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Box office Top 20: 'The Meg' reels in $45.4 million debut

It took until mid-August, but an original movie is finally no. 1 at the box office. After several months of sequel and franchise reboots leading the weekend box office, the shark thriller "The Meg" swam away with $45.4 million in its debut at North American theaters, according to final figures Monday.

The Warner Bros. release might not be the most inventive movie, but audiences have shown an appetite for shark movies in recent years. Starring Jason Statham, "The Meg" far exceeded expectations to topple "Mission: Impossible — Fallout," which slid to second with $19.4 million in its third weekend.

Opening in 1,512 theaters, Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman" also pulled in a strong $10.8 million for Focus Features. The result is the director's best debut in more than a decade.

1. "The Meg," Warner Bros., $45,402,195, 4,118 locations, $11,025 average, $45,402,195, 1 Week.

2. "Mission: Impossible — Fallout," Paramount, $19,352,090, 3,888 locations, $4,977 average, $161,319,374, 3 Weeks.

3. "Christopher Robin," Disney, $12,960,057, 3,602 locations, $3,598 average, $50,549,374, 2 Weeks.

4. "Slender Man," Sony, $11,371,866, 2,358 locations, $4,823 average, $11,371,866, 1 Week.

5. "BlacKkKlansman," Focus Features, $10,845,330, 1,512 locations, $7,173 average, $10,845,330, 1 Week.

6. "The Spy Who Dumped Me," Lionsgate, $6,462,612, 3,111 locations, $2,077 average, $24,422,997, 2 Weeks.

7. "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again," Universal, $5,861,715, 2,812 locations, $2,085 average, $103,870,915, 4 Weeks.

8. "The Equalizer 2," Sony, $5,408,237, 2,373 locations, $2,279 average, $89,554,165, 4 Weeks.

9. "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation," Sony, $5,210,815, 2,589 locations, $2,013 average, $146,988,206, 5 Weeks.

10. "Ant-Man and the Wasp," Disney, $4,103,636, 1,863 locations, $2,203 average, $203,573,980, 6 Weeks.

11. "Incredibles 2," Disney, $3,429,388, 1,545 locations, $2,220 average, $589,771,988, 9 Weeks.

12. "Dog Days," Mirror/LD Entertainment, $2,554,766, 2,442 locations, $1,046 average, $3,595,738, 1 Week.

13. "The Darkest Minds," 20th Century Fox, $2,142,645, 3,127 locations, $685 average, $10,988,197, 2 Weeks.

14. "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," Universal, $1,986,530, 1,237 locations, $1,606 average, $409,656,475, 8 Weeks.

15. "Teen Titans Go! To the Movies," Warner Bros., $1,824,852, 1,437 locations, $1,270 average, $25,601,396, 3 Weeks.

16. "Eighth Grade," A24, $1,587,299, 1,084 locations, $1,464 average, $10,054,342, 5 Weeks.

17. "Death of a Nation," Quality Flix, $987,906, 825 locations, $1,197 average, $4,521,847, 2 Weeks.

18. "Three Identical Strangers," Neon Rated, $734,313, 326 locations, $2,252 average, $9,719,905, 7 Weeks.

19. "Skyscraper," Universal, $674,430, 670 locations, $1,007 average, $66,185,305, 5 Weeks.

20. "Sorry to Bother You," Annapurna Pictures, $419,714, 204 locations, $2,057 average, $15,800,118, 6 Weeks.

Former WWE star Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart dies at 63

Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, who joined with brother-in-law Bret Hart to form one of the top tag teams in the 1980s with the WWE, has died. He was 63.

The Pasco Sheriff's Office said Neidhart fell at home, hit his head and "succumbed to his injury" on Monday in Wesley Chapel, Florida. No foul play was suspected.

Neidhart's daughter, known as Natalya, wrestles for the WWE and is a former women's champion. Neidhart made appearances with his daughter on the WWE reality series "Total Divas."

"My dad was always a fighter," she wrote in an Instagram post.

Neidhart, Bret "Hitman" Hart and manager Jimmy "The Mouth of the South" Hart made up the Hart Foundation stable in the 1980s and 1990s, and the tag team won two WWE championships.

"What a great run we had. I couldn't believe how it took off," Jimmy Hart told The Associated Press. "But the reason why was, Neidhart was such a great character back then. Bret was more cool, the girls loved him. Neidhart and myself were kind of the evil twins."

Neidhart married Bret Hart's sister, Ellie, and became part of the famed family wrestling dynasty in Canada. Stu Hart trained his sons, including Bret and former WWE star Owen Hart, as well as Neidhart in the 1970s. Neidhart started his pro wrestling career in Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling promotion and eventually signed with the WWE in 1985.

Hart posted a picture on social media of himself with Neidhart and the WWE tag team belts around their waists with the caption, "Stunned and saddened. I just don't have the words right now."

Neidhart wrestled mostly for WWE from 1985 to 1997 and was known for his pink and black gear, maniacal laugh and goatee.

