What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:18 AM 11/27/2017

by Ray Rahman

Courtesy of A24

What's news: The #MeToo movement goes international. Plus: Time Inc., Meredith and the Kochs enter a three-way deal, Coco wins the holiday box office, our critics pick their five favorite performances of the year and a royal wedding is on the horizon.  — Ray Rahman

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  • #MeToo Around the World

    Illustration By Kelsey Stefanson

    The #MeToo movement changing the culture of the global film business — as new codes of conduct emerge in Canada and the U.K., harassment training becomes mandatory in Sweden and predators worldwide are exposed, writes Scott Roxborough:

    Sweden's #MeToo movement has spawned its own, local-lingo hashtag: #tystnadtagning (#silenceaction in Swedish). In French, Twitter is awash with #BalanceTonPorc, or “expose your pig” for women, and some men, coming forward with their own tales of abuse. Italy's #MeToo is #quellavoltache (“the time that”).

    In Spain, Israel, and the Middle East, it's #YoTambien, #Gam Ani and وأنا_كمان# (Me Too in Spanish, Hebrew and Arabic, respectively). But whatever the tag, the message is the same: an end to abuse and a change to the culture that produced it. Full story.

    Elsewhere in film...

    ► Weekend box office: Coco easily bested Justice League over the Thanksgiving holiday. The Disney/Pixar film closed the long weekend with a take of $71.2 million, making it the fourth-best Thanksgiving opening of all time after Toy Story 2Frozen and MoanaJustice League, meanwhile, brought in $59.7 million in the same frame. Read more.

    + Why Coco feels like an act of defiance. "The film doesn’t actually have to be about anti-Mexican sentiment on the rise in the United States in order to have something to say about it," Andy Crump writes. "Just by being what it is - a top down cross-cultural creative collaboration about an important Mexican holiday - Coco sends precisely the message it needs to." Full column.

    + A (non-Coco) Disney film just made box-office history in Russia. As of Sunday, Disney's Russian-language movie Posledny Bogatyr (The Last Knight) has become the highest-grossing local-language release of all time in the country, surpassing the previous champion, Stalingrad.

    ► James Franco's sci-fi thriller Future World sells to China. The film, co-directed by Franco and Bruce Cheung, has sold to Beijing-based Phoenix Legend Film for distribution in China. The movie stars Franco opposite Milla Jovovich, Lucy Liu, Snoop Dogg and more.

    + Phoenix Legend also acquired Chinese distribution rights to Anon, a sci-fi thriller directed by Andrew Niccol and starring Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried. 

    + Franco's secret superhero project? During an interview with Stephen Galloway, James Franco confirmed that he’s developing a superhero project and that he’s attached as producer and actor. Franco didn't name a character, but there have been reports that Fox has been working on a Marvel Comics movie based on Multiple Man. “I do have a superhero that I am developing,” said Franco. “I don't know how much I can say. But I will say I am producing and performing in it. It's early stages."

    ^THR critics' top five performances of the year: A star-making revelation in a swoony gay romance, career-topping work from an 87-year-old stage vet, a Chilean transgender actress' tour de force, an Irish actress taking on the suburban Sacramento teen and more. See the list.

    Netflix unveils its first Bollywood project. The upcoming Indian romantic comedy Love Per Square Foot, backed by media veteran Ronnie Screwvala, heralds the company’s first (but almost certainly not last) foray into Bollywood film production. It’s also a big step for the Bollywood industry, as the movie will mark the first time an Indian film will be produced exclusively for streaming. The title is slated to premiere in early 2018.

    + Netflix has already done a lot to disrupt Japan's animé industry. Is Bollywood next? 

    Rance Howard, actor and father of Ron Howard, dies at 89. The elder Howard, who appeared in many of his son's films — including Apollo 13, Parenthood and A Beautiful Mind — passed away on Saturday. Ron announced the news in a personal note on Twitter.

