Halloween still has fans

Visual arts

Staff & Wire Reports

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Jamie Lee Curtis in a scene from "Halloween," in theaters nationwide on Oct. 19. (Ryan Green/Universal Pictures via AP)

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Jamie Lee Curtis in a scene from "Halloween," in theaters nationwide on Oct. 19. (Ryan Green/Universal Pictures via AP)

‘Halloween’ scares up $77.5 million in ticket sales


AP Film Writer

Monday, October 22

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Forty years after he first appeared in theaters, Michael Myers is still drawing huge audiences for a good scare.

Universal Pictures said Sunday that “Halloween” took in an estimated $77.5 million in ticket sales from North American theaters.

It captured first place at the box office with the second-highest horror opening of all time, behind last year’s “It.”

It also marked the second highest October opening ever behind “Venom’s” $80.3 million launch earlier this month.

The studio also says it’s the biggest movie opening ever with a female lead over 55, in star Jamie Lee Curtis.

David Gordon Green directed “Halloween,” which brings back Curtis as Laurie Strode and Nick Castle as Michael Myers and essentially ignores the events of the other sequels and spinoffs aside from John Carpenter’s original.

Reviews have been largely positive for the new installment, with an 80 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a B+ Cinema Score from audiences that were mostly older (59 percent over 25) and male (53 percent). Internationally, “Halloween” earned $14.3 million from 23 markets.

Blumhouse, the shop behind “Get Out” and numerous other modestly budgeted horror films, co-produced “Halloween” with Miramax. It cost only $10 million to make.

“You take the nostalgia for ‘Halloween,’ especially with the return of Jamie Lee Curtis, and you combine that with the Blumhouse brand and its contemporary currency in the genre and it just made for a ridiculously potent combination at the box office this weekend,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution.

With 10 days to go until the holiday, including another weekend, the studio expects “Halloween” to enjoy a much longer life than typical horror films that usually drop off significantly after the first weekend.

“Halloween” was enough to bump the comic-book film “Venom” out of the No. 1 spot and into third place. In its third weekend in theaters, it collected $18.1 million, bringing its domestic total to $171.1 million.

Meanwhile “A Star Is Born” held on to second place in its third weekend with $19.3 million. The Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga drama has grossed $126.4 million from North American theaters and is cruising to break $200 million worldwide Sunday.

Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man” tumbled to fifth place in its second weekend earning $8.6 million, down 46 percent from its launch.

It was a particularly busy week at the box office as critically acclaimed films such as the young adult adaptation “The Hate U Give” and the Robert Redford swan song “The Old Man & The Gun” expanded nationwide after a few weeks in limited release.

“The Hate U Give,” now in 2,303 locations, placed sixth with $7.5 million, and “The Old Man & The Gun” took 10th with $2.1 million from 802 locations.

A number of well-received indies also made their debuts. At the top was Jonah Hill’s directorial debut “Mid90s,” which opened in four theaters with $249,500 (or a $62,375 per theater average).

The Melissa McCarthy film “Can You Ever Forgive Me,” about the literary forger Lee Israel, grossed $150,000 in five locations.

October has never been a particularly strong box office month, but 2018 has helped to change that. The weekend was up nearly 72 percent from the same weekend last October and the year to date is up nearly 11 percent.

“The industry is on a major roll right now,” said comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “Audiences are responding to movies big and small right now — You can have your cinematic fast food and fine dining all at once right now. The movie-going experience is as viable and relevant as ever.”

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 Monday.

1.”Halloween,” $77.5 million ($14.3 million international).

2.”A Star Is Born,” $19.3 million ($22.8 million international).

3.”Venom,” $18.1 million ($32.3 million international).

4.”Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween,” $9.7 million ($6.2 million international).

5.”First Man,” $8.6 million ($13.4 million international).

6.”The Hate U Give,”$7.5 million.

7. “Smallfoot,” $6.6 million ($14 million international).

8.”Night School,” $5 million ($1.5 million international).

9.”Bad Times At The El Royale,” $3.3 million ($2.5 million international).

10.”The Old Man & The Gun,” $2 million.

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

1. “Venom,” $32.3 million.

2. “A Star Is Born,” $22.8 million.

