No one would seriously claim that Justin Bieber is a bigger star than Michael Jackson, the late King of Pop.But fans of the Canadian teen crooner can crow over one record the Biebs has just notched over Jacko: top concert movie gross in the U.S.-Canada domestic market.
Figures published Monday by The Hollywood Reporter show Justin Bieber: Never Say Neverhas taken $72.2 million (U.S.) at the domestic box office since its January release, edging Jackson’s 2009 posthumous issue This is It, with its $72.1 million.
Never Say Never is still going strong after six weeks, aided by an innovative reissue of a revised cut of the film.
But it still has a long way to go to beat This Is It internationally. The Jackson film grossed $189.1 million overseas for a global take of $261.2 million, compared to Bieber’s $10.8 million overseas for a total global take of $83 million.
Meanwhile, Bieber and Irish rockers U2 are among the artists being featured on a digital-only album being rushed out by Universal Music to raise funds for Japan's earthquake and tsunami victims.
Also confirmed are Rihanna, Bon Jovi and Nicki Minaj.
The world's biggest record label aims to make the album available by the end of the week, although the lineup of artists has yet to be fully finalized. Proceeds will go to the Japanese Red Cross, a spokesman for the group said Monday.
Peter Howell and wire services
Cameras started rolling Monday on director Peter Jackson's production of The Hobbit, following months of delays on the prequel to his Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Hollywood studio funding problems, a threatened actors' boycott and ulcer surgery for Jackson have plagued pre-production on the $500 million, two-movie project.
British actor Martin Freeman will star as hobbit Bilbo Baggins alongside Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom in twin movies of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novel about a short, hairy-footed hero.
The films are expected to take up to two years to make, with release in late 2012.
The epic saga of the Titanic is setting sail as a four-part miniseries on Global and ABC a TV event to be simulcast on both sides of the border in spring 2012 to mark the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking.
Titanic features fictional and historical characters as it traces the doomed voyage from the viewpoints of a steerage passenger, a waiter, an engineer and a middle class financier.
Shaw Media says the first three episodes weave action, mystery and romantic plot lines "before coming together in an explosive fourth and final hour." The script comes from Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes, who penned Gosford Park.
The co-production involves Canadian, U.K. and Hungarian partners. Filming begins this spring in Budapest.
• The union representing more than 12,000 writers of Hollywood-made movies and TV shows has agreed to a tentative deal with the studios. The three-year agreement reached by the Writers Guild of America follows similar pacts won in the last several months by two actors unions and the directors union. It locks in 2 per cent wage increases for each year of the deal. West and East Coast branches will need to approve the deal before it is sent to members for ratification.
• Detroit officials backstage at a concert featuring hip-hop stars Dr. Dre and Eminem had no right to privacy when they confronted organizers in a videotaped exchange that turned up in a DVD, the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled. This dismisses a lawsuit against Dr. Dre, filed by City Councilman Gary Brown, who was a high-ranking police official at the time. He warned concert organizers that power would be turned off if they showed a sexually explicit video at the Joe Louis Arena. The words were taped and later used in behind-the-scenes tracks on a popular DVD also featuring rappers Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube. Brown had argued his privacy was violated by the video.