The 'Avengers,' NFL draft & a coma patient wakes up after 27 years: The Morning Rundown

"Avengers: Endgame" is projected to bring in up to $300 million in ticket sales in the United States alone this weekend.
Image: US-ENTERTAINMENT-LIFESTYLE-AVENGERS
Fans of the Avengers strike a pose while dressed in costumes before the first screening of "Avengers: Endgame" at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood on Friday. Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Have you bought your tickets yet? "Avengers: Endgame," the big-budget Marvel epic that opened nationwide last night, is expected to smash box office records this weekend.

But, back to the reality you may be trying to escape at the movies, here's what else we're watching today.


Biden bets big on Democrats' fear of re-electing Trump

Hope and change were luxuries of the past. Joe Biden is running on fear, NBC News' Jonathan Allen writes in an analysis.

Jumping into the race, the former vice president reflected the anxieties of a Democratic Party eager to stop President Donald Trump from winning another term.

Biden is pitching himself primarily as a return to normalcy — a candidate who can reset the American calendar to 2016 and continue the work of President Barack Obama as if the Trump era never happened.

But Biden has a long way to go toward winning his party's nomination.

One thorny issue from his past that he will have to reconcile with progressive 2020 voters was his behavior when he presided over the Senate Judiciary Committee, when Anita Hill accused future Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.

Biden's campaign confirmed that he recently called Hill and expressed "regret for what she endured" during those contentious hearings.

However, Hill told The New York Times that she was "not satisfied" with the conversation and that he needs to apologize to other women and the American public.

Meantime, Trump welcomed the latest contender to enter the 2020 Democratic primary race by giving the former six-term senator from Delaware a new nickname: "Sleepy Joe."

From "Crazy Bernie" to "Pocahontas," check out the list of derogatory monikers Trump has already coined for his 2020 Democratic rivals.


'We want you here': These red-state towns are seeking LGBTQ tourists

With as many as 3.8 million LGBTQ people living in rural America, they are increasingly finding that they don’t need to travel to a big city or the coasts to find a place to be themselves and unwind on vacation.

They are going to places like Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It's a rural, hilly town of about 2,000 people where locals say over 30 percent of residents are LGBTQ and playfully remark that it has "no straight streets."

Amber Clark, 36, recently visited from Carthage, Missouri, with friends who she characterized as "a group of loud, out, queer women."

"We’re here to be normal for a weekend," she said, "and to kiss in the park."

A sign at 2018 Pride in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It's another town in northwest Arkansas that's rolling out the rainbow carpet for LGBTQ visitors. Courtesy Vincent Griffin

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‘Avengers’ is endgame Marvel and Hollywood have been building toward for years

"Avengers" is the pinnacle of one of the most popular and lucrative movie franchises on the planet.

But the movie is also the culmination of real-world storylines that have dramatically transformed Hollywood over the last decade, reshaping business strategies and redefining commercial filmmaking as we know it.

Here’s a look at the financial forces — hint: China — and cultural trends like superhero fever that have been steadily building to "Endgame."


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Plus

Kyler Murray, made history as the first athlete to have been chosen in the top 10 of both the NFL and Major League Baseball drafts. Andy Lyons / Getty Images

THINK about it

Mark Zuckerberg is a robber baron, writes cultural historian Lynn Stuart Parramore in an opinion piece. Washington should treat him like one and use antitrust laws to break up his monopoly.


Science + Tech = MACH

Scientists have turned brain signals into speech with help from artificial intelligence. The technology could lead to devices that restore speaking ability to people who have lost it as a result of brain injury or neurological disorders.


Live BETTER

Here's what successful couples know about money that you don't.


One fun thing

Otis Williams, the last living original member of The Temptations, sits down with NBC News’ Lester Holt, to discuss “Ain’t Too Proud.”

The new Broadway show chronicles the group’s highs and lows, including 14 No. 1 singles.

Williams still can’t believe the band’s tremendous success.

"You could have tipped me over with a feather before I would believe that the wonderful ride that I'm still having 59 years later," he says. "I never would have imagined it."

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Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

If you'd like to receive the Morning Rundown in your inbox Monday to Friday, please sign up here.

And if get to the "Avengers" this weekend, let me know what you think of it. Is it worth getting a babysitter to see on the big screen?

Thanks, Petra