AMPTP Declines WGA Request to Add Anti-Packaging Fee Clause to Contract

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The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has declined a request from the Writers Guild of America to renegotiate the current writer-producer contract. The WGA wanted to add a clause that prohibited studios from working with agencies that do not agree to its proposed Code of Conduct.

The Code of Conduct, which WGA members will vote on this week, would require agencies to remove packaging fees from any deals involving guild members and use a 10 percent commission system instead. If passed, the Code will be enforced on April 7, with the WGA calling on its members to leave any agency that doesn’t abide by it.

The WGA had hoped to add Hollywood studios to this plan of continued pressure against Hollywood’s top agencies, but the AMPTP shut that down Monday in a letter from president Carol Lombardini to WGA West executive director David Young.

Also Read: Writers Guild Casts Doubt on UTA Report in Packaging Fee Dispute: ‘A False Premise’

“The companies have concluded that agreeing to your proposal would require them to participate in a group boycott of talent agencies that do not meet with guild approval,” Lombardini’s letter read.

“We believe that doing so would subject them, the WGA and individual writers to a substantial risk of liability for antitrust violations, including claims for treble damages. The Companies would also be at risk for violation of federal labor laws as well as state laws.”

Lombardini concluded the letter by writing that the AMPTP hopes “that the WGA and the talent agencies will reach a successful resolution of their negotiations for a new WGA/talent agency agreement.”

Also Read: 6 Things You Need to Know About the Impasse Between Hollywood Writers and Agencies

But a new agreement seems far off with less than two weeks until the current agreement between the Writers Guild and the Association of Talent Agents expires. A pair of meetings between the WGA and ATA last week brought little progress on the key dispute over packaging fees, with the WGA and ATA member United Talent Agency releasing dueling reports on the impact that packaging fees have on writer pay.

The two sides will meet again Monday afternoon to continue negotiations. The authorization vote on the Code of Conduct will be open to WGA members from March 27-31.

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‘Captain Marvel’ and ‘Us’ Have Pushed ‘The Right Stuff’ Back Into the Spotlight

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Over the past three weeks, moviegoers have flocked to see “Captain Marvel,” and this past weekend, many of them came back to theaters to see Jordan Peele’s acclaimed horror film “Us.” By sheer coincidence, both of these very different films make reference to the same classic 1980s film: “The Right Stuff.”

In “Captain Marvel,” the nod to the Best Picture Oscar nominee comes when Vers — a.k.a. Carol Danvers — crash lands on Earth and finds herself in a Blockbuster Video. As she looks around, she picks up a VHS copy of “The Right Stuff,” which was one of the inspirations behind the film.

Also Read: Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’: All the Horror References We Found So Far (Photos)

“The Right Stuff” tells the true story of the seven military pilots who were selected for the NASA project to launch the first ever manned spaceflight. In a similar way, Carol, an Air Force test pilot, ends up soaring farther than she could have ever expected when she travels into space and becomes a member of the Kree and, later, one of Earth’s superheroes.

In “Us,” that same VHS tape is much easier to miss, and is used in a possibly more ironic and darker context. You can find “The Right Stuff” among the VHS tapes that flank the TV displaying the Hands Across America commercial in the opening scene.

In this case, the can-do spirit honored by “The Right Stuff” and which Hands Across America tried to appeal to is twisted by the horrific doppelganger tale that unfolds. “The Right Stuff,” as well as NASA’s achievements in general, became fuel in pop culture for a paean to unity. In spite of many individual and institutional flaws, the pilots and NASA are able to come together and push the boundaries of human achievement.

Also Read: Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’: Are There Really Thousand of Miles of Hidden Tunnels All Across the Country?

But “Us” turns that on its head, suggesting that those flaws and failures tend to win over unity and can-do spirit more often than many of us care to admit. Ironically, the instances in which we do see some unity between the characters in Peele’s film are when it is done in the name of violently defeating a perceived enemy, such as when Hands Across America becomes the inspiration for the Tethered’s bloody uprising against their above-ground counterparts. And the Wilsons, in turn, are only able to briefly put aside their petty squabbles when their doppelgangers force them into a kill-or-be-killed situation to survive.

Two films currently in theaters with two very different takes on one of the most acclaimed space films of all time: one that openly embraces its optimistic tone and another that completely subverts it.

Side by side, they shine light on the ongoing battle between our better selves and our darkest impulses, while also just happening to push Philip Kaufman’s magnum opus back into the mainstream.

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Hollywood Stars Downplay Barr’s Summary of Mueller Russia Probe: ‘Only the Full Report Matters’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

While many of Donald Trump’s biggest critics in Hollywood have yet to respond to Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Robert Mueller investigation, Rosie O’Donnell best summarized the early reaction: demand the release of the full report.

O’Donnell was one of many who questioned the possible bias of AG Barr’s summary of Mueller’s report, writing, “the summary is irrelevant – only the full report matters #ReleaseTheEntireReport.”

