What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:06 AM 8/14/2017

by THR staff

Reed Hastings - H - 2016

What's news: In a coup for Netflix, the streamer has landed ABC Studios' hitmaker Shonda Rhimes. Plus: A close look at Softbank's pay TV ambitions in the U.S., a Chinese blockbuster is nearing $700M at the country's box office and HBO hackers leak more episodes. — Matthew Belloni, Erik Hayden and Jennifer Konerman

  • Shonda Jumps to Netflix

    Prolific showrunner Shonda Rhimes — the hitmaker behind ABC's Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and more — has jumped from ABC Studios to Netflix, Lesley Goldberg reports:

    For the multiple-year deal, Rhimes and her Shondaland banner will create and produce new projects for the streaming giant. Rhimes' longtime producing partner Betsy Beers will continue to head Shondaland in the move to Netflix.

    Under what is said to be a rich four-year pact, Rhimes is expected to score a percentage of the back-end on programming she creates for Netflix.

    Sources say Rhimes had been renegotiating her overall deal with ABC Studios for the past few months. That the prolific producer would exit the network's studio sibling comes as a blow for broadcast and a hint of things to come in the arms race for talent.

    The Rhimes deal — the streamer's first overall — comes as free-spending Netflix has been aggressive when it comes to luring top talent. Last week, the streamer picked up a talk show hosted by David Letterman and acquired comic book publisher Millarworld as it pushes to own more of its content.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    ? HBO hackers leak more shows online. "Hackers continue to pester HBO, releasing several unaired episodes of the highly anticipated return of Curb Your Enthusiasm on Sunday in their latest leak," the Associated Press reports.

    ? Showtime's SMILF enlists Connie Britton. More than six months after exiting CMT's Nashville, the actress has booked her return to the small screen with a multiple-episode recurring role on the forthcoming comedy.

    ? CBS' spinoff How I Met Your Father finds writer. You're the Worst scribe Alison Bennett has been tapped to write a new take on the How I Met Your Mother spinoff, which will mark 20th TV's third take on a potential offshoot.

    ? ABC News nabs first Mooch TV interview after firing. Anthony Scaramucci gave his first televised appearance since being fired after only 11 days as White House communications director on This Week. The highlights.

    ^What is SoftBank's endgame in the U.S.? With the world’s largest tech fund at his disposal (a cool $93 billion), the Japanese conglomerate's brash CEO Masayoshi Son now he hopes to leverage his investment in Sprint for an aggressive push into pay TV.

    ? HBO's Game of Thrones drops Jon Snow shocker. Last night, fans found the King in the North has a real argument to be the King of it All, given a quick aside in "Eastwatch." Spoilers here.

    ? Netflix orders Best Worst Weekend Ever series. The streamer has handed out a straight-to-series order for the eight-episode limited comedy with Jeremy Garelick as showrunner. It's created and exec produced by Robin Stein and Dan Franklin.

    NBC developing futuristic drama from Maze Runner director. Wes Ball will exec produce Mosaic, set in a near-future metropolis. Christine Lavaf will pen the pilot and exec produce with Ball and Joe Hartwick Jr. Ball. 

    ? Netflix cancels Gypsy after one season. The streamer has canceled the Naomi Watts drama after just one season, which premiered to lackluster reviews in June. So far this year, Netflix has axed two other rookie series: The Get Down and Girlboss.

    Rep Sheet Roundup: Missy Elliott signs with WME … Jennifer Connelly signs with PR firm 42WestElectus has taken a majority stake in Principato-Young as co-founder Paul Young departs …  Bellamy Young signs with Anonymous Content. More.

  • Box Office: A Scary August

    Some of the August box office blues were scared away by a new entry in The Conjuring cinematic universe, Pamela McClintock writes: 

    + Warner Bros./New Line's R-rated prequel Annabelle: Creation conjured up a pleasing $35M. Females made up the majority of the audience (52 percent), while a full 46 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 25.

    Lionsgate's The Glass Castle opened in far fewer theaters than its rivals (1,461 locations), grossing an estimated $4.9M. The title earned an A- CinemaScore and skewed heavily female (80 percent).

