What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:20 AM 3/29/2018

by THR Staff

Courtesy of Adam Rose/ABC

What's news: Everyone (including the President) has a theory about why the Roseanne revival premiered to huge numbers. Plus: Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson are lining up new films, Discovery and Dish CEOs see their 2017 pay disclosed and a cultural appropriation debate rages about Wes Anderson's new movie. — Erik Hayden

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  • 'Isle of Dogs' Debate

    Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

    Where should we draw the line between ripping off and paying homage to another culture? Columnist Marc Bernardin tackles the cultural appropriation debate around Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs: 

    The question of who gets to make what art is a thorny one. Are we allowed, as artists, to tell stories that move us, or are we supposed to pass some kind of test to be allowed to tell those stories?

    And who is grading that test? If I’m, say, a Mexican filmmaker who loves giant robots and giant monsters, do I have to present myself to an anime gatekeeper for permission? Full column. 

    Elsewhere in film... 

    Hugh Jackman lines up new feature. The actor is in talks to star in Automatik's Bad Education from Thoroughbreds helmer Cory Finley. The script was written by Mike Makowsky with Fred Berger of La La Land fame producing.

    Scarlett Johansson in talks for Taika Waititi's World War II film. The actress is joining the Thor: Ragnarok helmer's Jojo Rabbit, a Fox Searchlight project set in Nazi-era Germany. Production is set to begin in the spring. 

    Wonder Woman 2 casts Narcos star. Pedro Pascal is joining the DC universe in an unspecified role for the Warner Bros. follow-up that will be set in the 1980s against the backdrop of the Cold War.

    Reed Morano in talks to direct Anne Frank movie. Fresh off of her Emmy win for The Handmaid's Tale, the director is eyeing a Fox Searchlight drama about the search for a publisher of Frank's diary.

    The Chi star books rom-com. Jacob Latimore has joined K.J. Apa in The Last Summer, a romantic comedy from financier Gulfstream Pictures and director William Bindley.

    ^Ready Player One could qualify for ... an animated Oscar. Carolyn Giardina notes: "All scenes in the Oasis — which makes up an estimated 90 minutes of the movie's two hours and 20 minutes run time — are CG and were created with virtual production techniques." An animated movie?

    New Regency/Fox Searchlight pick up prison musical. The production company and studio have teamed for an untitled prison dance movie from Ben Sinclair, the co-creator of HBOs High Maintenance, and cannabis journalist Abdullah Saeed. 

    Blumhouse plans left vs. right thriller. Damon Lindelof is teaming with Blumhouse and Universal for The Hunt with Craig Zobel on board to direct. The film is described as a subversive feature that takes its cues from the current political climate in America.

    ► Sally Hawkins to produce psychological thriller. The Shape of Water actress lands her first executive-producing gig for Cordelia, a film about the 2005 terrorist bombing in London. Antonia Campbell-Hughes plays the title character.

    Handmaid's Tale star moves from TV to film. Actress Yvonne Strahovski has joined Noomi Rapace in Angel of Mine, the upcoming Australian thriller. The film is produced by Brian and Josh Etting of Garlin Pictures, alongside Su Armstrong of SixtyFourSixty.

    Lone Scherfig casts ensemble for New York film. Bill Nighy, Jay Baruchel and Caleb Landry Jones have boarded Danish director Scherfig’s untitled project, previously called the Secrets From the Russian Tea Room movie.

    ► Cannes enlists Christopher Nolan for 70mm Space Odyssey. The director will be on the Croisette to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick's sci-fi epic, introducing the world premiere of an unrestored print edition of the film on May 12. Details.

     

  • 'Roseanne' Reasoning

    Courtesy of Adam Rose/ABC

    Roseanne's return to ABC was a hit across the U.S. on Tuesday night, but New York and Los Angeles were not the markets where the show was the most dominant, Michael O'Connell notes: 

    According to Nielsen Media's metered-market ratings, which show tune-in by households in 56 of America's biggest metropolitan areas, Roseanne scored the highest in ... Tulsa, Oklahoma. The country's No. 62 market, with just over 500,000 TV-watching households, outperformed the national average by 60 percent with an average 19.0 overnight rating.

    The market with the highest percentage of TV-watching households tuned into the show was also in the Central Time Zone. An impressive 29 percent of Kansas City's Tuesday TV audience was watching Roseanne.

    + Roseanne's 10 highest-rated markets: 1. Tulsa, Oklahoma 2. Cincinnati, Ohio 3. Kansas City, Missouri 4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 5. Chicago, Illinois 6. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 7. Detroit, Michigan 8. Buffalo, New York 9. St. Louis, Missouri 10. Indianapolis, Indiana.

    + Roseanne's 10 lowest-rated markets: 1. Greensboro, North Carolina 2. San Francisco, California 3. Jacksonville, Florida 4. Miami, Florida 5. New Orleans, Louisiana 6. Providence, Rhode Island 7. Salt Lake City, Utah 8. Memphis, Tennessee 9. San Diego, California 10. Baltimore, Maryland. Full ratings I Trump effect? I Trump calls Roseanne.

