Hello from New York City – where all eyes will be on President Barack Obama more so than usual today.
* Through giant billboards around the world, Pink Floyd dropped some big news on Monday. The band is releasing its first album in 20 years. Word about the record came a few months ago via a few tweets here and there but it’s been confirmed The Endless River will be a tribute of sorts to Rick Wright, the band’s keyboardist who died in 2008, and it builds on sessions done for The Division Bell album. The cover art work, of a man in a boat on a river of clouds, is just exquisite. Turns out it was created by an 18-year old Egyptian artist who’s landed himself a pretty sweet gig.
* We know there is an issue with how women are represented in the media, but now, there are figures to back this up. The UN Women organization released the findings of a study done in collaboration with the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media. It found that, although women make up more than half the audience, less than a third of the speaking parts in movies belong to female characters. The study, which looked at a handful of countries with big box offices, also found that behind the camera, only one in four people is female. Fascinating stuff.
* The TV series Gotham debuted on the small screen on Monday night – some critics were delighted, others wonder if enough people will care about the Batman origin story as seen through the eyes of Commissioner Gordon. I found the dialogue a little cheesy but I do like the set design and moody, Nolan-esque mood of the city that the show has created.
* Bryan Singer will be making the next X-Men movie, his fourth in the series. There was talk that this might not happen as a result of the director being accused of sexual assault, but that case was dropped last month by the man who brought it. X-Men: Apocalypse will be set ten years after Days of Future Past and will star Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult.
* The Lion King has become the most successful entity in entertainment box office history. More precisely, it’s raked in over $6.2 billion worldwide from ticket sales, making it the highest-grossing title. Even higher than movies like Avatar and Titanic. The Lion King surpassed The Phantom of the Opera to break box office records all round. And to think the song at the heart of the story was created by a South African who died poor.
After a wonderful 4th of July weekend in NYC, it’s back to summer in the city programming, which still means anything can happen!
* Like Pink Floyd telling us they’re releasing a new album – the first in 20 years. Well, the news actually came via singer/guitarist David Gilmour’s wife’s Twitter status. Which is, I guess, the new press release of our modern times. The Endless River is due out in October, and is reported to be based on recording sessions that happened in 1994, when they last released The Division Bell. After all the years of acrimony and record-breaking, the group is still up for releasing more music – minus Roger Waters.
* Transformers 4 hasn’t thrilled critics, but it has audiences in China and the film’s producers, as a result. It’s on track to become the number 1 film there, surpassing Avatar. With China growing in importance as a market, this means more of these kinds of blockbuster sequels, prequels et al will no doubt be coming out. Meanwhile in another galaxy, on a higher plane, Star Wars has added two more actors – newcomers – to Episode 7.
* Prince was among the artists who headlined The Essence Fest, giving audiences there a thrill when he teamed up with Nile Rodgers for a cover of Bowie’s Let’s Dance.
* The much-talked-about Kara Walker exhibition, A Subtlety, or giant “Sugar Baby,” had its last day this past Sunday in Brooklyn. I managed to see it before the installation is destroyed and the historical old sugar mill razed for a new development, and what a sight it was to behold.
* It seems like every day there is an anniversary to celebrate – 10 years of this or that movie or album. But there is one anniversary in particular that’s a delight to rejoice in. Seinfeld‘s 25 years of laughs and one-liners is being marked now, and every one has their own way of celebrating – here’s The Hollywood Reporters’.
[Pic: The Division Bell, Pink Floyd]
* Brad Pitt continued his “world tour” to promote his latest film, popping up in NYC on Monday night for the premiere of World War Z. The movie opens in the US this week, and by all accounts, the zombie apocalypse is one to look forward to.
* Kanye West did all he could – or so it seems – to prevent his album being leaked. But that it was on Friday. Nonetheless, today it officially drops into the atmosphere, bringing its loud, aggressive, at times vitriolic vibes with it.
* Following on from the success of House of Cards, Netflix has announced it is partnering with DreamWorks Animation to provide original kids programming, including new shows and movie releases. There will be more than 300 hours of video added to Netflix through the deal, which begins in 2014. The face of TV never looked friendlier.
* In another big coup for Spotify, the Pink Floyd catalogue has been added to the streaming music service. The band had promised they would post their songs on it if their 1975 track Wish You Were Here hit a million streams. That was too easy!
[Pic: Paramount Pictures]