TIME movies

5 Things We’ve Learned in 5 Years of Box Office Reports


The foreign market has exploded while North America is stagnant. Women, kids and Hispanics have replaced young males as a prime demographic. And 3-D saved Hollywood

Correction appended, April 8, 2014.

Five years ago this week, TIME.com launched its Box Office Report column. Each Sunday, or Monday on holiday weekends, I’ve laden readers with stats and analysis on the business of show: the winners, losers and trends of new movies. The occasion of this anniversary (for which, hint, the traditional gift is wood) got me to wondering what’s changed in the film industry over the past half-decade. It turns out: lots.

Here are five things we learned over the past five years of Box Office Reports:

1. America doesn’t matter. In 2009, according to a new study by the Motion Picture Association of America, customers in North America spent $10.6 billion on movie tickets, compared to 36% of the foreign market ($18.8 billion). Last year, domestic revenue was up a bit, to $10.9 billion, but the international tally had risen to $25 billion; so only 30% of worldwide ticket sales were from the U.S. and Canada. Business over the past five years has been stagnant here but up one-third in the rest of the world. The region the MPAA calls EMEA — Europe, the Middle East and Africa — accounted for $10.9 billion in 2013, the same as North America, while the biggest growth came from Asia Pacific: up from $7.2 billion to $11.1 billion. Japan brought in $2.4 billion, India $1.5 billion and China a celestial $3.6 billion. That China bonanza, an increase of 27% over 2012, is as much as last year’s top dozen movies earned in North America.

(READ: TIME.com’s first Box Office Report)

Most blockbusters register about two-thirds of their worldwide take internationally, and some much more. The last two Ice Age animated features, only moderate hits at home, amassed 80% of their global gross abroad. Foreign audiences go for action movies, even for ones Americans reject. Last month’s racecar drama Need for Speed has earned less than $40 million here but $130 million (or 77% of its total gross) in foreign markets. The monster-bot movie Pacific Rim struggled to reach $100 million in North America last summer; yet it made more than that ($111.9 million) in China alone.

Recognizing the huge offshore potential, some smart producers have tailored their pictures to the tastes of foreign fans. Marvel’s Avengers movies (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America and, for that matter, the smash that was The Avengers) had never earned as much as 60% of their money overseas. So for Iron Man Three, director Joss Whedon shot separate scenes featuring Chinese stars for the Mandarin-language version. The result: IM3 earned $135 million in China and Hong Kong. Its $806.4-million foreign revenue represented a healthy 66% of the movie’s $1.2-billion worldwide gross.

2. Women do matter. For decades, Hollywood has trusted one narrow demographic — young males — to subsidize its big-budget productions. In fact, the gender split in the domestic audience is 50-50: women attend as many movies as men do. The studios must have figured that the few femme-angled blockbusters (like Mamma Mia!, which earned $610 million worldwide in 2008) were flukes, and that, in the absence of “women’s pictures,” the gals would go to movies made for guys. Statistics seemed to bear out that prejudice: Of the 12 top-grossing films of 2011, only one — The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 — boasted a leading character who was female.

Credit the Twilight success, which spurred other gynocentric franchises based on Young Adult novels, and the skew of girl-power animated features for the return of that beleaguered majority — women — to movie marquees. In 2012 The Hunger Games, Breaking Dawn Part 2 and Pixar’s Brave were among the year’s top eight films. And last year three of the top six had female protagonists: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Frozen and Gravity — all released in Oct. or Nov., outside the usual blockbuster summer season. Indeed, Catching Fire, with Jennifer Lawrence in the lead, became the first top-grossing film of any year since 1965 (Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music) with a woman in the primary, starring role.

(READ: Jennifer Lawrence’s Silver Lining Yearbook)

Three other residents of last year’s top 10 (Despicable Me 2, Monsters University and Oz the Great and Powerful) attracted strong majorities of female viewers. Now Hollywood has to think of new femme heroines — as long as she’s a warrior, a princess or a lonely space traveler.

