What?! I didn’t go to a movie again this week?!? But I really wanted to!!!

Box office report: Beauty and the Beast doubles Power Rangers’ weekend gross

As expected, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast roars atop the weekend box office for the second week in a row, bounding past a wide crop of newcomers as the month of March sets a new industry standard in record time.

The Bill Condon-directed fantasy falls around 49 percent for a sophomore finish of $88.3 million, bringing its North American total to $316.9 million in a mere 10 days. After breaking the March opening weekend record last week, Beauty and the Beast goes on to score the fourth largest 10-day gross of all time this weekend in addition to posting the fourth largest second weekend tally of all time.

Overseas, Beauty and the Beast adds $119.2 million after opening in territories like France, Australia, and Argentina, cementing the film’s $690.3 global total to date. So far this year, Disney has amassed an estimated $1.3 billion globally.

At a distant second is Lionsgate’s Power Rangers reboot, which slightly exceeds industry forecasts with a healthy $40.5 million. The expensive $100 million blockbuster should earn back its production budget in the U.S., though its profitability will be determined by how well it performs on the international market. Tentpole spectacles tend to do well overseas — particularly in Asia — so the film’s promising domestic launch is only a small start to what could be a long life on screens worldwide in the weeks ahead.

Though they’re technically rivals in the box office arena, the impressive weekend hauls of both Power Rangers and Beauty and the Beast have helped domestic totals push past the $1 billion mark for March alone, making it the month’s best showing in history, according to comScore.

Falling one spot to No. 3 is the Legendary/Warner Bros. actioner Kong: Skull Island, which muscles a further $14.4 million over its third weekend in wide release. The franchise flick has made $133.5 million in the U.S. and Canada thus far, with another $258.6 million pouring in from overseas for a global total of $392.1 million and counting.

Coming in at No. 4 is the heavily buzzed Sony/Skydance thriller Life, which world-premiered at SXSW to solid critical reviews earlier this month. The $58 million production meets modest industry expectations over a competitive weekend through Sunday, earning an estimated $12.6 million — a relatively low number given its star power (Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal star), intriguing alien-centric premise, and effective marketing campaign.

Outside the top five, Warner Bros.’ kitschy contemporary adaptation of the beloved television series CHiPs bows with an estimated $7.6 million — a lukewarm start for director-writer-star Dax Shepard’s latest filmmaking effort, which was reportedly produced on a budget of around $25 million.

Elsewhere, the comparatively low-profile basketball drama Slamma Jamma posts a decent $1.7 million after playing at 502 sites over the weekend. At 310 locations, the Woody Harrelson/Laura Dern vehicle Wilson — helmed by The Skeleton Twins director Craig Johnson — also bows with a soft estimated $330,000, averaging approximately $1,065 per theater.

Per comScore, overall box office is up around 5.5 percent from the same frame last year. Check out the March 24-26 weekend box office estimates below.

1 – Beauty and the Beast – $88.3 million
2 – Power Rangers – $40.5 million
3 – Kong: Skull Island – $14.4 million
4 – Life – $12.6 million
5 – Logan – $10.1 million
6 – Get Out – $8.7 million
7 – CHiPs – $7.6 million
8 – The Shack – $3.8 million
9 – The LEGO Batman Movie – $2 million
10 – The Belko Experiment – $1.8 million


It didn’t fail because it cost too much, it had a bad script and didn’t know what it wanted to be. That’s why it failed.

Ivan Reitman Weighs In On Paul Feig’s ‘Ghostbusters,’ Says More Franchise Movies Planned

Last year’s “Ghostbusters” reboot wasn’t the massive hit that the studio and filmmakers were hoping for. No matter your thoughts on the finished product, the film just didn’t make enough money to warrant a sequel. But that’s not deterring producer Ivan Reitman from keeping hope alive. He’s not just planning to continue the “Ghostbusters” franchise with another movie, he’s planning on multiple movies.

“We jumped into an animated film [after the last movie] and we are developing live-action films. I want to bring all these stories together as a universe that makes sense within itself. Part of my job right now is to do that,” said Reitman in an interview with io9.

Is the public craving more “Ghostbusters” movies, especially an animated film? That’s the big question. Reitman is betting there’s still a big outcry for more stories from the “Ghostbusters” universe. Before the reboot film premiered last summer, there were tons of rumors about a “Ghostbusters” cinematic universe combining the female cast with another franchise of people busting ghosts that starred Channing Tatum and Chris Pratt. It’s not known if the “universe” that Reitman is hinting at is this plan or a completely new one.

