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|LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Ant-Man" demonstrates both the power of the Marvel brand and what can hold it back. The film's $58 Longtime KYW Newsradio newsman Vince Hill, anchor of "KYW's Opening Bell," heard the closing bell yesterday when CBS Philly laid him off. "I had no idea it was going to be my last show," he told me in a phone interview. "I didn't want to go out this way. I don't take it personally, not at all. It may be all part of the shakeup." On July 1, CBS3 fired three of its top TV news personalities - Kathy Orr, Chris May and Beasley Reece. MORE COVERAGE Camille Cosby stands by her man Byko says farewell to Candidates' Comedy Night Since his wife, Janis, died in 2011 follog surgery to remove two brain tumors, Hill has lived with his two sons in Woolwich Township, Gloucester County, N.J. He said he learned of his firing not long after his midday broadcast yesterday and was six years away from retirement. "It came as a surprise to me," he said. "I had no security guards escorting me out of the building. It was amicable. "But this was my life. I loved doing KYW Newsradio. I thank the audience for welcoming me into their homes every day." Hill, 58, a Philly native and a Central High grad, had been with KYW since he was 22. He covered Wall Street and ran the KYW Business Center every weekday morning, giving listeners an idea of what to expect throughout the day. A journalism professor at Temple University, Hill taught broadcast news writing to many students with whom he later shared the air at KYW, including Cherri Gregg, Tim Jimenez, Jim Melwert and Mike Dougherty. "I'm proud of those guys," he said. "I'll probably keep on teaching for a while." Kenney to DJ benefit The Democratic candidate for mayor will be guest-DJing at "The Flow," an annual after-work networking event hosted at select venues throughout the city. "The Flow" has featured some of the city's most prominent personalities spinning their favorite tunes for a charitable cause of their choice. This year, Jim Kenney's cameo will be at TGIFriday's (1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway). It benefits the Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center, which provides job training for the disadvantaged. In years past, the party has featured guest DJs such as Mayor Nutter and several City Council electeds. Kenney said that we can expect some retro and old-school numbers, some stuff from Gamble & Huff and, of course, Tupac Shakur, "my favorite rapper." Check out "DJ Jimmy Jamz" from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday on the rooftop deck. From Penn to Hollywood A Penn grad has been chosen along with nine others for the 2015 HBO Access Writers Fellowships. After 2,000 submissions, HBO announced the ners of its writing program, which offers emerging scribes from a diverse array of backgrounds the opportunity to submit their work and participate in an eight-month-long fellowship in Santa Monica, Calif. University of Pennsylvania graduate Yolanda Carney is one lucky ner. Although she's now based in Chicago, she wrote several plays locally and holds a B.A. in creative writing from her Ivy League alma mater. Papal visit bumps annual gala Bebashi's 30th anniversary Black Tie Gala is being forced to take a back seat to the pope. The much anticipated World Meeting of Families - special guest Pope Francis - is scheduled for late September, the same time as the organization's annual gala, traditionally held at the Crystal Tea Room (100 E. Penn Square). This year's benefit features "Rhythm of the Night" hitmaker El DeBarge and R&B gospel singer Howard Hewett. Bebashi people tell me that they're moving their gala after city officials and venue management advised them that because of the heightened security during "Pope Week," traveling in and around Center City will be so difficult it would ruin attendance. "Needless to say, we were all beyond disappointed, as we have been working diligently to make this an unforgettable night of networking, entertainment and inspiration," wrote a marketing specialist for Bebashi-Transition to Hope - the Philly-based health management agency and benefactor of the gala. The event is not DOA. It's just moved to a colder season. Bebashi's "Power of 30" gala and awards ceremony will now be held Dec. 11 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Ballroom at the Ben (834 Chestnut St.) debut would have been a strong start for nearly any other company, but for Marvel, which has fielded a dizzying number of blockbusters, it is something of a disappointment. "Ant-Man's" opening ranks below the numbers that films centering on Captain America, Thor and Iron Man put up during their launches. More importantly, it failed to top the $60 domestically that most analysts predicted it would make this weekend. There is a crucial difference, however, between "Ant-Man" and other superhero movies. In the Marvel universe, Ant-Man is more of a utility player than star attraction. Given the dubious pedigree, it's doubtful that many other companies could have made a movie about a man with the powers of a household pest and enjoyed stronger results. See More:Paul Rudd on 'Ant-Man' Training: 'I Took the Chris Pratt Approach' "The media expects a lot, maybe too much, from Marvel movies," said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. "This is not a B-list character. It's barely even a C-list one. It's a comicbook that hardly anybody collected." Executives at Disney, Marvel's parent company, admitted that they would have liked a bigger number, but tried to accentuate the positive, noting that Ant-Man was, in their words, "an obscure character." The film, which is noticeably lighter in tone, was intended to bring in younger audiences, Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis argued. "We were able to successfully launch a new character and to do so in a way that expands the audience of who is coming to see our movies," he said. "In the long run, that's of overwhelming value." But competition for the family dollar is intense this summer, given that animated films like "Minions" and "Inside Out" are still doing big business. Whatever the studio's intentions may have been, "Ant-Man" did only slightly better among audiences with kids than "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Guardians of the Galaxy." Families comprised 22% of the opening weekend crowd for the "Avengers" sequel and 26% of ticket buyers for the "Guardians" adventure compared to 28% for "Ant-Man." On the plus side, people seemed to like the picture, handing it an A CinemaScore rating, so it could benefit from word of mouth as summer enters its dog days. What's more troubling is that "Ant-Man" shows that even with the strongest brand in comicbook movies behind it, audiences won't show up to see just any costumed vigilante. Marvel may have felt emboldened by the success of "Guardians of the Galaxy," which took marginal figures and fashioned them into film stars, but James Gunn's pop culture-infused direction helped elevate that material. There simply wasn't enough to distinguish "Ant-Man" from the onslaught of origin stories and superhero films. Standing out from the pack will only get harder. In the coming years, Marvel is delving deeper into the comicbook archive, backing movies based on more obscure heroes like Black Panther and Doctor Strange. At the same time, the studios it licenses its characters to, such as Fox and Sony, plan to raid the recesses of the X-Men and Spider-Man universes to produce movies based on niche figures like Deadpool and Venom. That's to say nothing of DC Comics, which is about to embark on its own ambitious cavalcade of superhero movies with the 2016 releases of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Suicide Squad." All these movies will beget an endless array of spinoffs, prequels and crossover films, testing enthusiasm for the genre. It's a slate that has the Comic-Con crowd in a state of euphoria, but the rest of the public, not versed in the fruits of Stan Lee's off-days, may need convincing. "This sends a clear message to Marvel that they need to up the stakes a little bit," said Bock. "This was a solid film, but it was also on a little bit of cruise control. They should have had a cameo from Iron Man or something to up the ante."|
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