What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:25 AM 5/8/2018

by Ray Rahman

Kimberly White/Getty Images; Vera Anderson/WireImage; Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; James Devaney/FilmMagic; Steve Granitz/WireImage

What's news: A full breakdown of the Cannes Film Festival's hot titles, market trends and splashy deals as day one kicks off. Plus: The New York Attorney General and Harvey Weinstein foe resigns amid abuse allegations, Michael Wolff takes a look at the CBS-Viacom struggle for power and a review of last night's Met Gala. — Ray Rahman

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  • Cannes: Day 1

    Kimberly White/Getty Images; Vera Anderson/WireImage; Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; James Devaney/FilmMagic; Steve Granitz/WireImage

    It all starts today — here's everything you need to know:

    The Cannes Hot List — 18 market titles set to heat up the fest: It's quality over quantity as international buyers look for stars (Anne Hathaway, Mark Walberg), spectacle (the $100 million Midway) and surefire material in the market (from Joan Didion to Bruce Springsteen). See the list.

    Market report: Why buyers are seeking smaller films amid a market in transition. With the era of blockbuster deals seemingly in its death throes, choosy buyers are descending on the fest with their sights set on smaller projects with niche appeal: "The very foundation of independent film has changed." Read more.

    Thierry Fremaux meets the press: The artistic director of the film festival discussed Netflix, Lars von Trier, Harvey Weinstein, a sexual harassment hotline and more. Read more.

    Netflix's big splash: The Chinese blockbuster Us and Them, which currently tops the country's box office, is set to get a global profile courtesy of Netflix — the streaming giant will release the film on its platform for all territories outside of China. Read more.

    The Gotti film's long trial: John Travolta's long-delayed mobster movie will finally debut at Cannes with an unorthodox private screening following a seven-year odyssey to theaters. Full story.

    First look: Nicolas Cage battles his demons in Between Worlds. See the image.

    Four Japanese acting talents ready to go global: From Junko Abe to Nijiro Murakami, a look at the Japanese players who might have what it takes to succeed on the world stage. See them all.

    Seven key players in China's film industry: Funds for indie films like Roland Emmerich's WWII drama Midway increasingly come from Chinese companies, either privately owned or government-backed. Meet the players.

    Deals: Sharon Stone joins Ed Helms and Jessica Williams in the comedy Corporate Animals.... Kate Winslet and Willem Dafoe lead voice cast of Manou the Swift.... Julianne Moore's Bel Canto goes to Screen Media.... StudioCanal sells Benedict Cumberbatch's The Child in Time to China.... Epic Pictures' horror label acquires Slay Belles and Lasso.... More deals.

    Pharrell Williams drops out of amfAR event: The move comes on the heels of Sharon Stone stepping aside as a co-chair of the event, which is reeling from the stain left by Harvey Weinstein. Full story.

    Construction disruption? Mayor David Lisnard's ambitious plan to transform Cannes into a high-end tourist destination for global 1-percenters is disrupting seaside eateries and sparking a backlash from the locals: "It's going to become like Dubai." Full story.

    Travel turbulence: Striking plane and train workers are set to create travel disruptions for Cannes goers as Air France cancels 15 percent of its flights and train workers strike Tuesday and Wednesday. Read more.

    Extra! Download the THR Cannes Day 1 daily edition: The fest's first daily issue includes intel on the hottest films, Netflix's acquisition of Chinese blockbuster Us and Them and a candid chat with Spike Lee. Download here.

    Eric Schneiderman resigns...

    Out: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office is currently handling a lawsuit against The Weinstein Co. and a civil rights suit against Harvey Weinstein himself, has resigned following a damning exposé in the New Yorker, written by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow, which detailed accusations by four women of sexual misconduct and physical abuse.

    In the story, the women claim that Schneiderman had physically and verbally abused them. Two of the women gave their names, while the others remained anonymous. Read more.

    Weinstein Co.'s bankruptcy update...

    Snag: The Weinstein Co.'s bankruptcy proceedings have hit a major snag the day before a sale hearing, as the distributor claims a discovery dispute appears to be an attempt to derail the board's approved asset sale to stalking horse bidder Lantern Capital. Details.

    AMC earnings...

    Beating estimates: The cinema giant posted higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings and revenues thanks to a boost from strong Black Panther and Jumanji box-office returns and the company's Nordic Cinema Group Holding acquisition internationally. Read more.

    Bright sequel intel...

    New writer: Evan Spiliotopoulos, who worked on Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast as well as The Huntsman: Winter's War, has been tapped to pen the script for the Netflix follow-up, which will once again be directed by David Ayer.

    Who's out: Max Landis, the scribe who wrote the initial spec script for the first movie and was paid a reported $3 million to $4 million in 2016. Sources say Landis and Ayer disagreed creatively, which led to a parting of ways.

