What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:15 AM 8/1/2017

by THR Staff

Illustration by Victor Kerlow

What's news: HBO is the latest Hollywood entity targeted by a hack that's leaked content from at least two shows. Plus: Sony Pictures TV unveiled a $143M deal to buy a big stake in an anime distributor, Mel Gibson is suing over a "labor of love" film and Starz wins a bidding war for a TV drama from Brad Pitt. — Matthew Belloni, Erik Hayden and Jennifer Konerman

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  • HBO Hit With Cyber Attack

    Courtesy of HBO

    HBO is the latest network to be the victim of a cyber attack, Kate Stanhope and Lesley Goldberg report:

    Several months after episodes of Netflix's Orange Is the New Black were leaked online early, the pay cabler has been hit by hackers specifically targeting HBO's original programming. Among the episodes leaked were one episode of Ballers, one episode of Room 104 and, allegedly, the script for Game of Thrones' next episode. 

    HBO has been hyper-sensitive to leaks in recent years ever since the first four episodes of Game of Thrones' fifth season leaked shortly before the linear broadcast premiere in 2015. In the years since, HBO has stopped sending out early press screeners for the fantasy drama.

    Network statement: "HBO recently experienced a cyber incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information. We immediately began investigating the incident and are working with law enforcement and outside cybersecurity firms. Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold.”

    Elsewhere in TV... 

    Sony Pictures TV buys stake in anime distributor. The company unveiled a deal to acquire a big majority stake in Funimation Productions, a U.S. distributor of Japanese anime. Sony will buy a 95 percent stake for $143M.

    Starz wins bidding for TV drama from Brad Pitt. Following a multiple-network bidding war, the cabler is developing the best-selling novel Sweetbitter as a potential half-hour drama series with Pitt's Plan B attached to produce.

    Netflix sets unscripted comedy from Carol Burnett. A Little Help with Carol Burnett, premiering in 2018, will see the comedy legend chat with kids about life’s biggest dilemmas, all in front of a live studio audience

    NBC's Megyn Kelly ratings are improving. Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly added roughly 400,000 viewers in its latest episode, rebounding to its best showing since June 18. With a total 3.5M viewers, it was also closest to 60 Minutes (a repeat) in over a month.

    WGN America acquires Anna Paquin drama Bellevue. Fresh off canceling all of its scripted originals, the cabler is turning instead to low-cost acquisitions like the Muse Entertainment drama, which marks its first pickup since seeing network president Matt Cherniss exit.

    ► New Tim Goodman TCA column: "fear of failure with a dash of denial": "The consensus after a week of the tour is that big changes are coming, but cable channels (and streamers) all seem to think the damage will be suffered by the others." 

    ^Manhunt: Unabomber, reviewed. Paul Bettany is terrific and Sam Worthington tries hard in Discovery's eight-hour look at FBI attempts to capture the Unabomber (airing tonight). Takeaway: "Forensic linguistics prove reasonably thrilling."

    + Early takes: CNN: "Discovery Channel's best foray into scripted TV - a taut, gripping account." LAT: "a surprising win on all fronts." WSJ: "should add new dimensions to the story of his capture."

    CBS' Big Bang Theory taps new showrunner. EP Steve Holland will serve as showrunner starting with the upcoming 11th season, taking over the role from Steve Molaro, who will segue to overseeing spinoff Young Sheldon.

    CBS, Imagine sign first-look co-financing pact. The independent production company, run by chairman Brian Grazer, has struck a new four-year co-financing and first-look deal to produce scripted, unscripted and longform digital programming.

    ► 20th TV renews overall deal with Matt Nix. The Burn Notice grad has inked a new two-year overall deal with his longtime home at the studio. Under the pact, Nix will continue to serve as showrunner on Fox's big-bet X-Men drama The Gifted, as well as develop new projects.

    ABC bolsters its marketing department. Following the departure of longtime exec Marla Provencio, Rebecca Daugherty has been promoted to exec vp marketing and will be charged with overseeing the department for the network and its studio counterpart.

    CBS' NCIS: Los Angeles adds Nia Long for season 9. Long will be a series regular and play Shay Mosely, the team's new executive assistant director. She will make her debut in the season premiere on Oct. 1.

    ABC's Quantico taps Marlee Matlin for season 3 reboot. The drama, returning for an abbreviated third season with a new showrunner and without a handful of castmembers, has added Matlin as a new face to its ranks. She will play a former FBI agent. 

    New! Updated Emmy Standings. Where does the race stand as of now for top contenders? Awards columnist Scott Feinberg weighs in two weeks before the start of final-round voting. Full forecast.