3. “Project Gutenberg,” $14.7 million.

4. “Halloween,” $14.3 million.

5. “Smallfoot,” $14 million.

6. “First Man,” $13.4 million.

7. “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween,” $6.2 million.

8. “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” $5.7 million.

9. “Lost, Found,” $5.3 million.

10. “Hichki,” $4 million.

Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr

‘ORCHESIS 18/19’

Ohio Wesleyan Dancers, Choreographers Take Relationships to the Stage Nov. 9-10

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University’s student dance company, Orchesis, will present its annual contemporary dance concert Nov. 9-10 with 16 dancers exploring relationships in seven pieces created by students, faculty, and a guest choreographer.

Guest choreographer Momar Ndiaye directs “No’w’man is an Island, 7=1ω,” with seven female dancers exploring the idea of encounters, influence, identity, journey, and community. Inspired by the concept of “no man is an island,” Ndiaye’s piece asks: “What is the common denominator(s) “ω” that ambiguously highlight(s) our differences while at the same time consolidates and solidifies or resembles?”

“These concepts are looked at from both a micro and macro level since we live in a world of globalization,” said Ndiaye, a performer, choreographer, and videographer from Senegal. “Could dance be the ‘neutral’ space for the redefinition of dynamics between people from different places and backgrounds?”

The concert’s artistic director, Rashana Perks Smith, presents “The Big and Small,” which examines the duality of reaching toward something bigger in the midst of dealing with all that is small. Seniors Kimberly McCalmont, Penell Paglialunga, Rachael Sheets, and Savannah Travis “bounce between large and small volumes of movement, gradual and quick transitions, personal and public kinespheres, and the understated and the over the top,” said Smith, a member of the Ohio Wesleyan faculty since 2013.

In collaboration with the full cast of Orchesis, Smith will conclude the concert with a 16-member piece, “With and Without You | Coursing Through My Veins.” The piece represents “a recognition of singularity and multiplicity coupled with an acknowledgment of lineage; it is a love letter to mentors and a look forward,” Smith said.

The show’s remaining pieces, all choreographed by Ohio Wesleyan dance students, explore a variety of themes:

  • Senior Kimberly McCalmont of Centerville, Ohio, presents her final Orchesis piece as a reflection of her 19 years of ballet, modern, and contemporary dance training.
  • Senior Savannah Travis of Bainbridge Island, Washington, investigates the concept of vulnerability and how it is used to connect with others.
  • Junior Kiersten Bender of Springfield, Ohio, explores the rise and fall of relationships.
  • Sophomore Taylor Frasure of Galloway, Ohio, depicts close relationships using partnered ensemble work.

The Department of Theatre & Dance will present three performances of “Orchesis 18/19” at 8 p.m. Nov. 9 and at both 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Nov. 10 on the Main Stage of Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware, on the Ohio Wesleyan campus.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for senior citizens, Ohio Wesleyan employees, and non-OWU students with valid student IDs. Tickets are free for OWU students with valid university IDs. The Nov. 9 performance is free for Ohio Wesleyan faculty and staff. A reception will follow each performance. To reserve tickets, call (740) 368-3855.

Learn more about Orchesis and Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Theatre & Dance at www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

Art Quilt Alliance: Color Therapy on view at Dublin Arts Council Nov. 13 – Dec. 21, 2018

DUBLIN, Ohio– (Oct. 22, 2018) Art Quilt Alliance: Color Therapy is a group exhibition of artistic responses to members’ daily wanderings, including the natural world, families, neighborhoods, social and political events; and reflecting thoughts regarding the surrounding world. The exhibition will be on view at Dublin Arts Council, 7125 Riverside Dr., in Dublin, Ohio from Nov. 13 through Dec. 21, 2018.

­­The Art Quilt Alliance (AQA) is a group of approximately 38 members in central Ohio, meeting monthly and joining several times a year to exhibit members’ artwork in various venues. AQA members produce creative, diverse and outstanding original art quilts using myriad techniques and materials that are not necessarily used in traditional quilting.

The exhibition opens with a public reception for the artists, catered by Dublin Arts Council’s Dublin-based Visual Arts Series catering partner, The Food Smiths, on Tuesday, Nov. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. The opening reception and the exhibition are free of charge.

