Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, and a flamingo

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

Star Wars in California, Kevin Costner’s Saga, Jake Gyllenhaal & Anne Hathaway’s Beef, an intern who becomes president and a pink flamingo.

Let’s go!


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Star Wars comes to California. For years, the California tax credit has been notoriously difficult to secure. First, because the amount of funds available is much lower than in other states. California offered $61 M this year for feature films while Georgia’s uncapped tax credits reached $1.24 bn last year.

This year in California, only 15 films received the credit. It’s a big challenge to indie filmmakers who struggle to finance their films, who often go to other states that offer more generous tax credits to a larger pool of films, e.g., Georgia (68 features) or New Mexico (55 features).

For the CA tax credit, studio films receive the lion’s share of the funds.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • $13.1 M for indie films
  • $48 M for studio films

Disney will receive $21.8 M for their Jon Favreau-directed The Mandalorian & Grogu. Disney will receive $28.1 M total, while Amazon will receive $14.4 M.

One of the other challenges with the credit is that only below-the-line expenditures qualify, unlike many other states.

Here’s a full list of the productions that received the credit.

Disney Studios president Sean Bailey exits. Bailey has brought in upwards of $7 bn for Disney.

Here are the top live-action films he’s overseen:

Bailey stated:

“These 15 years at Disney have been an incredible journey, but the time is right for a new chapter. I’m deeply grateful to my exceptional team and proud of the slate and history we’ve built together.”

The current President of Searchlight Pictures, David Greenbaum, will take Bailey’s place.

At Searchlight, Greenbaum has a golden touch when it comes to the Oscars.

Searchlight has had Best Picture nominees for the past seven years running, including two wins for The Shape of Water (2017) and Nomadland (2020). This year, their film Poor Things has 11 nominations.

It will be interesting to see if Greenbaum’s auteur-driven Searchlight, where he’s worked with Guillermo del Toro, Martin McDonagh, Wes Anderson, and Darren Aronofsky, will square with the Disney Studios franchise model.

Perhaps we’ll continue to see a blending of the two, with recent Best Picture Oscar winner Barry Jenkins (dir: Moonlight) helming Mufasa: The Lion King.

Or, ideally, more mid-budget originals.

A tidbit: In 2024, U.S. streaming revenues are set to surpass pay TV for the first time, reaching $17.3 billion in Q3. This shift, fueled by recently introduced ad-supported tiers in Amazon and Netflix, marks a historic but entirely inevitable pivot in media consumption.

One prediction for 2029: We’ll have 10M less Pay-TV households


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Who’s Afraid of Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway? Beef Season 2 casting is getting underway. Nothing has been confirmed, but it appears as if Gyllenhaal and Hathaway will play a feuding couple.

The pair have played on-screen couples in two past films:

Both actors excel at high-strung performances that seem perfectly calibrated for the world of Beef. From Gyllenhaal’s manic Nightcrawler (2014), “If it leads, it bleeds” aspirational journalist to Hathaway’s iconic overwhelmed Vogue assistant in The Devil Wears Prada (2006).

A24 will produce, and Netflix will distribute. Filming will begin sometime later this summer.

Kevin Costner’s Saga. This summer, Warner Bros. Discovery will release a two-part historical epic produced, directed, written, and starring Kevin Costner. Each part was reported to have cost upwards of $100 M.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Chronicles a multi-faceted, 15-year span of pre-and post-Civil War expansion and settlement of the American West.

Here’s the newly released trailer.

Costner’s grandiose vision of the American West can be seen in:

  • Yellowstone (2018-2023, trailer)
    • Star/EP
  • Dances With Wolves (1990, trailer)
    • Director/Producer/Star
    • Won 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture

Although recent westerns like Tom Hanks’ News of the World (2020) have struggled at the box office, Costner hopes to buck the trend as his Paramount Yellowstone TV show has been wildly popular, with some episodes on CBS reaching over 10M viewers.

Josh Hartnett gets bizarre. At the SAG Awards, Hartnett shared a preview of his upcoming role in M. Night Shyamalan’s Trap.

“It’s a pivot… Working with M. Night was one of the best experiences of my career. I think he’s a true Artist in the capital-A sense of the word. And I think people are gonna be really surprised and excited about the movie we make. It’s very bizarre, very dark, and it’s wild.”

Details on Trap are slim, but it’s said to be a psychological thriller set in a single location at a concert.

