What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:09 AM 7/21/2017

by THR staff

Dunkirk Still 4 - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

What's news: HBO's Game of Thrones bosses are already defending the premise of their planned Civil War alternative history series. Plus: Filmmakers are following Christopher Nolan in presenting their projects in 70mm, Johnny Depp's ex-managers have disclosed more expenses from the embattled star and Mark Rylance dismisses campaigning for an Oscar. — Matthew Belloni, Erik Hayden and Jennifer Konerman

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  • A 'Dunkirk' 70mm Renaissance?

    Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, which opens today, could herald a revival of 70-mm film exhibition, Carolyn Giardina reports: 

    Thanks to a reclamation project that was undertaken to locate and restore projectors when The Weinstein Co. distributed Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight in 2015, there is now an existing base of theaters capable of presenting the format, which Warners has been able to build on for the release of Dunkirk.

    And now there are other elite filmmakers waiting in the wings who would like to include large-format 70mm film as part of their release plans. Disney and Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is scheduled for a Dec. 15 release, is among upcoming projects that may take advantage of the format, THR has learned. Others include Murder on the Orient Express, which Fox is slated to open on Nov. 10, and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which Disney has slated for a Nov. 2, 2018 release.

    The wide, high-resolution 70mm format — which has been used to display classics such as Ben Hur, The Sound of Music and Lawrence of Arabia — is a favorite among many movie buffs, but its use has been limited since the start of the digital cinema era, which began in the early 2000s. Full story. 

    Elsewhere in film... 

    ? Movie ticket prices hit another record high. The average cost of going to the movies in North America hit another milestone in the second quarter of 2017, at $8.95. That compares to $8.73 in the second quarter of 2016.

    ? New Johnny Depp expenses disclosed by ex-managers. According to an amended suit from The Management Group, Depp's employees on his private island in the Bahamas racked up about a million dollars in charges related to the island's expenses. Details.

    Noah Hawley, Fox developing Doctor Doom film. The Legion creator teased the comic book movie at the show's Comic-Con panel: "Two words," he said. "Doctor Doom." Sources say he is developing the film with an eye to direct.

    Purge 4 finds director in Sundance filmmaker. Gerard McMurray, the director and co-writer behind the fest favorite Burning Sands, will take over the action horror franchise. James DeMonaco is writing the script. A July 4, 2018 release has been set.

    ^Hollywood rethinking franchises amid mixed box office. Humdrum numbers leave some brands in question, with lower budgets and younger casts likely for those that return. Here's a rundown of how Spider-Man, Alien, Fast & Furious and more are being rethought. Details. 

    ? SAG-AFTRA candidates include celebrities, dark horses. The union has released the lists of candidates for president and other offices. Joining Pete Antico, Gabrielle Carteris and Esai Morales are two lesser known independents, Robert Martin Jr. and Marilyn Monrovia.

    Shazam! is next DC movie to shoot. David F. Sandberg is directing the feature that hails from Warner Bros.' sister division, New Line. The project is looking to go before cameras in January or February 2018 with a likely release in 2019, sources say.

    ? Anne Hathaway to star in sci-fi thriller. The actress will play a woman who mysteriously wakes up inside a cryogenic chamber and must escape before her air supply runs out. Christie LeBlanc wrote the script. IM Global is financing the $10M project.

    ? Jake Tapper book adaptation finds director, distributor. Millennium Films has acquired a package for the CNN host's The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, and Rod Lurie will direct. It is being adapted by Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson.

    Mark Rylance says he "would never" campaign for Oscar. Speaking to London's Time Out, Rylance explained that although he won best supporting actor for Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies in 2016, he had been too busy with a stage play to take part in the prior awards campaigning: "How embarrassing."


  • HBO Team Defends Slave Drama

    Ever since Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss unveiled their new Civil War alternative history series for HBO on Wednesday, the project elicited controversy about its depiction of modern day slavery. Their response:

    "It’s just a little premature," Benioff told Vulture about the initial "outrage" surrounding the series. "You know, we might f— it up. But we haven’t yet."

    Titled Confederate, the drama chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War. The series takes place in an alternate timeline, where the Southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. Benioff and Weiss, along with fellow Confederate writers, African-American husband-and-wife team Malcolm and Nichelle Tramble Spellman, defended the project, which is not expected for at least a year if not more.

