‘Top Gun: Maverick’ earns record $156M over Memorial Day weekend


Top Gun: Maverick holds the distinction of the best Memorial Day opening weekend of all time with projected three-day domestic earnings of $126.7 million, and $156 million for the four days. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was the previous record holder with $153 million.

Top Gun: Maverick’s opening weekend is the best for Tom Cruise, and is the first time he has had a film open to $100 million or more. The film debuted on Friday with earnings of $51.8 million, opening in more than 4,700 theaters in North America. Overseas, the film opened to $124 million from 62 markets, earning $248 million through Sunday and more than $280 million through Monday.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick sees Cruise return as Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.  The film co-stars Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell and Ed Harris, while Val Kilmer also makes a brief appearance as “Iceman,” Maverick’s onetime nemesis-turned-friend.

More than 70 percent of Top Gun 2‘s audience was over the age of 25, including 55 percent over age 35, and ticket buyers gave the film with an A+ CinemaScore.  The release of the long-awaited sequel to the iconic 1986 movie was delayed for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cruise went on a global marketing tour in recent weeks, making stops at a world premiere in San Diego, the Cannes Film Festival, a Royal-sponsored screening in London and another premiere in Japan.

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Johnny Depp gives surprise performance at Jeff Beck concert in the U.K.


Johnny Depp marked the end of his highly publicized seven-week defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard with a surprise appearance at a Jeff Beck concert at Sheffield City Hall in England on Sunday. The venue tweeted Monday: “Well … what a surprise we got last night when Johnny Depp joined ⁦@jeffbeckmusic⁩ on stage. Wishing @jeffbeckmusic⁩ good luck for the rest of his amazing tour and a big thank you to Johnny Depp for joining us!”

Numerous outlets and social media posts report that Depp and Beck performed together on a few covers, including Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On” and John Lennon’s “Isolation.” Before becoming an actor, Depp had wanted to be a musician, and even testified at his recent trial about his early musical aspirations on the stand. Depp, along with musicians Alice Cooper and Joe Perry, formed the supergroup Hollywood Vampires in 2012

Depp and Heard have been in district court in Fairfax, Virginia since April 11. Depp is suing Heard for $50 million in damages over an op-ed she wrote that was published in The Washington Post in 2018, while she is countersuing him for $100 million.  The case went to the jury who began deliberation on Friday.

Watch videos of Depp performing with Beck on YouTube: – here.

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Kelly Clarkson announces ‘Kellyoke’ EP and drops cover of Billie Eilish’s ‘Happier Than Ever’


Kelly Clarkson announced that her popular ‘Kellyoke’ segment from The Kelly Clarkson Show is being turned into a six-song EP, set for release on June 9. The Grammy-winner released a cover of Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever,” which Clarkson originally performed on the Sept. 30, 2021, episode of her talk show.

Clarkson said in a statement: “Music is in the DNA of everything I do, so when The Kelly Clarkson Show started we knew it was the perfect way to kick off every episode. Over 500 songs later, and we’re still not running out of amazing artists to pay tribute to. Picking just six [songs] was near-impossible, but these songs have been some of my favorites. Thanks for singing along with me y’all!”

The six tracks on the EP will include “Blue Bayou” by Linda Ronstadt, “Call Out My Name” by The Weeknd, “Queen of the Night” by Whitney Houston, “Trampoline” by Shaed, “Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead and “Happier Than Ever” by Eilish. The EP marks Clarkson’s first release since her holiday album When Christmas Comes Around in October.

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Justin Timberlake sells his entire music catalog for $100M


Justin Timberlake is the latest artist to sell his song catalogue, selling the rights to a London-based music investment company backed by private equity firm Blackstone. The terms of the deal with Hipgnosis Song Management were not disclosed, but reports reveal the deal as valued just above $100 million, not covering future releases.

