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Friday, 19 April 2013

'After Earth' Release Date Pushed To May 31

"After Earth," the upcoming M. Night Shyamalan film starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith, has been shifted to May 31. The film was originally set for release on June 7 where it was set to compete with the Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson comedy "The Internship."
Sony Pictures, which is releasing "After Earth," made the announcement on Friday.
Shyamalan's "After Earth" is about a young astronaut (Jaden) who crash lands on a post-apocalyptic Earth with his injured father (Will). The film will now battle the magician heist thriller "Now You See Me" and horror thriller "The Purge" at the box office. "After Earth" will also run smack into the second weekends of "The Hangover Part III" and "Fast and Furious 6," both of which open over the Memorial Day holiday.
The calendar position is a familiar one for the elder Smith: Last year, "Men In Black 3" opened during the last weekend in May (which was Memorial Day) to over $69 million.

Local Natives On Coachella, Growing Up Punk And Not Hating EDM

Taylor Rice and the rest of the Local Natives grew up in Mission Viejo, Calif., a city in Orange County that's somewhat less flashy than its Newport and Laguna Beach neighbors and was once the the safest town in the entire country.
"Coachella is the festival that we were always hopping the fence of or getting tickets to," Rice told The Huffington Post in a pre-festival interview. "We're playing this sunset slot on this second outdoor stage, which is sort of surreal now just to say that."
That shift -- from a kid hoping to save enough to attend to playing to one's own fans -- is all the more disorienting given the band's path to the Indio festival. "Hummingbird," Local Natives' second album, took "years" to make and, according to Rice, the band finally feels like they're escaping the "cage" they had to enter to produce it. (The soundtrack to that prison? "Leonard Cohen was my obsession," Rice said.)
Ahead, read an edited transcript of HuffPost's chat with Rice about the Local Natives' musical roots, why they don't identify the folk wave and what fans can expect at Coachella.
We're actually both from Orange County, Calif. Growing up, what bands and venues were a part of your musical education?
The SoCal punk scene. We picked up our guitars when we were 12. Our favorite band was At the Drive In and we were always going to Chain Reaction and seeing a bunch of those O.C. bands when we were kids. So it definitely was a jumping off point for us.
For the past few years, pop music in general has sort of been blacked out by dance music and hip-hop that's trying to be dance music. Do you feel like you have a mission in that regard?
No, I don't know if I would say we identify with that. I think on "Hummingbird," we actually ended up putting a lot of our songs to a keyboard or synths. It just felt right emotionally. I wouldn't say we're married to [analog rock]. Guitar rock, though… I do see what you're saying. There are a lot of bands that are amazing and popular now that are guitar bands.
Even though your music is somewhat different, do you think that Mumford and Son's success helped create a lane that you guys are operating in?
I thought that it was just crazy and unexpected. If you listen to mainstream radio, you're hearing all the mainstays like Stone Temple Pilots and all these huge rock bands, and then you hear these folk bands. Then all of a sudden its Mumford and Sons with banjos going crazy and all that. There's this kind of folk wave, but we don't really identify with it really at all, ourselves. But I do find it really fascinating. I never would have called that in a million years, that [folk] would be the next popular kind of music. But it's great, it's fun.
It has been written that this will be a big year for you. What do you make of that?
Yeah, we've been working for years on this album and now it feels like it we've been caged up and finally allowed out. This is our first U.S. tour playing this album live, and there are some amazing things that are happening. Our next show is Coachella, which, as you know, is the festival that we were always hopping the fence of or getting tickets the day of and trying to scalp tickets.
We're playing this sunset slot on this second outdoor stage, which is sort of surreal now just to say that. I've seen that set so many times and seen so many amazing performances there, so it's exciting to return there and do it.
Was it interesting for you to see an album that percolated as long as yours did performed live? Is there anything that surprised you as you started touring it?
There was! We didn't worry about playing "Hummingbird" live when we wrote it. We just thought, "Let's record as we go and think about playing it live later," which is very different than how our first record was made. So when the time came to play it live, it became an interesting challenge. Everybody's station has grown and we all have more responsibilities [as people]. The album live is a little more aggressive than it comes off on the record. It's just more raw and intense.
Is it at all weird to have to perform two weekends in a row at Coachella?
We've been discussing that a lot. Coachella has been the topic of conversation every day for weeks now, and we've been talking about set lists, whether we should mix it up or not. I don't really know -- I've never done that before, playing two weekends in a row. But it will be a learning experience. I'm excited for it because the first weekend, we play and have to take off to tour, but the second time we play slotted out the whole weekend, so we play Friday and just hang out.
What do you make of the line-up? A lot of people seemed disappointed in the headliners, which seem less flashy than in recent years.
Yeah, that's sort of true. I think it also just leans a little British. You've got Stone Roses and Blur as headliners, and we're all massive fans, but that may be the reason why [people are disappointed]. But I think it's an incredible line-up and I'm really happy to see tons of the bands that I like.

