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'A Wrinkle In Time' Holds Steady At No. 2 With $33 Million Opening Weekend

In support of the sci-fi film, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler penned an open letter to DuVernay praising her for talent. 

Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time — based on Madeleine L'Engle's beloved book and targeting younger girls — is off to a troubled start at the North American box office.

Hobbled by poor word of mouth, the fantasy-adventure grossed $10.2 million on Friday from 3,980 theaters for a weekend debut of $32 million-$33 million, behind expectations. Wrinkle in Time has been rebuffed by most critics, while audiences gave it a mediocre B CinemaScore.

While Wrinkle in Time was able to narrowly beat fellow Disney title Black Panther on Friday, Black Panther will easily win the weekend with $40 million-plus from 3942 locations, one of the best showings of all time for a movie in its fourth outing. (Black Panther grossed $10 million on Friday.)

In another major milestone, the history-making Disney/Marvel superhero film bounded past the $1 billion mark at the global box office on Satuday (March 10) after landing in its final foreign market, China. Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler, is off to a rousing start in the Middle Kingdom, where it boasted an estimated opening-day gross of $22.7 million and another $27 million on Saturday. That's the third or fourth best start for a Marvel superhero pic behind Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Both Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time have been heralded for their diversity, both in front of and behind the camera.

DuVernay is the first black woman to helm a $100 million movie, while Storm Reid plays the heroine at the heart of the story, 13-year-old Meg Murry, who must find her father and save the universe along the way. The star-packed cast also includes Oprah Winfrey, Levi Miller, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chris Pine.

A Wrinkle in Time currently has 42 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Three additional movies open nationwide this weekend. Aviron's The Strangers: Prey at Night, a sequel of sorts to The Strangers (2008), is showing the most strength, attracting more than $4 million on Friday from 2,464 theaters for a projected $10 million weekend, good enough for a third-place finish. (The film took in $610,000 in its Thursday night previews.)

The other two new wide arrivals — Amazon Studios and STXfilms' Gringo, a dark comedy starring David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron and Joel Edgerton, and Entertainment Studios' The Hurricane Heist, directed by Rob Cohen — are already fading fast.

Gringo is expected to place No. 10 with roughly $3 million from 2,404 cinemas, followed by Hurricane Heist with a projected $2.5 million-$3 million from 2,402 locations.

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Jeezy And Jeannie Mai Get Engaged

Jeezy and Jeannie Mai have taken their relationship to the next level.

PEOPLE has announced their engagement which occurred on March 27. The plan was for Jeezy to propose to Mai in her mother's native country of Vietnam in April. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those plans were placed on hold but the “All There” rapper managed to bring a piece of Vietnam to their home in Los Angeles.

“Jeannie and Jay were set for a trip to Vietnam this April. What Jeannie didn’t know is that Jay was planning to propose,” Mai’s rep said to the publication. “Instead, Jay decided to bring Vietnam to Jeannie with a surprise quarantine date night in his home filled with Vietnamese food and decor.” In November 2018, Mai and Jeezy began to date after they met on the set of Mai’s talk show The Real.

Mai was previously married but split from her ex in 2017. Upon meeting Jeezy, she said it was an instant connection. “Immediately that was a magnetic attraction. We are very attracted to each other’s passions to serve," Mai said to the publication. "So because we have a mutual joy of having purpose, we’re going to find a way to do that together.”

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Cardi B attends "The Road to F9" Global Fan Extravaganza at Maurice A. Ferre Park on January 31, 2020 in Miami, Florida.
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Cardi B Assures Fans She Doesn't Have Coronavirus After Hospitalization

Cardi B has clarified her recent hospitalization had nothing to do with the current coronavirus outbreak.

The rapper took to Instagram Live to clear up the rumors after she shared a photo of her with an identity band from a hospital. “I’ve been very f***ing sick these past five days–not corona,” she said Thursday (April 2). “I have really bad stomach issues. I started throwing up; I took a pregnancy test cuz a b***h never f***ing knows.”

As she tried to find out what was wrong, fans went into a frenzy with claims of coronavirus. “I threw up seven times," she said. "I didn’t want to go to the hospital, I went to the hospital. I was sick and [press] ran with it, then my publicist hit me up and it ain’t nothing coronavirus-related, thank God!”

The possible stomachache may be connected to the singer's first world problems of finding a perfect chef. “I don’t have nobody to cook for me. I hired a chef two times and they were nasty and expensive,” she said.

In lighter news, the rapper confirmed proceeds of her viral "Coronavirus" track will benefit those in need during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Yes! That's what [we're] going to do!" Cardi B tweeted last week. "Keep in mind you don’t get your money right away...but even months from now there would be families with financial issues for getting laid off due to the virus. We will donate!"

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Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.
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Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.

 

Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!pic.twitter.com/GfxBeJxUY1

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/cGl269tuTr

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

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