What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:45 AM 10/12/2017

by THR Staff

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What's news: Harvey Weinstein's done, but is this it for The Weinstein Company as well? The company debates its future, if there is one at all. Plus: More Harvey allegations, Trump threatens NBC, and Happy Death Day's potential box office coup. — Ray Rahman

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  • What Did Weinstein Co. Know?

    We are just one week removed from the initial New York Times story that exposed Harvey Weinstein's decades of alleged sexual misconduct. Just nine days ago, Weinstein told THR in advance of the Times report that, "The story sounds so good, I want to buy the movie rights." And last weekend, Lorne Michaels said SNL didn't include any jabs at Weinstein because he thought it was just "a New York thing."

    Now everyone's talking about whether the company can survive the claims. Here's Time mag's new cover story:

    Meanwhile...

    NYPD OPENS INVESTIGATION "Based on information referenced in published news reports the NYPD is conducting a review to determine if there are any additional complaints relating to the Harvey Weinstein matter. No filed complaints have been identified as of this time," read a New York police department statement

    THE COMPANY As Harvey Weinstein falls, so falls The Weinstein Company? TWC faces an existential crisis at the moment thanks to a new Times report that the company knew in 2015 about Harvey's payouts to three or four women. The board is faced with a decision about whether to attempt to salvage the business under a new name or simply liquidate it altogether, an option that sources say is being considered. 

    + Liquidation could make sense, as the company could now be exposed to potential investor and victim lawsuits. Still, TWC leaders and its 35 or so employees are said to be strongly leaning toward an attempt to keep the company going. "If we quit, he wins in a way," said one staffer. 

    + In the meantime, TWC might delay the Nov. 24 release of The Current War, its Oscar hopeful starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch has already released a statement saying he was "utterly disgusted" by the Weinstein allegations. 

    THE MAN As for Harvey Weinstein himself, he has added criminal lawyers to his legal team. Blair Berk, a criminal defense attorney who has represented the likes of Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan, is one of the additions to Team Weinstein. 

    + Weinstein has also commented on his wife Georgina Chapman's decision to leave him. "I am profoundly devastated," he said. "I have lost my wife and kids, whom I love more than anything else."

    + Yesterday, Los Angeles police responded to an incident involving the Weinstein family. The incident is still murky, and authorities have declined to share details about the initial call that was placed. 

    + Elsewhere, what's left of Weinstein's professional entanglements are beginning to untangle. The Academy has called the producer's alleged actions "repugnant" and "abhorrent." But will the Oscars organization be moved to do more than write a strongly worded letter? Further actions will be discussed at an emergency meeting this Saturday. Across the pond, BAFTA has already suspended his membership. And Disney terminated Weinstein as a producer on upcoming film Artemis Fowl.

    THE WOMEN More stories are coming to light. Cara Delevingne shared a "terrifying" hotel-room encounter with Weinstein. Lea Seydoux said Weinstein once "jumped on" her and tried to kiss her. Tomi-Ann Roberts spoke to ABC's Nightline about her "petrifying" experience with the producer. Mira Sorvino said she was no longer living in fear of Weinstein. 

    + Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein's early accusers, received a suspension from Twitter last night, apparently because of tweets directed at Ben Affleck. Others in the industry were not happy about it.

    THE INDUSTRY Seth MacFarlane commented on the Harvey Weinstein joke he told at the 2013 Oscars, revealing that his Ted co-star Jessica Barth had confided her own Weinstein story with him. The joke "came from a place of loathing and anger," the comedian said.

    + And more comments are rolling in from stars around Hollywood. Statements: Julianne Moore. Former Focus Features head James Schamus. Blake Lively. Ewan McGregor. Cannes Film Festival director Thierry FremauxTamron Hall

    + The scandal has prompted James Van Der Beek to share his own stories of harassment from "older, powerful men" when he was a young actor. 

    + After condemning Weinstein earlier in the week, Ben Affleck got caught in his own misconduct scandal when actress Hilarie Burton revived her claim that Affleck groped her on MTV's TRL in 2003. Affleck apologized for the incident. 

    THE MEDIA Questions are still swirling about how and why NBC neglected to run the story that Ronan Farrow eventually published in The New Yorker. The network had the audio for months, as well as on-camera interviews with victims. The strange series of developments has many NBC News staffers somewhere between demoralized and outraged.

    + Essential reading: A feminist film critic in the Age of Weinstein. — Sara Stewart, THR. Harvey Weinstein is gone. But Hollywood still has a problem. — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times. The Weinstein Company is now too toxic for the Oscars. — Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly.  Why did Lisa Bloom do it? — Katie Knibbs, The Ringer.

    Elsewhere in film...

    ^Box office: Happy Death Day to scare off competition. The horror film looks poised to be the top newcomer of the weekend, with a $15M-20M projection range — which might even be enough to top Blade Runner 2049 in its second week. Jackie Chan's The Foreigner is slated for a debut in the mid-teens, while Marshall and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is expected to hit the $3M-5M zone. Full forecast.

    + Marvel Studios and Disney's Thor: Ragnarok is tracking to open to a thunderous $90M-$100M in its North American debut over the Nov. 3-5 weekend.

    Gal Gadot circling Nazi revenge film. The Wonder Woman star is in talks for Ruin, a post-WWII revenge thriller. The film centers on a former Nazi captain who, as a way of making up for his crimes, hunts down kills his former team of SS officers in Germany. It's unclear what Gadot's part would be. 