  • 'Detroit' Marketing Challenges

    Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures

    Detroit, the new Kathryn Bigelow film about racial violence, is a challenging film to market as it gears up for wide release this weekend, Seth Abramovitch writes: 

    The tense thriller could be a tricky sell for the marketing team at Annapurna Pictures, the fledgling studio behind the film. In TV spots, the company has leaned into the film's horror aspects. It's a bid to lure moviegoers who might otherwise stay away from such a depressing subject.

    Annapurna's strategy appears to be similar to that of other Bigelow films: It launched on Friday in limited release — just 20 screens in 10 cities. It performed well, earning $365,000 for a per-screen average of $18,273. By comparison, Zero Dark Thirty earned $417,510 in just five theaters. The bigger test comes this weekend, however, when Detroit opens wide Aug. 4 in 2,800 theaters.

    And its wide release is not necessarily the end of the story. Annapurna is already positioning Detroit for awards season, hiring veteran publicist Karen Fried to oversee its Oscar campaign.

    Elsewhere in film... 

    Sony Pictures posts $86M quarterly loss. The success of Spider-Man: Homecoming did not boost the quarterly figures as it was released in July, just after the company's fiscal first quarter finished. Sony forecasts full-year revenue for the division of $9.25 billion and operating profit of $354M.

    Disney's Jungle Cruise movie finds director. The Shallows helmer Jaume Collet-Serra will direct Dwayne Johnson in the action-adventure based on the classic Disneyland ride. Johnson will also produce the adventure project with Dany Garcia.

    Transformers spinoff enlists John Cena. The actor, known for his work as a star WWE wrestler, is joining the cast of Bumblebee. Hailee Steinfeld is leading the cast of Paramount's new film, which will center on the yellow and black bot.

     Mel Gibson sues producer over The Professor and the Madman. Gibson claims Voltage Pictures is "jeopardizing" his "labor of love" film by failing to honor their deal. Gibson and Sean Penn were set to star, based on a book about the origins of the Oxford English Dictionary. 

    ^What the Deadpool 2 Domino reveal says about the sequel: The sight of Zazie Beetz as Domino was a sign that the anti-hero could play a larger role in the follow-up to Ryan Reynolds' superhero comedy than originally believed. Analysis

    After U.S. flop, Valerian starts strong in France. Luc Besson's sci-fi epic was solid at the French box office, topping 1.3M admissions on 970 screens over the opening weekend in his native country. The numbers make it the third-highest debut of the year in the country.

    Resident Evil producer plans new game adaptation. Jeremy Bolt is adapting the Hinterland video game The Long Dark, which has already sold 1.3M copies ahead of its release Tuesday after building buzz for several years. 

    Remembering Jeanne Moreau. Todd McCarthy recalls that the actress, who died yesterday at 89, had a sophistication and deep well of life experience that defined her both onscreen and off. An appreciation.

    R.I.P., Sam Shepard. The respected Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist and Oscar-nominated actor for The Right Stuff has died from complications from ALS. He was 73. Full obit. I Appreciation.

  • 'Bonnie and Clyde,' 50 Years Later

    Warner Brothers/Seven Arts/Photofest

    Critic Todd McCarthy revisits the galvanizing game changer, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week: "The year 1967 was when the nature and look of Hollywood films began to pivot, and this movie was a main instigator." Full column. 

    What else we're reading...

    "With Logan Lucky, Soderbergh hopes to change film’s business model." Brooks Barnes writes: the director "wants to replicate what Hollywood studios do, only with fewer resources and more creative and economic control for filmmakers." [The New York Times]

    "What it’s like to watch a hit movie about your life." Caryn James writes: "From The Glass Castle, to Stronger, a wave of memoirs adapted to film prompt emotional experience for real-life subjects." [The Wall Street Journal]

    "The nicest evil girl in the world." Allison P. Davis profiles Aubrey Plaza: "In person, Plaza is less deadpan, less caustic, less sarcastic, maybe even goofier, than the onscreen persona that made her famous." [New York]

    "Lexi Alexander fights back against Hollywood." Brian Raftery writes: "The martial artist turned director has taken a lot of punches from the industry - and thrown plenty back." [Wired]

    "Spotify is coming after Apple with a new podcast initiative." Lucas Shaw reports: "Spotify is experimenting in new media to increase the time customers spend with its app - and boost advertising sales." [Bloomberg]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Google translate songs with Idris Elba." [Tonight Show]

    + "Channing Tatum might sleep at your house." [Jimmy Kimmel Live]

    + "Matthew McConaughey and Stephen drink bourbon." [Late Show]

    + Late night says goodbye to "The Mooch." [Videos]

    Today's Birthdays: Jack O'Connell, 27, Jason Momoa, 38, Sam Mendes, 52, John Carroll Lynch, 54, Demián Bichir, 54, Coolio, 54. 

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