Ross Hart, his brother-in-law and a former pro wrestler, told The Associated Press that Neidhart suffered from Alzheimer's disease and it was believed he suffered a grand mal seizure on Monday.

"He got up (Monday) morning and went to lower the temperature on the air conditioner and he just collapsed and I think died pretty quickly," Hart said. "I think this was stemming from Alzheimer's, which he'd been battling for some time. It's a struggle he's been going through."

Jimmy Hart said Neidhart seemed in good health when they last saw each other in April on WrestleMania weekend.

"He was witty, he was funny. He seemed sharp as a tack," Hart said.

Neidhart was a shot put star in high school in California in the early 1970s and had brief tryouts for NFL teams before becoming a pro wrestler.

The Hart Foundation started as bad guys in WWE and won their first tag team championship in 1987 with the help of a crooked referee. They won the tag titles again in 1990 but split up not long after their second reign ended. Bret Hart was the wrestling technician of the team, while Neidhart brought the raw force and power that made them fan favorites later in their run.

As a singles wrestler, Hart would become one of the biggest stars in WWE history and made the promotion's Hall of Fame. Neidhart foundered for most of the 1990s before aligning again with Hart, Owen Hart, Brian Pillman and the British Bulldog to form a new Hart Foundation and become the top faction in WWE.

Hart is the only wrestler from that incarnation still alive.

"He was very gifted athletically, even though Bret got more of the credit," Ross Hart said. "He was more of the power behind the team but at times he did some incredibly gifted things in the ring. He was like a water buffalo. He was tough to control and tame."

Neidhart wrestled briefly for other wrestling promotions and had brushes with the law and spent time in drug rehabilitation later in life.

But he found a second act as comic relief on "Total Divas" and was filmed going shopping with his daughter and teaching wrestlers how to play golf.

Neidhart is the latest in a string of former wrestling stars who have died in 2018, including Bruno Sammartino, Vader, Brian Christopher and Nikolai Volkoff.


More AP Sports: and

Sean Young under investigation for alleged laptop theft

Actress Sean Young was under investigation Monday in New York after the alleged theft of two laptops belonging to a production company that fired her from a new film she was directing.

A New York Police Department spokeswoman said no charges have been filed against the 58-year-old star of the 1980s film "Blade Runner." However, detectives are still looking into the matter.

NYPD Cadet Taylor Cannon said the laptops taken last Thursday from a Queens apartment came with production software for a film Young was directing called "Charlie Boy."

The actress has acknowledged that she mistakenly took the production laptops instead of her personal ones while retrieving her belongings. In a statement issued last Friday, Young said she had "gathered what I believed to be my property but later discovered I was mistaken."

She was fired from the film several months ago after a dispute with producers.

Her manager, Gregg Edwards, said Monday that a surveillance video shows her "putting her own tablet into her own car in the middle of the day." According to police, the video also shows Young entering and leaving the building accompanied by an unknown man.

Edwards said his client had pre-arranged with the building owner to enter the apartment, and the door was open when she arrived. "She assumed it was open so she could get in," he said.

Since then, Young said in her statement, she has contacted producer Dominick Martini "to arrange for the 2 laptops to be returned and to pick up my 2 laptops at their earliest convenience but have now been receiving threatening voice mails from Director Timothy Hines who has been releasing untrue slanderous statements to the press."

Hines told the New York Post that one of the two computers, open on a desk, belonged to a Russian assistant editor "and the keyboard was in Russian. ... Her claim that she walked away with the wrong computers does not hold water. One look at it, she could tell it was a Russian keypad."

Young starred in the 1982 film "Blade Runner" alongside Harrison Ford. Also in the 1980s, she appeared in "No Way Out" and "Wall Street," and more recently on TNT in "The Alienist."

American Book Awards honor cultural diversity

Books on human caging, early Detroit and African-American culture in Los Angeles are among this year's winners for works reflecting the country's diversity.

The American Book Awards were announced Monday by the Before Columbus Foundation, founded in 1976 by author-poet Ishmael Reed.

Winners included Kelly Lytle Hernandez's "City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771-1965" and Kellie Jones' "South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s." Tiya Miles was cited for her history "The Dawn of Detroit."

Other recipients were Victor Lavalle for "The Changeling: A Novel," Valeria Luiselli for "Tell Me How It Ends," Tommy Pico for "Nature Poem" and Rena Priest for "Patriarchy Blues."

Author-filmmaker Sequoyah Guess was given a lifetime achievement award. The poets-musicians Heroes are Gang Leaders were cited for oral literature and an Editor/Publisher Award was given to the late Charles F. Harris, who championed the works of Alice Walker, Nikki Giovanni and other black writers.


This story corrects the gender for Tiya Mills.

