Following is a summary of current entertainment news briefs.
Amanda Seyfried, James Norton face ghosts and marriage crisis in new horror
Amanda Seyfried and James Norton play a young couple whose marriage and life unravel when they move to a haunted house in upstate New York in supernatural thriller “Things Heard & Seen”. Based on Elizabeth Brundage’s novel “All Things Cease to Appear”, the Netflix film tells the story of Catherine and George Claire, who leave Manhattan for the tiny town of Chosen with their 4-year-old daughter after George is offered a teaching job at a nearby college.
Downtown Music sells a catalog of 145,000 songs to Concord for $400 million, sources say
New York-based Downtown Music Holdings is selling a 145,000-song catalog to music rights company Concord Music for about $400 million, two sources close to the matter said on Tuesday. The talks to acquire the music copyright to songs including some performed by the likes of Adele, Aretha Franklin, Beyonce, David Bowie, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and Marvin Gaye, began in January, the sources added.
Guy Ritchie, Jason Statham reunite for action thriller ‘Wrath of Man’
All it took was a two-minute phone call to pitch the idea for his new film “Wrath of Man” and British director Guy Ritchie was back working with action star Jason Statham after some 15 years. The dark thriller sees Statham play “H”, a mysterious loner who takes up a job at a security firm whose armoured vehicles transporting valuables have recently been the target of deadly armed robberies.
Spotify launches podcast subscription platform to challenge Apple
Spotify launched on Tuesday a paid subscription platform for podcasters in the United States and plans to expand in other regions in the coming months, a week after Apple unveiled a similar service. A podcaster could mark episodes as subscriber-only and publish them on Spotify and other podcast listening platforms, the company said in a statement.
BRIT Awards winners to get two trophies, one for sharing
Winners at next month’s BRIT Awards will receive two different trophies, encouraged to share one as a way to embrace the community spirit and kindness seen during COVID-19 lockdowns, organisers of Britain’s pop music honours said on Wednesday. Artists Es Devlin and Yinka Ilori designed the statuettes, which will be handed out in pairs at the May 11 ceremony held at London’s O2 arena.
Final TV ratings for Oscars inch up to 10.4 million viewers
The Oscars telecast on Walt Disney Co’s ABC broadcast network averaged 10.4 million viewers, less than half of the audience for last year’s ceremony, according to final Nielsen data released on Tuesday. The figure marks a record low for the film industry’s highest honors, falling 56% from the 23.6 million who tuned in last year. It follows a trend for pandemic-era live awards shows, after audiences for the most recent Emmys and Grammys also slumped to new lows.
Netflix joins virtual YouTuber boom
Netflix has joined Japan’s booming virtual Youtuber – or VTuber – scene with the launch of an animated character to promote its growing anime streaming offering. N-ko, a “sheep-human lifeform”, is Netflix’s attempt to tap into the appeal of VTubers – characters animated by motion capture that have built a loyal audience on YouTube in Japan by singing, dancing and interacting with fans.
Britney Spears to speak directly to LA court on her conservatorship
Pop star Britney Spears will personally address the Los Angeles court dealing with her long-running conservatorship in June, a judge agreed on Tuesday. Spears, 39, has been under a conservatorship since 2008, but rarely takes part in court hearings and has not publicly commented on the legal arrangement where a court-appointed adviser controls her personal and financial affairs, including her medical treatment, security and career.
MultiChoice’s Showmax invests in African content for growth
MultiChoice’s online streaming platform Showmax is investing in producing its own local content for African audiences as it competes for their attention against Netflix on the continent, a senior executive told Reuters. MultiChoice is Africa’s largest pay-TV group, available in 50 African countries. Its streaming service Showmax, launched in 2015, is available in 46 African countries and also in several Western countries, including Britain and France, which have sizeable African diaspora populations.
Discovery’s streaming investments hit profit, shares fall
Discovery Inc on Wednesday reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit, as the media company ramped up investments in its streaming platform, sending its shares tumbling 8% in early trading. While Discovery benefited from a recovery in advertising sales on its networks during the quarter, the race to retain paying customers in the crowded streaming market that includes Netflix Inc and Walt Disney Co’s Disney+ called for higher investments in content.
(With inputs from agencies.)