What Matters in Hollywood Today

8:25 AM 6/21/2017

by THR Staff

Austin Hargrave

It's THR 100 magazine day! Today's the big reveal of the second annual list of the most powerful people in entertainment. Plus: Paramount's new studio chief gives his first interview, how Sony learned to share Spider-Man and why Lucasfilm fired its Han Solo film directors. — Matthew Belloni, Erik Hayden and Jennifer Konerman

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On the cover: Paramount's Jim Gianopulos gives his first interview as head of the film studio to Pamela McClintock as he sets his strategy to restore stability. An excerpt from the full Q&A: 

Film has become a business of haves and have-nots. Some studios have reliable franchises, some don't. How do you turn this studio into a "have" with what you've got?

We have people, money, resources, global distribution and the reach of almost 4 billion people that Viacom touches around the world. If you can't make that work, something's not right. There is a great executive team here and a lot of very talented and dedicated people who want to win and who, despite disappointments at the box office, have a great sense of purpose, direction and talent. You harness that and look at areas where it can be improved or augmented or expanded. I don't make any prejudgments. I'm just getting to know everybody.

But you don't have many franchises.

Yes and no. There's Star Trek, Mission: Impossible and Transformers. The last Mission was one of the most successful and critically acclaimed of all the films. And we're now making the next one, which has every appearance of being even bigger. There are plenty of opportunities to mine the library and to mine the relationship with our ongoing partner Hasbro. There's a lot of IP here.

How many franchises does a major studio need these days?

As many as you can get! But we're also seeing fatigue.

PLUS: It's back! The 100 Most Powerful People in Entertainment list. The THR 100 essentially is a greenlight list: who has the authority to take projects from a no to a yes or the talent and track record to make what he or she wants. There are objective factors, like the size of an executive’s empire, access to vast sums of money or the number of series a showrunner has on the air and their ratings. The full list. 

  • Why the Han Solo Directors Were Fired

    Courtesy of Fox

    In a bombshell shakeup, Han Solo directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller exited the Star Wars spinoff yesterday over "creative differences." What really happened? Borys Kit reports:

    Creative differences is a term that is often used loosely when a director is fired from a Hollywood movie. But it actually appears to ring true in case of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who were let go by Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy from their duties directing the spinoff. 

    Sources say they clashed with Lawrence Kasdan, the screenwriter behind Empire Strikes Back and who also wrote, with his son, Jon Kasdan, the script for the Han Solo standalone. Lord and Miller have an improvisational style while Kasdan favors a strict adherence to the written word. The friction was felt almost immediately into shooting, sources say, but the directors always thought it would be worked through.

    Ron Howard is now one of the names that has been mentioned as a possible replacement, although some say that Kasdan, who has directed movies like ‪The Big Chill, could step in. Joe Johnston (Jumanji) has also been mentioned as a possible candidate. Also: Was a Solo movie a good idea?

    Elsewhere in film... 

    Warner Bros. braces for slimmed-down movie budgets. Kim Masters writes: Insiders are predicting that the film studio's new president Toby Emmerich (a Goldfinch movie is his first greenlight) could exert tighter control on non-tentpole pictures.

    + A "New Line-ization" of the studio? That would mean on projects that don't fit into the Warners silos — Lego animated movies, Harry Potter spinoffs and D.C. Comics films — the studio would look to slash costs and avoid auteur directors who want final cut. There would be exceptions — notably Clint Eastwood and Chris Nolan.

    More Tupac projects on the way after All Eyez on Me. Despite mixed reviews, the biopic's $27M opening is a positive sign for similar titles currently in the works, including USA's drama Unsolved and Steve McQueen's upcoming documentary. 

    Daniel Day-Lewis says he's quitting acting. There are few details on yesterday's other bombshell so far, but his last film, which has a December release, will reunite the actor with his There Will Be Blood director Paul Thomas Anderson.

    + Rep statement: "Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor. He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject."

