Disney Reinstates Director James Gunn For ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy 3’

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: Redemption and second chances have long been superhero movie staples, and today it looks like life has imitated art. I’ve learned that Disney has reinstated James Gunn as the writer-director of Guardians of the Galaxy 3, and I’ve…

Despite ‘Deadpool 2,’ Disney-Bound 20th Century Fox Exits Without a Roar

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

20th Century Fox has been in the news this past year not just for hits like “Deadpool 2” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but also because the storied studio is about to be absorbed by Disney as part of a $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox’s TV and film entertainment assets.

But apart from a few modest hits and indie division Fox Searchlight scoring four major awards contenders, 2018 wasn’t a stellar year for Fox’s film division. The studio fell to No. 5 in box office market share — 9.6 percent as of Monday — after holding the No. 3 or 4 slots for the past three years, according to BoxOfficeMojo.

“I wouldn’t categorize their performance as a disaster — I would call it middling,” Tuna Amobi, media analyst at CFRA Research, told TheWrap. “Some of that also had to do with the way the studio has been managed conservatively over the years — they have not traditionally taken as much risk as some of the other studios like Warner Bros. or Disney in terms of the budget and marketing support.”

Doug Creutz, senior media and entertainment analyst at Cowen Companies, agreed: “Yeah, Fox definitely didn’t have a great year.”

Also Read: Fox Meets Q1 Earnings Estimates Ahead of Disney Merger

All in all, 20th Century Fox just managed to cross the billion-dollar threshold at the domestic box office. “Deadpool 2” grossed $318 million domestically, while the Rami Malek-led musical “Bohemian Rhapsody” became a surprise fall hit that passed $180 million.

Hugh Jackman’s P.T. Barnum musical “The Greatest Showman,” which was got off to a slow start when it was released in late December 2017, managed to have legs well into first quarter of 2018, ending with an impressive worldwide haul of $435 million.

However, Fox also saw some box office misses like Jennifer Lawrence’s thriller “Red Sparrow,” which grossed just $46.9 million on a $69 million budget, “The Darkest Minds,” a $34 million YA fantasy that made just $41 million and Chris Hemsworth’s “Bad Times at the El Royale,” a $32 million comedic thriller that managed only $31.5 million worldwide.

And Shane Black’s $88 million attempt to reboot “The Predator” franchise failed to connect, earning just $51 million domestically.

“They just didn’t have much that worked. They didn’t take a lot of swings either — without a lot of at-bats, it’s hard to hit home runs,” Creutz said. “With the Disney deal in the offing, I don’t know how focused they are on the movie business right now.”

Also Read: ‘The Favourite’ Continues Regal Reign Over Indie Box Office

Fox Searchlight, the studio’s independent film arm, however, has had a strong year with art-house successes like Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” ($32 million, 89 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), Robert Redford’s “The Old Man & The Gun” ($11 million, 92 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), Melissa McCarthy’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” ($7.2 million, 98 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and awards darling “The Favourite” ($7.8 million, 94 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes).

All four have received serious recognition in the awards race so far, including five Golden Globes nominations for “The Favourite.” “Fox Searchlight has been really good — that division has had success in terms of critical acclaim,” Amobi said. “Not financially speaking, necessarily, but critically.”

Searchlight heads Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley will remain after the merger, but Disney hasn’t given any clear guidance as to how the the banner will operate going forward.

Also Read: Why ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Is a Much-Needed Hit for Fox

Fox’s executive suite is bracing for other big changes. Longtime Fox Film chairman and CEO Stacey Snider will not remain merger, though vice chair Emma Watts will remain and report directly to Disney studio head Alan Horn.

“When Fox gets integrated into Disney, they are going to have [potentially] well over a third of domestic box office share,” Amobi said, adding that it remains to be seen how that will actually play out. “Could be a lot of ideas at the table.”

Fanboys and fangirls can rejoice that Fox-based Marvel properties such as the X-Men and Fantastic Four could finally join Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, but others have noted Disney’s recent aversion to R-rated releases and how properties like Ryan Reynolds’ hard-R “Deadpool” franchise will fit into the new studio slate.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Amazon Bids on Disney’s 22 Regional Sports Networks Acquired From Fox (Report)

Disney Smashes Earnings Expectations Ahead of Fox Acquisition

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

Edward Norton, Alan Alda, Mariska Hargitay Join Nat Geo’s 6-City ‘Paris to Pittsburgh’ Screening Blitz (Exclusive)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Activists and environmentally conscience celebrities, including Edward Norton, Alan Alda and Mariska Hargitay, will join former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg this week for a special nationwide screening blitz of Nat Geo’s environmental documentary “Paris to Pittsburgh,” TheWrap has learned exclusively.

