What's news: Dwayne Johnson's Rampage may not win the weekend after all. Plus: The Westworld season 2 reviews are in, Coachella (and Coachella fashion) kicks off, and director Milos Forman passes away. — Ray Rahman
The Dwayne Johnson action movie may be stalling at the box office, writes Pamela McClintock:
In a surprise twist, Dwayne Johnson's action-adventure Rampage is stalling out at the North American box office, where it could lose the weekend to holdover A Quiet Place, according to early returns.
Rampage is on course to gross $9.5 million-plus on Friday from 4,101 theaters for a domestic bow in the $27 million-$30 million range, well behind the forecasted $35 million-$40 million. If early projections hold true, the big-budget New Line film will become the latest video game adaptation to struggle, although New Line and Warners still believe the movie could come in as high as $32 million. Friday's gross will include $2.4 million in Thursday previews.
A Quiet Place goes up: Conversely, Paramount's high-concept horror film continues to defy expectations in its sophomore outing. The movie, directed by John Krasinski, is expected to earn $30 million or more from 3,589 cinemas this weekend, a drop of less than 40 percent. The movie has turned into an all-audiences crowd-pleaser, something Rampage didn't count on. Full story.
Lee is looking to even the score, writes Ashley Cullins:
The legendary comics creator is suing his ex-busineess manager for fraud in a complaint filed in L.A. County Superior Court. Lee claims Jerardo Olivarez is one of many "unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants and opportunists" seeking to take advantage of him following the death of his wife, Joan Lee, in July 2017.
The claim: "While Lee was in great distress over this severe loss, Olivarez ... fired his banker of 26 years," writes attorney Jonathan Freund in the complaint. "They also fired his lawyers of many years and caused approximately $4.6 million dollars to be transferred out of Lee's Merrill Lynch Account without Lee's authorization."'
^R.I.P., Milos Forman. Forman, the anti-authoritarian director who left his native Czechoslovakia for creative freedom in the U.S. and captured Oscars for the masterpieces One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus, has died. He was 86.
His work: Forman was also known for two biopics about controversial Americans — The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996) and Man on the Moon (1999). Forman first attracted international attention with such features as Black Peter (1964), The Loves of a Blonde (1965) and The Firemen’s Ball (1967), which put him in hot water with the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. Read more.
Elsewhere in film...
? James Cameron's Terminator reboot finds its stars: Colombian actress Natalia Reyes has nabbed the starring role in the Terminator reboot after a lengthy search to find a Latina actress to lead the film. Gabriel Luna, who is known for playing Ghost Rider on ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., also has been cast in the film, as well as Mexican-born Diego Boneto, known for his work in Scream Queens.
? Agyness Deyn, Gayle Rankin join Elisabeth Moss in Her Smell: English actress Deyn and GLOW star Rankin will share the stage with Moss in punk rock feature Her Smell, in which Moss stars as the lead singer of a pioneering female rock band. Deyn will play the once-best friend and Rankin the drummer.
? Amazon Studios picks up heartbreaking hit Lily and the Octopus: Screenwriter Steven Rowley's magical realism debut about a man and his dying dog is being adapted as a feature film by the streaming giant.
? MoviePass bundles subscription with iHeartRadio's streaming service: The promotion offers access to cinemas and on-demand music for $29.95 over three months.
Fast-moving and ambitious changes fuel a thrilling start to the second season, writes Tim Goodman:
The second season of HBO's breakout series Westworld, marked by ambitious twists that lay the groundwork for future seasons while setting up a strong female empowerment storyline, still isn't likely to convince those who were on the fence for season one to jump on the bandwagon.
But on the basis of five episodes, the intriguing groundwork it lays for the future should more than satisfy fans from the first go-round. It might even hook newbies who wander into the genre-bending drama for a peek at what all the fuss is about. Full review.
What others are saying: "Bigger, more baffling, and brilliant." — Entertainment Weekly. "Season two doubles down on the show's meta tendencies." — New York Magazine. "Trapped inside its own maze." — IndieWire.
^Playing the Trump sons: SNL's Mikey Day and Alex Moffat talk to David Walters about playing first sons Don Jr. and Eric:
MIKEY DAY There's an aura of privilege that's ripe for parody. On a surface level, they seem like Wall Street villains, ones who would challenge the protagonist of an '80s movie to a ski race. If they win, they're going to pave over the community center and build high-rise apartments.
