Dog Days of Summer? A Thing of the Past H
ard to believe there was once a time when Hollywood news actually slowed down late in the season, as top executives, agents and talent escaped to Martha’s Vineyard and East Hampton.
That lull has completely evaporated. August alone has seen nonstop headlines. Unfortunately, several have been about the tragic deaths of beloved entertainment figures: Aretha Franklin, Neil Simon and Craig Zadan, whose shocking passing hit particularly hard for those of us who knew the producer well for so many years.
Other significant developments included Netflix’s continued poach-o-rama of top-tier showrunners via exorbitant nine-figure pacts. “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris was the latest TV producer to scrap an overall deal at a traditional studio (in his case, ABC) to join high-powered defectors Shonda Rhimes (ABC) and Ryan Murphy (Fox) at the streaming giant.
Hogging the summer box office spotlight was the runaway romantic comedy hit “Crazy Rich Asians,” which is on track to become a massive earner. Winning the “biggest loser” distinction was STX’S “The Happytime Murders,” an inane, raunchy Muppets movie that even Melissa Mccarthy couldn’t save and that begs the question why it was ever given the greenlight. The same could be asked of Moviepass and its non-sustainable business model, whose failure has put the movie subscription service on life support. Also on the beleaguered-news front, financially strapped Global Road Entertainment, backed by Donald Tang, is faltering so badly it’s desperately trying to pawn off its films to raise sorely needed cash.
August also brought the New York Times bombshell that Italian actress-director Asia Argento, one of the first women to publicly accuse producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and an outspoken voice for #Metoo, paid a settlement to an underage teenage actor whom she allegedly sexually assaulted. And CBS Corp. was just smacked with a shareholder class action suit arguing the company misled investors by failing to disclose sexual misconduct allegations by six women against chief executive Leslie Moonves.
Craig Zadan’s shocking passing hit particularly hard for those of us who knew the producer well for so many years.”