On August 24 2014, Madonna was featured in a Forbes Magazine piece written by Hugh McIntyre examining the Most Expensive Music Videos Of All Time.
Of all the expensive music videos made over time (and there are quite a few), the top five are created by only two artists: Michael Jackson and Madonna. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as those two legends are some of the only ones who would have enough clout to rustle up millions for a four-minute movie. While other artists typically use music videos as a way of selling more copies of a certain song or album, these two turned the music video into an art form, attempting to top themselves with each new project. (*Adjusted for inflation to 2013 dollars.)
5. Michael Jackson — “Black or White,” $6.9 million* (originally $4 million)
The lead single from Jackson’s Dangerous needed a video that would be many things all at once—fun, meaningful, and above all else, memorable.
4. Madonna — “Bedtime Story,” $7.7 million* (originally $5 million)
“Bedtime Story” is the first of three Madonna music videos on this list, though the single it was made to promote is not one of the singer’s greatest successes. Directed by Mark Romanek, who would also direct the music video that ends up surpassing “Bedtime” as the single most expensive of all time. Not one to miss a publicity opportunity, Madonna premiered the video at movie theatres in New York City, Chicago, and Santa Monica. These days, it is housed permanently in a collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
3. Madonna — “Die Another Day,” $7.9 million* (originally $6.1 million)
While the song received mixed reviews from critics, Madonna’s Bond song went on to be the best-selling dance song of 2002 and 2003, and its video was nominated for a Grammy. The James Bond-inspired video has the legendary pop star fighting herself, which was a mixture of green screens and intricate and expensive special effects. A few years ago, Billboard ranked the song the #6 song from the Bond franchise.
2. Madonna — “Express Yourself,” $9.4 million* (originally $5 million)
Madonna’s “Express Yourself” video cost $5 million to make back in 1989, making it the most expensive video ever made at the time. The clip, which was inspired by 1927 German science fiction film Metropolis was directed by David Fincher, who would go on to be nominated for Academy Awards for also directing both The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network. The video sees the singer dressing in a masculine fashion, yet being as sexual as ever.
1. Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson — “Scream,” $10.7 million* (originally $7 million)
The video for “Scream,” the first single off Michael’s HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I album is really one for the books, and one of the few videos that everybody remembers seeing for the first time.
(Source: Forbes Magazine – The Most Expensive Music Videos of All Time)
On March 30 2014, Madonna posted this photo and statement on Instagram:
Laughing at all the haters out there who spend their energy trying to limit and label me with their prejudices and fears! Take your evil tongue and eye and turn them into birds that fly! Don’t waste precious time. Spend it on things you love!
On March 15 2014, Madonna attended a Purim party dressed as Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons, a fictional character from the Game of Thrones television series.
Madonna shared some photos of her costume on Instagram.
The cast from Game of Thrones reacted this way:
Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen):
“Oh my goodness. It’s insane. I thought I was asleep, I thought I was dreaming. It’s a huge moment. And, damn! She looks good.”
Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth):
“I got really, really excited. Madonna’s always been a favorite of mine. I love her strength and her transformative nature and the idea that she might be dressing up as a brilliant character in the TV show I’m in is pretty exciting.”
Kristian Nairn (Hodor):
“I kind of freaked out, slightly. That’s kind of a sign how big ‘Game of Thrones’ has got. The Queen of Pop is wearing a Daenerys costume. I completely freaked out.”
John Bradley (Samwell Tarly):
“She looks delighted, doesn’t she? Look at that. Things like this are just amazing. It’s when you know that you’re really kind of pressing the right kind of cultural buttons.”
On February 21, 2014, it was reported that Nile Rodgers would like to make new music with Madonna.
“I adore Madonna. If she ever wants to work, I am totally down,’ he said, adding that she had helped him kick drugs two decades ago.”
“For a gazillion years I have always said she is the hardest-working person I have ever worked with. She is the most dedicated. The most focused and I absolutely adore her.”
Nile and Madonna previously worked together on her Like A Virgin album.
Thank you Matthew Rettenmund for the screen cap of Madonna and Nile together at the 2015 Grammy Awards!
On February 19 2014, Madonna went to see the rehearsals of New York City Ballet’s Les Bosquets.
Les Bosquets was choreographed by Madonna’s longtime friend, JR, and featured Lil Buck, who was a dancer on the MDNA World Tour.
Watch a clip of Les Bosquets here: https://vimeo.com/96113355 (the video cannot be embedded here for some reason).
On February 12 2014, Madonna’s range of skin care products, MDNA Skin, was released in Japan. The premiere took place in Tokyo, and the product was developed in collaboration with MTG Co. Ltd, one of the foremost beauty care product developers in Japan.
On February 11 2014, Madonna personally lead a troupe of select gym-goers through a racy—but not criminally indecent—dancercize routine at the grand opening of Hard Candy Fitness, her new upscale gym in the massive Aura condos at Yonge & Gerrard in downtown Toronto, Canada.
Back in 1990, Toronto cops allegedly threatened to arrest Madge for grabbing her crotch on stage during her Blond Ambition Tour (Madonna refused to capitulate to the “fascist state of Toronto,” and nothing ever came of the threats).
Her attitude toward the city seems to have mellowed since then. While sashaying down the red carpet in fishnets and a black bustier suit from Canadian designers DSquared2, she paused to share her love for the city that snubbed her two decades go. “I think Toronto finally learned to accept me,” she told reporters for the Toronto Star. “I love Toronto.”