Chris Nolan’s win, Wes Anderson’s scheme

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

Universal’s rise, Wes Anderson’s latest film, Emily Blunt: Lincoln Detective, Godzilla reigns, and a tricky tombstone.

Let’s go!


The Oscars were watched by 19.5M viewers, a 4-year high. Here are some other metrics about Sunday’s big night:

  • -290 K person drop in 18-49-year-old viewers since last year’s Oscars

  • 1st SNL Cast Member to win an Oscar – Robert Downey Jr.
    • Bill Murray (SNL 1977-1980) almost clinched an Oscar in 2003 for Lost in Translation but lost to Sean Penn in Mystic River

  • 2nd highest-grossing Best Picture. Here are the top three:
    • $1.15 bn – LOTR (2003)
    • $958 M – Oppenheimer (2023)
    • $424 M – King’s Speech (2010)

  • 3 Oscars for Cannes films
    • 2x for The Zone of Interest (Grand Prix)
    • 1x for Anatomy of a Fall (Palme d’Or)

  • 5 foreign language films win Academy Awards, the most ever:
    • Anatomy of a Fall (Best Original Screenplay)
    • The Zone of Interest (Best Foreign Language Film, Best Sound)
    • The Boy and the Heron (Best Animated)
    • 20 Days in Mariupol (Best Doc)
    • Godzilla Minus One (Best VFX)

  • 8 Academy Awards for Universal (Oppenheimer) + Focus Features (The Holdovers)

  • 1M UK viewers for the Oscars, although the coverage was abysmal

Wes Anderson was absent from accepting his award because he was in Germany directing The Phoenician Scheme starring Benicio Del Toro, Bill Murray, and Michael Cera.

Also encouraging was the shift into honoring more foreign fare, a result of the international make-up of the Oscar voters.

The pre-ordained Oppenheimer win solidified Christopher Nolan as the definitive filmmaker of the generation able to weave artistry and Box Office allure.

Warner Bros.’s post-pandemic decision to pivot to streaming caused Nolan to cut his 20-year relationship with the studio and move to Universal under the stewardship of Donna Langley, who threw the studio’s entire machinery behind the film.

Here’s a snippet of the thank you note Langley sent her team:

It started with a visit to Chris and Emma’s home, back in 2021. Reading the script for Oppenheimer in Chris’s office, I was mesmerized as one of the most impactful moments in history felt overwhelmingly resonant today. Soon after, our entire Film group — and the entire company — rallied around this piece. From production to marketing to distribution, MSNBC to Peacock to our full Symphony effort, our teams came together to share this story and show what makes this company unique.

Top marks.

This goes to 11… again. Music Mockumentary Spinal Tap has started production with Rob Reiner directing. The original was a hilarious look into rock music culture with countless quotables:

Despite initial confusion at its premiere in Dallas, Texas, This Is Spinal Tap eventually gained a cult following and critical acclaim (read the original review). Spinal Tap 2 will star the original cast plus cameos from Paul McCartney, Elton John, Garth Brooks, and Questlove.

Verve settles with CEO Bill Weinstein. Last month, Bryan Besser and Adam Levine, co-founders of Verve, ended Weinstein’s 14-year tenure as CEO. Under Weinstein’s leadership, the agency grew to represent over 1000 clients, including celebrities like Josh Hartnett, Heather Graham, and Sean Bean.

Weinstein had stated that he was removed:

“Without any notice, reason, cause, or an opportunity to cure.”

The parties have reached a settlement. Weinstein will likely be starting his own talent agency, Novo, with a few agents from Verve.


Oscar Nominees take on new projects. Here’s a snippet of what a couple of the nominees are up to next:

Emily Blunt (nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Oppenheimer) is set to play the United States’ first female detective, Kate Warne. According to historical records, Warne stopped an early Lincoln assassination plot. Sadly, there will be no Lincoln (2012) cinematic universe after Daniel Day-Lewis’ recent retirement. But we loved Blunt’s vulnerability and toughness as an FBI agent in Sicario.

We look forward to watching Blunt in this untitled “propulsive action thriller,” directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Black Adam).

Blunt will also be starring across Ryan Gosling in The Fall Guy, which is being released by Universal on May 3rd.

Here’s the trailer.

Sterling K. Brown (nominated for Best Supporting Actor for American Fiction) is c0-starring with Jennifer Lopez in Apple TV+’s Atlas.


A bleak-sounding future where an AI soldier has determined that the only way to end war is to end humanity.

Here’s a mini clip.

Brown will also play in the upcoming Hulu series Washington Black as the boisterous, worldly ex-slave who serves as the Mayor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the mentor for an 11-year-old boy (Washington Black) who has escaped a barbaric Barbados Plantation.

Check out an exhaustive list of the latest projects from Annette Bening, Danielle Brooks, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Colman Domingo, Robert Downey Jr., America Ferrera, Lily Gladstone, Sandra Hüller, Carey Mulligan, Cillian Murphy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Mark Ruffalo, Emma Stone and Jeffrey Wright here.


Learn how to Schedule and Budget your film. Blair Skinner is sharing her expertise on budgeting everything from 250 K indies to $20 M studio projects.

Her top credits include:

  • Transparent (Amazon)
  • Slender Man (Screen Gems/Sony Pictures)
  • Generation (HBO Max)

Skinner is offering a program to anyone who has a script and needs to create a schedule/budget to secure funding.