Justin Bieber & Hailey Baldwin To Wed Next Year

jutin.jpgJustin Bieber &amp; Hailey Baldwin got engaged about 30 seconds after they got back together in June, but they’re definitely not rushing to the altar.  Sources close to the couple said that they are waiting to tie the know until next year.  It’s not that they’re unsure in a Liam &amp; Miley way, they just feel like they’ve made a huge commitment &amp; that’s the most important thing. The source also said that the couple isn’t “jumping the gun” on their engagement.  “Justin’s been in love with her for a long time, so this didn’t just come from out of the blue.” Apparently, there were a number of times the public doesn’t know about when Justin and Hailey got back together.  The weird thing about this is that everyone thought Selena was the girl Justin always wanted, meanwhile Hailey was the one on his mind.  Kind of alters the messages in his songs now, right?

Cause of death for Charlotte Rae, of ‘Diff’rent Strokes,’ ‘Facts Of Life,’ revealed

The cause of death for actress Charlotte Rae, who died last week at age 92, has been revealed.

According to a death certificate for Rae obtained by TMZ, the woman who is best known for playing Mrs. Garrett on sitcoms “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life” died of cardiac arrest.

>> Read more trending news 

Other contributing factors are listed as metabolic acidosis -- a condition in which too much acid collects in the body -- and carcinoma of the right parotid gland, or salivary gland.

Related: Charlotte Rae, ‘Diff’rent Strokes,’ ‘Facts of Life’ house mother, dead at 92

Rae was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2017. She died in her home in Los Angeles, and former co-stars mourned her loss on social media.

Male model convicted of murdering rival after online feud

A British fashion model has been convicted of murdering a more successful rival after a social media-fueled dispute.

A jury found George Koh guilty on Monday of stabbing Harry Uzoka through the heart outside Uzoka's London home.

The 25-year-old victim was signed to London's Premier Model Management agency and had modeled for GQ and Zara.

Prosecutors say Uzoka accused Koh of trying to copy him, and the two men feuded after Koh claimed to have slept with Uzoka's girlfriend.

In January, Koh sent Uzoka a message challenging him to a fight. Uzoka was stabbed, and collapsed and died in the street.

Koh, 24, had denied murder, saying he was carrying two knives for self-defense.

Two other men were convicted alongside Koh. All will be sentenced Sept. 21.

Singer Jason Aldean, wife Brittany Kerr Aldean reveal they are having baby girl

Country singer Jason Aldean and his wife, former “American Idol” contestant Brittany Kerr, have revealed the gender of their second child together.

Billboard reported that similar to the couple’s announcement of the pregnancy in July, the couple took to Instagram to reveal they were having a baby girl.

>> Read more trending news 

In a baseball-themed gender reveal video, Aldean’s daughters from a previous marriage, Kendyl, 10, and Keely, 15, guessed whether Kerr was expecting a girl or a boy. 

Related: Singer Jason Aldean, wife Brittany Kerr Aldean expecting second child

“Jason and I already know what it is, so this is just for the girls, to see their excitement,” Kerr said in the video.

Aldean and Kerr tossed balls for the girls to hit, which exploded into pink dust.

Both girls guessed correctly. See the gender reveal video below.

Photos: Aretha Franklin through the years

Images of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin through the years.

AP Source: Soul icon Aretha Franklin is seriously ill

Fans and friends, including Mariah Carey and Missy Elliott, offered prayers and well wishes to Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, who is seriously ill.

A person close to Franklin, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to publicly talk about the topic, told The Associated Press on Monday that the singer is seriously ill. No more details were provided.

Carey, who considers Franklin one of her biggest influences, wrote on Twitter that she is "praying for the Queen of Soul." Missy Elliott said that the public has to celebrate iconic artists before they die.

"So many (of them) have given us decades of Timeless music," the rapper wrote on Twitter.

Mark Frost, Andy Cohen and Ciara also posted about Franklin, who is considered one of the greatest singers of all-time and is known for hits like "Respect" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."

Franklin, who had battled undisclosed health issues in recent years, canceled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up. She was originally scheduled to perform on her 76th birthday in March in Newark, New Jersey, and at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in April.

Last year, the icon announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at "some select things." One of those select events was a gala for Elton John's 25th anniversary of his AIDS foundation in November in New York City, where Franklin closed the event with a collection of songs including "I Say a Little Prayer" and "Freeway."

Abdul "Duke" Fakir, the lone surviving original member of the Four Tops, told the AP on Monday morning they have been "very close" for decades and their most recent conversation was about a week ago by phone. Fakir said they talked after Franklin had stopped by his Detroit house when he wasn't there.

"She was telling me she rides around the city every now and then — she talks about how beautiful it is again," Fakir said. "We were reminiscing about how blessed we were — only a couple two of us are around from that era. We were just kind of reminiscing about the good times we had."

Fakir, who calls Franklin "baby sis" because he's older than she is by six years, said despite her health troubles "she was talking about the future."

"She talked about this great, big special she was going to have in New York, with all her great friends performing," he said. "It made me feel good as well — she was still hoping and wishing and dreaming as we do in this business."


Associated Press Writer Jeff Karoub contributed to this report from Detroit.

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