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‘Jupiter’s Legacy’: TV Review

BY DANIEL FIENBERG | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren #reviews-all

Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb star in the Netflix adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic book series about a dysfunctional superhero family.

The penultimate episode of Disney+’s WandaVision generated a wave of adulation (and predictable knee-jerk Twitter backlash) for the line, “What is grief, if not love persevering?”

Even if you don’t think the line was a pinnacle of scripted meditations on loss, it could still be acknowledged as a neat and pithy summation of the themes of a frequently provocative season of TV.

In the penultimate episode of Jupiter’s Legacy, Netflix’s new superhero show takes its own stab at something comparably reflective. “I’ve learned that there’s a terrible gift to loss, which leaves nothing left to lose, which means you have everything to gain,” declares Josh Duhamel’s Sheldon Sampson, a musing that’s half word salad, half idiotic mathematical equation, all hollow nonsense.

The title of Jupiter’s Legacy, adapted by Steven S. DeKnight from the comic book series by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, refers vaguely to the legacy left by a senior generation of superheroes for the new generation of heroes facing a wildly different world. The show’s only actual legacy is arriving in such a superhero-glutted landscape that it’s almost impossible to find a single character or plotline or thematic beat here that you won’t be instantly comparing to a previous show.

Whether Jupiter’s Legacy is found lacking as a vehicle for delving into the way grief can lay even the most powerful people low, as a mismatched superhero team-up in the vein of Umbrella Academy and The Boys and Doom Patrol, or as a commentary on superhero daddy issues like Invincible or Superman & Lois, this eight-episode drama is one of the weakest and most forgettable entries in the busy genre. It’s a derivative bore, without even visual inspiration to compensate.

The season takes place in two timelines. In the present, Duhamel’s Sheldon and Leslie Bibb’s Grace have been married for 60 years. As the superhero duo The Utopian and Lady Liberty, they’re protecting the Earth, stopping bad guys and following a “code” that dictates that they never kill anybody, however evil, nor do they ever attempt to influence policy. Sheldon and Grace got their power in the distant past along with Sheldon’s brother Walter (Ben Daniels), but somehow there are a ton of young, 20something heroes who got their powers in some other way, heroes who aren’t convinced that Sheldon’s code still applies. The new heroes include Sheldon and Grace’s son Brandon (Andrew Horton), struggling to emerge from his dad’s shadow, and rebellious daughter Chloe (Elena Kampouris), who uses her notoriety — superheroes are celebrities in this world — to get endorsement deals and do photoshoots.

In the other timeline, we see the circumstances that led to Sheldon and Grace and Walter and Sheldon’s buddy George (Matt Lanter) getting their powers, an event situated around the stock market collapse of 1929.

Neither storyline works at all. To their credit, they fail for different reasons, though the very questionable decision to cast every role in the middle of two age extremes doesn’t help. In the flashback, it’s hilarious to have Duhamel, Bibb and especially Daniels pretending to be in their 20s. In the present day, even accepting that superheroes age at a different rate, it’s hilarious to have all of the stars in shoddy old-age makeup. It’s part of the gimmick of the comic, mind you, to have these geriatrics in tights. But whether aging up or down, neither makeup job is good or consistent — there are times they don’t even seem to be trying to make Bibb look anything other than fabulous — and so the actors all look uncomfortable throughout, and none of the stars is inherently good enough to withstand eight hours of perpetual discomfort.

It’s easier to pinpoint why the flashback side of the story is so bad, and it isn’t just because the actors are as convincingly period-appropriate as a Great Gatsby-themed frat party where nobody ever read The Great Gatsby. Simply put: There are no stakes and no twists or turns for the entire flashback, stretched over all eight episodes.

Netflix’s trailer for the show starts with footage of the “younger” characters arriving on the island where they get their powers, an event that takes place at the end of the seventh episode. Netflix sometimes begs critics not to reveal plot details that transpire in the first 15 minutes of a pilot, so if the streamer has no compunctions about spoiling a plotline from the next-to-last episode of a drama’s season because it’s so unsurprising, what possible reason could audiences have for wanting to go on that part of that journey?

Smarter structuring would have been to do a full flashback standalone episode two-thirds of the way through the season, probably casting younger versions of the core stars. That way, you could have treated the provided information as “filling in the blanks” as opposed to a storyline meant to maintain interest hour-by-hour, which it most surely does not.

Then again, the present-day story isn’t all that thrilling either. There’s a villain, but the main hook is the moral conflict between the intractable Sheldon, clinging to the code to mask his increasing obsolescence, and Brandon, who doesn’t exactly want to kill bad guys willy-nilly, but likes having the option in his toolbox. The show is an ideological void, which is especially surprising given that Millar (Wanted, Kick-Ass) tends to have pointed (if occasionally contradictory) things to say about the erosion of modern society and the corrosive effects of vigilante violence. Here, Jupiter’s Legacy doesn’t get much deeper than, “We live in fragmented times and that’s bad.”

