Here's everything that's been happening in the world of Pop Culture this past week... in case you missed it! Feel free to comment on any of the stories and info shared here, add any news bits that you caught going on that may have been missed, or at least show us some love if you read the post but have nothing to comment on by clicking on that little heart icon at the bottom of the post...
GENERAL POP CULTURE NEWS:
- Netflix is being sued by Chooseco, LLC, the children’s book publisher that owns the trademark to “Choose Your Own Adventure”, over the Netflix immersive film “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch”. Chooseco, who has been using the trademarked phrase since the 1980’s and has sold more than 265 million copies of its Choose Your Own Adventure books, claims in the lawsuit that 20th Century Fox currently holds an options contract with the company to develop an interactive series based on the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books and that the company never gave license to Netflix to use the mark despite extensive negotiations for a number of years. The publishing company noted that Netflix was sent a written cease and desist letter before the release of “Bandersnatch” to stop using the trademarked phrase in connection with its marketing efforts that went unheeded and now the streaming company is benefitting from an association with the iconic brand despite not actually being affiliated, and Choosco has suffered reputational harm through the inadvertent connection to the Netflix “Black Mirror” series. The company is demanding at least $25 million in damages or Netflix’s profits, whichever is greater and is also seeking injunctive relief. Netflix has yet to comment on the lawsuit.
- Reality star and social media influencer KYLIE JENNER’s most-liked photo on Instagram has been upended for the world record by a stock photo of a brown egg. On January 4th the egg photo was uploaded to Instagram with the post “Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this.” Despite the egg’s profile only having 2 million followers (contrasted against Jenner’s 123 million followers), the image received over 20 million likes since being posted. Jenner’s previous record-holder was a photo of her daughter, STORMI WEBSTER, from last February.
- The last Boeing 727 passenger flight was flown on Sunday. The airplane model, which was once the most popular in the world, was used for the final time by Iranian airline Iran Aseman Airlines, the last company still operating the passenger variant of the 727 model.
- The American Kennel Club is moving its Museum of the Dog from St. Louis to New York City.
- NAMES, HASHTAGS, MEMES, AND TRENDS TO KNOW FROM THIS PAST WEEK -
UCLA gymnast’s perfect floor routine; Wide-eyed new NY Jets head coach ADAM GASE; #10YearChallenge; Asymmetric jeans; Gillette ‘Toxic Masculinity’ ad; Unicorn armpit hair; Where’s Mitch?; ‘McJesus’ sculpture
- THIS WEEK IN SPORTS -
- ATP: Former World #1 British tennis player ANDY MURRAY announced he will retire this year due to ongoing injuries. Murray, who lost in the first round at the Australian Open this week in 5 sets, hopes his body will hold out long enough for him to play in one last Wimbledon before hanging up his racket.
- NFL: The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS shut down the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Divisional Round to advance to the AFC Championships. They will play the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, who bested the Los Angeles Chargers to advance to the team’s eighth straight AFC title game.
- NFL: The LOS ANGELES RAMS defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional Round to advance to the NFC Championships. They will play the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, who rallied to overthrow the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles to advance to the NFC title game.
- AWARDS UPDATE -
- Pop singers ANNE-MARIE, JESS GLYNNE, and DUA LIPA lead the pack with four nods apiece after the nominations were announced for the 2019 BRIT Awards. Other acts with multiple nominations include singer/songwriter GEORGE EZRA, rock band THE 1975, EDM deejay CALVIN HARRIS, and pop girl group LITTLE MIX. The BRIT Awards will take place on February 21st at London’s O2 Arena. For a complete list of 2019 BRIT Awards nominees, check out the following link: https://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/brit-awards-2019-anne-marie-jess-glynne-and-dua-lipa-lead-this-years-nominations__25308/
- “Roma” was the big winner at the 2019 Critics’ Choice Awards, taking home trophies for Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Director for ALFONSO CUARON. Other big winners in the film side were actor CHRISTIAN BALE, who won Best Actor and Best Actor in a Comedy – both for playing former US Vice President DICK CHENEY in “Vice”, and actress OLIVIA COLMAN, who won Best Actress in a Comedy for playing Queen ANNE in “The Favourite” and Best Ensemble alongside her “The Favourite” cast mates, though she lost out on Best Actress to a tie between GLENN CLOSE for “The Wife” and LADY GAGA for “A Star is Born” (Lady Gaga also won Best Song for “Shallow” from “A Star is Born”). On the tv side, Best Comedy winner “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” also took home awards for the show’s lead and supporting actresses, RACHEL BROSNAHAN and ALEX BORSTEIN, respectively, and Best Drama winner “The Americans” also took home awards for the show’s lead and supporting actors, MATTHEW RHYS and NOAH EMMERICH, respectively. For a complete list of 2019 Critics’ Choice Award winners, check out the following link: https://deadline.com/2019/01/critics-choice-awards-2019-winners-list-live-blog-1202534016/
- Pop/r&b singer ALICIA KEYS will host the 2019 Grammy Awards on CBS in February.