Seth MacFarlane Back For Oscars In 2014? New Rumor Claims Producers Asked 'Family Guy' Creator To Return

Will Seth MacFarlane host the 2014 Oscars? According to a new report from Just Jared, MacFarlane was asked to return as emcee of the Academy Awards by producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The duo, who tapped MacFarlane for the 2013 Oscars, was brought back on as Academy Awards producers on Tuesday.
HuffPost Entertainment reached out to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for comment on the MacFarlane rumor; as yet, the organization has not responded.
MacFarlane's first effort as Oscars host was a mixed bag. The broadcast was watched by over 40 million people (making it the highest-rated entertainment awards show in three years), but MacFarlane was criticized for sexist and misogynistic material. The "Family Guy" creator was admonished for one routine in particular: "We Saw Your Boobs," which highlighted films in which the lead actresses took off their clothes. Three of the actresses mentioned (Jodie Foster, Charlize Theron and Hilary Swank), were topless during rape scenes.
"The 'boob' song, as it will be known in perpetuity, may go down as the highest-rated Oscar number in history, but at what cost?" actress Jamie Lee Curtis wrote in a blog posted by The Huffington Post. "I'm sure public executions would get big ratings too, but is that what the Oscars are truly about? Ratings? When did they turn into a 'roast'?"
"It was not about the women that were mentioned, the song was about him being a bad host and him being a juvenile, which was why he was a bad host," Zadan told THR in March. Meron added that "everyone who complained missed the joke, it was satire."
For his part, MacFarlane hasn't expressed too much interest, at least publicly, about returning for the 2014 Oscars.
"Who knows how this will go," he said before the broadcast. "Even if it goes great, I just don't think that I could do this again. It's just too much with everything else that I have to do. I'm happy to be doing it and I will be thrilled to have done it, assuming I get out of there in one piece, but I really think this is a one-time thing for me."

Destiny's Child Reunion: Michelle Williams Says It May Happen, But 'It'll Be A Long Time'

We may not have seen the last of our favorite Independent Women, even if we have to wait quite awhile. In a recent interview with E! News, Michelle Williams revealed that another Destiny's Child reunion could be on the horizon -- if a very distant horizon.
Questioning whether they'd be able to "top" the high-profile gig that is the Super Bowl, Williams said the reunion would have to be "something epic and worthwhile and amazing."
"I'm never going to say never, but it'll be a long time," she revealed, crushing any hopes of instant gratification that most fans would surely have upon hearing this news.
Williams and fellow Destiny's Child member Beyonce are slated to appear in a collaboration on Kelly Rowland's upcoming album -- but as three solo artists instead of the original group. The project follows up their Super Bowl halftime gig and the recently released album "Love Songs," which includes the new track "Nuclear."
Rowland also recently speculated on a potential reunion, reportedly telling the New York Daily News that, while all three women are "very happy" with their solo careers,another album is indeed a possibility.
“It’s not a no,” she offered.
Rowland's new album is slated for a June 4 release, while Beyonce is currentlyheadlining a world tour in advance of a new album coming this fall. Williams stars in the Broadway musical "Fela!" and will soon get her own reality series.

Netflix kicks off latest original series 'Hemlock Grove'

Netflix has launched its third original series with Friday's debut of "Hemlock Grove."
Following its usual strategy, the video rental service has made all 13 episodes of "Hemlock Grove" available in one shot, so people can watch them at their own pace.
Based on a 2012 novel written by Brian McGreevy, "Hemlock Grove" is a supernatural thriller that takes place in a small Pennsylvania town where a teenage girl is murdered, and the town casts an eye at many of its more eccentric residents as potential suspects.
The series itself was developed by McGreevy and Lee Shipman. Actor Eli Roth is the executive producer and directed the pilot episode. The show stars actors Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard, Landon Liboiron, and Penelope Mitchell.
The horror series follows last year's debut of "Lilyhammer," the first original Netflix series, and this year's "House of Cards." Up next is the revival of cult favorite "Arrested Development,"which is slated to arrive on May 26.
Will "Hemlock Grove" be able to capture the success of "House of Cards?"
The horror genre is a tricky one. Certainly the appeal of the Twilight books and movies shows that there's an audience for supernatural fare. Horror and fantasy shows have also found a niche on TV.
But Netflix is devoting a lot of money to "Hemlock Grove" with a reported first-season budget of around $45 million. More than 1,400 Netflix viewers of the show have so far given it a rating of 3.9 stars out of 5. Early reviews, however, are giving it more of a thumb's down.
Hitflix called it "a lot of crazy, crazy ideas hurled out there with no real thought given to pace or tone or how to mesh them all together." The Daily Beast dubbed the show "dreadful." And the New York Times said the series is "so concerned with atmosphere and mood that it barely gets around to telling its story."

