What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:11 AM 7/28/2017

by THR Staff

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

What's news: The Mooch is saturating airwaves, delighting late-night hosts and distracting everyone at work. Plus: Jennifer Aniston is plotting a big return to the small screen, Amazon is moving into self-distribution of its films and Sony's The Emoji Movie reviews are scathingly hilarious (or depressing). — Matthew Belloni, Erik Hayden and Jennifer Konerman

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  • The Mooch Dominates TV

    Getty Images

    Despite it being a busy news day in Hollywood (and D.C.), no one could stop talking about that jaw-dropping rant that new Trump hire Anthony Scaramucci delivered to New Yorker correspondent Ryan Lizza. Given the explicit rant, late night got creative: 

    + CBS' Stephen Colbert warns censors. "I want to give a quick warning to the CBS censors, you’re going to want to break out the extra bleeps for this one,” Colbert said. Full clip.

    + CBS' James Corden goes with Sopranos joke. "Scaramucci was mad, he didn't want his financial information out there, mainly because he made most of his money by playing extras on The Sopranos," he quipped. Full clip. 

    + NBC's Seth Meyers replaces words with roosters. "There's one word that we can't say on TV, so instead we're going to play the sound of a rooster and you can figure out what word he's using," Meyers noted. Full clip.

    + N.Y. Post cover imagines White House as Survivor. Its tagline is "outspin" and "outlast" and features a full island mockup of Trump, Sessions, Priebus, Scaramucci, Conway and Kushner. Cover photo.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    What everyone is talking about (other than The Mooch). More than a decade after Friends wrapped its run, star Jennifer Aniston is plotting her return to the small screen, Lesley Goldberg reports. In one of the largest TV packages to date, Aniston and Reese Witherspoon are attached to star in an untitled series exploring morning shows and the larger New York media scene that they inhabit.

    Hulu's TCA day roundup: 

     ABC's TGIF block coming to Hulu. The streamer has nabbed the exclusive SVOD rights to Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step and and more in a deal that totals more than 800 episodes of the five series, and marks the streaming debut of the beloved family friendly lineup. 

    ► Barbie documentary is a go. Hulu has ordered a doc about the iconic doll that will take a retrospective look at Barbie's origins and include unprecedented access to the inner workings of Mattel during a major Barbie reinvention.

     Harlots renewed for second season. The brothel drama, which stars Samantha Morton, Lesley Manville and Jessica Brown Findlay and is set in 18th century Georgian London, will return for season two in 2018.

     Mindy Project plans Chris Messina return. The actor who played Mindy Kaling's baby daddy and former fiance on the comedy will return for multiple episodes of the Hulu series' sixth and final season, debuting this September. Also: Julie Bowen is set to guest star. 

    Turner's TCA day roundup: 

    TNT/TBS chief predicts cable contraction. At TCA, Kevin Reilly had this to say also: "There was a very good business model for a long time. If you had leverage, you created another network. [Turner] kept with a very tight [catalog]. The entities that are floating six, eight, 15 networks — that's not going to sustain."

    TNT sets Chris Pine drama from Wonder Woman director. The six-episode drama One Day She'll Darken has been picked up straight to series. The drama, inspired by the autobiography of Fauna Hodel, will be written by Jenkins' husband and author Sam Sheridan.

    ► TBS' Angie Tribeca and TNT's Animal Kingdom renewed. The Rashida Jones-starrer has been picked up for a fourth season, while Animal Kingdom has received the green light for season three. Tribeca will also welcome Bobby Cannavale when it launches in 2018. 

    ^Amazon's The Last Tycoon, reviewed. The streaming giant's latest drama, a period piece debuting today, starring Matt Bomer and based on the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald, gets stuck in the past. Takeaway: "Some styles don't translate."

    + Early takes: N.Y. Times: "slick but short on passion." L.A. Times: "melodrama has its pleasures." The Telegraph: "may look beautiful but it's a bit of a mess." USA Today: "a stylish, earnest portrait of Hollywood's golden age."

    Showtime picks up Ben Affleck, Matt Damon crime drama. City on a Hill, which will be directed by Gavin O'Connor and exec produced by James Mangold, is a fictional account of the so-called Boston Miracle operation and based on an idea by Affleck.

    ► Stephen Colbert, Showtime plan weekly show featuring Cartoon Trump. Colbert has sold a series featuring the recurring Late Show animated character to Showtime. The show has been picked up for a 10-episode season that will kick off in the fall. 

    ► Greg Berlanti's Lifetime drama finds female lead. The network's adaptation of Caroline Kepnes' You has cast Elizabeth Lail in the straight-to-series drama. The 10-episode drama is described as a psychological thriller. 

    CBS' NCIS enlists Maria Bello as series regular. The actress has joined the drama for its upcoming 15th season. She has inked a three-year pact to remain on the series, which ranks as the most-watched drama in the world.