3. So do kids, old folks and Hispanics. Hollywood’s traditional wheelhouse — adults 18 to 49 years old — has recently slipped a gear: movie attendance of that age group is down. But younger and older viewers are swelling the grosses. “In 2013, the share of tickets sold t0 2-11 year olds was at its highest point since 2009,” the MPAA study reports, “and the share of tickets sold to 50-59 year olds was at an all time high.” Senior citizens (60-plus) are also attending in droves. So you’ll be seeing more kid-friendly animated features, and more roundups of elderly stars as in Lost Vegas — a Hangover for alterkockers — and Sly Stallone’s Expendables movies. Lucky oldsters.

The average American “Caucasian,” as the MPAA calls the white majority, goes to just three movies a year. Fortunately for Hollywood, Hispanics have taken up the slack. They “report the highest annual attendance per capita, attending on average six times per year.” Representing 17% of the U.S. population, Hispanics have accounted for more than 30% of the audience for comedies (Ride Along), action films (Furious 6), horror movies (The Purge) and war epics (Lone Survivor). They also made their own hit: the Spanish-language dramedy Instructions Not Included, starring Univision TV favorite Eugenio Derbez. In the U.S. it earned $44.5 million. That’s the biggest foreign-language gross since Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ — except that, for the bilingual Latinos who flocked to theaters, Instructions was in their own language.

(READ: Who Still Goes to Foreign-Language Films?)

4. Hollywood went digital, 3-D and IMAX. In 2009, most theaters showed films — those rickety reels of acetate that spun through projectors — as they had throughout the industry’s hundred-year history. Only about 16,000 screens were outfitted for digital projection. Now that number is 111,000, nearly seven times as many. About 80% of all theaters, here and around the world, can exhibit movies digitally. The revolution that George Lucas urged a decade ago has come to pass, and the very word “film” is an anachronism.

(READ: George Lucas talks to TIME in 2006 about the digital future of movies)

In our first Box Office Report, for Mar. 29, 2009, the top picture was Monsters vs Aliens, which was also the first 3-D feature from DreamWorks Animation. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the studio’s boss, was a missionary for 3-D, proclaiming it the most exciting innovation since talking pictures and color. The process was nothing new — it has existed in rudimentary form since 1915 — but Katzenberg’s proselytizing, plus the box-office sensation of James Cameron’s Avatar, helped change 3-D from a gimmick to a near-essential for blockbuster wannabes, both animated and live-action. (Christopher Nolan, maker of the Dark Knight trilogy and Inception, remains an important holdout.)

The stereopticon format had its drawbacks — those glasses darkened the true screen image and remain a minor annoyance for audiences — but it allowed distributors to charge an extra few dollars per ticket. In New York City, a customer ordering through Fandango could be paying up to $20 for a big attraction in 3-D on an IMAX screen. Along with the enormous rise in the Asian market, that gizmo surcharge can be said to have saved the movie business. The 3-D revenue spiked from $200 million in 2008 to $2.2 billion, a tenfold increase, in 2010. For that, Hollywood can thank one film: Avatar, which earned $2.7 billion worldwide, most of it on 3-D screens.

(READ: Why Avatar is a 3-D World of Wonder)

Consider that the number of tickets sold annually in North America fell about 16% in the past decade, from more than 1.5 billion in 2002, 2003 and 2004 to about 1.35 billion in each of the last three years. In 2013, admissions dropped by 20 million from 2012; yet domestic revenue actually rose about $100 million. Moviegoers, at least in the U.S. and Canada, went less frequently but paid more when they did.

The MPAA statistics carry a warning: “Despite an increase in films released in 3-D [from 40 to 45], 3-D box office ($1.8 billion) is down 1% from 2012.” Hollywood has to hope that audiences haven’t tired of paying a goggles tax on their moviegoing experience, and that the format won’t be a few-years fad that, as in the 1950s, quickly faded away.

