What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:07 AM 4/30/2018

by Ray Rahman

Avengers : Infinity War Still 27 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

What's news: Avengers: Infinity War broke all the records. Plus: Michelle Wolf's WHCD routine has people up in arms, Good Morning America snags a Daytime Emmy and a look at where the Tony Awards race stands right now. — Ray Rahman

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  • Biggest Ever

    Avengers: Infinity War ending breaking all the records, writes Pamela McClintock: 

    Infinity War opened the summer box office with a record-setting $250 million in North America and $380 million overseas for a global total of $630 million, the top worldwide debut of all time. The superhero mashup accomplished the feat without China, where it doesn't unfurl until May 11.

    What it beat: Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($248 million) was the previous record holder for biggest domestic bow, while The Fate of the Furious had held the record for biggest global start ($541.9 million).

    All the records: Biggest domestic opening of all time, biggest worldwide opening of all time, biggest Saturday of all time, biggest North American opening of all time.... See the full list of records.

    How it happened: "Marvel spent 10 years methodically and carefully creating a universe of characters, worlds and stories that all led to this and, in doing so, created an event unlike anything the business has ever seen," says Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis. Full story.

    Black Panther surge: In a surprise twist, interest in Panther — now in its 11th weekend — spiked as it moved up the chart from No. 8 to No. 5, earning $4.4 million.

    Marvel's track record: Marvel Studios now boasts six of the top 10 opening weekends of all time, and Disney in general claims nine of the 10 biggest domestic openings, thanks to the Star Wars films (the exception being Universal's Jurassic World). Full story.

    Let's talk about the movie...

    The most heartbreaking moment in any Marvel film? One scene in particular had audiences, including the packed auditorium at the movie's Hollywood premiere, in sniffles. Read more.

    What's next? The final moments are  dramatic — and seemingly climactic for a number of players. But if it leaves audiences convinced there’s more to the story, there’s a reason for that: In the comic that inspired the final scenes, the big moment happens just two-thirds of the way through the first issue. Read more.

    Ron Howard talks Solo...

    New featurette: "The Star Wars universe that we see in Solo was different from anything else we've seen in any previous Star Wars movies," Howard says in a new video previewing the film. "The Empire controls everything. Everyone is struggling to survive, but we discover this incredible free spirit." Watch.

    Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List reunion...

    Required curriculum? The director said that he felt more should be done to educate young people about the Holocaust during a reunion screening during Tribeca's closing weekend. "It's not a prerequisite to graduate high school, as it should be. It should be part of the social science, social studies curriculum in every public high school in this country."

    He added that he wasn't saying his movie should be taught in schools necessarily, but said, "these stories that Holocaust survivors have the courage to tell" should be on the curriculum. Read more.

    Bernardo Bertolucci rips Ridley Scott...

    The Kevin Spacey issue: During the premiere of his restored film Last Tango in Paris this weekend, Bertolucci had harsh words for Scott for replacing Spacey in All the Money in the World. He said his first reaction to the news was to message Scott's frequent editor Pietro Scalia, "to tell Scott that he should be ashamed,” said Bertolucci.

    He added: "And then I immediately wanted to make a film with Spacey." Bertolucci clarified that he agrees completely with and praised the #MeToo movement.

    Rafiki director reacts to Kenya ban...

    Contradicting Kenya: "They did not ask me to change any scenes of intimacy," Wanuri Kahiu said of the country's ban on her lesbian love story Rafiki, the first Kenyan film to compete in Cannes. “They asked me to change the ending of the film because they didn’t feel the ending was ‘remorseful’ enough."

    Saudi Arabia's movies strategy...

    Taking a page out of China's playbook? Rumors that the country is to install a single entity as the sole distributor of films stoke fears in Hollywood that studio releases will have to go through a monopolizing, government-owned company that would control the market. Read more.

  • The WHCD Debate

    Arguments surrounding the White House Correspondents' Dinner — and comedian Michelle Wolf's act — raged on: 

    Michelle Wolf slammed: "Watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable," MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski wrote of Wolf's roast of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, which involved an eye shadow joke.

    Wolf responded: "Why are you guys making this about Sarah’s looks? I said she burns facts and uses the ash to create a *perfect* smoky eye. I complimented her eye makeup and her ingenuity of materials."

    WHCA joins the chorus: President Margaret Talev wrote in a letter to members that she'd heard from members "expressing dismay with the entertainer's monologue and how it reflects on our mission," and said that Wolf's monologue was "not in the spirit" of that mission with respect to its annual dinner. Full letter.

