What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:10 AM 9/29/2017

by THR Staff

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Happy Friday: Blade Runner 2049 reviews are out, and they're mostly raves so far. Plus: Behind indie film's new financial paradox, meet Scientology's top money manager, why a new Tom Cruise movie nixed a Bill Clinton scene and what happened to the other Trump on SNL. — Matthew Belloni, Erik Hayden and Jennifer Konerman

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How Hollywood is coping with the Equifax hack. Jennifer Lawrence's Social Security number? Mark Wahlberg's credit score? They could be out there, thanks to the latest hacking scandal, Ashley Cullins reports:

September is usually a stressful month for financial managers because it includes one of several major tax deadlines. But this year it also came with the announcement that nearly 150 million U.S. consumers — including, inevitably, several with famous names and faces — had vital data hacked from the credit reporting agency Equifax.

Hollywood business managers were left scrambling for a solution while their phones rang off the hook with calls from panicked A-listers. "Everyone is concerned, and rightfully so," says business manager Warren Grant. "We sent out a memo to our clients discussing options, which include credit monitoring, freezes and alerts."

The chaos following the hack certainly isn't exclusive to entertainment, but freezes pose a unique challenge for the industry's money managers — especially since everyone from auto dealerships to cable companies run customers' credit.

Imagine the media scandal that could ensue if a 20-something starlet had her credit declined while trying to open a Barneys card because she'd forgotten about the freeze. "We have explained to clients how [credit freezes] work and suggested using caution when considering it," says Grant. "Car leases, new credit cards any background check will require you to unfreeze." Full story. 

  • 'Blade Runner' Early Reviews

    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

    The embargo has been moved up and early (and effusive) takes from critics are starting to arrive for the long-awaited Blade Runner 2049. Chief critic Todd McCarthy gives a mostly positive take in his review: 

    For committed fans who have patiently waited 35 years for a sequel to Ridley Scott's mesmerizingly lento sci-fi landmark Blade Runner, the good news is that director Denis Villeneuve achieves something very close to the same narcotic effect in Blade Runner 2049 with a voluptuous mood bath that's impressively sustained from beginning to end.

    The problem is that 164 minutes occupy the distance between that beginning and end, yet another example of directorial excess where self-discipline would have been a great benefit (the release version of the original ran 118 minutes).

    There are many reasons to see this entrancingly immoderate work, but just as the original was a box-office short-faller in its day, it's doubtful that the mainstream masses will pile in for this follow-up despite the presences of Ryan Gosling and especially the returning Harrison Ford in one of his most dynamic performances. Full review

    + Early takes: EW: "a ravishing visual feast." The Guardian: "a narcotic spectacle of eerie and pitiless vastness, by turns satirical, tragic and romantic." Rolling Stone: "more than lives up to the original." USA Today: "outclasses the influential original with sci-fi spectacle." IndieWire: "mind-blowing sci-fi storytelling."

    Elsewhere in film...

    Indie film's financial paradox: more backers but less box office. With a dozen or more movies opening each weekend, the hits like 47 Meters Down are few and far between, but for lots of distributors it's not about numbers anymore.

    + Tatiana Siegel notes: Many distributors continue to buy, not because it's financially lucrative but because it feeds another side of their business or their parent company's overall strategy. Releasing movies has become something of a side hustle.

    ► Box-office milestone: It crosses $500M. Less than a month into its run, Andy Muschietti's horror film has crossed the $500M mark at the worldwide box office in yet another victory for New Line and Warner Bros. 

    + Pamela McClintock writes: It is bound to be one of the most profitable titles of 2017 after costing a modest $35M to produce (which doesn't include marketing costs). It is the highest grossing horror film of all time. When adjusting for inflation, however, The Exorcist (1973) remains the record holder. 

    ^Last Flag Flying, reviewed. Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne star in Richard Linklater's road movie as Vietnam vets reuniting after 30 years on a deeply personal mission. The takeaway: "Seldom rises above half-mast." 

    ► Lionsgate to bring Hunger Games attraction to Times Square. The studio is teaming with Spain's Parques Reunidos, a global leisure-park operator, to launch Lionsgate Entertainment City. Also: A Mad Men themed dining experience. Details.

    Lucifer showrunner tackling Flight of the Navigator reboot. Joe Henderson has been hired to write a reboot of the 1986 kids movie that is now set up at Lionsgate. The Henson Co. is on board to produce the sci-adventure.

    Trailer watch, Darkest Hour. Gary Oldman's Winston Churchill refuses to negotiate in the latest look at the awards contender from director Joe Wright. The feature hits theaters on Nov. 22. Watch.

    R.I.P., Robert A. Goldston. The producer, whose credits ranged from such American Film Theatre productions as The Iceman Cometh and A Delicate Balance in the 1970s to the 1987 HBO film Mandela, died Saturday. He was 88. Full obit.

    Tom Cruise's American Made nixed scene with Bill Clinton getting lap dance. The film draws from a conspiracy theory that implicates both Clinton and George H.W. Bush in a massive operation that involved cocaine smuggling, money laundering and illegal arms exporting. Details.