3. A billion dollars ain’t what it used to be. Cameron’s Titanic, released in 1997, was the first movie to crack the billion-dollar barrier in worldwide gross. By Mar. 2009, when we started, four other pictures — Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, the third Lord of the Rings, the second Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Batman sequel The Dark Knight — had joined Titanic by earning at least $1 billion. In the five years since, that number has grown to 18, including last year’s Iron Man Three and Frozen.

If the billionaire’s club isn’t so exclusive these days, it’s in part because Hollywood has learned to market its biggest movies to the expanding global market, but mainly because ticket prices keep climbing — up 30% since 2004 and 13% since 2008. Inflation tarnishes the billion-dollar sheen. In real dollars, at the domestic box office (the only numbers available), Titanic is fifth all-time, behind Gone With the Wind, Star Wars, The Sound of Music and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Again in real dollars, Cameron’s Avatar is the only movie made in this century to appear in the all-time top 25. On this list, Iron Man Three is in 102nd place, Frozen in 109th.

So show some skepticism when you read stories about a new hit like Frozen passing The Lion King to achieve the “all-time record” for an animated feature, with nary a mention of inflation. In real dollars, or tickets sold, the double-princess movie lags behind at least dozen earlier Disney or Pixar cartoons. By that standard, Disney’s all-time animated hit is its first: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

And on a personal note: A (noninflationary) billion thanks to readers and editors for this first five years. We’ll check back in 2019 to see if the numbers and meanings of movies have felt other seismic changes.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the number of tickets sold annually in North America. It was more than 1.5 billion.

TIME Television

‘How I Met Your Mother’ Fans Will Get a Legit Happy Ending

From left: Josh Radnor as Ted and Cristin Milioti as Tracy in the finale of How I Met Your Mother.
From left: Josh Radnor as Ted and Cristin Milioti as Tracy in the finale of How I Met Your Mother. Ron P. Jaffe—Fox Television

Fans of How I Met Your Mother who felt cheated by the series' finale Monday will be glad to hear that the sitcom's creators had a different conclusion in mind -- described as "happy " -- to be included on the show's DVD set

Fans felt cheated over the finale to How I Met Your Mother when the main character Ted didn’t end up with the beloved Mother but instead with the horrible-wig-wearing Robin. To top it off, the series didn’t just switch the end game of the series but also had the gall to kill the Mother and, in doing so, forced fans to watch the adorable Cristin Miliotti lying in a hospital bed, which no one deserves, especially not those who’ve endured 9 seasons of this show. Talk about a major buzzkill.

Though a video made its viral rounds earlier this week featuring a much happier ending to the series, it’s since been removed from YouTube. But creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, who stuck to their original plan that was filmed in season 2, also had a different ending in mind. Deadline reports that 20th Century Fox TV wouldn’t comment on specifics but that it was described as “happy” and will be included in the show’s DVD set.

It could be as simple as fading to black as soon as the two meet under the infamous yellow umbrella but to find out if it’ll be legen—wait for it—dary, we’ll have to do just that.


TIME Television

David Duchovny Talks Saying Goodbye to Californication

Episode 701
David Duchovny as Hank Moody in Californication Jordin Althaus—Showtime

On the eve of the Showtime series' final season, the actor, who plays troubled writer Hank Moody, tells TIME about letting his rear end call the shots in his career, the legacy of Californication, and his upcoming new NBC series Aquarius

After seven season, Showtime’s Californication is coming to its end. The series, created by Tom Kapinos, has followed troubled writer Hank Moody as he attempts to navigate family and career while continually womanizing, drinking and engaging in general debauchery. The character of Hank, played by David Duchovny, will hopefully find a satisfying — although perhaps not altogether happy — end during the final season, which premieres April 13.

Duchovny is already moving on to his next project, a series for NBC called Aquarius, on which he’ll play a police detective on the trail of serial killer Charles Manson. That project begins shooting in July, but meanwhile, Duchovny has been reflecting on the end of Californication and what the show has meant to popular culture. TIME spoke with the actor about saying goodbye to Hank, what it means to be a writer and why his ass makes all his career decisions.