Six U.S. cities will simultaneously screen the film Monday night — many with their mayors introducing the film — in an effort to shine a light on the need for cities, states and citizens to come together to fight climate change. Charleston, Des Moines, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York and Orlando will get a sneak peek at the doc ahead of its global release on Dec. 12 at 9pm ET/PT on National Geographic, with additional screenings scheduled in Puerto Rico, London and Poland.

“With Washington asleep at the switch, local governments, states, businesses, and citizens from across the political spectrum are taking steps to tackle climate change and build a bright future for our country,” Bloomberg, who produced the movie through his Bloomberg Philanthropies, said in a statement. “We need more leadership from Washington on climate change, but Americans aren’t waiting around for it.”

Also Read: Pittsburgh Mayor Pounds Trump for Climate Claim He Backs ‘Pittsburgh, Not Paris’

Other attendees expected to attend: Peter Hermann, Walt Disney Chairman and NRDC Board Chair Alan Horn, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Zero Hour’s Iris Fen Gillingham and Jamie Margolin, Katherine Oliver, Joe Berlinger, Emmy Award winning directors Michael Bonfiglio and Sidney Beaumont, Radical Media’s Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma, among others.

The announcement comes on the heels of a federal climate change report last month focusing on the dire threat that human-made global warming poses to the United States. It also comes as world leaders are heading to Poland on Dec. 3 for the COP24 to try and salvage the 2015 climate change Paris Accord, after President Trump reneged on the deal last summer.

Also Read: Al Gore and Bill Maher Talk Climate Change and ‘Losing Florida’ – in Both Senses (Video)

“Paris to Pittsburgh” looks at how states, businesses and citizens are taking action and delve into the social and economic impacts of climate change in the wake of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.

The premise of the documentary is based on a Twitter response from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to President Trump the moment he pulled out of the Paris Agreement.

In his speech announcing the U.S. would withdrawal from the agreement, President Trump said in a press conference last June that he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

“I’m sitting in this room, I’m looking over at my phone and I get an alert,” Peduto says in an exclusive clip of the doc obtained by TheWrap. “Read it twice, went into my chief of staff office and yelled, ‘Pittsburgh?!’”

Peduto said that’s when he composed his now famous response telling the president that Pittsburgh was going to stay in the Paris Agreement.

“On the heels of the recent federal report on climate change, we believe it is more critical than ever to create a global conversation about climate and to provide people with tangible ways they can help make a difference,” Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Global Networks, said in statement. “For us, it is not enough to just create this type of important, thought-provoking content. We need to be equally committed to ensuring it reaches the widest audience possible.”

Also Read: Elon Musk Quits Trump Advisory Role Over Paris Accord Exit: ‘Climate Change Is Real’

“Paris to Pittsburgh” is produced RadicalMedia in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and is co- directed by Emmy Award winners Sidney Beaumont and Michael Bonfiglio. Beaumont also produced the film. Executive Producers are Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger, Jon Kamen and Katherine Oliver. Co-producers are Lindsay Firestone and Katie Dunn. Antha Williams of the Bloomberg Philanthropies environment program served as a consulting producer.

Watch an exclusive clip of the movie above and the trailer below.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Neil Young Loses Home in Woolsey Fire, Blasts Climate Change ‘Denier’ Trump

Apple Lands Project Based on New York Times Writer’s Climate Change Feature ‘Losing Earth’

Jimmy Kimmel Made a Climate Change PSA Just for Trump

From JJ Abrams to Jimmy Kimmel: Celebrities Who Gave Big to Beto O’Rourke

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

From J.J. Abrams to Sarah Jessica Parker and Steven Spielberg, it seems Hollywood is betting on Beto O’Rourke.

The Democratic Senate candidate mounted an uphill fight against incumbent Ted Cruz, an unpopular Republican in typically red Texas. Hollywood loves an underdog story — especially when liberals win — and that meant some generous checks for O’Rourke heading into Tuesday’s election.

O’Rourke has received a total of $811,632 from the entertainment industry, according to The Center for Responsive Politics, which includes film, TV and music industry donations under the banner of entertainment.

The figures are taken from databases uploaded by the Federal Election Commission at the start of every month. Those databases are as current as the FEC’s uploads, and the numbers will likely increase as more numbers roll in.

Also Read: 17 Stars Who Flexed Their Right to Vote in the Midterm Elections, From Taylor Swift to Justin Timberlake

TheWrap also sifted through 2018 Federal Election Commission filings as well as the Campaign Finance Institute’s FollowtheMoney.org to see which specific Hollywood donors coughed up maximum donations for Beto.

