Well done, Jack!!

Jack White records song, releases it on vinyl within hours

Jack White played his new single “Lazaretto” for a couple of hundred fans on Record Store Day and four hours later a copy of the performance was available on a limited run of vinyl.

The singer and guitarist called it the “world’s fastest-released record.”

But don’t look for it in the Guinness World Record Book, as White admitted he doesn’t know if anyone else has attempted the feat. The stunt was a promotion for Record Store Day and his upcoming album, Lazaretto.

White performed Saturday morning at his Third Man Records label. As he was playing, fans could watch on television the acetate record being cut in a room behind the stage. After the title song from the upcoming album, he also recorded a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Power of My Love,” which was the B-side on the record. The master was then hustled over to the United Record Pressing plant, also in Nashville.

After the recording was finished, White played a short set of fan favorites, including “Hotel Yorba,” along with songs from his new album, which will be released in June. White will be touring this summer, including headlining gigs at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee, and the Glastonbury Festival in England.

White said he was worried about so many things that could have gone wrong in the recording or pressing process that would have stalled the record.

“We had a horrible moment last night about 11 p.m. where the record cutter, the cutting mechanism blew up,” White said. “So the only other cutter we had that we could use that was in town was a mono head, so we actually cut this single in mono, which I think is actually even cooler than the way we were gonna do it.”

Three hours and fifty-five minutes after the performance, White was back at the store, waving high over his head the first copies of the vinyl, which were sold to eager fans who were waiting in line.

“I think for a while there a few years ago it was starting to become a joke in music that record stores don’t exist anymore,” White said. “But I think the people that have always been real music lovers have always been there.”

White, who is behind such bands as The White Stripes, The Dead Weather and The Raconteurs, also works as a producer and heads Third Man Records label. He said people are coming back around to buying music from record stores.

“Thank the mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar record stores all these years for staying alive, the ones that could,” White said. “Now it’s bigger than ever. Every neighborhood wants to have one.”


I didn’t get to see any movies this weekend, but I wanted to. That counts…doesn’t it?

Box office report: ‘Captain America’ crosses $200 million in its third week

t’s a great day to be a Marvel superhero: Captain America: The Winter Soldier took the No. 1 spot for the third weekend in a row, earning $26.61 million this holiday weekend, allowing it to cross that magical $200 million finish line. For comparison’s sake, this sequel — directed by Anthony and Joe Russo — has already outearned 2011′s Captain America: The First Avenger, which ended its run with $176.65 million.

What’s the real takeaway from all this? That for all the idle chatter of audience superhero fatigue, no one is going to be putting away the spandex just yet. It will be interesting to see how The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — already healthily earning overseas — fares when it opens domestically on May 2.

Initially it seemed like this weekend would be a tight race between holdover sequels Captain America and Rio 2, but it turned out to be less so, with Fox’s animated avians coming in at $22.5 million this weekend, bringing its domestic totals to $75.36 million. How the lure of a blue macaw voiced by Bruno Mars didn’t succeed in nabbing the No. 1 spot is hard to say, but keep an eye on this one over the next few weeks to see what kind of staying power it may have.

Meanwhile the faith-based Heaven Is for Real continues to pleasantly surprise during its first weekend in wide release: TriStar’s film brought in $21.5 million this weekend, bringing its five-day total to $28.5 million. The demographics for the film broke down to 62 percent female and 38 percent male and, interestingly, 49 percent of the audience under the age of 35. The movie stars Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly as real-life couple Todd and Sonja Burpo, whose son claims to have seen Heaven while unconscious.

Much less happy news is the $11.15 million opening of Warner Bros.’ Transcendence. This cyber-thriller starring Johnny Depp opened to lackluster reviews (such as ours by Chris Nashawaty) and a meh Cinemascore of C+. Does this mean, finally, that we can stop with movies about sentient computers? Probably not. And don’t expect the stink of this flick to stick to Depp or his co-stars, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, and Kate Mara — we’re guessing they’ll be just fine. Hopefully this will not deter longtime Christopher Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister from getting back in the director’s chair either.

