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Brown University to give Sting honorary degree

Ivy League school Brown University will bestow an honorary degree on English musician Sting.

The Rhode Island school will present him with the degree at its 250th commencement Sunday. Nobel Prize-winning physicist J. Michael Kosterlitz is among other honorees.

Sting formed the pioneering British rock band The Police with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers in 1977. He co-founded an environmental organization, the Rainforest Fund, to protect the world's rainforests.

Seniors are proceeding to the First Baptist Church in America from the Brown campus before commencement. Located in Providence, it's the oldest Baptist church congregation in the U.S.

'Solo' sputters in takeoff with $83.3M at box office

In the largest disturbance yet in Disney's otherwise lucrative reign over "Star Wars," the Han Solo spinoff "Solo: A Star Wars Story" opened well below expectations with a franchise-low $83.3 million in ticket sales over the three-day weekend in North American theaters.

Disney estimated Sunday that "Solo" will gross $101 million over the four-day Memorial Day weekend, a figure below even the opening weekends of the much-derided "Star Wars" prequels. Last week, forecasts ran as high as $150 million for the four-day haul of "Solo."

Overseas ticket sales were even worse. "Solo," starring Alden Ehrenreich in the role made iconic by Harrison Ford, grossed $65 million internationally in its opening weekend, including a paltry $10.1 million in China.

"Of course we would have hoped for this to be a bit bigger," said Dave Hollis, Disney's distribution chief. "We're encouraged by the response that people have had to the film. It got a good CinemaScore (A-minus). The exits are very encouraging."

"Solo" came in with a Millennium Falcon's worth of baggage following the mid-production firing of directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who were replaced by Ron Howard. With the rejiggered production, the budget soared well past $250 million.

But the cause of the spinoff's disappointing performance may have had as much to do with "Star Wars" fatigue ("The Last Jedi" exited theaters just last month) and the stiffer competition of a summer holiday weekend. While no major releases dared to open against "Solo," Fox's "Deadpool 2" moved its release date up a week ahead of "Solo."

The gambit may have hurt both releases. After debuting with $125 million last weekend, the R-rated Ryan Reynolds sequel dropped 66 percent to second place with $42.7 million and an estimated $53.5 million four-day haul.

"Solo" notched the biggest Memorial Day weekend opening in several years, but it also came on the heels of a pair of a summer-sized blockbusters — "Deadpool 2" and Disney's own "Avengers Infinity War" — making for an unusually crowded May. "Infinity War" added $16.5 million in its fifth weekend to bring its domestic total to $621.7 million and its global sales to $1.9 billion — both among the highest of all-time.

"It is a business that is built on momentum but also one where people probably are only able to get to theaters a certain number of weeks in a row," said Hollis.

But there were also questions beyond the effect the calendar had on "Solo." While reviews were generally positive (71 percent "fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes), there was little about "Solo" that made the movie a must-see event.

Fans were skeptical of Ehrenreich and uncertain about the dismissal of Lord and Miller (the popular filmmaking duo behind "21 Jump Street" and "The Lego Movie"). Unlike any "Star Wars" release before, "Solo" was deemed — gasp — skippable.

As it arrived in theaters, Disney might have been wishing it had instead made a Lando Calrissian spinoff with the red-hot Donald Glover, the star of TV's "Atlanta." In the days ahead of release, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said a Lando movie is a possibility.

While the original "Star Wars" films helped define the summer moviegoing experience, Disney released their previous three "Star Wars" films in December. What most hurt "Solo" was the "fatigue factor" of a May "Star Wars" film following a December one, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore.

"It's the compressed timeframe between the two 'Star Wars' films and the highly competitive nature of this marketplace. It is summer, after all," said Dergarabedian. "The good news is that the next film isn't until December 2019. That's plenty of breathing space. I think part of the allure of the 'Star Wars' brand in the past has been the long wait."

That time might also be valuable for Lucasfilm and Disney to find a way to counter the diminishing returns of its multi-billion-dollar franchise. To help propel "Solo" internationally, Disney brought the film to Cannes Film Festival, flooding the French film festival's red carpet with Storm Troopers.

"The Last Jedi" also flopped in China (it was pulled from theaters after a week), and Rian Johnson's movie — even though it grossed $1.3 billion worldwide — showed relatively weak legs at the box office, while proving divisive among "Star Wars" die-hards.

The magic around a "Star Wars" film may be fading. To right the ship on Episode 9, Lucasfilm has turned to an old friend: "The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams. He, too, is replacing a fired director after Colin Trevorrow departed last fall.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Tuesday.

1. "Solo: A Star Wars Story," $83.3 million ($65 million international).

2. "Deadpool 2," $42.7 million ($57 million international).

3. "Avengers: Infinity War," $16.5 million ($32.5 million international).

4. "Book Club," $9.5 million.

5. "Life of the Party," $5.1 million.

6. "Breaking In," $4.1 million.

7. "Show Dogs," $3.1 million.

8. "Overboard," $3 million ($2.3 million international).

9. "A Quiet Place," $2.2 million ($4.7 million international).

