What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:20 AM 2/5/2018

by Ray Rahman

What's news: The early numbers for the Super Bowl are in. Plus: Justin Timberlake honors Prince at the halftime show, This Is Us kills Jack after the game and Netflix drops The Cloverfield Paradox out of nowhere. — Ray Rahman

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  • Grading Justin

    Screengrab/NBC

    Famous for the most allegedly unplanned moment in Super Bowl history, the singer turned in a Super Bowl LII performance that was energetic but also entirely lacking in live excitement, writes Daniel Fienberg:

    The Super Bowl halftime slot is, as ever, simultaneously coveted and a trap. Plenty of people were outraged — entirely justifiably — that Justin Timberlake got official forgiveness from the Super Bowl for the 2004 Nipplegate fiasco, while Janet Jackson remains persona non grata.

    But are we really supposed to be looking at a Super Bowl halftime appearance as a chance to succeed, rather than a chance to be very publicly derided for whatever you don't do? On the plus side, Timberlake's Super Bowl LII halftime performance won't be remembered for FCC fines and media scandal. Mazel tov! Read more.

    + The Prince tribute: In a (somewhat) surprise moment, Timberlake sang a duet alongside a projected Prince in the Purple One's hometown. Watch.

    + Five things the cameras missed: The audience loved the Prince tribute, the on-field crowd is smaller than it looks and three more takeaways from a writer who saw the show in person. List.

    + Timberlake talks Prince: "I just felt like I wanted to do something for this city and something for him that would just be the ultimate homage to what I consider the GOAT [Greatest of All Time] of musicians," the singer told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show last night.

    In other Super Bowl news...

    Super Bowl early ratings: Down, just a little. Sunday's game is off a mere 3 percent from 2017 — a modest drop but one that, if it holds, marks the franchise's lowest performance since 2010.

    + Breakdown: The game averaged a 47.4 overnight rating among metered market households on NBC. The past two Super Bowls, which averaged a respective 48.8 (2017) and 49 (2016) overnight ratings, were each steady with over 111 million viewers.

     The Selfie Kid, profiled: Remember the boy in the stands who took a selfie with JT himself? Of course you do — and so does TwinCities.com, which caught up with the 13-year-old from Hingham, Mass. Read the story.

    + The other kid who became famous last night was a 43-year-old man named Bradley Cooper, who acted colorfully in the Eagles owner's box throughout the game. See all his best reactions here.

    That weird blackout: It was an "equipment failure," NBC says of those eerie few seconds when the screen unexpectedly went to black. 

    Super Bowl TV trailers: HBO's Westworld, NBC's Rise, Hulu's Castle Rock and more — watch them all here.

    + Westworld trailer analysis: What does "The world deserves to die" mean? Our breakdown.

    + That Scientology ad: It had a lot of people buzzing. See it here.

    + Danny McBride explains the Crocodile Dundee ad: It “seemed silly enough that it’s something that Hollywood would do, and in this day and age, to get people’s attention by doing a fake movie trailer for a fake franchise seemed like a great idea," McBride tells THR.

    + Kerry Washington advocates for equal pay in a controversial T-Mobile ad: In a night mostly devoid of any political messages, T-Mobile broke the mold, and not everyone was happy about it: "We were doing SO well at not having any overtly political crap in this super bowl," one viewer tweeted in reaction to the ad. Read more.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Jimmy Fallon's shot at Trump: Doing his best Bob Dylan impersonation on The Tonight Show, Fallon tweaked the lyrics to Dylan's 1964 song "The Times They Are a-Changin'" to criticize the president's frequent accusations of "fake news" and his comments about NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem. Watch.

    This Is Us: Jack finally dies. After a season and a half of teasing Jack Pearson's death, NBC's Dan Fogelman drama painted a now-complete picture of how Milo Ventimiglia's character died in last night's tearjerker Super Bowl episode.

    Logan Paul's "comeback" video: Whether you like it or not, Logan Paul is vlogging again — he returned Sunday with a video titled Logan Paul Is Back!

    SNL: Natalie Portman raps again. In her first return to the show in over a decade, Portman busted out a new version of her old viral hit "Natalie Raps" — and was even joined by friend Andy Samberg. Video.