Another new release this weekend, Haunted House 2, came in fifth place with $9.1 million. With a reported $4 million budget, this is good news for the Marlon Wayans-led comedy (tagline: “It’ll scare the #2 out of you”), which may not have delighted critics but received a B- Cinemascore.

Here’s the final breakdown on this weekend’s top five:
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier — $26.61 million
2. Rio 2 — $22.5 million
3. Heaven Is for Real — $21.5 million
4. Transcendence — $11.15 million
5. A Haunted House 2 – $9.1 million


May he rest in peace.

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, Subject of Oscar-Nominated Movie, Dead at 76

“God bless Rubin Carter and his tireless fight to ensure justice for all,” said Denzel Washington, who played the wrongly convicted boxer in “The Hurricane”

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the boxer who was wrongly convicted of a triple murder in New Jersey in the 1960s and later exonerated, has died from prostate cancer.

The Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted confirmed the former boxer’s death Sunday on its website. He was 76.

Carter was the subject of the 1999 film “The Hurricane,” starring Denzel Washington.

The actor won a Golden Globe, an NAACP Image Award and received an Academy Award nomination for his performance.

On Sunday, after learning of Carter’s death, Washington said in a statement, “God bless Rubin Carter and his tireless fight to ensure justice for all.”

Carter spent 19 years in prison before a federal judge ruled in 1985 that he and John Artis, who was with Carter the night of the killings, did not receive fair trials and released them.

After his release from prison, Carter became an advocate for the wrongly convicted, and served as executive director of the organization for more than a decade. The group tweeted its condolences, saying Carter “will be missed.”


Spectacular news!!!

Prince Gains His Catalog in Landmark Deal With Warner Bros.; New Album Coming

The legendary artist returns to Warner Bros. Records, will re-release “Purple Rain” and “other planned projects”

Prince has returned to Warner Bros. Records after 18 years with a deal that will see him regain ownership of his catalog. His classic Warner albums like “Dirty Mind,” “Controversy” and “1999″ will continue to be licensed through Warner Bros as part of a new global agreement.

As part of the deal, Prince’s classic “Purple Rain” album will be re-released in a remastered deluxe version in time for the 30th anniversary of the album and movie. Other planned re-issue projects will follow and Prince will issue a new album too, although it is unclear if that title is a part of the deal.

“A brand-new studio album is on the way and both Warner Bros Records and Eye (sic) are quite pleased with the results of the negotiations and look forward to a fruitful working relationship,” Prince said in a statement

Prince famously had a highly publicized and turbulent split from Warner Bros. in 1996 when he called himself a slave to the label, changed his name to a symbol, and condemned the way the major label system worked.

This deal marks a new era as the ability to terminate master recording copyright after 35 years was granted in the Copyright Revision Act of 1976 and became effective in 1978, the year that Prince’s debut album came out.

Prince albums have scanned 18.5 million units in the United States since Nielsen SoundScan’s inception in 1991; albums issued by Warner Bros. Records have sold 14.3 million units, Billboard calculates based on SoundScan’s data.

As 2013 loomed, record label executives and artists managers said that they were unsure how copyright terminations and ownership reversions would play out as they expected a precedent-setting court case to decide whether the “work-for-hire” clause in standard recording contracts could successfully be challenged by artists. Works created under work-for-hire contracts are not eligible for copyright reversion. But privately some label executives have also said that in some instances the wiser course might be to negotiate the reversions and retain control of issuing artists’ catalog eligible for copyright terminations.

In cutting what appears to be a landmark deal, Prince has chosen to remain with the label that was the subject of his ire back in the 1990′s avoiding a risky and costly legal battle and still regains ownership of his catalog.

Financial terms and length of the licensing deal were not disclosed; nor does the announcement make clear on whether the artist is gaining ownership of his catalog all at once; or more likely as each album becomes eligible for copyright termination.

The Warner Music Group decline to provide further comment on the details of the deal. But Warner Bros. Records chairman and CEO Cameron Strang said in a statement: “Everyone at Warner Bros Records is delighted to be working with Prince once again: he is one of the world’s biggest stars and a truly unique talent. We are also very excited about the release of new and re-mastered music from one of his greatest masterpieces.”


