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Comic Con superheroes set to soar next year

As this year’s giant Comic Con pop culture convention neared its end, it was clear that the major movie studios have plenty of costumed crime fighters set for adventures in 2011 and beyond with the Green Lantern, Green Hornet, Thor, Captain America and a team of Avengers making their way to theatres. Warner Bros. expects to elevate DC Comics character, the Green Lantern, to a top-tier superhero. Actor Ryan Reynolds brings to life test pilot Hal Jordan, who joins the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps after he is given a ring with supernatural powers. Green Lantern, who has 70 years of comic book stories from which to draw, is also a key member of the Justice League of America, a group of comic book crime fighters that includes superheroes like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and The Flash. Back in theatres, fans will not have to wait to see another group of crime fighters as Marvel Studios’ gears up to release “The Avengers,” a collection of some of Earth’s mightiest superheroes brought together by the character Nick Fury. “The Avengers” will include the likes of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Fans of Marvel characters will likely thrill to a double feature, of sorts, next summer when “Thor” hits theaters in early May and “Captain America: The First Avenger” opens in July. The cast of both films were featured during the Marvel presentation.

Kenneth Branagh is bringing the Norse god of thunder, Thor (photo), to the big screen with the hero battling the villain Loki.

“Inception” is worldwide box-office leader

Angelina Jolie’s new spy thriller “Salt” failed to take the North American box office crown from Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Inception,” which enjoyed a stronger-than-expected hold in its second weekend. According to studio estimates issued on Sunday, “Inception” earned $43.5 million during the three days beginning on Friday, with “Salt” at No. 2 with $36.5 million. Internationally, “Inception” was No. 2 with $56.7 million from 38 markets, behind “Toy Story 3” with $62 million from 43 countries. Pundits had predicted “Salt” might hit the $40 million mark in the United States and Canada, although distributor Columbia Pictures said the opening was in line with its expectations. The three-day estimate represents a significant drop from the $50 million openings for each of Jolie’s last big films, “Wanted” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”

“Inception,” starring DiCaprio as a thief who steals secrets from deep within people’s subconscious, raced to $143.7 million after 10 days, thanks to a drop of just 31 percent from last weekend. Movies generally lose about half of their opening-weekend audience.

Oliver Stone apologises for anti- Semitic remarks

Oliver Stone has apologised for comments about the Holocaust made in an interview with the Sunday Times that US Jewish groups have condemned as anti-Semitic. Earlier this year, the Oscar-winning film-maker caused controversy after he described Hitler as history’s “easy scapegoat” in a presentation for his upcoming US TV series, Oliver Stone’s Secret History of America. In the Times interview, Stone claimed Hitler “was a Frankenstein but there was also a Dr Frankenstein. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support … Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than [to] the Jewish people, 25 or 30 [million killed].” Asked to explain why this was not well-known, he responded: “The Jewish domination of the media … There’s a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has fucked up United States foreign policy for years.” The comments drew immediate criticism from US groups such as The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants. Abraham Foxman, ADL national director, said: “Oliver Stone has once again shown his conspiratorial colours with his comments about ‘Jewish domination of the media’ and control over US foreign policy. His words conjure up some of the most stereotypical and conspiratorial notions of undue Jewish power and influence.”

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