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Super Mario Movie breaks box office records

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The new Super Mario Bros Movie has broken box office records, scoring the most successful global opening of all time for an animated film.

The family film – Hollywood’s second version of the hit Nintendo game – took $377m (£303m) around the world in its first five days on release.

That overtook the previous record of £358m (£288m) held by Frozen 2.

“The numbers are sensational,” noted analyst David A Gross, who said it would “easily be the #1 flick of 2023”.

In The Super Mario Bros Movie, the moustachioed Italian plumber is voiced by Chris Pratt, while Jack Black plays fire-breathing villain Bowser.

It left many critics cold, with the New York Post’s Johnny Oleksinski saying it’s “just another soulless ploy to sell us merchandise” and The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw calling it “tedious and flat in all senses”.

He added that it was “a disappointment to match the live-action version in 1993” – a reference to the infamous original adaptation starring Bob Hoskins.

But many fans seem to disagree, with the 56% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes eclipsed by the 96% audience score. Even Elon Musk tweeted that “the critics are so disconnected from reality!”

Crowds “didn’t seem to care about so-so reviews”, the Hollywood Reporter’s Pamela McClintock wrote.

The film broke other records, including the best-ever opening for a movie based on a video game and the top opening of 2023 so far, she said.

Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian told the outlet: “This is one of the biggest box office over-performances in recent memory and is absolutely shattering all pre-release projections.”

(BBC News)

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Popular Indian singer Pankaj Udhas no more

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Popular ghazal and playback singer – Pankaj Udhas has passed away aged 72. 

The Udhas family confirmed his death on Monday was due to a prolonged illness.

Taking to Instagram, Pankaj Udhas’ daughter Nayaab shared a statement on Instagram which read, “With a heavy heart, we are saddened to inform you of the sad demise of Padmashri Pankaj Udhas on 26th February 2024 due to a prolonged illness.”

He had passed away around 11am at the Breach Candy hospital, Indian media reports citing a family source.

 His last rites will be held on Tuesday. 

Pankaj is survived by wife Farida Udhas, daughters Nayaab and Reva Udhas, and brothers Nirmal and Manhar Udhas, who are also singers.

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Laugfs Gas prices to remain unchanged too

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LAUGFS Gas PLC has also decided not to revise the prices of domestic LP gas cylinders for the month of February 2024.

Accordingly, the current prices are as follows:
12.5kg cylinder – Rs. 4,740 
5kg cylinder – Rs. 1,900

The announcement comes hours after Litro Gas Lanka stating that they will not revise gas prices this month.

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Actress Poonam Pandey passes away

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Actress and model Poonam Pandey has passed away last night (Feb. 01) due to cervical cancer at the age of 32, according to her team who posted the news of her death on her Instagram handle.

Poonam made her feature film debut with Nasha, an erotic drama that was released in 2013. She made cameo appearances in films such as Love Is Poison (Kannada) and Aa Gaya Hero (Hindi). The actress also headlined the Telugu movie Malini & Co and The Journey of Karma.

She was also part of the television reality competition series Lock Upp.

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