Dhaka, June 26 (UNB) - Money spent on audiobooks in the UK almost doubled in 2018, helped by the likes of Michelle Obama, Mel B and Stephen Fry, reports BBC.
Figures from The Publishers Association show audiobook sales were worth £69m, up by 43% on the previous year.
The top title with online book library Audible was Becoming by former US First Lady Michelle Obama.
Elsewhere, digital book sales rose by 3% in 2018, while physical sales were down by 5%.
The latter bucks a three-year trend for physical books being on the rise. Digital growth, however, has driven the UK publishing industry to a total value of £6bn.
Talking titles by Adam Kay, Heather Morris, Anna Burns and Lily Allen came next in the 2018 Audible chart.
Publishers Association chief executive Stephen Lotinga said "investment in digital is paying off and driving growth".
He added: "Audiobooks have grown phenomenally, as ever-increasing numbers of people opt to enjoy books in a way that suits new technologies and keeps pace with our busy lives."
Mr Lotinga also urged the government "to act now to axe the unfair reading tax", noting online titles have 20% VAT added, while their print equivalents do not.
And he warned against the "continuing squeeze on school budgets", which he said had seen sales of school textbooks sales "take a hit" because "teachers simply can't afford the learning resources children need".
Los Angeles, June 25 (AP/UNB) — Michael Jackson's estate paid tribute to his artistry and charity Tuesday as fans began gathering to celebrate his memory on the 10th anniversary of the King of Pop's death.
"Ten years ago today, the world lost a gifted artist and extraordinary humanitarian," the Jackson estate said in a statement to The Associated Press. "A decade later, Michael Jackson is still with us, his influence embedded in dance, fashion, art and music of the moment. He is more important than ever."
The estate has doggedly worked to protect and enhance Jackson's legacy, a task made more challenging this year when two men accused Jackson of molesting them as boys in the HBO documentary "Leaving Neverland," sparking new scrutiny of years-old claims that Jackson preyed on children. Jackson was acquitted of abuse allegations in 2005 and always vehemently denied such allegations, and the estate and his family angrily refuted the men's claims when the documentary was released in March, noting the men had at one time been among Jackson's biggest defenders and one testified on his behalf at his criminal trial.
The estate is using the anniversary of Jackson's death to celebrate and accentuate Jackson's vast humanitarian work. It called on fans to honor Jackson's memory by engaging in charitable acts "whether it's planting a tree, volunteering at a shelter, cleaning up a public space or helping someone who is lost find their way. ... This is how we honor Michael," the statement read.
Mourners began to gather early Tuesday and placed elaborate flower arrangements and poster-sized pictures of Jackson, some featuring signed messages from dozens of fans, outside his mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
A florist delivered on arrangement from a client in Japan. A heart made from flowers in the colors of the Iranian flag featured the message "Iran (hearts) MJ." Another flowered heart read "Love from Denmark."
A fan from Las Vegas, dressed as Jackson in bright red shirt and one white glove, was among the first mourners to appear.
Fans also plan to gather at Jackson's last home in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, where the singer received a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol on the afternoon of June 25, 2009 from his doctor. Jackson was declared dead at a hospital at age 50.
Others planned to gather around Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One group planned a Hollywood rally Tuesday to declare his innocence of molestation allegations.
Thomas Mesereau, the attorney who successfully defended Jackson at his 2005 trial, issued a statement Tuesday saying "Jackson's compassion, humanity, empathy and talent continues to inspire family, friends, supporters and fans across the globe. The legend of this great father, son, sibling and artist marches forward with characteristic brilliance and wonder. His legacy can be attacked by opportunists. But it will never be defeated. Michael Jackson was a great and kind man."
John Branca and John McClain, both major figures in Jackson's career when he was alive, as co-executors have taken his badly debt-ridden estate and grossed over $1.3 billion through various Jackson-related projects in the past decade, including the film "This Is It," a pair of Cirque du Soleil shows and the sale of Jackson assets that included The Beatles catalog.
Jackson left everything to his mother, his children and charity in his will.
The singer's father, Joe, died last year and is buried in the same cemetery as his son, but Michael's 89-year-old mother, five brothers, three sisters and three kids remain alive and well 10 years later .
The death of Jackson was a massive cultural phenomenon, bringing an outpouring of public affection and revival of his songs and largely erasing the taint that remained after his criminal trial, despite his acquittal.
