What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:30 AM 10/9/2017

by THR Staff


What's news: Harvey Weinstein has been ousted, but the controversy is far from over. New allegations came to light over the weekend, his team is crumbling around him, and Meryl Streep spoke out today against the mogul. Plus: Blade Runner 2049 peters out at the box office, SNL stages a tribute to the victims of Las Vegas, and Fall TV's ratings trends are in (mostly). 

Also, hello there, a bit of housekeeping: I'm Ray Rahman and I'll be taking over the Today In Entertainment newsletter going forward. Everything you like about the newsletter will be there, and, as time goes on, you'll find new things to like about it as well. In the meantime, feel free to tweet me your thoughts, hopes, dreams, and fears. (If you're reading this on the web, you can sign up for this email here.) — Ray Rahman.

  • Harvey and Hollywood Harassment

    In the wake of Harvey Weinstein's fall from Hollywood grace, Kim Masters wonders if the industry will learn any lessons.

    Finally the dam has broken. Why now? Harvey’s luster has faded when it comes to picking movies, and for some years, he has not seemed as invincible as he once did. Maybe, as some have speculated, his brother has chosen this moment to do him in. I suspect that an internal Weinstein Co. memo in which an employee outlined alleged sexual harassment and other misconduct on Harvey's part may have provided the wedge that was needed to break the story, and who knows who slipped that into the hands of reporters?

    But it seems clear that in the wake of Bill Cosby and Fox News, women are less willing to stay silent. There has always been tension in the movie business over what to tolerate in the name of art or profit or, preferably, both. Roman Polanski and Woody Allen present the issue in sharp relief, and among producers, so has Harvey for the many who knew what was constantly alleged about him in whispers.

    Most in the industry — though not all — preferred to cling to an innocent-until-proven guilty rationalization or simply to look away. But now, even as adult audiences are hungrier than ever for the type of bold and brilliant movies that Harvey sent into the world, the consensus seems clear: The price is much too high to pay. Full column. 

    Weinstein weekend update... 

    + Weinstein Co. boots Harvey. The board made the decision to oust the mogul from his company at a meeting held Sunday afternoon. Statement: "In light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days, the directors of The Weinstein Company — Robert Weinstein, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar — have determined, and have informed Harvey Weinstein, that his employment with The Weinstein Company is terminated, effective immediately," read a statement from the TWC board.

    + What could happen with a Weinstein N.Y. Times lawsuit? Eriq Gardner writes: The mogul would face an uphill battle in quashing testimony of anyone who did wish to testify, experts say, because he's the one who would be putting the facts of the matter at issue by launching the litigation. Full story.

    + Meryl Streep speaks out. "The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar," the Oscar winner said. "Each brave voice that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game.”

    + Rose McGowan comments. "Men in Hollywood need to change ASAP," McGowan stated. "Hollywood’s power is dying because society has changed and grown, and yet Hollywood male behavior has not. It is so not a good look. In the way cooler than Hollywood world I live and work in, I am actually embarrassed to be associated with it."

    + Carol producer recalls incident involving another alleged victim. Elizabeth Karlsen says a young female exec who worked with Miramax told her that Weinstein had appeared naked in her bedroom thirty years ago.

    + Lisa Bloom resigns. The Harvey defender leaves his team, along with crisis-management team member Lanny Davis.

    + DNC gives away more than $30,000 worth of Weinstein donations. The Democratic organization said it will donate the money to EMILY’s List, Emerge America and Higher Heights.

    + John Oliver chimes in. On Sunday night, Oliver's Last Week Tonight became the first late-night show to address the controversy head-on.

    + So did Donald Trump. "I've known Harvey Weinstein for a long time," the president told reporters Saturday afternoon. "I'm not at all surprised."

    + Also Kathy Griffin. During her return to the stage last night in downtown L.A., the comedian took jabs at not just at Harvey but also Trump, Billy Bush, and other “deplorables.”

    Elsewhere in film...

