What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:23 AM 5/14/2018

by THR Staff

Illustration by: Matt Collins

What's news: This year's Cannes market is finally heating up with deals (despite Netflix's muted presence). Plus: CBS sues the Redstones to block the Viacom merger, Fox bets big on Deadpool 2 and where the television landscape stands after a renewal and cancellation frenzy. — Erik Hayden

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Breaking -> Eriq Gardner writes: In a move that escalates an internal battle for control, CBS has filed a lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court against Shari Redstone, Sumner Redstone and National Amusements, Inc. The court is asked to stop Redstone from interfering with a meeting later this week that could dilute her company's voting interest in CBS. Full story.

  • Cannes Dealmaking

    Getty

    All was relatively quiet on the Cannes market front until Saturday morning, when Universal closed a $20 million deal for U.S. rights to the female-fronted action film 355, Tatiana Siegel and Scott Roxborough write: 

    Just two days earlier, the film’s stars Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing and Lupita Nyong'o created the festival’s best photo op during their presentation to U.S. and foreign buyers at the Majestic. The ensuing fanfare did the trick with 355 landing a wide release commitment, still the holy grail for independently financed films.

    To watch: Netflix’s muted presence at the market. The streaming giant, which has been locked in a battle with the festival over its films being banned from competition, has closed just one deal, buying the animated pic Next Gen. Though the price tag eclipsed 355’s by $10 million, it generated far less buzz given that the film’s voice cast is lesser known, and the project itself was not considered high profile. Amazon has made even less noise this market, buying nothing to date. Full market report. 

    A24 in talks to nab Gaspar Noe’s sex-fueled ClimaxNever a company to shy from sensationalism, the distributor emerged as the likely suitor for the director's latest bacchanal that stars Sofia Boutella as a dancer who finds pleasure in a no-rules forest orgy.

    Annapurna nabs Nicole Kidman cult thriller. Dubbed a modern-day L.A. thriller, the film was directed by Karyn Kusama (The Invitation). The film was one of the few on offering that was both female-directed and with a strong female protagonist.

    Saban Films takes Keira Knightley romance anthology. Marking its fourth acquisition of the Cannes market, the distributor has acquired North American rights to Berlin, I Love You, the latest chapter in the Cities of Love franchise. 

    Warner Bros. to co-produce Chinese tentpole. The studio has boarded actor-director Jiang Wen's forthcoming Hidden Man. The film is Jiang's first Chinese project since 2014's Gone With the Bullets, which earned $81 million.

    Tianying Media acquires Stan Lee sci-fi script. The Chinese company has acquired The Last Resort, a sci-fi screenplay co-written by Lee and Bob Underwood. The screenplay was partly inspired by Lee’s 1970s comic strip, The Virtue of Vera Valiant.

    **Extra! The Day 6 Hollywood Reporter print daily has arrived, featuring 56 pages of deals, reviews, exec interviews, news and festival happenings. PDF here.

    ^Cannes trailer: Lars Von Trier's new movie. Matt Dillon and Uma Thurman feature in the controversial Danish director's House That Jack Built, which premieres Monday at the festival. Full clip.

    Film4 to co-finance Armando Iannucci's new film. The Personal History of David Copperfield, which is set to star Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton and Hugh Laurie and is a hot item in Cannes, will mark the first time that Film4 has collaborated with the director. 

    The Orchard nabs Birds of Passage. The distributor made its first pickup of this year's Cannes market, acquiring North American rights to the Spanish-language film, directed by Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego. 

    Sony to take major stake in Snoopy IP holder. For the first entertainment acquisition under new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, the company is taking a 39 percent stake in Peanuts Holding for $185 million

    **Trend: Hollywood finally finds success at Indian box office. U.S. studios are seeing success by pivoting away from conventional Bollywood spectacles to making films with diverse subjects: "The idea is not to play safe, but to play smart." Full story.

    **Close look: Fox's Deadpool 2 marketing campaign. Ryan Reynolds isn't looking for respectability this time around, but maybe he's out to prove that the breakout hit wasn't a fluke. Full story.

    -> Signs of Cannes in decline? From a lack of star power to a noticeable dearth of the usual promotional billboards along the Croisette, the world's most prestigious film fest looked — and felt — much different this year. Pity the paparazzi.

