What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:07 AM 6/7/2018

by THR Staff

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

What's news: behind the weirdest legal battle in Hollywood. Plus: Amazon nabs more live sports rights, Apple picks up a music dramedy, Sony's Manson film from Quentin Tarantino adds to its cast and the star-studded Ocean's 8 hits theaters. — Erik Hayden

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  • 'Ocean's 8' High Hopes

    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

    After two weekends of the lackluster Solo, Warner Bros. is betting that the female-led Ocean's 8 breaks out at the domestic box office. Pamela McClintock forecasts: 

    + Ocean's 8 should have no trouble winning the weekend box-office crown with a domestic debut in the $35M-$40M range, toppling holdover Solo: A Star Wars Story.

    + The weekend's two other new entries are A24's critically acclaimed supernatural horror pic Hereditary and Global Road's Hotel Artemis, both of which are tracking to open in the $6M-$8M range. Full preview I Ocean's 8 marketing.

    Elsewhere in film...

    Disney's Infinity War gets China release extension. The film is getting a 30-day extension in the country, where it has earned a whopping $358M. Past U.S. titles to be granted extended runs include Disney's Zootopia and Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge.

    DC Entertainment president exits Warner Bros. Diane Nelson, DC chief who oversaw WB Consumer Products, had been on leave for several months in order to focus on family-related issues. CEO Kevin Tsujihara's note to staff.

    Paramount, J.J. Abrams team for forbidden love drama. Titled Tab & Tony, the film is based on Tab Hunter’s account of his struggle to come to terms with his sexual orientation in 1950s Hollywood. Zachary Quinto and Abrams are producing.

    Sony's Tarantino Manson film adds cast. Dakota Fanning, Damian Lewis and Luke Perry are set to star alongside Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming Sharon Tate drama Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

    Universal options Muslim FBI thriller. Mr. Robot star Rami Malek and the show’s creator Sam Esmail are teaming to bring the story of an undercover Muslim FBI agent to the big screen with American Radical, based on the book. 

    Quoted: "Currently, 12 percent of the roles in major motion pictures are written for characters over the age of 60, and I'd be willing to bet that of the only 1 woman per every 3.5 men seen on screen in that age range, half of them are wearing a babushka." — author Annabelle Gurwitch.

    ^Warner Bros. unveils A Star Is Born trailer. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are shown falling in love as Gaga's struggling artist career begins to take off and the two travel to perform together. The film hits theaters Oct. 5. Full clip.

    Sony unveils animated Spider-Man trailer. The film also added Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali and Lily Tomlin to the film that features Shameik Moore voicing the title character. Full clip.

    Paramount brings back Val Kilmer for Top Gun sequel. The actor will revive skilled fighter pilot (and beach volleyball player) Iceman for Maverick. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing with Tom Cruise and Skydance's David Ellison.

    ► Disney casts live-action Mulan's love interest. Yoson An, of Chinese descent, will star opposite Liu Yifei, who is playing the titular heroine. The Nic Caro film is slated to start shooting in August in China and New Zealand.

    ► Paramount's Dora the Explorer enlisting Eugenio Derbez. The Mexican superstar is in talks to join the live-action feature based on the Nickelodeon TV series. Walden Media is getting behind the project as co-financiers.

    Lionsgate's Now You See Me gets live touring show. The studio is laying plans for a live touring magic show to be produced in partnership with The Works Entertainment featuring multiple magicians. 

    *R.I.P., Jerry Maren. The actor, the last surviving adult Munchkin from The Wizard of Oz who stayed active in Hollywood after the classic 1939 film was released, has died. He was 98. Full obit.

    It's a deal: Major film, TV studio to open in Liverpool. Twickenham Studios, the London-based facility that has been home to classics such as Blade Runner and Black Mirror, is to open a $67M outpost in the U.K. city with 2,000 square meter sound stages. Details.

  • Comedy Actress Roundtable

    Photographed by Sami Drasin

    Seven of TV's top funny ladies - Drew Barrymore, Rachel Brosnahan, Alison Brie, Tracee Ellis Ross, Debra Messing, Molly Shannon and Frankie Shaw - open up to Lacey Rose about pushing boundaries, demanding fair pay and the long, hard battle to keep their clothes on. 

    Q: What's the most amusing or frustrating feedback you've received when trying out for a part?

    TRACEE ELLIS ROSS: "I had a casting director say I need to work on my girls, as they [her breasts] were referred to, because they were too low, which is where God put them, so I think they're in a really good spot. (Laughs.) But she called down the hall for one of her assistants to bring another bra …"

    FRANKIE SHAW: "One time I was in an audition for House of Lies, and the casting director said I needed to show more skin. She actually took the shirt off her back and gave me her tank top. I still didn't get the part."