    STX's David Kosse talks Netflix, Cannes and more...

    Is Netflix a film-industry villain? "I think there is more fear than bad blood," says STX International president David Koss. "Probably a mix of fear and envy. They’re disrupting the industry.... Competition is a good thing. But it’s certainly making it very, very challenging." Full Q&A.

    Elsewhere in film...

    Angelina Jolie's Jim Thorpe movie: Jolie will produce Bright Path: The Jim Thorpe Story, which will star Martin Sensmeier (Wind River, Westworld), the legendary Native American athlete and NFL player who won two Olympic gold medals for the U.S. Details.

    Sherlock Holmes 3 gets a release date: The Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law film will hit theaters Christmas Day, 2020.

    The royal wedding is coming to theaters: Fathom Events and BritBox are partnering for Harry & Meghan: The Royal Wedding, a commercial-free presentation of the royal wedding that will screen in nearly 200 theaters across the U.S. on May 19.

  • The CBS-Viacom Tug-of-War

    Illustration by Matt Collins

    Shari Redstone ultimately controls both media companies — she (and not Leslie Moonves) ultimately will determine the future of a merged film and TV empire, writes Michael Wolff:

    Perhaps it is not too late. Moonves could assume a war footing and, with a case to be made to Wall Street and the press reliably favorable toward him, the goodwill of the industry behind him and with the endless legal complications arising from the Redstone family saga, he might mount a case that Shari is self-dealing.

    According to recent accounts, Redstone has given up her insistence on a penultimate role for Bob Bakish, with merger plans taking a significant step forward. Moonves' stature will surely allow him to reach at least a temporary truce. But even if Moonves is the last man on Earth capable of succeeding in the television business, CBS still isn't his. Full column.

    Comcast prepares to gate-crash Disney-Fox deal...

    Report: Per Reuters: "Comcast is asking investment banks to increase a bridge financing facility by as much as $60 billion so it can make an all-cash offer for the media assets that Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. has agreed to sell to Walt Disney Co for $52 billion."

    One condition: According to Reuters, Comcast's Brian Roberts "only plans to proceed with the bid if a federal judge allows AT&T Inc’s planned $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc to proceed, the sources said." Full story.

    Disney/ESPN's big UFC deal...

    Fighting shape: The Walt Disney Company and UFC have reached their first-ever multi-year deal to offer exclusive live UFC Fight Night events to ESPN+, starting in January 2019. In all, 15 live UFC events will stream only on the Disney-owned streaming sports service. Read more.

    Discovery's quarterly report...

    Loss: Discovery Inc., led by CEO David Zaslav, reported a first-quarter loss of $8 million, or 1 cent per share, compared with earnings of $215 million in the year-ago period on costs related to its acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive in March. Read more.

    Dish down...

    Cord-cutters: Dish Network reported lower first-quarter earnings and said it continued to lose pay TV subscribers. The satellite TV company added 91,000 Sling subscribers but lost 185,000 Dish TV customers, resulting in a net loss of 94,000.

    Arrested Development news...

    Pay dispute: The star-studded cast is not happy with the expanded and "recut" fourth season of the Netflix comedy. Sources say that actors including Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Michael Cera and David Cross are asking for added compensation after creator Mitch Hurwitz and producer 20th Century Fox Television re-edited the 15-episode season to a full 22 with the hope of landing a lucrative syndication deal for the series. Read more.

    New trailer: The long-awaited season five preview dropped yesterday, and the whole Bluth gang is in it — including Jeffrey Tambor. Watch.

    R. Kelly gets the Lifetime treatment...

    Double trouble: The network has ordered a new documentary series as well as a feature-length movie aiming to tell the stories of women who have fallen under the toxic spell of the controversial R&B singer, whose alleged abuse of underage black women was detailed in a blockbuster exposé in BuzzFeed last year.

    Cultural critic and filmmaker Dream Hampton will executive produce the series, while Emmy Award winner Ilene Kahn Power will serve as an exec producer on the movie.

    NBC news...

    Renewal: Good Girls, starring Christina Hendricks, Retta and Mae Whitman, has been renewed for a second season.

    New dramas: The network also picked up The Village (envisioned as a companion to This Is Us, it revolves around the tight-knit residents of a Brooklyn apartment building) and The Enemy Within (fast-paced spy thriller starring Jennifer Carpenter and Morris Chestnut). Full NBC scorecard.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Westworld vs. PETA: PETA is blasting HBO over its depiction of elephants on Westworld and is "urging HBO to commit to not using any wild animals in future episodes or other series." HBO has responded to the claims... Full story.

    George Clooney's Catch-22 gets another producer: Sky Italia is coming on board to co-produce the highly anticipated adaptation, which will premiere in the U.S. exclusively on Hulu, and in Italy on Sky Atlantic in 2019.