Can’t wait to listen to it!!

Neil Young Quietly Releases Covers Album for Online Sale

Neil Young’s new covers album “A Letter Home” was quietly released for sale Friday without formal announcement.

The album is out via Jack White’s Third Man Records online shop on 12-inch vinyl a day before Record Store Day. It will be sold through physical retailers for Saturday’s shopping holiday. At the Third Man Records web store, the album is selling for $20 plus shipping.

The album track list includes covers of classics by Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Gordon Lightfoot, Bruce Springsteen, the Everly Brothers and others. Many of these songs have been a part of Young’s live set over the past few months. On his website, Young describes the collect as “rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever.”

“A Letter Home” was recorded recorded in the “Third Man Recording Booth”, a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph machine. Below, watch a video about the recording booth featuring The Raconteurs‘ Brendan Benson.


“A Letter Home” track listing:

1. “Changes” (Phil Ochs)

2. “Girl From The North Country” (Bob Dylan)

3. “Needle of Death” (Bert Jansch)

4. “Early Morning Rain” (Gordon Lightfoot)

5. “Reason To Believe” (Tim Hardin)

6. “On The Road Again” (Willie Nelson)

7. “If You Could Only Read My Mind” (Gordon Lightfoot)

8. “Since I Met You Baby” (Ivory Joe Hunter)

9. “My Hometown” (Bruce Springsteen)

10. “I Wonder If I Care As Much” (Everly Brothers)



NBC To Celebrate 40th Anniversary Of SNL With 3-Hour Special


NBC will air a three-hour live special on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 , in celebration of the 40th anniversary of “Saturday Night Live.” The air date comes about eight months before the show originally debuted on the Peacock in the fall of 1975.

Past and present cast members, as well as special and musical guests from the show’s run, will appear on the telecast, with the specific lineup of guests to be determined in the coming months.

“This brand, which is still one of the highest-rated comedies on television, was the brainchild ofLorne Michaels, who still presides over the whole enterprise today,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, in a statement. “This special is just one of the many ways we plan to celebrate ‘SNL’s historic 40th season next year.”

The “SNL” anniversary specials often serve as a time capsule of sorts, with major players from the program returning to reprise their old antics. In 1989, Chevy Chase opened a 15th anniversary special by doing one of the pratfalls that made him famous when he starred in the comedy program in its first season back in 1975. Bill Murray opened a 1999 25th anniversary special by doing his “Nick the Lounge Singer” character.

Fans of the latenight program will no doubt be watching to see if Michaels and NBC can convince actor Eddie Murphy to return to the show for the special. Murphy, who is one of the program’s most successful alumni, has never appeared on one of several specials that NBC has aired over the years to celebrate the show’s longevity.  Nor has he returned to the program in the way that other cast members like Tina Fey, Will Ferrell or Dan Aykroyd have. Murphy got his start on “SNL”  in the early 1980s, during a time when Michaels had left the program to pursue other ventures.

Other alumni of the show include Dana Carvey, Jon Lovitz, Adam Sandler, Mike Meyers, Kristen Wiig, Amy Poehler, Billy Crystal, Chris Rock and Maya Rudolph.



Long Weekend? Need something to watch, or something to avoid? Tah dahhh!!