TIME: Californication is ending! This is so sad.

We’re all sad. We loved each other. It wasn’t a just a job I loved going to every day. I know it sounds like bulls–t when an actor says, “It was like a family!” But it’s not exactly like a family, because usually you want to get away from your family. It was great. It was really a pleasure for the full seven years.

How long ago did the final season wrap?

We wrapped in August. It’s been over for a while. This is normally the time when we’d be gearing up to go again, so I think this is when we’re realizing it. We’ve all been in denial, like, “Oh, we’re just faking it. We’re actually going to do another year.” But now we’re realizing that we’re not.

What was the last day on set like for you?

I was alone. I got to say my goodbyes onset to different actors as we were moving through the last episodes. On the last day. I was alone on that promontory by LAX where we like to shoot, where we watch the planes take off and land. It was just me and the Porsche. I had to say goodbye to the Porsche! That was very difficult. When we cut and the First AD said, “That’s a series wrap for David,” Tom Kapinos, the writer and creator, was there. We kind of just walked off into the sunset and he was crying. I have a picture of it [that] somebody snapped as we started to walk away from the car. I’m glad I have that moment in a photo.

How does the conclusion of this series compare with the experience of ending of The X-Files?

With The X-Files, it was the first time that anything like that had happened to me. It was a phenomenon. It was life-changing. Life-transforming. I went from being somebody who nobody knew to somebody known worldwide. There were all these things that had happened because of the show. By the time we were finishing, I was really ready and eager to move and show that I could do other things, that I wasn’t just going to do this thing. So there wasn’t as much gratitude as I might have had, and looking back I wish I’d had that. I wanted to get out of there. I think we all did. And now, being older, I just try to appreciate things in the moment and be grateful in the moment. I think I was more present for the ending of this one.

When you were first approached to do Californication, what was it about the show and the character that compelled you?

After The X-Files, I didn’t want to do another television show because the schedule is so demanding and all-consuming. What happened with the advent of cable, which I hadn’t foreseen when I was leaving The X-Files and said, “I’ll never do another television show,” was that you could do 12 [episodes]. You could have a life and do other things you wanted to do in your career or your family. It didn’t have to be your sole creative identity or place, so that opened me up to even looking at scripts for television. That was the first step. And then I wanted to do a comedy. And this wasn’t the sort of man-child comedy that I saw most places. To me, it was more like comedies from the ‘70s where men acted immaturely, which is always funny, but not like 10-year-old boys. I was despairing that I was ever going to get a chance to do the sort of comedy I could drive, and then this came along, and I thought it was cinematic in that way. I thought, “Well, I’ll just do this and see if I’m full of shit about thinking I can do a comedy.” And lo and behold, it ran for seven years.

Do you think that Hank Moody, as a character, has changed over these seven years?

Well, the problem with serialized television is that you can’t change, or people get really mad. If people do something different, the fans go, “Oh God, how dare you change! We invested in you, and now you’ve changed.” The nature of it is, actually, to not change, but to keep making the same mistakes that people love to see. So, I don’t think that he changed. I think his focus changed. To me the show was always about this guy getting his family right. This guy’s focus was always his love for Karen and his daughter and wanting to do the right thing, and then getting torn away from that for whatever reasons — immaturity, lack of focus, weakness, drugs. It was always a matter of a guy not changing, but remembering who he really was.

Hank is a pretty flawed character. What do you think is his redeeming value?

He’s honest and he’s sincere. His sincerity is not maudlin. He’s a guy that says, “Look, life is difficult and we’re making choices here, and some of them are the wrong ones. Yet we can’t not make those choices.” What makes him attractive is that he is honest and he’s trying.

Do you have a favorite Hank Moody moment?