    + Open Road's animated The Nut Job 2 debuted in third place with $8.9M, less than half the $19.4M collected by the original in January 2014.

    Overall: It was another sluggish weekend, with revenue down more than 30 percent from the same frame last year as holdovers The Dark Tower and Detroit continued to struggle. Summer to date is now 12 percent down from the same frame in 2016.

    Elsewhere in film...

    ? Mission: Impossible 6 set video leaked. Footage taken on the London set obtained by TMZ shows Tom Cruise jumping from one building to another and falling short of his mark. Cruise is shown limping away after getting back on his feet.

    ? Spider-Man spinoff, Sicario sequel get release dates. Sony has set a date for its spinoff Silver & Black, opening Feb. 8, 2019. In addition, Columbia Pictures and Black Label Media's Sicario 2: Soldado will open June 29, 2018.

    + Noted: Sony has also pulled Bad Boys sequel Bad Boys for Life from the schedule. And Breaking Bad director Michelle MacLaren's feature-film debut, The Nightingale, will now open Jan. 25, 2019.

    ^China box office: Wolf Warrior 2 marches toward $700M. Wu Jing's epic continued to astonish in its third frame, adding $83M to again top the international charts. After 18 days on Chinese screens, the patriotic action movie has pulled in a colossal $683M

    ? South Korea box office: A Taxi Driver is top title of 2017. The local drama has earned $54.8M in two weeks, crossing 8 million admissions to become the year's biggest draw in the Asian country. Details I Review. 

    ? Lionsgate renews Redbox distribution deal. The studio reupping its supply deal signals the DVD rental market lives on in the face of competition from Netflix and other streaming services. 

    ? Animated In This Corner of the World to get awards push. The hand-drawn film, produced by Genco and Mappa, follows a young woman who lives near Hiroshima, Japan, and demonstrates perseverance while enduring tragedy in WWII.

    ? R.I.P., Joel Sadilek. The line producer on the new film Ingrid Goes West, died at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was 48. Full obit.

    Talent manager loses client after sexist email. Jai Rodriguez is no longer working with Michael Einfeld after the manager's former assistant exposed emails and texts in which he used sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic language. Details. 

  • R.I.P., Joe Bologna

    Joseph Bologna, an actor, playwright and Oscar nominated screenwriter memorable as the egotistical King Kaiser in the 1982 comedy classic My Favorite Year, died Sunday. He and his wife, screenwriter Renee Taylor, celebrated their 52nd anniversary on Friday. He was 82. Full obit.

    What else we're reading... 

    "Mr. Nice Guy." Nicholas Thompson's feature: "Kevin Systrom, the CEO of Instagram, was at Disneyland last June when he decided the internet was a cesspool that he had to clean up." [Wired]

    "How a conservative TV giant is ridding itself of regulation." A triple-bylined feature: "A merger with Tribune would transform Sinclair into a media juggernaut, with reach into seven out of 10 homes." [The New York Times]

    "What happened to the negative music review?" Neil Shah writes: "Critics rarely have a bad word to say about today’s albums; Out of 787 albums analyzed this year, Metacritic hasn’t given a single one a red score." [The Wall Street Journal]

    "Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. returns to No. 1." Keith Caulfield's Billboard 200 sales wrap: "The set earned just under 47,000 equivalent album units (down less than 1 percent) in the week ending Aug. 10." [Billboard]

    "The brothers who went on the run with Robert Pattinson." Billy Gray writes: "The former Twilight hunk took a massive pay cut to work with the Safdie brothers, who are now on the cusp of a Hollywood breakthrough." [The Daily Beast]

    What else we're seeing...

    + John Oliver enlists Weird Al for North Korea segment. [Last Week Tonight]

    + "See Steve Martin's 'Caroline' video with Bill Hader, Cecily Strong." [Rolling Stone]

    + "Trump never takes responsibility for anything." [Morning Joe]

    Today's birthdays: Mila Kunis, 34, Catherine Bell, 49, Halle Berry, 51, Marcia Gay Harden, 58, Wim Wenders, 72, Steve Martin, 72.