ALEX MOFFAT Most people in the Trump administration have very defined personas. There was a lot that was undefined about these two when Trump was running, and there's still a lot we can project onto them.
DAY The suggestion from Lorne Michaels and [producer] Steve Higgins was that Don Jr. should never get too angry at Eric because then it loses the big brother-little brother relationship, which is such a great note to maintain — a level of sweetness relatable to any siblings. Full Q&A.
Elsewhere in TV...
? George Clooney reduces Catch-22 role, brings in Kyle Chandler: Two-time Oscar winner George Clooney has reduced his role in the six-episode Hulu limited series. Chandler will take over the part originally earmarked for Clooney, while the latter will change roles to one less demanding as he also juggles producing and directing duties. Read more.
? NCIS forever: The CBS series has been renewed for a 16th season as Mark Harmon inks a new deal to return.
? Simpsons showrunner addresses Apu controversy (again): "I truly appreciate all responses pro and con. Will continue to try to find an answer that is popular & more important right," Al Jean said via Twitter.
? Leah Remini inks first-look deal with A+E Networks: The multihyphenate has sealed a first-look deal with the cable giant, where she will develop new unscripted projects for the portfolio.
? Comcast's Netflix play: Despite competing in a fast-changing entertainment landscape, Comcast is expanding its partnership with Netflix by including a subscription to the streaming service in new and existing Xfinity X1 cable packages.
Hip-hop and fashion mogul Kanye West interviews his interior designer Axel Vervoordt and reveals his own plans for a philosophy book, thoughts on Virgil Abloh going to Louis Vuitton, and more:
KANYE WEST People will want to know how we met. I remember I walked past your booth [at The European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht, Netherlands, in 2013] and saw this coffee table. It was a very low, dark coffee table with round edges, and it looked like it was floating, like a spaceship. I remember walking in and feeling like the movie Batman. Some Bruce Wayne type. It had this very soulful, emotional feeling to the space. I came up to you and said, "Who is responsible for this?"
AXEL VERVOORDT It was an immediate connection. I could feel that you were really in love with things. Even if people think we come out of two different worlds, the act of meeting makes one another stronger. You were so spontaneous, totally true and intense.
Now we're working on a house together, and I've learned from you because you have great taste. We talk about things, we change things. That's what I like so much about you — I'm the same way — you've never arrived, you never are the best and you always want to do your best. Full Q&A.
^Coachella trends: The beauty and fashion trends that will be dominate this (and next) weekend's star-studded festival, from holographic hair buns to pricey streetwear — not to mention scrunchies and '90s kitsch. Read more.
+ The Coachella party guide: A complete guide to all the star-packed shindigs, record label parties and late-night events. See the list.
+ Stagecoach is getting cooler, and fashion and beauty brands are taking notice. Taking place just one week later on the same Empire Polo Fields, the country music festival has always had a reputation for being Coachella's less-cool cousin — but that may be changing. Says Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant: "It's fun, but also redneck-y." Read more.
What else we're reading...
— "Seth Rogen on how the Sony hack predicted the 2016 presidential election." Marlow Stern writes: "Marlow Stern talks to the comedy star and his wife Lauren discuss their new Netflix special, why they held onto the Stormy Daniels-Trump affair news, and much more." [Daily Beast]
— "Legion, The Magicians, and the reign of Big Moment TV." Todd VanDerWerff assesses the trend driving the current TV landscape. [Vox]
— "The gladiators of Scandal leave the arena." Salamishah Tillet talks to Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington about the ABC show's imminent end. [New York Times]
— "The Wild Wild Country team knows they left out part of the story. But they did it on purpose." Mahita Gajanan writes of the Netflix docuseries: "The Way brothers wanted to let the Rajneeshees’ actions and the complaints of locals unfold without an added layer of condemnation." [Time]
— "What Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs gets right about Japan." Moeko Fujii writes: "Anderson’s decision not to subtitle the Japanese speakers struck me as a carefully considered artistic choice." [New Yorker]
Today's Birthdays: Abigail Breslin, 22, Rob McElhenney, 41, Georgina Chapman, 42, Sarah Michelle Gellar, 42, Adrien Brody, 45, Anthony Michael Hall, 50, Brad Garrett, 58, Peter Capaldi, 60, Julie Christie, 78