Saturday News Roundup: Joni Mitchell turns 75, Josh Groban in theaters & MEGA TIME SQUAD gets a date

Saturday News Roundup: Joni Mitchell turns 75, Josh Groban in theaters & MEGA TIME SQUAD gets a date 1


4DX Sets Record Breaking 2018

CJ 4DPLEX (, the world’s leading cinema technology company, announced that it closed out a successful 2018 with a record-breaking box office attendance for its immersive cinema technology, 4DX, grossing more than $290 million in the worldwide box office and bringing in over 24 million attendees for the year.


For 4DX, 2018 was its best yearly performance to date. Attendance and box office increased 26% in comparison to last year’s record of 19 million moviegoers and $230 million at the box office. Additionally, new 4DX locations opened in 2018 than any other year in history, with 139 new 4DX sites opening in 30 countries.


The top seven 4DX markets – China, Japan, US, Korea, Mexico, France, and UK – brought over 15.7 million moviegoers, accounting for over 65 percent of total attendees in 2018, with all markets breaking records from 2017. In terms of box office gross, the U.S. and Korean market had an increase of 16 percent and 45 percent, respectively. In the UK, box office gross increased 51 percent from 2017. And in France, yearly admission surpassed the 1 million mark with the box office gross increasing 600 percent from $3.3 million to $23.5 million.


4DX’s success this year can be tied to 10 Hollywood blockbusters titles which grossed $162 million combined and accounted for about 56 percent of the 4DX global box office in 2018.


The top 10 4DX films of the year are as follows (by release date):

  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (12/20/17)
  • Black Panther (2/16)
  • Ready Player One (3/29)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (4/27)
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (6/22)
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout (7/27)
  • The Meg (8/10)
  • Venom (10/5)
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (11/16)
  • Aquaman (12/21)

Local titles from Japan, China, France, and Korea also contributed to the success, attracting more than 2.4 million moviegoers and contributing to the strong box office success this year.


“We are thrilled to report that this year, 4DX set a new box office record of $290 million for 2018. We have had great success both expanding our theaters worldwide and partnering with major Hollywood titles. We look forward to continuing to create a next-generation cinema trend that gives the movie fans around the world an exciting reason to go to 4DX theatres,” said JongRyul Kim, CEO of CJ 4DPLEX.



Feb. 12: Josh Groban Bridges From Madison Square Garden

Multi-platinum award-winning singer, songwriter and global superstar Josh Groban announced today that his critically acclaimed, sold out performance from New York’s famed Madison Square Garden, which recently marked the end of his Fall arena Bridges Tour, will be coming to cinemas nationwide on February 12th in collaboration with global event cinema distributor, Trafalgar Releasing and Warner Bros. Records.

Described as “beautiful, pitch-perfect” (NY Times) and the “eighth world wonder” (Digital Journal), Groban’s voice is instantly recognizable to fans around the world. Joining him on stage at this very special concert is Tony-Award winning, multi-platinum recording artist and actress, Idina Menzel as well as Grammy-Award winner and Billboard chart topper Jennifer Nettles.

The Bridges Tour follows the release of Groban’s eighth studio album, Bridges, which debuted at number one on the Billboard US Top Album Sales chart in October. Recorded before a live audience, the show includes a mixture of new songs and classic hits as well as duets with both Menzel and Nettles.

Tickets for Josh Groban Bridges From Madison Square Garden will be on sale beginning today at or at participating theater box offices.

“My favorite moments as a musician are on stage, where songs fully take flight the way they were always intended,” Groban said. “Performing songs, old and new, at such an iconic venue as Madison Square Garden is always demanding and exciting. To have captured on film such a special night, full of friends and family and fans from all over the world, is something I’m truly grateful for.”

Kymberli Frueh, Trafalgar Releasing’s SVP Programming and Content Acquisitions, added “We are delighted to bring this monumental concert to cinemas for Josh’s fans to experience in an intimate setting, with an exclusive message from Josh to cinema audiences about the importance of this concert to him.”

Possessing one of the most outstanding and instantly recognizable voices in music, GRAMMY nominated singer, songwriter, and actor Josh Groban has entertained fans across the globe with his multi-platinum albums and DVDs (over 30 million sold worldwide), electrifying live performances, and comedic film and television appearances. The 37-year-old Los Angeles native is the only artist who has had two albums appear on the Top 20 Best-Selling Albums list of the past decade, according to Billboard.