Even with nothing of note to say, you sense there’s one version of this show that’s centered around this father-son clash of law enforcement styles, only Sheldon is an unbearably sanctimonious pill and Brandon is beyond boring. Structurally, Brandon should be the protagonist of this story, only there are three or four episodes in the middle of the season in which he’s nearly absent and if you asked me for a single adjective to describe the character’s personality or Horton’s performance, I would draw a blank. There’s nothing there.

Throughout, I kept feeling like I’d missed key pieces of plot or character development and I kept checking to see if I’d skipped episodes. I hadn’t. It’s even worse in the storyline focused on Chloe doing drugs and jumping into a not-even-slightly compelling romance with a rising criminal named Hutch (Ian Quinlan). That plot mostly exposes how completely Jupiter’s Legacy is without a target demographic — despite occasional swearing and some cartoonish violence, it’s practically BYUtv-level bland compared to The Boys — and messes with the show’s focus, because as uninteresting as the characters are, Kampouris and Quinlan are the only actors in the cast who aren’t on acting autopilot, who didn’t apparently have half of their scenes edited out and who aren’t fighting to be recognizable through layers of latex or all three.

There’s at best a 10 percent chance the Chloe/Hutch show might be worth watching, but that’s higher than the rest of the series. To throw Sheldon’s reflections on grief into my own blender: When there’s nothing to be gained from watching a superfluous superhero TV show, at least there’s nothing to be lost from skipping it entirely.

Full credits

Cast: Josh Duhamel, Ben Daniels, Leslie Bibb, Elena Kampouris, Andrew Horton, Mike Wade and Matt Lanter

Creator: Steven S. DeKnight, based on the comic book series by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely

Premieres Friday, May 7, on Netflix


 

 

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Paramount+ Plans to Debut One Original Movie a Week Beginning in 2022

BY GEORG SZALAI | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren #reviews-all #picks-all

Before that, Antoine Fuqua’s sci-fi pic ‘Infinite’ — starring Mark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor — will forgo a theatrical release and go straight to the streamer this June.

ViacomCBS has big movie plans for its streaming service Paramount+.

Infinite, a sci-fi thriller starring Mark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor and directed by Antoine Fuqua for the conglomerate’s Paramount Pictures, will bypass a theatrical release and debut directly on the streamer in the U.S. in June, CEO Bob Bakish announced on Thursday’s ViacomCBS first-quarter earnings conference call.

ViacomCBS is following the suit of other major studios who are trying to promote their streaming services by sending new movie straight to streaming, although the company has previously stressed that it continues to support a robust theatrical release for many of its biggest titles, at least for six weeks. Infinite, like many other films, was initially supposed to open on the big screen in 2020 but was waylaid by the pandemic.

The company did not immediately detail the international distribution plan for Infinite.

Bakish also touted a planned expansion of Paramount+’s film catalog this summer, along with a planned “Mountain of Movies” advertising campaign.

“Turning to movies where we are poised to dramatically enhance the scale of our offering,” Bakish said. “In fact, we will shortly kick off a ‘Mountain of Movies’ marketing campaign, where we will highlight the thousands of new movies we are adding to Paramount+, including blockbuster hits and exclusive originals.”

The CEO said 1,000 additional movies will go live on the streamer in early June, “with additional titles following through July, bringing the total to over 2,500.” He added: “Hits like The Avengersand Skyfall will be available on the service soon, as well as a bunch of great Paramount films like Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Rocketman, Sonic the Hedgehog and more.” Paramount in February unveiled a new deal with Epix that also gives the studio more flexibility in its post-theatrical windowing strategy, allowing for new and library titles to become available on Paramount+.

Bakish reaffirmed John Krasinki’s A Quiet Place Part II will be available on the streamer 45 days after it opens in theaters over Memorial Day. “And we will follow that with the Paw Patrolmovie – a treat for families eagerly awaiting a feature-length version of the most popular pre-school characters in the world. In addition, new original movies like Paranormal Activity, and The In Between will premiere on Paramount+ by the end of ’21.”

In 2022, Paramount hopes to further strengthen its original film offerings, with Bakish saying “all of this is a preview to a substantial ramping up of original movies next year, when we expect to begin averaging an original movie a week in 2022.”

He didn’t immediately share full details, but told the earnings call: “We will have more on this in the months ahead.” Management has in the past signaled it would tap into content and units across ViacomCBS to feed Paramount+.

Infinite, based on D. Eric Maikranz’s novel The Reincarnationist Papers, was originally set to be released in August 2020, but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The most recent plan was for a Sept. 24 theatrical release.

Other cast members include Sophie Cookson, Jason Mantzoukas, Rupert Friend, Toby Jones and Dylan O’Brien.

The screen story is by Todd Stein, the screenplay by Ian Shorr, and the film is produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian, Mark Huffam, John Zaozirny, Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson. Executive producers are Fuqua, Rafi Crohn, Brian Oliver, Bradley J. Fischer and Valerii An.


