What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:11 AM 2/20/2018

by Ray Rahman

'Black Panther'
'Black Panther'
Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios

What's news: The Black Panther momentum (or shall we say movement?) continues to shatter records. Plus: Fox News launches a stand-alone streaming service, Jimmy Fallon debuts a condensed Tonight Show and a new doc will look at gender bias in the industry.  — Ray Rahman

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  • The 'Black Panther' Movement

    Courtesy of Marvel Studios

    The updated Black Panther numbers are in for the four-day weekend, Pamela McClintock writes: 

    Record breaker: Ryan Coogler's Disney/Marvel film brought in a projected $242 million over the long weekend (and $201.8 million during the three-day frame). That's an 88 percent box-office increase from the same weekend last year. Worldwide total: $426.6 million.

    Sunday's numbers: $60.1 million on that day alone, making it the second biggest Sunday of all time (Star Wars: The Force Awakens had $60.6 million).

    CinemaScore: Audiences rated the movie with the rare A+, a grade no other Marvel movie besides The Avengers has received.

    Bob Iger: "The world has embraced Black Panther, which has obliterated expectations, broken records & shattered myths," the Disney leader tweeted. "Powerful storytelling that touches hearts, bridges cultures, opens minds. Grateful to @Marvelstudios, #RyanCoogler & the cast and crew. #BlackPanther #WakandaForever"

    Michelle Obama: "Congrats to the entire #blackpanther team!" the former First Lady tweeted. "Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen. I loved this movie and I know it will inspire people of all backgrounds to dig deep and find the courage to be heroes of their own stories."

    #WakandaTheVote: Is Black Panther moving past the "movie" phase into "movement" territory? The film has inspired a voter registration drive designed to reach black moviegoers at select screenings of the films. The initiative is organized by the Electoral Justice Project. Details.

    At the specialty box office...

    Three Billboards defies the odds: In its 15th weekend in release, the movie continues to impress, growing its domestic total to $48.4 million and its international tally to $63.8 million for a worldwide total of $112.2 million to date. Presidents Day weekend gross: $1.9 million.

    Shape of Water's good weekend: Guillermo del Toro's fantasy has taken in $53.7 million domestically and another $38.7 million overseas for a total cume of $92.4 million to date. Weekend gross: $2.1 million.

    But Darkest Hour has the lead: Among the specialty films vying for top Oscar honors, the Winston Churchill flick is the best earner to date, commanding $53.6 million at the U.S. box office and a global total of $131.6 million. Weekend gross: $1.1 million. Full story.

    The others: Phantom Thread, $910K; Call Me by Your Name, $657K; Lady Bird, $606K. 

    Geoffrey Rush accused in court...

    Details: "A lawyer accused Oscar-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush in court Monday of touching an actress inappropriately on a Sydney stage three years ago while he was starring in a production of King Lear," the AP reports. Rush is currently suing a Sydney newspaper in federal court for defamation over articles published last year alleging his inappropriate behavior and touching during the Sydney production.

    Elsewhere in film...

    Jordan Peele's next movie: When will we see a sophomore effort from the Get Out director? “I am currently writing it, and I'll direct for Universal this year,” Peele said during an interview with Stephen Galloway. “I’m just trying to entertain myself again.”

    Christopher Nolan is a definite no for James Bond: The director made it clear that we won't be directing Bond 25 (Daniel Craig's final turn as the agent), telling the BBC, “I won’t be the man. No, categorically. I think every time they hire a new director I’m rumored to be doing it."

    The Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blu-Ray will feature 14 deleted scenes. But how many of these new deleted scenes will feature the fish nuns? Not enough, probably.

    A Disney sequel is in the works: in Russia, that is. The studio will make a follow-up to last October's The Last Knight, which ended up becoming the top local-language release of all time in the country. 

    An industry gender-bias documentary is on its way...

    Details: New York-based jewelry company David Yurman has announced a partnership with Oscar winner Geena Davis to executive produce a documentary, titled Gender in Hollywood, addressing unconscious gender bias in the entertainment industry.