    New TV exec payday disclosures... 

    Discovery CEO David Zaslav's 2017 pay package amounted to $42.2 million, compared with $37.2 million in 2016 and $32.4 million in 2015. Details.

    Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen was awarded $2.4 million for running the satellite TV service in 2017, up 41 percent. The drivers were stock option and stock awards of $654,033 and $6,389, respectively, compared with none in 2016. Details.

    Elsewhere in TV... 

    Study: TV ad spending declined by $1 billion in 2017. A research report by eMarketer predicts that the advertising decline will continue in 2018 and 2019, resulting in an overall loss of $1.05 billion over the next two years.

    Fire and Fury series finds director. The adaptation of Michael Wolff's best-selling Trump White House book has landed a high-profile director: Jay Roach, who won an Emmy for HBO's Game Change. A network has yet to be attached to the drama.

    Netflix finds its Prince Philip for The Crown... Following a prolonged deal making period, Tobias Menzies will take over the role of Philip from Matt Smith for seasons three and four of the drama from Sony Pictures Television Studios.

    ► ...orders Frank Miller drama series... The streaming giant has handed out a 10-episode, straight-to-series order for Cursed, a reimagining of the tale hailing from from comic book great Miller and Tom Wheeler. It is based on the duo's upcoming book. 

    ...and commits to John Mulaney. The stand-up comedian has inked a multi-special pact with Netflix. Exactly how many he's signed up for is being kept under wraps, but the first special will premiere globally May 1.

    ^ABC's Alex, Inc., reviewed. Inkoo Kang's take: "Alex, Inc. may technically be a TV translation of the popular StartUp podcast, but it feels more accurate to say that the Zach Braff vehicle is Shark Tank reimagined as a family sitcom." Full review. 

    + Early takes: Vulture: "Not worth the download." USA Today: "A podcaster's nightmare." Newsday: "Even Scrubs fave Zach Braff can’t have it all."

    Hulu unveils Handmaid's Tale season 2 trailer. Showrunner Bruce Miller maintains that Margaret Atwood's book and the author will have both a literal and figurative presence and will continue to fuel the direction of the show. Watch. 

    CBS plans Vivica A. Fox talk show. The network is launching a new syndicated talk show hosted by actress and producer Vivica A. Fox. Coming this fall, Face the Truth is described a conflict-resolution talk show. It hails from Jay McGraw’s Stage 29 Productions.

    NBC promotes alternative exec Sahara Bushue. Broadcast's most robust reality operation is promoting one of its own: programming exec Sahara Bushue has been upped to senior vp, overseeing formatting, budgeting, staffing, casting, production and postproduction.

  • 'Beetlejuice' to Stage

    Warner Bros./Photofest

    Say it three times and the degenerate demon made famous by Michael Keaton in the Tim Burton comedy will reappear, this time as the skeevy song-and-dance protagonist of a new stage musical, David Rooney writes: 

    Beetlejuice: The Musical will play a pre-Broadway world-premiere engagement at Washington, D.C.'s National Theatre, beginning performances in October. That venue recently hosted the out-of-town tryout of Tina Fey's Mean Girls musical, which is now in previews on Broadway. Full story. 

    What else we're reading...

    "Didn’t like that new album? Another one is coming." Neil Shah writes: "The sea of music that the industry is producing has both artists and fans feeling submerged." [Wall Street Journal]

    "Sharon Stone’s next act." Julie Miller's profile: "The actress looks back on the moment she stopped trying to be likable, the insecurity she overcame, and her Time’s Up regret." [Vanity Fair]

    "Can social media be saved?" Kevin Roose's column: "They exploit our data and make us unhappy. They spread misinformation and undermine democracy." [New York Times]

    "Here are all the references in Ready Player One." Abraham Riesman attempts "to list as many of them as we could notice and scribble down in the darkened theater." [Vulture]

    "Can NBC and USA make the Beverly Hills Dog Show an Easter viewing tradition?" Valli Herman notes: "Like the Oscars, handlers, breeders, owners and dog fans are abuzz with nerves." [Los Angeles Times]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "(Go, go, go) Go to Puerto Rico." [Samantha Bee]

    + "Dana Carvey hired a young, desperate Stephen Colbert." [Late Show]

    + "Hillary Swank has some unique wine tasting methods." [Late Late Show]

    + "How Marcel is bringing old Hollywood glamour to Atlanta." [THR]

    Today in 1959...

    + Some Like It Hot premieres in New York. Original review: "Another supersonic, breakneck, belly-laugh comedy that should be a block-busting bonanza at the box office." [THR Archives]

    Today's Birthdays: Ed Skrein, 35, Drake Doremus, 35, Lucy Lawless, 50, Michel Hazanavicius, 51, Amy Sedaris, 57, Annabella Sciorra, 58, Brendan Gleeson, 63.