Ava DuVernay, Toby Emmerich, Michael Douglas to Speak at Produced By Conference

Read on: Variety.

Ava DuVernay, Toby Emmerich, and Michael Douglas will speak at the Producers Guild of America’s 11th Produced By Conference. The event will be held on June 8-9 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif. Other notable speakers include Netflix exec…

Ava DuVernay, Toby Emmerich Added to Speaker Lineup at 2019 Produced By Conference

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) has announced its first round of speakers for the 2019 Produced By Conference, which will include Ava DuVernay, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich, Michael Douglas and Netflix’s VP of original content Cindy Holland.

Other confirmed speakers include CNN’s Amy Entelis, Hulu’s SVP of content Craig Erwich, Eli Horowitz, Participant Media’s Jonathan King, Blumhouse Television’s co-president Marci Wiseman, president and CCO of Warner Bros. Television Group Peter Roth, and Intrepid Pictures’ Trevor Macy.

The 2019 Produced By Conference will be chaired by PGA members Betsy Beers, Ian Bryce, Tracey Edmonds, Mike Farah, and Gene Stein. Produced By will feature panels, Q&As and mentoring opportunities.

Also Read: Lakeith Stanfield Joins Issa Rae in ‘The Photograph’ From Universal

This year’s conference will take place on June 8 and June 9 at the Warner Bros. Studios lot in Los Angeles, California.

Speakers at previous Produced By conferences have included Kevin Feige, Jim Gianopulos, Paul Feig, Lena Waithe and more.

Also Read: Apple Acquires Global Rights to Coming-of-Age Film ‘Hala’

See the full list of speakers so far, below:

– Aaron L. Gilbert, Chairman & CEO, BRON; The Mule, Tully
– Agnes Chu, Senior Vice President, Content, Disney+
– Alexandra Cunningham; Dirty John, Chance
– Amy Entelis, Executive VP for Talent and Content Development, CNN Worldwide; RBG, Apollo 11
– Ava DuVernay, President/Founder, Forward Movement; When They See Us, Queen Sugar
– Bonnie Abaunza, Founder/Impact Producer, Abaunza Group
– Cindy Holland, Vice President, Original Content, Netflix
– Craig Erwich, Senior Vice President of Content, Hulu
– Dustin Thomason; Castle Rock, Manhattan
– Eli Horowitz; Homecoming
– Gary Lucchesi, President, Lakeshore Entertainment; The Lincoln Lawyer, Million Dollar Baby
– Jane Rosenthal, Founder/CEO, Tribeca Enterprises; When They See Us, The Irishman
– Jenny Groom, EVP, Alternative Programming & Development, NBC Entertainment
– John FK Parenteau; Hollywood Corporate Communications, Blackmagic Design
– Jonathan King, President, Narrative Film & TV, Participant Media, When They See Us, Roma
– Kate Krantz, Chief Content Officer, Crypt TV; The Birch, Sunny Family Cult
– Lillian Diaz-Przybyl; Orbital Redux, Crowe’s Nest Live Sitcom
– Lori H. Schwartz; Principal, StoryTech
– Marci Wiseman, Co-President of Television, Blumhouse; Sharp Objects, The Loudest Voice
– Mark Gill, President & CEO, Solstice Studios
– Micah Bloomberg; Homecoming ?–? Michael Douglas; The Kominsky Method
– Michael Wright, President, EPIX
– Mike Farah, Chief Executive Officer, Funny or Die
– Nick Pepper, President, Legendary Television Studios
– Peter Micelli, Chief Strategy Officer, Film and Television, eOne
– Peter Roth, President and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Television Group
– Poppy Hanks, Senior Vice President, Development & Production, MACRO; Mudbound, Sorry to Bother You
– Sam Shaw; Castle Rock, Manhattan
– Scott Z. Burns; The Report, An Inconvenient Truth
– Shivani Rawat, CEO, ShivHans Pictures; Brian Banks, Captain Fantastic
– Steven Calcote; Orbital Redux, Crowe’s Nest Live Sitcom
– Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group
– Trevor Macy, Intrepid Pictures; The Haunting of Hill House, Doctor Sleep
– Yeardley Smith, Principal, Paperclip Ltd.; Small Town Dicks, Voice Talent The Simpsons

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Warner Bros Taps Toby Emmerich, Peter Roth, Kim Williams as Interim Leadership Team

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Warner Bros. Entertainment has picked its team to steer the ship until a permanent replacement for former CEO and chairman Kevin Tsujihara is found. The team will consist of motion pictures group chairman Toby Emmerich, television group president and CCO Peter Roth and CFO Kim Williams.