He has appeared in the feature films Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Hollars, Coffee Town, and Muppets Most Wanted, as well as on NBC’s The Office, FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, CBS’ The Crazy Ones and Netflix’s The Good Cop opposite Tony Danza.

Groban has released eight studio albums, his 2001 self-titled 5x-platinum debut, 2003’s 6x-platinum Closer, 2006’s double-platinum Awake, 2007’s 6x platinum Grammy-nominated Noel, 2010’s gold-certified Illuminations, and 2013’s gold-certified All That Echoes, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, giving Groban his first No. 1 debut and third chart-topper. In 2015 he released Stages, a collection of songs from Broadway Musicals, and in 2017, Groban concluded his Broadway run in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which Time Out New York called, “one of the best musicals of the decade”. He also released his first coffee table book, Stage to Stage: My Journey to Broadway. which documented the past two years of his life on Broadway. Groban remains an active arts education philanthropist and advocate as a member of Americans for the Arts Artists Committee and Groban’s Find Your Light Foundation helps enrich the lives of young people through arts, education, and cultural awareness.

Saturday News Roundup: Joni Mitchell turns 75, Josh Groban in theaters & MEGA TIME SQUAD gets a date 4

Feb. 7: “The Music Center Presents Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration” from Trafalgar Releasing

Honoring one of the world’s most revered artists, Joni Mitchell, on her 75th birthday, The Music Center Presents Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration brings an incredible array of singers and musicians to cinemas across the US and Canada for a one-night-only celebration on February 7, 2019 in collaboration with global event cinema distributor Trafalgar Releasing and The Music Center, Los Angeles’ premiere performing arts center.

Captured live at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, this special event features Brandi Carlile; Glen Hansard; Emmylou Harris; Norah Jones; Chaka Khan; Diana Krall; Kris Kristofferson; Los Lobos with La Marisoul, Cesar Castro & Xochi Flores; Graham Nash; James Taylor; Seal; and Rufus Wainwright, who will perform many of Mitchell’s songs including A Case of You; Both Sides, Now; Down To You; For The Roses; The Boho Dance; and Two Grey Rooms; among others. Co-musical directors, providing the musical arrangements for the show, are percussionist Brian Blade, who recorded three studio albums and toured extensively with Mitchell, and, pianist, composer, arranger producer Jon Cowherd.

Tickets for The Music Center Presents Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration will be on sale beginning today at or at participating theater box offices.

A music icon whose work continues to inspire generations of artists, Mitchell performed on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage in 1972 and 1974, with the Los Angeles Times describing her 1972 concert as “Joni Mitchell in a Giant Living Room.”

With nine Grammy® awards to her name and 16 Grammy nominations, Mitchell’s catalogue of music spans more than five decades. In 2017, Mitchell’s 1971 album Blue was named number one on National Public Radio’s list of the 150 greatest albums made by women. Her work has no boundaries and crosses genres from Folk and Pop, to Jazz and World Music. Mitchell is also a prolific painter and was once quoted as saying, “I’m a painter first, and a musician second.” While Mitchell hails from Canada, she has called Los Angeles home for decades.

“We are thrilled to bring audiences together in movie theaters across North America to experience this magical evening,” said Trafalgar Releasing SVP of Programming Kymberli Frueh. “The incredible talent featured in this concert is a true testament to the impact that Joni has had on musicians and fans alike.”

“We were so grateful to join with these incredible artists to honor Joni, an artist who pushed boundaries to reframe what songwriting and vocal music could be,” said Rachel Moore, president and CEO, The Music Center. “And now that the concert will be shown nationwide by our partners at Trafalgar Releasing, so many more people will have the chance to witness this once-in-a-lifetime concert celebration.”

“Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration” CD is available for pre-order now at

Festival Fave MEGA TIME SQUAD in Theaters 2/15

A low-level criminal steals an ancient Chinese time-travel device, but he may not survive the demonic consequences of tampering with time. MEGA TIME SQUAD is a wildly entertaining time travel/sci-fi comedy out of New Zealand. A fan favorite on the festival circuit, the film stars Jonny Brugh (What We Do In The Shadows) and was praised by
Variety as “fast-paced, determinedly silly, with sharp slangy dialogue,“the film blasted out of the gate at this year’s Fantasia and is destined to become a cult favorite.
Studio Name: Dark Sky Films
Written and Directed by: Tim van Dammen
Produced by: Anna Duckworth, Tim van Dammen
Cast: Anton Tennet, Jonny Brugh, Hetty Gaskell-Hahn, Arlo Gibson, Milo Cawthorne, Eru Wilton, Simon Ward
TRT: 89:19
Country: New Zealand
Rating: Not Rated
Language: English
Genre(s): Comedy, Science Fiction, Independent

OKKO’S INN | In Select U.S. Theaters April 2019!


