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Anne Hathaway, Werner Herzog & an icebreaker

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

Anne Hathaway’s purist romance, Werner Herzog + Nicolas Cage = The Wrath of God, Jack Nicholson’s cult classic reboot, and The Sopranos in a mosque.

Let’s go!


Weekend Box Office. Here’s the breakdown of the total gross:

Disney’s ROI. Disney just released a presentation that showcased a behemoth ROI on some of their biggest franchises:

  • 9.9x Frozen
  • 5.5x Toy Story
  • 3.3x Marvel’s Avengers
    • $13.2 bn revenue
    • Acquired in 2009
  • 2.9x Star Wars
    • $11.6 bn revenue
    • Acquired in 2012

Amidst Disney’s rebounding share price (up 23.6% in 2024), it is becoming harder for Nelson Peltz, billionaire and Chairmen of Wendy’s, to justify his proxy battle. Peltz believes Disney is being run poorly. Here are his demands:

  • Succession plan for Bob Iger, CEO
  • Slash executive pay based on performance
  • Aggressive cost-cutting measures

Ironically, Disney is already doing two of these:

  • Bob Iger set to retire in 2026
  • Projected 30% cut on content spending in 2024, equalling $6 bn

Peltz teamed up with former Disney CFO James Rasulo and nominated themselves as independent directors for the Disney Board.

Shareholders will vote on April 3rd.

David Seidler, who won an Oscar for writing The King’s Speech, has died at 86. Seidler based the 2010 film on his stutter as a child, saying:

“If you’re born with two conflicting traits — in my case, I was a born ham, but I was a stutterer — and if you want to be the centre of attention but you can’t talk, you find another channel, and that’s writing.”

Here’s the trailer for 2011’s Best Picture, The King’s Speech.

Seidler also scripted Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988, trailer), starring Jeff Bridges and directed by a post-Apocalypse Now Francis Ford Coppola. Seidler is also one of a few credited writers on the classic Warner Bros. animated film The King and I (1999).

He will be missed.

A Cult classic returns. The original Little Shop of Horrors (1960), directed by the legendary Roger Corman and featuring a young Jack Nicholson (full film, cued up to Nicholson’s zany entrance), centered on a flesh-eating plant that eats people. The original is currently being rebooted by Corman (co-producer), with Joe Dante (dir: Gremlins) set to direct.


An Anne Hathaway romance is blowing up. The trailer for The Idea of You has garnered 125 M views across all platforms. The film centers on Hathaway, a single mother, who accidentally meets the lead singer of a famous boy band, igniting a romance.

Although the popularity has certainly been due to its source material being considered Harry Styles fan fiction, there’s something about a purist Hathaway romance that strikes the zeitgeist.

Hathaway’s early to mid-career was epitomized by playing awkward characters who struggle with love:

And although she’s tackled many mature relationships in her more recent romance films, She Came to Me (2023), where her husband (Peter Dinklage) meets another woman (Marisa Tomei), and Doug Liman’s Locked Down (2021), which centers on her ending things with her husband (Chiwetel Ejiofor) before being forced to lock down with him during the pandemic, audiences still crave hints of her original characterization because they were primordially relatable.

There’s something about Hathaway’s tentativeness about being in a relationship with a pop star 15 years her junior that traces back to her original roles. More mature and nuanced for sure, but nevertheless the same.

The Idea of You will be released on Amazon Prime in 230 countries on May 2nd.

Joseph Lee, who played Ali Wong’s husband in Beef, just signed with Gersh. Lee is excellent as the annoyingly pragmatic husband who tries to get Wong to “focus on the positive.” When everything comes crashing down in the latter episodes of the series, Wong reveals a series of crushing betrayals. Watching Lee soak everything in is gutting. The performance earned him an Emmy nomination.

Lee has also been seen in Searching (2018) and Star Trek: Picard (2023).

One tidbit: Here’s the first image of Timothée Chalamet as a young Bob Dylan. There is no official release date for Complete Unknown, currently in production but when it comes out in 2025, we’ll be taking Highway 61 straight to the theater.