The interim team of executives will handle day-to-day operations until a replacement is found for Tsujihara. On Monday, Warner Bros. parent company WarnerMedia announced that Tsujihara would step down. The decision, came in the midst of an investigation into a sexual relationship Tsujihara had with actress Charlotte Kirk and whether there was any impropriety in the casting of Kirk in Warner Bros. films.

Tsujihara and WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey said the decision for Tsujihara to step down was a joint one, and Tsujihara told Warner Bros. staff in a email on Monday that “it has become clear that my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s continued success.”

Also Read: After Kevin Tsujihara’s Ouster, What’s in Store for Warner Bros.?

Tsujihara, who has worked for two decades at the studio and served as chairman for the last six years, has denied any wrongdoing connected to his past intimate relationship with Kirk. On March 8, after The Hollywood Reporter published texts between the two that indicated she sought his help in obtaining acting jobs, he wrote a memo to staff in which he said he deeply regrets mistakes that he’s made in his life.

Emmerich ascended to president of Warner Bros. in 2017, taking over for Greg Silver. Emmerich had held a president and COO title at New Line Cinema since 2008. In his president role at the broader studio, Emmerich shared greenlight power with Tsujihara.

Roth has been with Warner Bros. for two decades, first joining in 1999. He’s been in the chief executive for Warner Bros. TV Group, which includes Warner Horizon and its animation studio, since 2013. Under Roth, Warner Bros. has been the top supplier of programming to the U.S. broadcast networks for 14 of his 20 years at the studio, including hits “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory.” Prior to joining Warner Bros., Roth was president of Fox from 1996 to 1999.

Williams has served as Warner Bros. CFO since 2014. Prior to joining Warner Bros., she served as CFO for CORE Media Group and chief operating officer of NFL Network, responsible for the NFL’s cable television assets as well as administrative oversight of the NFL’s facilities and studios, before that.

Also Read: Kevin Tsujihara to Step Down as Warner Bros CEO and Chairman Amid Investigation Over Ties to Actress

The task now for Warner Bros. will be to find someone who can lead the Hollywood studio as it enters a new phase after AT&T acquired Time Warner in a deal worth $85 billion.

At this juncture there’s no indication when Warner Bros. plans to formally begin its search or install a permanent CEO, but the name that has been on everybody’s lips is Fox film chief Stacey Snider, who, after Fox’s deal with Disney closes this week will be up for grabs.

Beatrice Verhoeven and Brian Welk contributed to this reporting

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Hollywood Has a Favorite for Warner Bros After Kevin Tsujihara’s Exit – Stacey Snider

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

When WarnerMedia dropped the shocking news on Monday that Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara would be stepping down, one name was on everyone’s lips: Stacey Snider.

The timing is almost uncanny. Snider, a well-liked and respected executive, has run Universal Pictures, DreamWorks and is currently Chairman and CEO at 20th Century Fox. Plus, she is about to be out of a job when the merger with Disney is completed this week.

Multiple insiders told TheWrap that Snider is the most obvious candidate outside of Warner Bros to take over the leadership position. In October, it was reported she would not join Disney. And she’s a female executive in the age of #MeToo.

Also Read: Kevin Tsujihara to Step Down as Warner Bros CEO and Chairman Amid Investigation Over Ties to Actress

“[Stacey] makes complete sense. It’s just obvious. It’s too perfect,” said one veteran industry executive, echoing the sentiments of others.

“I do think Stacey would be a good choice, or perhaps someone from the outside who brings a fresh point of view on the big picture and all the new and evolving businesses out there,” said another industry executive.