The Couch Potato Report – April 19th, 2014
Happy Easter Long Weekend!! If you have a few days off and are looking for a movie to watch you are in luck. The Easter Bunny probably won`t deliver the film to any kids, but adults should hope that someone gifts them with the beautiful, Academy Award nominated film PHILOMENA.
Based on the book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” PHILOMENA stars Oscar winner Judi Dench from THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL and SKYFALL as Philomena Lee, a woman who is searching for a child who was taken away from her almost fifty years ago after she became pregnant and was sent to live in a convent in Ireland.
Steve Coogan – and actor I love from his work in TROPIC THUNDER, IN THE LOOP and THE TRIP – co-wrote the script and co-stars as Martin Sixsmith, a cynical, unemployed journalist and former government adviser who reluctantly agrees to help Philomena after he’s offered a job by a publisher to write her story.
PHILOMENA has a great cast – who all give wonderful performances – and it is an interesting and engaging story. It’s not perfect, but it is very close.
I really enjoyed and highly recommend it. I’ve seen it twice now and I hope I get to watch again soon.
I probably won’t watch Ralph Fiennes second directorial effort again anytime soon, but I did enjoy his story about Charles Dickens’ mistress enough to also recommend it.
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN moves at a very slow pace, but that doesn’t necessarily work against it. The story tends to take it’s time getting where it’s going.
Based on Claire Tomalin’s book “The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens” the film takes place in the 1850s when Dickens is at the peak of his popularity. He is a rock star who can’t go anywhere without people asking for autographs and his time.
The married man then meets a much younger woman who eventually becomes his long-time secret lover.
Kristin Scott Thomas – who co-starred with Ralph Fiennes in THE ENGLISH PATIENT – plays the young woman’s Mother.
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN came and went from theatres quickly, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I started watching it, but I am happy to report that I enjoyed it.
It is very dramatic, and – as I said – very slow at times – but I do easily recommend it.
I’m not going to say too much about this next release, because the wannabe comedy RIDE ALONG is 100% and completely unfunny, totally predictable, and not worthy of much time.
This is one of those movies that doesn’t have one single original moment.
Here we have the story of a fast-talking, jumpy security guard who wants to be a policeman in Atlanta. He also wants to marry the beautiful sister of a detective who does not like the man at all.
When the security guard gets accepted into the Police Academy, the detective takes him on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta in order to prove himself worthy of marrying his sister.
And wouldn’t you know it, they have to work together over the course of the film RIDE ALONG to take down the city’s top crime boss and save the sister – duh duh duuuuuh – who is being held hostage.
RIDE ALONG is predictable, it is not funny – not even once – and unless you are a huge fan of comedian Kevin Hart – who co-stars here – you absolutely must skip it.
It is a complete waste of your time.
Finally this week is the second film adaptation of James Thurber’s 1939 short story THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY.
This latest version is a romantic-adventure-comedy-drama and it was directed by, co-produced by and stars Ben Stiller – of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM – as Walter Mitty, a man who frequently daydreams of fantastic adventures, and has a crush on his coworker.
Walter Mitty never takes risks or chances, until his job and the woman he loves – played by Kristin Wiig from BRIDESMAIDS – are in jeopardy, then he steps up and takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything even he could have ever imagined.
The problem with THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY isn’t with it’s great cast, or the fact that the story doesn’t have a lot of depth to it, or that the movie moves very slowly.
No, the problem here is the fact that – if you’re paying attention – you can figure out what is going to happen at the end of the movie within the first fifteen minutes.
It isn’t just predictable, the movie actually gives you the ending.
I never disliked Ben Stiller’s THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY. I just wish it had tried harder to be worthy of my time. Subsequently I recommend you don’t waste any of your time on it this long Easter Weekend. Go on an Easter Egg Hunt instead, or plan one.
Bottom line, have some fun and skip this movie.
Ben Stiller’s well-made, but completely predictable remake of THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY; the unfunny and totally predictable wannabe comedy RIDE ALONG; the slow moving, but interesting drama THE INVISIBLE WOMAN and the beautiful, Academy Award nominated film PHILOMENA, co-starring Judi Dench and the great Steve Coogan are all available now, either on disc or on demand.
And that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies – HAPPY EASTER – and I’ll see you back here again next time on The Couch!

Love that Hobbit!!

The Couch Potato Report
April 12th, 2014

If this first film I have for you this week was made by Hollywood, and featured an all-star cast, I wouldn’t be as positive as I’m about to be. But since it is a small, made in and around Montreal, Canadian film, I’ll be nice.

I’ll say it…I just don’t expect as much from Canadian films like this, but with lowered expectations I usually enjoy them.

Had THREE NIGHT STAND starred Jennifer Lawrence, Keira Knightley and Joseph Gordon-Levitt – for example – and been shot in and around Aspen, Colorado, I would have been very disappointed in it.

But since it was filmed in the Laurentians and stars Sam Huntington and Meaghan Rath from the television show BEING HUMAN and Emmanuelle Chriqui, from ENTOURAGE, I am more than happy to cut it some slack.