    ► Damien Chazelle's First Man finds its Buzz Aldrin. Corey Stoll is in talks to play the astronaut in Universal's film about Neil Armstrong. Ryan Gosling, reuniting with his La La Land director Chazelle, will play Armstrong. 

    Avatar sequels find another star. Oona Chaplin, granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, will feature in James Cameron and Fox's four sequels in what is described as a strong and vibrant central character. Those films start hitting theaters in 2020.

    ^Behind Tom Rothman's new Spider-Man bet. Tatiana Siegel and Borys Kit have the backstory to how the armies of lawyers for the two corporate behemoths, Disney-owned Marvel and Sony, ever reached an agreement to launch Homecoming together.

    ► Transformers: The Last Knight, reviewed. The good and bad robots once again battle it out in this latest installment of the Hasbro toys-inspired franchise. The takeaway: "More of the frenetic, incoherent same." 

    + Early takes: USA Today: "New levels of badness." LAT: "Surprisingly bearable." NYT: "Far from the worst in this continuing experiment in noisy nonsense." Rotten Tomatoes so far: 16 percent. 

    Noted: Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan's shortest film since his debut. In a summer with films north of two hours, the WW II drama stands apart at one hour and 47 minutes — the shortest movie of his career after his first film, 1998's Following.

    TriStar romantic comedy Rosie Project finds director. Ben Taylor, who directed all three seasons of the Amazon breakout comedy Catastrophe, will take the reins. The search is on to cast the two lead roles.

    ► Jack Black, Eli Roth team for The House With a Clock in Its Walls. Amblin Entertainment picked up the rights to the children's book with Brad Fischer, James Vanderbilt and Eric Kripke producing. Roth will direct the adaptation and Black will star. 

    Carmen Ejogo joins Denzel Washington in Sony's legal drama. The Alien: Covenant actress has joined the cast of the untitled thriller by Nightcrawler helmer Dan Gilroy. Ejogo is one of the female leads, a worker at a civil rights organization.

    ► Trailer watch: Thank You for Your Service. Miles Teller fights PTSD in American Sniper scribe Jason Hall's directorial debut. To the Bone: Keanu Reeves helps Lily Collins battle anorexia in the Netflix dramedy directed by Marti Noxon. American Assassin: Dylan O'Brien and Michael Keaton fight terrorists in the adaptation of the Vince Flynn novel. 

    Yep, those Gal Gadot salary rumors are wrong. Contrary to a story that the Wonder Woman actress made millions less than Henry Cavill as Superman, the two were actually paid the same. What actors actually earn playing superheros.

  • How Scandal Could Reshape Reality TV

    Illustration by Alex Williamson

    An allegation of sexual misconduct on ABC's Bachelor in Paradise could put producers on notice that they're responsible for contestant behavior on set, Ashley Cullins writes in a legal analysis: 

    Regardless of the outcome of Bachelor in Paradise's current scandal and who ultimately is held responsible, Warners and ABC face a possible negligence claim and increased liability moving forward because they have been put on notice that issues of alcohol and consent could arise among the shows' contestants.

    Any changes to behind-the-scenes protocol could affect the product onscreen, and an entire genre of reality TV. One source equates such scrutiny to requiring porn actors to wear condoms.

    But for producers, while the issues involved are complicated and sensitive, the steps forward are fairly clear-cut: weigh the revenue generated by the show, its reception from fans and whether changing the formula to mitigate risk would hurt the franchise.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Sony's tough task replacing TV execs who left for Apple. Speaking with Lesley Goldberg the day after Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg departed for Apple, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra said he's in no rush to replace them.

    + Exec quote: "For the short term, I'm not going to look at all. I'm going to sit in the chair myself and get to know people there," Vinciquerra said. Some internal candidate options. 

    HBO, Damon Lindelof plan Watchmen TV series. DC Comics favorite Watchmen is in the early development stages at the network. Zack Snyder, who directed the 2009 feature film, is no longer on board the potential project. 

