The Month in Pop Entertainment: July 2013

Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in The Lone Ranger (2013)

Blockbusters, summer TV, and a lot of music prove that there's more fun to be had in July than just the 4th.

July is a big month in the music world, as so many major releases are hitting the shelves that discussing them warrants a separate PopMatters article. See: Listening Ahead: Upcoming Music Releases for July 2013

But the next 31 days also feature some TV debuts, big box office hits, and America’s most patriotic holiday. So get comfortable. Open a cold one, and enjoy July's offerings.

Despicable Me 2 July 3rd

If you’ve been wondering why little yellow minions have been popping up in NBC advertisements and insurance commercials, it’s because they’re all back for more craziness in the sequel to the 2011 box office hit. The plot revolves around wannabe supervillain Gru and his three adopted daughters, but people will really be flocking to see what those adorable gibberish-spouting mutants will do next.

The Lone Ranger July 5th

Disney has spent millions of dollars making this update of the classic cowboy legend, featuring Armie Hammer as the masked man and Johnny Depp as his faithful friend, Tonto. Be prepared for racing horses, an epic train crash, and a woman with a shotgun for a leg.

Jay Z Magna Carta Holy Grail album July 7th

Hip-hop fans have been eagerly anticipating the 17th album from Mr. Beyonce himself, which has been promoted via Samsung commercials. Up to one million cellphone buyers will receive a free download three days before the national release date, but that won’t affect how Billboard places it on the charts.

Backstreet Boys In A World Like This album July 30th

It was 20 years ago last week when the Backstreet Boys officially got together as a group, but their voices haven’t aged a bit. On this release, the ultimate '90s boyband co-write songs about their personal lives and welcome back original member Kevin Richardson after an eight-year absence.

Robin Thicke Blurred Lines album July 30th

The star of the most annoying music video of the summer (No, it won’t be embedded here!) brings out more R&B-flavored catcalls on his sixth album. A deluxe edition featuring five extra songs will be available at Target stores.

RED 2 July 19th

Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, and Mary-Louise Parker are back as formerly retired secret agents who team up to defuse a nuclear weapon. The original was better than expected, and plans are already underway for a part three.

A Capitol Fourth (PBS) and Macy’s 4th Of July Fireworks Spectacular (NBC) July 4th

Only two major networks chose to celebrate Independence Day this year. Starting at 7pm Central, NBC will be featuring live performances from Mariah Carey, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, and a fireworks display choreographed by Usher. PBS offers their formal event live from the nation’s capital at the same time, but reruns it later depending on your location. They will have performances from Barry Manilow, American Idols Candice Glover and Scotty McCreery, and John Williams scoring a piece from his Lincoln soundtrack.

NBC’s Siberia (July 1st, 9pm central) and Get Out Alive With Bear Grylls (July 8th, 9pm central)

NBC tries the wilderness survivor route with two new shows about facing the elements. In Siberia, 16 “reality show contestants” are dropped in the Siberian wilderness and told some startling information. Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls is a more traditional reality show, featuring the Discovery channel host as a mentor to twenty contestants roughing it in the wilds of New Zealand’s South Island.

Teen Beach Movie July 30th

Disney Channel’s homage to the Frankie & Annette movies of the '60s stars Austin & Aly’s Ross Lynch and The Foster’s Maia Mitchell as two teens who become trapped in a Beach Blanket Bingo-esque movie. On DVD two weeks after making its television debut, it’s shaping up to becoming the next High School Musical.

Mariah Carey The Art of Letting Go album July 23rd

Mimi has been riding high on the charts with her duet with Miguel, “Beautiful”, and her resulting album will feature more duets and collaborations with some of the biggest names in the business. Originally scheduled for release during her tenure as an American Idol judge, industry bigwigs will be keeping an eye out for whether the experience will help or hurt her sales.

Over the Rainbow: An Interview With Herb Alpert

Music legend Herb Alpert discusses his new album, Over the Rainbow, maintaining his artistic drive, and his place in music history. "If we tried to start A&M in today's environment, we'd have no chance. I don't know if I'd get a start as a trumpet player. But I keep doing this because I'm having fun."

Jedd Beaudoin
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