What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:11 AM 6/19/2018

by THR Staff

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

What's news: The incoming boss of Warner Bros., HBO and CNN shares his initial plans. Plus: Netflix inks its first European overall deal, Black Panther wins at MTV's big movie night and A+E is at war with The Weinstein Co. over how Harvey's alleged misconduct impacts deals. — Erik Hayden

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  • Warners' New Boss

    Interview: With the AT&T-Time Warner deal closed, Warner Bros., HBO and CNN employees have a new boss: John Stankey, a 30-year AT&T veteran. The exec spoke with Matthew Belloni as he prepares for a week of town halls: 

    Q: You mentioned there may be some duplication and layoffs at the upper level of the company. What does that mean?

    "I want to be fully transparent and clear, that's kind of how I choose to operate and work with folks. I don't think it's startling to anybody that the Time Warner corporate entity has a high degree of overlap and duplication with the AT&T corporate entity. We don't need two treasury departments that are going to be issuing debt in the market, we don't need two tax departments.

    We don't need two sets of securities lawyers. And those are the kind of things where I think you're going to see displacement. There is no duplication within core AT&T for people who work at Warner Bros. or HBO or Turner..." Full Q&A. 

    + Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara's memo: "While this is truly an evolution of our business, Randall Stephenson and John Stankey have both said the WarnerMedia companies will continue to have the creative freedom and resources to keep doing what we do best." Note to staff

    Elsewhere in film...

    Outgoing Sony CEO's pay rose to $18.7M. Kaz Hirai landed a $10.66M retirement payment last year, to add to his $2.2M base salary and $5.84M in performance bonuses. Kenichiro Yoshida, who took over from Hirai on April 1, earned $4M in his role as chief financial officer. Details. 

    AMC Entertainment sells stake in theater ad firm to Cinemark. The $156.8 million deal represents the remaining National CineMedia shares to be sold by AMC following its acquisition of Carmike Cinemas in 2016 and a consent decree agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

    Sam Mendes, Steven Spielberg team for World War I drama. Mendes, who co-wrote the script for 1917 with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, will direct the film. The package was just picked up by Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, which beat out several studios.

    + The deal comes with a commitment to finance the movie to the tune of $100 million. Amblin is also planting a flag for a December 2019 release. 

    ^Paramount's Tiffany Haddish starrer Nobody's Fool unveils trailer. The film (opening Nov. 2) was directed, written and produced by Tyler Perry and also features Tika Sumpter and Whoopi Goldberg. Full clip.

    Universal Pictures reorganizes marketing department. Michael Moses is being promoted to president of worldwide marketing at the studio, while former Sony exec Dwight Caines has been named co-president of marketing. Note to staff.

    Black Panther co-writer to direct drama. Joe Robert Cole will make his directorial debut with Netflix's All Day and a Night. Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson are producing via their Color Force banner.

    Netflix enlists Will Ferrell for new comedy. The actor will star in and also co-write the feature Eurovision, about the Eurovision Song Contest, with Saturday Night Live alum Andrew Steele.

    BAFTA confirms diversity requirements for film awards. The requirements impact two categories going into awards season: outstanding British film and outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer.

    In THR, Esq: judge allows copyright claims over tech used on Avengers. Disney, Paramount and Fox must contend with a lawsuit over "stolen" technology. The judge looks at past piracy cases and finds this situation more comparable to Napster than Google. Details. 

  • At the MTV Awards

    Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

    Celebrating: Black Panther was named best movie at the MTV Movie & TV Awards, while Stranger Things was named best show during the ceremony, which aired Monday night, Kimberly Nordyke writes: 

    + The winners: Also nabbing awards were the cast of Warner Bros. It for best onscreen team, along with Black Panther's Chadwick Boseman for best performance in a movie and best hero and Stranger Things' Millie Bobby Brown for best performance in a show. Full list.

    + Lena Waithe's remarks. In her speech, she gave a special shoutout to the subjects of the documentary Paris Is Burning, which follows drag queens living in New York: "They strutted through a brick wall so we wouldn't have to." Watch.

    + Michael B. Jordan's quip. When he took the stage to accept best villain for his performance as Killmonger in Black Panther, Jordan joked, "I thought Roseanne had this in the bag." Watch. 

    Elsewhere in TV...

    A+E, Weinstein Co. at war over how Harvey's misconduct impacts deals. A+E says it would have never have licensed Project Runway for Lifetime had it known the truth. In response, TWC pledges to go after A+E for airing movies without paying.

    Netflix inks Dark creators to overall deal. Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar, who created the breakout hit, have signed an exclusive multiple-year overall deal. The pact is the first European overall deal for the streamer.