Snider’s lame duck status has been a topic of board rooms and studio watering holes since late last year, when it was clear that Disney was not offering her a position. At TheWrap’s Grill event in October, industry analyst Roy Salter said Snider could write her own ticket. “Stacey knows how to manage content such as to facilitate positive social impact for the world,” he told TheWrap. “In the upcoming changes within media and entertainment, that type of professional has limitless opportunity.”

But that also requires a rare opening in the leadership positions of Hollywood’s major companies.

Also Read: What’s Next for Fox Film CEO Stacey Snider After Disney Closes Deal?

A spokesperson for WarnerMedia declined to comment past the company’s statement that interim leadership would be announced on Tuesday. Snider declined to comment to TheWrap.

If Snider were interested in the job, she has one powerful executive on her side. Peter Chernin, whose Otter Media was funded and then bought outright by AT&T last year, is a trusted adviser to WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey and has a deal on the Fox lot overseen by Snider.

Said one of the veteran executives, “Peter Chernin is a very powerful guy and he has a lot of sway with the guys over there at AT&T.”

AT&T completed its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, making the two companies into WarnerMedia.

When they were at Fox, Snider would bring in Chernin’s company to produce and work on films — he knows that if he gets her into Warner Bros., that Chernin Entertainment will have opportunities, according to the executive.

Also Read: AT&T and Time Warner Close $85 Billion Merger

A spokesperson for Chernin told TheWrap that he was not involved in WarnerMedia plans to replace Tsujihara.

However, another insider told TheWrap that the studio would have to get stabilized before a female executive comes on board. That leaves room for Toby Emmerich, Chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, to ascend — at least temporarily.

The decision for Tsujihara to step down came over the weekend. In a memo on Monday, Stankey told employees that an “interim leadership structure” would be announced on Tuesday.

Two industry insiders said they don’t foresee Emmerich stepping into the role for good.

Also Read: Kevin Tsujihara to Step Down as Warner Bros CEO and Chairman Amid Investigation Over Ties to Actress

“It would be hard to do,” he said. “He is such a creative and he’d have to give a lot of that up to handle home entertainment, the business side and whatever else Kevin was doing. Don’t know if it’s the right move, but I think he could definitely do it.”

Former chairperson of Sony Pictures Entertainment Amy Pascal would also be a candidate to take over the post, although she has formed her own company, Pascal Pictures, and is still serving as a producer on Sony films like “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women.”

Tsujihara, who has worked for two decades at the studio and served as chairman for the last six years, has denied any wrongdoing connected to his past intimate relationship with actress Charlotte Kirk. On March 8, after The Hollywood Reporter published texts between the two that indicated she sought his help in obtaining acting jobs while, he wrote a memo to staff in which he said he deeply regretted “mistakes.”

Also Read: Read Kevin Tsujihara’s Memo to Staff: ‘Became Clear My Leadership Could Be a Distraction’

When Disney announced it would acquire Fox, it became clear that Snider would not be making the move. Last fall TheWrap wrote about potential landing spots  for the executive who has taken successful risks on films such as “Deadpool,” “Hidden Figures” and “The Greatest Showman.” Insiders told TheWrap in October she’d be looking to work at another big studio, but nothing was out there — until now.

“Her first thought is always going to be to work at a studio,” one studio executive told TheWrap at the time. “I’m sure she’ll want to wait for a studio, I just don’t know what’s out there.”

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Peter Bart: Emmys & Bold Bets Aside, Why HBO’s Richard Plepler Didn’t Fit AT&T WarnerMedia’s Synergized Future

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Michael Fuchs, who was HBO’s CEO in the early 1980s, was both innovative and famously argumentative with producers or with the press. I never got past the five minute mark in my conversations with Fuchs without a dispute flaring – I even kept a c…

Charles King’s MACRO Inks First-Look Deal With Warner Bros

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Former WME partner Charles D. King’s media company MACRO has signed a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures, it was announced on Wednesday.

King, along with Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich and the studio’s president of production and development Courtenay Valenti, made the announcement.

“We are thrilled to join forces with Warner Bros. Pictures and their visionary leadership team whose bold choices have led to some of our industry’s most successful and impactful films,” King said in a statement. “This expertise, combined with WarnerMedia and AT&T’s global assets and distribution, offers MACRO an unparalleled opportunity to expand our reach and further our mission of identifying and producing authentic stories by and about people of color.”

