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‘Aquaman’ wins the weekend box office

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Aquaman 3 Warner Bros.“Aquaman.”Warner Bros.

  • “Aquaman” won the weekend box office with an estimated $72.1 million.
  • It beat out other big releases out this weekend, “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Bumblebee.”
  • “Aquaman” now has a worldwide total of over $480 million.

Warner Bros. sure is happy there wasn’t a “Star Wars” release this holiday season. 

The Disney franchise has dominated the end-of-year box office since 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” which led to analysts uncertainty over whether a single movie would be able to pick up the slack at the December box office this year. But Warner Bros.’ DC Comics Extended Universe has proven the naysayers wrong and has stepped in to lead the box office going into the important Christmas holiday.

Among a crowded field of new releases this season, “Aquaman” has risen to be as big of a draw domestically as it is globally.

The movie took in an estimated $72.1 million over the weekend (including preview showings earlier in the week), beating out other big releases that opened going into Christmas — Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns” and Paramount’s “Bumblebee.” 

mary poppins emily blunt“Mary Poppins Returns.”Disney“Mary Poppins Returns” came in second with $22.2 million while “Bumblebee” came close behind in third place with $21 million.

Read more: “Aquaman” director James Wan chose the character “everyone makes fun of” because there’d be less pressure. Then the DC Comics franchise imploded.

It’s a major win for Warner Bros., which has been on a roller coaster ride trying to make its DCEU as dominant in the superhero space as Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. Whenever the industry thought it was gaining momentum, say, with the big success of 2017’s “Wonder Woman,” it would take a few steps back, like with the disappointing “Justice League.”

WB/DCEU is back on top with “Aquaman.” Already the biggest box office earner ever in China, scoring $300 million-plus, the movie started strong going into its domestic box-office premier. The movie now has a $480 million-plus worldwide net. 

Now the industry will watch to see if the James Wan-directed superhero movie will get to a $100 million five-day domestic opening by the time it gets to Christmas.

bumblebee paramount“Bumblebee.”ParamountBut Warner Bros. isn’t the only studio happy this weekend. Paramount must be ecstatic to be so close to knocking off Disney for second place with its latest Transformers movie, “Bumblebee.” Having the best Rotten Tomatoes score out of all the new releases (94% rating, compared to 64% for “Aquaman” and 77% for “Mary Poppins Returns”), it will be a photo finish to see if a Transformer or a posh English nanny will earn the silver by Christmas.

Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns” opened lower than “A Wrinkle in Time,” which earned the $33.1 million and “Christopher Robin,” which found $24.5 million. It’s surprising to see a Disney title not dominating this time of year, but with Poppins seeing mixed reviews and competing with strong fandoms, it has left the family-friendly title trying to find its footing. But business could pick up by Christmas when more families head out to the theaters.

Then there’s Sony’s holdover “Spider-Man: Into to Spider-Verse,” which is staying strong despite all these new titles, which is a testament to its quality. The movie took in $16.7 million over the weekend, and has earned $85 million for its worldwide total.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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