Reitman also has some thoughts about why the reboot didn’t do so well. “We certainly would’ve loved to have a larger hit, but considering the last film was almost 30 years ago, it really did extremely well. I think the film cost too much, frankly, and that’s the real issue. I personally had other points of view in terms of where the film should go and it was kind of a continuous conversation with Paul [Feig] about that. But Paul was the filmmaker on this one and he’s a very talented director. I wanted to give him enough room to do the film he thought it should be,” said the producer.

With the long layoff between films, and the lukewarm reception of the last film, it remains unclear whether or not Reitman is right or maybe the public just isn’t interested in a new version of “Ghostbusters.” Even with the controversy surrounding the 2016 film, with an all-star cast and director, it still failed to live up to expectations. Even if that film ended up only costing $70 million instead of $144 million, the final worldwide box office total of $229 million isn’t enough to warrant a huge franchise.

According to Reitman, the animated film is shooting for release in 2019 or 2020.


More very sad news. May he rest in peace.

Chuck Barris, Wacky Host and Creator of ‘The Gong Show,’ Dies at 87

He also produced ‘The Dating Game’ and ‘The Newlywed Game,’ shadowed Dick Clark for a year and wrote ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind’ and the pop song “Palisades Park.”
Chuck Barris, the goofball host of The Gong Show who also was the manic mastermind behind two other spontaneous game-show classics, The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game, has died. He was 87.

Barris, who in his book, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: An Unauthorized Biography, claimed to have been an assassin for the CIA — his implausible story became a fantastical 2002 movie directed by first-timer George Clooney and written by Charlie Kaufman — died Tuesday of natural causes at his home in Palisades, N.Y., his family announced through publicist Paul Shefrin.

The Philadelphia native also penned the 1962 pop song “Palisades Park,” a tribute to the old amusement park in New Jersey that was a hit for Freddy Cannon and figured high on Barris’ list of career achievements.

With his innovative shows, Barris changed the face of reality TV but was derided but critics who nicknamed him “The King of Schlock,” “The Baron of Bad Taste” and “The Ayatollah of Trasherola.”

On The Gong Show, which aired on NBC and in syndication in daytime and primetime from 1976-80, amateurs took to the stage to demonstrate their so-called talent in front of three celebrity judges. Quite often, they made fools of themselves.

Barris’ original idea had been to create a show that featured fine performers, but in his search for talent, he frequently encountered awful acts. “I came back and said, ‘Let’s change the show, have all bad acts and one or two good ones, and people can make a judgment,’ ” he said in a 2010 interview with The Archive of American Television.

When original host John Barbour didn’t work out after about a year, NBC execs insisted that the cuddly, curly-haired Barris come on as his replacement, so he donned a tuxedo and a floppy hat and introduced the acts.

Any of the three judges (a roster that included Jaye P. Morgan, Rex Reed, Rip Taylor, Jamie Farr, Arte Johnson and David Letterman) could send the bad performers packing by striking a large gong.

“Everybody could relate to somebody wearing a lampshade and dancing around,” Barris said. “Bad acts are inherent in everyone.”

Acts who appeared included The Unknown Comic (Murray Langston), Danny Elfman, Paul Reubens and Barris’ own mother, and at random moments, the host would call out Gene Gene the Dancing Machine (stagehand Gene Patton) to boogie for the audience to the tune of “Jumpin’ at the Woodside.”

On one particularly crazy show, Morgan unbuttoned her blouse to reveal her breasts to the cameras, and Barris said she never worked on The Gong Show again.

“The end of the show came because of me,” he said in the TV Archive chat. “I had a small nervous breakdown out there, doing strange things. When I see films of the last shows, I was walking around, busting up [studio] flats on the air. That was the behavior of a host who was bored to death.”

In October, ABC ordered a new version of The Gong Show to be executive produced by Will Arnett.

Barris first made his mark in the game show arena when he created The Dating Game, which bowed as an ABC daytime program in December 1965. Hosted by San Francisco radio personality Jim Lange, the program featured a bachelor or bachelorette asking three members of the opposite sex suggestive questions, then choosing one for a date.