    ^Winter Games preview: Can NBC's South Korea Olympics rebound from Rio? From a lack of star power to a 14-hour time difference, the Pyeongchang Games present a host of challenges. But with more than 1,800 hours of live-stream coverage and nationwide live broadcasts (a first), the network is hoping to bounce back from the disappointments of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Read more.

    + The North Korea fear: Much of the talk among NBC Sports and NBC News staffers — the company typically sends more than 2,000 employees to the Winter Games — has been about how no one wants to go. "It's terrifying," says one veteran staffer.

    + Katie Couric talks about the "monumental task" of covering the event — and security concerns. "It seems that tensions have cooled for the moment," the seasoned news vet says of the Kim Jong-un factor. "So as Colin Powell would say, I do not answer hypotheticals." Q&A.

    + Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The Olympics are even more relevant in this time of tyrants. The NBA Hall of Famer and THR contributor believes Winter Games athletes should embrace making political statements in the Trump era. Read his column.

    + The Netflix of sports? Discovery, the network behind Shark Week and Deadliest Catch, wants to leverage the Olympics to launch what it hopes will become a pan-European sports player. Full story.

    ► Rep Sheet Roundup: Stranger ThingsNoah Schnapp has signed with CAA, as has The Last Man on Earth’s Cleopatra Coleman.… BillionsDavid Costabile has signed with ICM Partners.… Rectify alum Aden Young has signed with Anonymous Content.… L.A. Latin music venue The Conga Room has signed with UTA. More here.

  • The 'Cloverfield' Surprise

    Netflix

    Last night during the Super Bowl, Netflix didn't just drop a surprise trailer for The Cloverfield Paradox — it went ahead and dropped the whole movie. But John DeFore isn't a fan of the strategy or the movie: 

    A trainwreck of a sci-fi flick bent on extending a franchise that should have died a peaceful death almost exactly one decade ago, Julius Onah's The Cloverfield Paradox follows the lead of the far-superior 10 Cloverfield Lane in imagining a Cloverfield spinoff with genre ingredients that have little to do with the original found-footage, giant-monster flick.

    Dumped by Netflix in a high-profile but logistically poisoned post-Super Bowl time slot, it comes with a built-in excuse: If most viewers are snoring on the couch by the half-hour mark, maybe it's because they've spent several hours guzzling beer and eating chicken wings? A theatrical release would likely have been disastrous for this dud; with any luck, it will be forgotten amid tomorrow's hangovers. Full review.

    + What others are saying: "A monstrous mess," declares The Guardian. "In space, no one can hear you screw up a franchise," pans SlashFilm. "A massive swing" that "misses," says Vanity Fair.

     Super Bowl movie trailers: Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow! New Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom footage! Tom Cruise's next Mission: Impossible movie! Those were just some of the movie trailers that debuted last night — watch them all here.

    + Analysis: Does the Solo: A Star Wars Story teaser get the job done? The first look raises a lot of questions, such as: Is Han really going undercover with the Empire, and can anyone step into Harrison Ford's shoes? Read more | Full trailer.

    Elsewhere in film...

    Super Bowl box office: Jumanji takes the lead. The Dwayne Johnson film scored an estimated $11 million to win the slow weekend, followed closely by Maze Runner's $10.2M. Newcomer Winchester fell to No. 3 with $9.3M. 

    DGA Awards: Guillermo del Toro and Shape of Water won the ceremony by taking the top film prize, while Jordan Peele was honored as best first-time feature director for Get Out.

    + Over on the TV side: The Handmaid's Tale, Veep and Big Little Lies were the big winners in the drama, comedy and miniseries categories. 

    Annie Awards: As expected by many, Disney/Pixar's Coco ruled the animation awards with 11 trophies, including best animated feature. The Angelina Jolie-produced The Breadwinner won best independent animated feature.

    Jason Reitman's Tully to open Miami Film Festival: The director's newest collaboration with Charlize Theron and screenwriter Diablo Cody will open the fest's 35th edition, which kicks off March 9. In addition, the festival will bestow its Icon Award on French actress and recent Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert (Elle).