Gallery hours are Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Details can be found at www.dublinarts.org or by calling 614.889.7444.

Dublin Arts Council (DAC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, supported in part by the City of Dublin’s hotel/motel tax and the Ohio Arts Council, which helps fund Dublin Arts Council and its programs with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. DAC is further supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, fundraising events, classes, gallery sales and in-kind contributions. DAC engages the community, cultivates creativity and fosters life-long learning through the arts.

Dublin Women’s Philanthropic Club

Boots, Bourbon and Beer

Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, 2018, 7 – 11 p.m.

Country Club at Muirfield Village, 8715 Muirfield Dr., Dublin

Dublin Women’s Philanthropic Club will host their largest fundraising event of the year on Saturday Jan. 26, 2019, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at Country Club at Muirfield Village, 8715 Muirfield Dr., in Dublin, Ohio. The evening’s theme is “Boots, Bourbon and Beer,” featuring a live auction, tapas, a cash bourbon tasting and line dancing. The event’s honoree is Dublin resident Jamie Mollwitz, owner of Historic Dublin boutique BOHO 72, who gives back to more than 30 causes per year through donations and special events hosted in her store.

Event proceeds benefit Dublin Women’s Philanthropic Club’s grants and scholarship programs, including grants to women who are overcoming obstacles to continue their education. Dublin Women’s Philanthropic Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to philanthropy in the areas of higher education and supporting families and women in times of crisis or need.

Tickets are now on sale for $75 per person. For more information, visit http://dublinwomensclub.com/ or contact event Chairperson Pam Stein at pamlstein@gmail.com or 614-678-9148. Corporate sponsorships are also available. For more information, please contact Sharon Zimmers, sharonzimmers@yahoo.com.

The Conversation

Meet AICAN, a machine that operates as an autonomous artist

October 17, 2018

Author: Ahmed Elgammal, Professor of Computer Vision, Rutgers University

Disclosure statement: Proceeds from the sale of AICAN’s art has funded Rutgers’ Art & AI Lab.

When artificial intelligence has been used to create works of art, a human artist has always exerted a significant element of control over the creative process.

But what if a machine were programmed to create art on its own, with little to no human involvement? What if it were the primary creative force in the process? And if it were to create something novel, engaging and moving, who should get credit for this work?

At Rutgers’ Art & AI Lab, we created AICAN, a program that could be thought of as a nearly autonomous artist that has learned existing styles and aesthetics and can generate innovate images of its own.

People genuinely like AICAN’s work, and can’t distinguish it from that of human artists. Its pieces have been exhibited worldwide, and one even recently sold for $16,000 at an auction.

An emphasis on novelty

When designing the algorithm, we adhered to a theory proposed by psychologist Colin Martindale.

He hypothesized that many artists will seek to make their works appealing by rejecting existing forms, subjects and styles that the public has become accustomed to. Artists seem to intuitively understand that they’re more likely to arouse viewers and capture their attention by doing something new.

In other words, novelty reigns.

So when programming AICAN, we used an algorithm called the “creative adversarial network,” which compels AICAN to contend with two opposing forces. On one end, it tries to learn the aesthetics of existing works of art. On the other, it will be penalized if, when creating a work of its own, it too closely emulates an established style.

At the same time, AICAN adheres to what Martindale calls the “least effort” principle, in which he argues that too much novelty will turn off viewers.

This ensures that the art generated will be novel but won’t depart too much from what’s considered acceptable. Ideally, it will create something new that builds off what already exists.

Letting AICAN loose

As for our role, we don’t select specific images to “teach” AICAN a certain aesthetic or style, as many artists who create AI art will do.

Instead, we’ve fed the algorithm 80,000 images that represent the Western art canon over the previous five centuries. It’s somewhat like an artist taking an art history survey course, with no particular focus on a style or genre.

At the click of a button, the machine can create an image that can then be printed. The works will often surprise us in their range, sophistication and variation.

Using our prior work on quantifying creativity, AICAN can judge how creative its individual pieces are. Since it has also learned the titles used by artists and art historians in the past, the algorithm can even give names to the works it generates. It named one “Orgy”; it called another “The Beach at Pourville.”

