Faster than a speeding bullet and impervious to lousy reviews, the superhero faceoff “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” rebounded from a smack down from critics to debut with a massive $170.1 million in North America, the sixth best opening of all-time.
The stakes were high for the Warner Bros. release, which cost $250 million to make and about $150 million to market. But the studio’s bid to launch a DC Comics universe to rival Marvel’s empire was met with persistent PR pains and numerous changes in the release date.
It fought skepticism over Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman and a barrage of bad reviews earlier in the week. Things were bad enough to spawn a ubiquitous viral video of “Sad Ben Affleck,” which took the actor’s response to the reviews and scored it with Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.”
But the allure of seeing two of the most iconic superheroes battle it out was enough to set a record for the best presummer debut. “Batman v Superman” also grossed $254 million overseas, bringing its global total to $424.1 million for the weekend.
Jim Harrison dies
Jim Harrison, the fiction writer, poet, outdoorsman and reveler who wrote with gruff affection for the country’s landscape and rural life and enjoyed mainstream success in middle age with his historical saga “Legends of the Fall,” has died at age 78.
Spokeswoman Deb Seager of Grove Atlantic, Harrison’s publisher, said Harrison died Saturday at his home in Patagonia, Ariz. Seager did not know the cause of death. Harrison’s wife of more than 50 years, Linda King Harrison, died last fall.
The versatile and prolific author completed more than 30 books. He was sometimes likened to Ernest Hemingway for the range and kinds of his interests, he was a hunter and fisherman who savored his time in a cabin near his Michigan hometown, a drinker and Hollywood scriptwriter.
Stones rock Cuba
The Rolling Stones unleashed two hours of shrieking, thundering rock and roll on an ecstatic crowd of hundreds of thousands of Cubans and foreign visitors Friday night, capping one of the most momentous weeks in modern Cuban history with a massive celebration of music that was once forbidden here.
The week opened with the arrival of President Barack Obama and ended with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts firing “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Satisfaction” into a jubilant crowd.
Singer Lady Gaga is 30. … Actor Vince Vaughn is 46. … Rapper Salt of Salt-N-Pepa is 50. … Country singer Reba McEntire is 61. … Actress Dianne Wiest is 70.Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeBen AFfleckJim Harrison