    ^Some Oscar contenders are getting pushed to 2018. Tatiana Siegel writes: To make a bid for Oscar this year or wait until 2018? That was a key question that complicated the film acquisitions market at the year’s Toronto International Film Festival, where most sellers were looking for deals that included a 2017 release for their films so that they would qualify for Academy Award consideration this awards season. But not everyone got one. 

    + A number of films with strong acting performances — from The Children Act, starring Emma Thompson, to The Wife, starring Glenn Close, and On Chesil Beach, starring Saoirse Ronan — found buyers but won’t get an awards-qualifying birth this year, much to the dismay of their backers. A24 plans to release Children Act in 2018, and Sony Pictures Classics with The Wife and Bleecker Street with Chesil Beach plan to do the same — so should those films eventually score Oscar noms, they won’t be announced until 2019. Full story. 

    ► Blade Runner 2049 disappoints at box office. Despite strong reviews and a high audience approval rating, Denis Villeneuve's big-budget sci-fi sequel only pulled in $31.5 million, well below expectations. Still, the movie placed No. 1 for the weekend. Full story.

    + On the other hand, the film has reportedly secured a release date in China, which should boost its box office total.

    + The Mountain Between Us, meanwhile, took in $10.1 million, while It crossed $600 million globally. 

    ► Defy Media terminates Honest Trailers founder Andy Signore. The firing comes shortly after sexual abuse allegations against Signore came to light. 

    ► Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer to debut during Monday Night Football. The Disney film's new preview will drop at halftime of tonight's Vikings-Bears matchup on ESPN.

    New Justice League trailer brings in Henry Cavill. The film’s fourth trailer tackles the death of Superman head on.

    ► Marvel nixes Northrop Grumman partnership after backlash. The studio's attempt to team up with a bona fide defense technology company rubbed fans the wrong way.

  • Fall TV Ratings Trends

    Courtesy of ABC; Courtesy of CBS; Courtesy of NBC; Courtesy of FOX

    One week into October, and what do we know about the Fall TV season so far? Armed with the latest live-plus ratings, Michael O'Connell assesses the health and safety of the season's new series:

    Two weeks into the broadcast networks' new season, there are at least three definite winners, one unimpeachable loser, and a whole lot of shrug emoji in between.

    + Young Sheldon (CBS) The Big Bang Theory spin-off's premiere is the biggest winner of the new season thus far, boasting 22.5 million total viewers (and a 5.5 rating in the demo) in its live-plus-seven numbers. It got the quickest back nine pickup a Big Four series has seen in years. 

    Will & Grace (NBC) A robust premiere brought in nearly 15 million viewers (with 4.6 in the demo), catapulting NBC's Thursday to highs not seen in a decade. Either way, a second season of 10 episodes was already ordered back in August. 

    The Good Doctor (ABC) A much-needed drama hit for ABC, the Doc premiered to a rather shocking 4.4 rating in the key demo and 19.2 million viewers—and, remarkable, it held all of its live numbers during the second week. A full season is on its way. 

    + The big loser thus far: ABC's Ten Days in the Valley, which only mustered a 0.8 rating even with a live-plus-three day lift. 

    + Stuck somewhere in the middle: The Orville (Fox), Ghosted (Fox), and Wisdom of the Crowd (CBS). Read the full story.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Jason Aldean honors Las Vegas and Tom Petty on SNL. The country singer delivered an emotional speech before performing "I Won't Back Down."

    + Elsewhere on SNL, host Gal Godot locked lips with Kate McKinnon (for quite some time) during a Wonder Woman skit. 

    + The show notably sidestepped any Harvey Weinstein humor; Lorne Michaels evidently thought the story was too insider-y for a national audience. 

    Hulu releases Castle Rock teaser. New and sufficiently spooky footage of the mysterious Stephen King/J.J. Abrams series dropped at New York Comic Con. 

    Mike Pence walked out of NFL game over kneeing players. Trump said he specifically asked the VP to leave the 49ers-Colts game if any players protested during the anthem.