 

 

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Behind Warner Bros.’ Search for a Black Superman

BY Tatiana Siegel, Borys Kit | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren #reviews-all

After enlisting Ta-Nehisi Coates to write the latest feature on the superhero, the studio is searching for its director and star as it kick-starts the next phase of its DC universe.

While promoting his Amazon Prime film Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse in late April, Michael B. Jordan put a Kryptonite pin in any rumors that he might suit up as Warner Bros.’ next Superman. “I’m flattered that people have me in that conversation,” Jordan told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s definitely a compliment, but I’m just watching on this one.”

With that, a whole new guessing game has kicked off centered on who will play the Man of Steel. And arguably more pressing: Who will direct? Sources say J.J. Abrams, who is producing the film, is not among the many possibilities being considered. When Warners announced in February that celebrated author Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing the screenplay and Abrams is producing, it did not address the matter of helming. But insiders say Warners and DC are committed to hiring a Black director to tackle what will be the first cinematic incarnation of Superman featuring a Black actor, with one source adding that putting Abrams at the helm would be “tone-deaf.”

In a fitting twist, the director search is pitting DC against none other than Marvel. As Warners looks to fill its Superman vacancy, Marvel is on the hunt for a Blade helmer and is combing through the same list. But the question will come down to what kind of filmmaker Bad Robot and Warners want: an up-and-comer who can be backed by Abrams, who knows his way around tentpoles and franchises? Or an established filmmaker like a Barry Jenkins or a Ryan Coogler?

The former list can include Creed II’s Steven Caple Jr., J.D. Dillard, Regina King — who got raves for her drama One Night in Miami — and Shaka King, who is popular at Warners thanks to best picture Oscar nominee Judas and the Black Messiah. Some potential directors have met with both studios for both films, even as one agent said the process was “phenomenally early.” Meanwhile, Coogler may be a nonstarter for either assignment given that he will be occupied with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which releases July 8, 2022.

Coates isn’t expected to deliver his Superman script until mid-December. Likewise, Marvel isn’t rushing with Blade, whose start date was pushed from this September to July 2022, so that the studio can spend time working on the Stacy Osei-Kuffour-penned script.

While the next Superman will likely land with a name director, the star could be a relative unknown, as was the case when Brandon Routh suited up for Bryan Singer’s 2006 Superman Returns and Henry Cavill donned the cape for Zack Snyder’s 2013 Man of Steel. Neither Superman Returns nor Man of Steel lived up to outsized expectations, with the former earning $391 million worldwide and the latter taking in $668 million. By contrast, James Wan’s Aquaman nabbed $1.15 billion in 2018 and Todd Phillips’ Joker scored $1.07 billion (and multiple Oscars).

But establishing a new tone with the launch of the next Superman franchise is key to Warner Bros.’ DC film future. As such, little will remain of the so-called Snyderverse vision, which enjoyed its last hurrah with Snyder’s four-hour Justice League bowing on HBO Max in March. Among his hand-picked stars that remain are Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman) and Ezra Miller (The Flash).

DC sees its upcoming Flash movie, which began production in April in London, as its way forward in this post-Snyder world. With the inclusion of such characters as Supergirl (Sasha Calle) and Michael Keaton’s Batman, one thing Flash does is set up DC with a multiverse that allows for many of these incarnations and story universes to co-exist and have superheroes interact. So far, every movie and TV show, with the exception of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson and set for release in March, HBO Max’s spinoff Gotham PD, and Jokerand its planned sequel, will take place in the same universe.

The Superman film appears to be moving onto its own track and won’t be part of the universe, as of now. Sources tell THR that Coates is crafting a Kal-El in the vein of the original Superman comics and will have the protagonist hail from Krypton and come to Earth. While the story is currently being crafted and many details could change, one option under consideration is for the film to be a 20th century period piece.

Diversity and representation remain key drivers of the DC universe moving forward. Warners is developing a Latino Blue Beetle movie with Angel Manuel Soto attached to direct, and HBO Max is casting for a gay Green Lantern character for an upcoming series. And The CW’s Arrowverse is about to get its second Black female superhero series with Ava DuVernay’s Naomi(Batwoman also features a Black lead, Javicia Leslie) just as Black Lightning is about to wrap its final season.

As for Abrams, who inked a $500 million deal with WarnerMedia in September 2019, he will still wield plenty of influence in the DC universe. With Snyder gone, the Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens director now will have perhaps the largest footprint as he oversees the Justice League Dark Universe for film and TV. Among the rumored projects is a Constantine reboot for HBO MaxX. At a minimum, Abrams should be raising hell at DC with the Hellblazerprotagonist.

Aaron Couch contributed to this report.


 

 

 

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Conan O’Brien Sets End Date for TBS Show

by Rick Porter | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren #reviews-all

 

The host will bring his nightly show to a close in late June but will continue his relationship with WarnerMedia via a weekly HBO Max series.

The longest tenured host in late night has set an exit date.