Currently, federal campaign finance law allows a donor to contribute up to $5,400 to a candidate’s campaign committee — $2,700 in the primary, and another $2,700 in the general election.

Connie Britton, Tate Donovan and “Star Wars” director Rian Johnson all gave Beto the maximum possible donation of $5,400 each.

Sarah Jessica Parker, Jimmy Kimmel, Rosie O’Donnell, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams,, Tate Donovan, Rob Reiner, all gave $2,700.

Also Read: How to Stream CNN’s Midterm Election Night Results Coverage Live

Other Hollywood donors include “Friends” co-creator Marta Kauffman, CEO of Entertainment Studios Byron Allen, UTA co-president David Kramer, Carsey Marcey, who produced the original “Roseanne,” CAA Managing Partner Bryan Lourd, “The McCarthys” creator Brian Gallivan and Disney studio head Alan Horn, who all gave $2,700. CAA Managing Partner Kevin Huvane donated $3,700.

Chelsea Handler shelled out $2,500, Jamie Lee Curtis gave $2,000, and Barbra Streisand, who just came out with a new anti-Trump album, gave $1,250. Bill Nye donated $900.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Beto O’Rourke Has Spent More on Google Ads Than Any Other Candidate

Ted Cruz Blasts ‘Hollywood Liberals’ Over Beto O’Rourke’s Pro-NFL Player Protest Speech

Fox Executives Emma Watts, Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula to Join Disney Studio After Merger

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Walt Disney Co. on Thursday announced that Emma Watts, as well as several other Fox film executives, will make the move to Disney’s studio entertainment management team after the company’s deal to acquire a majority of Fox assets closes.

“We’re pleased that these talented executives will be joining our incredible team of studio leaders once the acquisition of 21st Century Fox is completed,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “Under Alan Horn’s leadership, Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm have reached unprecedented levels of creative and box-office success, and adding Fox’s impressive film brands and franchises to our studio will allow us to create even more appealing high-quality entertainment to delight audiences.”

Watts will report directly to Disney studio head Alan Horn and will serve as vice chairman for Twentieth Century Fox Film and president of production at Fox. Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula will stay on as co-chairmen for Fox Searchlight and will also report directly to Horn, along with Elizabeth Gabler, who will serve as president of production at Fox 2000.

Also Read: Peter Rice, Dana Walden to Lead Disney-ABC’s TV Networks and Studio After Fox Deal Closes

Disney laid out the executive landscape for its TV arm last week. The looming question had been what the crowded executive structure in film would look like. Though the studio announced who from Fox would join the new company, exactly how Disney would incorporate the Fox studio and its different banners was not made clear.

It’s also worth noting that as expected, current Fox film CEO Stacey Snider will not be joining the new company post-merger. What’s next on her plate is still unknown.

“The addition of these respected film groups under the umbrella of The Walt Disney Studios will create endless possibilities as we continue to deliver first-rate motion pictures to audiences around the world,” said Horn in a statement. “This is an experienced group of executives, and Alan Bergman and I look forward to welcoming them to our leadership ranks upon completion of the acquisition.”

Also Read: ‘The Mandalorian’: Taika Waititi, Rick Famuyiwa Among Directors for ‘Star Wars’ TV Show

Disney and Fox shareholders voted in July to approve the Mouse House’s $71.3 billion bid to buy the lion’s share of Fox’s entertainment assets. The deal is expected to close in early 2019, at which point the executive changes Disney laid out will take effect. Executives and rank and file employees at Fox have been in a state of uncertainty about their futures since the two companies agreed to the deal.

Fox and Disney had originally agreed on a $54.2 billion all-stock deal before Comcast proposed a $65 billion bid, forcing Disney to sweeten the pot. Comcast eventually dropped out of the running.

Here’s the list of executives reporting to Horn and Watts:

  • Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird, co-presidents, Fox Animation
  • Vanessa Morrison, president, Fox Family

The executives join Horn’s existing leadership team that includes:

  • Alan Bergman, president, The Walt Disney Studios
  • Sean Bailey, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production
  • Ed Catmull, president, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Jennifer Lee, chief creative officer, Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Pete Docter, chief creative officer, Pixar Animation Studios
  • Kevin Feige, president, Marvel Studios
  • Louis D’Esposito, co-president, Marvel Studios
  • Kathleen Kennedy, president, Lucasfilm
  • Ken Bunt, president, Disney Music Group
  • Thomas Schumacher, president & producer, Disney Theatrical Group
Related stories from TheWrap:

Rupert Murdoch and Sons Pay Soars as Fox-Disney Deal Awaits Completion

Dana Walden Touts ‘Complete Independence’ of ‘New Fox’ After Disney Merger

Fox and Disney Shareholders Vote to Approve $71.3 Billion Merger

Disney-Fox Film Structure Coming Next: Alan Horn Atop Divisions, Streaming Big Priority

Read on: Deadline.