- POLITICS-R-US -
- US: A bombshell New York Times report revealed the FBI opened an inquiry into whether President DONALD TRUMP was secretly working on behalf of Russia after Trump fired FBI director JAMES COMEY and later bragged about doing so to Russian officials he invited to the White House for an undisclosed reason. Meanwhile, The Washington Post has reported that after Trump’s private meeting with Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN in Helsinki last year, Trump took notes away from the lone interpreter he allowed in the room insuring there would be no account of what was said between the two men, leaving other US officials including Trump’s own cabinet members without any indication of what the two men discussed, which also was seen as questionable to intelligence officers. The White House has maintained its denials that Trump has ever worked with or had any business dealings with Russia and condemned the report and Trump insists he has never worked for Putin. It is unclear what, if anything, was looked into when this inquiry began; it is believed any information found to prove or disprove the theory is now in the hands of the special counsel’s office.
- Canada/US: Canadian air traffic controllers ordered hundreds of pizzas and had them delivered to their American counterparts who are working without pay due to the ongoing US government partial shutdown. Meanwhile, a bipartisan Senate group has formed in search of a shutdown deal in an effort to get the US government reopened. The shutdown has extended for over 25 days, the longest in US history.
- US: US Representative STEVE KING (R – Iowa) has been stripped of his committee assignments by house Republican leaders following racially charged, incendiary remarks.
- Canada/China: A provincial court in northeastern China sentenced a Canadian man to death for drug trafficking, after the man was previously sentenced to life in prison, escalating an already bitter diplomatic row between the two countries.
- UK: Parliament overwhelmingly voted against the deal Prime Minister THERESA MAY brokered to allow the country to leave the European Union. As a result of the historic defeat, another “no confidence” vote was called for, which May survived by only 19 votes. The Prime Minister will now have to come up with a new deal that Parliament will agree to by next week and hope to get EU leaders to also agree to it.
- US: Speaker of the House NANCY PELOSI sent a letter to President DONALD TRUMP suggesting he hold off on giving his State of the Union speech because she cannot guarantee the safety of everyone who would attend if it were held on the floor of the House of Representatives as is customary, due to the ongoing shutdown. Pelosi suggested in the letter that if he wished to still give his speech on January 29th as scheduled and nothing is done to remedy the shutdown before then that he could do so in the Oval Office or some other part of the White House or hold something akin to one of his rallies. In retaliation, Trump grounded Pelosi’s military plane for a bipartisan trip oversees to visit with US troops in three different countries just as Pelosi and her staff arrived at the air force base to leave, with Trump suggesting she take a commercial flight instead (as second in the line of succession to the president in cases of emergency, the speaker of the house is now required to travel via military planes not commercial flights), all the while allowing First Lady MELANIA TRUMP to board a military plane to fly down to Florida for the weekend. Trump’s grounding of Pelosi’s plane sparked bipartisan outcry.
- Syria/US: US Vice President MIKE PENCE reiterated President DONALD TRUMP’s plan to remove troops from Syria because they believe ISIS has been defeated just hours after a suicide bombing in Syria that killed several people including four Americans was claimed to have been pulled off by members of ISIS. The bombing, which occurred at a restaurant said to be frequented by Americans in the area, throws a spotlight on the Trump Administration’s new policy regarding Syria and fighting ISIS, which US Senator LINDSEY GRAHAM (R – South Carolina) condemned for inviting new attacks by ISIS fighters.
- Greece: Prime Minister ALEXIS TSIPRAS narrowly won a confidence vote in Parliament days after the governing coalition collapsed. The left-wing Tsipras received the minimum 151 votes in Greece’s 300-seat legislature for his government to survive.
- THE ROYAL REPORT -
- UK: The chief protection officer assigned to protect Duchess MEGHAN of Sussex has quit after less than a year on the job, becoming the third person on the former actress’ staff to quit since she married into the royal family. The female bodyguard, an inspector with Scotland Yard, has served as the head of the security team for Meghan and Prince HARRY for 6 months and accompanied the royal couple on their tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga last year. According to Scotland Yard, the bodyguard is leaving her position with Scotland Yard as well, not just her role as a personal protection officer and her decision to leave was personal and “no reflection on her time working with Meghan, who she liked working with.”
- THE BOOK NOOK -
- Former First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA’s autobiography, “Becoming”, has had the longest run as the top-selling book on Amazon since E.L. JAMES’ erotic novel “50 Shades of Grey” was released.