Conan O’Brien will end his nightly TBS show on June 24, the cabler announced Monday night. It will bring to an end the host’s 28-year run as a late night host, stretching back to 1993 when he took over NBC’s Late Show from David Letterman.

TBS’ parent company, WarnerMedia, said in November 2020 that Conan would end this summer. O’Brien signed a deal with the company at that time, under which he’ll host and produce a weekly variety show for HBO Max and continue making the Conan Without Borders travel specials for TBS.

The final weeks of Conan will feature a lineup of special guests and an hour-long finale on June 24 that will include a look back at his 11 years on TBS.

“We are winding down our TBS show,” O’Brien said at the start of Monday’s Conan. “The plan is to re-emerge on HBO Max sometime in the near future with I think what will be my fourth iteration of the program. Imagine a cooking show with puppets, and you’ll have the wrong idea.”

He added that “for 11 years, the people at Turner have been absolutely lovely to me,” and that he hopes to take a “fun look back” at his time on TBS in the show’s final weeks. (Watch the full announcement below.)

“Twenty-eight years is a monumental achievement in late night television,” Brett Weitz, general manager of TNT, TBS and TruTV, said in November in announcing the show’s forthcoming end. “We’re incredibly proud of the groundbreaking work that Conan and his team have accomplished during the 10 years at TBS and are so glad that we will continue to have his presence on our air with the Conan Without Borders specials. We celebrate his success and are glad to see it grow across our WarnerMedia family.”

O’Brien was the host of Late Night from January 1993 to February 2009, then (briefly) took over as host of The Tonight Show from June 2009-January 2010. In an effort to keep previous Tonight host Jay Leno in the fold, NBC gave him a nightly primetime show starting in fall 2009. Neither it nor O’Brien’s Tonight Show performed well in the ratings. After initially floating the idea of moving Leno back to late-night and bumping The Tonight Show to 12:05 a.m., NBC settled with O’Brien and he departed the network after his final Tonight Show on Jan. 22, 2010. Leno resumed his former post before passing the show to Jimmy Fallon in 2014.

O’Brien then went on a nationwide tour before launching his TBS show in November 2010. The show had an hour-long runtime through 2018, when O’Brien scaled back to 30 minutes a night amid speculation that he would depart TBS. He also launched a podcast, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, in 2018.

Following the end of Conan, O’Brien will focus on developing the weekly HBO Max show and other projects. Details on the weekly series are few at the moment, but WarnerMedia says it will “be a departure” from O’Brien’s current talk show format.


 

 

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Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly Cinema Set to Reopen in June

by Lexy Perez | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren #reviews-all

 

The historic revival theater announced plans to reopen on June 1.

Los Angeles’ New Beverly Cinema, which is owned and operated by Quentin Tarantino, has set a reopening.

In a post shared on its social media channels and website Saturday, the historic revival theater (located on 7165 Beverly Blvd.) announced plans to reopen on June 1. No further details were provided, but the theater teased that more information would be coming soon.

Built in 1929 as a first-run moviehouse, the late Sherman Torgan bought the theater in 1978, offering double feature pairings of classic, foreign, independent and arthouse cinema. After the unexpected passing of the family patriarch and the operator of the theater in 2007, Tarantino eventually bought the building to save the property from redevelopment.

“It was going to be turned into a Super Cuts,” the Oscar-winning filmmaker said at the time. “I’d been coming to the New Beverly ever since I was old enough to drive there from the South Bay — since about 1982. So, I couldn’t let that happen.”

Tarantino does the vast majority of the monthly programming at the New Beverly with many of the 35mm and 16mm prints shown from his private collection. “As long as I’m alive, and as long as I’m rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm,” Tarantino has said. 

Last March, New Beverly Cinema announced that they would be closed until further notice amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The news comes almost two months after the reopening of theaters at reduced capacity was allowed amid vaccine distribution and lowered COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to lift most COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and workplaces on June 15, with officials saying enough people should be vaccinated by that timeframe to allow for pre-pandemic normal operations.


 

 

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Olympia Dukakis, Oscar Winner for ‘Moonstruck,’ Dies at 89

by Duane Byrge , Mike Barnes | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren #reviews-all

 

The veteran stage actress also appeared in ‘Steel Magnolias,’ ‘Mr. Holland’s Opus’ and as a transgender landlady four times on ‘Tales of the City.’

Olympia Dukakis, the dignified actress who received a supporting Oscar for her performance as Cher’s nitpicking Brooklyn mother in Moonstruck, died Saturday. She was 89.

Dukakis died in New York, her brother Apollo wrote on Facebook. “After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her [husband] Louis.”

The late-blooming star also was known for her turn as Clairee Belcher, a woman of fiber and the elegant widowed friend of Ouiser Boudreaux (Shirley MacLaine), in Herbert Ross’ Steel Magnolias(1989), and she portrayed a personnel director in Working Girl (1988) and a principal in Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995).

