The new British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her cabinet today.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Big Summer Movies Go Belly Up At The Box Office

Jul 25, 2013
Originally published on July 25, 2013 7:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE. HOST: Hollywood movies are full of bombs this summer, and I mean both literally and figuratively. There have been a lot of big expensive movies, often action movies, that have not done very well at the box office. NPR's Elizabeth Blair says think "After Earth," "The Lone Ranger," and "White House Down."

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: First, there have been some hits this summer, mostly sequels like "Iron Man 3."

(SOUNDBITE FROM FILM, "IRON MAN 3")

ROBERT DOWNEY, JR.: (as Tony Stark) We can do this, Heather.

BLAIR: And "Fast And Furious 6," a second "Star Trek" movie from J.J. Abrams, and "Despicable Me 2."

(SOUNDBITE FROM FILM, "DESPICABLE ME 2")

STEVE CARROLL: (As Gru) Gru's back in the game with gadgets, weapons and cool cars, the whole deal.

BLAIR: Gru and his minions ruled the box office. This summer Hollywood spared no expense. Some 17 super expensive, flashy, heavily promoted movies were released in just three months' time. But some look to be serious money losers. Take the sci-fi flick "Pacific Rim." It cost $190 million to make and probably about that much to market, but it's worldwide box office hasn't reached the $200 million mark.

(SOUNDBITE FROM FILM, "PACIFIC RIM")

IDRIS ELBA: (as Stacker Pentecost) I do not need you sympathy or your admiration...

BLAIR: Doug Creutz says "Pacific Rim" is just one of this summer's duds.

DOUG CREUTZ: This has been the most crowded summer for blockbusters I think that I can remember and probably that there has ever been.

BLAIR: Creutz is a media and entertainment analyst with Cowen & Company. He says on the one hand, total box office has been good this summer, but not enough to turn profits for 17 costly properties.

CREUTZ: There was an enormous amount of money spent bringing this summer's slate to theaters, and I wouldn't say that the box office we're seeing is sort of commensurate with that. In other words, while the top line is going to be good for Hollywood, the bottom line may not be as good.

BLAIR: One very important filmmaker was more dramatic. Steven Spielberg predicted a meltdown was coming sometime soon. In May he told an audience at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts that he thought enough mega-budgeted movies would go crashing into the ground and change the way Hollywood does business. But others say it won't happen any time soon.

So what is the rationale for spending upwards of $200 million on an action movie when a studio could make relatively larger profits with less expensive story-driven films? Rachel Abrams, financial news editor for Variety, says she hears that question a lot.

RACHEL ABRAMS: A lot of people say, why don't you just hedge your bets and make 20 "Black Swans," and "Black Swan," of course, was, I think, a $13 million movie that did gangbusters.

BLAIR: The ballet drama "Black Swan" cost $13 million to produce and it made over $300 million at the box office worldwide.

ABRAMS: And what the studios say is, look, we just - if you crunch the numbers, these bigger movies, they just do better.

BLAIR: And even if they don't do better in the U.S., there's a chance they'll do better overseas. Doug Creutz says the foreign market is more important than ever. He says these days a movie can make up to 70 percent of its profits overseas.

CREUTZ: And the thing about playing well outside of the U.S., if it's a comedy, you know, a lot of humor is very cultural and what's funny here may not be funny in China or Brazil. But action is pretty much universal, right? You blow a lot of stuff up, it's going to play about the same everywhere.

BLAIR: There are more expensive effects-driven movies still to come this summer - "Wolverine," Elysium" and "Smurfs 2." Elizabeth Blair, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.