What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:12 AM 6/22/2018

by THR Staff

Courtesy of MoviePass

What's news: ABC has ordered ten episodes of a Roseanne spinoff without the title character. Plus: California is likely to extend its tax credit program, AMC sees some upside to a subscription movie plan and YouTube reveals more tools to help creators make money. — Erik Hayden

[Note: To receive this Today in Entertainment newsletter by email each day, click here.]

  • CA's Tax Credit Sequel

    To be signed: This week, the state legislature passed a bill extending the $330 million in credits to 2025 but retaining the annual cap and modestly increasing the percentage credit for some shoots outside Los Angeles, Jonathan Handel writes:

    + Changes in the legislation: Indie pictures, musicians, training programs for under-represented communities, and diversity reporting and anti-harassment efforts (enforceable written policies are now required) will benefit. Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon, a lead sponsor, said the focus on non-economic improvements was deliberate.

    + Already getting incentives: Sony’s Quentin Tarantino drama Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Paramount’s Transformers spinoff Bumblebee and Disney’s Captain Marvel are among the major studio films that have received tax incentives under the current program. Full story. 

    Elsewhere in film...

    New Berlin festival bosses. Carlo Chatrian, current artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival, will take over the same position at Berlin. Joining Chatrian in the newly-created position of Berlinale managing director will be Mariette Rissenbeek.

    Diversity among film directors remains low. In a Directors Guild of America study of the films that earned at least $250,000 at the box office, just 12 percent of helmers were female and only 10 percent were people of color.

    + Also: Even when including microbudget pictures with limited releases the study found that women made up only 16 percent of directors. Details.

    MoviePass to raise $164M amid cash crunch. The service that gives subscribers a ticket per day for just $10 a month ran a $40M deficit in May and will run "at least" one of $45M this month, while it has less than $49M in cash and money owed to it by merchants

    ► How AMC's subscription plan stacks up to Moviepass. The "AMC Stubs A-List" launches Tuesday. If it works, other theater chains are likely to follow suit in earnest as the film industry struggles to stem declining attendance.

    + The specs: MoviePass costs less than AMC's A-List, which is $19.95 a month. For $9.95 a month, MoviePass patrons can see one movie a day. However, there are major caveats. A comparison.

    ^How the film festival media diversity push could actually work. Toronto and Sundance film festivals plan to add 20 percent more media credentials (and possibly pay for travel) to lure underrepresented journalists to major events.

    + Details: TIFF estimates adding about 200 more writers to September's event, while Sundance, whose pledge specifically pertains to its express badge, will be providing at least 20 underrepresented writers the highest level of access to the festival in January. Full story.

     Shia LaBeouf, David Ayer to reteam for thriller. The star and director, who worked together on the 2014 drama Fury, are reteaming for the crime thriller Tax Collector. Ayer wrote and will direct the movie that is set to shoot this summer in Los Angeles.

     Nick Cassavetes plans to direct indie drama. The helmer is signing on for I Slept With Joey Ramone, which revolves around the birth of the punk movement. Gene Kirkwood (Rocky) is producing and putting together the financing.

    ► Jake Tapper's Outpost movie rounds out cast. Taylor John Smith is joining the cast of the war adaptation centering on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones and Orlando Bloom are set to star.

    WGA West unveils board candidates ahead of election. The guild announced a list of 15 candidates nominated for eight open board seats. Eligible members may also be nominated by petition. Voting concludes Sept. 18.

    Will Hereditary become an Oscar contender? Scott Feinberg asks: Where are Academy members likely to land on the spectrum of reactions? That's a tough question to answer. Toni Collette's performance appears to stand a better chance of being nominated than any other aspect of the film. Full column.

