What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:18 AM 8/4/2017

by THR Staff

Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures

What's news: At TCA, NBC gave some hints about its plans moving forward (that doesn't include the Apprentice). Plus: HBO hackers issue threats, Warner Bros. can't dodge a lawsuit from Sylvester Stallone and YouTube is making a new Karate Kid show (with original stars). — Matthew Belloni and Erik Hayden 

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  • Looking Back at 'Detroit'

    Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures

    Kathryn Bigelow's American history trilogy (add Detroit to The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty) may be depressing, but it’s nonetheless valid, Stephen Galloway writes in his new column

    No one has disputed how dreadfully the police behaved in Detroit, and yet no other filmmaker has had the guts to take this on. Believe me, Detroit’s no fun. I hated watching perpetrators who looked more like me than the victims. I loathed suffering with those who suffered, even in the comfort of my armchair. But awareness of suffering is the first step on the path to reform.

    Like Dunkirk, Detroit immerses us in one protracted historical moment, an event that lasted a few days and then was over; like Dunkirk, it avoids conventional narrative, psychological insight or character development. But it goes further than Nolan’s picture in challenging our ideas of right and wrong.

    Dunkirk reassures us that, horrific as war may be, there’s at least some glory at its molten core. When it comes to urban warfare, there’s none. Life, Bigelow seems to be saying, is nasty, brutish and short. But if it is, we need to know. Showing us that, without flinching, is what separates the great artists from the very good.

    + Does Detroit risk a lawsuit from real-life cops? Eriq Gardner and Ashley Cullins write: Names of the police officers at the center of the infamous 1967 Algiers Motel brutality have been changed, but the new film raises several legal issues that often arise when subjects of movies and TV argue, "It’s me, but it couldn’t be me."

    Elsewhere in film... 

    Film on anti-Semitism has Germany reeling. The documentary Chosen and Excluded – The Hate on Jews in Europe, has ignited a fierce debate about censorship, media bias and Europe's ugly history of discrimination.

    Cinemark second-quarter earnings drop. The movie theater operator on Friday reported lower second-quarter earnings that fell slightly below Wall Street expectations. Attendance fell from 73.0 million to 69.4 million.

    New Line nabs Shawn Levy's superhero crime thriller. The company has picked up the unique project, Pulse, that sees producers Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen of 21 Laps reteaming with their Stranger Things writer Jessie Nickson-Lopez. Details.

    Natalie Portman's Annihilation gets release date. Paramount has set a Feb. 23, 2018 release date for the adaptation of the acclaimed sci-fi novel from Jeff VanderMeer. The film is directed by Ex Machina's Alex Garland.

    ^Vanity Fair stands firm over Angelina Jolie's cover story claims. The magazine fired back at Oscar winner in an article, writing that "after reviewing the audiotape, V.F. stands by [Evgenia] Peretz's story as published." That statement came at the end of the story following a brief account of a controversial casting exercise in the celebrity profile.

    Angela Davis biopic finds writer. This is Us writer Kay Oyegun has been tapped to pen the biopic of the civil rights activist for Lionsgate. Nina Yang Bongiovi, who produced Dope, and Sidra Smith are producing, while Forest Whitaker is exec producing.

    Regina Hall joins YA adaptation The Hate U Give. The Girls Trip star has joined Fox 2000's adaptation of the Black Lives Matter YA novel of the same name. Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg is starring, George Tillman Jr. will direct.

    Jaden Smith to star in skateboarding movie. Smith will be joining an untitled project that will be the narrative feature debut of The Wolfpack director Crystal Moselle. Orange is the New Black's Elizabeth Rodriguez will lead the cast. 

    Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey-funded writers lab selects projects. A dozen screenplays have been selected for the program, sponsored by New York Women in Film and Television and IRIS.

    In THR, Esq: Warner Bros. can't dodge Sylvester Stallone's fraud lawsuit. A judge will permit the actor to use his claims over Demolition Man to explore how the studio's accounting might amount to unfair business practices impacting consumers, other talent and other studios. Details. 

  • NBC Execs' Gameplan

    Virginia Sherwood/NBCUniversal

    NBC's entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt is eager to change broadcast television's narrative, once and for all, Lacey Rose and Marisa Guthrie write:

    Greenblatt, joined by his scripted (Jennifer Salke) and unscripted (Paul Telegdy) chiefs, used the TCA platform to make his case with a special focus on a few of the network's breakouts, led by This Is Us, Saturday Night Live and America's Got Talent.

    Using This Is Us as his primary example, he illustrated the drama's long tail of viewership: Through mid-July, the series from Dan Fogelman has been watched by 26 million people, with the pilot having been seen by 32 million and counting.

    With those numbers still fresh in reporters' minds, Greenblatt urged them to stop relying so heavily on live-plus-same-day ratings. "I'd love for the live-plus-same-day ratings to be the proverbial dinosaur," he said, "as opposed to the broadcast network." Full exec story.

