What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:24 AM 4/12/2018

by Ray Rahman

Photographed by Miller Mobley

What's news: Cannes announces its official lineup — and Netflix fights back. Plus: Viacom tries to calm the troops, ESPN launches its streaming service and THR's New York issue breaks down the most powerful people in media. — Ray Rahman

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On the cover: The New York Issue, featuring Norah O'Donnell, Gayle King and more stars of morning TV's female ruling class opening up to Marisa Guthrie on Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and what's next:

Gayle King on Charlie Rose: "We were all in the middle of the #MeToo conversation, I never thought we would be part of the #MeToo conversation. I never saw that coming for us.... It was a punch in the stomach to me.... I do care about him. He was a big part of my life for six years. So I can’t just turn that off. But I also can’t dismiss the stories that I’m hearing, and I do take them very seriously."

Savannah Guthrie on Matt Lauer: "We were literally both woken up out of our beds with this information. We had no idea. We had to go on the air and say something with very little information."

Hoda Kotb: "Just minutes before we’re going on the air we went to Savannah’s dressing room and had a moment of prayer. It was hard. It was heavy.... We had each other’s back, but we didn’t know how emotional it would feel. When you’re blindsided with information…you’re almost shocked, you don’t really feel the thing yet."

Robin Roberts: "I hope we don’t go back to business as usual. Being a little bit older, there was a part of me at the beginning going, OK, how long is this going to last? But I am an eternal optimist, and I think this time it’s different."

Norah O'Donnell: "I believe firmly that the 21st century is the century of women and we’re going to get to the point where equal pay should not be the standard. It might be that we actually should be paid much more in some instances. And that’s the lens, but we have to get to equal pay first." Full conversation.

+ The 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media 2018: The year's top New York news players and teams, their wish lists and the Trump of it all, as the president continues to dominate the 24/7 news cycle with roller-coaster policy and tweets that take their toll.

Among the names: Nancy Dubuc, Ronan Farrow, Jeff Zucker, the Fox & Friends hosts and more. See the full list.

+ Media's new exodus: Who's been hired, fired or retired in a wild year. Full rundown.

  • The Cannes Lineup (Sans Netflix)

    Samir Hussein/Getty Images

    All things Cannes...

    Lineup announced: The competition lineup includes Spike Lee, who will return to the Croisette after a 20-year absence to screen his new film, BlacKkKlansman, starring Adam Driver, Topher Grace and Laura Harrier.

    The other American film bowing in competition will be David Robert Mitchell’s L.A. neo-noir Under the Silver Lake, starring Andrew Garfield and Riley Keogh, with A24 set to release the film domestically June 22. See the full list.

    No Lars von Trier: The always-controversial Danish director, who was banned from the festival seven years ago for jokingly saying he “sympathized with Hitler,” was widely expected to return this year with his new film, The House That Jack Built. The buzz around the movie, starring Matt Dillon as a serial killer, was strong, but the film was not in the announcement.

    Snubs and surprises: Neither Mike Leigh's Amazon-backed historical epic Peterloo nor Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote ended up making the cut. See more.

    Netflix out: In advance of festival director Thierry Fremaux’s lineup announcement, the streaming giant has made it known that it won’t be bringing any films to the festival. Fremaux had already said that because Netflix films do not get theatrical releases in France, they would not be considered for competition slots, which are considered the most prestigious screening slots at the fest. Full story.

    How will Netflix's absence impact Cannes? Fewer stars, smaller parties and, yes, less money flowing could be the result as the streaming giant chooses to sit out the world's number-one film festival.

    In fact, sources near Netflix tell THR that the company has already canceled most of its hotel reservations and is sending just a skeleton staff. Read more.

    Who should you root for? Not so simple a question, Sam Adams writes in Slate: "It’s better that movies are made than not made, and to the extent that Netflix brings movies into the world that would not otherwise have existed, that is a good thing. But film preservationists consider theatrical exhibition a cornerstone of their jobs for a reason..." 

    Enflaming France's theater debates? Per Screen Daily: "Netflix’s decision to give the Cannes Film Festival a miss this year following the competition ban for films without theatrical distribution in France will likely pour oil on the country’s already inflamed media chronology debate."

    Box-office Rampage...

    Who'll win the weekend? Fresh off the box-office success of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Dwayne Johnson is back in theaters this weekend in Rampage, from New Line and Warner Bros., which should top the U.S. chart with $35 million to $40 million.

    Paramount's A Quiet Place is something of a wild card after opening to a rousing $50 million last weekend, and could earn as much as $25 million to $30 million in its second weekend.

    Quiet Place poses direct competition for Truth or Dare, the latest mircobudgeted horror collaboration from Universal and Blumhouse. Tracking suggests the film will open in the mid-teens. Full story.