In Barr’s official summary sent to Congress, it was reported that Mueller’s investigation found no evidence that Donald Trump or his presidential campaign conspired with Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election. But on the matter of obstruction of justice charges, Barr wrote that “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Also Read: Mueller Finds No Evidence of Trump Collusion With Russia, Justice Department Declines Obstruction Charge

Despite this, Barr wrote that the Department of Justice concluded that the evidence Mueller found was “not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.” That decision not to press on charges has been met with skepticism by Trump’s critics.

“If William Barr summarized Romeo and Juliet, he’d probably say that Romeo murdered Juliet’s cousin, was banished for it, and is now dead,” tweeted George Takei. “Let’s wait to hear the full story.”

In response to the summary, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler said that Barr would be called on to testify before Congress “in light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report.” House Democrats including Los Angeles Rep. Adam Schiff have also said in multiple media interviews that they will likely subpoena Mueller to testify as well.

Also Read: Read Attorney General William Barr’s Summary of Robert Mueller Report

In an official statement, the Trump Administration also called the report a “total and complete exoneration” of the president, a phrase repeated by Trump himself on Twitter. But actress Alyssa Milano posed a question about the report:

“Well, if there was nothing in the report why won’t they just release it?” she tweeted. “If the report fully exonerated him or his family, he’d have it all out in seconds. Wouldn’t he?”

Billy Eichner only had this joke to give: “Did not imagine a world where they were able to indict Aunt Becky before Donald Trump.”

Rather than dwelling on the report itself, Bette Midler, John Leguizamo and Vincent D’Onofrio chose to look toward the future.

Also Read: Jim Carrey Takes on Attorney General Barr in Post-Mueller Report Political Cartoon

“#MuellersReport finds no evidence showing #TrumpsTeam of “collusion” with Russia, but stops short of “exonerating” Trump on obstruction of justice. Knowing Trump, he probably tried to do exactly that. TWO MORE YEARS OF CHAOS, RACE BAITING, GRIFTERS, CON ARTISTS, SHAME/FEAR. SAD,” Midler wrote.

“No worries folks,” D’Onofrio tweeted. “We just need to show up for the PRIMARY in 2020. Just ignore the nonsense. Get out and help your Dem or whomever you like. But if your choice does not win the primary back whomever does. Let’s vote this guy out. If you’re going to troll me. Don’t waste your time”

And Leguizamo suggested we, as a country, reflect on the country we want to be, writing, “#trumpColluded beyond a doubt! Now America must confront itself about its own moral Boundaries and code of ethics! Turning point in American history! Are we a rule of law country or are we a lawless lie!”

Also Read: Hollywood Waits for Mueller Report With High Hopes, No Insights

Meanwhile, amid the demands for access to the report and investigation material, one of Trump’s staunchest supporters, James Woods, posted a GIF of a man jumping off a bridge with the caption “Democrats react to Mueller report the way they accepted the 2016 election…”

Piers Morgan, who has both supported and criticized the president over the last two years, put it simply, “NO COLLUSION. End.”

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‘Hotel Mumbai’ Earns Solid Opening at Indie Box Office

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

While Jordan Peele’s “Us” had the new release slat mostly to itself this weekend, the limited release front did see the release of Bleecker Street’s “Hotel Mumbai,” the true story thriller about the 2008 attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai.

Released on four screens in New York and Los Angeles, the film grossed $86,492 for a solid per screen average of $21,623, the best average for any release this weekend. Directed by Anthony Armas and starring Dev Patel and Armie Hammer, the movie was filmed two years ago and was originally set to be released by The Weinstein Company, but was picked up by Bleecker Street after TWC declared bankruptcy. It has a 73 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Also Read: Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Breaks Original Horror Film Record With $70 Million Opening

Also releasing this weekend was “Sunset,” László Nemes’ follow-up to his 2016 Best Foreign Language Oscar winner “Son of Saul.” Released on three screens by Sony Pictures Classics, the film grossed $15,000. Reviews were far more mixed for “Sunset” than “Son of Saul,” receiving a 54 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Among holdovers, the film with last weekend’s top per screen average, Focus Features’ “The Mustang,” expanded to 38 screens and grossed $228,000, bringing its total to $322,000 with a weekend PSA.

Also Read: ‘The Mustang’ and Matthias Schoenaerts Ride Into Indie Box Office

Fox Searchlight’s “The Aftermath,” which had a muted opening last weekend, expanded to 26 screens in its second weekend and grossed $123,000 for an average of $4,731 and a total of $203,254.

Finally, A24’s “Gloria Bell” is showing strong word-of-mouth among female audiences, as it expanded nationwide to 654 screens. The Sebastian Lelio/Julianne Moore film grossed $1.8 million, bringing its total to just under $2.5 million.