With #Music, Twitter speeds its media domination march

When Twitter opened up its #Music app to everyone on Thursday, it was the strongest sign yet that the social-networking giant is aiming to become a media machine that dominates popular entertainment channels.
There's no doubt that many of Twitter's vast user base already have a deep interest in music, but until now there's been no structured way for artists or fans to leverage that. With the public launch of the company's new discovery service, Twitter has seemingly taken the next step to becoming an indispensable destination both for people to find new music to listen to, and for artists to reach broad new audiences.
And as with so much of what it does these days, Twitter #Music, which ostensibly lets users find new music by seeing both what their friends and artists they enjoy are listening to, was obviously made to give advertisers new ways to target users.
"The game is media," said Corey Denis, the head of strategy and marketing at Toolshed, a digital marketing agency. "I think what they're trying to do is to create channels out of Twitter. The next one would be TV: What's everyone on set of 'Arrested Development' watching?"
And the goal of all that? To turn Twitter into a media platform where advertisers can target users through the specific kinds of content they're interested in, and consuming in real-time, and to do so by owning the various channels of media. If that turns out to be a successful strategy, it could pose a serious challenge to Facebook and the stranglehold it has established over how the general public shares media.
At the heart of Twitter #Music is a discovery engine. Users can see charts of the most popular songs on Twitter -- sampling or listening to them via iTunes, Rdio, and Spotify as they go -- as well as get a sense of the songs their Twitter friends are sharing. At the same time, users can see the songs their favorite artists are sharing, as well as the people they follow. All in all, the idea is to make it as easy as possible to find new music.
"I predict that very quickly Twitter #Music will come to rival YouTube/Vevo in its importance for new music discovery," Greg Sterling, the founder of Sterling Market Intelligence, tweeted today.
Is that true? It's impossible to tell at this point, of course. But several experts interviewed for this story consider Twitter's music app launch an important step in that direction -- and key to the company's desire to maximize its reach into the mainstream population, as well as the engagement of young people who have traditionally not spent much time on Twitter. And with all of that comes plenty of revenue potential via targeted advertising.
Being a vital player in the content discovery war means providing value to many different kinds of people, and doing so means having something to offer across a wide range of media. Twitter has already reached into user-created video with the launch of its stand-alone app, Vine, and it has for some time made it possible for users to access news articles, photographs, and certain kinds of video directly inside tweets.
Now the company has launched #Music, and a Bloomberg report has it that Twitter is in advanced discussions to provide users direct access to TV content from NBC and Viacom. And last night, BBC America announced -- via tweet -- that it has struck a deal with Twitter to create "in-tweet branded video synced to entertainment TV series." Although not entirely clear about what that means, Twitter spokesperson Jim Prosser tweeted that "The Doctor (Who) does Tweets now. Tweets are cool."
"I think what Twitter is really trying to do with #Music and Vine and what else is to come in the pipeline is to really become this cultural epicenter for all things digital," said Brian Solis, the principal analyst at the Altimeter Group. "As Twitter looks to increase advertising revenue, they need to increase the user base and engagement among that user base and really just look at a more mainstream type of user. The music service is one way to do that."
Solis thinks that the channel model could very well be what Twitter is trying to do, all in the name of generated a more integrated user experience, regardless of someone's personal interests. "I sometimes joke and call [Twitter] TNN, the Twitter News Network, looking at it almost as a little cable channel in its own right," Solis said. "You have tweets, movies, television, news, and Vines."
For years, Twitter critics have wondered how the company would make money, especially considering that it has taken hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital. With the development of its Twitter Cards and promoted tweets programs, and recent announcements that it will let marketers target ads at specific keywords in users' tweets, and many other moves, the company has shown that its platform has to be taken seriously by advertisers.
But Solis thinks that initiatives like #Music could expand that potential. Given that the app lets people not just discover new artists and songs, but also purchase music, he thinks that the service is "a blessing to labels," and could let Twitter charge substantial fees to promote new artists. The same could eventually apply to Hollywood studios.
Solis does wonder if users will have to be trained to use the stand-alone app, given that it's not -- as of yet -- integrated into the core Twitter experience. That could pose a challenge to the service's growth. But it's also easy to imagine that Twitter launched #Music -- and Vine, for that matter -- in order to get people using it right now, and might very well integrate one or both directly into Twitter later on.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
Will musicians benefit?
With all the focus on how #Music enables users' discovery, and how advertisers can leverage that, one is left to wonder whether the new service will also benefit the artists themselves.
As Denis sees it, it's very likely that those musicians who are on Twitter will. Those who have chosen to stay off the social network will likely not have their work featured in #Music.
But Denis thinks that the app offers a lifeline to musicians who have, until now, resisted getting on Twitter because it's too time-consuming to do what it takes to build a loyal audience there. "This relieves a common complaint," Denis said. "They've made it easier for artists to use Twitter, because now all they have to do is share what they're listening to. That's easy. [Twitter wants] more artists to sign up, and now it's easy."
That sentiment is shared by some in the music management business.
"I think it's a fantastic opportunity for the artists who embrace Twitter #Music," said Rachel Masters, the co-founder of Red Magnet Media, a social marketing agency with clients like Duran Duran and Linkin Park. "They can really use it to embrace their own destiny....Part of the problem is that there's so much noise out there, [and] this is a way for an artist who really focuses on it to catch a signal, and be able to stand out and break out from the crowd."

