What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:11 AM 6/20/2017

by THR Staff

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

What's news on Tuesday: Transformers 5 is looking to avoid sequel fatigue with a massive overseas rollout. Plus: A new cable news showdown is looming, Johnny Depp's inner circle emails are made public and TV critics nominate Handmaid's Tale, This Is Us and Atlanta for honors. — Matthew Belloni, Erik Hayden and Jennifer Konerman

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  • 'Transformers 5' Looks Overseas

    Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

    The latest Hollywood tentpole at the summer box office hopes to overcome any sequel fatigue in the U.S. by transforming into a monster overseas, Pamela McClintock forecasts: 

    According to pre-release tracking, the fifth outing in franchise is projected to post a five-day domestic debut in the $70M-$75M range, notably behind than the $100M North American launch of the last title, Transformers: Age of Extinction, in 2014. 

    The Last Knight is counting on sizeable returns internationally (similar to this summer's Pirates 5), where Age of Extinction grossed a massive $858.6M to become the first Transformers movie to jump the $1B mark at the worldwide box office.

    The Last Knight opens in its first 42 foreign territories this weekend, including China, the U.K., Russia, Australia, Germany, Italy, North Korea and Hong Kong.

    Noted: The studio puts the film's budget at $217 million before a major marketing spend.

    Elsewhere in film... 

    Annabelle: Creation, reviewed. New Line’s prequel for The Conjuring spinoff, opening in July, provides a chilling backstory for the demonic doll. The takeaway: "Wickedly effective."

    All Eyez On Me director plots next film. Benny Boom, the director of the Tupac biopic that was a box office hit last weekend, has signed on to helm the police thriller The Shave for Route One Entertainment, Lost City and Maiden Voyage.

    Paramount's WWII film Overlord gets release date. The supernatural thriller from the studio and Bad Robot will be released wide on Oct. 26, 2018. Julius Avery directs from a script by Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith.

    John Wick screenwriter penning action thriller. Cristal Pictures has acquired a pitch from screenwriter Derek Kolstad for an action-thriller titled The Steward, with an eye toward making the property a franchise.

    ^What's happening at CineEurope. The opening day of the trade show was heavy in studios and stars, with four back-to-back presentations in Barcelona.

    Alex Ritman emails: Luc Besson kicked things off by unveiling four exclusive scenes from his space opera Valerian, otherwise known as the biggest independent film of all time, while Sony rolled out the likes of Ryan Gosling, Jack Black and Tom Holland to give Blade Runner 2049, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Spider-Man: Homecoming some A-list firepower. The audience was also treated to a 13-minute clip from Spidey’s return.

    Warner Bros. ended the day with a screening of horror prequel Annabelle: Creation, but not before a show in which Christopher Nolan received a rapturous welcome as he revved up Dunkirk and J.K. Rowling dropped some clues as to where the Fantastic Beasts sequel will take the Harry Potter universe.

    WME-IMG, Village Roadshow launch Chinese film venture. The new film and TV production company, named Perfect Village Entertainment, unveiled a debut slate in Shanghai Tuesday, including projects from Zhang Yimou and Jackie Chan.

    Joel Schumacher tells the real story of Batman & Robin. Twenty years to the day after the release of the film, nine people behind the most infamous comic book movie of all time look back at the good, the bad and the ugly of the film. The backstory.

    Animal House star Tim Matheson remembers Stephen Furst. In his own words, the actor recalls some memories of his friend, Furst, who portrayed Kent "Flounder" Dorfman in the 1978 film. His tribute.

    Anything, reviewed. Matt Bomer plays a trans woman and John Carroll Lynch a man she befriends in Timothy McNeil's feature debut, premiering at the L.A. Film Festival. The takeaway: "A touching, tentative love story."

    In THR, Esq: Johnny Depp's inner circle emails made public amid his ongoing legal battle ... Alyssa Milano files $10M fraud lawsuit against ex-business managers ... Lynyrd Skynyrd members head to trial over plane crash movie ... Bill Cosby's lawyer speaks out on the mistrial. 

  • TV Showdown: CNN vs. NBC News

    Miller Mobley

    With a post-Roger Ailes Fox News virtually sidelined, Jeff Zucker and Andy Lack are two veterans feasting on a breaking-news buffet with record MNSBC ratings and Megyn Kelly making headlines, Michael Wolff writes in his new column:

    Lack, the superb politician (“Andy,” in one news executive’s description, “has never said no to anyone — which, of course, does not mean he is saying yes”), has smoothed Comcast’s news management turmoil, resolved the Brian Williams issue and somehow transformed MSNBC from the ridiculous to, 
if not sublime, robust.

    Zucker, for his part, is 
micromanaging CNN the way he micromanaged, as executive producer, NBC’s Today, creating a network keenly responsive to 
the slightest ratings opportunity. 

