Pharrell Williams’ Oscar-nominated ‘Happy’ tops Billboard chart days before awards show


Pharrell Williams must be feeling quite happy about his Oscar-nominated hit single ‘Happy’ hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart just days before the awards show Sunday.

Calling Pharrell’s current state “happy” might be an understatement.

The producer-rapper-singer’s tune “Happy” is nominated for best original song at Sunday’s Oscars. Days ahead, the upbeat anthem has climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Pharrell says in an interview Wednesday he’s “ever so grateful” and “it’s pretty crazy.”

The 40-year-old adds: “It’s really awesome and I’m still shocked.”

“Happy” is from the “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack and will appear on Pharrell’s new album, “GIRL,” out Monday.

The hitmaker says he’s prepping for his performance Sunday, and he “just intends to have fun with it.”

Pharrell also topped the Hot 100 chart as a featured act on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and Ludacris’ “Money Maker.”

‘Lego Movie’ blows away Kevin Costner, ‘Pompeii’ at box office with $31 million


Everything’s still awesome at the box office. “The Lego Movie,” the animated hit comedy based on the plastic toy building blocks, was No. 1 for the third straight weekend with $31.4 million.

It’s still in a market-high 3,890 theaters and it dominated, more than doubling the totals of two movies that opened this weekend. The Kevin Costner spy thriller “3 Days to Kill” was second with $12.3 million and the pricey volcano epic “Pompeii” fizzled with $10.1 million for third.

“The Lego Movie” posted the second-best third weekend an animated movie has ever had, behind only “Shrek 2,” which made $37 million back in 2004.

It’s a great way to celebrate for Warner Bros. and producing partner Village Roadshow. On Friday they set May 26, 2017, for a follow-up to their Hasbro toy-based blockbuster, which has rolled up $183 million domestically since opening on Feb. 7 and more than $225 million worldwide.

The debuts of the two openers were in line with modest projections. But “Three Days to Kill,” from Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, cost just $28 million to make, while Constantine Film’s “Pompeii,” which Sony is distributing, cost at least $80 million to produce.

RIT Awards 2014’s 10 Essential Moments, From Bowie to Beyonce


Arctic Monkeys and One Direction were the big winners at the 2014 BRIT Awards in London tonight, taking home two gongs apiece. Unlike last year’s slick-but-uncontroversial show, the 2014 event occasionally harked back to the unpredictability of the BRITs’ Nineties pomp: In other words, there was a lot more going on than a mere handing out of prizes. Here are the most surprising moments from the O2 Arena:

1. David Bowie gave the event its most surreal moment – even without showing up. Winning the British Male Solo Artist award – his first BRIT in 18 years – wasn’t much of a surprise, but the acceptance certainly was. First Noel Gallagher came on to announce the winner, laughing: “You maniacs didn’t think David Bowie was actually going to be here, did you? He’s too cool for that, he wouldn’t do this shit.” Instead, Gallagher introduced supermodel Kate Moss, a woman renowned for not speaking in public. Wearing a Ziggy Stardust-era stage costume, she read a statement by Bowie, which included the line, “Kate is from Venus and I from Mars,” before ending on a statement about the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence: “Scotland, stay with us.” Now, no one saw that coming. Read more

“The Lego Movie” tops “RoboCop,” “About Last Night” at box office


“The Lego Movie” built a huge lead on top of the weekend’s new releases at the box office.

In its second outing, the Warner Bros. animated film featuring the voices of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett earned $48.8 million to take first place, according to studio estimates Sunday. That brings the film based on the toy brick-building franchise’s domestic box office total to $129.1 million, cementing it was one of the biggest blockbusters of the year.

“It’s crossing over to all audiences,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. “It’s not just a kids’ movie. There’s something for boys, girls and adults, as well. The likeability is astronomical. That across-the-board appeal is giving ‘The Lego Movie’ unstoppable momentum, even in a weekend loaded with new competitors.”

Fifty years ago today, the Beatles gave birth to a new world


If you didn’t grow up with the Beatles, the quality of the group that’s most defining — the degree to which they towered over the culture — is almost impossible to communicate in any organic way. I don’t mean to be patronizing to my Gen-X friends (although they’ve never been shy about patronizing me), but if you’re too young to remember the Beatles, you probably won’t get it. You’ll think: Okay, Michael Jackson meets Star Wars — I know, they were that big. But they weren’t. They were bigger. They may not have been bigger than Jesus, but they were as big as Jesus. Depending on how old you were (I was a little kid, which may have been the ideal age to drink in their incandescence), they enveloped you, spoke for you, and, simply by virtue of being in the world, made that world seem the rare and inviting and intoxicating place you always wanted it to be.