    Tiffany Haddish's new co-star: Ali Wong is joining Netflix's animated comedy series Tuca and Bertie, which already has Haddish set to voice Tuca; Wong will voice the other lead, Bertie.

    Santa Clarita Diet gets a season three: The Netflix zombie-comedy will return with 10 new half-hour episodes in 2019.

    + Netflix adds Somebody Feed Phil: Netflix is going to keep feeding Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal, adding another six episodes of his travelogue to its roster this summer.

    Gimlet's Sandra comes to TV: Paul Lee's new studio, wiip, has acquired the rights to Gimlet's latest scripted podcast, the Alia Shawkat-starring Sandra, in a competitive situation. Wiip will adapt the seven-episode audio comedy for television with Gimlet Pictures, the podcast start-up's film and TV arm, producing.

    Walking Dead promotions: Avi Nash and Callan McAuliffe, who both arrived in season eight as Siddiq and Alden, respectively, have been upgraded from recurring to series regulars for the show's upcoming ninth season.

    TBS renews Conan O'Brien-produced Final Space: The network has handed out a second-season renewal for the animated comedy, which TBS says is its youngest-skewing original series.

    BuzzFeed's new entertainment leader: Lauren Dolgen, who previously ran West Coast development for Viceland, is taking over as head of BuzzFeed Studios, a position vacated by Matthew Henick in March.

    ► THR, Esq.: Bizarre Sean Hannity subplot erupts in appeal by former Fox News executive. An attorney for Francisco Cortes wants to amend a lawsuit to include the allegation that Hannity was the real beneficiary of a sexual harassment settlement. Fox News calls it "pure fiction." Read more.


  • The Met Gala, Reviewed

    Getty Images

    From the sublime to the ridiculous: Gowns on the likes of Madonna, Rihanna, Katy Perry and Zendaya and more blurred the lines between couture and costume party. Booth Moore writes:

    They came dressed as saints, sinners, angels, even a female Pope, which made for some sublime and some ridiculous fashion statements.

    And yet somehow, they managed not to offend, perhaps because over the years, the rules of faith have become nearly as elastic as the rules of fashion, at least among the Hollywood and pop music crowds in attendance, that you really can do whatever the spirit moves you to do. Because most of it, we've seen before.

    On the kitsch side: There was Katy Perry in six-foot-wide Versace angel wings and gold go-go boots, and Sarah Jessica Parker wearing a Dolce & Gabbana baroque-patterned cathedral train and an actual Nativity altar on her head.

    A bit more pious: Rihanna, reigning goddess of the Met Gala red carpet, dressed as the female leader the Catholic Church has never had, while Madonna looked positively pious in a covered-up Goth gown with cross motif. Full review | See the gallery

    Fashion redemption: Scarlett Johansson stepped out in Marchesa, becoming the first A-lister to wear Georgina Chapman’s label on the red carpet since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke. Read more.

    All the incredible headdresses: From Mindy Kaling to Olivia Munn, stars turned up the heavenly heat with their spectacular headpieces. See them all.

    What else we're reading...

    — "CNN fights to keep internal editorial guidelines under wraps. Why?" Erik Wemple digs into the cable news network's internal practices. [Washington Post]

    — "Cord-cutting pain spreads to high-yield bond market." Matt Wirz writes: "Telecom, cable and satellite firms are largest issuers of junk debt, increasing investors’ exposure to disruption hitting the sector." [Wall Street Journal]

    — "Does it matter if you see a film in a theater or at home?" Ben Kenigsberg and Jason Bailey tackle the debate at the center of the Netflix-Cannes beef. [The New York Times]

    — "T.R. Knight on his Grey's Anatomy coming-out scandal 10 years later." Kevin Fallon writes: "A decade after his tumultuous public coming out, Knight comes out again: as a closeted poet on Genius: Picasso, and as a happily married man." [Daily Beast]

    — "The filmmaker of the year hasn't even made a feature film yet." Adam Nayman writes: "With Atlanta, Donald Glover’s 'This Is America' video, and the best episodes of Barry, director Hiro Murai’s moment has arrived." [The Ringer]

    — "What it means when Childish Gambino says 'This Is America.'" Frank Guan writes: "Until last Saturday night, the last we had heard out of Childish Gambino was another man’s funk." [Vulture]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Jim Parsons: It's never 'too late' for gay representation on film." [Late Show]

    + "John Goodman doesn't care about the Roseanne reboot's politics." [Late Night]

    + "Melissa McCarthy on Kimmel injury and parents staying with her." [Jimmy Kimmel Live!]

    Today's Birthdays: Stephen Amell, 37, Enrique Iglesias, 43, Michel Gondry, 55.