Despicable Me 2 knocks out Grown Ups 2 and Pacific Rim at the box office

For a second weekend, the animated sequel Despicable Me 2 led at the US and International box office, with $44.8 million and $55.5 million respectively, bringing its global two-week total to a staggering $472.4 million. The movie features the voices of Steve Carell, Miranda Cosgrove and Kristen Wiig.

Not far behind was Adam Sandler’s ensemble comedy, Grown Ups 2, which bowed to a respectable $42.5 million at the US box office, in spite of the ravaging reviews. This was the second-best domestic opening for Sandler, after The Longest Yard’s $58 million debut in 2005.

The sequel reteams Sandler with Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek and Maria Bello in a story about failing parents.

Defying predictions, tentpole Pacific Rim, didn’t flop, but it didn’t perform spectacularly either, opening only to $38.3 million in the US, to land in the third spot. These numbers are too far from the $190 million production cost. But help was at hand from the international market, where the monsters vs robots actioners ranked no. 2, with $53 million debut. The movie is yet to open in two major markets, China and Japan, so it will probably recoup its cost and even make a profit.

Jumping the $100 million domestically, The Heat claimed the 4th spot in the US box office with $14 million. The female cop comedy, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, also added $8.1 from the International market over the weekend to rank 8th there.

Lagging behind in the 5th place in the US was Johnny Depp’s flop, The Lone Ranger, grossing $11.1 million over the weekend. It was also ranked 7th overseas with $12.7 million. Having pulled just $119 million worldwide, the movie has little chance of recouping its $200 million production cost. Estimated loss on the film is expected to be at about $100 million, for half the revenue goes to the theatres.

Three weeks after its release, Monsters University was relegated to 6th place in the US with only $10.6, but it is still strong overseas, ranking no. 3 with $30.2 million. The film’s worldwide total stands at $474.1 million.

Salma Hayek pays homage to her Lebanese roots with The Prophet – Interview

Husam Asi with Salma Hayek

“I feel very Lebanese,” exclaims Salma Hayek, when I meet her at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun. The Mexican actress, whose first name is Arabic for Safe, is the daughter of oil executive Sami Hayek Dominguez, the son of a Lebanese immigrant.

The 46-year-old star says that she is very close the Lebanese community in Paris, where she lives with her French billionaire husband of four years, Francois-Henri Pinault and their 5-year-old daughter Valentia. But she hasn’t yet visited Lebanon.

“Every time I’m going to go to Lebanon, something happens and I’m serious,” she enthuses. “I think it’s because I’m meant to go there in a very special time. I was going to go now in May and then I can’t, but my husband has promised me that he’s going to take me and I will.”

In the meantime the Oscar-winning actress is producing an animated film based on The Prophet, the masterpiece  penned by Lebanese writer Khalil Gibran. “It’s my passion project,” she enthuses. “I’ve been working on this for some time now. It’s like almost my homage to the love I feel for this part of my heritage.”

Following a successful acting career in Mexico, Hayek moved to Hollywood in 1991 and quickly gained prominence in movies such as Desperado (1995), Dogma (1999) and Wild Wild West (1999). Her breakthrough role, however, was in Frida (2002) as Frida Kahlo, for which she received multiple awards, including a nomination for an Academy award.

Suffering from dyslexia that limited her fluency in English, Hayek had a hard time expanding her acting resume in Hollywood. But recently, she has been experiencing a resurgence in her career, starring in movies such as Grown Ups (2010), Here Comes the Boom (2012), Savages (2012) and Puss in Boots (2011). She says that he has never been busier.

“This year we had so many offers for projects that right now we are in a panic trying to figure out which ones to do and how to manage them,” she exclaims. “Of course, now that I don’t have time to do movies because I have to focus on my family at 46, I have all the things I dreamt and I never got. They are offering leading roles, which I never had, except for Frida, which I created for myself.”

Currently, Hayek is promoting her latest comedy, Grown Ups 2, which stars alongside Adam Sandler, Taylor Lautner and Kevin james.

Taylor Lautner: All my Twitter accounts are fake – Exclusive interview

Husam Asi with Taylor Lautner

Speaking at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun, where he came to promote his new movie Grown Up 2, Taylor Lautner tells me that he is worried about the multiple Twitter and instagram accounts that have millions of followers who think that it’s him. “I’m not on Twitter or Instagram,” he stresses, shaking his head. “The only thing I do have is a Facebook page, which is just facebook.com/TaylorLautner.” Even his best friends were fooled by the the multitude of fake accounts, commenting on pictures that he supposedly submitted on Twitter. “It’s crazy,” he laughs.

He then proceeded to tell me a story about a wild rumour that once circulated on the Internet, purporting that he had died. “It was the craziest story,” he giggles. “I was pretty proud because it wasn’t like a simple death. It was out at a club late at night in LA and these exotic dancers drugged me and brought me back to their hotel and ended up killing me at the end of the night. It was something insane and people believed it.” It turned out to be an April Fool’s thing, but it didn’t stop the deluge of frantic calls from family and friends, who were concerned for his well-being.

“I am just a simple guy,” he says shyly. “I like to relax at home and have quiet days or go to the ranch wherever.”

The 21-year-old actor became a teen idol following his starring role in the vampire franchise Twilight, which has completely changed his life. “The privacy and just the normal life that I live is different but I don’t let it affect me much and you really just treat life the same.”

To eschew the suffocating attention from the millions of fans, the Michigan-born actor lives outside of LA with his family. “But whenever we travel anywhere, everybody knows where we’re going to show up somehow and there’s certainly people camping out everywhere,” he laughs. Soon, however, he will be moving out of his parents’ house to his own.

Follow me on twitter @husamasi  /  Facebook