Now that Disney has set the hierarchy of Fox TV executives who’ll be part of the merged entities, next comes the film division. Sources said there shouldn’t be much surprise when an announcement is made as early as later this week.
Alan Hor…

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3’ Production on Hold While Disney Looks for New Director

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A small production crew on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3” has been dismissed while Disney regroups as it continues to look for a new director, an individual with knowledge of the situation tells TheWrap.

The crew was left over from when previous director James Gunn was overseeing the film. The production was still crewing up for a fall start to begin full pre-production.

Disney fired Gunn in July after old tweets were unearthed and publicized by far-right media personality Mark Cernovich and his followers. Written by Gunn nearly a decade earlier, the tweets featured jokes about pedophilia and rape, as well as an old blog post he wrote after the DC character Batwoman was revealed to be gay. The tweets and comments previously came to light in 2012, soon after Gunn was hired to direct the first “Guardians” film, and Gunn issued an apology for them at the time.

Also Read: The ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Deleted Scene That Should Have Been in the Movie

Disney said in a statement from Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn that the jokes were “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values.”

For his part, James Gunn wrote in a statement that he understands and accepts Disney’s decision.

The full cast of “Guardians” issued a group statement asking Disney to reinstate Gunn a week after he was fired. “Guardians” co-star Dave Bautista has gone further, outright criticizing Disney for caving to what he a called a “cyber nazi attack that succeeded.” Bautista has also said he will quit “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” if the film doesn’t use Gunn’s script.

The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Dave Bautista Calls Out Disney Over Report James Gunn Won’t Be Rehired

Jerry Seinfeld Weighs in on James Gunn Getting Fired: ‘If They’re Jokes, It Doesn’t Matter’

Chris Pratt on James Gunn Firing: ‘It’s Not an Easy Time’ (Video)

Dave Bautista Calls Out Disney Over Report James Gunn Won’t Be Rehired

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” star Dave Bautista has once again called out Disney over the James Gunn firing.

“Thanks ⁦@Disney⁩ !! Making America great again!” Bautista, who plays Drax in both “Guardians” movies and in “Avengers: Infinity War,” wrote on Twitter.

Thanks ⁦@Disney⁩ !! Making America great again! ???????? https://t.co/t6A4030xkS

— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) August 17, 2018

Bautista’s latest jab came after Disney Chairman Alan Horn had a “courtesy” meeting with Gunn on Tuesday where the filmmaker was told the studio was sticking to their decision not to reinstate him as director on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” according to a report in Variety.

Also Read: Dave Bautista Says He’ll Quit ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ if Marvel Won’t Use James Gunn’s Script

Bautista has previously referred to the people behind the campaign to get Gunn fired as “cybernazis” in tweets, and wrote that the same sort of campaign against Gunn “can happen to anyone.”

Disney fired Gunn in July after far-right media personality Mark Cernovich and his followers unearthed tweets, written by Gunn nearly a decade earlier, in which the director made jokes about pedophilia and rape, as well as an old blog post he wrote after the DC character Batwoman was revealed to be gay. The tweets and comments previously came to light in 2012, just after Gunn was hired to direct the first “Guardians” film, and Gunn issued an apology for them at the time.

Disney said in a statement from Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn that the jokes were “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values.”

Also Read: Dave Bautista: It’s ‘Pretty Nauseating’ to Work for Disney After Firing of James Gunn

For his part, James Gunn wrote in a statement that he understands and accepts Disney’s decision.

Cernovich and his followers dug through Gunn’s Twitter history to find his old tweets and bring them to Disney’s attention. Bautista and others have said they believe Gunn was targeted by the alt-right for his public criticisms of Donald Trump, and that Disney caved to pressure from extremists who aren’t actually offended by Gunn’s words, but just wanted to see him fired.

Cernovich first rose to prominence as a figure in the “GamerGate” online campaign that was most prominently aimed at women video game developers and journalists. He became a national figure for his involvementpopularizing the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that members of the Democratic party ran a child sex ring out of the basement of a Washington D.C. pizza parlor.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Dave Bautista Rips James Gunn’s Firing as a ‘Cyber Nazi Attack That Succeeded’

Dave Bautista, Others Defend James Gunn: ‘I Am NOT OK With What’s Happening’

Dave Bautista, Drew Pearce Dipped Into Own Pockets Out of ‘Love’ for ‘Hotel Artemis’

Dave Bautista Says He’ll Quit ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ if Marvel Won’t Use James Gunn’s Script

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

In a new interview, Dave Bautista said he is willing to quit the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise entirely if Marvel doesn’t use the script James Gunn recently completed for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”

“Where I’m at right now is that if [Marvel] don’t use that script, then I’m going to ask them to release me from my contract, cut me out or recast me,” Bautista told ShortList. “I’d be doing James a disservice if I didn’t.”