THREE NIGHT STAND is about a married couple who leave Montreal for a long-deserved romantic getaway weekend. Once they get to the ski lodge, and find out that it’s run by his ex-girlfriend, a woman he is still obsessed with, everything changes…but – as happens in movies like this – they decide to stay anyway.

THREE NIGHT STAND is never great – in fact at times I was wondering how in the world we are supposed to believe that one, yet alone two gorgeous women were ever interested in this guy – and the continuity is pretty bad at times…in one scene they are skiing, then they’re on a snowmobile, then they’re skiing again…but it is likeable enough for me to mildly recommend it.

Oh, and if you watch the boxing comedy GRUDGE MATCH with low – and I mean very low – expectations, you should enjoy it too.

This one features Robert De Niro – who played real life boxer Jake La Motta in the film RAGING BULL – and Sylvester Stallone – umm, Rocky Balboa in the ROCKY series of movies. That’s the gimmick, that is what’s worth seeing, Raging Bull against Rocky. The story and the film itself…not so much.

Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp and Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen have fought twice and each man won once. There was never a third fight.

But now, this pair of aging rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout – one because he needs the money, the other because he needs the spotlight – and that fight will take place 30 years after their last match.

Oscar winner Kim Bassinger from L.A. CONFIDENTIAL plays Stallone’s former love interest, the women who came between the boxers.

GRUDGE MATCH features Rocky versus Jake La Motta, yet it never seems to get that. There are a couple of brief nods to those films, but otherwise it wants to stand on it’s own merits, and it doesn’t quite make it. The weight of those other movies eventually gets in the way.

I liked the cast, thought the story was okay, but I wanted more. So if you go in with lowered expectations, you might just enjoy it.

Personally, I can only mildly recommend it.

Of all this week’s new releases, the movie I enjoyed the most was the second film in Peter Jackson’s THE HOBBIT TRILOGY.

And I did really enjoy THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG!

Fans of Jackson’s adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE LORD OF THE RIGHTS and 2012’s THE HOBBIT – AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY have already seen it, now own it, and they don’t need me to recommend it…but movie fans who’ve been wondering if they need to see these films, to you I say yes.

As the dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim their homeland, from Smaug the dragon the special effects are spectacular! They story, well the story will stand the test of time and live forever – and the dragon – voiced by SHERLOCK’s Benedict Cumberbatch is amazing!!

Even the new character that Jackson and his writers created – Tauriel, who is not in the books, but is played by Alberta born actress Evangeline Lilly, who was Kate on LOST – even she fits in and is great!

I have never really been a fanboy of THE HOBBIT, but I really THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG. The barrell escape scene alone is worth your time and money.

Bring on THE HOBBIT: THERE AND BACK AGAIN!! I am so pumped for it’s release on December 17th!!

Back in 2007, a horror film was released called PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. Since then there have been four sequels, of deteriorating quality.

The first one was simple – a young couple becomes increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence after moving into a suburban home – and each subsequent one tried to up the ante.

Well, by the time the virtually unwatchable PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 was released in 2012, the series was dead in the water.

Happily, the producers decided to give the series’ main storylines a break – for the most part – and earlier this year gave us PARANORMAL ACTIVITY – THE MARKED ONES.

As I said, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 was so bad that I had absolutely no faith in this one, and I think that is why I thought it was pretty good. The ending doesn’t work at all…but I even sort of kind of liked that.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY – THE MARKED ONES is not great in any way…in any way…but I can easily recommend it to fans of the series.

And finally this week, the film that won Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, last month, the Italian comedy THE GREAT BEAUTY.

Here is a picture about Jep Gambardella, a journalist who has used his charm and powers of seduction to enjoy the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades.

Since the legendary success of his one and only novel, he’s been a permanent fixture in the city’s literary and social circles, but after turning 65, everything changes, and Jep finds himself taking stock of his life.

Just like LA DOLCE VITA, there is no real “story” in THE GREAT BEAUTY, we just see things happening, but it all adds up to Jep’s increasing disillusionment with his lifestyle, one he wants to give up…except that he enjoys it too much.