    Rampage, reviewed: "If Rampage’s disaster scenario represents classic B-movie material, the filmmakers don’t seem at all concerned about appearances," writes Justin Lowe. The takeaway: "Plays to its strengths while winking at its weaknesses." Full review.

    What others are saying: "Turgid, logy blockbuster." — The New York Times. "All pain and no gain." — Chicago Tribune. "The only mutant alligator movie with the guts to re-create 9/11." — Vulture.

    Speaking of Dwayne Johnson... 

    Box-office milestone: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has become Sony's top-grossing title ever at the domestic box office, not adjusted for inflation, finishing Tuesday with a domestic total of $403.71 million. The film narrowly surpassed the original Spider-Man, which grossed $403.7 million at the box office in 2002. 

    John Krasinski's next sci-fi thriller...

    A Quiet Place reunion: Krasinski and the producers of A Quiet Place — Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller — are reteaming for Life on Mars. Paramount, which distributed the horror movie, is in negotiations to pick up the project. Krasinski, at this stage, is not expected to star, but will be a producer on the project.

    Plot: The project will adapt a short story by Cecil Castellucci titled We Have Always Lived on Mars that centers on a woman who is among a handful of descendants of a Martian colony long-abandoned by Earth following a cataclysm. The woman one day finds she can breathe the air on Mars, upending her world and that of her fellow colonists.

    Speaking of A Quiet Place...

    China release date: The high-concept hit has been cleared by Beijing's censors and given a Middle Kingdom release date of May 18. The slot is a coup for Paramount, given the rarity of horror releases in the massive Chinese market.

    Warner Bros. passes on Brett Ratner...

    No thanks: The studio has severed all ties with movie director-producer Brett Ratner, who was accused of sexual harassment and misconduct by multiple women in November. The studio will not renew its deal with RatPac-Dune Entertainment, the $450 million slate financing facility that covered costs on some of Warner Bros.' biggest blockbusters. Read more.

    Elsewhere in film...

    Liam Neeson's and Lesley Manville's indie romance: The duo are teaming up for Normal People, an Ireland-set drama about a couple dealing with the emotional impact of the wife's cancer diagnosis. Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn will direct the indie for Out of Orbit and Canderblinks Films, with Bankside Films to start shopping the project to international buyers at Cannes.

    Jamie King joins Ray Liotta in crime mystery: The My Bloody Valentine actress is set to star alongside Liotta in the crime mystery Cutman from director Michael Mailer.

    Cheryl Boone Isaacs' new gig: The former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has joined the board of Cast & Crew, the Burbank-based payroll-services company. Details.

  • Viacom Rallies Staff

    Jesse Grant/Getty Images

    CEO Bob Bakish sent a memo to staff titled "What a Week!" and touted "creative momentum across the company," writes Paul Bond:

    As CBS Corp. negotiates a purchase price for Viacom and, perhaps more important, figures out what the management team of a merged company might look like, Bakish was rallying the troops earlier this week around the notion that the conglomerate's turnaround was progressing well and was firing on all creative cylinders.

    In film, Paramount "blew away industry expectations" with the opening of A Quiet Place, while at MTV, Jersey Shore Family Vacation enjoyed "the network's highest rated series premiere in six years," the exec highlighted in his note to employees. Full memo.

    Disney's moves...

    The Sky buy: The U.K. Takeover Panel on Thursday ruled that Walt Disney must make a mandatory offer to buy full 100 percent control of Sky if and when it completes its planned acquisition of large parts of 21st Century Fox, including Fox's stake in Sky. The Takeover Panel in its opinion said it "considers that securing control of Sky might reasonably be considered to be a significant purpose of Disney’s acquiring control of Fox."

    Streaming future: Disney-owned sports giant ESPN launched a redesigned app today that also serves as the home for a new streaming service, ESPN+. The offering, one of two planned over-the-top products currently being developed within Disney, is ESPN's answer to the growing audience for streaming content and a declining base of subscribers to its linear television offerings.

    Jimmy Pitaro: "We consider this the beginning of a new era of innovation at ESPN," said the newly named ESPN president. "This really is the next phase for us." Read more.

    Fox Searchlight's new TV division...

    Searchlight Television: That's the name of the specialty film label's new TV arm, described as a 360-degree hub for creative talent. Searchlight Television will aim to produce original material in addition to utilizing the studio's library of feature films for adaptation in broadcast television, cable and streaming, with forays into scripted series, limited series and documentaries.

    CNN's new slate...

    Originals: The cable news network announced plans for six new original series next year, including a four-part show, American Style, produced by Vox Media's programming division, Vox Entertainment. 

    The rest: Chasing Life With Sanjay Gupta; Tricky Dick; Once in a Great City: Detroit 1962-64; and an American Dynasties season on the Bush family. Loglines.

    Bravo expands...