    Stephen King Talisman movie nabs Josh Boone to write. Amblin Entertainment tapped the Fault in Our Stars director to pen the script for the adaptation of the 1984 King novel. 

    Tommy Lee Jones cast in Stoner adaptation. He joins Casey Affleck in the Joe Wright-directed realization of the critically acclaimed 1965 John Williams novel.

    John Cameron Mitchell to host Gotham Awards. The independent film ceremony takes place in New York on Nov. 27, an event that traditionally signals the official star of Oscar season.

    Florida Project director discusses film's ending. Sean Baker reveals all about his critically acclaimed Oscar contender.

  • Trump's NBC Feud Escalates

    Screengrab

    The commander-in-chief threatened the network that aired Apprentice series, saying he would take away the Peacock's license if the news division kept broadcasting "fake news." Daniel Feinberg writes:

    So amid all the negative news that has been reported regarding the current administration and its internal tumult, our president has decided that this is the hill upon which he wants to throw periodic Twitter hissy fits and issue strange challenges of IQ tests — the sort of low-brow social media kerfuffle our nation hasn't seen since President Warren Harding lashed out on telegraph at Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes for claiming he was unable to properly dance the Charleston, a charge that went unanswered due to Harding's tragic death in August of 1923. Trump has been well and truly peacucked.

    Would this hurt as much if NBC News weren't part of the NBC family that essentially birthed Trump as the figure he is today? The Apprentice re-elevated Trump's profile from "Frequently bankrupted Home Alone 2 guest star and stuffed crust aficionado" to "Huge TV star and still-relevant titan of industry," and then NBC stood by Trump and kept giving him a platform even as he launched a hostile and speculative delegitimizing campaign against the first African-American president. Full column.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Shonda Rhimes, original SNL cast joining TV Academy hall of fame. The honorees will be celebrated at Nov. 14 ceremony in L.A.

    Grey's Anatomy spinoff casts its captain. Speaking of Shonda Rhimes, her upcoming firefighter-focused offshoot casts Miguel Sandobal to play the role of Capt. Pruitt.

    Ironside actress Elizabeth Bauer dies at 69. She passed away Sept. 30 in Los Angeles, her publicist announced. 

    13 Reasons Why shuts down production amid California wildfires. The Netflix drama's second season, filmed in areas ravaged by the fires, was put on temporary production hiatus

    ^Making of SpongeBob's stop-motion Halloween special. The special, subtitled "The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom, features a mix of animation, hand drawings, marionettes, and hand puppets. Full story.

    Being Mary Jane to end in 2018. The BET series will conclude with a two-hour movie.

    Chelsea Handler develops I Hate the Internet for TNT. The comedian will help turn Jarett Kobek's bestseller into a potential dram series. 

    Andy Cohen replaces Kathy Griffin as CNN New Year's Eve co-host. After Griffin was fired for a controversial Trump-related image, Cohen will join his friend Anderson Cooper for the annual broadcast.

    MSNBC beefs up Sunday lineup. Riding high on recent ratings growth, the network plans to add more live programming, including a two-hour show hosted by Capitol Hill correspondent Kasie Hunt.

    ► Daniel Dae Kim inks first-look pact with ITV Studios America. The Hawaii Five-0 and Lost album will develop scripted TV projects for the studio.

     

  • One Year After a Threat

    Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images

    In a week full of unfortunate stories about sexual misconduct, another one passes the one-year mark. On Oct. 12, 2016, the New York Times published a story in which two women alleged that then-candidate-Trump had groped them. He threatened to sue, but now it looks like he's let it go, Eriq Gardner writes in his new analysis. Full story.

    What else we're reading...

    Daisy Ridley on Star Wars and superfans. Gaby Wood writes: "When we meet, Ridley has been seen by the general public in only one film. But because that film is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she has been thrust into a limelight comparable only, perhaps, to the attention directed at Harry Potter upon his arrival at Hogwarts." [Vogue]

    — Magazine of the Living Dead: The bloody rise and frightful fall of FangoriaClark Collis writes: "It is hard to overestimate the New York-based magazine’s importance to the horror genre. The truth is that for much of its life-span — and in particular during the pre-Internet age — the magazine was pretty much the only source of in-depth information about a type of film most media outlets considered too disreputable to cover." [Entertainment Weekly]

    — Real moviegoers don't care about Rotten Tomatoes. Richard Brody responds to Scorsese's THR guest column: "I think that film criticism is, over all, better than ever, because, with its new Internet-centrism, it’s more democratic than ever and many of the critics who write largely online are more film-curious than ever." [The New Yorker]

    Dynasty or Dallas? Squaring off in the lily pond. Alexandra Jacobs and Patrick Healy write: "Who was the villain you loved more, J.R. or Alexis?" [The New York Times]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Hockey-obsessed Margot Robbie is an honorary Mighty Duck." [Tonight Show]

    + "Renée Zellweger on friendship with Matthew McConaughey." [Jimmy Kimmel Live!]

    + "Andrew Garfield says world doesn't need movie stars." [Late Show]

    Today's birthdays: Josh Hutcherson, 25, Kirk Cameron, 47, Hugh Jackman, 49, Richard Price, 68, Chris Wallace, 70.

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