THE GREAT BEAUTY is a little indulgent at times, but the people in it all seem real, and Italy looks amazing! I really enjoyed it and can easily recommend it, warts and all

The very good Academy Award winning THE GREAT BEAUTY; the okay – if you like the horror series – PARANORMAL ACTIVITY – THE MARKED ONES; the very entertaining sequel THE HOBBIT – THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG; the okay, for fans of the cast, GRUDGE MATCH starring Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone, and the mildly likeable made-in-Quebec would be romantic comedy THREE NIGHT STAND – co-starring Emmanuelle Chriqui, from ENTOURAGE – are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

And that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.

Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here again next time on The Couch!


I really enjoyed ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’.

Box office report: ‘Captain America’ fights off competition with $41.4 million weekend

Captain America: The Winter Soldier warded off newcomers this weekend and remains king of the hill with $41.4 million in its second weekend of release. The Marvel actioner dropped just 56 percent from its opening weekend and the film’s domestic total now stands at $159 million — close to 90 percent of the lifetime gross of the original, thank you very much — with global receipts already pushing $476.7 million.

Despite a Friday night win, that meant Rio 2 had to settle for second place with $39 million ($125.2 million overseas). The 3-D animated sequel tells the story of Blu, Jewel and their kids adjusting to life in the Amazon. Fox, who released the tropical Starburst-colored film in 3,948 locations, enjoyed a similar opening when Rio opened to $39.2 million back in 2011. Critics by and large gave the sequel a splat (51 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) but CinemaScore audiences granted the kid-pleaser a solid A. The film attracted a beautifully diverse audience — 25 percent Hispanic, 19 percent African-American, and 14 percent Asian.

Oculus came up with the bronze this weekend, with Relativity’s micro-budget ($5 million) sibling horror show scaring up $12 million at 2,650 theaters. Starring Doctor Who‘s Karen Gillian, the movie earned only a “C” CinemaScore rating, though its mediocre mark is consistent with recent genre peers like The Purge and Cabin in the Woods.

It feels a bit like a fumble for fellow newcomer Draft Day, led by sports flick demi-God Kevin Coster. Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment largely targeted its football drama at sports fans via their unique affiliation with the NFL, but during her own promotional rounds, Jennifer Garner tried to pitch the movie to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show as more of “romantic comedy.” She’s always a winning spokesperson — and who plays a beleaguered sports man as persuasively as Kevin Coster? — but the film underperformed with $9.8 million at 2,781 locations. CinemaScore audiences granted the Ivan Reitman-helmed film a solid B+ rating, but critics were less committal (63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes).

Rounding out the top 5 is Divergent, which narrowly bested Noah by a cool half million. The Shailene Woodley-led tale of young love in a fractured futuristic society raked in $50.3 million overseas, with a global box office now sitting pretty at $175.2 million.

In limited release, the new vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive — directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring the impossibly cool Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston — opened with an estimated $97,000 in 4 locations. And hats off to The Grand Budapest Hotel, the Wes Anderson movie that continues to hang on in the top 10 in its sixth weekend of release. Now playing in 1,467 theaters, the movie grossed over $4 million.

And finally, a note about the ceaseless soundtrack to parents’ lives, the theme of every girl’s birthday party our young children attend. The sister-power Disney phenomenon Frozen has now earned $1.12 billion across the globe. The little people will never let it go.

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $41.4 million
2. Rio 2 – $39 million
3. Oculus – $12 million
4. Draft Day – $9.5 million
5. Divergent – $7.5 million


May he rest in peace.

Mickey Rooney, Legendary Actor, Dies at 93

Mickey Rooney, the pint-sized actor who was one of MGM’s giant box office attractions in the late ’30s and early ’40s, has died, sources confirm. He was 93.

As adept at comedy as drama and an excellent singer and dancer, Rooney was regarded as the consummate entertainer. During a prolific career on stage and screen that spanned eight decades (“I’ve been working all my life, but it seems longer,” he once said), he was nominated for four Academy Awards and received two special Oscars, the Juvenile Award in 1939 (shared with Deanna Durbin) and one in 1983 for his body of work.