“Nobody’s defending his tweets, but this was a smear campaign on a good man,” Bautista continued. “I spoke to Chris Pratt the day after it happened and he’s a bit religious so he wanted time to pray and figure it out, but I was more like: f–k this. This is bulls–t. James is one of the kindest, most decent people I’ve met.”

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap. Representatives for Bautista also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Also Read: The ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Deleted Scene That Should Have Been in the Movie

Disney fired Gunn in July after offensive old tweets were resurfaced as part of a campaign against gunn spearheaded by right wing media personality Mike Cernovich. Gunn, who previously apologized for those tweets in 2012, wrote in a statement that he understood and accepted Disney’s decision.

Also Read: Mike Cernovich, Who Got James Gunn Fired Over Rape Tweets, Has History of Rape Tweets

Bautista, who plays Drax in the “Guardians” movies and “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers 4,” has been one of Gunn’s most outspoken defenders, calling the effort that got him fired a “cyber nazi attack that succeeded.” Most recently, he tweeted Sunday that it was “pretty nauseating” working for Disney after it empowered “a smear campaign by fascists #cybernazis.”

In Late July, Bautista was joined by other lead “Guardians of the Galaxy” cast members on an open letter to Disney asking for Gunn to be rehired. “In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever,” the letter reads. “We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

James Gunn Appears in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Special Features With Other Marvel Directors

From James Gunn to Josh Hader: The Court of Public Opinion Needs Some Laws (Podcast)

‘Star Wars’ Director Rian Johnson Deletes 20,000 Tweets After James Gunn Firing in ‘Why Not?’ Move

James Gunn Appears in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Special Features With Other Marvel Directors

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Disney might have fired James Gunn from the third “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, but the “Guardians” writer-director still appears on a featurette included in the newly-released home video edition of “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Gunn takes part in a director round table with several other big brains from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to talk about the trajectory of the Marvel franchise over the last 10 years. The discussion also includes “Infinity War” directors Joe and Anthony Russo, “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler, “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau, “The Avengers” director Joss Whedon and “Ant-Man” director Peyton Reed.

Disney fired Gunn in July after social media users, led by PizzaGate and GamerGate figure Mike Cernovich, unearthed old tweets and jokes Gunn had made about pedophilia and rape.

Also Read: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Directors Explain Why Thanos Didn’t Double the Universe’s Resources

“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement.

Gunn had previously apologized for the jokes in 2012, and talked about his personal growth since making them, but said he accepted Disney’s decision. Others haven’t been so deferential. The main cast of “Guardians of the Galaxy” released a joint statement this week calling for Gunn’s reinstatement on the franchise, and fans have petitioned for Gunn to get the job back as well. According to a report from Variety, however, Disney isn’t likely to bring him back aboard.

The “Infinity War” director roundtable feature obviously doesn’t delve into any of the controversy surrounding Gunn, since it was recorded some time ago. The directors do talk about the risks they’ve been allowed to take in working with Marvel in order to make films they personally were proud of, and how each was grateful for the fact their movies were able to build on the work done by the others.

Also Read: James Gunn’s Brother and ‘Guardians’ Actor: ‘Those Movies Made My Brother a Better Person’

In the featurette, the directors praise Gunn for helping to make comedy a larger, more accepted part of the MCU with the “Guardians” movies. They also note that the groundwork laid by Gunn allowed for the much wackier comedy of “Thor: Ragnarok,” directed by Taika Waititi (who also takes part in the panel, appearing on an iPad attached to a clothes hangar made sporting a Hawaiian shirt and hat). The majority of the discussion focuses on the way that all the directors, including Gunn, have created a mosaic in the MCU that told their personal stories, as well as elevated the other movies in the franchise.

It’s not clear how much influence Gunn might have over “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” although he shared on social media before he was fired that he had finished writing the third “Guardians” movie.

In his own statement on the situation in July, “Guardians” actor Sean Gunn, James Gunn’s brother, said working on the “Guardians” movies “made my brother a better person.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

That Crazy ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Ending Was Part of Doctor Strange’s Plan

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Directors Explain Why Thanos Didn’t Double the Universe’s Resources

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ – James Gunn Reveals What Groot Told Rocket at the End (Spoiler!)