- TECH TALK -
- Streaming platform Roku dropped conspiracy theorist ALEX JONES’ InfoWars channel, reversing a previous announcement claiming InfoWars did not violate the company’s content policies. Roku reportedly altered course and removed the channel after social media pressure mounted.
- Netflix announced that US customers will have their monthly prices increased by 13 to 18 percent, raising the cost of a monthly Netflix subscription to $11 for the cheapest plan, $13 for Netflix’s most popular plan, which includes an HD feed and use of two devices, and $16 for the ultra-HD 4K plan. It is the biggest price spike since the company debuted its streaming service 12 years ago; it is their first price increase since 2017 and their fourth overall. Comparatively, Amazon Video Prime costs $13 per month (or $120 for an annual membership) and Hulu costs $12 per month.
- Paramount Pictures is moving forward with a sequel to the 1988 comedy “Coming to America”, hiring CRAIG BREWER to direct the film and “Black-ish” creator KENYA BARRIS to pen the script. Original film star EDDIE MURPHY is expected to return.
- Fox 2000 has hired HANNAH MARKS to direct the film adaptation of JOHN GREEN’s best-selling young adult novel “Turtles All The Way Down”.
- New Line is reviving the “Final Destination” horror franchise for its sixth installment. The last “Final Destination” film was released in 2011.
- The seventh and eighth installments of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise have been scheduled for releases in the summers of 2021 and 2022 with franchise star TOM CRUISE returning for both films. CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE, who directed the franchise’s last two films, 2015’s “Rogue Nation” and 2018’s “Fallout”, is closing on a deal to write and direct the next two installments.
- Director JASON REITMAN is set to direct the next installment to the original “Ghostbusters” franchise. Reitman, whose father IVAN REITMAN directed the first two movies, has reportedly co-written a screenplay with GIL KENAN and will shoot the film this summer, with Sony planning to release the movie in summer 2020. The film will reportedly be a continuation of the original film series which starred BILL MURRAY and DAN AYKROYD and will not be connected in any way to the 2016 female-led reboot, though it has not yet been confirmed if any of the original cast members will return in any capacity.
- TOP 5 LAST WEEKEND AT THE U.S. BOX OFFICE (NEW RELEASES IN BOLD) –
- “The Upside” outperformed estimates to upset the bid for a fourth week at #1 in the US for “Aquaman”. “Aquaman” became the first DC Extended Universe title to top $1 billion at the global box office. -
1. “The Upside” – $20.4M
2. “Aquaman” - $17.4M
3. “A Dog’s Way Home” - $11.3M
4. “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse” - $9.1M
5. “Escape Room” - $8.9M
- FILMS OPENING THIS WEEKEND (US Wide Releases) -
* Drama/Mystery/Sci-Fi/Thriller “Glass” starring BRUCE WILLIS and JAMES MCAVOY
- MOVIE CASTING UPDATE -
- Actor BILLY ZANE will portray late actor MARLON BRANDO in the indie movie “Waltzing with Brando”, based on a memoir by architect BERNARD JUDGE, who Brando hired to build the world’s first ecologically perfect retreat on a tiny and uninhabitable Tahitian island.
- Actress GAL GADOT will voice Wonder Woman in the animated “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”, taking over the voice over role from actress COBIE SMULDERS.
- Actors COREY STOLL, BILLY MAGNUSSEN, ALESSANDRO NIVOLA, JON BERNTHAL, and VERA FARMIGA have been announced as part of the ensemble cast for “The Many Saints of Newark”, a movie prequel to the former HBO drama series “The Sopranos”.
- Hip hop artist DJ KHALED, and actors VANESSA HUDGENS and ALEXANDER LUDWIG have been added to the cast of the “Bad Boys” sequel, “Bad Boys for Life”.
- Actor DANNY GLOVER has been added to the cast of the yet-to-be-titled “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” sequel.
- Actress TONI COLLETTE will join ANNA KENDRICK in the sci-fi thriller “Stowaway”.
- Actors BILL MURRAY and RASHIDA JONES will star in director SOFIA COPPOLA’s “On the Rocks”.
- Actress ANNE HATHAWAY will star as the Grand High Witch in director ROBERT ZEMECKIS’ remake of “The Witches”. The role was played by ANJELICA HUSTON in the 1990 film version of the 1973 novel.
- HBO announced the eighth and final season of drama series “Game of Thrones” will premiere on April 14th.
- WGN America is bringing bounty hunter DUANE “DOG” CHAPMAN back to tv with the 10-part reality series “Dog’s Most Wanted”, set to go into production early this year. The former motorcycle gang member and ex-convict turned bounty hunter previously starred in “Dog the Bounty Hunter” on A&E.
