What Matters in Hollywood Today

6:57 AM 8/7/2017

by THR Staff

Courtesy of Sony Pictures

What's news: The Dark Tower didn't light up the U.S. box office but Sony is moving forward with a cinematic universe. Plus: ABC's boss was on the defensive over a Bachelor scandal, Hulu's Handmaid's Tale took home the top honor at TCA and early reviews arrive for Brie Larson's The Glass Castle— Matthew Belloni and Erik Hayden

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  • What's Next for 'Dark Tower'

    Courtesy of Sony Pictures

    Summer slump: Moviegoers mostly ignored the new box-office offerings this weekend, Gregg Kilday writes: 

    Sony’s The Dark Tower, designed to launch a new franchise based on Stephen King’s fantasy novel series, managed to notch a No. 1 bow, but grossed just an estimated $19.5M in North America — the lowest No. 1 opening of the year to date. The film attracted an older, male audience — 58 percent were male and 68 percent were over the age of 25. 

    Annapurna’s Detroit, the latest film from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, met even more resistance, grossing a mere $7.25M for the weekend. Those audiences who were willing to give Detroit a chance did give it a thumbs-up in the form of an A-minus CinemaScore. Its audience was slightly more female (52-48 percent), but racially diverse.

    Meanwhile, Aviron’s Kidnap, the Halle Berry thriller which has been awaiting release for two years, scored a modest debut, with $10.2M.

    Elsewhere in film... 

     What's next for The Dark Tower cinematic universe. Rebecca Ford, Lesley Goldberg write: MRC and Sony Pictures Television Studios recently tapped Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead) as the showrunner for the potential TV series. Producers MRC and Sony are aiming for a 10- to 13-episode per season series as they search for a cable network or streaming service to call home. The plan, for now, is to begin production in 2018.

    + When it comes to the film sequel, however, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman says there are ideas, but no script yet. The ending of the first film sets it up for a sequel easily, but the filmmakers, as is customary, aren't open to discussing it before seeing how the first film performs. Insiders stress MRC is taking a wait-and-see approach to a sequel, with a decision likely to come a few weeks. More details. 

    Skydance, Paramount ink new deal. David Ellison's production company has signed a four-year deal with the studio. Upcoming projects include a new Mission Impossible, a World War Z sequel and a remake of Top Gun.

    Venice Film Fest adds John Woo thriller to lineup. The director returns to the crime thriller genre where he started his career with his latest film, Manhunt, set to premiere in Venice in an out-of-competition slot.

    Imax hires Sky veteran for branding push. The company has hired former Sky creative head Denny Tu to help market the giant-screen exhibitor as its own movie-tech brand while facing global per-screen attendance declines.

    ^The Glass Castle, reviewed. Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts star in the big-screen adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ bestselling memoir (opening Friday). Sheri Linden's takeaway: "Affecting and never mawkish, despite a few heavy-handed lapses."

    + Early takes: Screen Daily: "Larson never really gets to show off the acting chops that won her a haul of awards for Room." Indiewire: "a family drama that turns anarchy into soap opera." Time Out: "Reflective and cumulatively poignant."

    The Only Living Boy in New York, reviewed. Callum Turner plays a young Manhattanite who has an affair with his father's mistress in Marc Webb's drama (opening Friday). Jon Frosch's takeaway: "Been there, done that."

    MGM must face lawsuit over James Bond box set. The lawsuit insists the distributors of James Bond films were deceptive in marketing a box set purporting to include "all" of the films but missing Casino Royale (1967) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

    Disney's live-action Aladdin finds its Jafar. Marwan Kenzari is in negotiations to star as the villain in the remake. Also, SNL comedienne Nasim Pedrad has landed a role created specifically for the new movie.

    Warner Bros. picks up sci-fi thriller spec script. The studio nabbed Augmented from Black List writer Mark Townend with the high-concept feature set to be produced by Margot Robbie and Denise Di Novi.

  • ABC Boss Looks Ahead

    Courtesy of ABC/Image Group LA

    ABC Entertainment chief Channing Dungey, for better or for worse, walked into Sunday's gathering at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour with the most news to address, Michael O'Connell and Marisa Guthrie write: 

    With just two weeks before ABC's reboot of American Idol kicks off auditions, most of the judges' panel has yet to be cast. It was also Dungey's first public forum since production on Bachelor in Paradise was suspended (and quickly resumed) following allegations of sexual misconduct on the set.

    The exec fielded some surprisingly tame questions from reporters — though, when asked point blank about the specifics of the Bachelor in Paradise allegations, she offered as firm of a "no comment" as anyone involved with the show has offered since June: "I'm not necessarily at liberty to speak about that. You'd have to ask Warner Bros."

    Dungey also handled some of the other hot-button issues with expediency:

    + The cancellation of Last Man Standing? A matter of scheduling (and ownership), not Tim Allen's conservative politics.

    + Regrets about the way racism was handled on The Bachelorette? There was never any intention to sensationalize it.

    + A verdict on the Gong Show? Not yet, but she's happy with the creative.