He also appeared on series and TV and in made for television movies, one of which, “Bill,” the touching story of a mentally challenged man, won him an Emmy. He was Emmy nominated three other times. And for “Sugar Babies,” a musical revue in which he starred with Ann Miller, he was nominated for a Tony in 1980.

Both in his professional and personal life Rooney withstood many peaks and valleys. He was married eight times and filed for bankruptcy in 1962, having gone through the $12 million he had earned. And until middle age, he was never able to quite cast off his popularity as a juvenile. Nonetheless, Rooney’s highs more than compensated for his lows. Via his “Andy Hardy” series of films, the five-foot-three Rooney came to embody the virtues of small-town American boyhood. Those films and a series of musicals in which he co-starred with Judy Garland made him the nation’s biggest box office attraction for three years running.

Born Joseph Yule Jr. in Brooklyn, Rooney made his stage debut at age 15 months in his family’s vaudeville act, Yule and Carter, as a midget in a tuxedo. His first film role in the silent “Not to Be Trusted” also found him playing a midget. Even as a child he demonstrated the ability to be a consummate clown and to move audiences with his sentimental renditions of songs like “Pal of My Cradle Days.” After his parent’s divorce, his mother Nell answered an ad placed by cartoonist Fontaine Fox, who was looking for a child actor to play the comicstrip character Mickey McGuire in a series of silent comedy shorts. Rooney appeared in almost 80 episodes of the popular serial, which continued to be churned out by Standard Film Corp. until 1932. His mother wanted to legally change his name to McGuire, but when Fox objected, she chose Rooney instead.

As a teenager, Rooney appeared in many popular films including Tom Mix Western “My Pal the King” and, memorably, as Puck in Max Reinhardt’s 1935 adaptation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” In 1934, MGM signed him to a week-to-week contract; his first success was playing Clark Gable as a boy in “Manhattan Melodrama.” He slowly climbed up the star ladder, appearing in an adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s “Ah Wilderness” and in “Little Lord Fauntleroy,” “Captains Courageous” and “Boy’s Town,” the latter two alongside Spencer Tracy.

But it was “A Family Affair,” a B-movie adaptation of the minor Broadway play “Skidding,” that first brought the world the Hardy family and its irrepressible son Andy, “the perfect composite of everybody’s kid brother,” according to critic Frank S. Nugent. With the surprise success of “A Family Affair,” the Hardy family, which included Lewis Stone (replacing Lionel Barrymore) as Judge Hardy and Spring Byington as his wife, embarked on a 15-film series of adventures in Americana. As star of one of the most successful series in film history, Rooney was earning $150,000 a year before his 20th birthday. In 1939, he was voted a special Oscar by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.

The following year he was nominated for best actor in the film musical version of “Babes in Arms” with Judy Garland. “Mickey Rooney can act the legs off a centipede,” wrote the critic for the Sunday Times in London. It was the first of several memorable pairings with Garland including “Strike Up the Band,” “Babes on Broadway” and “Girl Crazy.”

His performance in the 1943 version of William Saroyan’s “The Human Comedy” brought a second nomination, and he played his first adult role opposite Elizabeth Taylor in “National Velvet.”

From 1944-46, Rooney served in the U.S. Army in the Jeep Theater, travelling 150,000 miles entertaining the troops and acting as a radio personality on the American Forces Network.

But after the war, Rooney’s attempt to make the transition from overaged teenager to full-fledged adult was rocky at best. MGM tried to give him a new image, casting him as a boxer in “Killer McCoy”; the musical version of “Ah Wilderness,” called “Summer Holiday,” also failed to please. The very qualities that had made him an appealing child star now began to grate. His energetic cockiness seemed forced and egotistical in an adult. The vaudeville-style humor and sentimentality were deemed annoying and precious by post-war audiences.

After settling his contract with MGM in a dispute over not being cast in the all-star war drama “Battleground,” Rooney made nightclub appearances as he rebuilt his career. His freelance movie assignments, such as “Quicksand,” sank without a trace. Only “The Bold and the Brave,” a WWII drama that brought him a third Oscar nomination, met with any success. The final Andy Hardy drama, 1958’s “Andy Hardy Comes Home,” found him as a successful lawyer and new head of the family. It was the final and least successful film in the series.

