What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:19 AM 2/19/2018

by Ray Rahman


What's news: Three Billboards basks in BAFTA glory. Plus: Black Panther can't stop breaking records, the Olympics power through the weekend and Trump has some choice words for Oprah. — Ray Rahman

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  • Five BAFTAs

    Mike Marsland/gettyimages

    And the BAFTA goes to...

    Winners: Three Billboards was the main victor last night in London, taking home five awards, including best film, best actress, best supporting actor and a screenplay award for Martin McDonagh. Meanwhile, Shape of Water, the night's most-nominated film, only won three trophies, including best director for Guillermo del Toro. Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya won the BAFTA Rising Star award. See the winners list.

    The Oscars narrative: Did Three Billboards just reclaim pole position? Scott Feinberg writes: "What we can safely say is that this is a very bad omen for the best picture Oscar prospects of the two British films that were vanquished by Three BillboardsDarkest Hour and Dunkirk.

    "In other words, Three Billboards' most formidable competition for the best picture Oscar is probably still Shape of Water (which also has the most Oscar nominations) and Get Out, not another British pick." Read more.

    The other big story: As expected, the Time's Up movement was visible throughout the ceremony, where black was the central color scheme worn by virtually every star. One notable exception? Kate Middleton, who arrived in a forest green gown. She wasn't alone, though — Frances McDormand also ignored the dress code. "I have a little trouble with compliance," she said.

    Black Panther update...

    The numbers: Given the holiday weekend, complete box-office results for the cycle aren't in yet. But Pamela McClintock assures us they'll be big: "Disney won’t release estimates until later, but some rival studios show the film now approaching an astonishing $241 million in its four-day debut, including more than $200M for the three days. Stay tuned..."

    The latest: Even without the final numbers, we know that Black Panther has already smashed records and secured the fifth-biggest domestic opening of all time. It's also the best launch of any superhero film behind only 2012's The Avengers.

    Other records: Biggest opening for an African-American director and biggest ever February debut.

    More numbers: At 80 AMC theaters across the country, the movie was the top-grossing film ever shown at those locations. AMC didn't provide a list of the theaters, nor a precise dollar amount for those cinemas, but noted that there were a record 83 showings on Friday at the AMC Southlake 24 near Atlanta.

    The soundtrack: Kendrick Lamar's curated Black Panther: The Album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 track, scoring the largest week for a soundtrack album since Suicide Squad.

    The Rotten Tomatoes score: The movie currently boasts the best aggregated score on the site of any live-action superhero flick, boasting a 97 percent versus previous leaders The Dark Night and Iron Man, which are tied at 94 percent.

    The Oprah review: "It's Phenomenal!!" Winfrey tweeted Saturday. "Layers and layers of it. Wakunda ForEveeerrrr!"

    The story behind Michael B. Jordan's villain: Killmonger is being hailed as one of Marvel's best onscreen baddies to date. Read the character's comic backstory

    The path forward: For Marvel, Black Panther points to a simple strategy for success: More solid self-contained movies, fewer overpopulated superhero mashups. Read more.

    Letter(s) from Berlin...

    Anne Hathaway's next role: The Oscar winner is in negotiations to join Mudbound director Dee Rees' next project, The Last Thing He Wanted, based on Joan Didion's 1996 best-seller. Hathaway would play a Washington Post journalist thrown unexpectedly into the dangerous world of arms dealing in the political thriller. (Is The Washington Post Hollywood's new favorite newspaper?)

    Dealmakers rejoice! Big business at Berlin is bouncing back, with international buyers mostly upbeat about the titles on offer this year and their box-office potential. It's the return big, near-studio level productions — indie films that don’t look indie — aka, the kinds of movies that have driven the Berlin market in the past. Read more.

    Actresses are replacing men onscreen: As the #Me Too movement continues to drive change, filmmakers are reworking projects to feature more women in roles originally intended for men: “Finally, it has registered how important the female audience is." Read more.

