Sideshow: 'Thor' leads box office over weekend

Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell will be reunited as judges, this time for Fox's "X Factor."
Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell will be reunited as judges, this time for Fox's "X Factor." (MARK J. TERRILL / AP, File)
Posted: May 09, 2011

Thor, a 3-D flick featuring the hammer-handlin' hunk from Norse mythology by way of Marvel Comics, nailed down first place for Paramount in the weekend box office wars. Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth plays the god of thunder. Thor's respectable gate of $66 million far outpaced last weekend's winner, Fast Five, from Universal Pictures, which grossed $32.5 million. Two wedding movies came in third and fourth: Jumping the Broom, from TriStar Pictures, pulled in $13.7 million, while Something Borrowed was close behind at $13.2 mil. Rio, an animated family film about birds, came in fifth at $8.2 million.

Comcast chief honored

The Shoah Foundation, created by famed director Steven Spielberg, will honor Comcast chairman and chief executive officer Brian Roberts with its annual Ambassadors for Humanity Award at a benefit gala in Philadelphia on Monday night. Comcast and the Shoah Foundation are cooperating on an educational program to promote tolerance.

"Brian's vision and commitment to enhancing digital literacy in schools and communities across America make him a great ambassador for learning," Spielberg said in a prepared statement.

Spielberg established the foundation, based at the University of Southern California, after his 1993 Holocaust film, Schindler's List. It gathers video testimonials from Holocaust survivors and eyewitnesses to use as teaching tools. Shoah is the Hebrew word for Holocaust.


Nice and nasty are getting back together. Pleasant Paula Abdul will join scathing Simon Cowell, her former judging colleague on American Idol, as a judge for Fox's new talent contest, The X Factor, a source told the Associated Press on Saturday. Abdul reps did not respond to requests for comment.

  Other X Factor judges include British pop superstar Cheryl Cole and Grammy-winning producer Antonio "L.A." Reid.

The X Factor, based on Cowell's hit British show, will debut this fall on Fox. The show is open to solo singers and vocal groups, age 12 and up. They will be after a $5 million recording contract.


Patrons of the arts

The Waltons - the big-box store family, not the TV clan - have kicked in $800 mil of their Wal-Mart bucks as an endowment for the Moshe Safdie-designed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the mid-America Louvre now rising in Bentonville, Ark.

Art-loving Philadelphians will remember that Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton, founding angel of the new museum, tried in partnership with the National Gallery of Art back in '06 to buy one of our civic treasures, Thomas Eakins' The Gross Clinic, from Thomas Jefferson University, sparking a grassroots public fund-raising campaign that raised enough money to allow the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to snatch the painting at the last moment for a mere $68 million and keep it here.

While it may not have The Gross Clinic, the new museum will have plenty of fine art gracing its walls when it opens Nov. 11, thanks to the tireless and deep-pocketed Ms. Walton - including another Eakins work, Portrait of Professor Benjamin H. Rand, purchased from Thomas Jefferson University in 2007.

This article contains information from Inquirer wire services and websites. Contact "SideShow" at

comments powered by Disqus