sand where his customers can enjoy their take-aways.

We’ve had to think of innovative ways. Today the weather is beautiful so we setting up some tables on the beach so people can come get the take-aways, set up on the beach and hopefully we gonna have a busier day.

It’s been a tough few weeks for the industry, it could get tougher. The good news, for now, is some financial relief following government’s announcement of an extension of UIF payments to the industry.

Jacob Zuma
ConCourt to hear Zuma’s rescission application on Monday
11 July 2021, 4:26 PM

The Constitutional Court will on Monday hear a bid by former president Jacob Zuma to have his 15-month imprisonment sentence reviewed.

This will entail the hearing of arguments by Zuma’s lawyers, opposed by the State Capture Commission and the Helen Suzman Foundation.

Zuma hopes for a different outcome to his sentence, based on his poor health, and what he contends was the erroneous granting by the Constitutional Court of direct access to the Inquiry to hear his contempt of case court.

He also says the apex court’s sentence was overly harsh.

Spokesperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Mwanele Manyi condemns the sentence.

“[Former] President Zuma is the very first person in democratic South Africa to be jailed without trial. To be jailed without trial is a travesty of justice. We call upon the Constitutional Court to use Monday as a day of reflection and take the opportunity to take the country out of its misery and rescind this unconstitutional and unlawful sentencing of a person without a trial.”

The rescission application by Zuma will seek to have the Constitutional Court re-look its sentence to allow his stay in prison to be substantially reduced.

Attorney Sinawo Makangela explains the ground on which this applies.

“A rescission is an application that is brought by a litigant who says the court did not have the benefit of some information either there is an error that is common to all the parties and if that error is common to all parties. Both parties, even the president would acknowledge, there was an error and the commission would acknowledge that there is an error, had it that information it would have arrived at a different conclusion.”

In his court papers, Zuma bases his application on the fact that Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo did not adequately appraise the Constitutional Court of his medical condition as explained to the Inquiry.

Secondly, Zuma complains that Zondo didn’t take into account his application to review his non-recusal pending in the courts and instead went straight to the apex court.

Zuma additionally challenges the fairness of the Constitutional Court asking it to pronounce on mitigation of sentence even before the sentence had been passed.

He also says that the Constitutional Court may have been right in its contempt of court finding but harsh in its sentence.

Makangela says Zuma may persuade the court in this regard.

“Two days after the Constitutional Court judgment, the Supreme Court of Appeal delivered a judgment against the litigant who wrote a letter to Judge President Myer insulting that court insulting all the judges. So what the SCA did, it referred the matter to the NDPP so the person could be prosecuted. He can bring a persuasive point to the ConCourt to say it was too harsh on this matter of sentencing.”

In opposing arguments the State Capture Commission says that Zuma had an opportunity to put forward any and all arguments against his summons to the commission and mitigation of the contempt of court sentence but chose not to do so.

It also says that the rescission application is a thinly disguised attempt at an appeal by the former president and therefore should be thrown out.

The Helen Suzman Foundation will also present its arguments as “friend of the court” on the Inquiry’s side with the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution also applying for the same status.

Infographic: Zuma’s  contempt of  court case:

 

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