James Gunn Just Broke Everyone’s Heart: ‘Groot Is Dead’

James Gunn’s Brother and ‘Guardians’ Actor: ‘Those Movies Made My Brother a Better Person’

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Stars Respond to James Gunn’s Firing: ‘I Love ALL Members of my GOTG Family’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Michael Rooker have weighed in on the firing of the franchise’s director James Gunn.

On Sunday, Pratt quoted a Bible verse from the Epistle of James in the New Testament: “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters. Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

Saldana, who like Pratt doesn’t mention Gunn by name in her tweet, wrote, “It’s been a challenging weekend I’m not gonna lie. I’m pausing myself to take everything in before I speak out of term. I just want everyone to know I love ALL members of my GOTG family. Always will.”

Also Read: Chris Pratt Goes Biblical in James Gunn Comments

Rooker, who played outlaw Yondu Udonta in the first two films of the franchise, said he would be quitting Twitter “over the ongoing bulls—,” but would remain on Instagram for the foreseeable future.

“This account will be inactive after today. We’re very tired & upset over the ongoing BULLS—… neither I nor my rep will use Twitter again,” he wrote on Sunday. “Twitter sucks and I want nothing to do with it. Thank you to all who gave kind words & support. See you on Instagram.”

Dave Bautista has been defending the filmmaker since Disney announced it would be severing ties with Gunn on Friday. He wrote that day that Gunn is “one of the most loving,caring,good natured people I have ever met.” But on Sunday, his tweets were far more heated, saying that Gunn’s removal had much bigger implications than just the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Also Read: Dave Bautista Rips James Gunn’s Firing as a ‘Cyber Nazi Attack That Succeeded’

“What will you do when the #cybernazis attack you?” asked Bautista in a tweet on Sunday. “Who will stand by you? Who will cowardly distance themselves from you? Who will punish you for horrible JOKES in the past instead of defending you for INSPIRING millions? MILLIONS!!!”

Sean Gunn defended his “brother James” on Saturday, writing that working on the “Guardians” films changed the director into being a “more open-hearted than the guy who needed to get a rise out of people by making nasty or offensive jokes.”

Lastly, Karen Gillan chimed in, telling her followers on Sunday saying that she sends “love to every single member of my GOTG family.”

Gunn, who has reportedly finished the script for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” was removed from the project after alt-right provocateur Mike Cernovich dug up tweets from him prior to joining Disney. They were soon picked up by conservative media and led to Disney studio chairman Alan Horn announcing his dismissal.

See tweets from the “Guardians” cast below.

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters. Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

JAMES 1:19

— chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) July 22, 2018

It’s been a challenging weekend I’m not gonna lie. I’m pausing myself to take everything in before I speak out of term. I just want everyone to know I love ALL members of my GOTG family. Always will.

— Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) July 22, 2018

This account will be inactive after today. We’re very tired & upset over the ongoing BULLSHIT… neither I nor my rep will use Twitter again. Twitter sucks and I want nothing to do with it.

Thank you to all who gave kind words & support. See you on Instagram.
– MR pic.twitter.com/uAyIOPoAle

— MichaelRookerOnline (@RookerOnline) July 22, 2018

I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is this..@JamesGunn is one of the most loving,caring,good natured people I have ever met. He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have. Im NOT ok with what’s happening to him

— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) July 21, 2018

What will you do when the #cybernazis attack you? Who will stand by you? Who will cowardly distance themselves from you? Who will punish you for horrible JOKES in the past instead of defending you for INSPIRING millions? MILLIONS!!! #Redemption #injustice @JamesGunn

— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) July 22, 2018

What happened here is so much bigger then G3, @JamesGunn ,myself,@Disney etc. This was a #cybernazi attack that succeeded. Unless we start to unite together against this crap, whether people are offended are not! …it’s going to get much worse. And it can happen to anyone https://t.co/AMZEd0tfqb

— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) July 22, 2018

Love to every single member of my GOTG family.