  • TV's Ownership Push

    Eddy Chen/FOX

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine's surprising move to NBC and Fox's Last Man Standing revival are the latest examples of the broadcast networks' push to own their programming, Lesley Goldberg writes: 

    Andy Samberg's Brooklyn is produced by NBC's studio counterpart Universal Television, and its original sale to Fox was considered a big win for the studio when it originally landed at the network back in 2013 after an intense bidding war.

    Like Brooklyn, the former ABC comedy Last Man Standing moved to the network (Fox) whose studio (20th Century Fox Television) owns the show. ABC said last year that its decision to cancel Last Man Standing was based purely on ownership and had nothing to do with conservative star Tim Allen. As things currently sit, Fox's entire 2018-19 lineup will be produced by studio counterpart, 20th Century Fox TV. Full story.

    Elsewhere in TV..

    Fox unveils fall schedule. Thursday Night Football takes up a sizable chunk of the new lineup, eliminating any room for original programming on that night through December. Close look. 

    + Renews Gotham for final season. The network has renewed the Batman prequel drama for a fifth and likely abbreviated final season. Sources say that the pickup is for 13 episodes.

    + Lethal Weapon recast. Fox and producers have recast fired star Clayne Crawford with Seann William Scott, triggering a third-season renewal for the procedural. Crawford breaks silence. I Execs speak. 

    NBC fall schedule strives for year-round stability. The additions and tweaks that do appear on the schedule are surgical, an effort to maintain the current 38 percent advantage it holds over its closest competition. Close look. 

    + Doubles down on America's Got Talent. A second edition of the reality competition series with America's Got Talent: The Champions set to air as part of its winter slate. Simon Cowell will return to the judges' panel.

    + Timeless cliff-hanger. The fate of the time-travel drama, not yet renewed, remains up in the air after its second season ended on a shocking note on Sunday night.

    ^Every broadcast TV cancellation this year (and why). It was a tough year for those competing in the space, where you're chasing eyeballs against scores of other scripted fare on at the same time on top of cable and streaming content. A long list of casualties.

    + Trailers for all the new broadcast shows. ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW picked up nearly 40 new comedies and dramas as they each hope to find the next This Is Us or Roseanne. The clips.

    About HBO's Barry finale. No spoilers, but star Bill Hader and creator Alec Berg discuss the shocking ending and what's next for the hitman-turned-actor moving forward. Q&A. 

    About HBO's Westworld twist. The fourth episode of season two, directed by Lisa Joy, contained more twists and turns than many other shows would attempt in a single season, let alone a plus-sized episode. Spoilers.

    Social chart: Jimmy Fallon back on top. The Tonight Show host spends his fourth week at No. 1 on the chart, which ranks the most popular TV personalities based social media data. Full list.

    ► BAFTA TV winners unveiled. Peaky Blinders took home the night's big award for best drama, while Three Girls and This Country also scored wins. The Crown's only win was in the supporting actress category. Full list.

  • 'Seinfeld' Hidden Tales

    Photofest

    THR gains access to more than 70 hours of previously unreleased interviews with the cast, creator and those involved as the former NBC comedy celebrates 20 years since its series finale. Full story.

    What else we're reading...

    "All the problems at NBC News aren’t just coincidence." Margaret Sullivan notes: "By the traditional standard that the person at the top sets the tone and bears ultimate responsibility, it’s hard to absolve NBC Chairman Andy Lack." [Washington Post]

    "Does Hollywood need a PG-15 rating?" Brooks Barnes writes: "A new study suggests that parents think 13 years old is too young to see intense gun violence in movies, which has been rising for some time." [New York Times]

    "Inside the tent where Cannes pledged - at last - to change." Rebecca Keegan writes: "As Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart, Ava DuVernay, and women from five countries’ gender equality groups looked on, Cannes organizers (including Thierry Frémaux) promised to improve gender parity." [Vanity Fair]

    "Can protest art get its mojo back?" Spencer Kornhaber asks: "Since the 2016 election, pop music and TV shows have emphasized liberal impotence more than anger. Is that about to change?" [The Atlantic]

    "Trump and Sean Hannity like to talk before bedtime." Olivia Nuzzi writes: "Trump and Hannity don’t usually speak in the morning, which the president spends alone, watching TV and tweeting." [New York]

    Today's birthdays: Dan Auerbach, 39, Sofia Coppola, 47, Cate Blanchett, 49, Tim Roth, 57, Robert Zemeckis, 66, David Byrne, 66, George Lucas, 74.