They all just popped into my mind when you asked that question, so this one might not even be my favorite. But the first thing that came to my mind is in the first season, when I vomit on the Scientologist, and then she vomits. That was Paula Marshall, and it was her idea. She said, “I should vomit too!” I was like, “Yes! You should vomit too.” One vomit: Funny. Two vomits: Hilarious. And three vomits? Not funny at all. What an interesting calculus.

Over the years, have you had real writers come up to you and say, “This is just not how writers behave”?

It’s more like, this is how writers wish the world worked! Tom Kapinos would eagerly tell you that this whole show has been the wish fulfillment of a writer, which is that the world is a place where writing is valued and writers are attractive to women and well-paid and don’t even ever really have to write.

It was really interesting last season when Hank tells his daughter that writing is sitting down and actually writing but the rest is just posturing. That seemed reflective of the show itself.

Yeah, and as a writer myself, I would say that is true. It’s maybe a cliché, but the hardest part of writing is putting your ass in a chair. Once you start, things are going to happen. But nothing is going to happen unless you sit down.

Do you actively write a lot these days?

I’ve never been good at sitting down! But I did write a short novel that will come out next year. And I’ve been writing a bunch of songs and lyrics. I have been writing. [The novel] will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, probably next spring.

So is this the chicken or the egg: You played a writer and then you wrote a novel, or you were a writer who happened to play one on TV?

Well, we all know the chicken came first. Didn’t they figure that out? But I’ve always been a writer. I was a writer before. I always considered myself a writer, even though I didn’t sit down enough.

Do you have a sense of what Californication’s legacy will be?

I think the show’s legacy might be surprising — I hope it is. The bright lights and the big city aspect of this show has always been sex and nudity, and I think once that comes into play, it’s all people react to, either negatively or positively. That becomes the issue, pro or against. People tend to get blinded to the fact that we were doing a funny show about a family. Which is what I think the show is, really. If it were to attain a legacy, I’d be happy if it was, “That show that was really funny about a family and felt really true.”

Now that you’re going to do a NBC series, will it be weird to be leaving all that sex and nudity behind?

No, it’s the job of an actor. I’d certainly done sex and nudity in films before. And the amount of my nudity and sex in Californication, if you were to go back and look, is a lot less than you might imagine. It was happening a lot more around me than to me. And I’d always say, “If I’m going to show my ass, I’m going to show it in the first episode while I’m still in shape.” That was always the stipulation. If you ever want to see my ass, you look at the first episodes.

For someone who said they wanted to do movies after The X-Files, how is it that you are about to do your third TV series?

Yeah, well, you know, that’s just the nature of the business. Movies have become smaller and smaller, and they’re hard to get. They’re hard to do. The big blockbusters are not necessarily that interesting to me. I’m not saying I’m getting offers and turning them down, but to me, the best work is happening on television, mostly on cable. And now, the networks are trying to compete in terms of content. Obviously they have limitations of language and violence and sex, but I think something like Aquarius is bringing a cable sensibility to a network.

Do you have to get in shape for your role on Aquarius even, with no nudity?

Not that I know of! That’s the good news. I have to consult my ass on my roles now. My ass turned down all the cable shows.

TIME celebrities

Trick Daddy Arrested for Cocaine, Gun Possession

Maurice Young, also know as the rapper Trick Daddy
Broward County Sheriff's Office/AP

Trick Daddy was arrested for possession of drugs and firearms after police searched his South Florida home Thursday. The rapper has collaborated with the likes of Pitbull, Young Jeezy, and Cee Lo Green and is best known for his hit "I'm a Thug"

Rapper Trick Daddy was arrested Thursday evening for possession of cocaine and a firearm, NBC Miami reports.

Police obtained a warrant and searched his home in Miramar where the rapper, whose real name is Maurice Young, was detained getting out of his car, according to an arrest affidavit from the Broward Sheriff’s Office. They found one gram of powder that field tested positive for cocaine, a 9mm Sig Sauer and a box of ammunition.