The eternal paradox of the Beatles is that their constantly shifting images and ever-changing music made their identity as a group not more fragmented and diffuse but more powerful and defined. They weren’t the mop-topped early Beatles or the natty silk-uniformed showmen of Sgt. Pepper or the let-their-hair-down hippie ruffians of those four iconic photographs included in the White Album or the tough, wise, saddened family-man cynics of Let It Be. They were all of them at once. And starting with Rubber Soul, the special quality that the Beatles’ songs took on was this: Every last one of them felt different from every other one of them. That’s why even the mediocre ones didn’t matter: They were all part of the story that the Beatles were telling — a story of endless mutation and endless possibility, of life revealed, of a joy that could take an infinite number of forms, the way that joy does every day. The Beatles were shape-shifters who acted out for the rest of us, in their music and images, the jubilation of life as a moment-to-moment discovery. In A Hard Day’s Night, they were shown, in their cheeky, frolicsome way, to be gods at play in the world (at the end of 90 minutes, they re-ascend to heaven in a helicopter), and their message had an elemental magic: We float above you — but really, we are you. And you are us. Read more

“The Lego Movie” debuts with big $69.1M box office

“The Lego Movie” clicked with moviegoers, assembling an exceptional $69.1 million debut at the weekend box office, according to studio estimates.

The better-than-expected result made the Warner Bros. collaboration with the Danish toy company easily the biggest hit of the year so far. A sequel is already in development for the 3D animated film, digitally drawn to mimic a world composed entirely of Lego bricks.

The film has drawn raves from critics, earning a 95 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Co-directors and co-writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“21 Jump Street,” ”Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”) gave the film a playful tone to capture the whimsy of a child playing in a box of Legos. Characters are largely voiced by comic actors like Will Ferrell and Chris Pratt. Read more

Chinese box office: ‘Dad, Where Are We Going?’

Tian Liang, Jimmy Lin, Guo Tao, Zhang Liang

BEIJING — Mainland China’s lunar new year holiday box office got off to a sizzling start this weekend, with an expensive, effects-heavy 3-D telling of “The Monkey King” and a movie based on a hit reality TV show about celebrity dads and their kids taking in a combined $90 million.

“The Monkey King,” starring Chow Yun Fat, Aaron Kwok and Donnie Yen, raked in more than $51.1 million (306 million yuan) in its first three days in theaters, data from box-office tracking service EntGroup showed. It appears to be the first Chinese film to reach $50 million in just three days, movie website Mtime reported. Read more


Demand And Prices For Bruno Mars Tickets Skyrocket After Super Bowl Performance


After a season of buildup and two weeks of feverish hype, Super Bowl XLVIII was never really a game.  From the first snap, the Broncos seemed disoriented and over-matched. By halftime the game was over, and the only thing to look forward to was the halftime show.   Along with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bruno Mars delivered a half-time show for the ages that is dominating Monday water-cooler conversations across the country.  In addition to bringing a bit of excitement to the otherwise lame Super Bowl, the performance may go down as one of the savviest marketing campaigns in the history of music.

Not at all coincidentally, Bruno Mars tickets to his upcoming tour went on sale this morning with Super Bowl buzz still ringing in over 100 million ears across the country.  As a result, the market for Bruno Mars tickets is on fire.  Since this morning, the average price for his Moonshine Jungle Tour is up $150 to an average price of $500.  While there are some tickets left on the primary market for select shows, many are already sold out. Ticketmaster also seem to be struggling to keep with demand, and had to switch from their interactive seating maps for most events, including Bruno Mars Madison Square Garden tickets.

2014 saw some impressive uses of big events for self-promotion.  Miley Cyrus in particular stood out for her provocative performance at MTVs Video Music Awards.  With an audience of 10 million tuning in, it served her purpose to perfection and was a shotgun graduation ceremony from Hanna Montana to Miley Cyrus. In part becuase of the VMAs, Miley Cyrus tickets for her upcoming tour are a hot item. Despite the hype engine that Miley has built, however, she’s still not sold out for many of the dates on her Bangerz tour. Read more…