ABC’s The Newlywed Game, produced by Barris and hosted by the cheeky Bob Eubanks, premiered in July 1966. Four couples who had been married for a year or less competed by matching answers to questions about their spouses’ likes and dislikes. Just like The Dating Game, it was a huge hit and played in primetime as well (both shows aired in tandem on Saturday nights for a time).

Barris often came off as a nut case, but he was an astute businessman. As a pioneer of first-run syndication, he sold The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game to stations after ABC canceled his shows, keeping them on the air.

He formed the public company Chuck Barris Productions in 1968 and sold his shares in the firm to producer Burt Sugarman in a 1986 deal that valued the company at about $86 million ($195 million today). The firm was eventually acquired by producers Peter Guber and Jon Peters and then by Sony.

Charles Hirsch Barris was born on June 3, 1929. The son of a dentist and a housewife, he graduated from Lower Merion High School and Drexel University, then landed a job in the foundry at U.S. Steel.

After working various odd jobs, including traveling around the country selling teleprompters, Barris moved to New York and became an NBC page. He went through a management training program and took a sales job, but then the network fired everyone in the department.

He then was hired by ABC, which offered him the dubious assignment of tailing Dick Clark, the young and popular host of TV’s American Bandstand, at Philadelphia station WFIL-TV. Barris’ task was to ascertain whether Clark was involved in the illegal practice of payola.

“It was so ridiculous. If I left at 6 o’clock, what’s to say he couldn’t be doing anything nefarious after 6 o’clock?” Barris said.

Still, he wrote daily memos detailing the goings-on at American Bandstand for about a year, and his notes were presented before a House of Representatives subcommittee in Washington. Ultimately, Clark was absolved of any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, “Palisades Park” had reached No. 3 in June 1962 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. (Barris would also write the theme music for many of his game shows.)

As a result of his work shadowing Clark, ABC sent Barris to Los Angeles as its director of daytime television on the West Coast. When no one would return his phone calls, he set up shop in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. His innate sense of Hollywood tribal behavior worked: Now people were getting back to him.

His first show was Poker People, a failed pilot in which two celebrity panelists attempt to guess the professions of 16 guests just by their appearance. “It was a disaster,” he recalled. “I had brought prostitutes and policewoman on the show, and the policewomen wouldn’t work with the prostitutes.”

Shortly after attending a civil rights rally in Selma, Ala., Barris left ABC to become an independent producer. Living on his royalties from “Palisades Park,” Barris developed The Dating Game and sold the show to his former employers.

“When The Dating Game came out, women had to wait for a man to call,” Lange told the Los Angeles Times in a 2002 interview. “Having them make the choices [on the show] appealed to the female population, the target demographic.”

Future sportscaster Al Michaels was a member of his staff; Burt Reynolds, Michael Jackson and John Ritter were among the contestants; and it was Barris’ idea to have Lange and the contestants blow kisses to the cameras at the end of each show.

The Newlywed Game “was the easiest show to do,” he said in the TV Archive interview. “It only needed four couples, four questions and a washer/dryer.”

In the show’s most precious moment, Eubanks asked one wife,”Where specifically is the weirdest place that you personally have ever gotten the urge to make whoopee?”

“In the ass?” she answered. Her husband then turned over a card that revealed his response: “In the car.”

In 1980, Barris directed, co-wrote (with Robert Downey Sr.) and appeared in Universal’s The Gong Show Movie. An R-rated look at the game show, it was pulled from theaters after one weekend, he said.

Barris also presided over other game shows like The Game Game, How’s Your Mother-in-Law?, Dream Girl of ’67, The $1.98 Beauty Show, 3’s a Crowd — with the premise “Who knows a husband better, his wife or his secretary?” — The Family Game and The New Treasure Hunt.

In 1968, he produced Operation: Entertainment, a variety show that had a different host (George Carlin, Dick Cavett, Dick Shawn, et al) appearing at a different military base each week.

Barris read Erich Segal’s Love Story and figured he could write an even better romance novel. So he went to France and penned You and Me, Babe, based on his relationship with his first wife; and it was published in 1974 and became a best-seller.

After “the critics had harassed me for 15 years saying that I’d lowered the bar of civilization,” he said in a 2003 interview with A.V. Club, an angry Barris holed up in a New York hotel for two years and wrote Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

The book was a dud upon its release but sold well when the film version, starring Sam Rockwell as Barris, was released.

Asked in the TV Archive interview if he really was an assassin, Barris replied: “I don’t answer that question, ever. I can just tell you that the No. 2 guy in the CIA said that I must have been standing too close to the gong when I said things like that.”