10. "RBG," $1.2 million.

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Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. "Solo: A Star Wars Story," $65 million.

2. "Deadpool 2," $57 million.

3. "Avengers: Infinity War," $32.5 million.

4. "How Long Will I Love U," $24.3 million.

5. "Believer," $10.4 million.

6. "A Quiet Place," $4.7 million.

7. "Blumhouse's Truth Or Dare," $3.3 million.

8. "Perfetti Sconosciuti," $2.8 million.

9. "Peter Rabbit," $2.4 million.

10. "Overboard," $2.3 million.

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Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

Film explores Chinese Exclusion Act as US immigration 'DNA'

Politicians seizing on immigrants as an election issue. Newspaper headlines calling for action. Talk of legislation to institute a ban.

If viewers of "The Chinese Exclusion Act" documentary end up with a sense of deja vu between the film's subject, a law from 1882 that barred Chinese people from coming to the United States, and current events, that's pretty much the point, according to its filmmakers.

"The 'A-Ha!' for anybody coming to it ... is oh, there's a history to how we have decided who can come and when they can come, who's a citizen and who's not a citizen," said documentarian Ric Burns, who made the film with Li-Shin Yu. It airs on the PBS television series "American Experience" on Tuesday.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was America's first and only immigration act that barred people from a specific country from coming to the United States. After its initial enactment for a 10-year period in 1882, it was regularly renewed and then made permanent in 1904. It was finally repealed in 1943.

Making the documentary was an eye-opening experience for Burns and Yu, who had never heard of the law and believe most of the American public isn't aware of it either, but should be.

"This is the DNA of American immigration policy," Burns said. "It is not A story about immigration, it is THE story about immigration and you're not going to understand any of the other aspects of it without understanding this thing: In 1848, you got off the boat and disappeared, in 1882 suddenly there was a racially invidious distinction being made."

The documentary, which Burns and Yu initially started several years ago, starts several decades before the law's enactment on May 6, 1882. The Chinese had started coming to the West Coast, primarily California, in the middle part of the 19th Century, drawn by the possibilities of the California Gold Rush and looking to escape the unrest in China in the wake of the Opium Wars over the West forcing China to open to trade.

They became targets of prejudice by white miners and other Californians as gold became more difficult to come by, as well as politicians appealing to nativist sentiments and those concerned immigrants were depressing wages. But they were also vital labor in the building of the Western half of the transcontinental railroad, forced to work for lower pay and in worse conditions that white workers.

The documentary shows how, even though estimates put the Chinese population at about 100,000 or so when the overall country's population was about 50 million, there was a rising sentiment that the Chinese were a problem. That lead to local laws around the West Coast limiting their livelihoods as well as acts like the federal 1875 Page Act, which instituted regulations on women attempting to come to the United States from China that were onerous enough that they were almost completely excluded. There were also acts of violence, like the October 1871 massacre in Los Angeles, when a mob went to Chinatown and 18 Chinese immigrants were killed, many of them lynched.

When the exclusion act was passed, it prohibited most Chinese workers from coming, and preventing Chinese already here from ever becoming naturalized citizens.

But the anti-Chinese sentiment already stoked in the U.S. didn't abate with the law, and the documentary shows how acts of violence continued to be perpetrated against Chinese communities, as in the Snake River massacre in 1887, where almost three dozen Chinese miners were killed in Oregon.

The documentary also shows how Chinese immigrants and the next generation of Chinese Americans born in the United States fought back, filing thousands and thousands of lawsuits in the courts to push back against the limitations of the laws they were living under.

Some of the cases established principles that Americans now take for granted and assume have been part of the country since its founding, Burns said. He pointed to the case of Wong Kim Ark, born in America to Chinese immigrant parents. He was returning to the U.S. after a visit to China and was barred from re-entry. His case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the judges decided that he was a citizen because of being born here, in accordance with the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment, thus clarifying the precedent for birthright citizenship, regardless of whether a person's parents were citizens.

"The Chinese who came here and Chinese Americans saw more clearly what's best about our system and helped secure it," Burns said. "Every American who is born here assumes they're American because of something Thomas Jefferson wrote, not that Wong Kim Ark took his case to the Supreme Court."

With immigration a current hot-button issue, Burns and Yu hope the documentary gives viewers a clearer sense of America's immigration past, away from the romanticized notion that the country has always opened its arms to people from other nations, so that issues of today can be grappled with more accurately.

Americans are attached "to an idea of a kinder, gentler understanding of an American past," Burns said. "That kinder, gentler past, if it's wrong, isn't going to help you steer accurately in the present and the future."

___

Deepti Hajela covers issues of race, ethnicity and immigration for The Associated Press. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dhajela. For more of her work, search for her name at https://apnews.com

Iron Maiden Begin 'Legacy of the Beast' Tour: Set List + Video

With a career-spanning set, Iron Maiden kicked off the European leg of their Legacy of the Beast tour on May 26, 2018 at the Saku Arena in Tallinn, Estonia.