    Seven nights a week: The NBCUniversal-owned cable network, which recently entered the premium scripted space with anthology Dirty John, is expanding its original programming to seven nights and has handed out series orders to 10 more new shows to join a slate of 20 returning favorites. Full list of shows.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Roseanne ratings update: The show's third week averaged a 3.4 rating among adults 18-49 and 13.5 million viewers. Total audience was down 12 percent, though Roseanne retained more than enough momentum to rank as the No. 1 Tuesday telecast across the board.

    Stormy Daniels heads to The View: About two-and-a-half months after she canceled on the ABC program, the show announced that Daniels will finally make an appearance April 17. She will be joined on the show by her media savvy attorney, Michael Avenatti.

    Tig Notaro boards Star Trek: Discovery: The comedian and actress has joined the cast of CBS All Access series in a guest-star capacity. She'll take on the role of chief engineer Denise Reno of the USS Hiawatha.

    Sacha Baron Cohen's Netflix series: The Borat and Bruno actor has signed on to the streaming giant's limited drama The Spy, in which he'll star as an Israeli spy in Syria in the early 1960s. The series is being written and directed by Gideon Raff, whose thriller Prisoners of War served as the genesis of Showtime's Homeland.

     The Problem With Apu set to re-air: TruTV will once again air the documentary this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET., just one week after The Simpsons ignited some controversy for its handling of the Apu conversation.

    RIP, Mitzi Shore: The hard-driving proprietor and mother hen of The Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip who lorded over the white-hot center of the stand-up universe of the late 1970s and '80s, died Wednesday after a battle with Parkinson's disease. She was 87. Full obituary | Hollywood mourns.

  • "Broken." "Brilliant." "Lonely."

    Illustration by: Nazario Graziano

    Where is Charlie Rose now? The former CBS and PBS star is hiding out on Long Island with occasional, mostly disastrous forays into Manhattan, writes James Oliver Cury:

    Rose, a legendary man-about-town in addition to one of the most iconic broadcast journalists, once exuded an "old-school New York socialite vibe," notes one media executive who has known him for a decade. "He's fearless: He'll talk to anybody and he knows everybody."

    On this recent Monday night at Manhattan media-elite restaurant Gabriel's, however, the normally dynamic fixture was in full-on head-down mode. Dressed in a dark suit, Rose projected dishevelment: his hair messy, his notebook's pages askew, his gait shuffling. He headed to his table by himself and completed his dinner alone in under an hour.

    Whereabouts: "[Charlie] plays tennis most mornings, which I think keeps him in shape and together," says Daily Beast co-founder and author Tina Brown. Say another media executive friend: "He's in complete denial; he thinks he will be back on television."

    A former colleague offers: "He's a broken, powerful, old man surrounded by people who love him, but the truth is, he is desperately lonely." Full story.

    In other news...

    Harvey Weinstein's selling spree — decoding his $56.1M real estate dump: In the last six months, the disgraced mogul, under numerous criminal investigations for sexual assault, has sold five properties. But will the gains pay off? Read more.

    Kevin Spacey sexual assault case being reviewed by L.A. district attorney: The case was presented to the district attorney's office April 5 by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

    What else we're reading...

    — "Zuckerberg's time in Washington well enough spent." Dan Gallagher writes: "Everyone seems to be angry at Facebook these days, though for wildly different reasons. That, in turn, may work out just fine for the social network — and its investors." [Wall Street Journal]

    —  "What's the secret to The Rock's success?" Peter Bradshaw asks: "how did this happen? What exactly has he done? Has he ever made any good films?" [The Guardian]

    — "How Ready Player One re-created a classic Stanley Kubrick movie." No spoilers, but if you've seen the film, you know the scene. [SlashFilm]

    — "Tim Allen is not a working-class hero." Kathryn VanArendonk writes: "Thanks to the success of Roseanne, there’s been a wave of speculation about which new reboots could best speak to working-class Americans." [Vulture]

    — "The Expanse is lapping its science fiction competition."Miles Surrey writes: "Forget Altered Carbon and Star Trek — the space drama you need to be watching is on Syfy." [The Ringer]

    — "Cardi B, Drake and the art of sampling Lauryn Hill." Doreen St. Felix writes: "Part of the point of sampling Hill is to tap into her cult of seriousness." [New Yorker]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "John Krasinski couldn't believe Stephen King's reaction to A Quiet Place." [Late Night]

    + "Martin Short's roast of Stephen Colbert." [Late Show]

    + "Top Chef star Nina Compton brings Caribbean flavor to New Orleans' Compere Lapin." [THR Eats]

    Today's Birthdays: Saoirse Ronan, 24, Ilana Glazer, 31, Paul Rust, 37, Claire Danes, 39, Shannen Doherty, 47, Andy Garcia, 62, David Letterman, 71, Ed O'Neill, 72, Herbie Hancock, 78.