Hartnett is one of the greatest actors working today whose versatility is often underestimated. He excelled as the cowardly guy in the wrong place in Lucky Number Slevin (2006), only to flip into a brutal mastermind by the end of the film (trailer). He was also devastating in Beyond the Sea, the best episode of the most recent season of Black Mirror, as the solipsistic, vengeful astronaut.

In his latest, Oppenheimer, he plays Earnest Lawrence, Robert Oppenheimer’s friend and confidant at the University of Berkeley, who is devastated by the true horrors of the bomb.

Trap is set to release on August 2nd.


FESTIVALS

A program to get your film financed. Alexandros Ouzas from Exile Entertainment, the producer who we featured on last Friday’s cover story, whose film West of Sunshine premiered at the Venice Film Festival, is offering a program to get your film financed.

After producing and finding financing for 8 feature films over 7 years, he has a granular understanding of 3rd party finance (private equity, distribution advances, and tax incentives).

Here’s a breakdown of the course:

  • Securing your IP
  • Preparing your finance plan/top sheet budget
  • Prepping your:
    • Pitch the right way
    • Lookbook
    • Investment package

What makes this course stand out is that he includes an in-depth guide to raising first-stage finance:

  • Generating investment leads
  • Government Rebates
  • Grants/Production Funding
  • In-Kind support
  • SEC Regulation breakdown

Ouzas takes everything that is nebulous about the world of film financing and demystifies it.

Over 100 filmmakers have had success with Ouzas.

If you’re interested in getting your film financed. Check this out.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

From Intern to President. Buffalo 8 has a new president. Bondit has a new SVP. Grady Craig will helm both posts, as the two companies have a symbiotic relationship.

Bondit packages and finances, while Buffalo 8 serves as physical production, post and distribution.

Both were founded by Matthew Helderman and Luke Taylor.

The companies have put out a massive quantity of films. Bondit: 264. Buffalo: 313.

Their best include:

  • Little Men (2016)
  • BlacKkKlansman (2018)
  • The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)
  • Clerks III (2022)

Craig joined the company as an intern in college and then went full-time in 2018.

The founders stated that Craig has:

“Initiative, entrepreneurial drive, and tireless work ethic… his natural ability to lead, making this an obvious decision for our companies’ future. Over the years, he has taken it upon himself to systematize our business units and cultivate strategic industry partnerships, both of which have been critical aspects to our success and growth during his tenure.”

Craig will work to expand their international scope and move into live entertainment and digital content.

Want a shot at running the company? Apply for an internship here.

John Waters is back. Aubrey Plaza is set to star in John Waters’ latest film Liarmouth.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Marsha Sprinkle is a suitcase thief, scammer and master of disguise. Everybody hates her and even her own family wants her dead.

Plaza, hot off Emily the Criminal (trailer, 2022), seems perfect for the role.

Waters is best known for his campy and scandalous films:

His last film was A Dirty Shame (2004). Here’s a snippet from the NY Times review:

At least since Divine, 32 years ago in Pink Flamingos, proved herself the filthiest human being alive by consuming a morsel of dog excrement, Mr. Waters has delighted in scandalizing the squares, who tend not to seek out his movies anyway.

But even his most extreme provocations have included disarmingly sweet, almost naïve messages of social tolerance of the kind that would not be out of place on Sesame Street.

He reassures us, again and again, that it’s all right to be different, and sometimes, as in Hairspray, the message takes on decidedly unkinky, downright wholesome social implications.

We eagerly await Liarmouth.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Berlin Film Festival distribution deals:

Synopsis:

Lissy enjoys husband Gerd’s deterioration in a home. Her joy is temporary as her health rapidly declines.

  • Architection
    • 6-territory deal secured by Match Factory
    • A24 distributing in the US

Synopsis:

An extraordinary journey through the material that makes up our habitat: concrete and its ancestor, stone.

Synopsis:

Follows the life in the kitchen of a NYC restaurant where cultures from all over the world blend during the lunchtime rush.

Here’s a first-look clip.


READER SPOTLIGHT

Jacob Ewing is a producer and founder of Tell Me Something Studios, where he makes storytelling more accessible in West Texas.

Currently, he is seeking distribution for a sci-fi/horror audio drama, Project Highwayman.

Here’s the synopsis:

When a lost tape of their late brother surfaces, twins Anna and Max Coats must brave the horrors of the multiverse to unravel a corporate conspiracy and reunite their family.

It is set in the near future and inspired by Lovecraftian horrors of the cosmic expanse.

Listen to Project Highwayman here.

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


ON THIS DAY

1935. 7th Academy Awards: It Happened One Night, Clark Gable, and Claudette Colbert win.


See you Wednesday.


Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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