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Glenn Snoddy, inventor of fuzz pedal for guitarists, dies

A recording engineer whose invention of a pedal that allowed guitarists to create a fuzzy, distorted sound most famously used by Keith Richards in the Rolling Stones' hit "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" has died.

Glenn Snoddy was 96. His daughter Dianne Mayo said Saturday that Snoddy died Monday of congestive heart failure at his Murfreesboro, Tennessee, home.

Snoddy was helping record country artist Marty Robbins' song "Don't Worry" in 1961 when a malfunction caused the distortion in a guitar solo. When other musicians sought the same effect, Snoddy couldn't recreate it in the studio but invented a pedal where a guitarist could switch into the sound with a tap of the foot.

Richards' "Satisfaction" riff with the fuzz tone is one of the most recognizable ones in rock history.

Mantel, Saunders up for best-ever Booker Prize accolade

Britain's Hilary Mantel, Canada's Michael Ondaatje and American author George Saunders are among five contenders for the title of greatest-ever winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction.

Mantel's Tudor saga "Wolf Hall," Ondaatje's multilayered romance "The English Patient" and Saunders' Civil War-era symphony "Lincoln in the Bardo" are finalists for the Golden Man Booker Prize.

Also nominated are "In a Free State" by Trinidad-born Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipaul and "Moon Tiger" by Britain's Penelope Lively. The list was announced Saturday.

A panel of judges selected one book from each decade since the prize was founded in 1969. A public vote will decide the ultimate winner, to be announced July 8.

The prize was originally open to British, Irish and Commonwealth writers. Americans have been eligible since 2014.

Olivia Munn discusses Aaron Rodgers’ family issues for the first time

Olivia Munn has opened up about ex Aaron Rodgers’ family issues nearly one year after their split.

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Munn appeared on Sirius XM’s “Andy Cohen Live” and said she only met the NFL Green Bay quarterback’s parents “a couple of times.” 

“Before he and I started dating, he hadn’t spoken to one of the brothers and his parents for eight months,” Munn told Cohen, according to Bravo TV

US Weekly reports that Munn and Rodgers dated for three years before their split in 2017.

Rodgers’ brother, Jordan, got the final rose on ABC’s “The Bachelorette” during the show’s 2016 season. 

She told Cohen that she encouraged Rodgers to work on his family relationships. At one point, she said that she helped him draft bullet points to guide a conversation.

“I just think it’s really important to try to mend things in a family. And I encourage that,” Munn told Cohen. “But at the end of the day, I do believe that family and fame and success can be really complicated if their dreams are connected to your success.”

While they were together, Munn was blamed for causing the rift between Rodgers and his family, 24-7 Sports reports.

Rodgers is currently dating professional racing driver Danica Patrick.

John Fogerty and ZZ Top Kick Off 'Blues and Bayous' Tour: Set List

One of this year's most eagerly awaited package tours began last night (May 25) when ZZ Top and John Fogerty opened up their Blues and Bayous Tour at the Borgata Spa & Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.

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Morgan Freeman says he did not assault women

Morgan Freeman says he likes to compliment people to make them feel at ease around him but that he has never sexually assaulted women.

The Academy Award-winning actor is fighting back against charges of bad behavior made by multiple women in a CNN report this week. He said in a statement late Friday that the report has devastated him and that "it is not right to equate horrific incidents of sexual assault with misplaced compliments or humor."

Following the report, Visa announced it was suspending all of its marketing that features the actor's voice.

CNN's story includes one movie production assistant who said Freeman unsuccessfully tried to lift her skirt. Other women talked about unwanted touching on their backs and shoulders. Mostly, Freeman's accusers say he would comment about their bodies or clothes or make them uncomfortable by staring. A male former employee of Freeman's production company said the 80-year-old actor would behave like a "creepy uncle."

One of the article's authors, Chloe Melas, began working on it following a press junket where she said Freeman clasped her hand, looked her up and down and made comments like, "you are ripe."

"I admit that I am someone who feels a need to try to make women, and men, feel appreciated and at ease around me," Freeman said. "As a part of that, I would often try to joke with and compliment women, in what I thought was a light-hearted and humorous way. Clearly I was not always coming across the way I intended."

He said that he did not assault women, create unsafe work environments or offer employment or advancement in exchange for sex.

His reference to equating his behavior with others was unclear. The accusations against Freeman came out the same day word spread that New York City authorities were filing rape charges against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Freeman's statement was reminiscent of an email written by longtime television anchor Tom Brokaw sent to friends recently after a former colleague had accused him of unwanted sexual advances.

"I am devastated that 80 years of my life is at risk of being undermined, in the blink of an eye, by Thursday's media reports," Freeman said.

Freeman won the 2005 Oscar for best supporting actor for "Million Dollar Baby." He was nominated four other times, including for "Driving Miss Daisy" and "The Shawshank Redemption." His voice is familiar on commercials and as a narrator for documentaries and other productions.

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Associated Press writer Jocelyn Noveck and Josh Boak, AP economics writer in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

Phil Collen Leaves Def Leppard Tour

Less than a week after Def Leppard's tour with Journey began, a reported family emergency has caused Phil Collen to leave the tour.

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