What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:18 AM 3/26/2018

by Ray Rahman

60 Minutes/YouTube

What's news: It's been a rough month at the box office — unless Steven Spielberg can save it. Plus: Stormy Daniels tells all (or at least a lot) on 60 Minutes, Tom Arnold reviews the new version of his old show Roseanne, Call Me by Your Name gets a ban in China and the accused president of the Academy breaks his silence. — Ray Rahman

  • Stormy's '60 Minutes'

    60 Minutes/YouTube

    The adult film star's interview with the CBS News program aired last night as promised, writes Ryan Parker:

    The affair: Daniels, aka Stephanie Clifford, gave more insight into an alleged affair with Donald Trump that she says took place in 2006, when he was the host of NBC's Celebrity Apprentice — and says that he enticed her with the prospect of landing a spot on the show.

    Clifford told Anderson Cooper she realized she was breaking the nondisclosure agreement she signed in return for a payment of $130,000, but that it was necessary for her to speak out now.

    “Because people are just saying whatever they wanted to say about me, I was perfectly fine saying nothing at all, but I'm not OK with being made out to be a liar, or people thinking that I did this for money and people are like, “Oh, you’re an opportunist.'”

    "This is not a #MeToo," she added. “I was not a victim. I've never said I was a victim. I think trying to use me to further someone else's agenda does horrible damage to people who are true victims.” Read all the details from her interview.

    Critic's notebook: “It's come to this,” writes Frank Scheck. “In a contest between a porn star and the president of the United States as to which of them has the most dignity, the porn star wins. Hands down.” Read more.

    What people are saying:

    + Time: "When it comes to defining public opinion through the power of television, the reality-show presidency may just have met its match."

    + New Yorker: "This story is very much about the President’s poor legal judgment."

    + L.A. Times: "If the interview appeared to be less catastrophic than some had hoped (or feared) — it was more a nasty squall than a Category 5 hurricane — the full extent of the damage might not be known for some time."

    Claire Foy talks pay gap...

    Silence broken: “I’m surprised because I’m at the center of it, and anything that I’m at the center of like that is very very odd, and feels very very out of ordinary,” Foy told EW. “But I’m not [surprised about the interest in the story] in the sense that it was a female-led drama. But I know that Matt feels the same that I do, that it’s odd to find yourself at the center [of a story] that you didn’t particularly ask for.”

    Jared Harris' take: “I think it’s an embarrassment for Left Bank Pictures," said the actor who played King George VI in the series. "I understand they made an apology but, you know, an apology and a check would be more welcome. She worked longer hours. Her performance is a huge reason why this thing is going to have a season three, four, five, and six…send her a paycheck and, in retrospect, bring her pay up to parity.”

    Some Deadpool news...

    Exits: FX is exiting Marvel's planned Deadpool animated TV series, and Donald Glover and Stephen Glover will no longer be involved with the show. (They were set to serve as showrunners on what was described as an animated adult action-comedy series.)

    It's unclear if Marvel Television will shop the series elsewhere — or if it could wind up on Disney's planned direct-to-consumer subscription service. Read more.

    Barry Diller talks...

    Maureen Dowd's piece: She asked for the IAC chairman's thoughts on the current moment in Hollywood, and she got them: "I hope in the future for some form of reconciliation. Because I think all men are guilty. I’m not talking about rape and pillage. I’m not talking about Harvey-esque. I’m talking about all of the spectrum."

    He went on: "Are we really going to have only capital punishment? Because right now, that’s what we have. You get accused, you’re obliterated. Charlie Rose ceases to exist.”

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Simon Cowell's next show: The BBC has commissioned the America's Got Talent judge's Syco Entertainment and Thames (part of FremantleMedia U.K.) to make The Greatest Dancer, a new Saturday night show set to search for the U.K.'s best dancer. 

    Kathy Griffin's comeback continues: The comedian tweeted that she planned to attend this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner, a pointed move after the backlash of her Trump beheading photo.

    Stranger Things 3 intel: While at PaleyFest, executive producer Shawn Levy revealed that the Netflix show’s third season would take place one year after the second season, during the summer of 1985, and that “Dad Steve” would be back.