    Fox enlists T.I. to star in Jerry Bruckheimer proceduralAtlanta's Most Wanted, which landed at Fox with a significant penalty, will star T.I. as an Atlanta native who is recruited to be part of a new vice squad. Rodney Barnes will pen the script.

    ^Hollywood chatter about Apple's big move. The tech giant's TV push comes as many in the industry are anxious that other deep-pocketed buyers — there were 455 scripted series in 2016 — may be pulling back. "Peak TV has another mountain to climb — that's really what Apple is now," says one network chief.

    ► FX's Snowfall, reviewed. The sprawling new drama from John Singleton, about the start of the Los Angeles crack epidemic, isn't compelling or convincing enough in the early going. Tim Goodman's takeaway: "May be a hard sell in the Peak TV era.

    FX's American Horror Story casts Colton Haynes. The Arrow and Teen Wolf alum has joined the seventh season of the anthology. The season, which will likely bow in its standard October period, will be an election-themed cycle.

    Discovery plans wilderness survival reality show. The channel has greenlighted a show, tentatively titled Bush League, that will find a "group of wild artisans" setting out to prove who is the best at adapting and thriving in an unknown environment.

    The CW plots Supernatural spinoff. Wayward Sisters, whose backdoor pilot will air as a planted episode in Supernatural's 13th season, tells the story of Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) and a group of young women who become a monster-fighting force.

    ► CBS extends daytime lineup. The network is set to bring back its entire slate of daytime series for the 2017-18 season, handing out a three-season renewal to daytime soap The Young and the Restless and a two-season pickup for The Price Is Right.

    Is Bill O'Reilly plotting his future in digital or TV? Jeremy Barr writes: Guessing O'Reilly's next move has been a media industry parlor game for the last few months, and he's certainly got options of the video and OTT space, but experts say it's difficult to make an over-the-top network play work. Details. 

  • "My Wild Summer With Tom Cruise"

    Warner Bros./Photofest

    Curtis Armstrong, who would go on to co-star in Revenge of the Nerds and Moonlighting, reveals on-set raunch and shooting secrets from his time on Risky Business for a teen classic made just before the birth of a megastar. Full book excerpt

    What else we're reading...

    "Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned due to investor pressure." Kara Swisher and Johana Bhuiyan report: "Benchmark, Fidelity and others demanded his resignation in a letter titled 'Moving Uber Forward.'” [Recode]

    "Netflix lets viewers pick the plot." John Koblin writes: "A new episode of The Adventures of Puss in Boots, an animated show, includes interactive elements that will result in different story lines." [The New York Times]

    "New CAA study says diverse casting increases box office." Tre'vell Anderson writes: the study notes that "across every budget level a film with a diverse cast outperforms a release not so diversified." [The Los Angeles Times]

    "Enjoy Jay-Z's new album - it may be the last of its kind." Angela Watercutter notes: "Things aren't looking great for streaming platform exclusives like 4:44." [Wired]

    "The realness of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy." Toure's remembrance: "The Queensbridge MC passed away at the age of 42, but his life and legacy won’t soon be forgotten." [The Daily Beast]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Will Ferrell's original Anchorman script was a survival film." [Late Night]

    + "Amy Poehler helps Jimmy pick a summer look." [Tonight Show]

    + "Marc Maron had Obama over ... in his garage." [Late Show]

    + "Casey Affleck on playing a ghost." [Jimmy Kimmel]

    15 years ago today...

    + Steven Spielberg's Minority Report hits theaters: "a rousing film-noir suspenser set in a world of labor-saving devices and McLuhan-esque technology, is a thought-provoking inquiry into just how far we as a society want to go to make our environment safe." 2002 review.

    Today's Birthdays: Lana Del Rey, 32, Jussie Smollett, 35, Chris Pratt, 38, Maggie Siff, 43, Juliette Lewis, 44, Lana Wachowski, 52.

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