Lucy’ tops ‘Hercules’ with $44M at the box office


Luc Besson’s “Lucy” proved mind can overpower muscle, topping a remake of “Hercules” by director Brett Ratner at the box office on the weekend.

The Universal Pictures-released movie starring Scarlett Johansson as an accidental psychokinetic took in $44 million in North American movie theaters over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

“Hercules,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and produced by Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, brought down an estimated $29 million.

Universal’s president of domestic distribution, Nikki Rocco, said audiences were attracted to the original story about the main character gaining superhuman powers by using more and more of her brain.

People also wanted to see Johansson in an action role, something she’s done more frequently in movies like “The Island” (2005), “Iron Man 2” (2010), “The Avengers” (2012) and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014).

Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, Weird Al Yankovic Atop Billboard Artist 100


Sam Smith leads the new Billboard Artist 100 chart for a second week, fending off Iggy Azalea at No. 2 and new Billboard 200 leader Weird Al Yankovic at No. 3.

The list, which launched two weeks ago, provides the first-ever weekly ranking dedicated to measuring artist activity across Billboard’s most influential charts, including the Billboard Hot 100, Billboard 200 and Social 50, among others. The Artist 100 is modeled after the formula utilized to compile Billboard’s annual Year in Music Top Artist list (as well as the Billboard Music Awards Artist of the Year category), blending information from album and track sales, radio airplay, streaming and social media fan interaction to provide a weekly multi-dimensional ranking of artist popularity.

Hit song ‘Little Apple’ by pop group Chopsticks Brothers is taking China by storm


Hit song ‘Little Apple’ by pop group Chopsticks Brothers is taking China by storm. Its success has even boosted a new Chinese movie’s box office performance, sending it to third place last week.

The single became immensely popular in cyberspace shortly after it came out in late-May. In China, you may hear it on a countryside bus, or even from the loudspeaker of a hair salon in a small county.

The song’s video has also spread like a virus. Showing scenes of a square dance combined with several short stories about love and romance, it has been made into various parodies by the public.

‘Little Apple’ is a promotional song for the movie “Old Boys: The Way of Dragon.” The tune’s huge success has also boosted the film’s box office earnings. The comedy took US$17 million in its opening four days.

“The song ‘Little Apple’ is so popular. After hearing it, it’s like I’m brainwashed by the song. So I came to see the film,” a cinema-goer said.

“It’s a good story. But the reason I’m here at the cinema is the song ‘Little Apple,'” another cinema-goer said.

Keith Urban “It’s all about the fans”


When at all possible, he brings wife Nicole Kidman and their two daughters, Sunday and Faith, with him. “Or I tour in such a short sporadic way that I am only gone three days and then fly home again,” Urban tells Rolling Stone Country. When the country star plays West Coast dates, the whole family relocates from Nashville to their Los Angeles home and he’ll fly home after the show, if possible. “So I’m zipping in and out from [L.A.]. The girls, everybody comes.”

His shows have always been electrifying, but if you’ve noticed that Urban, 46, just keeps getting better and better, that means his hard work is paying off. “I am eternally hungry for improvement in every single thing I do,” he says. “I’m trying to be a better singer. I’m trying to be a better guitar player. I’m trying to put on better shows, put a better set list together, know how to talk to a crowd better, take a crowd on a journey, all of it… It’s a lifetime journey of learning.”

After he steps off stage every night, the New Zealand-born musician reviews the show in his mind and by the next time he performs, he says, “I’ve got a big laundry list of things I’m anxious to see if I can get right tonight, or expand upon.”

Transformers 4′ Becomes the Highest-Grossing Movie Ever in China


HONG KONG — A huge second weekend has given “Transformers: Age of Extinction” over $220 million at the Chinese box office and the country’s all-time theatrical record.

The film grossed RMB740 million ($119.8 million) in the week to Sunday (July 6, 2014), according to data from Ent Group. That followed a smashing three-day opening weekend of RMB628 million ($101.7 million) and gave the Michael Bay-directed film a 10-day cume to Sunday of RMB1.37 billion ($221.9 million).

“Avatar’s” all-time record stood at RMB1.39 billion. But that figure was certainly surpassed on Monday, for which data in not yet locally available.

Also, given that the Chinese currency has appreciated since “Avatar’s” release in 2009, the score by “Transformers 4″ is worth considerably more to its studio owners than the James Cameron-directed fantasy.

Sia Heading for No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart


Singer/songwriter Sia is aiming for her first No. 1 on next week’s Billboard 200 chart with her new album “1000 Forms of Fear.” Industry forecasters say the set, which was released on July 8, may sell around 50,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on July 13.

Sia has co-written 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit singles since 2011, including Rihanna’s No. 1 “Diamonds,” David Guetta’s “Titanium” (which hit No. 7) and Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” (No. 5). The latter two songs also featured Sia as a guest vocalist. Sia also co-wrote her own new album’s single “Chandelier,” which rises 20-17 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated July 19. (It’s her first charting single as the lead artist.)

Sia is promoting her new album in an unconventional manner — by neither show her face during TV performances, nor posing for traditional photo shoots. In her recent performances of “Chandelier,” she has sung with her back to the camera, while a dancer (or dancers) interpreted the song. And, for her Billboard magazine’s cover story last year, she was photographed with a bag over her head that read, in part, “This artist is responsible for over 12 million track sales… and doesn’t want to be famous.”