What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:08 AM 6/8/2018

by THR Staff

David Scott Holloway

What's news: Mourning Anthony Bourdain, who is said by his employer to have died by suicide. Also: George Clooney's moment honored by AFI, Greg Berlanti gets a $400 million TV deal and behind a big Marvel memorabilia heist. — Erik Hayden

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^R.I.P. Anthony Bourdain. The influential celebrity chef, author of Kitchen Confidential and host of Parts Unknown was found dead in a hotel room in France on Friday. He was 61. The news was confirmed on Friday by his employer CNN, which cited the cause of death as suicide. Full obit I His recent column.

+ CNN statement: "It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain. His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller."

Early tributes...

+ Jeff Zucker: "Tony was an exceptional talent. Tony will be greatly missed not only for his work but also for the passion with which he did it."

+ Phil Rosenthal: "I always considered him a superhero, and a direct inspiration. In his ground breaking shows, he embodied the spirit of travel, adventure, and strove to make the world a true community."

+ Tina Brown: "Stunned & horrified by death of vibrant, brilliant Anthony Bourdain who opened America's eyes to worlds unknown with so much culture, joy and understanding."

+ Poppy Harlow: "I will never forget Anthony Bourdain's smile and laugh. @Bourdain was the warmest presence when he walked in any room. He taught us all so much about culture, life and living each day fully. You will be dearly missed, Anthony." Many more tributes.

  • Clooney's Moment

    Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI

    Last night, George Clooney was roasted and toasted by his friends and co-workers at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood as he became the AFI lifetime honor's 46th recipient, Gregg Kilday writes: 

    + Clooney's acceptance. “I love being a part of this industry,” the actor said as he accepted the honor. "I'm very proud of the changes I'm seeing in this industry. They're much overdue."

    + Obama's toast: Former President Barack Obama was first up, appearing by videotape to lend his support to Clooney, who he said, “Does the whole grey hair thing better than me.” Obama also testified, “He is a good man, a good friend, a good citizen and an outstanding maker of film.”

    + Kimmel's roast. The late-night host took the stage to roast the actor a bit, joking, "I’m not here to honor George Clooney’s work in film. To be honest, I’ve never seen any of his movies. Monuments Men was so bad, you had me rooting for Hitler."

    + Amal Clooney's speech: "First, he is a gentleman. He is a gentleman in every sense of the word and in a way that seems so rare these days and perhaps even outdated." Who else spoke I Amal's speech transcript.

    Elsewhere in film... 

    Universal's Jurassic sequel begins overseas assault. Fallen Kingdom grossed an estimated $20.2M, posting a strong debut as it opened Wednesday in seven international markets ahead of its June 22 North American release.

    Disney's Incredibles 2 aims for animation pre-sales record. The animated sequel, set for theaters June 15, is pacing to be the top animated preseller of all time on Fandango. It has sold more tickets than 2016's Finding Dory.

    Netflix casts Eddie Murphy as blaxploitation star. The actor will star in a movie about actor Rudy Ray Moore, star of the blaxploitation Dolemite films. Craig Brewer is directing from a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski.

    Sony's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood adds Al Pacino. The actor is the latest to join Quentin Tarantino's star-studded ensemble that includes Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning and Damian Lewis. 

    Quoted: "Someone told me they consider MoviePass to be a bad car accident that needs to be towed off the road. And I agree with that." — Imax CEO Richard Gelfond, dismissing the ever morphing subscription ticket service.

    ^Sony/MGM unveils Claire Foy's The Girl in the Spider's Web trailer. The preview shows The Crown actress as the Stieg Larsson-created hacker and vigilante, a role previously played by Rooney Mara and Noomi Rapace. Full clip.

    Fox unveils Bad Times at the El Royale trailer. Writer-director Drew Goddard's film centers on a run-down hotel near California’s Lake Tahoe, where characters, including those of Jeff Bridges and Chris Hemsworth, collide. Full clip. 

    Warner Bros. dates In the Heights. The studio, which picked up Lin-Manuel Miranda's movie musical last month after a heated bidding war following the rights' release from The Weinstein Co., has set a June 26, 2020, release date.

     Blumhouse enlists Amanda Seyfried for thriller. The actress will star opposite Kevin Bacon in You Should Have Left, based on the novel of the same name by Daniel Kehlmann. David Koepp will direct the project.

    ► Paramount casts Tika Sumpter in Sonic. The actress is joining James Marsden in the live-action Sonic the Hedgehog movie based on the classic SEGA character. The film will be helmed by first-time feature director Jeff Fowler.

    In THR, Esq: Ryan Kavanaugh sues Adam Fields. The two former Relativity execs are locked in battle, with Kavanaugh saying any allegation that he fraudulently created a memo accusing Fields of harassing women is "patently false." Details. 

  • Berlanti's Mega-Deal

    Courtesy of Warner Bros

    The golden age of the TV producer? Greg Berlanti has inked an eye-popping four-year contract extension that will keep him at Warner Bros. Television through 2024, Lesley Goldberg reports:

    + Mega cash. Sources say that Berlanti's new deal is worth $400M in all-cash guarantees. Berlanti - who has 14 scripted series on the air, a TV record - had two years remaining on his current pact and, with multiple outlets pursuing the writer-producer, opted to remain at his longtime home at Warners. By the time the deal ends in 2024, Berlanti will be 51.