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Breaks Original Horror Film Record With $70 Million Opening

Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Breaks Original Horror Film Record With $70 Million Opening

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Universal/Monkeypaw’s “Us” has set a new opening weekend record for original horror films, earning a $70.2 million launch from 3,741 screens. This total for Jordan Peele’s latest film blows by the original horror movie opening record of $50.2 million set by “A Quiet Place” last year.

“Us” has also more than doubled the opening weekend earned by Peele’s previous film, “Get Out,” which opened to $33.3 million in February 2017. When ranked among all horror films, including franchise titles and remakes, “Us” sits third on the genre’s opening weekend charts, sitting behind the $123 million opening for 2017’s “It” remake and the $76 million opening for last year’s “Halloween.”

Also Read: The Strange Story Behind ‘I Got 5 on It,’ the Secret Weapon of Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’

Peele and “Us” were able to successfully ride the critical acclaim from its SXSW premiere two weeks ago and its 94 percent Rotten Tomatoes score to one of the biggest openings for any horror film, adding $16.7 million from 47 overseas markets to earn an $86.9 million worldwide launch against a $20 million budget.

According to CinemaScore audience data, African-American moviegoers overindexed and comprised of 30 percent of the entire audience. By comparison, Caucasians sat at 36 percent, with Hispanic/Latinos at 21 percent and Asians at 7 percent. While “Get Out” was a hit with audiences with an A- on CinemaScore, “Us” was more consistent with most horror titles with a B.

Taking second is “Captain Marvel,” which dropped 50 percent for a $35 million total in its third weekend. It also grossed $52 million overseas for an $87 million global weekend total. That pushes the latest Marvel film past the domestic total of “Thor: Ragnarok” with $320 million, and past the global total of “Wonder Woman,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and “Batman v Superman” with $910 million after 19 days in theaters around the world.

Also Read: ‘Us’ Film Review: Jordan Peele Terrifies Again With a Chilling Examination of Duality

Taking third is Paramount’s “Wonder Park” with $8.8 million, a 44 percent drop that brings its 10-day total to $29.2 million and $39.7 million worldwide, with $5 million grossed this weekend from 24 markets overseas.

CBS Films/Lionsgate’s “Five Feet Apart” sits just behind it with $8.5 million for a 35 percent drop and a $26.2 million 10-day domestic total and a $32.8 million total against a $7 million budget. Universal’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” completes the top five with $6.5 million for a domestic total of $145 million and a global total of $488 million after five weekends.

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ on Pace for $67 Million Opening, Double ‘Get Out’ Debut

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Universal/Monkeypaw’s “Us” is blowing by all analysts’ expectations. On the back of strong pre-release buzz and an opening day total of $29 million, Jordan Peele’s second film is estimated to gross $67 million from 3,741 screens this weekend.

If that estimate holds, not only will “Us” have doubled the opening weekend of Peele’s debut film “Get Out” ($33.3 million), it will set a new opening weekend record for original horror films, beating the $50.2 million of last year’s “A Quiet Place.” It’s also a record for any original film released in March.

Also Read: The Strange Story Behind ‘I Got 5 on It,’ the Secret Weapon of Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’

The one somewhat bad note for “Us” is that while critics have been raving about the film with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 95 percent, audiences aren’t quite as enthused as they were for “Get Out.” While that film earned an A on CinemaScore, “Us,” with its more opaque theming and twist ending, has received a B from opening night audiences, which is typical for what horror films tend to receive from the audience poll.

Postrak demographic data shows that Friday night’s audience was 31 percent African-American, compared to 34 percent Caucasians, 22 percent Hispanic/Latino, and 13 percent Asian/Other.

Also Read: Here’s All the Horror Movie References We Found in ‘Us’ So Far (Photos)

“Captain Marvel” will settle for the No. 2 spot in its third weekend, though it is still continuing its torrid pace, as it will pass the $315 million domestic total for “Thor: Ragnarok” by Sunday’s end. The Marvel movie is set to make $34.6 million in its third weekend, bringing its domestic total to $321 million and, depending on overseas results, possibly push its global total past the $1 billion mark.

CBS Films/Lionsgate’s “Five Feet Apart” takes third place with an estimated $8.6 million, dropping 34 percent from its $13.1 million opening. Paramount’s “Wonder Park” is fourth, dropping 50 percent for a $7.8 million opening. “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” completes the top five with $6.7 million in its fifth weekend.

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’: Yes, Hands Across America Was a Real Thing in the ’80s

Here’s All the Horror Movie References We Found in ‘Us’ So Far (Photos)

Here’s All the Horror Movie References We Found in ‘Us’ So Far (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

With the release of “Us,” Jordan Peele has cemented his status as the next can’t-miss horror filmmaker. He’s also proven himself to be quite the horror expert, as he’s sprinkled in the most references to fright flicks we&#…

How Disney Could Shake Up Fox Film Slate, Starting With Brad Pitt’s ‘Ad Astra’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of Fox may be complete, but the studio’s distribution team now must figure out how to integrate Fox’s existing movie slate into its own.