  • 'Roseanne' Spinoff Ordered

    ABC/Adam Rose

    It's back: Weeks after its stunning decision to cancel Roseanne, ABC is officially moving forward with a spinoff of TV's current No. 1 series — without controversial star Roseanne Barr, Lesley Goldberg writes: 

    + The Connors. Following aggressive talks with exec producer Tom Werner, the Disney-owned broadcaster has handed out a 10-episode, straight-to-series order for Roseanne spinoff The Conners (working title). The new take, which will also be a multicamera comedy and premiere in the fall, will follow the Conner family who, after a sudden turn of events, are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before.

    + Barr keeps her character. Werner and Barr reached an agreement that will allow Werner Entertainment to produce the spinoff for ABC without Barr’s further creative or financial participation. Sources say that Barr will retain all rights to her Roseanne Conner character and any future spinoffs beyond The Conners or any future reboots of the original.

    + Barr's statement: "I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from Roseanne. I agreed to the settlement in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved, and I wish the best for everyone involved." Full story I Other shows that lost a star. 

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Netflix is expanding its overall deal roster. The streaming giant has inked writer-producer-director Steve S. DeKnight to a multiyear overall deal. Sources estimate the pact is worth $4M a year

    Netflix renews Dear White People for season 3. Created by Justin Simien, who wrote and directed the 2014 film of the same name, the Lionsgate TV series has been a critical favorite since its 2017 bow.

    The Try Guys leave BuzzFeed, form production company. Long one of the company's most successful viral video acts, the group have left as full-time employees and have started their own, independent production company, 2nd Try LLC.

    YouTube reveals new tools to help creators make money. The new tools include an expanded version of Channel Membership that will allow creators with over 100,000 subscribers to have access to the business model and a platform for creators to sell customized merchandise.

    ► Luke Cage season 2, reviewed (airs tonight). Marvel and Netflix's collaborations continue to struggle in their second seasons as the show gets a powerful new villain, but still has a problem. The takeaway: "Thematic richness and narrative sluggishness butt heads."

    Also: Iceland's goalkeeper has Hollywood aspirations. Hannes Halldorsson, who helped his team tie Argentina in their first World Cup game, also helmed a World Cup-themed Coke commercial in his time off the field. “My dream is to make a feature film and do a scripted TV series,” he says.

  • New Series: 'Magic Hour'

    Frank W Ockenfels 3

    Home news: The Hollywood Reporter is launching a new series, Magic Hour, that pulls back the curtain behind some of the industry’s most sought-after creators. In the first episode, Frank Ockenfels 3 looks back on his photography career. Watch.

    What else we're reading...

    "Laurene Powell Jobs is financing a documentary movie studio." Anousha Sakoui and Lucas Shaw report: The billionaire "is investing more of her fortune in Hollywood by backing a movie studio alongside Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim." [Bloomberg]

    — "Rocky relationship stands between Comcast and Fox." Shalini Ramachandran and Keach Hagey write: "Tensions between Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and 21st Century Fox’s Rupert Murdoch have complicated Comcast’s pursuit of the biggest media deal in years." [Wall Street Journal]

    "Digital media companies chasing TV hope for carriage fees." Sahil Patel writes: "most of the digital publishers are willing to give their channels to the distributors for free - especially if they can get the channels included in the distributor’s base package." [Digiday]

    "Why independent cinemas are booming in the UK." Charles Gant writes: "The UK independent cinema market is flourishing as the three boutique chains, Picturehouse, Everyman and Curzon, engage in a flurry of openings." [Screen Daily]

    — "Oprah earned this museum show." Wesley Morris writes: "An exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture captures what Oprah Winfrey and her TV show have meant." [New York Times]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Don Lemon defends CNN's 'down the middle' coverage." [Late Show]

    + Paul McCartney joins James Corden for "Carpool Karaoke." [Late Late Show]

    From the archives...

    + On June 22, 1966, THR appraised the directorial debut of Mike Nichols, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, giving high marks to the drama. Flashback review.

    Today's birthdays: Douglas Smith, 33, Donald Faison, 44, Carson Daly, 45, Dan Brown, 54, Bruce Campbell, 60, Meryl Streep, 69, Kris Kristofferson, 81.