Away from the big screen, Dukakis taught drama at NYU for more than 15 years and was a founding member of two regional theaters: The Charles Playhouse in Boston and the Whole Theater in Montclair, New Jersey.

Her husband of 55 years, stage and character actor Louis Zorich (Paul Reiser’s father Mad About You), died in January 2018 at age 93.

She was a first cousin of former Massachusetts governor and 1988 U.S. presidential candidate Michael Dukakis.

After years toiling on the stage, Dukakis, then in her mid-fifties, turned heads as the nagging Sicilian wife and mother Rose Castorini in Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck (1987). She also won a Golden Globe and top honors from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review for her career-defining performance.

“My daughter was going to college on credit cards when Moonstruck hit,” she said in the 2013 documentary Olympia Dukakis: Undefined. “I didn’t know about acting, I didn’t know about anything.”

Cher paid tribute to her movie mom on Twitter:

Dukakis made something of a career playing irritating moms, doing just that opposite Kirstie Alley in the three Look Who’s Talking films released in 1989, ’90 and ’93 and then taking Ted Danson to task in Dad (1989).

“The fun part is that people pass me on the street and yell lines from my movies,” she said in a 1991 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “For Moonstruck, they say, ‘Your life is going down the toilet!’ Or from Dad, they say, ‘How much are those pork chops?’ They say, ‘Do you know who you are?’ It’s real funny.”

In 1986-87, Dukakis starred on Broadway as a Jewish octogenarian (and Marlo Thomas’ mother) in Mike Nichols’ long-running comedy Social Security. (Jewison saw her on stage in that and then hired her for Moonstruck.)

She also appeared on the big stage in The Aspen Papers, Abraham Cochrane, Who’s Who in Hell and in the one-woman show Rose, about a Holocaust survivor.

She revered the great classical roles of the theater, reflected in off-Broadway credits like Electra, Titus Andronicus and Peer Gynt (the last one came opposite Stacy Keach with the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park).

Dukakis also won Obie Awards for her work in Bertolt Brecht’s A Man’s a Man and Christopher Durang’s The Marriage of Bette and Boo and starred in The Memorandum and Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class.

Her final New York stage role was as Flora Goforth, the wealthy widow who spends her dying days at her Italian seaside villa with a seductive young man of mystery in Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2011 revival of Tennessee Williams’ rarely produced play The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore.

A three-time Emmy nominee, Dukakis played the transgender landlady Anna Madrigal on Armistead Maupin’s four Tales of the City miniseries/series (the most recent one premiered in June 2019 on Netflix).

In a 2015 interview with The A.V. Club, she said she asked to speak with “a human being who’s gone through this” when she arrived to play the character the first time.

“They found someone,” Dukakis recalled. “She came, and when she opened the door, she was, like, 6-foot-2, with hands that could wrap around a football, but a soft voice. Lovely breasts. She walks into the room, she sits down, and … she was a sex therapist, and she evidently helps people with these transitions. And I asked her, ‘What was it that you wanted so much that made it possible for you to go through this incredible journey?’

“And this is what she said to me: ‘All my life, I yearned for the friendship of women.’ And I started to cry. I couldn’t help it. I don’t know what I expected her to say, but not that. And that I knew. And I totally understood. To have your voice silenced, to not be able to be able to speak and be who you are … Who doesn’t know about that? So that’s how I was able to play Anna Madrigal.”

Olympia Dukakis was born June 20, 1931, in Lowell, Massachusetts. Her father, a Greek immigrant, launched a drama club to stage the classic Greek plays. After graduating from Boston University, where she was a New England fencing champion — she also was pretty good at basketball, tennis, pingpong and riflery — she worked as a physical therapist to earn money to get her masters in theater arts.

After attaining her degree, Dukakis came to New York in 1958 and taught drama at NYU while pursuing parts. In summer stock, she panicked during her first onstage performance, unable to speak for an entire act.

Her first TV performances came in 1962 on episodes of The Nurses and Dr. Kildare. In Peter Yates’ John and Mary (1969), she portrayed Dustin Hoffman’s mom, and she was a mother again, this time Joseph Bologna’s, in Made for Each Other (1971).

Her body of film work also includes Jules Dassin’s The Rehearsal (1974), Death Wish (1974), Rich Kids(1979), The Wanderers (1979), The Idolmaker (1980), The Cemetery Club (1993), Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994) — in a cameo as herself at a chaotic Academy Awards telecast — Mighty Aphrodite (1995), 3 Needles (2005), Whiskey School (2005), Jesus, Mary and Joey (2005), In the Land of Women (2007), Cloudburst (2011) and The Infiltrator (2016).

Dukakis was a regular on the daytime drama Search for Tomorrow in the 1980s — taking the job to make ends meet when her husband was injured in a car accident and sidelined for many months — and had guest-starring stints on many TV series, including The Equalizer and Bored to Death, on which she had a torrid affair with Zach Galifianakis.

She met Zorich, a Chicago native, during an audition for an off-Broadway play. Neither got the part, but they did get each other. He gave her a 98-cent wedding ring that he purchased at Woolworth’s, and they got married at City Hall.