The 41-year-old Timberlake will turn over full ownership and control to some 200 songs he wrote or co-wrote spanning his career as a frontman for NSYNC, as a solo artist, and for movie soundtracks. His catalogue of hits include “Bye Bye Bye” and “Girlfriend” from his NSYNC days; “Cry Me a River,” “SexyBack” and “Mirrors” from his solo career, and “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from the 2016 animated film “Trolls.”

Timberlake’s deal continues a recent trend of established artists selling their songbooks to big-pocketed investors or music labels. In recent months, Sting sold his song catalog to Universal Music Group for $250 million, and David Bowie’s estate sold his music catalog for $250 million to Warner Chappell Music, the publishing arm of Warner Music Group, and Bruce Springsteen sold his iconic song and publishing catalog to Sony Music for a whopping $500 million. Last year, Bob Dylan sold his massive 600-song catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group for a reported $300 million to $400 million in December 2020.

Justin Timberlake Sells Entire Song Catalog for More Than $100 Million

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Take a look at the extended trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Elvis’


Warner Brothers has released its second official trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, starring Austin Butler as the ‘King of Rock & Roll.’

The trailer opens with a voiceover, saying “Our country itself is sick, and it’s lost its sense of direction – even its common decency” — referring to the reaction to Presley and his dance moves. Butler as Presley is then seen wiggling his pinky, as the camera pans to Tom Hanks’ character Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager. “In that moment Elvis the man was sacrificed and Elvis the God was born.”  The trailer also gives a look at the rise of Presley’s career and the conflicts he faced throughout his life, especially the impact of his mother Gladys.

The trailer also shares a sample of the film’s soundtrack, including Doja Cat’s “Vegas.” Along with featuring some of Presley’s biggest hits, the movie will also include original songs and recordings by the likes of Eminem, CeeLo Green, Swae Lee, Denzel Curry, Jack White, Kacey Musgraves, Diplo, Tame Impala, and Maneskin.

Elvis premieres in theaters on June 24. Take a look at the trailer – here.

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Emmy Award winning actor Ray Liotta dead at age 67


Actor Ray Liotta, perhaps best known for his breakout role in the 1990 Martin Scorsese classic ‘Goodfellas’, has died. The Emmy Award winning actor was 67. Liotta died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic, where he was shooting the film Dangerous Waters.  He was engaged to fiancée Jacy Nittolo, and he was dad to daughter Karsen, 23, with ex-wife Michelle Grace. Sources say no foul play is suspected in his death, and that Nittolo was with him when he passed. Liotta revealed his engagement to Nittolo, a mom of four, on Christmas in 2020, writing on Instagram, “Christmas wishes do come true. I asked the love of my life to marry me, and thank God she said yes!!!”

Some of Liotta’s best known roles were in the Jonathan Demme-directed Something Wild (1987) for which he received a Golden Globe nomination. He also portrayed Chicago White Sox player Shoeless Joe Jackson opposite Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones in 1989’s Field of Dreams. Liotta won a Primetime Emmy in 2005 for his guest stint on ER and was a two-time SAG Award nominee for the 2015 miniseries Texas Rising and the 1998 telefilm The Rat Pack. 

Liotta’s career was under a resurgence; he recently appeared in the Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark, the Amazon Prime series Hanna, and also appeared in Marriage Story — for which he shared a 2020 Indie Spirit Award for its ensemble castHe just completed a role in the Elizabeth Banks-directed Cocaine Bear, and was due to star in the The Substance (working title) opposite Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley. Liotta was also set to executive produce the A&E docuseries Five Families, about the rise and fall of the New York’s mafia’s Genovese, Gambino, Bonnano, Colombo and Lucchese families.

Ray Liotta Dead: ‘Goodfellas’ Actor Dies at Age 67

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Harry Styles announces five additional New York City shows to his “Love On Tour”


Coming off two special ‘One Night Only’ shows in New York and London, Harry Styles has announced five additional New York City dates to his Love On Tour in support of his new album Harry’s House.  The highly anticipated 2022 tour will allow fans to have access to multiple nights in each major city, turning iconic venues into ‘Harry’s House’ for the run of shows.

