What's news: Incredibles 2 breaks records in North America, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom rules in China and John Travolta's critically reviled Gotti is at least getting plenty of headlines everywhere. Plus: Marc Maron talks #MeToo, and Beyonce and Jay-Z drop a new surprise album. — Erik Hayden
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Over the weekend, the indie film with a zero percent Rotten Tomatoes score debuted to $1.7M in 503 theaters. While not an out-and-out bomb, the passion project took a high-profile path to failure, Pamela McClintock writes:
+ Awards ambitions. Travolta became incensed last December when stories broke saying that Liongate Premiere was pulling the $10M film from a dual release in theaters and on VOD, implying that Lionsgate didn't have faith in the biopic.
+ Paid campaigns. From the outset, producers involved knew there wouldn't be enough money to wage a full-fledged marketing campaign, but with between $4M and $5M available, a plan was devised to rely on a mix of paid promotions and free publicity.
+ Cannes parties. Travolta was celebrated at a swanky party at the Hotel du Cap in May. The various events at Cannes cost the Gotti production more than $1M, according to event organizers. Full story.
Elsewhere in film...
? Disney and Pixar's record-breaking weekend. Incredibles 2 flew to $180M and an A+ CinemaScore from 4,410 theaters at the domestic box office over the weekend, blowing past all expectations.
+ Booming overseas: Incredibles 2 debuted to a stellar $51.5M from its first 25 markets for a global launch of $231.5 million. In many markets, including Mexico, Australia and Russia, the movie posted Pixar's best openings to date.
+ Audience breakdown: Families were hardly the only members of the audience. More than 31 percent of all ticket buyers in the U.S. were adults sans kids, while fanboy-centric Imax theaters turned in a hefty $14.1M.
+ New Line's Tag so-so: The film earned $14.6M from 3,383 theaters, becoming the latest R-rated comedy to do muted business. Warners exec Jeff Goldstein believes Tag will have a strong multiple. U.S. box office wrap.
^Airing tonight: The MTV Movie & TV Awards will offer up a mix of last year's film awards contenders and new blockbuster fare. Also: Lena Waithe will be honored at the event with the Trailblazer Award. The show was taped on Saturday. Red carpet photos.
? China box office: Jurassic sequel opens to $111.9M. It was Universal’s second-biggest debut ever in the market, behind only The Fate of the Furious. The opening was also considerably better than the $99.2M the first Jurassic World film earned in its first full week in Chinese cinemas in 2015. China wrap.
? Blumhouse, Tang Media team for horror movies in China. Jason Blum's low-budget, high-concept approach is heading to the world's fastest-growing and soon-to-be-biggest film market in partnership with Tang Media Partners, the company founded by Donald Tang in 2015.
? Meet the Press reteams with AFI Docs for festival. The weekly news show will present a second annual film festival of short political docs in Washington, D.C. The fest will be held Oct. 7-8.
? Female-driven indie The Rest of Us finds cast. Heather Graham and The Crown star Jodi Balfour, Sophie Nelisse and Abigail Pniowsky are top-lining the indie, the directorial debut from Aisling Chin-Yee.
*R.I.P., Martin Bregman. The seasoned producer behind Scarface and Dog Day Afternoon has died. He was 92. Full obit.
Rep Sheet Roundup: Superstar comics creator Brian Michael Bendis has signed with WME, as has entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk … Kong: Skull Island’s Toby Kebbell has signed with ICM Partners, which has formed a venture with e-sports agency Evolved … UTA has promoted Brent Weinstein to serve as its chief innovation officer. More.
Couples therapy: The last time was messy, but now they're stronger than ever. At least that's what they want you to take away from their new surprise collaborative album, Everything Is Love, which dropped Saturday afternoon in peak 2018 form, writes Jonny Coleman:
What they think you think about their relationship is just as important as the substance of the relationship itself, and this is a lavish commercial for happiness (and a Tidal subscription): a Christmas card in aural form to showcase the domestic lifestyle of America's most famous musical couple.
Everything Is Love finds the billionaire duo distilling the essence of their archetypal relationship in a set of duets that feels intended as a statement — though what that statement is still feels a little murky. Critic's notebook.
+ Early takes: N.Y. Times: "Triumphant in business and reaffirmed in love." The Guardian: "embraces their romantic bliss and phenomenal wealth as well as highlighting racism in the US." The Atlantic: "pop’s biggest couple celebrates itself - and its significance to America."
Meanwhile, in TV...
? World Cup ratings solid in Europe so far. Television ratings are on par with, or above, similar figures for the 2014 World Cup, suggesting that Russia's tournament could match, or beat, the record viewing figures seen four years ago in Brazil.
? HBO greenlights documentary Storm Over Brooklyn. Muta'Ali's feature doc will tell the story of Yusuf Hawkins, whose death at the hands of white youths in Brooklyn in 1989 unleashed a torrent of racial tension.
? AMC drops Chris Hardwick for now. The cabler has pulled his talk show after an allegation of sexual assault from his ex-girlfriend, actress Chloe Dykstra. NBC, which is home to the game show The Wall, which Hardwick hosts, said it is "assessing" the situation.
? CBS' Big Brother unveils season 20 guests. Here's a rundown of the brand new cast of 16 characters competing for the $500,000 prize during the milestone season. Full list.
New Awards Chatter podcast: Claire Danes. The two-time Emmy winner reflects on child stardom, embarking on a film career (but passing on Schindler's List and Titanic) and returning to the small screen and experiencing career rebirth. Listen.
"There has to be a conversation," Marc Maron says in a new clip from the Comedy Actor Roundtable. "There has to be some sort of leveling off that we can communicate, so not everybody, men in particular, are running around terrified of their past or of how to behave." Full clip.
What else we're reading...
— "Meet Hollywood's top canine trainer." Lesley McKenzie writes: "For more than 20 years, [Tamar] Geller has helped top industry execs ... and stars (including Jon Stewart, Ben Affleck, Reese Witherspoon, Charlize Theron and Ellen DeGeneres) delve into the canine psyche." [Pret-a-Reporter]
— "Why media deal making could free CBS from Viacom." Elizabeth Winkler writes: "Conventional wisdom has it that the wave of media deal making could renew Shari Redstone’s zeal for merging CBS and Viacom. A more likely outcome is that CBS is sold to someone else." [Wall Street Journal]
— "Amazon tightens grip on live streams of video games." John Herrman writes: "Google and Facebook are struggling to catch up with Twitch, a service that Amazon bought four years ago for $1.1 billion." [New York Times]
— "Stephen A. Smith won’t stop talking." Vinson Cunningham's profile: "The hallmark of his presence on TV and radio ... is his ability not only to talk but to editorialize, at length, and more or less extemporaneously, about any topic tossed his way." [New Yorker]
— "In conversation: Jeff Goldblum." David Marchese's interview: "The actor on becoming a social-media sex symbol, learning to play himself, and his pot-smoking mom." [Vulture]
— "This is the Netflix exec to thank for your Wild Wild Country binge." Joy Press writes: "Lisa Nishimura, the streaming giant’s head of documentary and comedy programming, is changing the way filmmakers and viewers approach nonfiction TV." [Vanity Fair]
— "How do you explain Zayn?" Carrie Battan's cover story: "The 25-year-old British singer is deeply, maddeningly, almost trolling-ly enigmatic." [GQ]
Today's birthdays: Richard Madden, 32, Kim Dickens, 53, Barbara Broccoli, 58, Carol Kane, 66, Isabella Rossellini, 66, Paul McCartney, 76.