A sequel, Bad Grass Never Dies, came out in 2004.

His daughter, 36, died from an overdose of drugs and alcohol in 1998, and Barris wrote the moving Della: A Memoir of My Daughter, published in 2010.

He is survived by his wife of 16 years, the former Mary Clagett. In lieu of flowers, it is suggested that donations be made in his name to the New York Police Foundation.



Box Office: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Waltzes to Record $170M in U.S., $350M Globally

The Disney live-action fairy tale landed one of the top 10 openings of all time and the biggest ever for a PG title, both in North America and overseas.
Be our guest, indeed.

Director Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast opened over the weekend to a monstrous $170 million from 4,210 theaters at the North American box office. Overseas, the female-fueled update of the classic 1991 animated musical also dazzled, earning $180 million for an elegant global bow of $350 million.

Beauty set a number of new records, including the biggest start ever for a PG title both in North America and abroad (Last year’s Finding Dory was the previous champ domestically with $135 million). And it surpassed the $166 million domestic debut of last year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice to land the top March opening of all time. Just as impressive, the family-friendly movie boasts the seventh-biggest domestic opening for any film, and the biggest outside of summer save for December 2015 bow of fellow Disney blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens, not accounting for inflation.

Several rival studios have Beauty and the Beast coming in higher ($173 million-$174 million); a final figure will be released by Disney on Monday. Either way, it will be the largest domestic opening since Marvel/Disney’s Captain America: Civil War ($177 million) almost a year ago.

Internationally, Beauty placed No. 1 almost everywhere. It was huge in the U.K. with $22.8 million — one of the top five openings ever there — and impressed in China with $44.8 million, already topping the entire runs of Maleficent and Alice in Wonderland.

The $160 million tentpole is yet another win for Disney, where studio chairman Alan Horn — who worked with British star Emma Watson on the Harry Potter franchise when running Warner Bros. — and production chief Sean Bailey have been intent on mining the studio’s classic animated vault and building a stable of live-action movies. Past hits include The Jungle Book, Maleficent, Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland.

“There were a combination of factors that made this a recipes for success. There was a nostalgia for the original and the Disney brand. And Emma Watson was perfectly cast as Belle. The visual effects were also their own character,” said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis. “And I love our date. We have five weeks of rolling spring break ahead of us.”

Audiences gave Beauty an A CinemaScore. Disney reports that a healthy 40 percent of the audience were males, and nearly half the audience were adults and teens, a startling stat for a PG family title; the remainder were parents and kids.

Beauty and the Beast stars Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. The cast also includes Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson. David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films produced the pic.

The tale follows the bookish Belle, who attempts to rescue her father from the castle of a terrifying beast, and instead becomes his captor. But she soon starts to fall for the Beast and the enchanted staff of his castle, who were all put under a spell by a witch.

The film saw a nice boost from a full run in Imax theaters, generally known as a haven for fanboys. But with PG films booming, Imax is expanding its programming to include family-friendly fare. The large-screen exhibitor worked with Condon on making a special version of Beauty that allows more to be seen on the screen because of a different aspect ratio. Also, Imax offered a 2D version of the movie throughout the day so that it would be a more affordable outing for families. The scheme worked, with Imax locations contributing $12.5 million in North America and $21 million worldwide, beating Jungle Book ($18 million) for the top PG title.

Beauty caused some consternation in a smattering of foreign markets after Condon recently revealed that Gad’s character LeFou, Gaston’s sidekick, is gay. Russia gave the movie a restrictive 16 rating, but it still earned $6 million, on par with Cinderella.

Censors in Malaysia have gone one step further and asked Disney to cut what it deems a “gay moment,” but the studio says it won’t make any changes.

The only film that dared to open nationwide opposite Beauty was The Belko Experiment, which grossed $4.1 million from 1,341 theaters for a seventh-place finish. Written by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), Belko Experiment is an Orion Pictures’ low-budget horror thriller which is being released by Blumhouse’s alternative distribution arm, BH Tilt.

The pic, directed by Greg McLean, follows a group of 80 Americans who are locked in their high-rise office in Bogota, Colombia, and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed in order to survive.

Two male-fueled titles placed No. 2 and No. 3 over the weekend, Kong: Skull Island and Logan, respectively.