Rooney also tried directing, helming 1951’s “My True Story,” with Helen Walker as a jewel thief, and 1960’s “The Private Lives of Adam and Eve,” a complex comedy in which he also starred.

He experienced somewhat more success in television: He was nominated for Emmys for dramatic work on “Playhouse 90” effort “The Comedian,” considered a classic of golden-era television, and “Eddie” on “Alcoa Theatre.”He also appeared, less felicitously, in the mid-’50s series “The Mickey Rooney Show: Hey, Mulligan” on NBC and “Mickey,” which ran for a few months on ABC in 1964-65.

But in 1962, after filing for bankruptcy (the money had dwindled through his many divorces and because of his fondness for betting on “the ponies”), he embarked on a career as a character actor in films including “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Requiem for a Heavyweight” and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” His controversial “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” role as Mr. Yunioshi, a buck-toothed broadly comic caricature of a Japanese man, did not draw much ire when the film was first released but has since been condemned as racist.

Off the bigscreen, he toured the country on a double bill with singer Bobby Van and in summer stock.

In 1963, he appeared as the very first guest on “The Judy Garland Show” upon Garland’s insistence. And he appeared occasionally during the ’60s on comedy/variety shows such as “The Dean Martin Comedy Hour,” “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” and “The Carol Burnett Show.” He guested on “Hollywood Squares” in 13 episodes between 1969 and 1976, and made 15 appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” from 1970-73.

Norman Lear considered him for role of Archie Bunker, but Rooney rejected the project just as Jackie Gleason had. Perhaps he felt the role of Santa Claus fit him better: Rooney did the voices for four Christmas TV animated/stop action specials over the years. He played Santa in “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” (1970), “The Year Without a Santa Claus” (1974), “Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July” (1979) and “A Miser Brothers’ Christmas” (2008) and also played St. Nick in a 1982 episode of “The Love Boat.”

In later years, Rooney continued to work hard and sometimes found notable success. He received an Oscar nomination for supporting actor in 1980 for “The Black Stallion.” He won an Emmy for “Bill” in 1982 and drew an Emmy nom for reprising the role in another CBS telepic two years later.

In addition to his success in the musical “Sugar Babies,” he made popular stage appearances in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and on Broadway in “The Will Rogers Follies.”

In 1982 he starred in a short-lived sitcom, “One of the Boys,” with Dana Carvey and Nathan Lane. He guested on “The Golden Girls” in 1988, on “Murder, She Wrote” in 1993 and on “ER” in 1998; he starred in “The New Adventures of the Black Stallion,” based on the film, for 57 episodes from 1990-93.

As he approached and then surpassed his 90th birthday, he labored on, appearing in 2006 in “Night at the Museum” and in 2011 in “The Muppets” feature, among several other films.

In 1993 he published autobiography “Life Is Too Short”; the next year he came out with a novel, Hollywood murder mystery “The Search for Sonny Skies.”

Rooney had battled the major studios and the Screen Actors Guild seeking TV residuals for his screen appearances before 1960 without success. In 2011 he revealed he had suffered another form of victimization. He was granted a temporary restraining order against his stepson, who was accused of withholding food and medicine and interfering in Rooney’s personal finances, which was subsequently replaced by a confidential agreement.

In March 2011 he testified before a special Senate committee considering legislation to curb abuses of senior citizens.

Rooney voyaged, as a special guest, as part of the TCM Classic Cruise in January 2013.

Rooney was married eight times, first and most famously to his MGM co-star Ava Gardner.

Son Tim Rooney died in 2006.

Mickey Rooney is survived by wife Jan Chamberlin, a singer he married in 1978; son Mickey Rooney Jr. from his marriage to singer Betty Jane Rase; son Theodore Michael Rooney from his marriage to actress Martha Vickers; daughters Kelly Ann Rooney, Kerry Rooney and Kimmy Sue Rooney and son Michael Joseph Rooney from his marriage to Barbara Ann Thomason; and daughter Jonelle Rooney and adopted son Jimmy Rooney from his marriage to Carolyn Hockett.