The Beatles are the new Bond

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

Sam Mendes directs The Beatles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off cinematic universe, Martin Scorsese’s devilish acting, Wim Wenders’ masterclass, and a cocaine hippo.

Let’s go!


FROM BOND TO BEATLES

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

In 2027, four Beatles biopics directed by Sam Mendes, will be released.

Each film will follow one Beatle.

This marks the first time that The Beatles and their families have granted full life story rights for a scripted film.

Mendes discussed the project:

“We went out to L.A. just before Christmas to pitch the project, and it’s fair to say we were met with universal enthusiasm. The reason Sony stood out from competing offers was down to Tom [Rothman] and Elizabeth’s [Gabler] passion for the idea, and commitment to propelling these films theatrically in an innovative and exciting way.”

Sony will finance and distribute.

There’s no word yet on the plot, but if Mendes’ early work American Beauty (2009) and Revolutionary Road (2008) is any indication, he may lay bare the artifices of American culture.

This thematic tenet could be explored through The Beatles’ activism against segregation and the Vietnam War in the 60s.

Or Mendes could take a different tact and explore the band’s breakup in the 70s, which was a result of “Beatlemania”, their tour manager’s death, and a litany of other reasons.

The band members must have felt a tremendous sense of duty, a theme Mendes explored in both Skyfall (2012) and 1917 (2019).

Whatever track is taken, we hope that this quartet of films lives up to The Beatles’ legacy.

For More:

The Beatles’ meteoric rise to fame was catalyzed by an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, selling 2.5M record in the following month and holding the top 5 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the month after that.

Three weeks left to record an album? Peter Jackson’s stunning documentary The Beatles: Get Back shows how The Beatles were always best when their backs were against the wall (trailer).

Do you remember the end credits music for American Beauty? It’s a cover of The Beatles song Because. Check it out here.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is back. Sadly, we won’t be seeing Matthew Broderick’s method acting performance to convince his parents he’s sick. Or Ben Stein’s brilliant droning “Bueller.” Or bad boy Charlie Sheen’s jailhouse lobby romance. Instead, Paramount Pictures will focus on the parking garage attendants that deceptively promise Alan Ruck’s (Succession) character that his father’s mint Ferrari will be completely safe in their Chicago garage… yeah right.

Here’s Ruck’s gut reaction to the parking garage:

“Wrong. Not here. We’re not leaving the car here.”

Sam and Victor’s Day Off will be the feature directorial debut of David Katzenberg, who has directed over 100+ TV episodes for shows such as HBO’s Ballers, ABC’s The Goldbergs, and The CW’s Riverdale.

Here’s the full Bueller parking garage scene. Plus, their joyride.

TV viewership is up for January. Here’s a breakdown:

  • ↑ 3.7% (Overall)
    • ↑ 1.4% from last year
  • ↑ 4.1% (Streaming, 36% of overall)
    • ↑ 29% Peacock
  • Record 40.8 billion viewing minutes on Jan. 13
    • Driven by NFL game

3 of the top 10 days for TV viewership saw record-breaking numbers since Nielsen began its The Gauge report in May 2021.

Peacock’s incredible 29% increase in viewership has been driven by:

  • 2nd highest demand for unscripted with Bravo
  • ↑ 50% viewership in people ages 25-34

This has increased their Q4 revenue by 57% to around $1 bn.

Additionally, Apple TV+’s Steven Spielberg EP’d Masters of the Air, is their most viewed show.

Goodbye DVDs? Last year, Best Buy announced that they would officially discontinue selling DVDs early this year. That moment has arrived with recent photos circulating online of empty DVD shelves. Netflix discontinued its foundational DVD mailing service last September, too.

It’s been a long time coming, with revenue for DVDs in the first half of last year plummeting to 28% to $754 M in the US (Down from $1.05 bn).

But in a twist of fate, Sony will now take over selling DVDs for Disney. That means any new releases from Disney and its subsidiaries (Marvel, Pixar, LucasFilm) will be sold, marketed, and distributed by Sony in the US and Canada.

There is no word yet on what will happen to the Disney team that manages physical media.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Will Sharpe is Mozart. If you don’t know Sharpe, check out his performance in White Lotus Season 2. He plays Aubrey Plaza’s husband, who has recently come into a ton of money after his start-up has been bought by his friend (Theo James).

He goes on vacation and couldn’t be having a worse time.

James and his wife seem to be a perfect couple, a reflection of everything lifeless in Sharpe’s marriage (trailer).

There’s a brooding quality to his performance that seems perfect to map onto Sky’s Studios’ Amadeus.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Set within the musical hub of bustling Vienna at the end of the 18th century, as the 25-year-old titular character arrives in the city no longer a child and determined to carve his own path. Recently unemployed and without the management of his father, Amadeus finds an unlikely ally in a young singer who will become his wife, the fiery Constanze Weber Mozart. Her connections help bring him into the orbit of the court composer Antonio Salieri, setting the three of them on a collision course that will ultimately define their lives and legacies for years to come.

The project is currently in development.