Warner Bros. and Legendary’s Kong fell a respectable 53 percent in its second weekend to $28.9 million for a domestic total of $110.1 million. It took in another $38.5 million internationally for a global cume of $259.2 million. The movie’s main challenge remains recouping its hefty production budget of at least $185 million.

In its third outing, Fox’s Logan neared the $200 million mark domestically, grossing $17.5 million for a cume of $184 million. The final and third Wolverine movie has earned north of $500 million worldwide.

Jordan Peele’s sleeper hit Get Out placed No. 4 with $13.2 million in its fourth weekend for a domestic total of $133.1 million. It debuted to an early $2.1 million overseas for a global tally of $136 million for Universal and Blumhouse.

Lionsgate’s faith-based The Shack rounded out the top five with another $6.1 million for a cume of $42.6 million.

At the specialty box office, TriStar/Sony’s T2 Trainspotting earned $180,000 from five theaters for a pleasing location average of $36,000, the best of the weekend after Beauty ($40,380). The long-awaited sequel has already earned more than $34 million overseas, mostly in the U.K.


Weekend Box Office 3/19/17
1. Beauty and the Beast $170M $170M 4,210 1
2. Kong: Skull Island $28.9M $110.1M 3,846 2
3. Logan $17.5M $184M 3,687 3
4. Get Out $13.2M $133.1M 2,979 4
5. The Shack $6.1M $42.6M 2,825 3
6. The Lego Batman Movie $4.7M $167.4M 2,735 6
7. The Belko Experiment $4.1M $4.1M 1,341 1
8. Hidden Figures $1.5M $165.6M 1,162 13
9. John Wick: Chapter Two $1.2M $89.8M 1,065 6
10. Before I Fall $1M $11.3M 1,551 3


Bruce Springsteen – Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived.

Celebrities pay tribute to Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry, the legendary guitarist, singer, songwriter, and rock and roll pioneer, died Saturday in Missouri at age 90.

Many in the music industry who have been influenced by his work and sound — plus those from movies and TV — were quick to pay tribute to Berry via social media. The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner and Kennedy Center honoree, who TIME magazine named one of the 10 Greatest Electric-Guitar Players in 2009, was hailed by many for his lasting legacy. “Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived,” tweeted Bruce Springsteen via his official account.

“I am so sad to hear of Chuck Berry’s passing. I want to thank him for all the inspirational music he gave to us,” said Mick Jagger in a statement. “He lit up our teenage years, and blew life into our dreams of being musicians and performers. His lyrics shone above others and threw a strange light on the American dream. Chuck, you were amazing, and your music is engraved inside us forever.”

Added Joan Jett,, “Hail hail rock ‘n’ roll. I’m glad I had a chance to know, love, and work with Chuck Berry during my life and career. Original Pure Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

“Thank you for the poetry, the passion and the potency,” wrote Keith Urban, while former American Idol judge and bassist Randy Jackson, who has played with everyone from Journey to Mariah Carey, extended his thanks to the “greatest rock and roll pioneer of all time.”

“A true pioneer, a brilliant writer, great guitar player, one of the Rock n Roll creators,” said Bob Seger in a statement. “How many people have played his riffs? His ‘Johnny B Goode’ is on the Voyager spacecraft heading for the stars — how many rockers can say that! Chuck had tremendous influence on my work and could not have been a nicer guy. One of the all-time greats.”

Even former President Bill Clinton also released a statement. “Hillary and I loved Chuck Berry for as long as we can remember. The man was inseparable from his music — both were utterly original and distinctly American,” he wrote. “He made our feet move and our hearts more joyful. And along the way he changed our country and the history of popular music. Chuck played at both my inaugurations and at the White House for my 25th Georgetown reunion, and he never slowed down, which is why his legend grew every time he stepped on stage. His life was a treasure and a triumph, and he’ll never be forgotten. Our hearts go out to his family and his countless friends and fans.”


He was a true music legend and this is horrible news. May he rest in peace.

Chuck Berry, the man who ‘started it all,’ dead at 90

Legendary musician Chuck Berry died at his home just west of St. Louis, Missouri on Saturday, according to police. He was 90 years old.

The St. Charles County Police Department confirmed Berry’s death on Facebook, saying police responded to a medical emergency at his home at approximately 12:40 p.m. local time.

Police say Berry was found unresponsive and he was pronounced dead at 1:26 p.m.

His family is requesting privacy, according to the police statement.