    Rep Sheet Roundup: Naomie Harris has signed with publicity firm 42West. … CAA Nashville co-head Scott Clayton has exited to co-head the Nashville office and lead the rock business at WME. ... Disney Channel star Peyton List has signed with CAA. … YouTuber Natalie Alzate has signed with UTA and Brillstein. … Veteran Paradigm agent Steve Dahl has died at 71. More here.

  • 'House of Cards' Extends Hiatus

    Courtesy of Netflix

    In a letter to the cast and crew of the Netflix hit, the show's producers say production on the final season will be on hold until Dec. 8, writes Patrick Shanley:

    The streamer announced earlier this month that the upcoming season would be the show's last, following reports of sexual misconduct against star Kevin Spacey, who was subsequently fired from the series. An investigation into the actor's on-set sexual misconduct is still ongoing. Spacey will likely be written out of the show for the final season.

    The letter, signed by Media Rights Capital senior vp television business and legal affairs Pauline Micelli, states that the "crew will be paid for an additional two-week hiatus — beginning on November 27th and continuing through December 8th." The writing staff, as well as a "small contingency of office/accounting staff," will remain in the production office on a continuous basis.

    Micelli ended the letter with a rallying cry for the show's cast and crew, saying, "The one thing we have learned throughout this process is that this production is bigger than just one person and we could not be more proud to be associated with one of the most loyal and talented production cast and crews in this business." Full story. 

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Suits star Meghan Markle is marrying Prince Harry in the spring. Now that it's official, one question is on everyone's minds: How will this affect Suits? Okay, maybe not (Markle is expected to leave the USA series), but get ready for plenty of media frenzy and breathless television coverage as the royal wedding nears. 

    Trump throws a punch at CNN International. The president, whose Justice Department is trying to prevent an AT&T-Time Warner merger, has already tweeted before about how much he disliked having to watch non-Fox News networks like CNN during his long Asia trip. Now he's got more thoughts on the matter, tweeting: "@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!"  

    + CNN's communications arm replied to Trump with its own tweet: "It's not CNN's job to represent the U.S to the world. That's yours. Our job is to report the news." 

    ► Jeff Glor has a start date. The CBS News veteran will take over as the CBS Evening News anchor on Monday, Dec. 4. 

    ^Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, reviewed: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is at once a smudgy love letter to stand-up comedy, female empowerment and New York City itself, with Rachel Brosnahan (House of Cards, WGN's Manhattan) busting out of the frame once again with her buoyant personality, imbibing the character with all the charm that Sherman-Palladino can muster and carrying the show from the first frame,” writes Tim Goodman. Read more.

    Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon will cover the Rose Parade live for Amazon. Here's your New Year's Day hangover cure: Amazon Prime will air a Funny or Die-presented live stream of the SNL alums emceeing the annual Jan. 1 event. The pair will be in character as fictional local TV personalities Cord Hosenbeck and Tish Cattigan. 

    Jodie Foster's Black Mirror episode gets a trailer. In anticipation of the horror-anthology series' fourth season, the streaming service released a harrowing preview for "Arkangel," an episode starring Rosemarie DeWitt and directed by Jodie Foster. 

    Hulu takes three European series from StudioCanal. The company picked up rights to the Scandinavian crime drams Below the Surface and Midnight Sun as well as the U.K. drama Trust Me in its first-ever licensing deal with the production group.

  • Time Inc.'s Big Deal

    Getty Images

    On Sunday, Time Inc. and Meredith separately announced the same big news: The two magazine publishers have finally made a deal, with Time Inc. agreeing to a $2.8 billion sale to Meredith. Of course, the other big headline is what the Koch brothers have to do with it. Jeremy Barr emails: 

    On Sunday, Iowa-based magazine publisher Meredith Corporation announced a deal to purchase legendary New York-based magazine company Time Inc. for $2.8 billion. Meredith had previously expressed interest in buying the company, but talks fell through, and in April, Time Inc. was formally taken off the market.