The algorithm favors generating more abstract works than figurative ones. Our research on how the machine is able to understand the evolution of art history could offer an explanation. Because it’s tasked with creating something new, AICAN is likely building off more recent trends in art history, like abstract art, which came into vogue in the 20th century.

Can humans tell the difference?

There was still the question of how people would respond to AICAN’s work.

To test this, we showed subjects AICAN images and works created by human artists that were showcased at Art Basel, an annual fair that features cutting-edge contemporary art. We asked the participants whether each was made by a machine or an artist.

We found that humans couldn’t tell the difference: Seventy-five percent of the time, they thought the AICAN-generated images had been produced by a human artist.

They didn’t simply have a tough time distinguishing between the two. They genuinely enjoyed the computer-generated art, using words like “having visual structure,” “inspiring” and “communicative” when describing AICAN’s work.

Beginning in October 2017, we started exhibiting AICAN’s work at venues in Frankfurt, Los Angles, New York City and San Francisco, with a different set of images for each show.

At the exhibitions, we heard one question, time and again: Who’s the artist?

As a scientist, I created the algorithm, but I have no control over what the machine will generate.

The machine chooses the style, the subject, the composition, the colors and the texture. Yes, I set the framework, but the algorithm is fully at the helm when it comes to the elements and the principles of the art it generates.

For this reason, in the all exhibitions where the art was shown, I gave credit solely to the algorithm – “AICAN” – for each artwork. At Miami’s Art Basel this December, eight pieces, also credited to AICAN, will be shown.

The first artwork that was offered for sale from the AICAN collection, which AICAN titled “St. George Killing the Dragon,” was sold for $16,000 at an auction in New York in November 2017. (Most of the proceeds went to fund research at Rutgers and the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques in France.)

What the computer can’t do

Still, there’s something missing in AICAN’s artistic process.

The algorithm might create appealing images. But it lives in an isolated creative space that lacks social context.

Human artists, on the other hand, are inspired by people, places and politics. They make art to tell stories and make sense of the world.

AICAN lacks any of that. It can, however, generate artwork that human curators can then ground in our society and connect to what’s happening around us. That’s just what we did with “Alternative Facts: The Multi Faces of Untruth,” a title we gave to a series of portraits generated by AICAN that struck us with its timely serendipity.

Of course, just because machines can almost autonomously produce art, it doesn’t mean they will replace artists. It simply means that artists will have an additional creative tool at their disposal, one they could even collaborate with.

I often compare AI art to photography. When photography was first invented in the early 19th century, it wasn’t considered art – after all, a machine was doing much of the work.

The tastemakers resisted, but eventually relented: A century later, photography became an established fine art genre. Today, photographs are exhibited in museums and auctioned off at astronomical prices.

I have no doubt that art produced by artificial intelligence will go down the same path.


Terrence Treft: it is interesting that even though these works are supposedly done autonomously by computers, there appears a need to assign a human title. or does the algorithm do that too? one thing, at this point in time, that computers and algorithms cannot do, is respond to the physical, emotional, ethereal, esoteric and temporal aspects of the natural and human environment that are the moments of life that drive artists to impulsively/compulsively produce art. as well, AI cannot then relate to works of art in a human context, be it their works or the works of others. even HAL did not have a soul. the question arises then, why do we need AI art in the first place? for the novelty? for the enterprise? to resolve a mystery or human obsession? or, perhaps inevitably, to produce the highest, finest quality propaganda for a dystopian world of AI.

Sharwan kumar: I suggest that you please get in touch with those students of science (‘scientists’) who are working on brain related researches in connection with neurodegeneration diseases. Solutions to such diseases deserve your role more than arts work you have described herein. Best wishes.

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Jamie Lee Curtis in a scene from "Halloween," in theaters nationwide on Oct. 19. (Ryan Green/Universal Pictures via AP)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/10/web1_121616773-67f045aa3df04e92a231202c09f85e50.jpgThis image released by Universal Pictures shows Jamie Lee Curtis in a scene from "Halloween," in theaters nationwide on Oct. 19. (Ryan Green/Universal Pictures via AP)
Visual arts

Staff & Wire Reports