In Select U.S. Theaters April 2019

After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko goes to live in the countryside with her grandmother, who runs a traditional Japanese inn built on top of an ancient spring said to have healing waters. While she goes about her chores and prepares to become the inn’s next caretaker, Okko discovers there are spirits who live there that only she can see – not scary ones, but welcoming ghosts who keep her company, play games and help her navigate her new environment. The inn’s motto is that it welcomes all and will reject none, and this is soon put to the test as a string of new guests challenge Okko’s ability to be a gracious host. But ultimately Okko discovers that dedicating herself to others becomes the key to taking care of herself. The latest feature from famed anime studio Madhouse and director Kitaro Kosaka, who was a key animator on numerous classic films at the venerable Studio Ghibli, seamlessly blends immersive, idyllic landscapes with the storybook charm of Okko’s beloved ghosts. Okko’s Inn delivers a rare ghost story that -despite several floating characters – is firmly grounded in the trials and joys of humanity.


Saturday News Roundup: Joni Mitchell turns 75, Josh Groban in theaters & MEGA TIME SQUAD gets a date 6

Yiddish Glory From the Gulag to the Grammys

When University of Toronto professor Anna Shternshis first read the lyrics to “My Mother’s Grave,” a song written by a young child in the Pechora camp in 1945 after the death of his mother, she realized it was part of a groundbreaking collection of eyewitness musical testimonies. The writer of this and most other songs from the archive perished during the Holocaust. The scholars who gathered these compositions during the war were arrested and sent to Stalin’s prisons, and the files containing these documents were stripped of identification and dumped into secret storage.
Seven decades later, after a miraculous discovery in the National Library of Ukraine, The Lost Songs of World War II were brought back to life by Yiddish Glory. In the subsequent weeks and months, the album has been feted in more than thirty year-end best-of lists while being called “extraordinary” (Songlines) and “life-changing” (Toronto’s ClassicalFM), and astonishingly, The Lost Songs of World War II (Six Degrees Records) was honored as the first Yiddish language album to be nominated in the World Music category at the Grammy Awards.
“When I learned about the nomination, I immediately thought about ethnomusicologist Moisei Beregovsky and his colleagues who risked their lives to preserve this music for us, and who, instead of recognition, ended up being sent to Soviet Gulags, popularly known as “hell on earth”, simply because they were working in Jewish Studies during Stalin’s anti-Jewish crackdown,” remarked professor Anna Shternshis, the historian who led the project to resurrect the Lost Songs of World War II.
The songs of Yiddish Glory tell stories of ordinary people who fought against injustice and fascism even when it seemed that winning such a battle was impossible. This music revealed that women and children trapped in the ghettos of Ukraine and soldiers stuck in the trenches of a brutal war could sing through such horrors. Little did they know that their music would resonate in the wake of resurgent nationalism, refugees being denied asylum, and childhood separations occurring today.
Yiddish Glory features an ensemble of elite, award-winning soloists from Canada and Russia including singers Psoy Korolenko and Sophie Milman, and violinist Sergei Erdenko. They stunned the world with soul-shattering performances of these lost songs written on deteriorating paper with fading ink. Thanks to Yiddish Glory, the stories of people who lived through the darkest chapter of modern history are heard around the world. They completed the journey from ghettos and gulags and compete for a Grammy in the category of best world music album. The winner will be announced on Sunday February 10, 2019 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Some quote and thoughts from the press about Yiddish Glory:
“Revelatory” – Howard Reich, The Chicago Tribune
“Haunting… Remarkable” – Carol Off, CBC’s As It Happens
“Beautiful” – BBC World Service
“Devastating Resonances” – Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker
“Profoundly moving” – Dan Epstein, The Forward
“A Minor Miracle” – Andy Herrman, NPR Music
Yiddish Glory’s The Lost Songs of World War II has been named as one of the albums of 2018 by more than thirty publications, including:

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