    He also discussed relationships: "Mike and Eleven and are going strong, so that's a relationship that continues, and same with Mad Max and Lucas. But again, they're like 13- or 14-year-old kids, so what does romance mean at that stage of life?” Read more.

    Tom Arnold reviews the Roseanne reboot...

    If I can watch it, so can you: “Bottom line: If you want to watch a show because it's the voice of your political point of view, right or left, do not watch the Roseanne reboot,” writes the show’s famously fired writer-producer (and Barr’s onetime husband). “You'll be disappointed. But if you're a fan of the original Roseanne, especially the glory years — you know, the 'Tom Arnold years' — this is as good as it's going to get.” Full review.

  • Box Office Down

    Courtesy of Legendary Pictures/Universal Pictures

    It's been a rough March at the box office — so far, at least. Pamela McClintock writes:

    The month: So far, March releases have grossed a combined $351 million at the North American box office, the worst showing in years after a handful of big-budget offerings failed to bloom in a major way.

    Last year, March films generated north of $1.3 billion in domestic ticket sales, led by Beauty and the Beauty, Logan and Kong: Skull Island. And in 2016, that same stat was $1 billion. 2018's disappointing March performances included Tomb Raider, A Wrinkle in Time and Pacific Rim: Uprising (see below). 

    The last hope for redemption? Steven Spielberg's pricey Ready Player One, opens in theaters Thursday, the eve of Easter weekend. Full story.

    The weekend: Pacific Rim: Uprising was the film to finally dethrone Black Panther at the domestic box office, opening to $28 million from 2,850 theaters over the weekend. While coming in ahead of tracking, that's still a troublesome start for a movie that cost $155 million to produce before marketing. The film was a far bigger player overseas, where it debuted to $122.5 million, including $65 million in China.

    Specialty: Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs barked up $1.57 million from 27 theaters over the weekend, making it the biggest opening weekend of the director's career. (His films typically debut in four or fewer theaters in New York and L.A.)

    Conversely, Steven Soderbergh's Unsane took in a meager $3.9 million from 2,023 theaters — making it his lowest ever nationwide opening weekend.

    The rest: Panther banked another $16.7 million in its sixth weekend on its way to another record; Sherlock Gnomes opened to $10.6 million; and the faith-based Paul, Apostle of Christ took in $5 million. Full story.

    The Academy scandal...

    John Bailey breaks his silence: After lawyering up earlier this week, the Academy president broke his silence about a sexual misconduct investigation into his past behavior in a Saturday memo to Academy staff in which he called the media reports "false" and said they "have served only to tarnish my 50 year career."

    Details: Bailey also specifies the allegations in the memo, saying that there was a "single named complaint" involving inappropriate touching while on a transport van on a movie set. Bailey categorically denies the claim, saying, "That did not happen."

    He added: "While there have been well documented instances of individuals in this industry not treating women with respect, I am not one of them." Full memo.

    News out of China...

    Beijing International Film Festival drops Call Me by Your Name: No explanation was given for the sudden removal of the Oscar-winning film from the event's lineup, but industry insiders point to the government's consistent stance of intolerance toward gay content.

    "It was on our original lineup, but it has since been removed," said a festival employee who asked not to be named because of the issue's sensitivity. "The Beijing festival has always followed the guidelines of those at the top."

    HQ's Hollywood play...

    Report: Per Ad Age, "The app has a deal with Warner Bros. worth $3 million to promote three movies, starting with Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One, according to the people with knowledge of the terms. During Sunday night's contest, the fan-favorite host Scott Rogowsky is expected to announce a $250,000 jackpot and the sponsorship tie-in for Wednesday's game. "

    About the Cannes changes...

    Critic's notebook: "Artistic director Thierry Fremaux has upended the festival's press policy, obliging critics to watch competition movies at the same time, or after, they're seen by the public," writes Jordan Mintzer. "But is it that big a deal? That Fremaux and his team want to avoid red-carpet blues for their invitees is certainly their prerogative, and it’s doubtful that anyone on the filmmaking side is going to complain.…" Read more.