Also Read: Charles King’s MACRO Raises Additional $150 Million for Film, TV Projects

Under the terms of the deal, Warner Bros. will have a first look on all projects MACRO intends to develop or package as feature films. The studio will also have the option to co-finance these projects alongside MACRO, and will handle global distribution of these releases.

Earlier this week, King set up MACRO’s co-production with Ryan Coogler called “Jesus Was My Homeboy” about iconic black activist, revolutionary and Black Panther Party member Fred Hampton at Warner Bros.

MACRO develops, produces and finances film, TV and digital content that seeks to reflect more accurate portrayals of people of color. King launched the company in 2015, and since then MACRO films have received nine Oscar nominations.

MACRO produced and co-financed the critically-acclaimed “Mudbound,” the highest sale at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, which garnered four Oscar nominations. The company also executive-produced and co-financed Denzel Washington’s “Fences,”  which also received four nominations, including Best Picture.  Last year’s critical hit, Boots Riley’s “Sorry to Bother You,” starring Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson, was also produced and co-financed by the company.

Also Read: The Black List, Lena Waithe and Eva Longoria Team With Macro to Promote TV Writers of Color

“In just a short period of time, Charles and MACRO have helped redefine representation in feature films,” Emmerich and Valenti said in a joint statement.  “They have an incredible track record, and we’re looking forward to working with them to produce films that highlight the authenticity and importance of diversity.”

MACRO most recently signed on as a co-financier and Charles D. King as an executive producer for Warner Bros.’s “Just Mercy,” starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson. The film is a true story and follows world-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson as he recounts his experiences and details the case of a condemned death row prisoner whom he fought to free.

MACRO’s upcoming projects include “Tigertail,” which is currently in post-production at Netflix.  The Alan Yang-helmed drama, produced by MACRO, touches on themes of regret, longing, passion and repression while spanning continents and generations, from 1950’s Taiwan to present-day New York City. The company also has numerous television projects in various stages of production, including “Raising Dion,” also at Netflix.

The first-look deal was negotiated for MACRO by Hansen Jacobson Teller & Hoberman, as well as Latham & Watkins.

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Michael B Jordan’s Production Company Outlier Society Inks First-Look Deal With Warner Bros

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Michael B. Jordan has signed a first-look deal for his production company, Outlier Society, with Warner Bros. Pictures Group, Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich announced Wednesday.

This deal follows the company’s joint production diversity policy instituted last September. The deal also comes on the heels of “Black Panther” being awarded for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and Jordan’s film “Creed II.” The partnership will focus on culturally rich storytelling to provide a platform for the next generation of talent.

“Michael has become a leading voice in a new generation of talent and is creating real change in the industry,” Emmerich said.  “His talent is undeniable, and beyond that, his commitment and conviction around representation and inclusion are inspiring–he truly walks the walk.  We’re extremely proud to be in business with him and excited about a number of projects on the horizon.”

Also Read: ‘Black Panther’ Stars Chadwick Boseman and Michael B Jordan on ‘Broadening People’s Bandwidth’

Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros, added: “Michael has been part of the WarnerMedia family since starring on ‘The Wire’ for HBO when he was 15-years-old. From our work with him on the two ‘Creed’ films and more recently on ‘Just Mercy,’ we’ve come to know him as someone who is thoughtful, focused and serious about making great films that are representative and inclusive of new voices and new talent on camera and on set.  We’re honored that he’s chosen Warner Bros. as his creative home.”

“Warner Bros. is the perfect home for myself, my brilliant president of production Alana Mayo and Outlier Society,” Jordan said.  “I have a tremendous amount of respect for their visionary leadership and commitment to producing a broad slate of films, which gives us more range and more opportunity as producers. Most importantly, they share my passion for telling unique, creatively-fulfilling stories and giving a voice to the next generation of talent.”

Courtenay Valenti, president of production and development at Warner Bros., worked with Emmerich on the deal along with Jordan’s agency, WME, and attorney Bloom Hergott.

