NEW YORK — When Bruno Mars hit the stage for his first TV special, he could feel the music — in his bones and his veins — and it shows.
Mars’ energetic and slick dance moves and smooth vocals are at the forefront of “BRUNO MARS: 24K MAGIC LIVE AT THE APOLLO,” which debuts Wednesday on CBS at 10 p.m. Eastern. He recorded the special at the Apollo Theater in New York’s Harlem, performing the majority of his third album, “24K Magic.”
“You got to perform it a few times to get it in your bones, to get it right, to work out all the kinks … it’s never going to be right the first time to do it,” Mars said in a phone interview from South America, where he is on tour. “By the time we got to film at the Apollo, we were already a well-oiled machine.”
“People are going to get the best that I got,” he added.
Mars said he chose to film the one-hour special at the Apollo — which he calls “a magical place” — because of the venue’s rich history in music and pop culture.
“I remember growing up watching ‘Showtime at the Apollo’ before ‘X Factor’ and ‘American Idol’ — that was the singing competition show. It was pretty cut-throat. Either you got it and they would cheer you on, or you don’t and they’ll boo you off the stage,” he said. “And that’s just Entertainment 101, and you feel that when you get into that theater. This is where it all begins it feels like.”
Mars performed the song “24K Magic” on top of the Apollo marquee in the special. He also filmed various scenes throughout New York City, from eating at hot spots to meeting his fans: “The coolest part about that was the locals in Harlem, holding their arms out for you, (saying), ‘Yo Bruno, welcome to Harlem.'”
The last year for the 32-year-old has continued to push him to superstardom: “24K Magic” reached double platinum status, while the song “That’s What I Like” hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s the year’s top R&B song.
This month he won five Soul Train Awards and seven American Music Awards, including artist of the year. Mars picked up video of the year at the BET Awards, shared with Beyonce, and won his fifth Grammy Award earlier this year.
“Awards show — I don’t know where it’s going to swing,” he said. “It’s awesome … I feel like people understand what I’m doing and what I’m trying to do and what I stand for when it comes to everything — the music, the videos, I work hard for this (expletive).”
Mars said as he reflects a year after releasing the album that he feels good about the work he put in to create the ’90s R&B-inspired album.
“You can go crazy in the studio (and) start second- guessing,” he said. “‘That’s What I Like’ — I’m listening to it for over a year to make sure it’s all right and then we put it out and luckily it did what it did. It just confirms that I’m not crazy, maybe. It’s just nice that the work I put in the studio, it translated and I just got to remember that going into the next project.”
Tiffany Haddish to host MTV Movie & TV Awards in June
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tiffany Haddish is set to host the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards.
The network announced Thursday that the “Girls Trip” breakout star will host the ceremony in Los Angeles on June 18.
The 38-year-old actress and comedian has seen her star rise since “Girls Trip” was released last summer. She’s gone on to host “Saturday Night Live” and star in a Super Bowl commercial. Haddish also helped announce the Academy Award nominees last month and will appear on the Oscar telecast on March 4.
She’s also starring with Tracy Morgan in a new TBS sitcom called “The Last OG” and will appear alongside Kevin Hart in the film “Night School” later this year.
‘Black Panther’ blows away box office with $192M weekend
NEW YORK (AP) — A wave of feverish anticipation, fawning critical acclaim and groundbreaking cultural meaning pushed “Black Panther” to a record-setting $192 million debut in U.S. and Canada theaters, firmly establishing the superhero sensation as a box-office landmark.
The Marvel film from the Walt Disney Co. blew past expectations to become the fifth-highest-grossing debut ever, not adjusting for inflation, following only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” ″Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” ″Jurassic World” and “The Avengers.”
In estimates Sunday, Disney predicted a four-day holiday weekend of $218 million domestically and a global debut of $361 million.
Though the film’s international footprint doesn’t include several of the largest markets — China, Russia and Japan — it still ranks among the top 15 global debuts ever. It’s also the highest-grossing February opening weekend.
“All hail the King of Wakanda!” Disney declared, referring to the movie’s mythical and highly advanced African nation.
Ryan Coogler’s film, which cost about $200 million to make, is the most expensive movie with a largely black ensemble and among the few to be centered on a black superhero. The strong opening suggests “Black Panther” will easily set a box-office record for films directed by a black filmmaker.
The previous best is Sidney Poitier’s 1980 comedy “Stir Crazy,” which took in $322 million domestically, when inflation is calculated.
“Black Panther” set pre-sale records and saw lines around theaters over the weekend, including some who came costumed for the event.
“This is the very definition of a blockbuster: People lining up around the block to see a great movie,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “A movie like ‘Black Panther’ is a cultural event that nothing on the small screen can really match in that way.”