  • 'Angels in America' Review

    Courtesy of Brinkoff & Mögenburg

    Tony Kushner's masterwork returns with Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane. David Rooney writes:

    There's a wealth of specific references throughout Angels in America to pinpoint the time frame of Tony Kushner's glorious epic canvas to the mid-1980s — the AIDS crisis was at its height, Reaganomics was reshaping the future, damage to the ozone layer was setting off alarm bells, and Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost policy reforms were bringing an end to the Cold War.

    But don't let that fool you into thinking this landmark theatrical diptych is a sociopolitical history lesson. For evidence of how relevant the drama remains more than 25 years after it was first produced, just observe Nathan Lane's virtuoso turn as far-right power broker Roy M. Cohn. That litigious, biliously profane bully systematically denies his homosexuality, his illness and any other inconvenient truth, defining himself with one blunt little word: clout. Full review.

    In other news...

    Hollywood protests: As thousands of students showed up to March for Our Lives demonstrations nationwide Saturday, major figures in Hollywood also appeared to lend their support to the anti-gun violence demonstration. Kim Kardashian, Nick Offerman, George Clooney, Cynthia Nixon, Laura Dern, Willow and Jaden Smith and David and Jeffrey Katzenberg were among those who attended marches in Los Angeles, New York and Washington. Read more.

    Zuck's ad: Mark Zuckerberg took out an ad in Sunday's New York Times (as well as multiple other papers in the U.S. and U.K.) to once more address the controversy surrounding Facebook. "We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can't, we don't deserve it," the CEO reiterated in the ad. Read more.

    Louis Vuitton's new artistic director: The job has gone to Virgil Abloh, making him the first African-American menswear designer for the fashion house. He'll relocate to Paris for the position and will continue his work as creative director of Off-White.

    What else we're reading...

    — "Apple goes to Hollywood. Will its story have a happy ending?" John Koblin writes: "Apple’s plans to make itself into a big player in the entertainment industry are now coming into focus." [The New York Times]

    — "TV's death by a thousand streaming apps." Tara Lachapelle writes in a column: "Media companies are scrambling to get bigger and create their own online-video services, which don't make much money or even meet consumers' needs." [Bloomberg]

    — "Children's YouTube is still churning out blood, suicide and cannibalism." K.G. Orphanides writes: "Children's search terms on YouTube are still awash with bizarre and sometimes disturbing bootleg content. Can anything be done to stem the tide?" [Wired]

    — "The Good Doctor is bringing the 10 p.m. broadcast drama back to life and might save ABC, too." Jason Lynch writes: "The breakout medical drama could finally get the network out of fourth place." [Adweek]

    — "The many eras of Al Pacino's stardom." David Sims runs through "Some of the best, and strangest, performances given by the legendary actor, who helped reshape Hollywood's masculine ideal." [The Atlantic]

    — "Killer Mike appeared on NRATV and people have questions." Terrell Jermaine Starr digs into the rapper's controversial interview with the gun lobby's TV arm. [Splinter]

    What else we're hearing...

    + "Sean Penn." Penn talks about leaving acting behind. [WTF With Marc Maron]

    + "Al Pacino and Barry Levinson." The men discuss Dog Day Afternoon, Heat and more. [The Bill Simmons Podcast/Ringer]

    What's happening this week...

    Monday:The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling debuts on HBO.... The Terror debuts on AMC.... One Strong Rock debuts on NatGeo.

    Tuesday: The Roseanne reboot and Splitting Up Together debut on ABC.

    Wednesday: Alex, Inc. debuts on ABC.... The Americans final season premieres on FX.... Marcia Clark Investigates the First 48 debuts on A&E.

    Friday: Ready Player One hits theaters nationwide.

    Today's Birthdays: Jonathan Groff, 33, Keira Knightley, 33, Natasha Leggero, 44, Leslie Mann, 46, Martin McDonagh, 48, Michael Imperioli, 52, Martin Short, 68, Steven Tyler, 70, Diana Ross, 74, Bob Woodward, 75, James Caan, 78, Alan Arkin, 84.