    Trump weighs in: "The White House Correspondents’ Dinner was a failure last year, but this year was an embarrassment to everyone associated with it," the president tweeted. "The filthy “comedian” totally bombed (couldn’t even deliver her lines — much like the Seth Meyers weak performance). Put Dinner to rest, or start over!"

    Comedians come to Wolf's defense: "NO ONE MADE FUN OF HER LOOKS," tweeted Andy Richter.

    Jimmy Kimmel wrote: "Dear "the media" — @michelleisawolf was FUNNY. Hire a juggler next year."

    Judd Apatow had a lot to say as well: "She is definitely not funny if you are fine with a President who grabs pussy and lies daily, is a racist and sells us out to the Russians. Then it was clearly unfunny from that perspective. If you are fed up with the madness and hatred and corruption of Trump then it’s was funny."

    What's next: Tonight's late night lineup will surely be closely observed as the comedians — particularly Daily Show universe vets Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert (who also faced heat for his own WHCD routine during the Bush era) — come to Wolf’s defense.

    Also: Keep in mind that all of this doubles as profile-raising publicity for Wolf's upcoming Netflix show The Break, which debuts May 27 and dropped a promo before the WHCD.

    Joy Reid defends herself...

    AM Joy: "Here's what I know: I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things," she said on her MSNBC program, in reference to the homophobic posts found on her old blog. "But I can definitely understand, based on things I have said and have written in the past, that some people don't believe me."

    She continued: "When a friend found them in December and sent them to me, I was stunned," she said. "Frankly, I couldn't imagine where they'd come from or whose voice this was. The reality is they have not been able to prove it." Read more.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    ? YouTube adds TV inventory to premium ad product: The Google-owned streamer is giving advertisers the opportunity to buy some of its YouTube TV inventory as concerns over brand safety continue. Read more.

    ? Daytime Emmys winners: Days of Our Lives was named best drama series, while Good Morning America and Entertainment Tonight also took home prizes. Full winners list.

    Rep Sheet Roundup: Gayle King has signed with CAA.… Singer Michelle Williams, who recently reunited with Destiny’s Child at Coachella, has signed with APA.… Former Warner Bros. Records spokesperson Liz Morentin has joined Paradigm has head of corporate communications.… Podcast company PRX has signed with WME.… InkWell’s Liz Parker has joined Verve to lead its new publishing division. More here.


  • Tony Awards Standings

    Crunching the numbers, Ben Zauzmer picks this year's likeliest Tony Awards nominees before tomorrow's announcement:

    Leading the way for best musical is The Band’s Visit, based on the 2007 Israeli film about an Arab band that accidentally finds itself in an Israeli town. The production won numerous accolades last year for its off-Broadway run, and now has the inside track to win even more for its Broadway showing.

    A year ago, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child set new Oliver Awards records in London for most nominations (11) and most awards (nine). Having crossed the pond, J.K. Rowling’s franchise has its sights on some New York records as well. For now, it’s the most likely best play nominee, followed by Farinelli and the King and The Children. See all the odds.

    What else we're reading...

    — "Michelle Wolf and the pseudo-event of the WHCD." Troy Patterson writes: "The cultural relevance of the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is directly proportional to the annoyance its entertainment inflicts upon the comfortable." [New Yorker]

    — "The slow, awkward death of the WHCD." Megan Garber writes: "Michelle Wolf’s biting mockery of it was only the latest reminder: The annual event’s contradictions have become too heavy to bear." [The Atlantic]

    — "Britain's film renaissance: Made in the UK, owned in the USA?" Geoffrey Macnab writes: "The UK movie industry is in robust health, but worries persist over its capacity for creativity." [Financial Times]

    — "In Conversation: Seth Rogen." The actor talks to David Marchese about his Netflix special, who really hacked Sony and the benefits of working stoned. [Vulture]

    — "What Westworld and Facebook have in common." Alyssa Bereznak writes: "The drama of data collection has made it to prestige TV." [The Ringer]

    — "How Mexican megastar Eugenio Derbez created his own Hollywood break with Overboard." Borys Kit writes: "After a memorable appearance at the Oscars, the actor-producer may finally be offered roles beyond 'a criminal or a gardener' following his turn in the remake of the 1987 Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn comedy." [THR]

    What happening this week...

    Tuesday: John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City stand-up special drops on Netflix.

    Wednesday: Being Serena premieres on HBO.

    Friday: Tully, Overboard and Bad Samaritan hit theaters.... Rain season one and Dear White People season two drop on Netflix.

    Today's Birthdays: Gal Gadot, 33, Kirsten Dunst, 36, Kunal Nayyar, 37, Johnny Galecki, 43, Lars von Trier, 62, Jane Campion, 64, Cloris Leachman, 92.