Big things really do come in small packages -- 140-character packages, to be exact. Making its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, Twitter's stock rocketed above its initial public offering price in a frenzied day of trading that catapulted the micro-blogging company’s value north of $25 billion before dropping nearly 9% to a still-envy-worthy $41.65 a share on Friday. It all recalled the go-go days of the dot-com bubble. Of course, the Twitter bubble gets its lift from highflying celebrities like Justin Bieber and his more than 46,000,000 followers, as well as the fans who love/hate them. Consider the popularity of so many hate tweets flying between the likes of KatyCats, Directioners and Krisbians and their various nemeses. TV certainly has Twitter to thank for helping create what Times TV critic Mary McNamara calls Instant Response Viewers, next-gen Super Fans who willingly abandon their DVR time-shifting ways to live-tweet their love/hate for shows of the moment in real time.
Of course, Twitter shares were hardly the only commodity in the entertainment sphere -- hot, not or otherwise -- to make a high-profile IPO this week.
Word of a December 2015 release date for writer-director J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars Episode VII” basically broke the Internet earlier this week thanks to the sheer volume of news reports, Facebook shares, blog posts and Twitter reaction about the movie's change-of-date announcement. Not that fanboys need any excuse to completely and utterly freak out. But the "Episode VII" reschedule represents a significant pushback from Lucasfilm’s April breaker that the franchise reboot’s next installment would hit multiplexes “Summer 2015.” And of particular note to anyone capable of spelling Wookiee without the aid of a Holocron, it's the first time a “Star Wars” movie will reach screens in a month other than May.
For his part, Abrams blamed the delay on a “time frame” issue with principal photography set to start in the first part of ’14 in the U.K.
Never mind Twitter king Bieber’s alleged public outing as a Brazilian brothel habitué. (Although this grainy video really is pretty fishy...) Making a different kind of IPO Sunday -- call it an interrupted public offering -- a trove of hundreds of previously unknown masterpieces by iconic artists including Otto Dix, Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse was uncovered in the Munich apartment of an elderly recluse. Many of the 1,400-some paintings were believed to have been confiscated by Nazis as part of a "degenerate art" purge during World War II.
What made Hollywood sit up and take notice, however, was the dramatic convergence of life imitating art imitating life. The headlines skewed deliciously close to the log-line for George Clooney's historical drama "The Monuments Men" about a motley group of academics and historians entrusted during WWII to save thousands of art masterworks looted by the Third Reich. Robert Edsel, author of the book "The Monuments Men," says the Munich find is just the tip of the iceberg and that he's talking to Sony, Fox and the filmmakers about another project.
As if website woes delaying millions of people across the country from enrolling online for the Affordable Care Act weren't enough to cause President Obama's hair to continue turning prematurely gray, the grand unveiling of a new country ditty by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood this week -- "Obamacare By Morning" -- probably had POTUS reaching for the Grecian Formula.
Of the commander in chief's signature healthcare plan, Underwood gushed before an appreciative (overwhelmingly Red State) crowd at the Country Music Awards Wednesday: "Oh, it's great! I started signing up last Thursday and I'm almost done!"
There was a kind of sad comedy in Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's public unmasking of himself as a crack cocaine smoker. The portly, irascible politician came off as a kind of Chris Farley doppelganger with anger management issues in a shaky, secretly taped video that surfaced this week featuring Ford making colorfully worded death threats against an unspecified man.
Less funny to the 100,000-plus people who signed an online petition against it was the "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" skit featuring children suggesting America "kill everyone in China" to alleviate the national debt. Created at WhiteHouse.gov last month, the petition states, "The kids might not know anything better. However, Jimmy Kimmel and ABC's management are adults. They had a choice not to air this racist program, which promotes racial hatred."
Regretful as the provocation that inspired the petition may be -- Kimmel has apologized repeatedly for airing the skit -- as a public offering, the appeal is a smashing success. Any official petition receiving above 100,000 signatures requires an official response from the administration.