    ^Ella Purnell cast in Starz's Sweetbitter. The 21-year-old British actress will play the lead role in the premium cabler's adaptation of the bestselling novel.

    Comedian Ralphie May dies at 45. Comics around the industry mourned after learning of the stand-up's death last Friday due to cardiac arrest. 

    McDonald's plans even more Szechuan sauce for Rick and Morty fans. In a bid to appease those who left stores empty-handed during the weekend's promotion, the fast-food chain will take another stab at it this winter.

    BAFTA adds shortform category. Both the organization's TV and TV Craft Awards added shortform series and single shorts to their ceremonies.

     Jerry Seinfeld responds to Steve Bannon profiting From Seinfeld. When asked if he felt "responsible for the 'alt-right'" during a Q&A following his talk with David Remnick at the New Yorker Festival on Friday night, Seinfeld replied, "No," adding that it was tough for him to have issues with any of the faceless investors involved. Details. 


  • V.R. Takeover Is Nigh

    Illustration by Lars Leetaru

    A new study finds that one-third of global consumers are expected to use VR technology by 2020, Paul Bond writes:

    Something missing from the TV experience since video-on-demand and streaming media changed the dynamics is the so-called watercooler effect, whereby so many viewers watch the same episode of the same popular show on the same night then discuss it the next day at work.

    Virtual reality, though, is set to reintroduce a similar sort of social aspect back into television, according to a study from Ericsson ConsumerLab that claims to represent the views of 1 billion media consumers worldwide.

    "VR will reignite the campfire experience of TV," according to the study, set for release today. The study says 10 percent of consumers already use a VR device in some capacity, largely in videogaming, while more than 25 percent are planning to purchase one. Full story. 

    What else we're reading... 

    "For Disney chief Robert Iger, an unlikely political turn." Jim Rutenberg writes: "He is emerging as credible contender in the 2020 presidential speculation game." [The New York Times]

    — "There can never be another Spielberg." Sean Fennessey writes: "If the whiz kid from Phoenix had never come along, Hollywood would have had to invent him." [The Ringer]

    — "Here's why so many women knew the rumors about Harvey Weinstein." Anne Helen Petersen writes: "For women, knowledge of abusive men—obtained via gossip or whisper networks—isn't frivolous or titillating. It is a means of survival." [Buzzfeed News

    "The glorious bullshit of Reservoir Dogs, twenty-five years later." Tom Shone writes: "Nothing about Reservoir Dogs, though, has aged quite as badly as the original reviews." [The New Yorker]

    "Revisiting Star Trek's most political episode." Robert Greene II writes: "In 1995, the Deep Space Nine installment 'Past Tense' stood out for its realistic, near-future vision of racism and economic justice." [The Atlantic

    "Vince Vaughn is a beast like you've never seen him before in Brawl in Cell Block 99." Jen Yamato writes: "The actor, now 47, comes full circle in a way, channeling a disquieting combination of blue-collar rage and hurt into his fists." [The Los Angeles Times]

    What's ahead this week...

    Monday: The CW premieres military drama Valor

    Tuesday: Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok premieres in L.A.

    Wednesday: The CW premieres its Dynasty reboot ... USA rolls out Mr. Robot season 3.

    Thursday: Same Kind of Different As Me, starring Greg Kinnear and Renée Zellweger, premieres in L.A. ... Hulu premieres the Sarah Silverman-hosted variety show I Love You, America ... BET premieres new late-night entry The Rundown With Robin Thede

    Friday: amFar honors Julia Roberts at its annual gala in L.A. ... Netflix releases the first season of David Fincher's FBI period drama Mindhunter ... Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, Marshall, The Foreigner, and Happy Death Day hit theaters in wide release. 

    Today's birthdays: Bella Hadid, 21, Chris O'Dowd, 38, Steve McQueen, 48, Pete Docter, 49, Guillermo del Toro, 53, Scott Bakula, 63, Tony Shalhoub, 64, Sharon Osbourne, 65.