The Burbank-based studio plans to release all of Fox’s films, an individual with knowledge of the slate tells TheWrap, but some of the 13 Fox films slated for release in the next 12 months will be moved around in the coming weeks to avoid competing against Disney’s own 2019 slate. Disney declined to comment.

The likeliest target for a move: James Gray’s sci-fi film “Ad Astra,” starring Brad Pitt as an astronaut who chases after his father (Tommy Lee Jones) who disappeared on a failed mission to Neptune decades earlier. Fox has booked the film to open May 24 — the same day as Disney’s live-action adaptation of the animated hit “Aladdin,” making a date change all but inevitable.

Also Read: ‘Captain Marvel’ Scores $69 Million in Second Weekend at Box Office

“At this point, it’s quite likely that ‘Ad Astra’ will either be moved or taken off the slate,” Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock said. “It’s coming out the same day as ‘Aladdin,’ and even before the merger there was no promotional material or trailer for this film even two months away from release.”

In addition to “Ad Astra,” the X-Men spinoff “New Mutants” is also likely to get a push. Unlike other Marvel films that Disney has released, this one is a horror movie, a genre that Disney has mostly avoided. “New Mutants” has also been pushed back twice from its original spring 2018 release to August 2019, and reshoots that were announced last year have not taken place.

It’s also possible that at least some Fox titles could bypass theaters altogether for release on Disney’s upcoming Disney+ streaming platform or even Hulu, in which the company now has a majority stake.

In some ways, Disney can easily absorb an expanded slate. Over the last few years, the studio has dominated the box office charts by releasing the fewest films of any major studio yet making every release feel like an event. Since 2015, the studio has never released more than 13 films in a single year, with 11 scheduled for 2019. Now it’s in control of a Fox operation that released 26 films in the past two years, 41 if you include titles released by Fox Searchlight.

Also Read: Bob Iger on Disney-Fox Deal Close: ‘I Wish I Could Tell You That the Hardest Part Is Behind Us’

That output is expected to drop dramatically — especially after Disney surprised the industry on Thursday by shuttering Elizabeth Gabler’s Fox 2000 division, which has released films like “Hidden Figures,” “Love, Simon” and “The Hate U Give.” In addition, the studio on Thursday laid off many of the top distribution, marketing and publicity executives who had been overseeing the release of Fox’s upcoming movies.

With the Fox slate, Disney gains a host of more grown-up fare — a category it has avoided in recent years (the studio’s last R-rated film was 2013’s “The Fifth Estate,” one of the final releases in its now-lapsed distribution partnership with DreamWorks). But adult-skewing films could more easily fit into a schedule loaded with the studio’s mainstay family fare: James Mangold’s untitled biopic on the Ford-Ferrari motor-sports rivalry, due November 15, isn’t seeking the same audience as the following week’s “Frozen II.”

Few expect much schedule juggling at Fox Searchlight, which has enjoyed plenty of Oscar success in recent years but only has the upcoming biopic “Tolkien” officially slated for release. Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley’s division could maintain a degree of independence akin to what Harvey and Bob Weinstein enjoyed when Disney owned Oscar powerhouse Miramax (before selling off the division in 2010).

Also Read: Disney Layoffs Claim Top Fox Executives Including Chris Aronson, Andrew Cripps, Pam Levine and More

Beyond 2019, the Disney-Fox balancing act gets even more intriguing. Disney has yet to fill in much of its 2020 slate beyond date placeholders, while Fox has some titles with serious box office potential.

The biggest of them is, of course, “Avatar 2,” the sequel to the highest-grossing film of all time and which is set for a December 2020 release. That could plug a hole that Disney recently filled with new releases in the “Star Wars” franchise — which helped the studio rule the holiday box office market from 2015-17.  “Episode IX” at the end of this year.

But following the disappointing results for last summer’s “Solo,” which became the lowest-grossing “Star Wars” release ever, Disney hit the pause button on the franchise with no further plans for big-screen installments beyond this December’s “Episode IX.” Instead, Lucasfilm is now focused on developing “Star Wars”-themed shows for the upcoming Disney+ streaming service.

Also Read: James Gunn Thanks Disney for His ‘Guardians’ Return: ‘I Am Always Learning’

“‘Avatar’ is the perfect way for ‘Star Wars’ to take a break from theatrical release,” Bock said. “James Cameron has a tentpole set up for them, and who knows, maybe it’s possible that Disney tries also putting something different into that time of year for a different audience.”

Another place where Disney might step aside for Fox is Valentine’s Day 2020, where “Kingsman: The Great Game” is currently set for release and where Disney has a live-action placeholder slot. On the other hand, Disney is likely to consider a shift for “Gambit,” the planned “X-Men” spinoff starring Channing Tatum which hasn’t started production and is currently set for March 2020 release, the same month as Pixar’s “Onward” and Disney’s “Mulan” remake.