    Elsewhere at ABC's TCA day... 

    ABC brings back Sunday game night. The network has renewed Celebrity Family Feud and The $100,000 Pyramid for their fourth and third seasons, respectively. Pyramid, hosted by Michael Strahan, has been a consistent performer in its 10 p.m. slot.

    Roseanne revival welcomes back familiar face. Talks to bring Johnny Galekci back to the reboot are "ongoing," ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey told reporters. Galecki appeared in nearly 100 episodes of the original. 

    Alec Baldwin inks first look deal. The actor has signed a two-year first-look deal with ABC Studios. Under the pact, Baldwin will return to host the third season of Match Game as well as develop scripted and unscripted fare for the studio.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    HBO hack update: No new material leaked despite threat. The data dump will be delayed "because of some new buyers," said an email to THR purported to be from the hackers. "Some of HBO's top competitors are negotiating with us."

    Game of Thrones latest cliffhanger. With the fourth hour of its seventh season, the drama delivered on another one of its longest held promises: dragons have returned to Westeros proper — and it's potentially very bad news for one character in particular.

    Showtime's Twin Peaks callback. Last night, in a callback to the original series, James Hurley took the stage as the musical guest on the latest Twin Peaks: The Return. What happened. 

    ^Hulu's Handmaid's Tale wins top honor at TCA Awards. Meanwhile, NBC's This Is Us was named best new show, while FX's Atlanta and its star Donald Glover also scored key victories. Full winners list.

    AT&T's DirecTV strikes deal for CBS, Showtime. The agreement will see the telecom giant carry CBS, as well as Showtime, The CW, Pop and CBS Sports Network on its DirecTV Now live TV streaming service. CBS had been a big holdout.

    FX to introduce ad-free service for Comcast subscribers. Called FX+, the new service will offer commercial-free viewing of current FX and FXX shows as well as access to a library of programming for $6 per month.

    Amazon's Matthew Weiner anthology finds cast. The creator of the hit AMC drama has cast Mad Men alums Christina Hendricks and John Slattery in his upcoming eight-episode anthology series, The Romanoffs, along with Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert.

    Showtime comedy to include Californication character.  Actress Meagan Good has been tapped to appear in two episodes of the forthcoming comedy White Famous starring Jay Pharoah, and she'll be reprising her role from Californication

    Fox News suspends Eric Bolling amid lewd photo allegations. A representative for the cabler said in an emailed statement, "Eric Bolling has been suspended pending the results of an investigation, which is currently underway."

    Rep Sheet Roundup: This is UsSusan Kelechi Watson signs with UTA … Vice Principals’ Kimberly Hébert Gregory signs with Jill Fritzo PR, as has Austin Abrams, who stars as Ben Stiller’s son in Brad’s Status. … Lit manager Natte Matteson leaves The Gotham Group for Grandview … Big Little LiesHong Chau signs with WK-PR. More here. 

  • Marvel's Cosmic Plans

    Jesse Grant/Getty Images

    Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gun has already picked the music for his next movie and is talking regularly with Kevin Feige about new projects to expand the MCU galaxy: "Those scripts are already in the works."

    What else we're reading...

    "In a corporate concert world, an indie thrives." Ben Sisaro writes: "The promoter Seth Hurwitz has succeeded by creating high-quality venues and catering to artists’ needs. His latest undertaking is no exception." [The New York Times]

    "The meme-first reality of today's music promotion game." David Turner notes: "French Montana's latest single is just the latest in a long line of songs that rode an Instagram dance challenge to the top." [Wired]

    "Swanning through the Hamptons ... with Alec Baldwin." Jessica Pressler writes: "Out here, Baldwin isn’t a celebrity. He’s one of them. A figure in the community. A player of charity softball games." [New York]

    "Behind Amazon’s push into sports broadcasting." Seb Joseph writes: " its interest will only turn into intent once it knows whether the likes of tennis and American football can give its video service an edge in its tussle with Netflix." [Digiday]

    "How Trump's FCC aided Sinclair's expansion." Margaret Harding McGill and John Hendel write: "Use of a regulatory loophole will allow Sinclair to reach 72 percent of U.S. households." [Politico]

    What's ahead this week...

    Monday: A24 hosts premiere for Robert Pattinson's thriller Good Time in N.Y.  ... Fox holds Television Critics Association party in L.A. 

    Tuesday: Disney reports quarterly earnings ... Hulu's Difficult People debuts season three. 

    Wednesday: 21st Century Fox reports quarterly earnings ... Audience Network debuts Mr. Mercedes.

    Thursday: NBC debuts Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update ... Sundance Next Fest kicks off in L.A. 

    Friday: Warner Bros.' Annabelle: Creation, Lionsgate's The Glass Castle, Open Road's The Nut Job 2 hit theaters in wide release ... Netflix debuts comedy Aytpical

    Today's birthdays: Brit Marling, 35, Charlize Theron, 42, Michael Shannon, 43, David Duchovny, 57, Cassian Elwes, 58, Wayne Knight, 62, Garrison Keillor, 75.

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