- CBS All Access is working on a spinoff from sci-fi drama series “Star Trek: Discovery” that would feature current “Star Trek: Discovery” actress MICHELLE YEOH. The spinoff is currently in the early stages of development.
- Syndicated entertainment news program “Extra” will be moving from NBC-owned stations to Fox stations in seven markets this fall. The series, which already airs on Fox stations in Chicago, Detroit, and Washington D.C., will move from NBC to Fox in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Orlando, and Charlotte when new fall seasons begin. Rumor has it the show may also see a shakeup in its hosting, with former “Access Hollywood” and “Today” host BILLY BUSH being considered to join the series later this year as well.
- Producers of Fox animated comedy series “Family Guy” announced the series is “phasing out gay jokes”.
- HGTV is reviving the reality series “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”. The show previously aired on ABC for nearly 10 years.
- TV CASTING UPDATE -
- Former White House staffer ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI and actor/OJ Simpson trial witness KATO KAELIN are among the season 2 cast of CBS reality competition series “Celebrity Big Brother”. Also entering the house to compete for a $250,000 prize are actor/host JONATHAN BENNETT, singer/former “The Real” talk show host TAMAR BRAXTON, singer/”Real Housewives of Atlanta” star KANDI BURRUSS, comedian TOM GREEN, Olympic track and bobsledder LOLO JONES, actor JOEY LAWRENCE, Olympic swimmer RYAN LOCHTE, “mom”ager DINA LOHAN, former WWE wrestler NATALIE EVA MARIE, and former NFL star RICKY WILLIAMS. Season 2 of “Celebrity Big Brother” premieres on CBS on January 21st.
- Actor MATTHEW RHYS has been tapped to play the lead in HBO’s limited series reboot of “Perry Mason” based on the classic character previously played by late actor RAYMOND BURR.
- Broadcaster BOB COSTAS has officially left NBC and NBC Sports after 40 years with the network covering numerous sporting events including dozens of Olympic Games, multiple Super Bowls, and several Triple Crown races as well as previously hosting a late night program on the network in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Costas will continue to appear on Major League Baseball Network.
- Actress JULIA ROBERTS will not return for season 2 of Amazon drama series “Homecoming”.
- TV RENEWALS* AND PICKUPS/EXTENSIONS** -
* “Homecoming”, Amazon, renewed for season 2
* “So You Think You Can Dance”, Fox, renewed for season 16
* “Ellen’s Game of Games”, NBC, renewed for season 3
* “Grace and Frankie”, Netflix, renewed for season 6
* “The Kominsky Method”, Netflix, renewed for season 2
- TV CANCELLATIONS AND TRIMMED/NOT EXTENDED SEASON ORDERS** -
* “Trial and Error”, NBC, cancelled after 2 seasons
* “Channel Zero”, Syfy, cancelled after 4 seasons
- Rapper BIG BOI, one half of the rap duo Outkast, will join pop rock band MAROON 5 and rapper TRAVIS SCOTT for the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Pop/r&b legend GLADYS KNIGHT will perform the National Anthem before Super Bowl LIII kicks off.
- MUSIC CHARTS – LAST WEEK’S #1 SINGLES AND ALBUMS AROUND THE WORLD –
Argentina (Billboard Hot 100): Song – “Adan y Eva” by PAULO LONDRA
Australia (ARIA): Song – “Sunflower” by POST MALONE & SWAE LEE; Album - “Bohemian Rhapsody (The Original Soundtrack)” by QUEEN
Canada (Billboard): Song – “Sunflower (Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse” by POST MALONE & SWAE LEE; Album - “A Star Is Born (Soundtrack)” by LADY GAGA & BRADLEY COOPER
China (V Chart): Song – “Everything About You” by TIMMY
France (Digital Sales): Song – “Shallow” by LADY GAGA & BRADLEY COOPER
Germany: Song – “Sweet But Psycho” by AVA MAX; Album – “Du Warst Jede Trane Wert” by DANIELA ALFINITO
Ireland (IRMA): Song – “Sweet But Psycho” by AVA MAX; Album - “The Greatest Showman” by MOTION PICTURE CAST RECORDING
Japan (Hot 100): Song – “Lemon” by KENSHI YONEZU
South Korea (Billboard K-Pop 100): Song – “180 Degree” by BEN
US (Billboard): Song – “Sunflower (Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse)” by POST MALONE & SWAE LEE; Album - “Hoodie SZN” by A BOOGIE WIT DA HOODIE
UK (UK Official): Song – “Sweet But Psycho” by AVA MAX; Album - “The Greatest Showman” by MOTION PICTURE CAST RECORDING