Sundance Masterclass. Building and Sustaining Your Career as a Writer and Director with acclaimed filmmaker Kasi Lemmons (dir: Harriet, actress: Silence of the Lambs). In this interactive Master Class, participants will explore the intricacies of advancing a career in filmmaking.

Lemmons will share insights on:

  • Identifying your creative voice
  • Building (and keeping) momentum from your previous work
  • Navigating your career as a multi-hyphenate
  • How to pitch for a directing job and present your “take”

This session aims to equip aspiring writers and directors with strategies to navigate the film industry successfully.

The Master Class will start at 6 pm EST on Wednesday, March 20th. Sign up here.


Werner Herzog will direct Nicolas Cage. Herzog is directing a screenplay about Tony Kiritsis, a real American kidnapper who is infamous for tying a loaded shotgun to a mortgage broker’s neck and holding him hostage for 63 hours.

The motive: Kiritsis was behind on his mortgage payments, and the broker wouldn’t give him a break.

The event was meticulously captured by the media at the time. Here’s something that Kiritsis said over a recorded police line:

“You’ve got a hundred armed officers around here trying to get a shot at me. I’m dead if they shoot me. I didn’t go down there to be a buffoon. I went down there for vengeance, and by God, I’ll have vengeance!”

Imagining these words come out of Cage’s mad-dog mouth, as directed by Herzog, is perfection. It’s evocative of Herzog’s famous partnership with Klaus Kinski during the Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), where Herzog tried to murder Kinski.

For a sample of the material Herzog is working with for the ​Tony Kiritsis film, here’s a trailer from a doc about Kiritsis.

Production should begin later this year.

Flying with a “reckless death cult.” Fly, the SXSW documentary directed by Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau (Immigration Nation) centers on the romantic relationships between base-jumping couples.

Clusiau and Schwarz discussed how they gained access to the tight-knit community:

“They feel, from the outside, they’re quite judged. There’s a lot out there that portrays them as this reckless death cult that are just adrenaline junkies. The convincing came through us spending a lot of time with them, and they started to realize that this is a longer term [project] and that these guys are interested in our lives. We integrated ourselves into their lives, not just dropping in and filming for a couple of days and leaving and never having a real connection or highly produced shoots. This world is seen through very quick hits of videos on YouTube. We wanted to be in their heads.”

With so many documentaries, the time needed to embed yourself in a community is not taken, and the work suffers.

Along the way, the filmmakers learned about living:

“You don’t have to BASE jump, you don’t have to wingsuit, but we want you to feel for a community that really truly lives with intention. And the question [for viewers] is, “Are you living the life that you want to live? Are you really living with intention?”

The film was sold to National Geographic.

No release date has been set.


The Sopranos in a mosque. That was the pitch for Australia’s breakout series House of Gods, which was greenlit by NBC Universal.

The EP explained how the series evolved:

“It became much more about the family, and moved from being ‘Sopranos in a mosque’ to being more like ‘Succession in a mosque.’”

Here’s the official synopsis:

The life of a powerful Iraqi family in Australia, who confront new power, politics and privilege when their prominent patriarch, Sheikh Mohammad, is chosen as the head cleric of a local mosque.

The teaser clip showcases the uncomfortable intersection between Australian and Iraqi culture.

The show is available in Australia on ABC.

No release date for other territories has been set.

A Finnish Nordic thriller: Icebreaker. From creator Mia Ylönen (Sky Showtime’s Codename: Annika) comes a True Detective Season 3-esque tale.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Stranded icebreaker with survivors and a frozen body. Coast guard Sanna Tanner’s rescue team arrives, but crew start disappearing within 6 days, hinting at a vindictive spirit’s involvement.

The first look photos are haunting:

Ylönen said:

“There are no ghosts and no zombies, but we wanted to bring in this mythological element and give it a new spice in terms of creating a thriller in the Nordics. We don’t want to go: ‘There is snow, there is darkness, there are people in trouble again.’ We don’t want to go the usual route. We want to add something extra.”

She continued:

“When the night is at its longest, the dead are the closest to the living.”

No release date has been set.


2008. Anthony Minghella, English Oscar-winning film director (The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley), dies at 54.

See you Tuesday.

Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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