    More from NBC's TCA day... 

    + NBC plans even more Will & Grace. The network said that the revival has already been renewed for a second season ahead of the show's return. Additionally, four more episodes for season one of the multicam were ordered, bringing the total to 16.

    + NBC has "no plans" for more Celebrity Apprentice"It's really on the shelf, and I don't think we have any plans to bring it back," Greenblatt told THR. "I don't know when we would start thinking about it again."

    + NBC execs explain Carmichael Show cancellation. "It was one of those difficult decisions that kind of live with you for a while that you don't feel great about because you wish it had done better," NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke said.

    Elsewhere in TV... 

    HBO hack: New threat promises emails to be released Sunday. While the sender of the email, received by THR, appeared to use a pseudonym, the sender offered evidence of hacked materials to buttress the claim. The message.

    Viacom's domestic ad revenue dips less than expected. In a challenging environment amid cable TV cord-cutting and weakness at the domestic box office, Viacom managed to beat expectations on both the top and bottom line in its most recent quarter. Details. 

    ABC postpones Little Mermaid live musical. Sources say that the project has been scrapped due to financial issues, citing budget constraints after the network had already invested in building sets. Rehearsals were set to begin shortly.

    Netflix plans true crime satire series. American Vandal, an eight-episode scripted comedy from Funny or Die and CBS Television Studios, has been greenlit. It was created by Tony Yacenda, Dan Perrault with Dan Lagana set as showrunner.

    ^YouTube plans Karate Kid series (with original stars). Three decades after the original, stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka are heading back to the dojo. The duo are set to reprise their roles as underdog and bully in a 10-episode straight-to-series follow-up called Cobra Kai for YouTube Red.

    Netflix's Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, reviewed. THR: "Fatigue is starting to set in." NYT: "as a franchise, it feels like it’s running out of time." LAT: "a funny, poignant camp reunion." Vulture: "eight episodes of unabashed retro-fueled silliness." 

    Netflix renews Anne of Green Gables reboot. The streamer has handed out a second season order to Anne With an E, produced out of Canada. The CBC, which airs the series north of the border, confirmed the renewal, with 2018 return date.

    Freeform renews Famous in Love. The Disney-owned cable network has ordered more of the Bella Throne-starrer from Pretty Little Liars creator I. Marlene King for a second season.

    GSN promotes Mark Feldman to CEO. Three months after GSN CEO David Goldhill's departure, the AT&T and Sony Pictures Television-owned cable network has a new topper with Feldman, who had been exec vp.

    The CW hosts Everwood reunion. The channel assembled a near-complete, sans Chris Pratt, reunion of the drama at TCA. This may be the first time that a network has opted to use the press tour to promote an old show that's streaming.

    Steve Harvey mocks his leaked memo. At TCA, the elephant was the recently leaked memo in which Harvey essentially told his staff to stay the hell away from him unless they have an appointment. Harvey: "I learned two things from that email. One, I can't write. And two, I should never write."

  • Offbeat Hollywood Offices

    Photographed by Adam Amengual

    A fun Friday read: So long, Soho House! Screenwriter Ron Bass works out of the Montage Beverly Hills' Garden Bar patio, part of a movement away from studio lots and private clubs: "Everybody likes to come to us for meetings."

    What else we're reading... 

    "A celebrity president and the end of a political cease-fire." James Poniewozik writes: "Demanding that artists 'keep politics out of it' is always silly. At the first Kennedy Center Honors during the presidency of Donald J. Trump, it would be absurd." [The New York Times]

    "Making Halle Berry great again." Ira Madison III writes: "The new thriller Kidnap sees the Oscar-winning actress do everything in her power to find her abducted child. It’s a fun ride - but no career-changer." [The Daily Beast]

    "Being Petty." Nicholas Dawidoff writes: "Tom Petty’s apolitical catalogue has suddenly run coterminous with a lively political strain in the current American grain, the aggrieved feeling of victimization." [The New Yorker]

    "The whitest music ever." James Parker's new column: "Hated, dated, sonically superannuated … One could enjoy prog ironically, I suppose - listen to it with a drooping and decadent ear." [The Atlantic]

    "The versatile Robert Mitchum." Peter Tonguette writes: "The actor, who would have been 100 this week, mastered many genres - thriller, film noir, western and more." [The Wall Street Journal]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Stephen wants on Robert Mueller's grand jury." [Late Show]

    + "Robert Pattinson on anxiety over Howard Stern interview." [Jimmy Kimmel Live]

    + "Melissa Leo looks back on her bad '90s fashion." [Late Night]

    Today's Birthdays: Greta Gerwig, 34, Meghan Markle, 36, Daniel Dae Kim, 49, Dennis Lehane, 52, Barack Obama, 56, Billy Bob Thornton, 62, Frank Vincent, 78.