Ruben V. Nepales

Born in the Philippines, Ruben Nepales writes the popular column “Only In Hollywood," which appears on Rappler, the Philippines’ leading news website. The 14th National Arts & Entertainment Journalism (NAEJ) Awards, a U.S.-wide competition, presented by the Los Angeles Press Club, awarded third prize to "Only In Hollywood," in the category, Entertainment Blog by an Individual or Group, Tied to an Organization.

Nepales' first book, “My Filipino Connection: The Philippines in Hollywood,” won first prize in the Migration Advocacy and Media Awards of the President of the Philippines’ Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

In 2020, Nepales released his second book, “Through a Writer’s Lens,” a coffee table book of more than a thousand photos of stars that he took in almost two decades, and choice excerpts from his Hollywood interviews. "Through a Writer's Lens" won first prize in the Non-Fiction category of the 14th NAEJ Awards.

Nepales graduated from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila where he majored in Communication Arts and co-edited a college journal. He contributed to the Philippines’ leading daily newspapers and magazines until he landed an entertainment column on the Philippine Daily Inquirer which ran for 15 years. His journalism honors include prizes from the Southern California Journalism Awards.

  • Box Office

World Box Office July 3 to 9, 2023

In an “insidious” development, the direct sequel to Chapter 2 and the fifth film in the horror series beat them all on its opening weekend…and with remarkably solid figures.

Insidious: The Red Door, the feature directing debut of Patrick Wilson, who also stars, toppled Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and the other competition to win the box office weekend.

Opening with numbers that impressively surpassed all projections, The Red Door made $32.6 million, declared by box office analysts as the best opening in the last two years of a horror flick that is PG-13 rated.

For Jason Blum’s Blumhouse, which released the fright film through Sony Pictures, it is their 16th release to debut at the top. This Insidious installment gathered the original cast again – Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye and Leigh Whannell – and added Sinclair Daniel and Hiam Abbass.

Set nine years since his possession, Wilson’s Josh and his family are back after the incidents in the first two films.

Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny slid to second place. The fifth and final installment of the fedora-wearing, whip-cracking archaeologist and professor series grossed $26.5 million, representing a steep 56 percent decline from the opening weekend of $60.3 million, which analysts considered weak and way below projections.

Ford’s adieu to his beloved character, directed by James Mangold after Steven Spielberg megged the first four movies, also stars Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, Karen Allen, Mads Mikkelsen, John Rhys-Davies, Shaunette Renee Wilson, Thomas Kretschmann and Toby Jones.

Jim Caviezel’s faith-based drama, Sound of Freedom, is a surprise strong third-place finisher with $18 million. Yet another proof of the box office clout of religious moviegoers, Sound of Freedom is based on the true story of a former government agent who becomes a vigilante in his commitment to rescue hundreds of children from sex traffickers.

Directed by Alejandro Monteverde, Sound of Freedom is produced by Eduardo Verastegui, who also stars with Caviezel, Mira Sorvino, Bill Camp, Cristal Aparicio, Javier Godino, Lucas Avila and Yessica Borroto Perryman.

As previously reported, Disney and Pixar’s Elemental overcame its soft debut weekend numbers and is now faring solidly when ranked with similar Pixar projects in the last ten years.

The Peter Sohn-directed film, featuring a voice cast led by Lea Lewis, Mamoudou Athie and Ronnie del Carmen, picked up $9.6 million to place fourth, coincidentally on its fourth weekend. Considered Pixar’s first romantic comedy, Elemental has now grossed $109.1 million domestically.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse maintained its strong web grip on the North American chart, slinging another $8 million for a six-week cume of $357.6 million. The movie voiced by Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld and Brian Tyree Henry has now surpassed Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 to become the biggest film of the 2023 summer so far.

Rounding out the rest of the top ten were, in order: Joy Ride, which bowed with $5.85 million; Jennifer Lawrence’s No Hard Feelings, $5.25 million; Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, $5 million; The Little Mermaid, $3.5 million; and Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, $2.8 million.

Overseas, box office doors also opened wide for The Red Door. Hauling in $31.4 million in over 50 territories, Wilson’s auspicious directing debut is declared as having the biggest international debut for a horror film since 2019. Globally, The Red Door has tallied a total of $64 million.

The movie is especially solid in these five countries, in this order: Mexico, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, France and India. In Mexico, the release made $5.8 million, Sony Pictures’ biggest launch for a horror flick in that country.

In the Philippines, Sony was celebrating The Red Door’s $3.7 million opening for two reasons. It is the biggest weekend bow ever for a horror movie and the biggest weekend debut over the last 12 months. The Insidious installment’s Manila numbers even beat the weekend figures of Avatar: The Way of Water.