“Every riff and solo played by rock guitarists over the last 60 years contains DNA that can be traced right back to Chuck Berry,” Sweden’s esteemed Polar Music Prize Foundation stated emphatically when awarding Berry its rock music prize in 2014.

Berry burst onto the scene in the mid-1950s, cutting songs at Chess Records that are woven into the very fabric of what became known as rock ‘n’ roll: Maybellene, Roll Over Beethoven, Johnny B. Goode, School Days, Rock and Roll Music, Sweet Little Sixteen, and No Particular Place to Go.

Born Charles Edward Anderson Berry on Oct. 18, 1926, to middle-class parents in the black neighbourhood of The Ville in St. Louis, Mo., Berry would grow up to produce an infectious alchemy of blues, hillbilly music and Western swing.

He wrote story songs — often humorous — about working dead end jobs, or hitting the open road with a girl. They were crammed with geographic locations and innovative lyrics about fast cars, teen dances or consumerism.

“I concentrated on this fun and frolic, these novelties,” he told Rolling Stone in 2000. “I wrote about cars because half the people had cars or wanted them. I wrote about love, because everyone wants that.”

In his youth, Berry learned to play piano, saxophone and guitar. His father was deacon of a Baptist church and his mother was a school principal.

As a musician, he cut a dapper, lanky figure onstage with his conk hairstyle, wispy mustache and sideburns.

He thrilled crowds with nimble work on his Gibson guitar and his most famous move — crouching with his guitar and scooting backwards on one heel in what became known as the “duck walk.”

Rock history wouldn’t be the same if he had served the full 10-year term for an armed robbery spree committed with two friends in his late teens.

But he was let out in three, which left him free to bring his guitar to local clubs and meet, in succession, piano player Johnnie Johnson, bluesman Muddy Waters and Chicago label owner Leonard Chess.

They were the three most instrumental in getting Chess to record Maybellene (originally titled Ida Mae) and Wee Wee Hours in the summer of 1955.

The song was a hit for the 29-year-old Berry, and he soon built a star following among white teenagers, helping him escape an eked-out living in jobs that ranged from hairdresser, gas station attendant to assembly line worker.

If rock and deviance were related, Berry did his best to give the critics ammunition throughout his career, beginning with a Mann Act charge of transporting a minor over state lines in 1960. He said he was bringing her to a job in his club as a hat-check girl. Authorities said the 14-year-old was a prostitute.

While locked up for 18 months he wrote hits Nadine and You Never Can Tell, used memorably 30 years later in the Pulp Fiction film dance scene.

By the mid-1960s, his impact was felt mostly through those he influenced. The Beatles recorded Rock and Roll Music and Roll Over Beethoven, The Rolling Stones opted for Carol, and he (eventually) got himself a co-writing credit when Brian Wilson copped his melodies for Surfin’ U.S.A.

Berry fought fiercely for every penny owed, refusing to be a victim of the theft suffered by other early black rock and rhythm and blues artists.

He kept his overhead low, serving as his own manager and relied on pickup bands around the world instead of travelling with his own group. Berry demanded payment up front for his shows, preferably in cash.

The performance fee went up when he hit the top of the pop charts for the first time in 1972 with My Ding-A-Ling, an absurd novelty song he tried gamely to defend years later to Q magazine.

“A lot of people like that song,” he said. “And I LOVED that song because that little, weenie song made my wallet so fat and happy, ha-ha-ha.”

The “cash in the guitar case” ethos, though, often led to problems. With money in hand, more than a few shows were said to be performed half-heartedly or saw the enigmatic Berry leave the stage early.

More seriously, he spent a few months of 1979 in jail for tax evasion.

Berry’s last recording of original material came in 1979, but the mid-1980s saw a flurry of activity, with Keith Richards of the Stones often at the centre.

The Stones’ shaggy-haired rhythm guitarist inducted Berry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, sheepishly admitting, “It’s very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry because I lifted every lick he ever played.”

Richards was bandleader for tribute concerts to Berry that year in St. Louis, with Eric Clapton, Linda Ronstadt and Etta James among those performing.

The concert footage was the musical bed for a documentary, Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll in which Berry memorably clashed with Richards on camera, and reportedly on set with director Taylor Hackford.

In 1948, shortly after his release from prison on the armed robbery conviction, Berry married Themetta Suggs and they stayed married for the rest of his life.

But in an autobiography released in 1987, he appeared to revel in recounting various flings on the road. As long as you keep “the home fires burning,” he reasoned.