    "I do understand their concern. I wish their concern had been reserved to the night of the premiere, on HBO, on a Sunday night, when they watched and then they made a decision after they watched an hour of television as to whether or not we succeeded in what we set out to do," said Nichelle to Vulture. "The concern is real. But I think that the four of us are very thoughtful, very serious, and not flip about what we are getting into in any way."

    Elsewhere in TV... 

    ? Amazon nabs Tim Roth, Christina Hendricks thriller series. The streamer has picked up Tin Star, a 10-parter written and created by Rowan Joffe (28 Weeks Later) that was produced by Endemol Shine-owned banner Kudos for the U.K.'s Sky Atlantic.

    ? Ryan Murphy reveals next American Horror Story title. The upcoming seventh season of the FX anthology is called Cult, the showrunner revealed last night. Though Murphy has announced that it will focus on the 2016 presidential election, other details remain scarce. 

    ? FX's Legion casts Wonder Woman actor for season two. Saïd Taghmaoui will play the role of villain Amahl Farouk on the drama from Fargo creator Noah Hawley, based on a corner of Marvel's X-Men universe. The news was announced at the show's official Comic-Con panel.

    ? ABC's How to Get Away With Murder enlists Jimmy SmitsThe NYPD Blue grad has signed on for a major recurring role on the upcoming fourth season. Smits' character will be a prominent figure in Annalise’s (Viola Davis) life.

    ^MGM to revive Stargate as digital series. Producers will bring back the franchise as a 10-episode digital series, Stargate Origins, that will live exclusively on a dedicated subscription-based platform called Stargate Command. Details. 

    ? CW's The Originals will end with fifth season. Showrunner Julie Plec, ahead of the show's time at San Diego Comic-Con, said that the upcoming fifth season of the show would be its last. Plec also posted a note to fans of the series.

    BBC: New Doctor Who will be paid the same as her predecessor. After the broadcaster came under fire this week for a major gender pay gap among its top earners, the BBC reassured Doctor Who fans Jodie Whittaker will receive the same pay as the outgoing Peter Capaldi

    ? CBS' head of drama development to exit. Christina Davis is leaving the network after a 20-year run. The executive, currently on maternity leave after welcoming twins last month, will not return. A successor has not yet been determined.

    ? A+E Networks names new president of programming. Rob Sharenow's rise continues, with an expanded purview beyond simply A&E and Lifetime. In his new role, he will have each of the individual networks' executive vice presidents reporting into him.

  • "A Better Black Superhero"

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's latest column: "not all black characters are created equal. For me, there are certain characteristics a writer must consider when crafting a black comic book protagonist." Three ways to build a better hero.

    Meanwhile, at Comic-Con...

    + Suicide Squad director David Ayer took shots at the studio system.

    + "Real-life Iron Man flies around Comic-Con in a jet-powered suit." 

    + Orlando Jones was officiating a fan wedding for Syfy

    + New trailers/footage: Kingsman: The Golden CircleDeath Note, Pacific Rim Uprising

    + Up today: The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones take center stage in Hall H. Friday schedule | TV lineup I Film lineup I Parties

    What else we're reading... 

    "Jessica Williams charts her course." Dave Itzkoff writes: "Many Daily Show fans had hoped she would succeed Jon Stewart, but she took herself out of the running to focus elsewhere." [The New York Times]

    "The severe test of fantasy." Richard Brody writes: "In Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Besson displays hectic showmanship more than his own curiosity and pleasure." [The New Yorker]

    "The life-changing magic of Jenny Slate." Josh Duboff's profile: "the star of Landline is in a good place — especially because the paparazzi aren’t following her to the airport." [Vanity Fair]

    "The real Issa tries to live with the fake Issa." Geoff Edgers' profile: "As Rae grows older, she’s finding it less charming to be confused with this fictitious Issa. If only she had named her Insecure character Nia or Amani." [The Washington Post]

    "Remembering Chester Bennington." Spencer Kornhaber writes: "The Linkin Park singer, dead at 41, may have been the purest voice of angst on the radio this millennium." [The Atlantic]

    What else we're seeing...

    "Jimmy Fallon begs to be Charlize Theron's Bond girl." [Tonight Show]

    + Colbert goes to Russia to investigate the "pee tape." [Late Show]

    + "T.J. Miller explains his outfit." [Jimmy Kimmel Live]

    Today's Birthdays: Juno Temple, 28, Diane Guerrero, 31, Josh Hartnett, 39, Justin Bartha, 39, Charlotte Gainsbourg, 46, Jon Lovitz, 60.