    5 fixes for the fest: With festival director Dieter Kosslick’s contract ending in May 2019 and rising criticism of the event’s programming, THR looks at how the German fest can get its mojo back. #1: Reduce the number of sections. See the list.

    Extra! The Berlin Film Fest daily newspaper, day 5: For industry insiders, there are 28 pages of deals, news, executive interviews and reviews along with a screening guide and a look back at Isabelle Huppert's scene-stealing past. Download here.

    + The Race: Watch THR's full, uncensored roundtable with Jordan Peele, Aaron Sorkin, Emily V. Gordon and more. Video.

  • Streaming Wars

    Illustration by John Ueland

    Critic's notebook: Who's winning the streaming wars? Tim Goodman writes:

    I've already raised some red flags about Apple's foray into television. I absolutely believe the tech behemoth can play successfully in the TV business and has made a number of smart hires and spent a lot of money to do just that (and can we stop repeating that Apple will spend only $1 billion on programming already? It's going to blow past that).

    But two things are worrisome currently. First, the suggestion from some corners that early indications are Apple wants its content not to exceed TV14 ratings (which would be both stunning and stupid). Netflix has already proved that a catchall streaming service can have series that run the gamut from family-friendly to full-frontal male nudity. It doesn't have to be either/or.

    And second... Read more.

    Meanwhile at the Olympics...

    Ratings update: We're now more than one week into the Games. Are people still interested? Mostly: Friday night's programming, which included Nathan Chen and Lindsey Vonn, held even, more or less, with 19.3 million viewers. Saturday night, however, saw a 20 percent dip from Friday — though that's still steady with the corresponding night in Sochi back in 2014.

    NBC tried to hire Adam Rippon... but couldn't. The breakout 28-year-old figure skater was given an offer to join NBC's coverage of the Winter Games as a correspondent, but Rippon declined overnight when he realized he'd have to "relinquish his official Olympic standing, give up his Olympic credential, move out of Team USA Housing and not be allowed to march in the closing ceremony," USA Today reports.

    A kiss! Four years has made a big difference for Gus Kenworthy: On Saturday, the stopestyle skier shared a casual kiss with boyfriend Matthew Wilkas on NBC before his qualifying run. He had once planned to come out as gay with a televised kiss at Sochi in 2014 but scrapped the idea.

    "Despacito" on ice: The song dominated the ice-dancing short program yesterday, with three separate teams using it as the soundtrack to their routines.

    John Oliver is back...

    And he wasted no time: "These events are now so familiar that we basically automatically know how each side will play out," the Last Week Tonight said of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "'Thoughts and prayers,' 'Fuck your thoughts and prayers,' 'It's a mental-health problem,' 'Yeah, but it's also a gun problem,' and then someone says, 'Now is not the time to talk about gun control,' and everyone moves on until it inevitably happens again." Watch.

    Oprah angers Trump...

    The president apparently watched 60 Minutes last night, but was none too pleased with what he saw: Oprah's panel of Michigan voters. "Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes," Trump tweeted. "The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!"

    ^The Looming Tower, reviewed. Daniel Fienberg writes: "Hulu's The Looming Tower is essentially like a well-shot, brilliantly cast, fast-moving season of Homeland, which is better than the actual current season of Homeland." The takeaway: A gripping horror story of historic inevitability. Full review.

    Netflix's new partner: Dubai-based pay TV giant OSN. The new deal will give OSN subscribers across the Middle East and North Africa access to Netflix's library, a big step for the streamer's attempts to gain a foothold in the region.

    Laura Ingraham's war on LeBron: The Fox News host has been criticized from all corners for calling LeBron James' political commentary "barely intelligible" and telling him to "shut up and dribble."

    + LeBron's response: "I defeated the odds and I want every kid to know that they can do it as well and that's why I will not just shut up and dribble," the NBA superstar said. "The best thing she did was help me create more awareness."