Another Fox film with big four-quadrant potential is Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of “West Side Story,” which seeks to capitalize on the current big-screen musical craze. No release has been set, but with filming set to start this summer, it’s likely that Disney will release that film in the latter half of 2020 as a potential awards contender.

Also Read: Elizabeth Gabler’s Fox 2000 Division to Shutter Following Disney Acquisition

With so many films in place and Disney’s future plans to continue their box office domination still under wraps, the studio’s D23 convention is becoming a big date on the industry calendar. Disney has usually made big announcements about its future plans to get fans excited, but with a streaming service to launch and a 2020 slate to unveil, the August event will likely provide answers to where exactly Fox belongs in Disney’s growing stable.

Regardless of the specifics, this much is certain: In 2018, Disney’s $3.09 billion domestic gross accounted for 26 percent of the year’s record-breaking $11.9 billion gross. Add Fox’s $1.08 billion to that total, and the mega-studio’s market share would have been 35 percent. With even more popular titles now added to its already strong IP stable, Disney is in position to further tighten its grip on the box office.

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Worldwide Box Office Hit Record $41.1 Billion in 2018, MPAA Reports

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The global box office reached a record $41.1 billion last year, the Motion Picture Association of America announced Thursday in its annual report.

The growth was primarily driven by the $11.9 billion earned in domestic theaters from hits like “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” and critical favorites like “A Star Is Born.”

Home entertainment, meanwhile, saw an even bigger growth of 16 percent year-over-year to $55.7 billion, bringing the total global entertainment market to $96.8 billion.

That surge for home entertainment is thanks in large part to a 27 percent increase in streaming/online video service subscriptions, which passed cable subscriptions for the first time ever with 613 million worldwide. The MPAA also found that Americans now spend 52 percent of their media time on a digital platform.

Also Read: ‘Captain Marvel’ Scores $69 Million in Second Weekend at Box Office

“In today’s dynamic marketplace, stories come to life for audiences in theaters, at home, and on the go,” said Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the MPAA in a statement. “Our companies continue to deliver content where, when, and how audiences want it – and the numbers released today speak volumes.”

The one category where there is continued decline is in 3D movie ticket sales. 3D sales reached $6.7 billion in 2018, accounting for only 16 percent of the total global gross and down 20 percent from 2017’s $8.4 billion global gross. Even in Asia, where 3D was still a relatively novel experience for many Chinese moviegoers, 3D decreased 14 percent year-over-year.

Back in the U.S., theaters continue to rely on frequent moviegoers, which the MPAA classifies as those who see at least one movie per month. These moviegoers account for 12 percent of the U.S./Canada population, yet account for 49 percent of all tickets sold.

Also Read: It’s Super Weird That ‘Captain Marvel’ Doesn’t Have Anything to Do With ‘Avengers: Endgame’

But teenage and young adult audiences are showing strong turnouts, holding the highest per capita attendance amongst all age groups as both the 12-17 and 18-24 age groups were both found to have bought an average of 5.1 tickets last year. Audiences are also becoming more diverse. In a year that brought films like “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians,” ticket purchasing increased among Latinos and Asians with moviegoers compared to last year.

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Writers Guild Casts Doubt on UTA Report in Packaging Fee Dispute: ‘A False Premise’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

In an attempt to counter the Writers Guild of America’s claims that agency packaging fees damage writers’ pay, United Talent Agency released a report on Wednesday saying that their TV writer clients were paid more on average on packaged sho…

Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Headed Toward an Even Bigger Opening Than ‘Get Out’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Two years ago, Jordan Peele became the box office’s biggest surprise as “Get Out” became one of the year’s biggest cultural and financial hits. Now, with an Oscar and multiple producer attachments to his name, Peele is ready to make a big splash at the box office again as Universal releases his second film, “Us,” nationwide this weekend.

While there were 14 other films that had a higher domestic gross than in 2017, “Get Out” had by far the biggest return on investment. Produced by Blumhouse with its usual thrifty approach, the film grossed $176 million domestic and $255 million worldwide against a mere $4.5 million production budget. The film also legged out far better than most horror or R-rated movies, as it opened to $33.3 million in February 2017 and more than quintupled that amount by the end of its domestic theatrical run.

Also Read: ‘Us’ Film Review: Jordan Peele Terrifies Again With a Chilling Examination of Duality

Universal says that any opening higher than what “Get Out” made would be considered a success, but trackers are very optimistic as they project a $45-50 million opening. An opening on the higher end of that range would match the $50.2 million opening of last year’s horror hit “A Quiet Place,” which “Us” is currently outperforming in advance ticket sales on Fandango. The film is also expected to leg out as well as “Get Out,” which could mean a domestic run of more than $200 million against a $20 million production budget.

Even compared to other upcoming horror films like “Pet Sematary,” “Us” is a fiercely unique film that is enjoying immense social buzz and critical acclaim. Since its premiere on the opening night of SXSW, “Us” has earned a 98 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, with 68 reviews logged. And along with lead stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke, both of whom are still riding high off of their “Black Panther” fame, “Us” also has something that was once common decades ago but which is now rare: a director with box office draw.