    How quickly things change! The X factor this time was the participation of the conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who will have a $650 million stake in the soon-to-be-Meredith-owned company. Meredith, in the announcement, said the Kochs will have no editorial involvement in the merged company, but not everyone is convinced that will be the case. According to an SEC filing released Monday morning, if the merger is not accepted by May 26, 2018, Time Inc. will be required to pay Meredith $65 million.

    Magazine industry watchers are still digesting the terms of the deal, but here are some of the biggest questions remaining:

    Why do the Koch brothers want a piece of this deal? Is their involvement purely financial speculation, or are they hoping to have a hand in shaping Time Inc.'s news coverage? 

    Will Meredith clean out the ranks of Time Inc. executives? The company's CEO, Rich Battista, will reportedly leave once the deal is closed — so, early next year.

    How many Time Inc. employees will leave — or, be laid off — once the companies merged? 

    — Which, if any, Time Inc. magazines will Meredith shut down? Over the last few years, I've heard many shutdown suggestions from former Time Inc. employees. The company's news properties, including Time and Fortune, are particularly expensive to operate and don't bring in the advertising dollars that entertainment and lifestyle titles do.

    Time Inc. alum Mark Harris puts the sale into perspective via Twitter: "Well, Time magazine began its life as the plaything of a right-winger who craved political influence, so I guess this closes the circle." 

    What else we're reading...

    — "Secrets of the Marvel Universe." Joanna Robinson's cover story: "After a decade of unprecedented success, Marvel Studios is at a pivotal moment: the looming farewell to some of its founding superheroes, and the rise of a new generation. Kevin Feige, the creative force behind the $13 billion franchise and a slew of Marvel stars, discusses its precarious beginnings, stumbles, and ever-expanding empire." [Vanity Fair]

    — "To win an Oscar in 2017, you have to make a movie that speaks to the moment." Mark Harris writes: "It speaks to the degree to which contemporary resonance matters this year that even an ultraretro, King’s Speech–y entry like Darkest Hour is being discussed as an implicit rebuke to present-day politicians: 'We shall fight on the beaches' versus 'Grab ’em by the pussy.'" [Vulture]

    — "A self-made star shows one way to crack the Gen Z code." John Jurgensen writes: "Advertisers and entertainment companies, aiming to capture a fragmented teen audience that likes ‘authentic’ stars, find a guide in YouTube celebrity Liza Koshy." [Wall Street Journal]

    — "What Antiques Roadshow taught us." Amanda Petrusich writes: "The PBS show affirmed the American belief in the value of stuff. Now Pawn Stars and American Pickers continue its legacy." [The New Yorker]

    — "The media mogul of Maine." Murray Carpenter writes: "Reade Brower’s hold on the newspaper industry of a single state stands out, even in an age of increased consolidation that has led to hand-wringing over the influence of giant technology companies and wealthy media owners like Rupert Murdoch, Jeff Bezos and Sheldon Adelson." [New York Times]

    What else we're hearing...

    + "Rob Huebel: Interview." [WTF with Marc Maron]

    + "The Jazz Singer." [How Did This Get Made? / Earwolf]

    + "TV and podcast host Kid Mero: Interview." [Hey, Cool Job!]

    What's ahead this week...

    Monday: Fashion Police: The Farewell airs on E! 

    Tuesday: Victoria's Secret Fashion Show airs on CBS.

    Wednesday: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 1 drops on Amazon ... Vikings season 5 premieres on History ... Bruno Mars: 24K Magic Live at the Apollo airs on CBS. 

    Friday: Wonder Wheel and The Disaster Artist hit theaters in limited release ... Easy season 2 drops on Netflix ... Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 premieres on ABC.

    Today's Birthdays: Alison Pill, 32, Jaleel White, 41, Elizabeth Marvel, 48, Michael Vartan, 49, Adam Shankman, 53, Michael Rispoli, 57, William Fichtner, 61, Billy Nye, 62, Kathryn Bigelow, 66, James Avery, 69.