    + Others react: Ellen Pompeo wrote, "Someone tell this bitch to meet me outside," while NFL Super Bowl champ Chris Long responded by tweeting a string of videos of nonpolitical personalities (Ted Nugent, Jon Voight, et al) talking politics on Fox News.

    ► Rep Sheet Roundup: Taraji P. Henson has signed with 42West.… ICM Partners has promoted six agents to partner.… Lucifer’s Lesley-Ann Brandt has signed with Paradigm.… Corinne Foxx (daughter of Jamie) has signed with CAA.… Helena Howard, star of Sundance drama Madeline’s Madeline, has signed with WME. More here.


  • Britain's Brexit Boom

    Illustration by: Nicolas Dehghani

    Full-service studios, a 25 percent incentive and a "very strong" exchange rate are luring more blockbusters to the U.K., writes Alex Ritman:

    A casual glance at this year’s Oscar nominations offers an indicator that Hollywood is in the midst of a love affair with the U.K. As one Hollywood-based senior executive puts it, “There are three main places you now consider shooting: Atlanta, New Orleans and London.”

    Indeed, facilities in the capital and across the U.K. are close to their bursting point, with reports that Blade Runner 2049 and Alien: Covenant were forced to look elsewhere because of a lack of space. Some of 2018’s biggest movies — Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Ready Player One, Tomb Raider, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Aladdin and Mission: Impossible 6 — have been shot on U.K. soil. Expansions to existing studios are well in progress, while plans for new developments — including a major site in East London — are in the pipeline to cope with the rising demand. Full story.

    + U.K.'s rising film talents: An actress, cinematographer, director, editor and writer to keep an eye on. See the list.

    + 5 London studios that Hollywood's in love with right now: See the list.

    What else we're reading...

    — "How to make a weepy family drama." Emily Nussbaum compares Here and Now and This Is Us to The Fosters. [The New Yorker]

    — "The Iceman cometh out." Stephanie Burt writes: "One of Marvel’s X-Men, Iceman, has finally accepted that he is gay in a comic book series that is breaking new ground for the genre." [The New York Times]

    — "Now is the time for a Storm movie." Ira Madison III writes: "Black Panther has proved to be a cultural phenomenon — thanks in large part to its strong black women. So why can’t Marvel give perhaps its most popular black superheroine her due?" [Daily Beast]

    — "Twenty years ago, Madonna was reborn with 'Ray of Light.'" Lindsay Zoladz writes: "The pop icon’s stunning turn to electronic music showed a spiritual side we’d never seen before and was the last time we learned about her interior life." [The Ringer]

    — "A knockoff game is trying to take on HQ Trivia by using celebrity hosts like Wyclef Jean." Tanya Dua writes: "Since December, Live.me has been heavily investing in a live trivia show called QuizBiz, which like HQ, seamlessly combines the classic game show vibe with live streaming and mobile gaming." [Business Insider]

    — "Black Panther and the invention of 'Africa.'" Jelani Cobb writes: "Wakanda is no more or less imaginary than the Africa conjured by Hume or Trevor-Roper, or the one canonized in such Hollywood offerings as Tarzan." [New Yorker]

    What else we're hearing...

    + "Oscar docs; George Takei." A discussion of Faces Places and Last Men in Aleppo and a chat with Takei. [The Frame / KPCC]

    + "Wakanda forever." Black Panther talk. [Slate Represent]

    + "Lawrence O'Donnell." The MSNBC anchor sits with David Axelrod. [The Axe Files]

    What's ahead this week...

    Tuesday: Esquire's Mavericks of Hollywood celebration is held in L.A.... The Costume Designers Guild Awards are held in L.A. 

    Wednesday: Game Night holds its premiere in L.A.

    Thursday: Unsolved holds its premiere in L.A.

    Friday: Annihilation and Game Night hit theaters nationwide.... Ugly Delicious debuts on Netflix

    Today's Birthdays: Millie Bobby Brown, 14, Josh Trank, 34, Benicio Del Toro, 51, Helen Fielding, 60, Jeff Daniels, 63, Smokey Robinson, 78.