Berry had businesses and a nice spread in suburban Missouri, but trouble came home in July 1990. Acting on a tip that he was moving kilos worth of cocaine (never found), authorities instead allegedly discovered marijuana, hash and pornographic videotapes.

It was alleged that cameras had been installed in air ducts in the women’s washroom at his restaurant.

Berry said he was being framed by a disgruntled employee, but the end result was that he settled out of court a lawsuit filed on behalf of several women.

He might have forever been a pariah in today’s age of social media approbation, but just under three years later, Jack Lemmon was enthusiastically introducing him fronting an all-star band at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration ball as “the man who started it all.”

The last years of his life were marked by accolades like the Kennedy Center honours in 2000, and a touring schedule that belied his age.

Closer to home, he played several gigs every year at the Duck Room stage of the Blueberry Hill club in St. Louis.

Pop star Lorde stopped by the club in March 2014 and posed for pictures with Berry. She tweeted: “Watched chuck berry and his talented family and band play at the duck room tonight, the stars are in my eyes still.”

In 2016, on his 90th birthday, the musician announced the upcoming release of a new studio album — his first in more than 35 years.

Berry is survived by his wife, three daughters and a son.


Oh behalf of everyone…absolutely everyone…can I just say Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

‘The Matrix’ remake in the works: Report

A reboot of iconic ’90s sci-fi movie The Matrix is in its early stages.

According to editors at The Hollywood Reporter, film company Warner Bros. has tapped screenwriter Zak Penn, who has worked on X-Men 2 and The Avengers, to pen a new take on the 1999 movie classic.

The Matrix franchise was directed by the Wachowski siblings, and starred Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Ann Moss. It depicted a dystopian future in which the reality perceived by most humans was actually a simulated one created by machines to subdue the human population. Reeves played computer programmer Neo, aka The One, who is told the truth about his world and is chosen to lead a rebellion against the machines, alongside a group of people freed from the “dream world”.

The film, the fourth-highest grossing film of the year worldwide in 1999, became known for its groundbreaking special effects including its heavily imitated slow-motion “bullet time” effect, which also contributed to it winning four Academy Awards.

It was followed by two less successful sequels – The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, in 2003.

There are few details on what shape the project will take, but sources have told the publication that Warner Bros. are keen to expand The Matrix universe in a similar way to Disney and Lucasfilm which are mining the Star Wars franchise to produce spin-offs such as the upcoming Han Solo movie.

Despite expressing an interest in returning to the franchise, John Wick star Reeves, now 52, is unlikely to be attached to the project, with producers said to be keen on landing Creed star Michael B. Jordan for a lead role.

While promoting the follow up to his hit assassin movie John Wick: Chapter 2, Reeves said he would return for another Matrix movie – but only if the Wachowskis were involved.

“They would have to write it and direct it. And then we’d see what the story is, but yeah, I dunno, that’d be weird, but why not?” he told Yahoo Movies.

The siblings are currently working on a second season of their Netflix show Sense8, and Warner Bros. has made no comment on whether the original helmers have given their blessing to the project.


This will be an amazing entry to the series. Can’t wait to watch it!!

New Heath Ledger documentary to air on Spike in May

Heath Ledger will be the subject of a new Spike TV documentary, I Am: Heath Ledger, to air in May 2017.

It’s been a little over nine years since the actor’s tragic death at age 28 from an accidental mixture of prescription drugs.

Ledger, the Australian-born star of 10 Things I Hate About You, The Patriot, Brokeback Mountain, and The Dark Knight, among others, was beloved for his rugged handsomeness, as well his low-key demeanor. He was often seen skateboarding down streets of his Brooklyn neighborhood and strolling with Matilda, the young daughter he had with actress Michelle Williams.

Considered one of the most compelling actors of his generation, he brought a deep soulfulness to his roles, especially in Brokeback Mountain, opposite Williams and Jake Gyllenhaal, for which he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar.

Now his story will be told in Spike’s original documentary series, I Am, which is an inside look at the lives of unique individuals as told by those in their inner circle.

Previous subjects have included JFK Jr., Chris Farley, and Bruce Lee.


I miss Van Halen AND Van Hagar!!!

How Sammy Hagar’s ‘Unboxed’ LP Led to Van Halen’s Split

On March 15, 1994, then-Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar released Unboxed, a greatest-hits collection focusing on his ’80s solo career.