Young, 40, was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, and driving with a suspended license. He told police that he is a convicted felon and has been arrested previously for trafficking narcotics, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and possession of cocaine, according to the affidavit.

He was released from jail on bond and it is unclear if he has a lawyer, NBC reports.

[NBC Miami]


TIME Theater

Jesus Christ Superstar Casts *NSYNC, Destiny’s Child and Incubus Singers in New Tour

Jesus Christ Superstar Arena Rock Spectacular North American Tour Press Conference
Kevin Mazur—WireImage/Getty Images

We don't think you're ready for this jelly: Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams and *NSYNC member JC Chasez will star in Jesus Christ Super Star's upcoming national tour. The all-star cast also includes Incubus’ Brandon Boyd

Jesus Christ Superstar has enlisted literal rock superstars straight off of your favorite 90’s playlist to join its North American tour.

The updated show will star Incubus’ Brandon Boyd as Judas Iscariot, *NSYNC’s JC Chasez to play Pontius Pilate, and Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams to play Mary Magdalene. But it isn’t only 90’s stars. John Rotten of the Sex Pistols will play King Herod against Ben Forster’s returning role as Jesus Christ.

The tour will begin in New Orleans June 9 and travel to Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia.

The only thing that could make this better was if a Spice Girl was thrown in. Who do we have to pray to to make that happen?


TIME Television

Watch: All 5,179 Killings in Game of Thrones

Ahead of the fourth season, Digg has compiled all 5,179 killings from the last three.

For Game of Thrones fans who feel that there’s too much talking between bouts of violence on the show, Digg has gone ahead and edited together every death scene from the first three seasons, sans plot, into just under three blood-soaked minutes.

Total deaths according to the video’s kill count: 5,179

If you’re new to GOT, here is a comprehensive guide to the show’s characters and interweaving plotlines.

Season four starts Sunday at 9pm on HBO.

TIME celebrities

Watch a Young Jon Hamm Get Brutally Rejected on ’90s Dating Show

Even though he promised her an "evening of total fabulosity."

Once upon a time, 25-year-old Jon Hamm got brutally rejected by some fool named Mary Carter on a cheesy 1996 dating show.

The doe-eyed future Mad Men star got his heart broken on The Big Date, hosted by a guy named Mark Walberg (no relation) who says he was “born to be a matchmaker.”

The lovely damsel Mary Carter said she needs a “sexy hot man” who “knows how to give a good foot massage” because she “has a foot fetish.”

The first guy was too creepy. He told Mary he was a stunt man, “so I have to take her home later and show her my flexibility. “

The second guy was too touchy-feely. He had frosted tips, and told Mary he wanted to “squeeze her like a little teddy bear.”

Jon Hamm was just right. He said he would take her on a date that would “start off with some fabulous food, add a little fabulous conversation, and end it with a fabulous foot massage for an evening of total fabulosity.”

But Mary Carter chose the stunt man guy, because he shook her hand when he met her. Choosing a handshake over a fabulous foot massage from Jon Hamm is a real rookie mistake.

Mary Carter, wherever you are, I hope you and your feet are happy with your choices.

TIME Media

James Franco: Horndog or Marketing Genius?

The actor said he "used bad judgement" in messaging a 17-year old Scottish girl on Instagram, but some think the awkward flap may be a bizarre publicity stunt for Franco’s upcoming movie about a soccer coach who has an affair with a teenage player

James Franco was mighty quick to admit that the sketchy Instagram messages he sent to an teenage girl were actually real during his Friday appearance on Live with Kelly and Michael.

“I used bad judgement and I learned my lesson,” said the This is The End star. “But unfortunately in my position, I mean I have a very good life, but not only do I have to go through the embarassing rituals of meeting someone, sometimes if I do that then it gets published for the world, so it’s like doubly embarrassing.”

That was easy.

The awkward flap with a 17-year old Scottish schoolgirl broke just as the first trailer was released for Franco’s movie Palo Alto, in which the actor plays an adult soccer coach who has an affair with one of his teenage players… sound familiar? The movie is also based on a book of short stories Franco wrote.

