Marvel’s Guardians save the galaxy – and the summer blockbuster season

Hollywood’s pioneering ‘Godfather of Make-up’ dies at age 92, Pamela Anderson flies in to the Faroe Islands to save pilot whales and Lorde given the job of choosing music for the third Hunger Games movie, Salman Khan to promote Dr Cabbie in Toronto

Lorde, who is selecting the songs for the next Hunger Games movie. Theo Wargo / Getty Images / AFP
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The Guardians of the Galaxy are not only helping to save the universe in their debut film, but they could also save Hollywood's so far lacklustre summer season. Marvel's latest comic-book blockbuster proved to be a box-office smash on its opening night in the United States and Canada, earning US$11.2 million (Dh41.1m). That was more than the most recent Marvel movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which featured a well-established character from the Avengers universe and made $10.2m on its first day of release. The film, which leads in to next summer's Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron, follows a rogue band of misfits on an intergalactic space adventure as they attempt to save the galaxy from evil warlords. But they could also "save the summer" for a slumping movie industry that has failed to excite audiences so far, said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst at Rentrak. Summer ticket sales in North America are down 20 per cent on last year, at $2.93 billion. – Reuters

Hollywood’s pioneering ‘Godfather of Make-up’ dies at age 92

The pioneering movie make-up artist Dick Smith, who transformed the look of Marlon Brando in The Godfather and Linda Blair in The Exorcist, among other high-profile film work, has died. He was 92. Known as the "Godfather of Make-up", Smith was the first make-up artist to win an Academy Award for lifetime achievement and helped to pioneer ­now-standard techniques and materials. In 1970's Little Big Man, he convincingly made Dustin Hoffman, who was in his mid-30s at the time, look like he was 100 years old. He transformed the middle-aged Brando into the jowly, ageing mafia patriarch Don Vito Corleone in 1972's The Godfather. The following year, he turned the teenage Blair into a hideously scarred victim of demonic possession in The Exorcist. In 1985, Smith shared an Oscar with Paul LeBlanc for their work on Amadeus. Smith died on Wednesday in California of natural causes. – AP

Pamela Anderson flies in to the Faroe Islands to save pilot whales

The former Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson has travelled to the Faroe Islands in attempt to halt the annual hunting of pilot whales, a tradition that dates back 400 years that she described as a "barbaric, psychotic frenzy". She flew in to the semi-autonomous Danish archipelago, located between Scotland and Iceland, this weekend to support a campaign by the Seattle-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. "We want to protect the whales, not fight the Faroes," the actress said. "We hope to convince people here to move on to something else." Pilot whales are not endangered, but activists say the hunt is cruel. Each year, islanders drive herds of pilot whales into shallow waters, where they are killed. The drives are regulated by legislation and the meat and blubber are shared by the community. Islanders kill up to 1,000 whales annually out of an estimated population of 128,000. – AP

Lorde given the job of choosing music for the third Hunger Games movie

The teenage pop star Lorde will select the songs that appear in the third Hunger Games movie, which is due for release in November. The 17-year-old New Zealander – whose song Royals was an international smash hit last year – will hand-pick the artists featured in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. She will also supply the first single from the movie. "I am so pleased and proud to have been announced the sole curator of the soundtrack," she told her 1.94 million followers. "I sat down with Lorde on the set of Mockingjay this spring and I was immediately struck by how she so innately understood what we, as both fans and filmmakers, were trying to accomplish with the film," said the director Francis Lawrence. The Hunger Games movies, based on a series of books for young adults written by Suzanne Collins, star Jennifer Lawrence as the bow-wielding survivor of a brutal reality-TV contest in a dystopian future. – AFP

Salman Khan to promote Dr Cabbie in Toronto

The Bollywood star Salman Khan is heading to Toronto on August 28 for a whirlwind three days to promote the Indo-Canadian actor Vinay Virmani's English-language comedy Dr Cabbie, just a few days before the opening of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF; September 4 to 14).

But Dr Cabbie won't actually be premièred or screen at TIFF – Virmani and his entrepreneur father Ajay Virmani decided that it might not stand a chance against all the big-ticket Bollywood films premiering there, including Priyanka Chopra's Mary Kom, whose recently launched trailer has gone viral online.

Instead, the makers of Dr Cabbie have "decided to steal the thunder" by bringing Khan to the Canadian city to meet and greet his fans. Khan serves as the ­official producer of the film.

While details of the actor's itinerary have not been revealed, sources say that he will spend a lot of time on the streets of Toronto interacting with Indian cab drivers – the film is about an Indian immigrant doctor newly arrived in Canada, who cannot get a job and so is forced to become a cabbie. He becomes a ­local hero when he converts his taxi into a mobile medical clinic. The film is directed by the Canadian filmmaker Jean-François Pouliot, and the cast includes Adrianne Palicki (G I Joe), Kunal Nayyar (the TV series The Big Bang ­Theory), Rizwan Manji and Bollywood's Lillete Dubey and Isabelle Kaif (the sister of the A-lister Katrina Kaif).

Dr Cabbie will be released in India ­later this year but a date has not been ­announced yet. – The National staff