“I remember her eyes, she was very sexy, and I said, ‘Oh, my God, this woman …,” Zorich said in the Undefined documentary. “And she wasn’t a shrinking violet; she never was.”

Survivors include their children, Christina, Peter and Stefan.


 

 

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Why the “New Normal” at Theaters May Mean a Premium Experience for Moviegoers

by Pamela McClintock | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren #reviews-all #picks-all

 

As vaccines roll out, restrictions lift and theaters reopen, audiences have been willing to pay more for an enhanced experience because — after a year stuck at home — “why do the ordinary?”

More than a quarter of moviegoers returning to theaters for Godzilla vs. Kong have paid an upcharge of $3 to $5 to experience the monster spectacle in Imax and on other premium large-format screens, both in the U.S. and around the globe. That’s well above the norm.

The expanding appetite for an enhanced theatrical experience has given the film and exhibition business a shot of confidence and a weapon against streamers amid devastation caused by the pandemic. Yet it also means theaters that don’t offer upscale sight and sound, plush seats and other amenities might struggle to lure customers.

“People have been sitting in their living rooms for a long period of time. When they go out, they want something really special,” says Imax Corp. CEO Richard Gelfond. “In many places, there are some screens that are kind of small and not that different from televisions in the home. As we all come out of this, we’re going to say to ourselves, ‘Why do the ordinary?’ “

Warner Bros. and Legendary’s Godzilla vs. Kong — the first Hollywood tentpole of 2021 and the first to launch after Los Angeles and New York City theaters were finally allowed to flip on the lights — opened to a mighty $48.1 million in North America despite capacity restrictions in top markets and the continued closure of many theaters (45 percent). Through April 25, the film’s global total stood at more than $400 million, including more than $86 million in America.

A larger portion than usual is coming from premium large-format (PLF) screens, including Imax, Dolby Cinemas — AMC Theatres’ partner in the U.S. — and Cinemark XD. Even Alamo Drafthouse has its own PLF brand.

In the U.S., approximately 27 percent of audiences are seeking out premium large formats to see Godzilla. Usually, that is closer to 15 percent. “People coming back to theaters are seeking out the most premium presentation first,” says Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. Adds AMC executive vp worldwide programming and chief content officer Elizabeth Frank: “We are seeing more evidence that patrons are planning their night out. There is more demand for PLF showings and private screening parties.”


 

The importance of such foot traffic can’t be overstated in the fierce arms race between theaters and streamers, which have flourished during the pandemic — especially as the COVID-19 crisis triggered the collapse of the traditional theatrical window. Godzilla vs. Kong, for example, debuted day-and-date on HBO Max.

“From an industry perspective, we anticipate the shift to a shorter theatrical exclusivity window will increase the significance of PLF offerings to exhibitors,” says Dolby Laboratories’ Doug Darrow, senior vp of the Cinema Business Group. He adds that on Godzilla’s opening weekend, PLF screens generated 25 percent of the total box office despite accounting only accounting for 3 percent of all screens in North America.

Imax is the only member of the PLF club that discloses grosses. The circuit has been doing huge business in countries where box office has recovered, beginning with China, Japan and other Asian markets. Chinese blockbuster Detective Chinatown 3, for example, set a record for Imax opening-weekend admissions in China (2.1 million), and Demon Slayer: Mugen Train has become the highest-grossing Imax film of all time in Japan with more than $27 million in ticket sales.

A “premium” theatrical experience also includes state-of-the art digital projection and sound, out-of-the ordinary environs, plush seating and expanded food and drink offerings.

But there are no guarantees, even for upscale houses. Decurion Corp., a Los Angeles-based real estate company, stunned the industry by announcing in early April that it was closing ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theaters, including the ArcLight Hollywood and the adjoining Cinerama Dome. (The two chains had not reopened since the pandemic began.) Sources say there are numerous suitors who would take over operation of ArcLight Hollywood, but so far, Decurion is remaining mum.

Meanwhile, upscale chains Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas and Studio Movie Grill — one of the first chains to offer swanky dining — were able to emerge from pandemic-induced Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after winning over financing partners.

“When we talk internally, we feel like we aren’t competing against other movie theaters, but against all of entertainment,” says Studio Movie Grill CEO Ted Croft.  Adds Alamo co-founder Tim League, “Offering a banner experience has been our business model since the very beginning in order to differentiate ourselves. As we approach a new normal, venturing outside the house needs to be special, perfect and amazing.”

Or, as one studio exec says, “people aren’t going to leave their homes for fold-down seats, sticky floors and crappy concessions.”


 

Restaurant quality food at Studio Movie Grill.


 


 

 

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HT Local News HT Movie TV

Anne Douglas, widow of late actor Kirk Douglas, dies at 102

By The Associated Press

Troy Warren #reviews-all #local-all


 

Widow of Kirk Douglas, stepmother of Michael Douglas has died in California.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Anne Douglas, the widow of Kirk Douglas and stepmother of Michael Douglas, died Thursday in California. She was 102.