So is James Franco sketchy for hitting on a teenage girl through Instagram? Or is he sketchy for pretending to hit on a teenage girl in order to promote his new movie in which he plays a guy who hits on a teenage girl?

Either way, it’s icky.


TIME Music

VIDEO: Katie Herzig Premieres “Walk Through Walls”

Katie Herzig’s new album Walk Through Walls is out April 8

Katie Herzig may not be a household name, but you’ve definitely heard her music.

Songs from her four albums have been featured in many commercials and soundtracked the drama on television shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Bones, and most recently, in the the trailer for Saving Mr. Banks. She’s even been nominated for a Grammy Award. Yet universal recognition continues to elude her — but her new album, Walk Through Walls, may finally put her over the top.

The album, which is due out April 8th, shows Herzig continuing to break with her folksy roots, swapping acoustic guitars for the poppy electronica and synthesizers that worked so well on her last album. TIME is excited to premiere the album’s title track, “Walk Through Walls,” a pretty and ethereal number that showcases Herzig’s deft vocals and poignant lyrics.

“This song was written in a time when I had to come to terms with the fact that life does not always reflect the picture we grow up having in our mind. And when it starts to look like something outside of that, we are stuck between hanging on to that picture with all our might, or letting it go and embracing the picture that is,” Herzig says. “This song lives in the space between those two worlds.”

As for the making of the video, Herzig explains: “My director, Shih-Ting Hung, came across Edward James’ Las Pozas in Xitlitla Mexico when we were looking for locations and we both fell in love. With a spirit of adventure and some crazy planning and coordination we flew into Mexico City, met up with a wonderful Mexican crew, drove 9 hours to Las Pozas and shot the video in one day… in the middle of a place that I can only describe as heaven on earth.”

“This shows only a tiny bit of its breathtaking structures,” she adds. That description is an apt analogy for the song itself, which hints at the power and beauty in Herzig’s voice and songwriting capabilities.

You can pre-order her album here and catch her on tour through the end of May.

MORE: VIDEO: Timber Timbre Premieres “Beat the Drum Slowly”

MORE: Beyoncé’s “Grown Woman” Gets An Alternate Video: Watch


TIME Television

REVIEW: How to Make It In HBO’s Silicon Valley

Middleditch and Brener in the pilot of Silicon Valley. HBO

HBO's new tech show is the funniest out-of-the-box pay cable comedy in a good while

Silicon Valley, the new software-business comedy (premieres April 6), is hardly the HBO series with the most or raunchiest profanity; that title is still, and may always be, held by Deadwood. But it is probably the HBO show to which the word “asshole” is most important.

As used by the show’s titans and would-be Zuckerbergs, the word has myriad meanings to rival the Eskimo lexicon for “snow.” It’s a term of contempt: Radiohead, we are told, are “assholes” for the band’s positions on file-sharing. A programmer more focused on writing great code than monetizing it–a “Steve Wozniak” rather than a “Steve Jobs” in the show’s parlance–has “crawled up his own asshole.” A company without strong leadership suffers “an asshole vacuum.” But above all, in a business that values software over soft power, the word is practically an honorific: “That’s why he’s a billionaire,” a character says of an investor. “He knows how and when to be an asshole.”

Silicon Valley is the funniest out-of-the-box pay cable comedy in a good while. (Veep, which returns the same night for its third season, is in the same league, but it took a good year to get there.) But its real strength is that it’s built on an idea that, however crude, is universal. Do you need to be an asshole to make it in this business? And if so: which kind?