It was one of the earliest instances of the mass mourning on social media that would soon become common, and a massive worldwide audience both on TV and online watched his July 27, 2009 public memorial that included touching tributes from family members including daughter Paris and performances from Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey and Lionel Richie.
Dhaka, June 25 (UNB) - Toy Story 4, the long-awaited fourth film in the animated franchise, has broken global box office records for an animated movie.
It earned $238m (£187m) since opening worldwide over the weekend, performing particularly well in Latin America and Europe.
The film struggled in China, however, and also failed to meet expectations in the US, where its $118m (£93m) fell short of a predicted $140m (£110m).
It comes 24 years after the first film.
Film audiences' introduction to Sheriff Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and their band of fellow toys in 1995 went on to make $395m (£310m) at the global box office.
It's been nine years since Toy Story 3 opened to rave reviews and became the first animated film to gross over $1 billion worldwide in ticket sales.
There were some fears the latest instalment could underperform as many fans felt the third movie wrapped up the series so perfectly.
However, the new film - which sees Woody, Buzz and the gang joined by a new homemade toy called Forky - has been warmly reviewed with a 98% fresh rating on critical aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
Other new toys in the film include doll Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), Bunny and Ducky (Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key) and stunt motorbike rider Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves).
In a widely-viewed Twitter thread, US journalist Mark Harris suggested the fact the star-studded film failed to match expectations was because "endless brand extensions are starting to bore people".
Despite failing to match more enthusiastic box office predictions, Toy Story 4 ranks as the fourth-biggest US opening for an animated movie behind Incredibles 2, Finding Dory and Shrek the Third.
The film also set a UK record, opening with $15m (£12m) for the three-days, the highest ever for an animation.
Toy Story 4 is yet to open in many markets such as France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.
It's also only the third film in 2019 to pass $100m during its opening weekend in the US. The other two, Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame are also Disney releases.
Dhaka, June 25 (UNB) - Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film Spider-Man: Far From Home will now release a day earlier than its previous release date. It will hit theaters on July 4 instead of July 5. Tom Holland returns to reprise the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and the film will deal with the aftermath of events in Avengers: Endgame. It is also expected to tease the slate of upcoming films in the MCU, reports NDTV.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is a sequel to 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and is the first film in the MCU after Endgame.
Peter goes with his friends on a European vacation, but his trip is interrupted by Samuel L.Jackson’s Nick Fury who recruits him to fight the Elementals. He will also have Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio, who has come from another dimension to assist him.
Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, J. B. Smoove, Jacob Batalon, and Martin Starr are also part of the film’s cast.
Vivek Krishnani, Managing Director, Sony Pictures Entertainment India, said in a statement, “Spider-Man is the most loved Superhero in India! And with such unprecedented anticipation and hype around Spider-Man: Far From Home, we have decided to release it a day prior on Thursday, 4th July.”
The synopsis of Spider-Man: Far From Home reads, “Peter Parker returns in Spider-Man: Far From Home, the next chapter of the Spider-Man: Homecoming series! Our friendly neighborhood Super Hero decides to join his best friends Ned, MJ, and the rest of the gang on a European vacation. However, Peter’s plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent!”
Dhaka, June 25 (UNB) - Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is all set to hit the screens today. The fifth part in the Pirates series is releasing six years after the last installment titled, On Stranger Tides (2011). In Dead Men Tell No Tales (also called Salazar's Revenge), Jack Sparrow's old enemy Captain Armando Salazar returned from dead. Armando Salazar's crew (comprising of dead pirates) escape the Devil's triangle and vow to kill every pirate alive. Jack Sparrow must get the Trident of Poseidon to become the master of the sea and defeat Armando Salazar's crew. He joins hands with Henry Turner (son of Will Turner) and Carina Smyth to accomplish the seemingly impossible task, reports NDTV.
Javier Bardem is cast in the role of Captain Armando Salazar in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Of his role in the film, Mr Bardem told NDTV: "It was fun to play this pirate. Where do you get a chance like this ever? It was a Disney ride and you got paid for it." Javier Bardem has impressed with his villainous act in films like No Country For Old Men and Skyfall. In pirates Of The Caribbean 5 he plays the role of an 'angry ghost.' He said: "It's kind of nice to unleash your inner demons."
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales also stars Orlando Bloom, who reprises the role of Will Turner while Brenton Thwaites will play the role of his onscreen son Henry. The film is directed Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg and also stars Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally and Geoffrey Rush.