Chadwick Boseman stars as T’Challa/Black Panther in the first stand-alone film for the superhero created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966. The cast also features Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright.
The movie has been hugely acclaimed, with a 97 percent fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences agreed, giving it an A-plus CinemaScore. The film especially resonated among African-Americans, who made up 37 percent of moviegoers, according to comScore.
Dave Hollis, distribution chief for Disney, called the film’s success “a real source of pride” for Disney.
“Inclusion and representation matters,” Hollis said. “We know that great stories can come from anywhere, and our goal is to make films that reflect the wonderful diversity of our world and resonate with audiences everywhere — no matter who they are, no matter where they come from.”
Coming at one of the slower periods of the year, “Black Panther” benefited from little competition, and it can be expected to dominate the marketplace for weeks.
Last week’s top film, the erotic romance sequel “Fifty Shades Freed,” slid to third place, with $16.9 million in its second week for Universal. Sony’s children’s book adaptation “Peter Rabbit” held much stronger, taking the No. 2 spot with $17.3 million in its second week.
But moviegoers — and Hollywood — were focused on “Black Panther,” including how it would fare overseas. Though considered by most to be an outdated myth, some have claimed that foreign audiences have less appetite for films with largely black casts.
“Black Panther” vanquished those notions with $169 million in ticket sales. It was No. 1 in most international markets, though “Fifty Shades Freed” bested it in Germany.
Its release in China will come later. This weekend, the Chinese New Year holiday, local productions led by “Detective Chinatown 2” and “Monster Hunt 2″ dominated Chinese theaters, with more than $140 million in ticket sales each.
“Black Panther” also performed especially well on large-format screens. Imax reported $30 million in ticket sales for the three-day weekend.
“There was a groundswell of wanting this movie to work, and then when it actually did as a film, itself, it just kicked it up a notch to a level no one could have ever predicted,” said Greg Foster, Imax Entertainment’s chief executive. “That makes me feel really good about the movie business.”
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday also are included. Final four-day domestic figures will be released Tuesday.
1. “Black Panther,” $192 million ($169 million international).
2. “Peter Rabbit,” $17.3 million.
3. “Fifty Shades Freed,” $16.9 million ($47.7 million international).
4. “Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle,” $7.9 million ($4.8 million international).
5. “The 15:17 to Paris,” $7.7 million ($2.8 million international).
6. “The Greatest Showman,” $5.1 million ($9.6 million international).
7. “Early Man,” $3.2 million ($3.7 million international).
8. “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” $2.5 million ($11 million international).
9. “Winchester,” $2.2 million.
10. “Samson,” $2 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:
1. “Black Panther,” $169 million.
2. “Detective Chinatown 2,” $155 million.
3. “Monster Hunt 2,” $141 million.
4. “Operation Red Sea,” $70.3 million.
5. “The Monkey King 3: Kingdom of Women,” $52.3 million.
6. “Fifty Shades Freed,” $47.7 million.
7. “Boonie Bears: The Big Shrink,” $32.6 million.
8. “The Shape of Water,” $12.3 million.
9. “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” $11 million.
10. “The Greatest Showman,” $9.6 million.
Grammys defends itself about women representation
By MESFIN FEKADU
NEW YORK (AP) — After a few missteps, The Recording Academy is reassuring its members that it is not lagging behind the music industry when it comes to female representation.
In a letter sent to voting and non-voting members Thursday, which was obtained by The Associated Press, the academy offers statistics to show that women had a larger presence at the Grammy Awards compared to the industry standard.
The letter to academy members comes weeks after a University of Southern California- Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism study analyzed gender and race in music over the last six years, including Grammy nominees.
Between 2012 and 2017, USC said 90.7 percent of the nominees were male and 9.3 percent were female. The numbers come from five awards: album of the year, record of the year, song of the year, best new artist, and non-classical producer of the year — an award where female nominees is a rarity.
However, in looking at the same six years at all of 84 Grammy categories, the academy said that 17 percent of its nominees were women.
USC’s study reports that women account for 22.4 percent of performers, 12.3 percent of songwriters and 2 percent of producers. Women make up 21 percent of the academy’s voting membership.
The academy was heavily criticized last month when its CEO Neil Portnow said women need to “step up” when asked about the lack of female winners at the 2018 Grammys. Portnow later said his words were taken out of context, though three separate letters from music executives demanded a revamp at the academy.
The Grammys telecast was also under fire for not letting Lorde, the only woman nominated for album of the year, perform at its 60th show last month.
“The gender composition of our membership and nominations reflect that of the music community. But it’s not enough to reflect the community. We must be leaders in moving our industry toward greater inclusion and representation,” the letter reads. “Women are 50 percent of our world. We need their voice and presence at every level.”
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