The tour now include 37 nights at many of North America’s most notable venues, kicking off on Monday, August 15th and Tuesday, August 16th at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON. Styles will perform in New York City for 15 nights at Madison Square Garden, Austin for five nights at Moody Center, and Chicago for five nights at United Center, before wrapping up at Los Angeles’ Kia Forum for 10 night run concluding on Tuesday, November 15th.

General tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.

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Ed Sheeran to release four new songs on ‘Tour Edition’ of his album ‘=’


Nine months since he released his fifth album = (Equals), Ed Sheeran will release a new ‘tour edition’ of = with four new songs. An announcement and video on Sheeran’s Twitter page read: “There’s new Ed music on the way! The tour edition of ‘=’ drops this Friday. Includes 9 additional tracks, 2 brand new ones, and 2 that were featured in ‘Yesterday.’”  Sheeran later revealed the full track list for the tour edition, which includes a whopping 24 songs.

Back in 2018, Sheeran played a fictional version of himself in the musical film Yesterday which featured appearances from Himesh Patel and Lily James. Two of his original tracks from the movie, “One Life” and “Penguins,” were never officially released, but will finally be shared on the tour edition of =.  The remaining two new tracks are titled: “I Will Remember You” and “Welcome to the World,” which may or may not have been inspired by one or both of Ed’s two daughters.

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Former reality TV star Josh Duggar sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison following his conviction on child pornography charges


Former reality TV star Josh Duggar, who appeared in TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” was sentenced Wednesday to more than 12 years in federal prison for downloading and possessing child pornography. Duggar was sentenced to 151 months in prison and fined $10,000, according to legal documents. Josh’s father, Jim Bob, his wife Anna, and siblings Joy-Anna (Duggar) Forsyth and Jason Duggar were present in court to support him.

In addition to prison time, Duggar will require supervision for 20 years after his release and is prohibited from any unsupervised contact with minors, including his own children with wife Anna. Duggar also must must participate in sex offender treatment and may not access or view pornography of any kind, including adult pornography.

In December, a Fayetteville, Arkansas, jury found the 34-year-old Duggar guilty on one count each of receiving and possessing child pornography. Duggar faced up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for each count. Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks to give the maximum term of 20 years to Duggar, arguing in a pre-sentencing court filing that Duggar has a “deep-seated, pervasive and violent sexual interest in children.”

Duggar, whose lawyers sought a five-year sentence, maintains his innocence and has said he will appeal. Duggar’s lawyer Justin K. Gelfand said: “We’re grateful the judge dismissed Count 2 and rejected the Government’s request for a 240-month sentence. We look forward to continuing the fight on appeal.”

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Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’ becomes the biggest No. 1 Billboard debut of 2022


Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers has earned the title of the biggest No. 1 Billboard debut of 2022 so far, making it Lamar’s fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart.  Mr. Morale topped Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti with 295,500 album-equivalent units; Bad Bunny had previously topped Future’s I Never Liked You. 

Lamar revealed that he was working on new material last summer, and said that the project — Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers — would be his final release for Top Dawg Entertainment.  Ahead of Mr. Morale’s release, Lamar continued his “The Heart” singles series with “The Heart Part 5.” He developed the deepfake video for the track alongside South Park creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone, but the track doesn’t appear on the album.

Mr. Morale arrives five years after its predecessor DAMN., for which Lamar earned the distinction of being the first hip-hop artist to win a Pulitzer Prize. In between the solo albums, Lamar curated and performed on the Black Panther soundtrack, which earned him a Best Rap Performance Grammy for the track “King’s Dead” with Jay Rock.

Lamar is set to tour the United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand with Baby Keem and Tanna Leone beginning in July.

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