Also Read: ‘Black Panther’ Stars Chadwick Boseman and Michael B Jordan Recall Playing the Same Role on ‘All My Children’

Outlier Society was founded in 2016 and was one of the first companies to adopt the inclusion rider. The clause can be added to contracts for actors and others working on a movie, requiring that the movie’s producers hire a diverse cast and crew. If the movie wasn’t diverse, it would give the actor a legal reason to back out of the contract — meaning the rider could have a serious effect on all the hiring practices on a film.

The company has produced “Fahrenheit 451,” and their forthcoming projects include “The Liberators, “gen:LOCK,” “Raising Dion” and “David Makes Man.”

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PGA Milestone Award Honoree Toby Emmerich On How Warner Bros. & New Line ‘Hits ‘Em Where They Ain’t’

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Toby Emmerich, Chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, will be honored with the Producers Guild of America’s 2019 Milestone Award, the Guild announced Wednesday.
Emmerich will receive the award at the 30th annual Producers Guild Awards on Jan. 1…

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Veteran Warner Bros Executive Veronika Kwan Vandenberg Steps Down After 30 Years

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Veteran Warner Bros. Pictures executive Veronika Kwan Vandenberg is stepping down as president of international distribution, the studio announced Monday.
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Candice McDonough Returns To Warner Bros. As SVP Theatrical Communications

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7 Takeaways From CinemaCon 2018: Change Is Everywhere, Movies Endure

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The movie exhibition business wrapped its annual CinemaCon

gathering in Las Vegas this week, and there was plenty to learn about the state of the entertainment industry and the change that is convulsing the entertainment business.

One studio had an entirely new executive team, another had to address the elephant in the room — its pending acquisition by another huge conglomerate — and the bar for entertaining the room was raised by a marching band, a video skit starring a studio mogul and … Cher.

One thing I’ll say for the movies overall — the ones coming down the pipeline about music and musicians and their journeys seem the ones with the most heart. Here are my takeaways

Also Read: Lionsgate Trots Out Blake Lively and ‘Blindspotting,’ But Identity Crisis Looms

Marvel Studios

1. Disney is a monster.

There’s no denying the dominance of this content-creating, brand-defining machine led by Bob Iger and Alan Horn on the movie side. Never was the strategic brilliance of Iger in acquiring Marvel and Lucasfilm more clearly on display than at this year’s presentation (last year the studio barely bothered to show, it felt so confident).

Disney consistently leads the Hollywood pack in market share, has had 12 films hit $1 billion at the box office in the last six years, and looks poised to continue to do so with upcoming films including this weekend’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and the new Star Wars installment, “Solo.”

And while Marvel is a hit machine, spinning off one global superhero hit after another, the other pillars of the Disney palace are also incredibly strong – besides the “Star Wars” saga, Pixar with another “Incredibles” franchise coming, traditional animation and a whole lot of interesting realistic computer graphic-drawn movies. The one most intriguing to me is “The Lion King,” with real animals. Any excuse to bring that beloved title and music to the screen seems like a good idea. Things to worry about: what will happen to animation if John Lasseter doesn’t come back?

Also Read: ‘Mowgli’ Director Andy Serkis Promises a Darker, Bloodier ‘Jungle Book’ Sequel

Getty Images

2. Suddenly, Paramount has come back to life.

After years of moribund production and morale-sucking boardroom battles and family strife, this iconic studio finally seems to have some energy, direction and pulse. New CEO and chairman Jim Gianopulos got everybody’s attention by opening with a self-deprecating video skit, in which a “Vegas Air” flight attendant criticized the mogul for having too many vowels in his name and then did her own imitation of “A Quiet Place,” the studio’s stealth horror hit.

It was a savvy way to win over the crowd since a lot of the upcoming films on Paramount’s slate would not be out until 2019 and an entirely new executive team — Wyck Godfrey, Brian Robbins, Mireille Soria — was being introduced. The studio is counting on good will and a little patience but the overall message was clear — Paramount has a plan, is making movies at a steady clip once again and has its head back in the game.

My only real quibble: Tom Cruise spent waaaaay too much time on stage explaining his latest death-defying stunt jumping out of an airplane for “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” but that’s because he’s Tom Cruise. At least he didn’t jump on a couch.