Also Read: Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Wins Over Critics: ‘A Masterpiece’ Despite Some ‘Messiness’

“In horror, there is a brand recognition with Blumhouse, but there isn’t a single director that has become so popular with audiences as Jordan Peele has,” said Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock. “The closest person I can think of is Eli Roth, but even he didn’t get nearly as big off of just one film the way Peele has with ‘Get Out.’”

Written, directed, and co-produced by Peele, “Us” stars Nyong’o and Duke as an upper-middle class African-American couple on vacation with their two kids. But their vacation is interrupted when they are attacked by clones of themselves known as The Tethered, who have come to claim the family’s lives for themselves. Tim Heidecker and Elisabeth Moss also star in the film, which was produced by Blumhouse’s Jason Blum, QC Productions’ Sean McKittrick and Ian Cooper, who is producing alongside Peele through Monkeypaw Productions

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WGA Moves Date for Membership Vote on Talent Agency Code of Conduct

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Writers Guild of America has pushed back the date of the vote for members to decide whether to impose a proposed code of conduct on talent agents should the guild’s current deal with the Association of Talent Agencies expire on April 6.

Originally set for March 25, the vote, which will be conducted online, will now begin March 27 at 9:00 p.m. and end at 10:00 a.m. March 31.

The guild has also scheduled several member meetings to discuss the proposed code. In Los Angeles, meetings are set for March 26, 7:30 p.m. at the Beverly Hilton, March 27, 7:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Universal, and March 30, 10:30 a.m. at the Writers Guild Theater. In New York, a meeting is scheduled March 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

The Code of Conduct, if approved, would be enforced on April 7, with WGA asking its members to leave any agency that doesn’t agree to remove packaging fees.

Also Read: Talent Agencies Present Counterproposals to Writers Guild in Packaging Dispute

The rescheduling comes after another day of talks between WGA and ATA ended with little progress, as both sides are still digging their heels in when it comes to the key dispute preventing a new deal: packaging fees.

The proposed Code of Conduct would require agencies to remove all packaging fees on any deals involving WGA members, switching instead to agents receiving a 10 percent commission from their writer clients.

Individuals with knowledge of the talks told TheWrap that during the Monday meeting, which lasted less than two hours, the ATA presented a series of questions from writer clients to the WGA that were not answered. Among them was a question over whether writers who do not fire their agents over compliance with the new Code would face discipline from the guild.

With little progress made over packaging, the WGA says that it will consider the questions and points presented by the ATA on Monday and will respond when they meet again later this week, though the ATA says that another meeting has not been confirmed.

Also Read: 6 Things You Need to Know About the Impasse Between Hollywood Writers and Agencies

In a report released Monday morning, the ATA asserted that without packaging fees, writers would have had to pay $49 million more to agents during the 2017-18 TV season as part of the 10 percent commission model that would replace packaging fees as the agents’ main profit model. The report, which was conducted by LEK Consulting, also claims that the gains won by the WGA last year in the latest film and TV contract with AMPTP would have been erased if writers were to pay commissions.

When actors, directors and producers are added in, that total increases to $111 million, and the report notes that this figure assumes that all money saved by studios by not paying packaging fees is passed directly to talent and not diverted to other production costs like visual effects or on-location shooting.

But the WGA, in their own statement released Monday, attacked packaging fees as a “kickback scheme” that have allowed the four largest agencies in Hollywood — WME, CAA, UTA, and ICM Partners — to gain more profit and influence in the industry, as well as attract more private capital investments. They also argue that those investments in turn have led to WME and CAA to launch their own production studios, creating further conflicts of interest.

Also Read: Writers Guild, Talent Agencies End Fourth Day of Talks, Will Meet Again Next Week

“When our agents are studios – when they employ us – their interests are in direct opposition to ours. These agency/studios generate wealth for their investors (and themselves) by maximizing profits and minimizing costs,” read the statement from WGA’s negotiating committee. “Our salaries are one of those costs. When costs and net profits trade off, net profits wins. When the interests of multibillion-dollar investors and individual writers are at odds, multibillion-dollar investors win.”

“The influx of outside capital into the agency business has completed the transformation of our agencies from businesses dedicated to maximizing our revenue to businesses dedicated to maximizing their own. It is a breach of their fiduciary duty to us and a violation of law.”

The guild and the agencies also face a huge divide over how the two sides view the counterproposals that the ATA presented at talks last week, which promised a new system of transparency that would require agents to completely disclose any relationships between their agency and a studio that it has ownership stake in. The proposal also requires agents to get their writers’ approval to be included in any packaging deals before the agents receives a fee.

The ATA has insisted that such a system would give writers more control over how their work is sold to studios, and said in opening statements on Monday that the WGA’s new Code of Conduct is a “unilateral mandate that assumes writers can’t make good decisions for themselves” and would “rob WGA members of choice and decision-making power.”