Douglas died at her home in Beverly Hills, according to an obituary provided by spokeswoman Marcia Newberger. No cause of death was given.

Kirk Douglas, the Hollywood legend who starred in “Spartacus,” “Lust for Life” and dozens of other films, died in February 2020 at 103.

He married Anne Buydens in 1954 after they met in Paris while he was filming “Act of Love” and she was doing publicity. They had two sons, Peter, a producer, and Eric, an actor.

“I often wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn’t married Anne. I might not have survived without her business acumen and her finely honed instincts,” Kirk Douglas once said.

In 2017, the couple published “Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood.”

“She brought out the best in all of us, especially our father. Dad would never have had the career he did without Anne’s support and partnership.”

– actor Michael Douglas

The Douglas Foundation, which Anne and her husband co-founded, has donated millions to a wide range of institutions, from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.

Michael Douglas said his stepmother “will always be in our hearts.”

“She brought out the best in all of us, especially our father. Dad would never have had the career he did without Anne’s support and partnership,” the actor said in a statement.

Kirk Douglas’ first wife and Michael’s mother, Diana Douglas, died in 2015.


 

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HT Foodie HT Movie TV

Guy Fieri, Fired Up: The Food Network King, With a Massive New Deal, Pushes for More Restaurant Relief

by Mikey O’Connell | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren #foodie-all #reviews-all

 

Once mocked by white-tablecloth elites, Fieri just signed a landmark pact for a TV chef as he steps into a respected elder statesman role in the food world — raising millions for workers unemployed due to COVID-19: “I was pissed.”

Guy Fieri’s 1968 Camaro is conspicuously absent from the lineup of vintage wheels abutting his Windsor, California, ranch in Sonoma Valley wine country.

The cherry-red convertible seen in 400-plus episodes of the star chef and car collector’s culinary travelogue Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is en route from points east, where production resumed this past winter, but the platinum blond is spending a few days at home between shoots. Like most people, Fieri is taking baby steps in the return to normalcy — though his pre-pandemic status quo meant supplying Food Network with a dizzying 80 annual hours of original programming. Fieri was among the first to film remotely in 2020, appearing on air within a week of nationwide lockdown orders, so he naturally was back on the road as soon as he was allowed.

“Here’s my research for Hawaii; we’re getting ready to go shoot there next,” says Fieri, sliding a spiral-bound agenda of eateries across the table that separates us. Some businesses anointed by his Midas touch have seen sales climb fivefold after Fieri scarfs their creations on TV, a stat that carries new significance for the host given the calamitous effect of the downturn on the restaurant business. “Then I’m trying to finally put Puerto Rico together,” he adds, grabbing another binder. “They need some love.”

This March afternoon at Fieri’s home isn’t unlike catching up with a busy friend who just happens to have an Emmy statuette and a few bottles of the tequila brand he owns with Sammy Hagar on the kitchen island. One of three wine country properties Fieri keeps in his native Northern California, this has been where he, Lori, his wife of 26 years, and sons Hunter and Ryder have spent most of the past year with their three dogs. The smallest, a Chihuahua named Smokey, is Fieri’s favorite — as the handmade “Enter slowly please; small dog” sign at the end of his long driveway suggests.


 

Where Fieri, a volcano of enthusiasm on camera, subverts expectation is in his almost subdued hospitality. Not a nacho, battered chicken thigh or jalapeno popper in sight, the man synonymous with on-camera caloric intake instead pulls me a double shot of espresso. “I got really good at this over the last year,” he says, nodding to the coffee machine.

Fieri sharpened this skill while also in the past year raising more than $25 million for food workers left unemployed by COVID-19 closures. He is now devoting most of his energy and, under a landmark new TV deal, his creative output into rebuilding the industry that once poked fun at his unrefined aesthetic and bacon-bedazzled menus. These days, it’s hard to not take Fieri seriously. As he plans to beat the drum for restaurant relief even louder — and as those hardest hit by America’s selective recession start to fall out of the news cycle — the goateed gastronomist’s sense of purpose may be the thing to finally eclipse his brash persona.

“Nothing can replace what this kind of recognition, appearing on TV, can do for these people and their businesses … for their lives,” he says, taking a sip of coffee. “I need to keep doing this because it just needs to be done.”

***

Thirteen months ago, as the pandemic began and the country’s collective anxiety skyrocketed, Fieri was not scared or nervous. He was too angry. “I don’t get pissed or lose my shit,” he explains. “But I was pissed.”

Restaurants were closed from coast to coast, and, by Fieri’s estimation, most — the types of mom-and-pop places featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives — maybe had a 10-day runway before the money dried up. It was mid-March 2020, and he was on his elliptical machine — Fieri comes up with a lot of his ideas during cardio — when he decided to ask his business manager for contact info for CEOs of major corporations. He drafted personal emails to power brokers like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, soliciting donations for an emergency relief fund that would ultimately award more than 43,000 grants — of $500 each — to out-of-work line cooks, servers and other restaurant professionals.

