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The Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The all-new Hollywood Reporter offers unprecedented access to the people, studios, networks and agencies that create the magic in Hollywood. Published weekly, the oversized format includes exceptional photography and rich features.

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1 Min.
heat index

Dana Walden The Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment chairman gains oversight of Hulu’s scripted originals team, giving her vast power over the media giant’s television output. Kerry Brougher The Film Academy’s museum director, who has overseen construction of the $388 million project since 2014, steps down well before its planned 2020 completion. Pony Ma The Tencent CEO is in talks to acquire 10 percent of Vivendi’s Universal Music Group for a reported $3.3 billion, a bullish bet on music in the streaming age. Nancy O’Dell After eight-plus years, the Entertainment Tonight co-anchor exits amid declining ratings in the TV entertainment newsmagazine landscape. Showbiz Stocks $39.54 (+2.3%) CINEMARK HOLDINGS INC. (CNK) The theater chain posts record Q2 earnings and revenue, spurred by Avengers: Endgame, surpassing profit forecasts. $31.72 (-17%) DISH NETWORKS (DISH) The pay TV provider loses 31,000 net subscribers in Q2 as a…

4 Min.
universal caught in crosshairs of mass shooting fallout

Did anyone see what our ratfucker-in-chief just did?” one character asks early in the screenplay for The Hunt, a Universal Pictures thriller set to open Sept. 27. Another responds: “At least The Hunt’s coming up. Nothing better than going out to the Manor and slaughtering a dozen deplorables.” In the aftermath of mass shootings within days of one another that shocked Blum and traumatized the nation, Universal is re-evaluating its strategy for the certain-to-be-controversial satire. The violent, R-rated film from producer Jason Blum’s Blumhouse follows a dozen MAGA types who wake up in a clearing and realize they are being stalked for sport by elite liberals. Already over the Aug. 3 weekend, ESPN pulled an ad for the film that it had previously cleared, while AMC ran the spot during the…

2 Min.
sag-aftra faces divisive election fight over its future

On July 29, as SAG-AFTRA officials were mailing ballots for the union’s elections, a lawyer letter arrived demanding that president Gabrielle Carteris be stricken from the race for “serious election violations” pertaining to the union’s negotiation of its deal with Netflix covering live-action scripted production. Three days later, counsel for Carteris and for leaders of her Unite for Strength (UFS) slate issued a missive criticizing the opposing MembershipFirst (MF) candidate Matthew Modine and his slate for “supporting the threat of baseless litigation against SAG-AFTRA.” Those legal salvos brought focus to what has become clear to industry observers: Decades-old tensions are threatening to tear the performers union apart. Incumbent Carteris, 58, and challenger Modine, 60, along with independent candidates Jane Austin (currently secretary-treasurer), actor Abraham Justice and union member Queen Alljahye Searles,…

4 Min.
the rise of the all-digital actor

On July 23, Will Smith gave reporters an early preview of his upcoming thriller Gemini Man, in which the star fights with a younger clone of himself. The 50-year-old actor noted that, with advances in visual effects, he could sit back and let a digital double do all the work. “There’s a completely digital 20-year-old version of myself that can make movies now,” he quipped. While the comment got a laugh, it wasn’t too far off from Hollywood’s new reality: Actors can now play a character at any age — regardless of their own. New VFX techniques could be used to tell stories that studios might not have attempted just a few years ago. It’s not too difficult to imagine in the near future, say, a digital likeness of an Avengers…

1 Min.
evolution of de-aging vfx

2007 Beowulf Technically savvy director Robert Zemeckis’ fully CG fantasy grabbed plenty of attention for its renderings of actors such as Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie, created at Sony Pictures Imageworks, though overall the film wasn’t a hit. 2008 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button David Fincher’s drama starring Brad Pitt as a man aging in reverse was an ambitious step forward and won the VFX Oscar that season for its effects, which were led by VFX house Digital Domain. 2015 Furious 7 Following Paul Walker’s death, filmmakers turned to Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital to complete the Universal sequel with some digital trickery. 2016 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story In this prequel, Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic created a digital Peter Cushing, as Grand Moff Tarkin, and Carrie Fisher, as Princess Leia, as they appeared in the 1977 original movie. 2019 Captain…

1 Min.
indie theaters face ‘tougher’ climate

The independent theater scene in Los Angeles has turned into high drama. The Laemmle Theatres — launched in 1938 by Universal founder Carl Laemmle’s first cousins — is up for sale, while luxury outfit iPic said Aug. 5 that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after declaring it is holding more than $290 million in debt. Laemmle and iPic couldn’t be more different in scope and ticket price, but they share a problem: the downturn at the 2019 box office, with revenue off 6.3 percent compared with last year. Laemmle, an art house circuit, operates all nine of its locations in the greater L.A. area, showing a mix of first-run movies, indies and classics. Robert Laemmle and his son, Greg Laemmle, own and operate the tiny chain, whose asking price is undisclosed. “The…