    Hulu orders revenge drama from Handmaid's Tale producer. The streaming service has greenlit a pilot for Reprisal, a tale from A+E Studios production and The Littlefield Company. Warren Littlefield and Barry Jossen will exec produce the project.

    Showtime lands Desus and Mero. Talk-show hosts Daniel Baker (Desus Nice) and Joel Martinez (The Kid Mero) have set up a weekly late-night talk show on the premium cabler after leaving their home of two years at Viceland.

    Quoted, Part I: "I haven’t worked with Fox since 2002. That family promotes evil ideas and greed and corruption. We all choose who to work with. I understand why that is easier for some than others but many powerful people are powerful enough to speak up to their bosses at a moment like this." — Judd Apatow, calling for Fox showrunners and talent to speak out against Fox News.

    Quoted, Part II: "If this policy strikes you as monstrous, inhuman and cruel then you're a decent person. In other words, you are not Attorney General Jeff Sessions." — NBC's Late Night host Seth Meyers, commenting on Trump's immigration policy. 

    ^Paramount Network's Yellowstone, reviewed (airing Wednesday). The first drama from the network — and Kevin Costner's first foray into series television — is a big, messy, soapy collection of testosterone-fueled cliches. The takeaway: "Find something better down yonder."

    World Cup TV ratings check-in. Telemundo scored the single best telecast of Sunday with the Spanish-language coverage of Mexico-Germany, netting a substantial 4.3 overnight rating. U.S. ratings I U.K. ratings.

    ► Sony TV inks overall deal with Liz Friedman. The veteran writer-producer has signed an overall deal with Sony Pictures TV Studios and will board creator and exec producer David Shore's ABC drama The Good Doctor.

    AXS TV buys WOW - Women Of Wrestling series. The live-event and music-themed network has nabbed the rights for events and programming featuring the all-women's professional wrestling league.

    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame plans TV docuseries. The organization is teaming with Wilshire Studios to develop Immortals. Each episode of the anthology will team film and TV directors with Rock Hall inductees.

    *R.I.P., Richard Valeriani. The TV voice, who spent more than three decades as an on-air correspondent for the NBC Nightly News program, died Monday at his home in New York City. He was 85. Full obit. 

    Where the Emmy race stands right now. Scott Feinberg has published his latest check in on the contenders. Frontrunners in the comedy actor category are Donald Glover, Anthony Anderson, Eric McCormack, William H. Macy, Bill Hader and Larry David. Forecast.

  • Broadway's Michael Jackson Musical

    Kevin Mazur/WireImage

    New: The Michael Jackson Estate and Columbia Live Stage said Wednesday that a new stage musical inspired by the life of the King of Pop is in development, angling to arrive on Broadway in 2020, David Rooney writes:

    + Latest pop musical. The Jackson project is the newest in a series of jukebox musicals that come in the wake of hits like Jersey Boys which grossed $558M; and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, with grosses of $222M to date. The 2015 Gloria Estefan bio-musical On Your Feet! grossed $83.5M. Full story.

    What else we're reading...

    "Incredibles 2 moviegoers warned about possible seizures." Amanda Svachula writes: "the Epilepsy Foundation heard via email and social media from people who had seen the movie and experienced symptoms." [New York Times]

    "Disney tests pricing power at theme parks." Erich Schwartzel writes: "Issuing pricey tickets for ‘sneak peek’ events is the latest move by Disney to use fares to control crowds." [Wall Street Journal]

    "TV advertisers confront a political minefield." Stephen Battaglio notes: "When TV stars such as Roseanne Barr, Samantha Bee and Laura Ingraham get into trouble, advertisers retreat rather than risk having their brand names become collateral damage." [Los Angeles Times]

    "Ad tech’s presence diminishes at Cannes." Shareen Pathak notes: "Last year, some 20 ad tech companies dominated the festival’s harbor. This year’s ad tech flotilla has thinned, with approximately half of the 18 yachts flying ad tech vendor colors." [Digiday]

    "Lawyers want the famously discreet Beverly Hills Hotel to share its secrets." Frances Stead Sellers writes: "Records of Donald Trump’s stays at the hotel's exclusive bungalows have been subpoenaed in a defamation lawsuit brought by former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos - the first legal action to open the president’s private life to discovery." [Washington Post]

    From the archives...

    + On June 19, 1987, the comedy Roxanne hit theaters. Steve Martin, who also wrote this adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, starred as a big-hearted, and big-nosed fire chief who falls in love with a beautiful astronomer. Flashback review. 

    Today's birthdays: Paul Dano, 34, Aidan Turner, 35, Zoe Saldana, 40, Hugh Dancy, 43, Paula Abdul, 56, Jean Dujardin, 46, Phylicia Rashad, 70, Gena Rowlands, 88.