For a “divinely inspired, vulgar and obscene” rendition of Mozart, check out the 8-time Academy Award-winning film Amadeus (1984, trailer)

Martin Scorsese is back…on-screen. He will play Dante’s mentor in the upcoming Hand of Dante, directed by Julian Schnabel (At Eternity’s Gate, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly).

Schnabel explained Scorsese’s Guido Cavalcanti character, an Italian poet whom Dante revered:

“It’s sort of before the poem is finished. So this guy has been an influence on Dante, and he’s probably the only one whose review he cared about…I don’t know if he’s a scholar, but he’s somebody who knows things…”

Scorsese is no stranger to playing artists in films. In Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams (1990), he plays Vincent Van Gogh (clip).

Although Scorsese has had cameos in a majority of his films, it wasn’t until an actor dropped out at the last minute of Taxi Driver that he filled in (scene).

One quick one: Emma Stone is in talks to star in Yorgos Lanthimos’ new film Save the Green Planet.


FESTIVALS AND RESOURCES

The Slamdance 2o24 screenwriting competition opens today. It seeks global emerging talents in all genres.

One thing that we like about this competition is that they offer a free paragraph of constructive feedback.

Anna Lee Lawson, the Slamdance competition manager, has over two decades of experience, working with The Blacklist, SXSW, ISA, Cannes Film Festival, and Sundance.

Submit here. The final deadline is July 26th.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Wim Wenders is having a perfect day. His film Perfect Days has earned $24.3 M at the box office, cresting his previous films:

  • Paris, Texas (1984)
    • $2.26 M
  • Wings of Desire (1987)
    • $3.5 M
  • Pina (2011)
    • $18.7 M
  • Buena Vista Social Club (1999)
    • $23.1 M

Perfect Days centers on a toilet cleaner finding the beauty of life (trailer). In Wenders’ hands, this is rendered as a sublime.

A little more on Wim Wenders and his masterwork Paris, Texas. He won the Cannes Palme d’Or for the film, and the enigmatic ending serves as a masterclass in the sanctity of artistic integrity.

During a recent Lumière Film Festival masterclass, Wenders reiterated his conviction for the final scene:

“I was very, very convinced that the ending of Paris, Texas was right. For me, it was a heroic act by Travis to leave the mother and son together. He knew he had done so much harm that they were never going to make it as a family, while the son and the mother had a good chance of making a life together if he left.”

When distributor 20th Century Fox bought the film at Cannes, they gave him one note:

“We’d like to add one shot at the end where we see Travis crying in his car… We’d like to add a shot in which we see the car do a U-turn… we’re sure the film will be a lot more successful.”

Wenders stood firm against 20th Century Fox’s demand, declaring he’d rather the film be shelved than altered. After a protracted battle, the studio relented, allowing Paris, Texas, to be presented unaltered.

Alex Garland’s Civil War. New trailer. Release date: April 12th.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

4 Months. 3 weeks. 2 Days director readies his next project. Cristian Mungiu won the Palme d’Or for this brutal, wise Romanian dictatorship abortion drama (2007, trailer).

He will now write Tales of the Golden Age – The Warsaw Pac.

Mungiu shared an overview of the synopsis:

“The stories presented in the script take place at a dark moment in history and talk about very grim issues in that comical and absurd way – one that Romanians and other Eastern Europeans have, over the years, perfected as their way of survival.”

The film will be directed by Ioana Uricaru, who shared more about the plot:

“I tell the story through three characters. A mother, who learns that her teenage daughter hit a dog while riding a scooter. A police officer – and the animal’s owner – who is summoned to the scene. In the last one, we discover that even earlier, the dog was actually hit by a teenager whose father was teaching her to drive.”

Filming starts in Spring 2025.

In a significant European M&A deal, Fremantle has acquired Asacha Media Group, whose production companies include Red Planet, Arrow Media, and Stand By Me, spending over €200M since the year’s start. This move, part of Fremantle’s strategy to hit a €3B revenue target by 2025, brings Asacha under its wing. Asacha, founded in 2020 and rapidly expanding, will continue its operations with its current leadership, aiming to enhance its creative output with Fremantle’s resources.

A tiny trailer snippet for Pepe, an opaque, experimental art film playing at the Berlin Film Festival about Pablo Escobar’s hippos.


FESTIVAL SPOTLIGHT

To our Washington DC readers…

This week, a free, multi-day film festival dedicated to the exploration and beauty of language is taking place in D.C.!

The Mother Tongue Film Festival features 23 films in 27 languages from communities around the globe; 10 programs will explore the theme “Finding Balance” through personal journeys and examine the path to building harmony within our world, societies, families, and selves.

Some of the most anticipated programs include:

Sustenance, which includes a collection of short films from Brazil, Canada, India, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the United States.

The Wind & the Reckoning explores Native Hawaiians’ stand against government-mandated exile due to leprosy.

The festival starts today and will run through Saturday, Feb 24.

Check out more info here.

If you’d like to be featured in our “spotlight,” click here for more information.


ON THIS DAY

2010. 63rd British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs): The Hurt Locker wins Best Film. Kathryn Bigelow wins Best Director.


Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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