Today, in a crisp black button-down, Fieri opines on the crisis with an undiminished passion. “I’m not into shaming people and telling who didn’t donate, that’s not my style,” Fieri says, as he credits getting huge sums of money from PepsiCo, Uber Eats and Procter & Gamble before taking a pause. “Jeff, by the way, didn’t help us,” he shares.

“There is no better salesman than Guy,” says Food Network president Courtney White, whose most bankable talent has fronted 14 series on her network. “There’s a power to his enthusiasm. It gets people to rally around his vision, whether it’s a pitch for a show or in raising all that money.”

While he was hitting up Fortune 500 companies for donations, Fieri sold White on making the Discovery-owned network’s first feature-length documentary, Restaurant Hustle 2020: All on the Line. Co-directed by Fieri, the doc follows four chefs trying to stay in business at the height of the pandemic. It premiered in December, and a follow-up is in the works for this summer. Fieri also pivoted the recent season of Food Network’s chef-competition show Tournament of Champions — his first project back in a studio after shooting at-home versions of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Guy’s Grocery Games — to redirect all its prize money (more than $210,000) to struggling restaurateurs.


 

His philanthropy long has been known in Sonoma County, where he’s fed frontline workers and displaced neighbors impacted by area wildfires. But this latest crisis is playing out on a much larger stage and finds Fieri, who turned 53 in January, moving into the type of elder statesman role previously reserved for white-tablecloth ambassadors like José Andrés and Tom Colicchio.

Tally the long line of show credits and the millions in contributions, and it becomes challenging to reconcile the Fieri of 2021 — emergent folk hero — with the Fieri who first materialized on American TV in April 2006, newly crowned winner of a nascent reality competition (The Next Food Network Star). In that first year, he went from anonymous restaurateur to making less than $1,000 an episode on his first cooking show (Guy’s Big Bite) to launching the career-defining Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

“We built a five-year plan for him, and he blew through it in, like, three,” says longtime agent Jason Hodes, partner at WME, whose colleagues used to tell him to “hug the rocket” as Fieri accumulated series and licensing deals. “He’s a true household name, just one that people can’t seem to pronounce correctly.”

Despite opening most every show with a familiar “Hi, I’m Guy Fieri,” swapping out the “r” in his last name for an Italian flourish that sounds more like “Fiedi,” his preferred pronunciation eludes most of his huge audience. An average 73 million viewers, per Food Network, watch at least one piece of Fieri programming quarterly. And while he hasn’t worked full-time in a kitchen for two decades, he’s involved with more than 85 restaurants globally and recently partnered with Planet Hollywood CEO Robert Earl on an ambitious delivery-only concept, Flavortown Kitchen. If you live in a major U.S. city, chances are you can have a Fieri-sanctioned Bacon Mac N Cheese Burger delivered in the same time it takes to watch an episode of Guy’s Ranch Kitchen.


 

 

Categories
HT Movie TV

TV Ratings: ‘NCIS’ Hits Demo Low, Falls Behind ‘FBI’

by Rick Porter | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren #reviews-all

 

The third-year series beats its lead-in among adults 18-49 for the first time when they’ve aired back to back.

CBS’ drama FBI led Tuesday’s adults 18-49 rankings in primetime — beating its lead-in, NCIS (which hit an all-time low in the key ad demographic), for the first time when the two shows have aired back to back.

It was a relatively soft night for broadcast TV overall, with no show gathering even 1 million people who fall in the 18-49 age range. FBI came closest, with its 0.68 rating equivalent to about 880,000 people.

NCIS, meanwhile, recorded a 0.6 in adults 18-49, a tenth of a point behind its previous low. It did lead primetime among all viewers, averaging 8.56 million. FBI finished second in viewers with 7.57 million, while FBI: Most Wanted had 5.62 million viewers to go with a 0.57 rating in the 18-49 demo. CBS swept primetime in both measures, as well as among adults 25-54.

History’s The Curse of Oak Island had the next best 18-49 rating across broadcast and cable with a 0.51. It also finished second on cable in total viewers with 2.87 million, behind only the 2.95 million for Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News.

The Resident scored a 0.48 on Fox to go with 3.29 million viewers. Prodigal Son followed with a 0.32 and 1.8 million viewers. NBC’s Young Rock (0.46, 2.4 million) and New Amsterdam (0.36, 3.1 million) were both down week-to-week, but Kenan (0.39, 1.8 million) inched up in the demo.

ABC’s Pooch Perfect (0.42 in 18-49, 2.59 million viewers), Black-ish (0.37, 2.07 million), Mixed-ish (0.33, 1.75 million) and Big Sky (0.37, 2.69 million) all declined by a few hundredths of a point in the key demo, although the first three grew slightly in total viewers. Supergirl (0.11, 504,000) also dipped slightly on The CW.

Bookmark THR.com/Ratings for more ratings news and numbers.