  • Murdoch Clan Pay Falls

    Getty Images

    James, Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch's annual compensation for their executive roles at 21st Century Fox each fell in the most recent fiscal year, according to a regulatory filing, Georg Szalai and Paul Bond write: 

    Fox CEO James Murdoch's annual compensation for the fiscal year amounted to $20.3M, compared with $26.4M for the previous year, which was his first as chief exec. Lachlan Murdoch's compensation as executive co-chairman amounted to $20.6M, compared with $23.7M in the previous year when he first filled the role.

    Rupert Murdoch made $29.3M in the latest fiscal year as executive co-chairman, compared with $34.6M in the previous year. Fox recently reported earnings from continuing operations for the latest fiscal year of $3B ($1.61 per share), compared with $2.76B ($1.42 per share) in the prior year. Full story. 

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus reveals breast cancer diagnosis. The Veep actress received the diagnosis just one day after taking home an Emmy, making the announcement yesterday with the tweet: "1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I'm the one."

    + Louis-Dreyfus: "The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let's fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality." Full story. 

    NBC's Megyn Kelly show has on-camera snafu. During an interview Thursday with soccer player Carli Lloyd, a cameraman accidentally stepped into frame while Lloyd was speaking, audibly cursing when he entered the frame. Watch.

    Fox plans female-led Nice Guys TV reboot. The contemporary, female-centered show is based on the 2016 film, which starred Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as a private eye and an enforcer. Michael Diliberti will write the script. 

    Disney Channel sets Hocus Pocus remake. The network is developing a TV movie remake (with brand new characters) of the 1993 Bette Midler Halloween film, which hails from writer Scarlett Lacey and exec producer David Kirschner.

    NBC's SNL plans David S. Pumpkins special. The network is bringing back Tom Hanks' fan-favorite character Oct. 28 for a Halloween-themed animated special. Hanks and Peter Dinklage will lend their voices talents to the special. 

    Fox, Diablo Cody and Finding Carter creator team for FBI drama. Emily Silver will write the script for Two Nights and exec produce with Cody. The project marks the latter's first through her recently signed overall deal with WBTV. 

    ^Marvel's Inhumans, reviewed. Marvel's latest venture (premiering tonight on ABC) combines poorly developed characters, confusing superpowers and lovely Hawaiian scenery into a leaden dud. The takeaway: "After its IMAX debut, at least now the only cost is your time."

    + Early takes: N.Y. Times: "looks noticeably cheap." USA Today: "inhumanly awful." L.A. Times: "it is overall somnolent and solemn where it should crackle and kid."

    Netflix's Big Mouth, reviewed. Netflix's latest animated series (out today) is a grownups-only cartoon about puberty voiced by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. The takeaway: "A terrific comedy that pushes boundaries with thoughtfulness." 

    Amazon's Tin Star, reviewed. Tim Roth headlines Amazon's blood-drenched drama about a family destroyed by Big Oil. Takeaway: "More lead than gold."

    NBC renews Marlon for season two. Marlon Wayans is staying put at the network with a second season order. The show averaged a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 5.6M viewers in its first season.

    Netflix, WE tv nab rights to Madam Secretary. Netflix has picked up off-network streaming rights to the CBS drama starring Tea Leoni, while the second window cable rights for the drama will go to WE tv, part of AMC Networks.

    Meet Scientology's top money manager. Bruce Wiseman, whose firm has advised some of Hollywood's A-list church members including Jenna Elfman and Kirstie Alley to Beck and Lisa Marie Presley, urges clients to move assets far from U.S. control: "It's perfectly legitimate."

  • 'Thirtysomething' Turns 30

    Fun Friday read: The cast and creators behind the seminal series Thirtysomething, which premiered 30 years ago today, open up about the show's surprising success, controversial storylines and its long-lasting legacy. Full feature.

    What else we're reading...

    "DC rethinks its universe." Abraham Riesman's feature: "While DC Entertainment has won big in comics, TV, and games, they’ve struggled at the movies. Does Wonder Woman show the way forward?" [New York]

    "Darrell Hammond was a star as Trump. So what went wrong?" The comedian talks about being dropped as Trump on SNL: "I was in shock, and I stayed in shock for a long time," Hammond says. [The Washington Post]

    — "What’s next for Saturday Night Live?" Alison Herman forecasts: "The show’s last season dominated political comedy and cleaned up at the Emmys. Here’s what to watch for this year." [The Ringer]

    "Gretchen Carlson on O’Reilly, Trump, and Life After War with Fox News." Gabriel Sherman's Q&A: "A year after her lawsuit, the former Fox & Friends host has reinvented herself as a women’s rights activist." [Vanity Fair]

    "What Can Will & Grace tell us in 2017?" Michael Schulman writes: "Nineteen years ago, the sitcom’s characters were outliers in mainstream America, but nowadays they seem like paragons of privilege." [The New Yorker]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Steve Martin has some criticism of Late Show." [Late Show]

    + "Jeff Garlin remembers Larry David's early stand-up days." [Late Night]

    "Harrison Ford Punched Ryan Gosling in the Face." [Tonight Show]

    Today's birthdays: Chrissy Metz, 37, Zachary Levi, 37, Nicolas Winding Refn, 47, Andrew Dice Clay, 60, Ian McShane, 75.

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