‘Oz’ prequel bewitches box office with $80M


“Oz the Great and the Powerful” clicked with moviegoers.

Disney’s 3-D prequel to the classic L. Frank Baum tale “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” debuted in first place and earned $80.3 million at the weekend box office in the U.S. and Canada and $69.9 million overseas, according to studio estimates Sunday.

“Oz” tells the origin of James Franco as the wizard with Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz as the trio of witches he encounters after crashing in the mystical realm of Oz.

The updated take on “Oz,” which was directed by original “Spider-Man” trilogy mastermind Sam Raimi, was a gamble that looks like it will pay off for the Walt Disney Co.

The film reportedly cost $200 million.

In its second weekend, “Jack the Giant Slayer” stomped out second place behind “Oz” with $10 million, dropping 62 percent since its opening weekend.

In third place was “Identity Thief” with $6.3 million.

The only other new release this weekend, the FilmDistrict revenge drama “Dead Man Down” starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace, opened in fourth place with $5.3 million.

In fifth place was “Snitch” with $5.1 million.

Welsh-born Swedish Princess Lilian dies


Welsh-born Princess Lilian of Sweden, whose decades-long love story with the king’s uncle was one of the better- kept secrets of the royal household, died Sunday. She was 97.

A brief statement on the Royal Palace’s website said Lilian died at her home in Stockholm.

It didn’t give a cause of death, but Lilian suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and had been in poor health for several years.

Lilian met Sweden’s Prince Bertil already in 1943, but the prince’s obligations to the throne and Lilian’s status as a divorced commoner prevented them from making their love public, and it would take more than 30 years before they could marry.

The couple’s sacrifices and lifelong dedication to one another gripped the hearts of Swedes.

Their story has been described as one of the most touching royal romances of our time.

The couple never had any children.

Prince Bertil died in the couple’s residence Villa Solbacken in Stockholm in 1997 after unspecified lung problems.

Taylor Swift visits young cancer patient


Taylor Swift has visited a young cancer patient in Nebraska.

The singer was at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha on Saturday to see 10-year-old Lauren Hacker.

The fifth-grader at St. Margaret Mary School has cancer.

The Omaha World-Herald reported that the meeting was lobbied for on social media.

It was later arranged by Lauren’s family and the singer’s representatives.

Swift kicks off her worldwide tour Wednesday in Omaha for her latest album, “Red.”

Associated Press

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