    ^Uma Thurman tells her story: In a conversation with Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, Thurman accused Harvey Weinstein of having sexual assaulted her in a London hotel room not long after the premiere of 1994's Pulp Fiction. “It was such a bat to the head," Thurman told Dowd. "He pushed me down. He tried to shove himself on me. He tried to expose himself. He did all kinds of unpleasant things." 

    + Her other big revelations: Thurman revealed violent Kill Bill car crash footage that Quentin Tarantino provided to her. She said that she and the director fought for years over the footage, which he relinquished 15 years after the accident occurred, and that she suffered from a concussion and damaged knees. On top of that, Thurman revealed the lengths to which Tarantino would go on the set of the film, including allegedly strangling her with a chain. 

    + Hollywood responds: "Directors inserting themselves into a scene depicting abuse is crossing a boundary," Jessica Chastain tweeted. "How can an actor feel safe when your director is strangling you?" Judd Apatow: "Tarantino also ignored Daryl Hannah’s complaints when she was harassed by Harvey Weinstein. They kicked her off the press tour. Nobody helped her." Read more.

    ► Actress roundtable: Watch the full, uncensored conversation between Saoirse Ronan, Mary J. Blige, Allison Janney, Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain. Video.

  • Escobar's Art

    iStock

    Narcos goes east? Scott Johnson and Seth Abramovitch tell the story of a Dubai art dealer, Pablo Escobar's brother and a cache of possibly fake art:

    One day about a year ago, a British businessman living in Dubai was approached with a tantalizing offer. Would he be interested in taking a look at some paintings? They included works from some of the biggest names in the art world: Pablo Picasso, Cy Twombly, Camille Pissarro and others. If the paintings were legitimate, he was told, he could help sell them on the international art market.

    Rumors have swirled for years in the art world of the existence of a vast Escobar art collection. As the businessman was about to discover, some version of that collection appears to indeed exist. Whether or not its inventory is filled with true masterpieces, or fakes, or some combination of the two, however, is not yet known — and may never be. Read more.

    What else we're reading...

    — "Justin Timberlake, playing it safe, seeks Super Bowl redemption." Jon Caramanica writes: "If what happened in 2004 was a wardrobe malfunction, this was a taste malfunction, a seamy need to reclaim the song that, ever so briefly, put him uncomfortably under the klieg lights and restore it to being just another benign entry in his pop-soul catalog." [New York Times]

    — "Why Coke's non-binary Super Bowl moment mattered." Samantha Allen writes: "Given the severe underrepresentation of non-binary people in the media, the importance of 100 million people hearing the word ‘them’ during a Super Bowl ad cannot be overstated." [Daily Beast]

    — "In conversation: Bernadette Peters." David Marchese gets the Broadway legend to open up about her Hollywood problem, using theater as therapy and replacing Bette Midler. [Vulture]

    — "Readers, listen up: Amazon wants to extend its dominance in audiobooks." Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg writes: "Audible’s pursuit of more audiobook publishing rights could squeeze traditional book publishers in the fastest-growing segment of the market." [Wall Street Journal]

    — "America's favorite new soundtrack is...The Greatest Showman?" Rob Harvilla writes: "The Hugh Jackman movie-musical is a sleeper hit at the box office and on Billboard. Why are so many people enamored of a bunch of songs about love and trapezes?" [The Ringer]

    What else we're hearing...

    + "Allison Williams: Interview." The Get Out actress talks about emerging from her famous father's shadow, landing her breakout part despite her refusal to do onscreen nudity and holding out for the ideal debut film role. [Awards Chatter/THR]

    + "Riki Lindhome: Interview." The Garfunkel and Oates comedian talks Shakespeare, Clint Eastwood, depression and her show Another Period. [WTF With Marc Maron]

    What's happening this week...

    Tuesday: The American Magazine Media Conference takes place in New York.

    Wednesday: Netflix's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy has its premiere in L.A.... amFar holds its gala in New York.

    Friday: The 15:17 to Paris, Fifty Shades Freed and Peter Rabbit hit theaters nationwide.... Seeing Allred debuts on Netflix.... The Winter Olympics kick off on NBC.

    Today's Birthdays: Darren Criss, 31, Michael Sheen, 49, Chris Parnell, 51, Laura Linney, 54, Jennifer Jason Leigh, 56, Tim Meadows, 57, Christopher Guest, 70, Charlotte Rampling, 72.