Though he says his bandmates understood and agreed with his reasons for adding two new songs to this contractually-obligated album at the time, in the coming years Unboxed would be the cause of much dispute for this lineup of the famous group. In fact, looking back, Hagar believes the project is where “all the bad blood started” that ultimately led to his 1996 departure from Van Halen.

In order for Hagar to leave his platinum-plus solo career behind to join Van Halen in 1985, he had to promise to deliver one more full-length solo album to his record label, Geffen. With new bandmate Eddie Van Halen on bass duty, Hagar dutifully released I Never Said Goodbye in 1987, hot on the heels of his Van Halen debut, 5150.

However, the contract also allowed Geffen to release a best-of album from Hagar’s time with the label. He wasn’t obligated to contribute any new music for this collection, but he was offered enough extra money to do so to neatly resolve a messy personal financial situation. “By including two new songs for the Unboxed project, I got Geffen to pay me exactly the amount of money I owed my wife for our divorce settlement.” Hagar explained to Guitar World magazine in 1997. “I paid her off with all the money I received for that album and didn’t make a dime off it.”

Hagar says he got approval from all of his bandmates for this plan. But a couple of years later, when Hagar objected to Van Halen’s plan to release their own hits compilation — declaring it a move only bands who are at the end of a stage in their career, not riding a hot streak of four straight No. 1 albums, should do — he says the Van Halen brothers accused him of being a hypocrite. The disagreements escalated as the pair allegedly pressured Hagar into recording a new song for that collection, as well as the song “Human Beings” for the Twister soundtrack, during what had been planned to be time off for the group.

Ultimately, in an angry phone call on Father’s Day 1996, Hagar quit or was fired from Van Halen, depending on which side you believe. Which meant Unboxed wasn’t the solo career-capping statement he had intended it to be. “I’m telling you this as an honest man,” Hagar states. “If I would have ever dreamed that I wouldn’t be in Van Halen anymore and was going to have resume my solo career again, I would have never contributed anything towards my own greatest hits package, even for the money.” Hagar vented much of his frustration from this situation quite clearly on his first post-Van Halen solo album, 1997’s Marching to Mars.

So was Unboxed worth all this trouble? Well, that’s not really fair to ask, since it was coming out whether or not Hagar had contributed the two new songs (“High Hopes” and “Buying My Way Into Heaven,” both catchy but hardly legacy-enhancing). But apart from the intentional and somewhat perverse exclusion of Hagar’s highest-charting hit to date, 1982’s “Your Love is Driving Me Crazy,” it’s a great collection of highlights from his time with Geffen, full of strong, hooky anthems like “There’s Only One Way to Rock,” “I Can’t Drive 55″ and “Heavy Metal.”


She’s right, it wouldn’t sell. That’s the world we live in now.

Stevie Nicks Says There Will Never Be Another Fleetwood Mac Album

Stevie Nicks said there will probably never be another Fleetwood Mac album.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the singer and songwriter said, “I don’t think there’s any reason to spend a year and an amazing amount of money on a record that, even if it has great things, isn’t going to sell.”

“I don’t think we’ll do another record. If the music business were different, I might feel different,” she added. “What we do is go on the road, do a ton of shows and make lots of money. We have a lot of fun. Making a record isn’t all that much fun.”

Nicks also explained what happened with the planned Fleetwood Mac album that turned into a record by the band’s other two singer-songwriters, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie, with help from the remaining members of Fleetwood Mac, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie.

Last year, Fleetwood said recording of the group’s album was delayed by Nicks, who went on a solo tour. “I’ve been on the road since last September, so I don’t understand their premise,” Nicks said. “Christine was gone [from Fleetwood Mac] for 16 years and came back, did a massive tour, and then it’s like, “Now I’m just gonna go back to London and sit in my castle for two years”? She wanted to keep working.

“I will be back with them at the end of the year for, I think, another tour,” Nicks said. “I just needed my two years off. Until then, I wish them the best in whatever they do.”

For now, it appears Nicks is happy to play the solo artist, especially when it comes to a band like Fleetwood Mac, which has had its share of drama over the years.

“When you’re in a band, you have to be part of the team,” she told Rolling Stone. “There’s something comforting about that. But in my solo career, I get to be the boss. Having both, for a Gemini like myself, is perfect. And I knew that in 1981: that me having a solo career would only make Fleetwood Mac better.”