— Karen Gillan (@karengillan) July 23, 2018

It goes without saying that I love and support my brother James and I’m quite proud of how kind, generous, and compassionate he is with all the people in his life. Since he was a kid, it was clear he had a desire (maybe destiny) to be an artist, tell stories, find his voice through comics, films, his band. The struggle to find that voice was sometimes clunky, misguided, or downright stupid, and sometimes wonderful, moving, and hilarious. Since devoting his entire life to the Guardians movies and MCU six years ago, I’ve seen him channel that voice into his work and seen him transform from the guy who made up things to shock people. I saw firsthand as he went from worrying about “softening his edge” for a larger audience to realizing that this “edge” wasn’t as useful of a tool as he thought it was. That his gift for storytelling was something better. I saw that he was more open-hearted than the guy who thought he needed to get a rise out of people by making nasty or offensive jokes (or whatever you choose to call them—I don’t think his bluer material was ever his funniest and neither does Mom). And the best part is, this change in my brother was reflected in the change that the Guardians go through. I’ve heard my brother say many times that when Quill rallies the team with “this is our chance to give a shit”—to care—that it’s the pep talk he himself needed to hear. It’s part of what made working on the Guardians movies such a rewarding experience for the cast. We managed to find ourselves involved in a big-budget superhero movie that was, at its core, deeply personal. That’s a gift. And that’s why it’s good. This isn’t new information, by the way. It’s all stuff that James has explained many times in interviews, in more detail and more eloquently. It’s not some new spin. It’s always been part of this story. So I guess my hope is that fans continue to watch and appreciate the Guardians movies, not despite the fact that the filmmaker used to be kind of a jackass, but because of it. They are, after all, movies about discovering your best self. Working on those movies made my brother a better person, and they made me one too. I’ll always be proud of that. Peace.

A post shared by Sean Gunn (@thejudgegunn) on

Related stories from TheWrap:

James Gunn Praised By #MeToo Accuser Selma Blair After Marvel Firing

James Gunn’s Brother and ‘Guardians’ Actor: ‘Those Movies Made My Brother a Better Person’

Taika Waititi Is Fan Favorite to Replace James Gunn on ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3’

Animation Execs Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter to Split John Lasseter’s Duties at Disney, Pixar

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Directors and animation executives Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter have stepped in to split the duties previously held by John Lasseter at both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, the studios announced on Tuesday.

Both veteran filmmakers will report to Alan Horn, chairman at Walt Disney Studios. Lee, a co-director on the juggernaut film “Frozen,” will have creative oversight over the whole of WDAS. Docter (director of “Inside Out”) will hold the same control over Pixar.

“Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter are two of the most gifted filmmakers and storytellers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with,” Horn said in a statement.

Also Read: The Pixar Generation Just Helped ‘Incredibles 2’ Make Box Office History

“Pete, the genius creative force behind ‘Up,’ ‘Inside Out’ and ‘Monsters, Inc.’ has been an integral part of Pixar almost since the beginning and is a huge part of its industry-leading success. Jenn, in bringing her bold vision to the boundary-breaking ‘Frozen,’ has helped infuse Disney Animation with a new and exciting perspective,” he continued.

“Animation is the most collaborative art form in the world, and it is with the partnership of my fellow filmmakers, artists, and innovators that we look ahead to the future,” said Lee.

Docter added that the title was”not something I take lightly; making films at Pixar has been my chronic obsession since I started here 28 years ago. I am fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented people on the planet.”

Noncreative leadership remains unchanged. Pixar President John Morris and Walt Disney Animation President Andrew Millstein will both continue to report to joint leader Ed Catmull atop both operations. He reports to Horn.

Synonymous with the both the quality and success of Pixar and the continued endurance of Disney animation, Lasseter went on self-imposed leave last year following reports of his misconduct in the w0rkplace. He was formally transitioned to a consultant role in early June, and will depart the company by the end of the year.

Related stories from TheWrap:

John Lasseter to Exit Disney at End of Year, Will Assume ‘Consulting Role’ Until Departure

Disney Considers John Lasseter Return in Limited, Creative Role (Report)

‘Coco’ Producer Ducks Question About John Lasseter

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

Getty Images

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.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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

Fox Film CEO Teases Uncertain Future With Looming Disney Acquisition: ‘We Face a New Transition’

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

Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn Says Goodbye To Distrib Boss Dave Hollis, Calls Him Equal To WB Vet Dan Fellman – CinemaCon

Read on: Deadline.

Weeks after Disney announced that worldwide distribution chief Dave Hollis would be leaving the studio after 17 years, Walt Disney Motion Pictures Studios chairman Alan Horn gave him the warmest of goodbyes at CinemaCon.
Horn said that when he was at W…

Bob Iger to Host Fundraiser for Vulnerable Democratic Senators in 2018 Midterms

Read on: Variety.

WASHINGTON — Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO Bob Iger is hosting a fundraiser next week for half a dozen Democratic senators facing tough re-election bids this year. The Feb. 22 event, which seeks the maximum contribution of $32,400 per person, also will be hosted by Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, and his […]

Chris Dodd to Step Down as MPAA Chief

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Motion Picture Association of America Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd is stepping down from his position on September 4, he announced on Friday.

Dodd will be replaced by Charles Rivkin, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs.

Dodd, who served six years in the position representing, is credited with prioritizing the digital age in his representation Hollywood’s six biggest studios in Washington, D.C.

Also Read: MPAA, Weinstein Company Come to Agreement on ‘3 Generations’ PG-13 Rating

“Chris has transformed the MPAA into a global association for the digital era and dramatically increased access around the world for U.S. films and television programming.,” said Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn.