Also Read: ‘A Quiet Place’ Sequel in Development at Paramount Pictures

3. Universal brought the delight of movies to the room.

Universal offered a mix of drama (“First Man” is about Neil Armstrong’s journey to the moon), horror (“Halloween” with an irrepressible Jamie Lee Curtis), fantasy (Peter Jackson’s “Mortal Engine” is creating new worlds that, he promises, are like nothing we’ve ever seen) and thrillers (M. Night Shyamalan has a new one coming with Bruce Wiillis and Sam Jackson).

But even though he wasn’t in the room, it was Dwayne Johnson’s new action movie, “Skyscraper,” that seemed like something that you need to see on a massive screen, and that is likely to make your heart stop. That guy is a movie star, can we just say that?

Universal ended it all with a surprise live performance by Cher of “Fernando” by ABBA. She plays the grandmother in the sequel to “Mamma Mia.” The original was an unwatchable mess of a movie with the cheesiest performances on the planet that made a bajillion dollars. I’ll probably watch the sequel.

The great @Cher delights us all at #cinemacon with performance of Fernando by ABBA. Here’s a glimpse: @TheWrap pic.twitter.com/nKthcmHPpy

— Sharon Waxman (@sharonwaxman) April 26, 2018

Also Read: James Wan and ‘Aquaman’ Cast Offer First Look at Work-in-Progress Atlantis

4. Warner Bros. needed help, a lot of help.

The studio is in transition, now under former New Line head Toby Emmerich, and his newness showed. The presentation dragged on as one troupe of movie stars followed another, making small talk and pretending to be relaxed around stilted emcee Will Arnett. (Why bring Anne Hathaway on stage for “Ocean’s 8” if you’re not going to talk to her?)

And if “Life of the Party” with Melissa McCarthy seemed like one too many versions of the movie we’ve already seen her do (clueless fish out of water, this time she’s a mom going back to college), the ensemble film “Tag” — drama? comedy?  thriller? mystery? — about a group of friends who play a highly aggressive form of tag for a month every year was simply a hot mess.

“Crazy Rich Asians” looks like it could be a big winner, though the trailer made it hard to tell. But wait! There’s one huge redeeming movie on the Warner slate that made all of it worthwhile. Bradley Cooper brought “A Star Is Born,” his remake of the famed Barbara Streisand – Kris Kristofferson love story. And the trailer unveiled of Cooper and Lady Gaga was a revelation. The film promises a full-on love story with Gaga dropping all the makeup and pretense and bravada. Which brings us to…

Also Read: ‘A Star Is Born’: Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga Nail High Notes With Trailer Debut

5. Music movies rule. 

There are so many wonderful films this year about music and musicians that it’s worth pointing it out. As mentioned, “A Star Is Born” looks like it will deliver. Cooper learned to play an instrument well enough to perform.

But Fox’s upcoming “Bohemian Rhapsody” appears to be a similarly strong take on the legendary Freddy Mercury, an epic performer and rule-breaker, played by Rami Malek. And did I mention that the “Mamma Mia” sequel has Cher in it?

6. 3-D is dead.

Over four days and dozens of movies that were presented to the exhibitors in Vegas, only one movie — ONE — was in 3-D, a technology that was all the rage four or five years ago. The lone exception was “Alita,” a largely CG action movie by technology diehard James Cameron about a young female cyborg given a superhuman body. (I think that’s what it was about.)

Robert Rodriguez directed it, and I’m not entirely sure if the 3-D adds all that much to the story. But what was once supposed to be the salvation of movie theaters — adding a premium ticket price to their weekend box office haul — has mostly fizzled. Calling Jeffrey Katzenberg, who predicted otherwise.

Also Read: Enter a 3-D Jungle With ‘Jumanji’ in Virtual Reality This December

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7. And finally: Fox.

Who knows if the studio will be at CinemaCon next year? If the Disney acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox goes through, it won’t. So studio chief Stacey Snider wisely used the moment to remind the thousands of exhibitors in the room that she knew no more than they did about the future of her studio, but that she was committed to delivering great movies in the meantime.

