Weekend moviegoers chose sci-fi over slapstick. ‘‘Ender’s Game’’ scored the No. 1 slot at the weekend box office, earning $28 million in its opening weekend and sending ‘‘Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa’’ into second place, according to studio estimates Sunday. Lionsgate’s ‘‘Ender’s Game,’’ based on the novel by Orson Scott Card, stars Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford as intergalactic soldiers. Comments made by Card expressing opposition to gay marriage led some to call for a boycott of the film. But a strong first-place opening met the studio’s pre-weekend expectations. However, ticket sales didn’t come close to the opening weekends of other young-adult science-fiction adaptations such as ‘‘Twilight’’ and ‘‘The Hunger Games.’’ It did fare better than ‘‘Beautiful Creatures’’ and ‘‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.’’ Paramount’s candid-camera comedy starring Johnny Knoxville disguised as an old man brought in another $20.5 million in its second weekend, with a domestic total reaching more than $62 million. Other films opening this weekend didn’t generate as much enthusiasm. CBS Films’ ‘‘Last Vegas,’’ featuring an all-star cast of screen veterans including Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline, opened in third place, with $16.5 million. Relativity Media’s 3-D animated kiddie flick ‘‘Free Birds,’’ with characters voiced by Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, and Amy Poehler, debuted in the fourth spot, with $16.2 million. After its fifth weekend at the box office, the Warner Bros. 3-D stunner ‘‘Gravity’’ is still holding in the fifth position. It banked $13.1 million over the weekend, bringing its domestic total to $220 million. Overseas, Disney’s ‘‘Thor: The Dark World’’ earned an impressive $109.4 million in its first international weekend. The Marvel superhero sequel opens domestically next weekend. Final domestic box office figures will be released Monday.
Mandela: ‘Is that me?’
The producer of a movie about Nelson Mandela says he screened some scenes and showed film images last year to the former South African president, describing him as amused by the elaborate makeup process for the British actor who played him. Anant Singh, producer of ‘‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,’’ recalled Saturday that Mandela, who is 95 and ill,
smiled and said, ‘‘Is that me?’’ when he saw a picture of actor Idris Elba as an elderly Mandela. The film, based on Mandela’s autobiography, will be released in South Africa this month before opening in US and other markets.
Writer Mia Couto honored
Fiction writer and poet Mia Couto , 58, of Mozambique has won a $50,000 prize for lifetime achievement, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. The honor was announced Friday by the University of Oklahoma and World Literature Today, a magazine based at the school in Norman, Okla. Established in 1969, the award is given every two years. Previous winners include Gabriel García Márquez, Octavio Paz, and Elizabeth Bishop. Couto’s books include the novels ‘‘Sleepwalking Land’’ and ‘‘The Last Flight of the Flamingo’’ and a story collection, ‘‘Voices Made Night.’’ He is the first author from Mozambique to win the Neustadt.
“I admit I’m a tad shaky on the national anthem, but I am SOLID on the electric slide. #priorities.” - Olivia Wilde, actress (and Phillips Andover grad), in a weekend tweet.