The WGA, meanwhile, says that the ATA’s counterproposals are aimed at reducing the guild’s negotiating power on behalf of writers, comparing them to “right to work” laws that undermine collective bargaining with the promise of greater individual autonomy.

Also Read: WGA’s New Report on Agencies’ Conflicts of Interest Cites ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’

“Choice is only a real choice if an individual writer has the power to exercise it in the face of a powerful company or agency. Very few do. All of your proposals ask individual writers to do things that have already proven mostly impossible, like having a real choice in agency packaging and producing deals,” WGA President David A. Goodman said in a statement last week.

During the Monday meeting, ATA Executive Director Karen Stuart urged the WGA to come to an agreement before the current agreement between the guild and agencies expires on April 6.

“We have three short weeks before a dark cloud of uncertainly will hang over Hollywood, and we can’t allow that to happen,” she said. “If we don’t start breaking this down and finding ways to bridge the divide, we will be putting our writers in an incredibly difficult position on April 6. That simply isn’t fair to your members and our clients, and no one wants that to happen.”

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Writers Guild, Talent Agencies End Fourth Day of Talks, Will Meet Again Next Week

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6 Things You Need to Know About the Impasse Between Hollywood Writers and Agencies

Roseanne Barr Returns to Stand-Up Stage at Laugh Factory With Andrew Dice Clay

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Roseanne Barr made a surprise return to the stand-up stage at Tropicana’s Laugh Factory on the Vegas Strip Saturday during a set by her friend and fellow comedian Andrew Dice Clay.

Clay posted a video of Barr’s guest appearance on his Instagram account, along with a photo of the venue’s owner interrupting Clay’s comedy set to tell him that Barr was backstage.

“I’ve got a special treat for everybody,” the “A Star Is Born” actor told the audience. “A close friend of about 33 years. She’s a comedian, and there haven’t been many as controversial, as outspoken, and as f—ing funny…let’s hear it for Roseanne Barr!”

Also Read: Roseanne Barr Mocks Louis C.K. Accusers, Says Kamala Harris ‘Slept Her Way to the Bottom’ (Video)

Last May, Barr was being considered for the Tropicana’s Laugh Factory Present series, but lost the potential gig after ABC fired her over a racially-charged tweet she posted about former Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett. The tweet also cost Barr her representation, as ICM Partners dropped her as a client.

Barr has a stand-up tour set for this May, close to the one-year anniversary of her firing. But the comedian has continued to make heated comments, like accusing Louis C.K.’s accusers of wanting to trade sexual favors for money.

“If you didn’t say no, just stayed there to get along, you’re a ho,” she told the Sunday Times. “Men are hos too. There’s a total ho mentality. ‘What am I going to get for trading sexual favours?’ Not that I’ve got anything against hos. Not real hos.”

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Richard Erdman, Best Known as Leonard Rodriguez on ‘Community,’ Dies at 93

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Richard Erdman, known among classic film buffs for the war dramedy “Stalag 17” but remembered by millennials for his work on “Community” as Greendale’s smart-alecky Leonard Rodriguez, died Saturday. He was 93.

Film historian Alan K. Rode broke the news on Twitter Saturday, stating simply, “Goodbye pal. Dick Erdman 1925-2019.” No additional information on his passing were given.

Erdman won over a new generation with his debut in “Community”‘s fifth episode “Advanced Criminal Law.” During one of his custom end-of-episode speeches, Joel McHale’s Jeff Winger declared that everyone at Greendale was nuts, to which Leonard yelled from the school’s swimming pool, “Not me!”

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“Oh, come on, Leonard. If you’re gonna argue with me, put on a bathing suit,” said Jeff, to which Leonard only replied “Busted!”

Over the course of the series, Erdman’s performance as Leonard became one of “Community”‘s most beloved gags. He would interrupt a scene with a sarcastic swipe at the main characters, to which one of them — usually Jeff — would shoot him down. Sample line: “Shut up, Leonard! Those teenage girls you play ping-pong with are doing it ironically!”

“Community” cast members have joined with fans in honoring the late actor’s legacy. McHale praised Erdman as “such a good & funny man,” while Ken Jeong posted a highlight reel of some of Leonard’s funniest moments. Check out that reel and more tweets honoring Richard Erdman below.

— Ken Jeong (@kenjeong) March 17, 2019

Ugh, awful. I just looked at his IMDb 2 days ago and was reminded about what a legend he was. Sweet, funny and game for anything. Plus great Brando stories. What more was there even left to do? RIP to legend & friend Richard Erdman. #shutupleonard

— Charley Koontz (@charley_koontz) March 17, 2019

Thank you Leonard #Community #SixSeasonsandaMovie

— Blayz (@jusblayz_) March 17, 2019

I guess Leonard did finally shut up ????