And she backed it up with an emotional reel of Fox movies over the last 80 years, from “Titanic” to Shirley Temple to “12 Years a Slave,” reminding everyone what a contribution Fox has made to the culture. “Let’s wear our heart on our sleeves,” she urged the packed hall, choking up (and she wasn’t the only one). “Let’s celebrate the humanity that comes from discovering that we are more alike than different.”

Her words managed to overshadow the bravura, hilarious opening of the Fox presentation with Deadpool leading dancers to the song “One” from the Broadway classic “A Chorus Line.” And it was a fitting reminder that if Fox goes away, we may all be the poorer.

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Steven Spielberg Joins DC Universe With ‘Blackhawk’ Movie

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment are again teaming up with Warner Bros. Pictures to produce the action adventure “Blackhawk,” based on the DC Comics series of the same name.

Spielberg also has an eye on directing the movie, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich said in a Tuesday announcement.

The move comes on the heels of “Ready Player One,” also a Spielberg-Amblin-Warner Bros. collaboration, and marks the filmmaker’s first feature centered on DC characters.

Blackhawk is the leader of a small team of ace pilots who fight tyranny and oppression — including Axis powers as well as various supervillains –while operating from a hidden base known only as “Blackhawk Island.” The comic book debuted in 1941 and features team members from around the world, with Blackhawk himself generally portrayed as a Polish freedom fighter.

Blackhawk was created by comics legends Chuck Cuidera, Bob Powell and Will Eisner for Quality Comics. The characters and concepts were sold to DC after Quality ceased publications in 1956.

“We are so proud to be the studio behind Steven Spielberg’s latest hit, and are thrilled to be working with him again on this new action adventure,” said Emmerich on Tuesday. “We can’t wait to see what new ground he will break in introducing ‘Blackhawk’ to movie audiences worldwide.”

Also Read: Cathy Yan in Early Talks to Direct Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn Movie

The screenplay for “Blackhawk” is being written by David Koepp, who has collaborated with Spielberg on the blockbusters “Jurassic Park,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” “War of the Worlds” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

Spielberg will produce the film along with Kristie Macosko Krieger, under the Amblin Entertainment banner, while Sue Kroll will executive produce, under her Kroll & Co. Entertainment shingle.

“It was wonderful working with the team at Warner Bros. to bring ‘Ready Player One’ to the screen,” said Spielberg, adding, “They bring a blend of passion and professionalism to everything they do and have a tremendous history in this genre. I am excited to reunite with them on ‘Blackhawk.’”

Spielberg’s next two films are the fifth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise and “West Side Story.”

“Blackhawk” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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Michelle Slavich Named EVP of Global Publicity, Strategy at Warner Bros. Pictures

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Warner Bros. Pictures has appointed Michelle Slavich executive vice president of global publicity and strategy, the company said Thursday.

Slavich joins the studio from her post at Google as a communications head for YouTube, where she handled entertainment and music PR initiatives and corporate and creator matters.

“Michelle is a well-respected publicity executive with an impressive track record of leadership, innovation and strategic vision,” said Blair Rich, Warner Bros. president of worldwide marketing and home entertainment, to whom Slavich will report.

Also Read: Warner Bros Leadership Shake-Up: Toby Emmerich to Run Studio, Sue Kroll Steps Down

In her new role, Slavich will handle domestic and international PR across the studio and its imprint New Line Cinema. She’ll also work with marketing group management on campaign design and strategy for both individual titles and franchises like the DC Films superhero universe.

Slavich spent five years with Google and, in the last two years, her team launched over 50 publicity campaigns for the company’s YouTube Original series and movies. Slavich was also responsible for the launch of campaigns for YouTube TV and YouTube Red.

Prior to that she served as a VP at Universal Studios Home Entertainment, supervising over 200 publicity campaigns for Universal Pictures, Focus Features and NBC  She began her career at the Shoah Foundation, Steven Spielberg’s nonprofit organization dedicated to the recording of Holocaust survivor testimonies for educational use.

Read a memo sent to staff from Rich about Slavich’s hire, obtained by TheWrap:

I am very pleased to announce that we have hired Michelle Slavich to join our team at Warner Bros. as Executive Vice President, Global Publicity and Strategy. Reporting to me, Michelle will lead our Domestic and International publicity teams, serving as our lead publicity strategist on all our films.