    MOLLY SHANNON: "I remember going to an audition when I was first starting out, and I bumped into another girl auditioning who, right before I went in, was like, 'Oh, my God, have you gained, like, a hundred pounds?'" Full roundtable. 

    Elsewhere in TV...

    CBS sets date for shareholder meeting. The network said it has rescheduled its annual meeting of shareholders for Aug. 10, when CEO Leslie Moonves will presumably address the plan to dilute National Amusement's voting control.

    NBC News plans streaming platform. Rashida Jones, senior vp specials, will lead the service at launch. Christine Cataldi, who has served as co-exec producer of Megyn Kelly's hour of Today, will be exec producer.

    + In job postings, the service describes itself this way: "Live news of the highest quality. Authentic. Voicy. Unexpected. Maybe even funny sometimes." Details. 

    Amazon nabs English Premier League rights. In a three-season deal, the streaming video giant has acquired a package of rights for the most-watched soccer league in the world.

    + The Premier League joins Prime Video’s growing list of live sports, including U.S. Open Tennis, ATP World Tour Tennis events and NFL games. Full story. 

    Quoted: "Everything worked out right because it led to exactly where I am right now. Most people would think I'm a kook, because my heart goes out to the captive macaws. You know what a macaw is?" — Heidi Fleiss, reflecting on the 25th anniversary of her arrest.

    ^TBS' Full Frontal host Samantha Bee talks about Ivanka slur. "I regret it and I do apologize for that," Bee said on her show. "The problem is that many women have heard that word at the worst moments of their lives ... and don't want it reclaimed. I don't want to inflict more pain on them." Full clip. 

    Netflix renews 13 Reasons Why. The streaming giant has renewed the controversial teen drama for a third season, which will consist of another run of 13 episodes and return in 2019. Production will resume later this year.

    Apple picks up J.J. Abrams, Sara Bareilles series. The half-hour dramedy Little Voice, which has landed at the tech giant with a 10-episode, straight-to-series order, is described as a love letter to the diverse musicality of New York.

    Paramount Network's American Woman, reviewed. Daniel Fienberg writes: "New 1970s-set half-hour comedy isn't funny or distinctive and lacks a true voice behind it, even with Kyle Richards as inspiration and Alicia Silverstone as star."

    New, diverse TV writers program planned. Lena Waithe and Eva Longoria are partnering with Charles D. King's media company MACRO and Franklin Leonard's The Black List to launch a training program for television writers of color. Details. 

    Emmys snapshot: Inside the rise of the female TV auteur. Inkoo Kang writes: "Behind some of TV's top new comedies are female writers who are using their shows to explore thoughtful takes on the issues of gender, dating and sex." Full column.

  • Weirdest Legal Battle in Hollywood

    Illustration by: Alexander Wells

    New: After a basketball league founded by the rapper-actor and Jeff Kwatinetz ran into rough seas, the pair filed a $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit against two lead investors, who now assert that the whole thing is a Steve Bannon-orchestrated "anti-Qatari smear campaign," Scott Johnson writes. Full feature. 

    What else we're reading... 

    "Female-dominated Hollywood crafts jobs see gender bias." David Ng writes: "A new report ... shows certain female-dominated craft professions such as script supervisors and art department coordinators typically receive hundreds of dollars per week less than their counterparts." [Los Angeles Times]

    "Home is where the horror is." Jason Zinoman writes: "A renaissance in terrifying movies skips jump scares in favor of dread based on adult fears." [New York Times]

    "Spotify offers managers, artists advances." Hannah Karp reports: "management firms can receive several hundred thousand dollars as an advance fee for agreeing to license a certain number of tracks by their independent acts directly to Spotify." [Billboard]

    "Why are (some) Star Wars fans so toxic?" Luke Holland asks: "Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose, has received a torrent of online abuse and quit Instagram. Is the worst thing about Star Wars other Star Wars fans?" [The Guardian]

    "Elon Musk and the unnerving influence of Twitter's power users." Felix Salmon's column: "It’s less and less a distributed mode of many-to-many communication, and more and more a broadcasting hub for the elite." [Wired]

    From the archives...

    + On June 7, 1991, Columbia Pictures unveiled Billy Crystal's buddy comedy City Slickers in theaters nationwide, where it became a summer hit. Flashback review.

    Today's birthdays: Emily Ratajkowski, 27, Iggy Azalea, 28, Michael Cera, 30, Bill Hader, 40, Karl Urban, 46, Liam Neeson, 66, James Ivory, 90.