“With over 70% of total box office revenues generated overseas, and increasing focus on television and OTT content, Chris’s engagement and effective negotiation in these areas delivered impressive results,” Horn added.

Stacey Snider, Chairman and CEO of 20th Century, applauded Dodd’s efforts in anti-piracy.

“Protecting copyright is the hallmark of Chris’ leadership at MPAA and he helped create a fully integrated, global online antipiracy operation,” Snider said.

More to come, read the full release:

Former U. S. Senator Christopher Dodd, Chairman & CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), announced today that he will step down from his position as CEO on September 4 and from his position as Chairman at the end of the year. The MPAA board will meet tomorrow (April 29) to name Charles Rivkin, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, as Dodd’s successor. Ambassador Rivkin will join MPAA September 5, and the two executives will work together to complete the transition by the beginning of next year.

Dodd has served as Chairman & CEO of the MPAA since March of 2011. During his tenure, he is credited with helping move the MPAA into the digital age, making content protection a priority domestically and internationally (with more than 20 memos of understanding reached with foreign governments), expanding the U.S. presence in the Chinese entertainment sector with the completion of the 2012 and 2015 agreements opening China’s film market and dramatically increasing revenue sharing for U.S. studios, as well as furthering the MPAA’s efforts in diversity and inclusion. Notable content protection successes include law enforcement action against large-scale pirate sites such as MegaUpload and KickassTorrents, 1,500 infringing websites blocked worldwide, and groundbreaking voluntary initiatives with domain name registries, payment processors, and other intermediaries.

“Chris has transformed the MPAA into a global association for the digital era and dramatically increased access around the world for U.S. films and television programming. With over 70% of total box office revenues generated overseas, and increasing focus on television and OTT content, Chris’s engagement and effective negotiation in these areas delivered impressive results,” said Alan Horn, Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios.

“Protecting copyright is the hallmark of Chris’ leadership at MPAA and he helped create a fully integrated, global online antipiracy operation,” said Stacey Snider, Chairman and CEO, 21st Century Fox. “His leadership in promoting copyright in the EU Digital Single Market process and preventing harmful FCC regulation of set top boxes in the U.S. set the precedent for defending the rights of creators in the rapidly evolving digital ecosystem.”

“Chris’ strong leadership of the MPAA and the dynamic global organization he fostered is a lasting legacy,” said Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal and Jeff Shell, Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. “Charlie Rivkin is the right person to build on that legacy and lead us forward, promoting U.S. film and television production and increasing opportunities for global audiences to be entertained and inspired. Charlie’s stellar global track record in advocacy and diplomacy and his extensive experience in the creative industry have well prepared him for this opportunity.”

“Charlie Rivkin is an excellent choice to lead MPAA into the future, and I look forward to working with him for a smooth and successful transition. I’m honored to have led the MPAA for more than six years and extremely proud of what we accomplished,” said Dodd. “Our focus has been making our members’ films and television programs more accessible to worldwide audiences while furthering IP protection globally. I can confidently say we’ve made significant strides in both areas.”

Rivkin most recently served as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs from 2014 to 2017. Previously, he was U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco, and before entering public service, Rivkin spent nearly twenty years in the creative sector as CEO of The Jim Henson Company and W!ldBrain.

“In today’s digital world, the mission and function of the MPAA are more important than ever” said Ambassador Rivkin. “Chris has done a great job, and I’m excited to work with the member studios to continue to expand the global market for entertainment content, while ensuring creators’ rights are respected around the world.”

“With entertainment and government in his background, Charlie is uniquely and ideally suited for his new post at the MPAA,” said Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. “His experience in creative affairs, business and policy making will be extremely valuable as the MPAA and its member studios navigate a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex global entertainment landscape.”

“There is only one Chris Dodd, and he will be greatly missed,” said Tom Rothman, Chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group. “Charlie brings a wealth of experience to his role at the MPAA. From heading a production company to working at the State Department, he brings a perspective and skill set that will help him further the mission of the MPAA around the world.”

“I am fully confident Charlie is the right person to expand on Chris’ tremendous achievements of the last six years and forge new opportunities for the creative sector,” said Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO, Paramount Pictures. “We look forward a seamless transition, ensuring the MPAA continues its successful work today and thrives in the ever-changing digital future of film and television programming.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

MPAA, Weinstein Company Come to Agreement on ‘3 Generations’ PG-13 Rating

GLAAD Says MPAA’s R-Rating for ‘3 Generations’ Sends ‘Dangerous Message’ to Transgender Youth

Weinstein Company to Protest MPAA’s R-Rating of Transgender Drama ‘3 Generations’