    The cast: Davis, Shonda Rhimes, Jessica Chastain, Zoe Saldana, Judd Apatow, Yara Shahidi, Paul Feig, Chloe Grace Moretz, Gillian Anderson, Sharon Stone, Alan Alda and Lena Dunham will all contribute personal anecdotes on the subject in the film. Full story.

    Over in Berlin...

    7 Days in Entebbe, reviewed. What it's about: Daniel Bruhl and Rosamund Pike play German radicals in Jose Padilha's thriller about the 1976 Israeli rescue of hostages from a hijacked Air France flight diverted to Uganda. The takeaway: "Lacking the taut muscularity and gritty texture of Padilha's work on the Netflix series Narcos, this will likely prove a minor blip on the commercial radar for Focus in its March U.S. release," David Rooney writes. Full review.

    Netflix's latest purchase: The streamer has acquired Perfume, a dark German-language thriller series based loosely on the global best-seller by Patrick Suskind. The show will premiere in Germany first and then worldwide later this fall.

    Hidden gem: Director Lance Daly turns a tragedy — the Irish Potato Famine of the mid-1800s — into a thriller in his film Black 47, his out-of-competition title at Berlin. Read more.

  • Fox News Goes Streaming

    CBS' 'Sunday Morning' screengrab

    For Fox News "superfans" only...

    Fox News launches a streaming service: It's called Fox Nation, and it's "designed to appeal to the Fox superfan," John Finley, the man overseeing the service, told the New York Times. "These are the folks who watch Fox News every night for hours at a time, the dedicated audience that really wants more of what we have to offer.”

    So what is it? A stand-alone subscription service available to those without cable. But it's not just a stream of Fox News — it's completely original, featuring (surprise) right-leaning commentary and original shows. Still, there will be appearances from the likes of Sean Hannity and other popular faces from the main Fox News mother ship. It's expected to launch by the end of the year.

    The benefit: Unsaid but obvious in the announcement is the chance for Fox News to fend off the growing conservative-media upstarts taking over the digital space, from The Blaze to Breitbart and even Alex Jones.

    Some questions: Will it eventually host a library of original scripted programming as well? (Tim Allen comedies, anyone?) And when will CNN counter?

    Speaking of Fox...

    Sky News deal update: 21st Century Fox has submitted a new and extended proposal for maintaining the independence of U.K. news channel Sky News as part of remedies it hopes will help seal its planned deal to take full control of European pay TV giant Sky. Fox is proposing to extend the commitment to Sky News from five to 10 years.

    On the Olympics front...

    Viewer fatigue? Perhaps. The night before Presidents' Day saw Games coverage average a 11.8 overnight rating among metered market households on NBC and NBC Sports combined. That's a 13 percent improvement from Saturday night, but still down nearly 10 percent from the steady three-night stretch between Wednesday and Friday. The night will also trail compared with Sochi returns from 2014 when final tallies come in.

    Wardrobe malfunction: Set to the tune of Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You," French ice-dancer Gabriella Papadakis' routine went awry when her costume became unhooked, exposing her left breast on live television. "I felt it right away and I prayed," Papadakis said. "That's about what I could do." NBC's solution: "Once a competitor's brief wardrobe issue became evident, we purposely used wider camera shots and carefully selected replays to keep the issue obscured. We have edited the video for all television encores and online replays."

    The Fallon Five: Jimmy Fallon debuted his condensed five-minute version of The Tonight Show last night, rushing through a one-minute interview and even finding time for a quick duet with Paul Rudd. Watch.

    O, Canada: In dramatic fashion, dynamite Canadian ice-dancing duo Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir nabbed the gold medal last night with a performance soundtracked to (who'd believe it?) a Moulin Rouge medley. Team USA's sibling duo Alex and Maia Shibutani, skating to Coldplay, got the bronze.

    So, about Fergie's national anthem...

    She was trying her best: "I've always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA," Fergie said after receiving a flood of criticism for her televised anthem rendition at Sunday's NBA All-Star game. "I’m a risk-taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best."

    Roseanne has thoughts: "Who saw Fergie's national anthem performance at the NBA All Star Game?" tweeted the woman behind the infamous 1990 performance of the anthem. "I think mine was better lowkey."

  • Ooh L.A. L.A.

    Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images

    Former French First Lady Carla Bruni is heading to L.A. (Orpheum Theatre, Feb. 21) with a new album — but first, she sits down for a chat with Laura van Straaten:

    How would you describe your singing?

    What I am trying to do with my voice is that I’m trying to be singing as if I was sitting next to you. I am try to find intimacy, do you say that? As if I am singing in your ear. I can sing quite loud, I am not such a small voice. But I like to use the velvet of it. Full Q&A.

    And now for our sixth edition of...

    ↱The Three-Question Interview: a series of short Q&As with interesting executives and personalities. Next up: Alberto Horihuela, co-founder of the popular-with-cord-cutters sports streaming platform FuboTV.

    So you guys hosted a stream of the Super Bowl. How'd that go? It was a great Super Bowl. We had 150,000 total viewers, and we had heard anecdotally that it was in line with some of the biggest players in the live-streaming space right now — not to mention any names.

    And how are the Olympics going? Are the numbers as good there? Another milestone. We took the best insights in scaling the tech from the Super Bowl and bringing it over now to the Olympics. We have a great partnership with NBCUniversal. From the sports fan point of view, you can watch over 2,400 hours of programming on the platform. I don't have a great deal of viewer numbers yet, but the overall momentum is very strong. Ice-skating is the top one for viewers, as you might expect.

    What's the next big trend in sports viewing? VR has been around for a while, but in terms of sports, there's been very little penetration and adoption. I think it's going to be very interesting, when you start enhancing the sports-viewing experience in a virtual environment. The tech for the most part is already there. The NBA and some other leagues are already dipping their toes in it. But the adoption isn't there yet. I think in the next 12 months you're going to start seeing some developments there.

    What else we're reading...

    — "James Ivory on sex with peaches, fighting Harvey Weinstein, and 50 years of moviemaking." "Something everyone said, whether man, woman, gay, straight, was: 'I hope you’re gonna have that peach scene,'" Ivory says. "'Don’t tell me you’re going to cut the peach scene.'" [Daily Beast]

    — "What makes public radio 'very personal' magnifies its #MeToo cases." Ben Sisario writes: "Station schedules around the country have been remade, and listeners have gotten a glimpse at the sometimes startling working conditions that are not picked up by the microphone on their favorite shows." [The New York Times]

    — "Why was Facebook so easy to hijack?" Christopher Mims writes: "The internet was supposed to disrupt and flatten old power structures, but instead it has become like every other network in history." [Wall Street Journal]

    — "Just an ass-backward tech company: How Twitter lost the internet war." Maya Kosoff writes: "Twitter faces more challenges than most technology companies: ISIS terrorists, trolls, bots, and Donald Trump. But its last line of defense, the company’s head of trust and safety, Del Harvey, isn’t making things easier." [Vanity Fair]

    — "Cold front hits new generation of once-hot media titles." Matthew Garrahan and Shannon Bond write: " Winter has arrived for a new generation of digital media companies with missed revenue targets, an uncertain advertising environment and Facebook’s recent change of heart on news chilling a once hot sector." [Financial Times]

    — "Mark Bradford on making art in the post-shock phase of the Trump era." Carolina A. Miranda writes: "After a major solo presentation at the U.S. pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale, the artist is back in Los Angeles with a show of new works. " [L.A. Times]

    — "Why every pizza company features literally the exact same toppings." A mystery explained! [Eater]

    What else we're hearing...

    + "Timothee Chalamet." The youngest best actor Oscar nominee in 78 years discusses his early work (Homeland, Interstellar) and his crazy 2017. [Awards Chatter/THR]

    + "Journalist Ann Curry on dramatic reunions, #MeToo and Today." Curry speaks to NPR's Sam Sanders.  [It's Been a Minute/NPR]

    + "Tim Gunn wants the fashion industry to work harder on fit." Is the industry failing plus-size women? Gunn says yes. [On Point / WBUR]

    Today's Birthdays: Rihanna, 30, Miles Teller, 31, Trevor Noah, 34, Lauren Ambrose, 40, Chelsea Peretti, 40, Andrea Savage, 45, Cindy Crawford, 52, Charles Barkley, 55, Ivana Trump, 69, Mike Leigh, 75, Sidney Poitier, 91, Gloria Vanderbilt, 94.

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