Her program is also tailored to those looking to become a producer, line producer, UPM, production supervisor, or for creative producers who are interested in learning how to schedule and budget sub $15 M feature films.

Her in-depth course includes lessons on scheduling:

  • Prepping your script
  • Navigating Movie Magic Scheduling
  • How to structure your schedule:
    • Estimating the time it’ll take to shoot a scene
    • Scheduling with union crew turnarounds
    • Breaking down of a full one-line schedule

And budgeting:

  • Navigating Movie Magic Budgeting
  • Comprehensive Review of Fringe Rates
    • DGA
    • WGA
    • SAG
    • IASTE
    • Teamster
  • Breaking down Above the Line / Below the Line accounts

Without a tried and true mentor, it’s near impossible to learn budgeting and scheduling on your own.

What Blair has done so beautifully is create a course that has the granular detail that allows anyone who is serious about bringing their cinematic vision to life or about becoming a producer, line producer, or production supervisor to gain mastery over these skills.

Check out the video course description here.

Sign up for the course here.


After 37 films, Godzilla wins its first Oscar for Best VFX. It’s a David over Goliath feat, given the budgets of the competitors:

  • Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1
    • $291 M budget
    • 877-person VFX team
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
    • $250 M budget
    • 1,124-person VFX team
  • Napoleon
    • $200 M budget
    • 512-person VFX team
  • The Creator
    • $80M budget
    • 500-person VFX team
  • Godzilla Minus One

When asked about the confluence of Oppenheimer and Godzilla Minus One (a metaphor for nuclear war) coming out in the same year, Yamazaki Takashi, the director, writer and VFX supervisor, spoke about the geopolitical state of the world.

Takashi described the inspiration for his Godzilla:

“We looked at a lot of different Godzilla’s throughout the year and as a team we wanted to get the essence of what we thought represented most accurately what Godzilla is about. Godzilla if you trace back to its origins it’s a symbol of terror and war and nuclear power so I wanted to make sure that when audiences saw Godzilla, that fear would be instilled upon them.”

Godzilla Minus One depicts a postwar Japan grappling with the emergence of a new terror, compelling its devastated inhabitants to claw back (trailer). The mass-scale, highly detailed VFX is nothing short of stunning when seen through the lens of this “shoe-string” budget.

It proves that a non-Hollywood version of Godzilla is a welcome respite.

Takashi is the first director since Stanley Kubrick to win an Oscar for Best Visual Effects.


Winners is a Syrian refuge film in the style of Danny Boyle (dir: Trainspotting). The trailer is electrifying. There’s the pulsing soundtrack, the frenetic camera movements, and then direct to audience address.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Mona has fled Syria with her Kurdish family and ends up in a primary school in Berlin-Wedding. Things are tough in the school. Everyone on Mona’s all-girls football team plays against each other. But only “team work makes the dream work”.

The film, directed by Soleen Yusef, was selected for the Berlinale Generation KPlus program, which focuses on the stories of young people.

Booksmart crossed with Indiana Jones. That’s the logline for the pitch for Big Time Abroad that Scarlett Bermingham and her husband Andrew Rhymer sold to New Line Cinema for mid to high six-figures.

For a taste of their work, here’s a trailer for Rhymer’s Plus One starring Maya Erskine and Jack Quaid, which he co-directed, produced, and wrote.

Here’s the logline for Bermingham’s 2021 Blacklist script Mimi:

A successful illustrator finds herself friendless after her best friend gets engaged, forcing her to embark on an epic quest to “date” for new girlfriends — as an adult.

Bermingham and Rhymer are currently adapting the children’s book, The Paper Bag Princess with Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap, for Universal.

Andy Sandberg’s Party Over Here (Pen15) will serve as the production company for Big Time Abroad.


Exhuma bests Korea Box Office with $58 M. Exhuma stars Choi Min-sik, best known for his heartfelt yet blisteringly depraved captive man turned free in Old Boy (2003, still). In Exhuma, Min-sik plays an elderly shaman who is enlisted to help a family exhume an ancient tombstone. The trailer is doused with a lingering evil.

Exhuma, which has been in Korean theaters for three weeks, has beaten out Dune 2, which has earned $11 M since opening two weeks ago.

Exhuma premiered at the Berlin Film Festival last year and was just sold to Well Go USA (Triple Threat, Train To Busan, and the Ip Man franchise) for North American distribution.

An Urdo-language, supernatural thriller film that premiered at Cannes in the director’s fortnight has one hell of a heart-pounding trailer. In Flames’ plot synopsis reads:

After the death of the family patriarch, a mother and daughter’s precarious existence is ripped apart, they must find strength in each other if they are to survive the malevolent forces that threaten to engulf them.

Pakistani-Canadian director Zarrar Kahn spoke highly of her U.S. distributor, Game Theory (Jesse Eisenberg’s Resistance).

The film garnered:

  • Pakistan’s Academy Awards submission
  • TIFF, official selection
  • SXSW Sydney, selection

In Flames also marks the commencement of XYZ Films’ new label, New Visions, focused on promoting low-budget international genre films.

The film is set for North American theatrical release on April 12th.


2002. The animated film Ice Age, directed by Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha, with voices by Denis Leary and John Leguizamo, premieres.

See you Wednesday.

Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.



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