    + But: The structure of Berlanti's deal is different from the nine-figure paydays that Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy inked at Netflix. The executive producer took a cash payout for the pact, meaning he no longer will receive points on the backend of his series. 

    + To compare: Murphy's $300M pact is an all-services deal at Netflix that includes TV and film, with the streaming giant also buying out the backend of multiple shows from the showrunner's home at Fox Television. Rhimes' $100M Netflix deal is structured in a way where she bet on herself and will earn additional fees based on the performance of the projects she creates for the streamer. More details. 

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Verizon CEO shake-up: The telecom giant said that chief technology officer Hans Vestberg, who joined the company about a year ago, will take over the CEO post from Lowell McAdam on Aug. 1.

    Apple sets up its first international production: Shantaram. In a competitive situation with multiple outlets bidding, the tech giant has landed rights to develop a drama series based on Gregory David Roberts' best-seller.

    FX renews Atlanta. The pick up for season three was expected, with the Donald Glover series having nabbed the network two Emmys, two Golden Globes and a Peabody Award, not to mention having been a steady performer.

    MTV plans Real World revival. The network and producer Bunim-Murray Productions are reviving the long-running reality series and looking to push the show onto a streaming platform.

    ABC apologizes over Quantico episode. The ntework has issued a statement after an episode of Priyanka Chopra drama series revolved around Indian terrorists plotting an attack in Manhattan with the goal of blaming Pakistan for it.

    Viacom bringing Paramount Network to U.K. The channel, to launch in Britain on Sky, BT and Freeview, will be scheduled and programmed by the Channel 5 editorial team under the direction of Ben Frow.

    ^Showtime unveils first look at Jim Carrey's return to TV. The premium cabler released the trailer of Kidding, its 10-episode, straight-to-series comedy starring the I'm Dying Up Here executive producer. Full clip.

    ABC's Roseanne implosion ripples overseas. International channels have dropped plans to air the sitcom following the star's racist tweet, and Disney has stopped selling the show worldwide.

    Apple enlists Lizzy Caplan for drama. The Masters of Sex alum, who fielded multiple offers this past pilot season, has signed on to co-star in the tech giant's drama Are You Sleeping alongside Octavia Spencer. 

    MGM TV topper revives Eco-Challenge. Mark Burnett is bringing back the environmentally conscious reality competition, which launched back in 1992 and kick-started the reality producer's illustrious career.

    ICM adds partners to buy Just For Laughs group. Bell Media and Montreal Canadiens owner Groupe CH have joined ICM and longtime client Howie Mandel in a consortium to acquire the comedy group.

    *R.I.P. David Lavin. The executive at CBS Television Studios, who handled business affairs for scores of series over the years, including the NCIS franchise and Star Trek: Discovery, died Wednesday of leukemia. He was 57. Full obit.

    New Comedy Actress Roundtable highlight: Tracee Ellis Ross. The Black-ish actress comments on the shelved episode of the ABC series, saying, "To a certain extent, I have purposefully stayed out of those conversations." Full clip.

  • $1M Marvel Heist

    Illustration by: Guy Shield

    With the market for memorabilia breaking records, collectors and auction houses must contend with thieves, fakers and skeptical police who wonder, "Who in their right mind would pay that much for that?" Gary Baum's latest:

    + Stolen: The hero's shield from Captain America. Robert Downey Jr.'s mask from Iron Man. A set of X-23 claws from Logan. They're among the more than $1 million in memorabilia stolen in late February from a Southern California public storage unit in suburban Rancho Cucamonga, allegedly by a pair of thieves now being prosecuted.

    + Where it came from: The cache, much of which has yet to be recovered, comprised part of Marvel collector Max Anderson's Stan Lee Museum, a pop-up exhibition he's operated for seven years on the Comic-Con circuit. The interest is arriving as Hollywood collectibles are on the verge of a major wave of canonization in the future permanent displays of L.A.'s forthcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Full feature. 

    What else we're reading...

    "The age of the MSNBC mom." Kat Stoeffel writes: "For liberal women whose retirement years coincide with the rise of Donald Trump, there’s one place for solace and righteous indignation: cable news." [New York Times]

    "How film classification boards are responding to an industry in flux." A new report "appraises the global landscape for ratings and investigates how classification boards are adapting to changing times." [Screen Daily]

    "The bullshit-job boom." Nathan Heller writes: "For more and more people, work appears to serve no purpose. Is there any good left in the grind?" [New Yorker]

    "The aggressively normal YouTube star who wants it all." Lexi Pandell's profile: "On the internet, Latin American phenom Germán Germandia is almost as big as Bieber. Now he’s setting his sites on Hollywood." [Wired]

    "WWE to Emmys voters: this is the greatest show." Rebecca Keegan writes: "'We don’t want to be a secret anymore,' WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon said, at an unusual TV Academy event." [Vanity Fair]

    From the archives... 

    + On June 8, 1984, America met the Ghostbusters, as the Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd comedy hit theaters nationwide. Flashback review.

    Today's birthdays: Kanye West, 41, Julianna Margulies, 52, Frank Grillo, 53, Keenen Ivory Wayans, 60, Jerry Stiller, 91.