    ► MTV VMAs to be hosted by Katy Perry. The pop superstar, who's also making a foray into TV with a judge gig on American Idol, will emcee MTV's annual awards ceremony, set to air live from the Forum at the end of August. Details. 


  • Box Office: 'Blonde' vs. 'Emoji'

    Courtesy of Universal Pictures

    It will be a three-way race this weekend between Sony's The Emoji Movie, Charlize Theron's Atomic Blonde and holdover Dunkirk, Pamela McClintock forecasts: 

    It remains to be seen whether the Sony animated pic can pass Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, which opened to $50.3M last week, and win the weekend. The Emoji Movie is tracking to debut in the $25M-$27M range, although Sony is being more conservative in suggesting $20M. The Emoji Movie cost $50M to make. 

    Atomic Blonde, a period action-thriller starring Charlize Theron and based on the Oni Press graphic novel The Coldest City, also makes its big-screen appearance this weekend. According to tracking, the $30M pic should open between $20M-$22M for Universal's specialty label Focus Features and Sierra/Affinity. 

    There is also major action on the specialty front as both Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power open in select theaters on Friday, a week ahead of their nationwide debuts.

    Elsewhere in film... 

    Big deal: Amazon moves into self-distribution. The streaming giant will self-distribute Woody Allen's upcoming film, Wonder Wheel in theaters. It's a significant step for Amazon, which has partnered with traditional distributors like Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate previously.

    Jon Hamm-Rosamund Pike thriller finds distributor. Bleecker Street has acquired U.S. distribution rights to director Brad Anderson's High Wire Act, written by Tony Gilroy. The story centers on a U.S. diplomat who leaves Lebanon in the 1970s after his wife is killed.

    Nick Offerman to star (and sing) in music film. The Parks and Rec actor has landed his first big-screen lead in Brett Haley's Hearts Beat Loud. It centers on a father (Offerman) and daughter (Kiersey Clemons) who form a songwriting duo. The film will shoot in New York in August.

    ^The Emoji Movie, reviewed. Tony Leondis' kid-flick, out this weekend, tries to turn text-message punctuation into a colorful adventure. John DeFore's takeaway: a "smartphone-centric dud.

    + Early takes: Vulture: "One of the darkest, most dismaying films I have ever seen." L.A. Times: "Summed up in one word: Meh." N.Y. Times"the whole thing remains nakedly idiotic." The Guardian: "sponsored-content post masquerading as a feature film."

    New trailer watch: Stephen King's It. The latest clip shows off a lot more of the evil clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) terrorizing the town of Derry. Director Andy Muschietti's cast includes young stars Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard and more. Watch here

    Stranger Things actress to star in indie Mountain Rest. Natalia Dyer will star in the directorial debut of writer-director Alex O Eaton. Frances Conroy, Shawn Hatosy and Kate Lyn Sheil are also starring in the piece, which is set to go into production Sept. 10.

    R.I.P., Marty Sklar. The Disney Imagineer, who worked closely with Disney founder Walt Disney, helping him to shape and realize his creative vision, died at the age of 83. Full obit.

    ► The screenwriter of Logan Lucky likely doesn't exist. Tatiana Siegel writes: The new Steven Soderbergh film credits a first-time screenwriter by the name of Rebecca Blunt. But, multiple sources are saying that no such writer exists. So who wrote the screenplay?


  • "'Dunkirk' Reimagines History"

    Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros. Pictures

    Stephen Galloway's latest column tackles the historical details of the critically acclaimed epic: "Christopher Nolan’s war movie is as intriguing for what it leaves out as what it puts in." Full story. 

    What else we're reading...

    "The rise and decline of the 'sellout." Franz Nicolay writes: "A history of the epithet, from its rise among leftists and jazz critics and folkies to its recent fall from favor." [Slate]

    "Fans of niche digital brands flock to live events." Covey E. Son writes: "Once sequestered to YouTube and other web spaces, niche online entertainers are getting into the convention trade." [The Wall Street Journal]

    "Michiko Kakutani, Times’s feared and revered book critic, is stepping down." Sydney Ember notes: "Expressions of admiration and appreciation from writers and readers alike mingled with the occasional sigh of relief." [The New York Times]

    "In Conversation: Trent Reznor." David Marchese's chat: "The Nine Inch Nails’ icon on his new music, the future of streaming, and his tortured past." [New York]

    "What's wrong with Arcade Fire's Everything Now?" Spencer Kornhaber writes: "The band’s fifth album hints at hearty social critique - but just provides weak songs." [The Atlantic]

    Today in 1954...

    + Marlon Brando's On the Waterfront hits theaters. The original THR review raved: "The story is as fresh and terrifying as today’s newspaper."

    Today's Birthdays: Tom Pelphrey, 35, Lori Loughlin, 53, Randall Wallace, 68, Sally Struthers, 70, Dick Ebersol, 70, Peter Cullen, 76.

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