Dog Days of Sum­mer? A Thing of the Past H

Variety - - Field Notes - Clau­dia Eller Co-edi­tor-in-chief

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.

What next?

Craig Zadan’s shock­ing pass­ing hit par­tic­u­larly hard for those of us who knew the pro­ducer well for so many years.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.