Michelle is a well-respected publicity executive with an impressive track record of leadership, innovation and strategic vision. As we tackle the constantly evolving landscape of film publicity, she’s a great choice to lead the team and further our already-excellent publicity operations. She joins us from Google, where she most recently served as Head of Entertainment Communications for YouTube, overseeing the platform’s entertainment and music PR initiatives, as well as corporate and creator communications. Before that, Slavich served as Vice President, Publicity at Universal Studios Home Entertainment (USHE), and held executive positions at Rogers & Associates, PeopleSupport Inc., and Dreamworks/Amblin Entertainment.

Lance Volland will continue to head up our International publicity efforts working with the territories, while continuing to develop strategy with the teams here in Burbank; he will continue to work closely with Lynne Frank on publicity strategy and the intersection of these efforts with our larger International Marketing plans that are led by Lynne. The domestic publicity team will report directly to Michelle as well.

Michelle possesses incredible expertise and experience in publicity and strategy and I am very excited to have her join our team – and I know that once you’ve had a chance to meet and work with her, you will agree how lucky we are to have her join our company.

I look forward to introducing you to Michelle when she starts on May 29.

Thank you,

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Former Warner Bros Exec Sue Kroll Launches Own Production Banner on Studio Lot

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sue Kroll, the former marketing and distribution head at Warner Bros., is launching her own production label titled Kroll & Co. Entertainment at the lot in Burbank, the studio announced Wednesday.

Kroll is already involved in the production and development of a range of feature film projects, but she is also looking to develop television, digital and other content.

As a producer, Kroll’s upcoming projects include the sci-fi thriller “Nemesis,” alongside producer Ridley Scott and Jules Daly, as well as the YA drama “The Selection” and the untitled comedy starring Sandra Bullock. She also is working on the action thriller “The Six Billion Dollar Man” starring Mark Wahlberg.

Also Read: Warner Bros Leadership Shake-Up: Toby Emmerich to Run Studio, Sue Kroll Steps Down

“My passion for film and television and for telling great stories is not only the cornerstone of my wonderful career, but has also been a huge part of my life since I was a young girl enthralled by the moving image,” stated Kroll. “I am excited to be collaborating in this new capacity with amazing, visionary filmmakers, many of whom I have known and worked with, and to also champion new and unique voices. This is just the beginning and I am thrilled about our slate of films and our incredible filmmaking partners.”

Kroll most recently served as Warner Bros. Pictures president of worldwide marketing and distribution. She first joined the studio in 1994, and under her leadership the studio won the Best Picture Oscar for “Argo” as well as Best Animated Feature Oscar for “Happy Feet.” The studio has also received nominations for “Dunkirk,” “The Blind Side,” “Inception,” “American Sniper” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” during her tenure.

On January 9, Warner Bros. promoted Toby Emmerich to chairman of the motion picture group while Kroll stepped aside to pursue a production deal. At the time, it was said she would transition into a three-year producing deal starting in April with her duties running distribution and marketing handed to two other veteran Warner Bros. executives.

Also Read: Sue Kroll Named President of Worldwide Distribution at Warner Bros., Dan Fellman Exits

Kroll will also serve as an executive producer on “A Star Is Born,” which is directed and produced by Bradley Cooper and will star Lady Gaga. She also has an executive producer credit on Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn” and “The Goldfinch.”

Rounding out Kroll & Co. Entertainment are SVP of Development and Production Jennifer Malloy, Creative Executive Olivia Heighten, Chelsea Bradshaw as operations/production executive and administrative assistant Nicole Kraft.

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David Chase Revives ‘The Sopranos’ With New Line Prequel Movie ‘The Many Saints Of Newark’

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: David Chase is finally ready to return to the New Jersey turf of his iconic creation The Sopranos. New Line has purchased the screenplay The Many Saints of Newark, the working title for a feature prequel of The Sopranos that is set in the era of the Newark riots in the 60s. That was a time when the African-Americans and the Italians of Newark were at each other’s throats, and amongst the gangsters of each group, those conflicts became especially lethal.