R.I.P Richard Erdman#community #greendale #sixseasonsandamovie #shutupLeonard

— Goose is my Spirit Animal (@goatboyuk) March 17, 2019

A proud moment in the history of the AV Club’s Community comments section: this photo of Richard Erdman holding up a copy of @tvoti‘s 2012 article on the “Regional Holiday Music” recap hitting 30,000 comments.

R.I.P. Leonard.

— Greendale AV Club (@AVClubCZ) March 17, 2019

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‘The Mustang’ and Matthias Schoenaerts Ride Into Indie Box Office

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A slew of new releases hit the indie box office this weekend, with the top per screen average going to Focus Features’ “The Mustang,” which stars Matthias Schoenaerts as a violent prison inmate who undergoes a personal transformation when he is entered into a mustang taming program.

Released on five screens in Los Angeles and New York, the film grossed $94,750 for an average of $18,950. Critics have hailed the performances of Schoenaerts and co-star Bruce Dern, as well as the direction of Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, giving the film a 95 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Also Read: ‘Captain Marvel’ Scores $69 Million in Second Weekend at Box Office

Less impressive was Fox Searchlight’s “The Aftermath,” which also released this weekend on five screens in L.A. and New York and grossed $57,000 for a per screen average of $11,500. Set after the end of World War II, the film stars Keira Knightley and Jason Clarke as a British couple who move into a home in Hamburg that has been recommissioned by the British but is still inhabited by a German widower (Alexander Skarsgard) and his troubled daughter. Circumstances lead to a secret tryst between the woman and the widower, as tensions between Britain and Germany remain high.

Directed by James Kent, the film will expand to 28 theaters next weekend but faces poor critical reviews, as it earned a 27 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

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Among holdovers, A24’s “Gloria Bell” expanded to 39 screens in its second weekend and grossed $378,000 for a total of $568,000, while NEON/CNN Films’ “Apollo 11” expanded to 588 screens and added $1.22 million for a total of $5.5 million after three weekends.

Finally, Magnolia and Shorts.TV’s annual screening of the Oscar short film nominees is reaching the end of its theatrical run, adding $14,500 this weekend to bring its total to $3.5 million, a record for the Oscar screening series.

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‘Captain Marvel’ Scores $69 Million in Second Weekend at Box Office

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Captain Marvel” continues to dominate the box office in its second weekend, topping the charts with $69 million grossed domestically and $119.7 million grossed overseas.

While the domestic total was a 56 percent drop from the film’s $153.4 million opening weekend — larger than the 43-44 percent drop for “Black Panther” and “Wonder Woman” — it still sits only behind 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast” ($90 million) on the all-time list of second weekend totals in March. With $189 million grossed worldwide this weekend, including $12.5 million from IMAX screens, the film now has a global total of $760 million, surpassing the $623 million global run of “Ant-Man & The Wasp” in less than two weeks.

In second is Paramount’s “Wonder Park,” which is opening to $16 million from 3,838 screens. That’s higher than the $10-14 million start projected by trackers, but with a budget reported to be as high as $100 million, this animated film faces a long road to profitability. Still, Paramount is hoping for a strong hold as kids head out of school for spring break in the coming weeks. The film has a weak 30 percent Rotten Tomatoes score but has a B+ from audiences on CinemaScore.

Also Read: The Weird and Diverse Comic Book History of ‘Captain Marvel’

In third is CBS Films/Lionsgate’s “Five Feet Apart,” which is opening to $13.1 million from 2,803 screens. Made on a $7 million budget, the film was projected for a $7-10 million opening but has performed well with female audiences, who comprised 82 percent of the total audience and gave it an A on CinemaScore. Critics were more lukewarm with a 53 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is in fourth with $9.3 million, bringing its total to $135 million after four weekends, while Lionsgate’s “A Madea Family Funeral” is in fifth with $7.8 million and a $58.8 million total after three weekends.

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Outside the top five, Lionsgate/Pantelion’s “No Manches Frida 2” hit theaters with a targeted release of 472 screens, grossing $3.7 million and matching the opening of the first “No Manches Frida” in 2016. In seventh is Focus Features/Participant Media/Amblin’s “Captive State,” which opened to $3.1 million from 2,548 screens but has been received poorly with a C- on CinemaScore and a 46 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Lastly, Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Movie 2” finally crossed the $100 million mark in its sixth weekend in theaters, grossing $2.1 million to take eighth on this weekend’s charts and bring its domestic total to $101.3 million. By comparison, the first “Lego Movie” grossed $236.9 million after six weekends, putting the sequel 57 percent behind the original’s pace.

Next weekend will likely see “Captain Marvel” cede the No. 1 spot to Universal/Monkeypaw’s “Us,” Jordan Peele’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning “Get Out.” The film’s release was pushed back a week to allow buzz to grow from its world premiere at SXSW, where it received a standing ovation and unanimous praise from the critics in attendance. “Us” is currently projected for a $40-42 million opening, which would be an improvement on the $33.3 million opening of “Get Out” in February 2017.

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