HTC One hits retailers today

Consumers eyeing the new HTC One smartphone can finally buy one starting today.
The phone -- which CNET Reviews calls a "beautifully crafted, near-ideal smartphone" -- is now available both online and in several retail stores. Offered by AT&T and Sprint, the HTC One can be purchased directly through both carriers, online, and via their retail outlets. Shoppers will also find the phone at Best Buy, RadioShack, Walmart, Target, Amazon.com, Costco, Car Toys, Sam's Club, HSN.com, and HTC.com.
AT&T is selling the 32GB version of the HTC One for $199 and the 64GB flavor for $299, both with the standard two-year contract. Sprint is offering just the 32GB version for $199, although people who switch to Sprint and carry over their existing number can pick up the phone for $99.
T-Mobile is also selling the 16GB version for $99 down and monthly payments of $20 each. Through T-Mobile, the HTC One is available online for now but will pop up in stores on April 24.
Only the silver version of the phone is currently available. HTC said that the black edition will show up in the coming weeks.
The only major carrier still missing is Verizon. A story from AllThingsD last month said thephone would also land at Verizon Wireless, though neither Verizon nor HTC would confirm that information.
The launch of the HTC one had been delayed by component shortages, specifically a limited supply of cameras. Last month, HTC Chief Marketing Officer Benjamin Ho told The Wall Street Journal that "there is some shortage, because the phone's camera was designed specifically for us, and production cannot be ramped up so quickly."
However, an "unnamed HTC executive" had also pinned part of blame for the shortage onHTC's soured relationship with its suppliers.
"The company has a problem managing its component suppliers as it has changed its order forecasts drastically and frequently following last year's unexpected slump in shipments," the executive said. "HTC has had difficulty in securing adequate camera components as it is no longer a tier-one customer."
The delay in the HTC One affected the company's first-quarter profits, which sunk to 85 million Taiwanese dollars ($2.85 million) from 10.9 billion Taiwanese dollars ($363 million) for the prior year's quarter.

Nexus 5: The likely price, specs, camera tech

When it was first glimpsed, the Nexus 4 looked pretty similar to other smartphones -- quad-core, with a high-res display and a decent camera, and the latest version of Android chucked in for good measure.

What we weren't counting on however was the simply astonishing $299 price, which let smartphone owners working on a budget acquire a phone that was every bit as capable as the Samsung Galaxy S3, but cost half as much. A lack of LTE was painful to bear, but at this cost, who could complain?
Now we're standing on the prow of the good ship Speculation, gazing toward a bright horizon and wondering what's to come in the Nexus 5, which is likely to be released later this year.
Hit play on the video above to hear our analysis, and what we expect the next Nexus will bring to the party in terms of possible screen tech, processor, and camera tricks.
We'll also take a look at whether the Nexus 5 will have the same bargain price, and what the future holds for raw-Android phones. With Samsung and HTC increasingly focusing on heavily modified, bespoke interfaces, will the Nexus soon be the only way to get a taste of "vanilla" Android?