    While it is good news for MSNBC that left TV can produce ratings that compete with right TV (or, at least, a weakened, post-Ailes right TV), right TV never has had much competition, while the left always has. CNN, which is spending big in its hard-to-monetize digital business, still depends for every ratings point 
on whatever unbelievable thing has just happened — and Trump will not last forever.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Time Warner, Snap sign $100M content deal. Under the two-year deal, Time Warner will develop and produce up to 10 made-for-Snapchat shows per year that will reach across Time Warner's entertainment properties (yes, Wonder Woman could one day end up on Snapchat).

    Vice raises $450M from private equity firm TPG. The media company will use the investment to build a global scripted studio, as well as develop new streaming video offerings. It is expected to use scripted to help draw larger audiences to cabler Viceland.

    WGN America president to depart network. Matt Cherniss, who announced his decision to step down in a memo to staff, will remain on board until month's end to help with the transition. Industry vet Gavin Harvey will serve as interim president.

    Netflix plans Tony Danza dramedy. The Who's the Boss favorite has been tapped to star in and produce The Good Cop, a straight-to-series 10-episode dramedy from the creator of Monk, Andy Breckman. Danza will play a disgraced, former NYPD officer.

    ► CMT's Last Man Standing talks break down over cost. The canceled ABC comedy starring Tim Allen will not be revived at the cabler, which already airs the show in syndicated repeats. It's unclear if another potential home for the series will emerge.

    "Why I wanted to say the N-word on broadcast TV." Just weeks after Bill Maher ignited controversy by saying the word, Jerrod Carmichael explains in a guest column why he wanted to tackle it on his NBC sitcom. 

    ^Netflix's Gypsy, reviewed. It has themes of self-deception and obsession that echo Mulholland Drive, only everything is really obvious and pretty dull, Daniel Fienberg writes. The takeaway: "Naomi Watts towers above sub-par material."

    CBS' Star Trek: Discovery finally unveils rollout plan. The series will premiere on Sept. 24. The 15-episode first season will be split into two chapters. The first eight episodes will roll out through Nov. 5, and then seven new episodes in January 2018.

    NBC's Megyn Kelly doesn't get ratings lift from Alex Jones. The episode averaged 3.5M viewers, a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49. That's virtually the same showing Kelly got with final adjustments during week two — again trailing a 60 Minutes repeat.

    ► Crackle drama The Oath enlists Sean Bean. The Lord of the Rings actor has been cast in the new drama from the Sony Pictures TV streaming service. The 10-episode series is exec produced by 50 Cent and will debut in 2018.

    TV critics nominate Handmaid's Tale, This Is Us, Atlanta. Hulu grabbed its first-ever TV Critics Awards nom, and will compete against NBC, FX, HBO and Netflix for the prestigious program of the year award. TCA noms full list. 

    Updated! Emmys race standings now. In the latest installment of his weekly projections, Scott Feinberg offers his first read of the special class program, documentary or nonfiction special and documentary or nonfiction series fields. Feinberg Forecast.

  • Today in '75: 'Jaws' Hits Theaters


    Yes, that is Steven Spielberg at left above on set for Jaws. The feature adaptation of the best-selling novel hit theaters today in 1975 and quickly captured the attention of summer moviegoing audiences, becoming an enduring classic. 1975 review I Flashback: Universal's "massive" awareness effort.

    What else we're reading...

    "A new rating for TV and movies." Susan Chira writes: "The watchdog group Common Sense will introduce a 'positive gender representations' label for content that prompts boys and girls to think beyond traditional roles." [The New York Times]

    "The right wing activist who crashed Julius Caesar." Andrew Marantz reports: "In Act III Scene I, as Caesar was stabbed, Laura Loomer started a Periscope video on her phone and strode toward the stage." [The New Yorker]

    "Can Coco breathe new life into Pixar...?" Ben Child writes: "Disney’s animation studio has struggled to replicate the success of its golden decade that ended in 2012. Can a tale inspired by Mexico’s Day of the Dead excite audiences?" [The Guardian]

    "Sci-fi TV doesn't have to be 'prestige.'" Adam Rogers writes "in defense of 'commodity science fiction,' dominating the middle rungs of a basic cable lineup near you. [Wired]

    "What inspired the Summer of Love?" James Parker: "Mostly drugs." [The Atlantic]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Seth Rogen and Stephen slide into Donald Trump Jr.'s DMs." [Late Show]

    + "Will Ferrell has a great gambling story." [Tonight Show]

    + "Elle Fanning had Robert De Niro over for Easter." [Jimmy Kimmel]

    + "Jerrod Carmichael and Seth imagine a day in the life of Sean Spicer." [Late Night]

    Today's Birthdays: Christopher Mintz-Plasse, 28, Mike Birbiglia, 39, Josh Lucas, 46, Robert Rodriguez, 49, Nicole Kidman, 50, John Goodman, 65, Brian Wilson, 75, Stephen Frears, 76.