Those are the questions facing programmer Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) when a sudden business opportunity hits him like an Angry Bird. By day, Richard works on the Ikea-chic campus of software giant Hooli. On his own time, he’s bunking and coding in the “Hacker Hostel,” a rental house turned “startup incubator” run by the sketchy Erlich (T.J. Miller). In the process of building Pied Piper, an elegant but unsellable music-sharing service, he almost inadvertently creates a data-compression algorithm that could revolutionize the business. Hooli’s founder Gavin Belson (Big Love’s Matt Ross, in a deliciously arrogant turn) offers to buy him out for $10 million; Gavin’s eccentric VC rival, Peter Gregory (Christopher Evan Welch, who died during the series’ filming), offers a smaller stake that would let Richard keep the company. Behind Door #1: certain riches and possible crushing regret. Behind Door #2: the chance to be a Zuckerberg or a has-been.

Silicon Valley comes from Mike Judge (Beavis and Butt-Head, King of the Hill)–who did a stint as an engineer in the Valley in the late ‘80s–along with co-creators John Altschuler and Dave Krinskey. It has more in common with Judge’s movies than his TV projects. The white-collar humor echoes his cult hit Office Space; its sprawling offices and the garish new-money parties have the calculated, flat ugliness of Idiocracy, which used a deliberate anti-aesthetic to portray a big-boxed future in which taste was dead. Its California landscapes are as plain as Enlightened and Looking’s are honeyed and luminous. Judge (who directs half the episodes) gives us the promised land as beige box, designed for functionality.

Richard is the kind of guy Beavis and Butt-Head would laugh at and Hank Hill would drop-kick out of his propane store, a mop-topped brain attached to a few pipe cleaners and a hoodie. But the terrific Middleditch makes him more than an asocial Poindexter–he’s fidgety and unconfident, but also empathetic and principled. Pied Piper to him is not just a chance at billions but a chance to be alternative to Gavin (who employs a guru to tell him that hating his enemies is “a tool for great change”). Richard wants to bring the world insanely great things without driving everyone around him insane. But he’ll need to handle himself in a shark tank where he suddenly has the smell of money on him, and he’ll need to learn to manage his motley startup crew, including sardonic coder Dinesh (Kumail Nanjani), acerbic Satanist Gilfoyle (Martin Starr), and Richard’s sweet but untalented best friend Big Head (Josh Brener).

You’ll notice all the male names there. Hardware-wise, the show is a definite dongle-fest; the only significant recurring female character in the early going is Peter’s head of operations Monica (Amanda Crew). But its very, very male world presents a very, very different take on masculinity from Entourage, whose bros sampled from an endless sushi-conveyor-belt of hot Hollywood women. Silicon Valley‘s is a culture of man-children, misfits, and macho “brogrammers”; among the apps one entrepreneur creates is NipAlert, for detecting–well, just what you’d think, reminiscent of the actual sexist gag app TitStare unveiled at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference last year. The women aren’t subservient so much as they’re absent, or isolated. Noting the separation between the sexes at a lavish party, Dinesh notes, “Every party in Silicon Valley ends up like a Hasidic wedding.”

The show starts sharp and only gets richer (in an encouraging sign, the pilot was the weakest of five episodes I saw). And it has ideas beyond just being timely. This Valley has lived through several generations in time-lapse. (The opening titles show a landscape of offices and logos rising and falling, as in SimCity–Facebook going up, Napster going down.) It has sudden, vast power, and it knows it. And it sometimes wears that power arrogantly and ridiculously, or both at once, as when Peter gives a sneering TED Talk dismissing college as “snake oil,” then drives off in an electric car so absurdly narrow it can slip between two parked ones.

But ridiculous power is power nonetheless, and part of Silicon Valley’s strength is in showing how the locus of cultural cred has shifted. The big showbiz dreams of Vincent Chase and pals in Entourage look puny beside the empire-building of Hooli. That’s cemented in the opening scene, where Kid Rock entertains a listless crowd at the party for a barely postpubescent host whose start-up just sold to Google for over $200 million. Kid Rock, Erlich says, is just about the poorest guy in the room. To paraphrase The Social Network’s Sean Parker, being a millionaire isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? It’s Richard’s job to figure that out for himself.

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